Stash bustin´: an update.

Hi there everyone, are you enjoying June so far? I´ve been away a lot, unable to access internet for long periods of time, and whenever I take a glance in me RSS feeder, you´ve all managed to produce 250 new blog posts. Phew! There is a lot of activity going on, that´s for sure!



Back in January, I decided to do something about my ever growing stash, and so I  took on Zoe´s Stash Bustin´challenge. I gave myself some openings, because I knew that I was traveling to some of the worlds fabric Mecca´s.

Six months into the challenge, and what have I learned?

  • It´s hard not to buy new stuff! Especially when I am at the fabric store to pick up necessities like zips or interfacing. I get so tempted by all the beautiful fabrics on display.
  • My stash consisted mostly of rather small(ish) pieces of fabric. This means that if I ever am making something big, like a jacket or a full-skirted dress, I would have to go outside of my stash to get it.
  • Thrifting fabric is great, but rather random.
  • If I bought buttons before, I had the tendency to get, say, 4 or 8. Now, I´ve changed that number to 12. This way I get more freedom in what I can do with them . 4 is not good for anything!
  • The fabric stores around here are not very good at neutral basics in natural fibers.

My fabric is still huge, because I´ve added to it whenever I´ve been traveling, or if I found some nice pieces at the thrift store, and also a couple of pieces on sale. But on the positive side, I´ve learned what I´m more likely to use, and which kinds of fabrics that are good to have just laying around. I love to use natural fibers, like wool, linen, cotton and silks, and none of these are easily found around here, with the exception of wools in the winter. Cottons in the fabric stores are usually flimsy and have cute flower prints on them, and there is just one quality of the linen fabrics. Silks are almost non-existing.

Fabric from Paris

Fabric purchased at Place St Pierre, Paris.

So, when I went to Paris last weekend, I bought some fabric. Just good quality cotton sateen and denim, fabric that usually is very difficult to find here. I also got some cotton jacquard for a summer coat. I am going to use the fabrics that I got for me and for a friend.

So, there you have it. What I am learning most from this challenge is how I think when I´m at the fabric store without any plans. Then I get tempted by the cute prints and the flimsy cotton voile. That is why I should never enter a fabric store without a plan!

My fabric stash is still big, but for the most part, I know exactly what I want to do with the different bits and pieces.

Are you doing something similar? How is that working out for you? Please share, I´d love some stash management advice! 🙂

No Comments

  1. Debi on 15/06/2011 at 10:40

    ooohhh lovely finds! Good idea about buying more buttons! I’m trying to use up my fabric stash as well and have some great pieces, but like you tend to need neutrals, etc. I have tons of wool which will be perfect for Autumn!

  2. Steph on 15/06/2011 at 10:47

    Great new fabric, I’d love to go fabric shopping in Paris sometime!

    There is a certain art to stashing. It sounds like you and I have opposite problems- plenty of decent cottons and some good linens, but finding good woolen fabric on the sheep continent is surprisingly difficult…

  3. Barbara on 15/06/2011 at 12:05

    Nice fabrics! It is good when you stash pieces you love, isn’t it?
    I have lots of space taken by fabrics I got from friends that I would never have bought because the colors don’t work for me. So I decided to use them to make muslins. Another great way of stashbusting, especially when you don’t have sewing friends in the neighborhood to swap. But that means going out for the perfect fabric for the real garment (now that there is room for it, right?)!
    Here we have some nice fabric stores with fabrics of all kinds, mostly from Italy and Turkey. What I struggle with is finding bright colors!
    Right now, as I started sewing again, I’m doing it the stashbusting way. 🙂 As far as I can remember, this year I bought only 1 meter of knit I fell in love with. Because of the colors, yes! But I agree that, if one finds something irresistible, why leave the lovely piece in the shop?

  4. liza jane on 15/06/2011 at 14:41

    Yes, that is a great tip about the buttons. I have tons of buttons, but may only have three or four which I can’t use on anything. And of course you have to buy fabric when in Paris 🙂

  5. Stacy aka Stacyverb on 15/06/2011 at 14:51

    Of course a trip to Paris needs to be an exception to all stash-busting rules! 🙂 Personally, I haven’t bought any new fabric this year, so I’m pleased about that. You make a good point about buying larger quantities of buttons! Sometimes I find cute buttons and can’t resist them, and then I still have them years later because I only have three or four.

