Can you believe it? We've not only survived a whole year of stashbusting, but (at least for some of us) a whole year of fabric-buying moratorium as well! Even though I stopped being able to follow along with the monthly themes by the end, I'm still pretty pleased with the fact that I used over seventy yards of stash fabric and saved myself over $200. Of course, such a prolonged project is going to lead to some lessons, so I thought I'd share some of those thoughts with you:
- You don't really need that piece of fabric. There were many times last year when I found myself thinking that there was no way I could pass up a particular piece of fabric, only to find that now, I can't even remember what those pieces were, or what was so great about them. There will always be deals on great pieces of fabric, and with limited time on my hands, there's no way I'm going to sew up every idea I ever have, so it's okay to just let that piece go. Ms. McCall of Brown Paper Pattern helpfully put it this way on one of our trips to the Fabric District in LA: think of buying fabric as buying sewing hours instead; that is, think about how many hours it would take to make whatever you have in mind for that yardage. For someone whose limiting reactant is hours in a day (and not necessarily cost of fabric or space required to store it), this really helps to put things in perspective. I'm not buying six yards of silver brocade at only $1/yd -- I'm buying fifty hours of work to turn it into the fantasy gown in my head. Yikes! Suddenly it becomes a lot easier to put it down!
- When you know you have to actually sew up your stash fabrics, it becomes a lot easier to be selective when fabric shopping. I know, I know, that might sound obvious, but hear me out. When I lived in TCOCC, just fifteen minutes away from all sorts of great fabric stores, it became really easy to buy stuff that I only sort of liked, just because it was a good deal. This dress and this top that I feel ambivalent about as clothing now? I felt only a shade more positive about them when they were just fabric...but I bought it because I thought that rayon or embroidered cotton at such prices were too good to ignore. Throw in a pattern I'm not crazy about, and that's a recipe for garments that are for laundry emergencies only. So even after we moved up to CV and I was technically allowed to buy fabric again, I was much more picky about what I would let into the stash.
- If you have to stash, be real with yourself. Even though I'm drawn to ridiculous prints, there's really only so many loud dresses one can wear in a given laundry cycle. For a more practical stash, it makes much more sense to buy solids that pair well with existing items in one's wardrobe. I think that's called SWAP, or sewing (stashing!) with a plan...
- Don't feel boxed in by previous decisions. There were a lot of pieces in my stash that had been bought with a specific garment in mind, but when I felt like I *had* to make what I had originally intended, I would sometimes feel stressed because it didn't fit anymore with my current wardrobe needs. It's okay to switch plans, including the original stashbusting plans! I didn't sew up most of what I had pledged to, but I decided to stop feeling guilty about not making that one thing that's been stewing for three years. I mean, it's been sitting for that long; it can sit a little longer, right? Instead, I went with what I felt inspired to sew, and that worked a lot better. Similarly, I had big plans for some of my larger pieces, but decided it was okay to axe them and use the fabric for multiple smaller projects. Better to use some than to keep saving it for the humongous project that would realistically not happen for another few years!
- Along similar lines of letting go -- it's okay to just give up on a piece of stash fabric. There have been some nice pieces that I gave away or swapped this year because they no longer fit my current wardrobe vision. I'd rather give them a chance at new life, instead of trying to hold on because "it was such a good deal!" or "it has so much potential!" Then there were the failed projects: in the end I decided to chalk it up to a lesson learned and just throw it out, or cut it up for stuffing/rags instead of stashing it in hopes that I'd come back and fix it someday.
I, Cation Designs, commit to sewing up at least seventy yards of stash fabric in 2014. I also commit to not buying any fabric unless it is for a specific project that has a deadline, or it is required to turn a piece of stash fabric into a completed project.
Good golly, seventy yards sounds so scary written out like that, even though I used about that much last year. We'll see how it goes...in the meantime, if you'd like some more community interaction for your stashbusting, take a gander at our Stashbusting Facebook Group! We're going to try moving to FB instead of Flickr so that we can have more conversations and such, and you can post to specific albums for specific challenges. Also, TBH, I spend more time hanging out on FB than Flickr, so if you join and post stuff, I'll be pleasantly distracted at work while waiting for kids to finish tests and such!
Aside from stashbusting, this year I'd like to continue taking part in Sewcialist and Historical Sew Fortnightly sewing projects when I can, but I won't feel guilty if I can't. I definitely want to participate in March of the Shieldmaidens, though -- I've got plans for a Lady Sif costume!
|Although I'm partial to the stashbusting sewasaurus button, I gotta say, I love that the shieldmaiden is saying "hwaet!" It's one of the few things I remember from reading Beowulf in high school.|
What about you? Are there any cool sewalongs you're planning on joining that I should know about? What have you learned while stashbusting (or not)?