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Bust a move

January 8, 2012

Stash bustin’ pros:

  • reducing waste
  • saving money
  • reducing negative environmental impact
  • finding creative ways to use yardage
  • learning to want less by not simply buying yardage at whim

Stash bustin’ cons:

  • dealing with lower-quality fabrics bought before I knew better, knew where to find fine fabric, and could afford to buy it occasionally
  • desire to make quality garments that I could never afford in RTW

Boo hoo ;) Looks like the pros still outweigh the cons. I’ve been so inspired to make a couple of new items, but can’t justify the required fabric purchase. Maybe I should cut a deal with myself – for every x number of stash-bustin’ items, I can make 1 out of something new. But that also seems to defeat the purpose of wanting to do more with less. I don’t want to make things that won’t be worn just to get the new shiny something. Then again, some fabric in the stash isn’t the best for wearing. If purchased in the correct amount, with a specific purpose in mind, I can sort of justify new fabric. The whole Sew With A Purpose, which is a goal for this year. However, I do still feel a twinge of guilt. How do you navigate this, if at all? These are issues that are always on my mind.

On a lighter note… A bit of a tease, here’s a sample a newly finished garment (stash-busted, to boot!). There is an accompanying piece, and I’ll show the final photos the coming week. This was used for the Accessories challenge over on the Sew Weekly, so it’s against the rules for me to post here first.

Happy Downton Abbey night!!!

27 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2012 8:17 pm

    That is a pretty peak at something mysterious. I like the fabric lots. As for stash busting, I have decided that it will be fun to empty my stash of all the various fabrics I have amassed and fill it up again with a super shopping spree! That motivates me to sew it down and not buy new. I think the size you have photographed is a manageable collection.

  2. January 8, 2012 9:18 pm

    Downton Abbey – I’m so excited!
    I go back and forth on forcing myself to use my stash. I just finished a very disappointing garment from fabric that, like you said, I bought before I knew better. The quality was cheap and, despite my best efforts, the final product reflects this and I doubt that I wear it again. In the end, it was a waste of time and a waste of fabric. I’m beginning to think that this type of yardage would be better off donated. I’ve been good this year about only purchasing what I’m going to be immediately using so I’m not at risk of repeating these mistakes. So why let it take up space in my house or my head?
    Can’t wait to see your Sew Weekly contribution!

    • January 9, 2012 2:18 pm

      DA was sooo good!!! I’m leaning toward donation/sell, too. Most of my stash is really old, and I simply didn’t have access or means to better quality. Keeping out of guilt instead of usefulness isn’t a good reason.

  3. January 8, 2012 9:29 pm

    I plan to take most of my old unused fabric and make little sleeping mats for the kitties at the animal shelter. Then when all of my old stash is gone I won’t feel as guilty about buying new fabric since the old stuff went to a good cause :)

    p.s. I LOVE Downton Abbey! My Aunt just brought Season Two back from the UK but I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. That needs to be fixed!

    • January 9, 2012 2:20 pm

      That’s such a sweet idea! You’ve totally inspired me. You have access to the entire second season?! No spoilers!

  4. January 8, 2012 9:45 pm

    My guess is Jasmine. But the accessory… I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I really like the new Sew Weekly format. It’s going to be fun to meet so many new seamsters. And, yay for having a stash. I have never been able to build much of one up. I buy and then I use. What stash I have are little bits and pieces of leftovers that I just can’t bear to part with. I figure those scraps will make nice pockets at least, right?

    • January 9, 2012 2:23 pm

      I think you’re onto me ;) I suppose a bit of a stash is good, but most of mine is so old. I now know where to find good fabric, so have become a bit snobbish to a lot of what’s in those bins. I love your method of buying fabric purposefully, and am now doing the same. Life is less cluttered that way. Great idea re: pockets!

  5. January 8, 2012 10:26 pm

    Using my stash is a goal for 2012 for me. I have lots of fabric, I was excited about each piece when I bought it, so in theory this should be easy. This weekend has been a mix. I’m using from the stash for a gift (only to be thwarted by running out of matching thread) and I’m nearly done a skirt from a piece of corderoy I bought last month.

    I think stash issues are ongoing. If you are of the personality to buy fabric on a whim, then it’s always going to be faster to shop than sew. I figure aim to use it, try to think twice on purchases and don’t feel too guilty about what you have. Assuming it won’t cause an avalanche of fabric from a hidden closet and kill someone.

    • January 9, 2012 2:26 pm

      Sounds like your stash will be sewn up rather quickly! A month old buy into a garment is good timing, IMO :) SWAP is def helpful, it’s just the old stuff that will have to be gotten rid of.

  6. Julie permalink
    January 9, 2012 3:36 am

    I just love fabric. I don’t buy a lot of yardage on a whim, but I do buy quarters on a whim, but only when they are a really good buy. Most of the time, those purchases are for quilting. However, I am very guilty of wanting to make something, buying the fabric and buying extra “just in case”, so I wind up with a large piece left over that goes into my stash. So most all of my stash has a memory of a garment attached to it making it really hard to get rid of. One day, there will be quilts galore flying out from my machine! I am no where near ready to get rid of any of my fabric just for the sake of having less. I could probably be on the show “Hoarders”.

