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Oct 5, 2012

Walk a Mile in My Stash!



Readers, I am getting organized.  Not only was I able to sort -- and digitally archive -- my entire fabric stash, but also by consolidating, I was able to get rid of a cracked drawer-style Sterilite container I'd found in the trash a long time ago that had very bad feng shui.

As far as my stash is concerned, I think it's on the small side compared to many of yours (some of which appear to fill entire garages), but I live in an apartment.  A number of readers have asked why I have a stash at all since I live so close to the Garment Center and can pick up what I need as I need it.  Most of my stash is comprised of 1) stuff I found long ago at a price too good to pass up -- like that vinyl snakeskin, or a huge piece of soft-as-silk Egyptian cotton shirting in a color I'm not wild about; or  2) fabric I was gifted, like yards of silk twill, lycra swimsuit lining, or pinstripe wool suiting.  I'll likely use these eventually.  And I do give fabric away from time to time.

Then there's 3) the fabrics I bought for specific projects but changed my mind.  Or I bought so much that I have enough left over for an entire other project.  Like the pink sateen I used for Cathy's opera coat, now stored in the "cottons" box.



This is just my fabric of course; I also have bags of shoulder pads, drawers full of buttonhole attachments and vintage foot pedals, and lots and lots of buttons (as I'm guessing many of you do too).  I'll have to catalog those next.

An ongoing challenge is my remnant box, currently stuffed to near-overflowing.  It contains scraps of fabric -- some very big, some very small -- from nearly every sewing project I've ever undertaken.  And I can't seem to get rid of much of it.  Anything look familiar?





A few years ago I gave away three large bags full of fabric scraps like these -- I don't know how I managed it.  I always think, what if I need to repair something, or I want to line a pocket or create a contrasting collar facing?  And the truth is that I do use these remnants occasionally, especially when I'm testing a sewing machine or practicing some sewing technique.  I think as long as I limit myself to just one box I can handle it.  If I'm going to keep more, however, I'm just going to have to purge myself of others; it's that simple.

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good.  I have my new boxes and everything is in it's place, or nearly.  I can think clearly again and my heart rate has slowed.

Now it may be time for a wig purge.

Have a great day, everybody!

 

31 comments:

  1. I have a scrap bin that looks exactly like that, except there are two of them - and then the knits one. I have three? I don't know what to do! It's especially bad when you (as in I) make kids' clothes and sometimes little stuffed toys and dolls because even tiny scraps are useful. This is stressing me out. Why did you bring this to my attention?

    Good lord. I also feel guilty when I throw out the tiniest bits of reconstructed clothes. Shouldn't I be saving that stuff somewhere and making some kind of stuffed footstool or something out of them? Waste not, want not (and drown in a giant pile of crap).

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    Replies
    1. Know where you are coming from. While I don't make kids clothes I do make dolls clothes,stuffies and items for around the house with scraps from my sewing and a couple of other sewers. I seem to have become a fabric scrap depot.

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  2. Well done on parting with some much loved clutter. I always have some strong emotions about my fabric (not necessarily good ones) that it's hard to part with it.
    Plus I did one day, give away kilos of fabric that took too much space in my flat, and ended up missing a lot of it. I suddenly found that I was dying to start on some lovely projects for which the lost fabric would have been perfect.
    Contrary much !
    Have a nice uncluttered day.
    E.

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  3. such a good feeling to be organized, helps us use our minds to create unbeset by stuffffff

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  4. I used to save scraps. They were taking over so now I don't usually save them. Unless there's a fairly large piece of fabric left over, scraps go in the trash. I don't miss them and I'm not buried in fabric.

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  5. That wig bin looks like something out of CSI. Don't let the police see it, they'll be wanting to know what you did with the rest of the bodies!!!

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  6. Storing the stash is a perennial problem isnt it. I m like Karen - I no longer save the scraps but feel awful throwing them away. So conflicting but liberating. I usually go through once and then a week later go through again and have another chuck out - I enjoying being ruthless. If I really cant get rid of them I iron them and fold them and reduce the bulk somewhat but who except me has got time for that ?

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  7. I have a confession to make--I tend to donate my scraps once they get to a certain amount on freecycle. They pick it up and take it away for their small projects, and I don't have to have it around anymore.

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  8. I keep piles of scraps too...they get killed off with machine testing, but slowly. I'm trying to be better about tossing them. On the other hand, those wigs look fabulous! If you need to find them a good home I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to do!

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  9. I'm fortunate enough to be friends with some avid quilters, so cotton scraps go to a friend's home. The non-cotton stuff tends to build up, but I usually end up tossing it.

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  10. I'm impressed that you're even cataloging your stash. I don't think I could afford to take the time that would take me to do, lol! I, too, hang onto scraps far too long, but I try to go through them once a year at the end of the school year and donate them to a preschool, Girl Scout troop, daycare, summer camp - whoever might use them for their summer programs and crafts. I try to be ruthless, although I'm not always ready to give away "the good stuff".

