Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This Isn't Even the Half of It

I am so incredibly thrilled to see what a response there's been from the online sewing community regarding our stashbusting sewalong! I told my husband I couldn't be the only one with bins and bins of fabric! Speaking of which...

*deep breath* Okay, friends, here goes...this is the picture of the fabric piles I hope to turn into clothing this year:

Just to give you a sense of scale, these piles are taller and wider than Walnut when he's sitting up straight. While not all of these fabrics are old per se, I tried to choose things I thought I could reasonably see myself actually sewing this year.

That doesn't look that bad, at least until you read the description of it all...here's the rundown on the individual fabrics, from top to bottom, left column first:
  • 3 yards of bird print on cream colored background, jersey knit: c. 2012 from the FIDM scholarship store, originally meant to be a dress, still intended to be a dress.  Completed!
  • 3 yards of feather print on pink background, jersey knit: c. 2012 from Fabrix in SF, originally meant to be a Tiramisu, still intended to be a Tira.  Not a Tira, but still busted!
  • 4 yards of slightly stretchy navy blue cotton twill: c. 2011 from F&S in TCOCC, no original plans but it was $1/yd so I bought ten yards. I had plans to make it into a Battlestar Galactica dress blues costume.
  • 2 yards-ish cream-colored sweater knit: c. 2012 from Michael Levine Loft, originally intended for a sweater, still intended to be a sweater.
  • 5 yards of mint green and silver striped jersey knit: c. 2012 from Michael Levine Loft, originally intended and still meant to be a Tira.  Completed!
  • 2 yards-ish pink lace-print jersey knit: c. 2009 from SAS Fabrics in Tucson, originally intended and still meant to be a summer dress of some kind.
  • 1 yard cream-colored burnout lace-ish fabric: c. 2010 from Yardage Town in San Diego, originally intended to be a top, new purpose unknown.  Turned into a 20s-esque day dress!
  • 1.5 yards mint jersey knit: c. 2010 from Yardage Town in San Diego, original and new intentions both unclear.  Turned into a slip for the 20s day dress!
  • 3 yards coral twill: c. 2012 from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, originally intended to be a summer blazer, now intended to be skinny trousers
  • 1 yard black and red plaid, wool blend: c. 2012 from Happy Fabric in Oakland, original and new intentions both unclear.
  • 1 yard gray tweed, wool blend: c. 2012 from Happy Fabric in Oakland, original and new intentions both unclear.  Completed, as gauchos!
  • 2.5 yards dark blue rayon with an abstract spot pattern: c. 2012 from SAS Fabrics in LA, originally intended to be a dress or blouse, probably still will be a dress or blouse. 
  • 3 yards floral print rayon: c. 2012 from SAS Fabrics in LA, originally intended to be a 30s or 40s style dress, probably still will be, but not entirely sure.
  • 3 yards purple leopard print rayon: c. 2009 from SAS Fabrics in Tucson, original intentions unknown, probably destined to be a maxi dress. Completed!
  • 3 yards of brown/purple plaid, mystery fiber content: c. 2009 from SAS Fabrics in Tucson, originally intended to be a circle skirt, now intended to be a dress and suit jacket? Completed and with pants and a hat instead of a suit jacket!
  • 3 yards orange wool-poly blend: c. 2011 from F&S, originally intended to be a circle skirt, still intended to be a circle skirt. Completed, but as pants!
  • 3 yards navy blue and white striped jersey knit: c. 2012 from Michael Levine Loft, originally intended to be a maxi dress, still intended to be a maxi dress.
  • 1.5 yards of abstract print rayon: c. 2012 from SAS Fabrics in LA, originally intended to be a top, new intentions unclear.  Completed, as a blouse!
  • Less than one yard of skeleton print quilting cotton: c. 2012 from Sew Modern, originally purchased just because it was awesome, now intended to be a corset for my sister. Completed!
  • 3 yards gray chambray: c. 2012 from the FIDM Scholarship Store, originally intended to be a dress for me, now intended to be a shirt for Mr. Cation.  
  • Striped twin bedsheet: c. 2011 from a TCOCC thrift store, originally intended to be a sailor dress, now intended to be a historical garment of some sort, possibly a Downton Abbey-esque day dress?
  • Seashell print king-sized duvet cover: c. 2012 from San Leandro Thrift Town, originally purchased because it was just awesome, now intended to be a Victorian bustle dress.
  • 4 yards black and white checked cotton: c. 2011 from Birmingham, originally intended to be the infamous Retro Butterick wrap-around dress, now intended to be a generic 50s-era dress.
  • King-sized flat sheet and pillowcases with an only vaguely indienne large floral print: c. 2011 from a TCOCC thrift store, intended to be a late 1700s-ish polonaise of some sort.
  • Red king-sized flat sheet: c. 2011 from a TCOCC thrift store, intended to be a fantastic red dress from an indeterminate era.  Half used, to make an Anna dress!
That is 53 yards of fabric and several sheets, which would probably make up another 20+ yards of fabric. Crikey. And this is my attempt to be reasonable and not just take pictures of everything in my stash! I've still got another 66-quart container of fabric that's not listed here, and another two 66-quart containers of fabric leftovers. A lot of my bed sheet projects resulted in fairly large remnants, and then there are the actual scraps from "real fabric" projects. Ideally, I'd make them all into a fabulous quilt that showcases all of my old dresses, but  to be perfectly honest, that probably won't happen this year. Don't worry, though, January will still involve a couple of scrap-busting projects! 

