How do you like to think about your fabric stash? Do you love having a stash or does it stress you out? If you’re a keen sewist, chances are you have some fabric stash. If you’ve been keen for a while, it is very possible that you’ve amassed quite some fabric over time!
Does the size of your fabric stash give you stress?
Mine has given me stress on and off over the years. In stressed times I’ve written about shopping culture, run sewing challenges on Instagram on and off since 2018 in the name of sustainability and stashbusting – #MakeYourStash / #SewWhatIHave . They do what they say on the tin, and hinge upon the (almost the only sustainability idea that isn’t up for debate) that we should all consume a little less and use what we have.
Sustainability and buy nothing vs sewing
Over time I’ve been nudged towards changing my views on the issue of fabric stash. If the output of my hobby and job is sewing, I really have to stop sewing and producing any clothes. But besides some income practicalities, that is really not a joyful idea so I had to come up with some mindset shifts. That’s not to say I’m not on board with consuming less, but I think having an awareness of it means it takes me much longer to decide to buy anything and I ditched some of the guilt associated with buying. As for the existing fabric stash, well, it is already there ….
By the way, where I haven’t changed my view: a garment is not sustainable simply because I sewed (or knit) it. Honestly, I don’t feel connected to or value every single thing I make, do you? I’ve had plenty of things that have not turned out as expected or as I wanted, and haven’t managed to salvage or refashion. Anyway, moving onto the ways of thinking that really help me grapple with fabric stash stress and/or guilt and maybe you too.
1. Sewing should be fun, fabric should be fun
If you are a hobbyist, then the fabric (and pattern) stash is the core of your hobby. Feeling guilty for hobby-related purchases that you really love because you don’t “need” it doesn’t do you any favours. My technique for guilt relief: the fabric isn’t immediately talking to me, I spent a few days thinking about it (no scarcity problem – there will always be more lovely fabric!) Quite often I just forget about it!
2. Your fabric stash is a collection of beautiful things
This pointer is from my mister … who thinks fabric collections are no different from collecting shot glasses, vintage china, stamps, whatever. If you gain enjoyment from having it, then let that be that! Why should it be that fabric is not allowed but fridge magnets and toys cars are? Also – floral Liberty prints – I stopped buying them because I came to the realisation that I prefer to look at them as surface prints rather than see them on my body! So now they are beautiful pieces in my stash and I might sew one up occasionally, or not. But I know now not to buy them unless I have something very specific in mind
3. You don’t have to sew your stash just because you have it.
Linked to the one above, why self impose any pressure to sew everything you have? Because you already bought it so you should do something with it? Fabric does not go moldy like food, it will be there when you feel like it. Or perhaps you don’t feel like you have room for all the stuff? In which case …
4. It is ok to outgrow fabric and let it go
I’m a hoarder and I hate to throw anything out. You? There are fabrics in my stash that have been there for years and I have a hard time accepting I have outgrown them. But, sometimes it can feel pretty nice to give it away to people who say they really like it! There have also been many times where I’ve royally messed up on buying fabric online and it turned out to be unlike what I expected. Usually I think let me just keep it for awhile. Then sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
5. Looking at your fabric stash (or buying it) is a way to engage in sewing when you don’t have time or energy to sew
What if you really don’t feel like making a quick project or you really don’t have time to sew anything involved? Then having a fabric stash is really handy for some future planning … because dreaming about future projects is also part of the creative hobby. As you’d expect, I would recommend looking at your stash first before buying new things in case you find some hidden gems.
So that’s my two cents on the matter. Over to you – how do you like to think about your fabric stash? Join the discussion on IG or leave a comment here!
Till next time