This Is Why I Can’t Buy Fabric Anymore

9 Jan

You guys.
Remember this?
ughhh my fabric stash
That is my fabric stash as of last week. And before anyone goes, “Oh! That’s not too bad!” may I point out that the fabric is double-stacked – i.e., there are piles of fabric behind the stuff you can see. Also, I have smaller piles lurking in my sewing room closet & attic. Eep!

So, I knew I was going to put myself on a fabric-buying ban. It seems silly to keep spending money (especially when you consider my expensive taste when it comes to fabric) when I have soo much perfectly usable fabric hanging out at my house as it is. I mentioned this at the beginning of the year (aka last week) and a few of y’all commented that you should also follow suit, but felt like you couldn’t stick to it. To be honest, I kind of felt the same way, but after pulling out my stash & really combing through it, I am actually pretty excited about this upcoming sewing year. I have so much good fabric! So many gems I had forgotten about!

Over the weekend, I pulled every single piece of fabric off my shelf, measured it (both yardage & width) and took a picture. I was going to upload everything to Pinterest – well, I started, anyway – but their site is all buggy and half the pictures don’t show up and idk, I just got pissy & moved everything to Flickr. Whatever! I also took the opportunity to pull any fabric that hadn’t been prewashed (I try to prewash everything as soon as I get it home but in some of these cases, this fabric has been hanging around for years… long before I because the Queen of Prewash) and get that taken care of as well.

I’m not going to bore you with dozens of pictures of my fabric stash, but if you are feeling lurky, I have allotted it it’s very own set on flickr. I am kind of embarrassed that there are nearly 50 photos, especially when you consider that this is ONLY my woven garment fabric with significant yardage. I have more stacks of muslins/interlinings, linings, remnants/scraps, and an entire cabinet full of stretch fabrics. Plus I never got around to that stuff in the attic lol. Baby steps, y’all!

I cut little swatches & hung them on my bulletin board as well:
fabric board!
The swatches to the left are the ones I want to try to sew up over the spring/summer. The swatches in the middle are fabrics I want to use before them (aka now). The giant stacks at the bottom are the rest of my swatches. Oh, and the little white papers stuck on everything show the yardage & width – so I can figure out if I have enough of something without actually unfolding it and getting measure on. Did that once, not doin’ it again!

Then I got really inspired and decided to document my entire pattern stash as well. And, well, guys… I have a lot more than I thought I did. And I’m kind of embarrassed. But we’re not judging each other, right? This is a safe space, yes?

Ok, well, here’s the flickr link to all 158 of them.
Don’t judge me!

For your troubles, here is my favorite weird pattern that I had forgotten I own:
McCall's 6988
lol wtf is even going on here?

So there you go! I do feel more organized about my various stashes – I’m already planning my spring wardrobe in my head :) Hopefully this is inspire some of you to take control of your stash, too! And then share pictures, because *I* like to lurk :) Heehee.

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35 Responses to “This Is Why I Can’t Buy Fabric Anymore”

  1. Julia January 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Brilliant! I particularly love the swatches. My fabric stash is also starting to resemble a mountain. I’m pretty sure something moved in there the other day. If both of our stashes evolve into animals they should have a play date!

  2. Joanne January 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Hahah what the hell IS that? Mental. Anyhoo I had a lurk and I think you should do mccalls 9153 – would be so your stylee. Avoid at all costs Butterick 5946 unless you want to dress up as one of the bitchy girls in Pretty in Pink! I am also extremely jealous of your shelving. I would love that in my closet-sized sewing room. Well done on getting the stash sorted – yay!

    • Lauren January 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      lol, oh, Butterick 5946 – I kind of want to make it up just to see how ridiculous it would look in real life. It looks like something I would have loooooved (and begged my mom to make me!) as a child.

  3. Miss Crayola Creepy January 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    You were on a mission!!! I need to take some organizing tips from you!

  4. veronica January 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    I like a lot of people have decided to cut back on buying fabric and use what I have. So do you want to know what a fabric hoarder has over 5000 yards, yes 5000. I took a weeks vacation and measured it all and made up a book which I put the amount and type on it with a small swatch. I didnt measure anything smaller then a yard. Now thats crazy :)

  5. poppykettle January 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Impressive. I’m loving the swatches on the pinboard!