  6. Alessa on 15/06/2011 at 17:45

    My stash is continually growing, too. Then again, I usually think of a project I want to make when I buy the fabric, so I roughly buy enough to make that, and I have a rudimentary plan of what to do with it. Which just means that my sewing queue is about 30 projects long, and determined by the fabrics I find… 😉

  7. hungrypanda on 15/06/2011 at 19:16

    I too am attempting something similar. My stash has currently gone beyond a 6-shelf bookcase, and 5 VERY large rubbermaid bins. It’s been so hard to not purchase, especially as I walk by a fabric store every day coming home from work. 🙁 But I promised my husband I would whittle down the supply so he could have his half of the closet back.

    I have been better about throwing away scraps though. I used to hang on to every little piece with the idea I would use it somewhere down the road. But the truth is that I don’t really.

  8. Catherine on 15/06/2011 at 19:49

    Some people say they can buy one piece of fabric for every 2 they use. That seems like a good policy! Right now I am trying very hard to only use fabric from my stash, but sometimes what I have and what I’m making don’t agree! I can especially relate to having small pieces – when I want to make a dress I have to go and buy the fabric. So sad! I guess I need to make lots of separates and children’s clothes to reduce some more 🙂

  9. Debbie on 15/06/2011 at 20:19

    My stash was made much bigger when I inherited loads of fabric from a friend of my mum’s. I have been trying to use it as I have so little storage space. It keeps spilling out of boxes and drawers. I have used quite a bit for clothes but there were not any plains except for cream calico. So I have bought some plain fabric recently but I only buy fabric for a specific project and use it quite quickly. I have got several piece of tweed to use from the inherited collection.

  10. Alexandra Mason on 17/06/2011 at 13:55

    I am trying not to buy anymore fabric untill i have used up some of mine, we live in a tiny place and it is everywhere, not that i mind 🙂 Have a lovely weekend!

  11. Zoe on 18/06/2011 at 20:03

    I have found the same thing with buttons, I was always buying four, what is that about?! Sounds like you’ve made some very useful discoveries about your fabric buying habits and fabric usage, knowledge is power!


  12. quietandsmall on 20/06/2011 at 04:46

    ooooh pretty fabrics!! i love the 12 button advice, i need to adopt that myself. as for the stash management, my strategy seems to be to try and fold my stash smaller and smaller to fit it into my cabinet or to force it all to fit by hanging fabrics on hangers or stuffing them in boxes 🙂 it all has to fit in my sewing corner, but i have started expanding up since i can’t go out!

  13. needlepullingthread on 20/06/2011 at 14:09

    Stash-busting is one of my main tasks on the good old ‘things to do’ list at the moment. I’m working in a very little space, and all my fabric lives in a pile at the bottom of my wardrobe… not ideal. The arrangement’s silver lining (a thing sliver of a lining) is that it forces me to be really organised – this is something I’m trying to get to grips with at the moment by ironing, cutting and filing all of my fabric (as a quilter, this is a little more straightforward). Please do keep blogging about stash management – I’m sure there are a million other clever little things I can do to keep on top of the huge mound of fabric!

  14. Ali on 20/06/2011 at 17:50

    Great post! I’m on my ration challenge this year and it’s been hard not to buy new fabrics, though it does feel good to dip into my stash. I’m just amazed that, for so many options at home, I often don’t feel like sewing with any of it. Agreed with you on thrift store shopping (so random!) and planning (always a better way to get through the fabric store :).

  15. Scruffybadger on 18/07/2011 at 20:14

    Hi Solvi,
    Just checking in as you haven’t posted for a while – I’ve been offline for ages & hope that you aren’t suffering forced offline through technicals. If you are I truly sympathise! Maybe though, you are just making your way through your wonder stash …I’ll keep watching.
    Anyway, if you are online, I’m back now too, but with a slightly different address that might not get picked up in your reader
    Hope to hear all’s well

  16. Zoe on 26/07/2011 at 22:35

    HI! I know I’ve already commented on this post, but i thought of another tip. I’ve found recently that going through all my fabric regularly, even having it all somewhere semi-visible has been really helping me to remember what I already have. I’ve found that now it’s not all ‘out of sight, out of mind’, lots more ideas are springing up about what to do with certain pieces. Good luck! xxxx

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