This it what my fabric storage looks like. *ducks embarassedly* There's still one more storage bin behind these three, plus miscellaneous pieces in corners and on chairs. I know storing fabric in plastic bags is a huge no-no, but well, giant tupperwares cost money. Readers, I feel more exposed in this one picture than I have ever felt, more so than when I was posting my croquis or posing in my Elizabethan undawears

Lastly and somewhat relatedly, I've got two twin-size duvet covers in my stash that I'm toying with for making into a Regency-era day dress. See, my fancy dress is for the Jane Austen ball, but I realized that there will also be an afternoon tea, for which I would like to have a different dress. I know that neither of these prints is period-appropriate, but in the spirit of making do from stash materials (especially since I already had to buy new fabric for the ball gown), I am resolved to use one of these. The question is, which one is the lesser of the two evils? Any thoughts, historical fashion buffs?

Left: I'm pretty sure the flowers are too bright, and it's a poly-cotton blend from JC Penney that's on the crisper side.
Right: The red is very red, and the design is pretty contemporary, but it's got a better drape and it's a little sheerer, plus it's 100% cotton. You might recognize it as the ALVINE TRAD from IKEA. 

I've also got a huge black velvet tablecloth that I want to make into a pelisse, but that might just be biting off more than I can chew...

Friends, if you've got a stash to bust and you haven't yet joined up, there's still time to do so! Okay, who am I kidding, you could join in December and it would still be fine. I'm just glad that I have companions on this stashbusting journey!


  1. WOW! Awesome stash! I haven't committed myself only because I'm not sure if I can do it! I'm still thinking about joining - there's not a deadline is there? It'll fun to see what you make with all of that!

    1. Hi Jenny,
      There's no deadline. We are just running it all year to motivate us all. The themes and challenges are just in case you want some ideas not something you must follow if you join.

  2. Hi, I really enjoy your blog! I'm delurking to say that I'd go with the 100% cotton. And good luck with your stashbusting!

  3. I'd love to have a stash that big! Mine's all in yardage that's slightly too small to make things. As for the Jane Austen dress, the red flowers are more period. It was more common to have solid flowerwork like that. Also, I have the JC Penney flower fabric! I made it into a cute Peter-Pan collar top and circle skirt. Unfortunately, it's not really the season to wear them now, but at least there's something to look foreword to for spring!

