Wednesday, May 16

New stash collection rules

I started going through my fabric tonight and I realized that over the last couple of years that I've developed a crappy stash. My buying pattern was based on impulse and price regardless of quality and taste. After I finish inspecting each piece, I know I'm going to have a nice large bag (or two) for the Goodwill. I'll keep what can be used for garments and muslins everything else including remnants and scraps must go. From now on fabric buying rules are as follows:
  • Go for content quality over quantity. I'm a sucker for the Walmart $1-2 table. But I have managed to stay away from the Joann clearance table for a good while. I need to learn to be selective.
  • If I'm not buying with a specific project in mind, the color MUST be wearable in the general public. I have some funky, funky fabric. I dont know why I love ugly fabric.
  • If I'm not buying with a specific project in mind, the fabric must have at least two options (like dress + top, or skirt + pants)
  • No more remnants, unless it's for a specific project.
  • Throw away scraps. I hate to waste, but it's for the good of my limited space and learning to let go... (Maybe I just need therapy)
  • Keep fabric tickets! and write on it the pattern number that the fabric is for.
I used to buy patterns just for the heck of it. I tried to tell myself that I was a collector. Plus @ $1-$3.99 it was a cheap obsession. To me it was just like collecting magazine clippings and fashion photos from the Internet - both things I love and will probably never stop doing. I ended up with well over 500 envelope patterns at one point---that's OVER $500!!!!!!---PLUS patterns I printed from online and some BWOFs.......that's just excessive. I wasnt even sewing that much, only between semester breaks (still in college.) Now, I have just over 400 patterns (PLUS patterns I printed from online and some BWOFs.) I'll try to reduce over time, but I cant stop buying vintage now. New philosophy on "collecting:"
  • Check for similars/duplicates before purchasing a new pattern.
  • Read pattern instructions to make sure the pattern is worth my time. If there are too many pieces, I usually shy away.
  • Analyze the style and shape - can it be made by combining other patterns?
  • Can I draft the pattern myself? Case in point McCall's 5425:

I wanted this immediately and started looking into the next pattern sale. But as I think about it more this is a very simple style that I can draw up myself. I'd save $2, time waiting in line, time traveling & gas money for the trip (My crazy behind would travel the 20+ miles for the sale instead of waiting for the next sale at my local store.) I'm going to resist the temptation and make my own pattern.


Point blank: resist going to every single sale! No need to stock up, I have a Walmart and a Joann within very close proximity. Avoid the clearance aisle unless I am looking for something specific.

If I follow these rules, eventually I will have a decent stash that is not overstimulating or junky and be able to splurge on a really nice serger.

Feel free to make any suggestions that work for you.


gold said...

I can't help you I need therapy too.Wow when you said 500.00 on patterns thats me too.Now that help me.I will start letting some of those pattern sale go.I really don't need another pattern.

dawn said...

You have some very good tips here. I had to really pare down when I had an organizer help me with my sewing room. About 2 big garbage bags full of fabric went. Now,I have limited space for fabric...3 big plastic drawers and some shelf space. I also have 3 big plastic drawers for patterns. when I can't shove any more stuff in the spaces, some has to go.

I find that once I put a fabric away, I'm much less likely to use it. So I try to buy what's in season and leave it in view until I use it.

When I buy a pattern I ask I really going to make this, or do I just want to keep the idea of it? Often times it's the latter.

Great post!

christina said...

I don't have nearly as many patterns as you, (though most are still unusued), and I just justify my purchases by telling myself that one day they will be vintage and valuable!

Fabric, on the other hand, I need help with, and your tips are great. My problem is that I buy fabric for like 5 projects at once, and then I only get around to making 1 or 2 of the garments before I get distracted with new things...

Kathleen C. said...

I too had to pare down recently (because of a move), and though it's hard to let go it's also freeing.
The only suggestion I have is that rather than throwing out scraps maybe you could give them to a charity. Someone posted at some site or other (I also collect fiber sites!) about giving her scaps to a church group who were making quilts. The scraps were *much* appreciated.
And it sure is easier to give where you know it's wanted rather than tossing it out.

lulu said...

thanks, these are good rules & they're going in my purse right next to my JoAnn's 40%-off coupon. Speaking of which, I should add this rule for myself: "It's OKAY to let the coupon expire unused (rather than buying something you don't need and wouldn't otherwise want)."

narcissaqtpie said...

Gosh thanks for your feedback!

goldmaybe we can find a therapy group "pattern hoarders anonymous"
dawnyour out of site out of mind reference is stuck in my head. I think I should only keep enough fabric that can be store in view so I wont forget about using it.
christinaI too am so easily distracted. I start multiple projects, then end up working on something completely different & based on impulse.
kathleenThanks for the idea. I think I will try to get permission to post a sign at Joann to see if there is a quilter's group I can give this stuff to. I still have the patterns, maybe they'll need them too. I would feel less guilty about the $$ I've spent
luluthat's a good one! I used to find old coupon's and get so mad that I let it expire!

Elaray said...

I used to buy more patterns than I would ever use. But since I started subscribing to BWOF 2 1/2 years ago I really cut back. I can justify the high cost of a subscription only if I actually use the patterns. I never stashed fabric. I only buy fabric with a project in mind and I usually keep 2 - 4 projects in my queue. That's not stashing, is it? I do have way too many notions. Three different kinds of tube turners?!?!?!? Who am I kidding?

narcissaqtpie said...

LOL @ 3 different tube turners! (it's a sickness!!!!) I need to go through my BWOF's and compare to see if I have any similar/duplicate envelope patterns that can be recycled.

Elaray said...

Ya know … I think my next project will be going through my stuff and getting rid of things I don't use. Thanks for lighting the spark, Narcissa.

jennica said...

Your goals are lofty- and not helping me at ALL! I'm looking at the amazing clothes you've made and thinking send your scraps my way! Ha!

Theresa said...

I have had a similar dilemma for a few weeks-theres toooooooo much sewing stuff around my house and I have been really stuck trying to make a decision about it. A couple of years ago I got bitten by the e-bay bug + vintage fabric thing and have ended up with a woeful assortment of dubious 'vintage' fabric lengths. I am inspired by your decision 'to let it go'-'Yes, I brought it all and a lot of it is awful and I wouldnt be seen dead in it' (accompanied by a big sigh & a slight tear in the eye, quivering bottom lip) and now its all in a bag and on its way to the local charity shop. Keep well & have a great day. Warm Regards

Nancy W. said...

First time I've seen your blog - I like it. My biggest problem is fabric stash. I'm trying to only buy with projects in mind now.