  6. symondezyn January 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    Despite the burden of organization it’s caused you, I have Stash Envy!! I started the list for mine this weekend and it’s a tiny little fragment of your impressive awe-inspiring stash – congrats!! :)

  7. Scruffybadger January 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Very January- organised that is. Did you find it took more time to do this than it would to make something? That’s what stops me. That’s why my fabric stash no longer fits in its cupboard. But that pin board is a thing of beauty of the kind to be featured in Mollie makes magazine – I could be persuaded! That pattern is awesome. Can you imagine that as a centrepiece for some kooky dinner party? or a hat? Or two together for some barbarella underwear?!!

    • Lauren January 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      It didn’t take a terribly long time – maybe 2-3 hours total? Plus the time to upload & transfer my handwritten notes into the photo description. I don’t think I could get anything done in that time frame! And I’ve got a stack on my sewing table – including 2 men’s shirts & my coat! But I’m glad I took the time to do it because it’s really easy to sort out my plans for sewing now. Plus, rediscovering fabric is almost as good as buying new fabric – except I didn’t dish any money out this ’round :P

  8. Amanda January 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Dude- this is impressive! I’m loving your storage system here- it’s something I want to try and get sorted this year. Currently all my fabric is smooshed in between books on mechanic’s shelves. Crazy times- I posted a picture up on my blog last week. Your swatches make a whole lot of sense. I may have to get on this wagon…

    • Lauren January 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Oh noooo you need to let that fabric breathe! You can’t see your beautiful collection when it’s all smooshed in like that :)

      Swatches are fun! I highly recommend them! Plus you can pile them in your purse/pocket when you go to the fabric store and it makes it easier to match threads and lining and stuff!

  9. gingermakes January 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Nice organizing! I love that you have all the swatches out where you can see them– that’s a great idea! I love Butterick 9598 with the cool collar detail– would make a saucy wiggle dress!

  10. Jane January 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    I don’t think 158 patterns is bad at all! I purchased my first sewing machine in November and I have 112 haha

  11. Brumby January 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Because we always feel better when we know there is someone worse off than ourselves (common, you know we do!), let me appease your guilt a little: I have well over 200 patterns, and my stash resides in 6 x 60 litre plastic containers. I guesstimate there to be about 50 lengths of fabric in each container. This, does not include lining/ interlining or calico (or muslin as I believe you refer to it) is also whats left AFTER i culled it, I will embarrass myself any further by telling you how much was culled form both pattern, and fabric stash.

  12. Stephanie January 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Omg! Those are really great ideas. I’m going to measure my fabric and cut swatches tomorrow. That would really help me in my current planning phase.

    Kudos for finishing. I’m off to lurk riiiiight now.

  13. Jill January 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    I really covet that turquoise wool crepe that you have pictured in your flickr photostream!

    • LLADYBIRD January 10, 2012 at 8:55 am #

      Isn’t it lovely? I originally used it to make my lady grey, but I still have some yardage over so I’m going to use the rest to make this purse :D

  14. Vicki Kate January 10, 2012 at 2:39 am #

    I love the swatches on the board idea! I’m going to duly plagiarise that one… Will probably add a note for what it will be too? I’ve photographed my patterns and fabrics but I didn’t measure them! Big oops as the whole lot will be coming out again!

  15. Debi January 10, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    I’m scared to count my patterns but I’m assuming I have well over 200. But I feel less bad knowing the rate at which I go through making them. Fabric has also grown….ahem. YES! I am all for fabric and pattern stash bustin’ this year!!!

  16. PanicaLab January 10, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    What a great idea for organizing your fabric stash.
    Because of the large quantity of it, I always forget what I own. This way though, you can know exactly what fabric do you have and how much of it too.
    Very inspiring.
    Thanx!!