  4. I would join you. Really, honest, I would. I'm actually working pretty diligently on stash-busting as it is. But to formally declare it? And make promises out loud? And have an actual PLAN? That's just so. so. so. ORGanized! And I'm so not. But I'm with you in spirit :)

    1. jilly - you just completely stole my words :-)

  5. Well, I have a stash and it is completely aspirational as I have yet to even work up the nerve to actually make something from my not inconsequential pile of fabric. Sigh.

    Regarding the tea dress--I think the IKEA duvet is best. Do you think that overdying would cut back on the hey this is RED factor? I'm thinking something like a tea dye, although that would be an awful lot of tea...the iDye stuff seems popular in blogland, too.

  6. It didn't look like such a large pile, but when you started listing out what you have, it does look like a long list. It's going to be fun seeing you work through it. Since you say you were discussing the stash with your husband, did he go the route of claiming you were on your way to ending up on a TV show (and not in a good way) because of your stash? Mine did.

  7. That's an impressive stash. Just have fun with it...

    By the way... what's the TCOCC thrift store? Is that in LA? I am in LA and always looking for a good thrift store...


  8. I don't even want to know how many yards of fabric I have! I know that I've bought single-cut yardage in the double digits many times (it doesn't help that I've gone to so many costume shop sales!). I plan to bust a lot of my stash this year, mainly to get my etsy shop open.

    I think the red print would be great for your Regency tea dress! (You are right, the other is rather modern bright - reminds me of some sheets from my childhood.) You could cut the white background with a quick tea-dye. Brew some strong tea, get your sheet wet (plain water), dunk the sheet in the tea until it is just slightly darker than you want, ring it out, and through it in the dryer to set the color. It will work wonders on making it look vintage and cut the contrast.

    1. arg - throw. I meant throw, not through. *grin*

  9. I don't know whether I have the guts to face my fabric. I have been thinking of emptying everything on our bed and take a picture, but I just keep chickening out. Well done on taking pictures nd everything :-)

  10. Dear Girl: the fabric on the left is the spitting image of a beautiful day dress in the collection of Ventura County Museum of History and Art. Their dress is a Victorian production owned by one of the younger daughters of our Senator Thomas Bard. The fabric (white silk, i think) on the original is embroidered and the dress is a full skirted, lovely item. I lean definitely toward the left for your day dress.
    very much enjoying your posts, as usual. kisses to the kitties and Mr. Caton...

  11. Wow! You have some fabric! This Sew-Along is just the thing to help you and this community organize and cut through their stash. Good luck! And, I just love the badge!

  12. Wow, that's a LOT of fabric... Think you may have to extend the sewalong, hee hee! I would go with the non-red fabric on the left for the Jane Austen tea party, even if the fabric is not as drapey just cos it looks more period-y. You could team it with a nice shawl or even a cropped jacket like the one Lizzy wore in the bbc tv series...

  13. I might have to join the party! Not sure I can entirely sew from stash this year, as I've just moved to a much warmer climate and my stash does represent that ... Can I do a "mostly from stash" thing?

    As for the fabrics for the tea dress, I'd go with the red flowers, just because I think multi-colour prints weren't that common during the period. But I might just have made that up :D

  14. RE: Jane Austen
    Jane Austen was a very frugal lady partial to a 'sprigged muslin' for both herself and her characters. She would have thoroughly approved of both of your fabric choices possibly worn with a little velvet or woolen jacket. No stranger to poverty she, and her sisters, were Regency recyclers relying on anything cheap they could lay their hands on! I know this does not help! However, both fabrics would be appropriate, remember that Regency fabrics, when new, were also bright!
    Good luck with all your sewing projects, knowing the speed at which you turn out garments, you should have no problem eating your way through two piles of fabric!

    1. Seconding the "antique fabrics were bright when they started out". Do not tea dye the red! That'd be such a pity.

  15. I assure you, your fabric storage looks a lot like mine. Well, except mine's
    a) several large-ish paper boxes with odds and ends left over from mom's stash, mostly things I'm not sure what to use for,
    b) a dresser full of fabrics, mostly ones I do have some sort of plan/idea for,
    c) three plastic containers of fabric, some I do have an idea for, some of the small scrap variety,
    d) two smallish paper boxes of smallish fabric pieces,
    e) an IKEA box of velvety knits intended for toys,
    f) an odd bag with fabrics here and an odd bag of fabric there, also mostly the small scrap stuff.
    Apparently, I really need to join the challenge.

