Use it up, swap it out

12 Nov

To those who don’t sew, this may seem like a crap ton of fabric. But I’ve seen better or worse, depending on how you look at it.

I’ve been sewing my whole life. I even found one of my very first very detailed and elegant sewing projects while moving my parents out of my childhood home this summer. I totally knew what I was doing even way back at the tender age of 4-6 years old. Can’t you tell? Image

I’ve always had a love for fabric. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t “oooo” and “ahhhh” over quilts and small calico prints. I used to love looking at fabric in the fabric store. Who knew I’d one day have a cabinet full of beautiful fabrics that I could “oooo” and “ahhhh” over every time I walked by? I sure didn’t.

The truth is, it took me several months and maybe even a year to get my stash down to what it is now. No, I didn’t sew every second of the day. I did make about 800 baby quilts (more like 6), but that’s a whole ‘nother story. What I did was take a very real look at the fabric I have. It took me months and several sessions of pulling out fabric I knew I would never end up using. Some of it was hard to part with at first because part of me still liked it, but I learned there’s a difference between liking something and having it represent your style. I like Britney Spears, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to dress like her (well, okay, except for Halloween), go on X-Factor, or buy Crossroads on DVD.

So, over months, I separated out fabrics I knew had no business being in my stash. I piled them all up and swapped as much as I could out for things I knew I would use like quilt batting and thread and sometimes fabric I knew I would use. If I still had anything left in the huge pile, I’d give it to someone who could use it or donate it or try to use it for backings on projects if it was something I didn’t even really like any more.

This doesn’t mean I never buy fabric. It doesn’t mean I never make an impulse buy “THREE DOLLARS A YARD?! WHAT?!” It means on a regular basis, I’ve been attempting to be smarter about what I buy. For me this means buying less modern and novelty prints and buying more “modern” reproduction prints and calicos. I’ve always had a love for those–it’s time I stop trying to fight it.

There are still several prints in my stash that I feel iffy about. They’re still there because this is all a process. It takes time. It took me years to accumulate it all. It’s going to take time to let some of it go.

This doesn’t mean I’m not using my stash. Oh no! I have been trying (and succeeding) at using more of my stash. Do you know I owned a whole pile of charm packs? One charm pack here, two there. But not enough to make an actual…anything. So, I swapped some of that fabric out for a third charm pack and a layer cake. And behold, I finally made something with charm packs. A picnic quilt, which I love and adore. Image

And from the leftovers a baby quilt for a friend.

I want to stop hoarding fabrics that are deemed too precious to use. To let go of obsessing over “hard to find” fabrics because it doesn’t make me happy and only drives me insane. Cute, new fabric is coming out all the time and it isn’t going to stop. Chances are, if I need something for a project, there’s a suitable replacement for whatever crazy hard to find fabric I had intended to use in the first place. You know what my Katie Jump Rope collection is doing right now? Sitting in a lunchbox unused. That’s the kind of stuff I don’t want happening.

I grew up with a mother who kept everything, but most of it was too precious or too antique or too expensive to use. What then, I ask you Mother, is the point of owing it? No more!

I’ve started this blog so that I can document my journey and learn to appreciate what I have, not only in the fabric world but in everyday life. I hope that you’ll join me in my journey of using up my wonderful stash and also because I plan to post a lot of pictures of cats.

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One Response to “Use it up, swap it out”

  1. Katy(LethargicLass) November 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Looks like a great start!

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