Friday, April 11, 2008


Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy

I didn't coin the phrase - I'm not sure who did but I've seen it applied to both fabric and yarn. I'm afraid this applies to my fabric stash and maybe my yarn but definitely my fabric. I once again went through the task of swatching, folding, and storing away the mountain of fabric that somehow appeared on the guest bed over the last year or so. The problem is that to do so required more big, plastic containers because my fabric buying far outweighs my sewing. The good news is that I have curtailed my fabric buying. Although it may seem obvious, I guess I didn't really comprehend that each piece of fabric I was buying represented a project. And each project involves selecting a pattern, often tracing the pattern off, cutting the pattern pieces apart, sometimes sewing a muslin, usually alterations to the pattern, cutting out the fabric, construction, and finishing. And of course my projects don't tend to be simple or easy. Unless the fabric is really fabulous on its own, I don't want to just sew up a plain top or skirt. And even when it seems like a straight forward project, I take way more time than I should because I'm a perfectionist. So you see my dilemma. More projects than I can get to.

The other dilemma is that I don't want my stash to become full of dated fabric, so I really should use it before it does. I sewed a little in the 80's and once had a crazy idea to sew up a bunch of "easy" short sleeved, simple blouses to wear to work. I went to the fabric store and bought 5 or 6 pieces of fabric and that's as far as I ever got. Because in addition to being a perfectionist, or maybe because I am one, I am also a procrastinator. The fabric never became anything and only got moved around from apartment to apartment. When I recently came across the fabrics I was amused at how 80's the fabric looked and felt (most of it was polyester). I was also amused at how I only needed 1 yard of fabric to make a blouse for my(much skinnier)self 20 years ago.

I could also say that I have SA. Stash Anxiety. There are so many projects I want to do that I don't know which one to start on. Do I finish the skirt I cut out last summer even though the style (multi-tiered gypsy type skirt) is not really in, but the fabric was purchased in Paris and I don't want it to go to waste? Which of the many "easy-to-sew", summer tops should I make from the Simplicity, McCalls, and Butterick patterns I have? Pattern stash anxiety! Why do I still buy more patterns when I get the Burda magazine? Why can't I find the motivation to finish the jacket I started a few months ago? Why haven't I made a nice pair of pants? Thinking about it all makes my head and stomach hurt. This is supposed to be a fun hobby!

Last summer I sewed up a small, coordinating wardrobe before my trip to Paris. I think my "Paris with a Plan" take on the SWAP concept (Sewing with a Plan) was successful and I'd like to try something similar. I don't have any big trips on the horizon, but I think I should try to put together a few items that will go together and concentrate on those. Perhaps I should incorporate the UFOs to get them out of the way. Ok, feeling better already.


  1. Hmmm, I think I've achieved SABKLE - stash acquired beyond kids life expectancy. :(
    I want to do a large cleanout this year of the entire house (gulp) and my stash will be hit too. I like your term Stash anxiety. I get that too. Then when I do start a project, I often get hit by analysis paralysis. Good luck with the SWAP.

  2. Lady Be Good7:50 AM

    OMG... Did I write this post and then get amnesia, or did you just read my mind? SABLE, the procrastinating perfectionism, the stash anxiety. Just add congenital hoarding and you've got me in a nutshell!

  3. Add me to the list with SA. Isn't it so much easier to envision this lovely, perfect garment than to actually execute the garment? Buying the fabric is the first step. I can even wash the fabric. But the next steps...well, I'm still waiting to take the next steps.