Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stash Talkin'

Sew, Mama, Sew! is doing a feature on stashes this week. I love to look at pictures and hear stories of other people's stashes and sewing rooms/nooks, and how they got to be the way they are. As a certifiable fabric whore, my stash is ever growing with no hopes of stopping. So after reading a few features I couldn't resist joining in and talking about my baby stash!

What do you usually sew?

Clothes, aprons, baby stuff, crafty things, zippered pouches, totes and bags...pretty much anything. Lately I'm getting into quilting.

When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)

It depends on the fabric. If it's meant for clothing, then I normally get a metre or two. If I really, really, really love it then I get 4-5 metres. If it's a crafty fabric then I get a metre. Again, if I really like it, then I get 2. But if I absolutely love it and I clutch the bolt the entire time I'm in the fabric store, then I get 4-5 metres. It's a lot, I know, but then I can make a ton of things with it and then just surround myself with it.
Most of the time though, when I see a fabric I can usually guess what I can use it for, so that really helps in deciding how much I need. With that said, I'm thinking I should start buying fabrics in fat quarters. Just so I can have a better range, and so that I don't spend a fortune and yet still get more fabric!

Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
This is what normally happens: I go to the store looking for something specific, but then a million fabrics just out at me...but not the one that I need for the project I want to do at the moment. I'm sure this happens to everyone.

Are you a pre-washer?
Yes. But if it's for a project that doesn't get washed, like a notepad holder, then I won't bother.

If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?
Funny story, I usually have a million projects on the go, and generally start a million projects at the same time. So I think I'm washing the fabric before I need it, but then it just ends up sitting there for a while when my attention is stuck on another project.

Do you iron it?
Yes. It makes cutting more precise.

How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
At the moment it's sorted by clothing fabric and crafty fabric, then subdivided by print and then color. As in all my polka dots are in one pile, my solids in another, kiddie prints in another, denim in another...and then each pile goes by color from dark to light. The only exception is my Japanese fabrics, they get their own special treatment and spot in the sewing space.


Do you have any special folding techniques?
Nope. I just fold them nicely and try to get them folded to all the same size. But I always have the folded edge facing out. Just looks neater that way.

How do you store your fabric?
I have all crafty fabrics on one shelf, clothing fabric on another. Duplicates (like I have a few vintage Rainbow Brite bedsheets, and a few large quantities of denim) in a big plastic Rubbermaid tote that's in a closet across the hall. Scraps are shoved into a Finnish grocery shopping bag (it brings back memories, and with it, inspiration).

What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?
I really don't think I'm in a position to give tips on building a well-rounded stash, as my stash is far from well-rounded. But after reading a lot of other people's tips, I'm thinking I really need to start buying coordinating fabrics in both print and solid. And maybe buy several prints within a set, that way I know they'll work together. Also, just from being quite the novice quilter, I realize that I need to start purchasing outside my favorite colors...I definitely need a full spectrum of colors in my stash.

When do you say enough is enough?
I'm the wrong person to ask that question to...I don't think there is such a thing as enough!! There's always new prints coming out, and seriously, there is a lot of good stuff out there these days!

What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?
Ha! I definitely buy fabric faster than I can use it! But lately I'm thinking quilts and aprons for the larger fabric cuts, and small projects like zippered pouches and pincushions for the smaller pieces.

Do you have a current favorite print in your stash?
That's like asking which of your children do you like the best! I can't pick just one! They are all my favorites! But if I had to narrow it down, it would definitely be the Japanese fabrics. I covet and drool over Japanese prints and linens!

What’s your definition of the perfect stash? (Consider sharing a picture or two of your stash & storage, or direct us to a pic on Flickr!)
The perfect stash would be one that has a full spectrum of color and a good variety of prints in varying scales, as well as solids. Some people don't like the idea of stocking up on solids, but I think it's an essential, especially when you're working with a very busy print and don't want to take away from it by using another print.

Right now my camera is out of commission (note to self: do not place your camera next to a cup of tea on a very cluttered table!), so I can't really take a photo of my stash. But when I get my camera back, I'll definitely post a few! But here's link of what my sewing closet looks like...but note that the fabric is not in order...I was getting the closet set up and had shoved the fabric onto the shelves so that I could get a few boxes unpacked and get Brett off my back about getting them unpacked!

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