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Stash organisation (and shock!) + some basic resolutions

I have been busy! I am in the process of documenting my fabric stash. This is the organisation part of the title; the shock part is just how much I have!

I am using Busy Lizzie in Brizzy's template for fabric stash data but in a different way. Instead of putting it on cards I have put my stash data on A4 sheets/4 per sheet and put in a clear document folder. I did this more because I had no card to print on and just wanted to start. I like this idea now - suits my needs better, but big thanks for the template of the stock card!

This has taken ages! On and off for a couple of weeks with a huge mess everywhere. I haven't finished yet. I have 2 giant bins full, and 4 baskets (seen above) full with 2 bins (not full) of fabrics downstairs that I'm not going to get into just yet - I kind of know what is in there and some is old quilt covers etc with some fabric but not much (thank goodness).

The top photo shows 2 pages of the 'stock card'. On the left are some of my silks (swoon), and on the right some of my 'special' fabrics (ball dresses, lace etc). The next photo shows me burn testing some of the 'not sure what it's made of'' fabrics, and the last one is 2 of the 4 baskets that fit in my built in cupboard in the sewing room. The winter fabrics are in a bin and also the knit in another bin. These will live downstairs (under the house) and my catalogue will let me just get what I need, when I need it.

I find when I decide to make something, I rummage through a lot of fabric to find what I want, then I see 5 or 10 other pieces I get inspired about, then I caress it and think and get distracted get out patterns and end up making a big mess but no sewing! I am anticipating that this organisation will keep me on track and less distracted.

Some things I have discovered:
1. I have A LOT of fabric
2. I have mostly (90-95%) natural fibres
3. I have a lot of silk and linen (such beautiful and quality stuff)
4. I don't have a lot of support items - linings, suitable fusing etc
5. I remember how much I paid and where I bought nearly every piece of fabric
6. I have mostly solids with prints only making appearances occasionally and more so in the last 10 years
7. I have A LOT of fabric....

This leads me to wonder why do I have nothing to wear when I have the skills, tools and 'raw materials' to make an entire wardrobe to suit every conceivable occasion? The answer I have come up with is - fit. Yes, the elusive good fit. When I started sewing I was pretty much a standard (short) size 10 with maybe some grading to 12 for the hip. Easy. Now, my middle aged, menopausal body is all over the shop and while I can make something technically very, very well, I am mostly lazy and impatient with fit.

So some basic resolutions for this year. I will try to not buy any fabric, but I won't berate myself if I do (great cop out isn't it!). I have been sewing for over 25 years and this reflects my differing tastes and what was fashionable at a place in time and is an investment (in what I'm not sure). I will sew with my beautiful fabrics and not be fearful of using it - I have A LOT so I need to use it and wear it and enjoy it. The second basic (but challenging) resolution is that I will try not to rush and just make something, but slow down and focus on the fit. No point making technically great clothing if it doesn't fit me! I don't want to keep making nice things that I can't wear.

Phew, that's a long post - but I haven't finished yet. Onto the shock part. The stats. Not counting linings, bag and sheet material (I used to make kiddie sheet sets and library bags for kindys) and small bits of fabric that are useful for kids clothing I have..... approximately 210 metres of fabric.
I did say I have A LOT of fabric. Is this too much? Ok? Average? How much fabric do you have and how much fabric do you consider A LOT or TOO MUCH?  I am interested in your thoughts. Thanks for reading this long.


  1. I think it gets easier not to buy any/much fabric when you do an inventory of sorts, because you realise what you actually have. I did one of sorts (not as detailed as you though) last August and whilst I didn't stop buying I certainly bought significantly less. Good luck :-)

  2. Hmm. Not sure if that's a lot or not. I can't compare it to mine as I'm not about to measure it up! I like you idea about keeping the swatches in a clear plastic folder. I think the fit issue is common amongst seamstresses and I have been enjoying Rochelle's (lucky Lucille) posts on her twelve pattern challenge and fitting issues. Good luck using up your fabric!

  3. It is hard to make a call on whether a fabric stash is too big - I think it all depends on how productive you are as a sewist. If you sew up lots of things every year, 210m is not much at all. However, if someone like my Mum (who sews a couple of things every year at best), that amount would be huge for her.

    I honestly have no idea how much I have. Some years back I spent a lot of time measuring my fabrics and made a record. However, over time I have forgotten to add new purchases, take out fabrics that I have sewn etc. I have a few shelves and drawers for my fabrics. I figure if all of them are full then it is too much and it is time to get sewing.

    What I do at the moment is record my fabric purchases and fabrics used for the year. I aim to use up as much fabric as I buy, even better if that fabric is from the stash.

  4. I think the size of your stash is relative to the amount of storage space you have, the amount of sewing you do and how much you love your stash! Ie if you sew lots then you need lots of fabric, if you have mostly fabrics you love and not too much fabric that you are meh about then it's good and if you have enough space then no harm! I'm about halfway through cataloging my stash and am up to nearly 500m, but I'm weeding out bits I don't like, I have lots that I do love and I have the space for it so I'm happy!

  5. LOL!!! Great post ~ I have never thought about cataloguing my stash, but it would make a great rainy Sunday project. Love the date of your orange piece ~ 1980's certainly the good times for fabric stashing ... J

  6. You do have a wonderful stash! but I really like your resolution to sew up your beautiful fabrics and to really enjoy the process of doing so. That's the whole point really, isn't it :)


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