  16. I can't wait to see the black and white gingham made up! I also have a large piece of that in my stash and don't know what to do with it. I might have to make a vintage dress with mine too!

  17. I have some 'stash' that I am just too plain scared to touch! It is beautiful tartan, from Scotland, purchased by my Grandmother in the 1960's. From memory there are 3 lengths, and I have a feeling they are in the 'family' colours. No way am I taking the scissors to these, so on the shelf they sit, all sad and lonely ... J

  18. So how do we join this stash-busting? I SEW need to do this! LOL... too embarrassed to even show my stash!

    1. Hey Sally, if you haven't found it yet joining details are here: http://cationdesigns.blogspot.com/2013/01/announcing-stashbusting-sewalong.html
      or over on my blog.

  19. I vote for the fabric on the left for your tea gown. I think it would be terrific and period appropriate. I am rooting for you and your stash busting. I am not buying another piece of fabric until I use up what I have, even though it's not nearly as much as yours.

  20. Pretty fabrics! I really like the bird print. My stash took over my kids closet...and they really need to be able to use it, so I feel rather embarrassed about that...but I'm hoping to be able to get it under control and move it out to the storage shed so they can have their closet back.

  21. Wow!! That's a lot of fabric! Good luck with the stash-busting, and I have no knowledge of historical fashion, but I like the white and red fabric best. :)

  22. Have you thought of dying either of the sheets to subdue the colors? I'm not an expert on either historical design or dying, but it's just a thought that came to me. Good luck! I'm stashbusting too!


  23. I vote Ikea duvet because its super duper pretty :)

    Sorry I am so late in replying to all of your fabulous stashbusting posts, but boy oh boy! Count me in for the stashbusting sewalong!!!

    At the end of it all, I will probably have the 12 blouses I have been planning for.e.ver.

  24. Wow, I'm excited to watch you stash-bust over the year! This will be so much fun! OK, the sheet on the left-- I had a set of those when I was a kid. :) I'm pretty sure they were a hand-me-down from my aunt, so who knows how old they were? Really funny... I like the red print for that dress. Looking forward to seeing it!

  25. You have a great stash, some of the pieces are very pretty! I am sure you will make some beautiful stuff!

  26. My stash is not impressive. In fact, it is relatively small, but I will join you for the sheer reason that I have not used fabrics from my stash in months, and this will get me going again!!

  27. I prefer the one on the left,I think it looks more Austen. I have been doing some searching at for Regency era fabrics and fashions.
    Here are some photos to support my opinion, which of course is the right one 8-).
    Hope this helps you decide.

  28. I just stumbled on your blog and already love it! I'm looking forward to see what you do with that fabric!

  29. I love this idea! I'm inspired to search my stash for cool fabrics. I'm not giving up buying fabric though. No sit.
    I nominated you for the Liebster Award! You can check it out here:

  30. This is a great idea! I probably won't be participating, as I am just learning to really sew properly this year. We will see how good I get.

    I nominated you for an inspiring blogger award, partly for all the awesome ssewing, partly for all the delightful LOTR geekery :)

  31. I'm in! Stashbusting Baker's Dozen Dress Project. 13 dresses by the end of the year. That will be at least 26 metres of fabric out of the stash. A Very Good Thing!

  32. Ooh, what pretty things in your stash! And I know you'll make them up into fabulous things.


Thank you for taking the time to tell me your thoughts! I appreciate reading them and I try to reply to most, if not all, comments, especially when they are questions. I ask that you keep your comments polite, and if you're a spammer, don't bother because your comment will just be deleted! Also, if you're commenting on a post that's more than two weeks old, it will be moderated.