    • January 9, 2012 2:28 pm

      That “just in case” is part of why I have what I do! No more… going to get just a smidge over from here on out! My mom quilts and does exactly the same thing.

  7. January 9, 2012 4:30 am

    i unintentionally built up a bit of a stash – i buy things with a plan for them, but it turns out i plan far quicker than i sew ;-)
    i agree about not making things just to use up the fabric even though they won’t be used, i try to sew from stash but if i just don’t have the material i need for whatever it is i’m going to sew and its going to be used then i buy

    • January 9, 2012 2:29 pm

      It’s a waste of time, right? Better to plan from here on out, use what we can, get rid of the rest.

  8. January 9, 2012 8:41 am

    I really don’t know what to do with my stash – I’ve got far too much fabric so I guess I’ll be selling or giving away the bits that are unlikely to get used. I think putting it all out like you did in the photo would help. Maybe it would reassure me that it’s not actually that much and there’s room for the blue and white Ikat fabric I resisted the other day…!
    Just watched the Christmas episode of Downton – it’s a tragedy it won’t be back until September!

    • January 9, 2012 2:31 pm

      Christmas episode? What’s this? Spoilers? Season two just began last night on PBS, so now I’m confused.

      • January 9, 2012 4:37 pm

        christmas episode is a 2 hours long one that followed on from end of season two, all kinds of awesome!!

        • January 9, 2012 4:51 pm

          Okay, say no more! We’re just beginning S2 here in the States!!!

  9. January 9, 2012 9:31 am

    I say get rid of the unwanted stash.

    Sell it on Ebay! Sell it on your blog! If you really won’t wear any finished products from a particular fabric, then it’s best to cut ties. I keep some around for muslin, especially if it’s bottomweight, but it feels liberating to get rid of fabrics that I don’t want to wear.

    I’m suuuper excited to see your Jasmine. That’s a Colette pattern that I really love. I should’ve bought that instead of Clover… :/

    • January 9, 2012 2:33 pm

      I really like your approach! Totally inspired to do just that with the unwanted items. Some of it is useful, but some is just… what was I thinking?! Get the Jasmine. I really do like it… it’s easy and versatile.

  10. January 9, 2012 11:34 am


    what is up with that high waisted full body form?!!! have you written about it before?!!!

    • January 9, 2012 2:37 pm

      Oh, that thing? Ha! Actually, it was a dumpster dive Ry found behind a GAP years ago. Meaning it’s a size negative 4 (the angle in the photo makes it look larger). I’ve always considered it useless. It also has the pokey wires that snag fabric. But maybe I should be resourceful & creative, pad it out to my dimensions, create some sort of stand? Think this would work? I long for a dress form, but am scared to spend the money on the Fab Fit one I really want.

      • January 9, 2012 4:48 pm

        oh god. you have GOT to pad that thing out!!!

        am i right in seeing it as high (short) waisted, or is it the angle? those are hella hard to find. if you’re short waisted, you have no choice but to pad it out! if for no other reason than that i might live vicariously through you. thrift an old floor lamp and shove that rod right on through it :)

        i’ve heard fabulous fit is a bit of a nightmare for some (and good lord expensive). i’ve been eyeing custom forms from pgm, they’re half the cost… have you seen a fabfit in person?

        • January 9, 2012 5:02 pm

          Is it high, or short? I never know. But yeah, even with the angle playing tricks, that waist is a bit high. It’s 23.5″ though. INSANE!!! You’ve convinced me. Time to go to goodwill, and get dirty with a lamp post. It’s worth a shot.
          I don’t know anything about Fab Fit, other than the marketing on their site saying just how fabulous they are. Crazy expensive. PGM customs start at $400, plus the base cost of the form? Or am I misunderstanding? Have you worked on one of theirs? I’ve never used a form, so don’t know what to look for.

          • January 9, 2012 11:30 pm

            i had several calls with fab fit, and the thing that irked me was their “outlet prices”– basically they always run the same sale price, which to me means they’re running their actual price and passing it off as a markdown. at over a thousand smackeroos. eek. i’ve heard the form in squishier than others, sort of like the foam ones. after i worked on a friend’s wolf i knew i wanted a different form!

            i called pgm and they were sweet, it seemed like a custom wouldn’t run over 600. it depends on your sizing and issues, i guess– my highassshort waist means i have to go custom if i want a full body, for example. but! they’re also selling via simplicity’s website, and starting to add more options like smaller bust, so maybe my waist has hope!

            i don’t know how they compare to wolf/royal/etc, but if i’m ever in their area i’m running to their store for a looksee. with a pint of brandy for sharing.

            go get you that lamp post!

  11. January 10, 2012 9:41 am

    I’m with you on the stash busting con of lots of crap you’d never buy now :(
    I really want to use the SW challenges as a way to stash down, but BOY do I have some sucky fabric! I’m trying to plan out until Feb and then reevaluate based on the next set of challenges.

  12. January 13, 2012 12:37 pm

    I think all sewers have the same stash issue, but at least yours seems organized! I’m trying a rewards system myself to see if that will help because I plan a lot and then have trouble following through. You could also use it for creating muslins of difficult/questionable projects to determine if you want to buy the nice fabric for the pattern, and since it is apparel fabric you could always wear it if it turns out awesome.
    I just saw your top on the Sew Weekly and it looks great! And I loved that your accessory was fishnets :)

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