    Do you label your stash? I bought a Brother P-touch label maker and now I label all my bins - for fabric and for notions. It might be a little obsessive, but it keeps me honest about where things go and makes the sewing room a bit easier to clean up.

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    1. I draw the line at labeling my stash!

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    2. I do a variety of crafts. While my stash isn't huge by some peoples standards, it has to be well organized and labelled. I would never find anything other wise.

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  11. Once again, an inspirational post.

    It took a couple of looks before I realized there’s a doggie in the scraps. It’s like playing Where’s Waldo!

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  12. In 1993 my grandmother died. She was a great seamstress and made all of her granddaughters, (something like 20 of us) Barbie clothes. All of the sewers in her family gave her their scraps. At the auction after her death, there was a box of scraps which had come from us and there we were, reminiscing about the dresses, skirts and bathing suit coverups we had made from all that fabric. I managed not to buy the box, but the lady standing next to me who did buy it, gave me a few pieces which I still have in my scrap box, almost 20 years later. Those pieces are almost 50 years old now.

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  13. I am jealous. I don't have any f abric scraps.

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  14. Inspired by you, I started to go through a bin of remnants last night and found things I had forgotten about. One of the scraps is going into pockets in a pair of shorts later today, so thank you!

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  15. Re that soft-as-silk Egyptian cotton: you do know you can DYE it, right? And it may not be necessary to go too crazy; sometimes a little shade-tweak is all that's necessary!Say it's a blue or yellow shade you don't like; adding a little of the complementary colour can change an icky shade into a GREAT colour! There are also companies which will custom-dye fabric for you too; I'll bet there are several right there in NY!

    And, I have often looked at my stash and thought about what people would think if it was up for grabs: they would certainly think "This woman sure liked CRUSHED VELVET! And just LOOK at all this SNAKESKIN and LEOPARD PRINT!"

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  16. You are an inspiration. I save literally everything, and far too much of it -- always thinking that I will find some sort of use for it. My stash is threatening to envelop the entire Greater Midwest. Time to get a whip and a chair and get in there.

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  17. I like not to have scraps. I use as much as I can and then piece some scraps to make bibs or small purses for children. Leftovers from that I use to clean the iron, and then all is thrown away.

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  18. Wow! You have catalogued your scraps, now that's super organised and impressive. I have about 10 pieces of fabric to use up, but a large wicker hamper full of scraps accumulated, I do use some up very slowly with patchwork, small gifts etc. Of course its the catch 22 situation, if you get rid of it, you will more than likely need it. Now I am feeling guilty thinking about all that fabric.

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  19. Is it time to venture into fabric dyes, especially for that soft as silk Egyptian cotton shirting?

    There's no limit as to what it could become.

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  20. I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone in this, although I have been making an effort to clear the clutter.

    If the cotton isn't dyeable, I'd ditch it.

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  21. I'm one of those garage people...I have about 1350 yards in labeled bins (which are also cataloged in Google Docs) all along a wall of shelving the length of my garage.

    My garage will never see a car again and I don't care!

    I make things for my children and do applique, so I save scraps. Someday, I want to make a quilt of scraps I have used on clothes for DD.

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  22. I have a six-drawer chest of drawers (top drawer stuffed with patterns, bottom with wool), plus a plastic tub of scraps and remnants, and another pile of fabrics next to my dressing table (that's my hidey hole). I have so much accumulated that I make 'discoveries' every time I look through it - nice combination of guilt and excitement, finding something that seems new because I forgot all about it!

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  23. I had a fabric purge happen last July - of course, the week before a major convention that I made several costumes for.
    https://twitter.com/bodicegoddess/status/218584814763249665
    I ended up separating my fabrics not by content, but by size of piece. I have a "2+ Yards" box I can dive into for dresses, a "1-2 Yards" box for shirts and pants projects, and a "<1 Yard" for clean and square pieces I can use for purses, corsets, or whatever else I come up with.
    I, too, have a massive remnant bin still, that remains to be cut down, and I can't quite decide what to do with my hides (I have a small cache of leather and rabbit fur), but maybe someday soon here I'll completely reorganize my sewing area, and not just the fabrics, and find a place for everything!

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  24. Peter, if your entire “stash” is only 48 pieces, I don’t think this qualifies as a stash at all. It reminds me of the scene in the movie “Crocodile Dundee”, when Mick Dundee is threatened by a knife wielding mugger. “that’s not a knife” he says, “now THIS is a KNIFE!” – waving an implement somewhere between a machete and a samurai sword.
    You have a long way to go, my friend, before you reach StABLE – Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy!

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  25. and to follow up - one of the members of our local sewing guild has never really had a stash. She has moved a lot, and has usually had access to plentiful supplies of lovely fabric. Last week she announced that she had finally succumbed, an now has a stash - of five pieces of fabric. The rest of us fell about laughing.

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