  17. thesecretlifeofseams January 10, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Rediscovering that insane blue ball flower table centrepiece pattern is justification enough for re-organising your stash. Forget the prudent planning for seasonal sewing, sew the grapes!
    You’re reminding me that I need to face the beast and sort out my own stash though…right after I go lurk on your Flickr pattern pics…

  18. Gillian January 10, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    Wow – That is a lot of work!

    Have you heard of http://www.seamedup.com/ ? It seems to just be starting, but basically it’s like Ravelry for knitters, but for sewers! You can track your stash, list your patterns, see what other people are sewing etc. It seems like you’ve got a good system going on, but this might be another option! :)

    • LLADYBIRD January 10, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      Oh god, you have no idea how much I love spreading pictures of my stash all over the internet lol. I might have to sign up for this, too!

  19. Karen S January 10, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Besides ‘seamed up’ there’s also ‘my sewing circle’. I belong to that. And 158 patterns isn’t bad at all. I have about double that-vintage and current day. Found your blog just a couple months ago and love it. How’s the featherweight?

    • LLADYBIRD January 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      I don’t have the Featherweight yet! :( I know, I’m so anxious to bring it home & sew something fabulous with it! It’s currently on layaway; hopefully I will have it paid off within the month :)

  20. dapperduds January 10, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I bet it feels great to get organized and see what you really have. I decided to make Vogue 1227 for my birthday dress. Yours is the only review I’ve found and you’ve got me nervous. I’ve got a month though to work it out.

  21. Suzy January 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    I’m going through a similar process at the moment but I love the fact you’re cut swatches and pinning down on a board. Can I steal that idea? ;)

  22. Casey January 12, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I think I can safely say I have more patterns than you–so don’t feel so bad! ;) lol. (Although I haven’t done a formal count recently… I probably should!)

    I’ve been trying to shop my stash a little more lately too, but am running into the issue that basically all I have are the spring/summer weight (and print) fabrics that I stocked up on while living in Florida. So right now, I’m kind of stuck and needing to add some heavier stuff so I can actually sew (a good thing, right??? lol.). But at the same time, I’m thinking I still have too much fabric–even though I purged before we moved. Gah! I need to institute some clever way of tracking it all like you have–I really like the swatch idea and organizing them by season and when you want to use them. Brilliant!

  23. Zoe January 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Hi lady!

    Thanks so much for linking me up to your incredible leopard jacket with teal lining, it’s truly fabulous and now I want even more leopard print in my wardrobe! Good luck with the stash bustin’ and happy new year to you.

    Zoe xxx

  24. Marah January 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    I will admit I’m drooling over your fabric stash AND your patterns…oh my! I saw the pictures and immediately thought “I need more fabric storage, fabric and patterns” you are inspiring ;)

  25. Letty January 16, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    I organized my fabric bevor my first move last year. I’ve sticked fabric pieces into my sewingbook and wrote a note with ideas for the fabric. Besides i’ve bought a fashionary last year (http://fashionary.org/) for croquis, like yours. Its a very awesome tool with informations about fashion. I took pictures for you: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-X8p26vqRzLw/TxQ-eDMRulI/AAAAAAAADQQ/Y_T0SOKB5fg/s512/fabricAndSketch.jpg
    The next step is the organization of my patterns.. but there is an idea in my head :)

  26. nettie January 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    I just scanned my patterns last night. I was absolutely shocked I had so many! I kept commenting around blogs that I didn’t really have all that many. I have about 75 of them! They take up so little space I had no clue. None of mine are as random as this one, though…wtf do you use it for??

  27. Audie January 23, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    That is a genius idea for your fabric swatches! I think that I am going to run home after work and start working on that right away. I’ve started a punch card reward system to work through my stash to try use up my stash, finish projects and limit my purchases this year.

    • Lauren January 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      A punch card reward system!??! I love the the sound of that! Tell me more :)

      • Audie January 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

        Everytime I use a pattern, fabric or yarn from my stash or finish something (another thing that I need to work on) I get a punch. After four punches then it’s $25 to spend on some new stuff! So far I’ve been moderatly successful in that I ordered something before the four punches, I had them before it arrived in my mailbox. I figured that worked enough for me!

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