(picture of the fabric I purchased over the Xmas holidays...and bonus My Little Pony at the bottom! Does anyone else's children love to play on your lovely new fabric?)
I'm a fabric addict.
I'm a sewing pattern addict.
I'm a sewing tool addict.
I'm a sewing machine addict.
I say these things to my husband all the time, half joking but half knowing that they are true. It wasn't until I actually took stock of what I had that I found out it was worse than I'd feared. What prompted me to take stock was the Stash Less series. I've been reading the craft sessions for a few years now and I love the idea of a thoughful stash. I personally have been growing my stash for years - even during the times when I was just thinking of sewing, I would add metres and metres of fabric to my stash.
To get myself started on my Stash Less project I set myself the following steps:
1. Go through my stash and pull out any fabrics that I won't use and donate them.
2. Pull out any materials that I would use for muslins and store seperately from my stash.
3. Catalogue all good fabric by:
* taking a small swatch
* measuring the width and length
* taking the stretch percentage
* completing a stash card
4. Add up total stash using stash cards.
5. Use my stash
6. Stop buying fabric
7. Set realistic goals. Example one, I have lots of summer fabrics so I could set myself the goal to buy no material until next winter as I have enough to sew with. Example two, only allow myself to buy fabric (no more than 3 metres) after I've used stash materials for ten projects.
One of the main assumptions I made about my stash was that I thought there was a lot of fabric that I no longer liked. I bought much of it years ago and stashed it away under my sewing table so I didn't have regular access to view it. So I'd buy more material that I did like and I thought I'd clear out the un-loved fabric at a later point. When it came to taking stock of my stash I discovered that I do in fact like the majority of it. I donated four pieces of material that I no longer liked and set aside perhaps 10-12 pieces to use for muslins.
After I had sorted through my stash I then put them into piles of winter, summer and stretch materials. The results did not surprise me here. I hate winter so I knew I had a lot of summer fabrics. It broke down like this:
Winter = 44 metres over 20 pieces of material
Stretch = 61 metres over 34 pieces of material
Summer = 125 metres over 55 pieces of material
Its staggering to me. I have 230 metres of fabric! I cannot buy any more material. I keep telling myself that I won't buy any more but then at Christmas I bought another 20 ish metres in the sales that I'm not even including in the above figures. But I mean it now. I WILL NOT BUY ANY MORE MATERIAL FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. Although I am allowing myself a loop hole which is if I need any material to complete the projects for Project #SewMyStyle (I only need material for the Hampshire trousers though) or to complete my Make9 list (I only need denim material for my Turia shorts dungarees). Also if I get any gift vouchers for my birthday then I'll allow myself to buy fabric. See I've already given myself two loop holes!
Finally I took details of each fabric piece (length, width, stretch percentage, fabric type and finally a swatch) to put on my stash cards. The stash cards I created are super basic but you can download them from my free tutorials section.
I also took stock of my sewing patterns and I'm now on a pattern buying ban aswell. I have 159. Approximately 8 are mens patterns and 35 are childrens patterns but the rest are mine.
I'm still in the process of re-organsing my sewing space so I'm going to clear out my sewing tools as I go. I have the main tools that I use all the time, some that I use every now and again and then there are things that I haven't used in years and I'm not sure I ever will so they will be donated to my local charity shop. They are just cluttering up my limited space and it makes me feel unorganised everytime I'm in my little corner. Once my space has had a little makeover I will take some photographs of it and blog about it so that I can remember what it looks like in years to come as we will soon be putting our house up for sale.
I hope I can stick to my self imposed bans. I have told my husband to be annoyed and shout at me me if any fabric deliveries arrive but he's probably not going to be much use as he's too kind to me. I tested him when I saw two lots of stretch material for some Hudson pants and a Linden sweatshirt and he just said I should buy them if I wanted them. So I did. Its a shame you can't buy self control online.
I've done the obvious tasks of taking stock of what I have but I've been thinking a little deeper as to why I've let my stash get so out of control but this post is long enough so I'll save that for another day.