Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How many football fields is too many?

Have you ever wondered how many yards of fabric you are keeping in your stash? The just-in-case-when-I-find-the-right-project-I-can't-possibly-pass-this-up-it-feels-like-heaven-what-if-it's-gone-when-I-come-back fabric stash? I don't know how much I have, I only know I have a lot.

I know this because I've been packing it all (hah! all would be a stretch. 90%. 80%.) away in Space Bags for our impending home sale. God love the Space Bags, they allow me to literally double my storage in Rubbermaid containers. They have these new Large Cube sized ones, that form a, um, large cube. Perfect name for them, really.

I can't actually lift the Rubbermaid containers when they've been filled with two Large Cubes, but that's not a huge deal, right? That's what movers and husbands are for.

As I was moving through the zen-like motions of de-cluttering and tossing old spools of nearly empty thread tonight, thread I inherited in two Ziploc freezer bags from my Grandma Clare who passed away seven years ago, I wondered about it....if each piece of fabric is two to three yards long, and if I put them end to end, would I reach Rhode Island? Or at least West Virginia?

Why am I keeping all of this? Why did I collect so much of it in the first place, and so quickly? Two years ago I didn't have all this fabric, or all of these patterns. Two years ago I had one Rubbermaid full of old home dec fabric scraps. Maybe a dozen patterns, old ones my mom made me take back when I bought my first house.

I have piles and piles of fabric now designated with various tags - the Free Friday Fabric giveaway pile (there's some really nice ones in there), the cut scrap for some crazed quilters pile, the not good cut scrap for the Newborns in Need charity here, the piles that need more Large Cube Space Bags, and so on. My shelves are neatly organized, though! All of the apparel fabric I plan on sewing down on this summer is neatly lined up in rows, color coded and separated by woven or stretch. I will post pictures for your viewing pleasure as soon as my camera and its SD card are reunited. Great, now I'll be humming Peaches and Herb all day. Or is it Peaches and Cream?

Still, the pattern boxes overflow. Four boxes of vintage patterns I don't plan to keep for myself. One box I do. Oliver & S patterns in sizes sadly too small for the little girls I know now. I even unearthed a black and white UFO in my piles, of an adorable Oliver & S skirt and top! Too bad it never made it. Poor thing. Maybe I'll find a home for it, a sew-ist willing to give it life.

So how many yards do you have, just sitting around? Do you think it's a problem?


  1. I'm also downsizing for a move and I completely feel you! I'm still putting off going through my fabric and patterns; I anticipate a major mental struggle, as I have a hard time parting with things that *might* be useful! Good luck in your efforts! You've definitely give me some ideas on how to approach my football fields!

  2. I know what you mean. I'm sure fabric breeds. I mean, I can't have bought all this, right? I have my main fabric box, one box of clothes to be used as fabric or refashioned, my scrap box and my tiny bits box that I use for stuffing toys or pincushions. When I started sewing properly about a year ago it all fit in one box.

  3. Sewing became a hobby of mine just over a year ago. And on came the stash. Seriously!

    My grandmother, who used to sew daily, cleaned out her sewing room and sent me boxes and boxes and boxes of fabric, patterns, buttons, etc. I sorted it and donated what I didn't want.

    Then my parents bought a new house. The previous owners were very crafty. The husband had recently passed away and the wife was in a nusing home, leaving their only daughter with a house full of crafty supplies and not a crafty bone in her body. When I did a walk through with my parents I fell in love with all the vintage fabrics and notions she had left behind. The dear, sweet daughter, set boxes aside and every time she found anything she thought I would be interested in she set put it in a box with my name. So much that I still haven't been able to sort through all of it.

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  5. Um... lots? I have an extra walk in closet at my house. It's a small thing, as walk-ins go, but it's got bags and bags of unsorted fabric in it. Part of it is that people give me stuff when they find out I sew. Still more is the I-can-use-that syndrome. And then there's my yard sale fabric collection. I have two huge boxes that I bought at a yard sale, most of it sight-unseen for $10. And then there's my leftovers. I'm a Miss-just-in-case. Which means that I have a tendency to buy up to an extra yard of a project fabric just to make sure that I have enough. Which means that I tend to have extra fabric sitting around from projects I did over a decade ago. I also collect fabric ribbons and such off presents and reuse them in projects.

    So... I'm using up a bit of it at the moment. My sister is pregnant with a little girl, so I broke out the green knit and a ribbon I have that happens to match. I'm making Simplicity 2459 views A and B for the new baby. I did actually buy some novelty fabric from Joanns to go with the green knit and the green ribbon, but everything else is from my stash.

    And let's not talk about patterns. They're like books. They breed in the dark when you're not looking!