Stash Dieting

I do have a completed skirt to show y’all, but – to be honest – I can’t be arsed to put it on and get photos done, so instead I’m just going to talk stash.

I decided the other day that I really did have to sort out my fabrics and assess what I have available and to make my official pledge to join the Stash Diet, as conceived by Andrea at Stitch Parade and Gail at today’s agenda.

Stash-Diet-BadgeThe great thing is you get to make up your own rules regarding how much you have to use up before you can buy more. But before I get to that I’d better let you see what I already have:Rach_Stash_1 copy

So that’s my main stash; each piece is measured and catalogued. In addition there is this:

Rach_Stash_2 copyThe silks/chiffons/georgettes etc is also all measured and catalogued.

In total with the cupboard and the silks box I have 473.95m of fabric, or 187 pieces. In the interest of full disclosure there is another shelf or two of fake leather / fur / velvet and other strange fabrics for costumes, but I have neither measured not photographed them. I’d estimate there is an additional 25m or so kicking around.

Some of the sheets etc are just for muslins, but some of them are really cute prints and might end up as finished garments.

So, I am not sure whether I am showing off here or hanging my head in shame. A bit of both I guess. (“I’m so embarrassed by my fabric habit” *smug grin*). I have seen much larger stashes out there, but I also know that some people would find this much stuff stressful.

To be frank, I don’t think I would feel the need to stop buying more if it weren’t for the fact that I am beginning to feel a bit oppressed myself. My sewing room is not large and those big plastic tubs are beginning to loom a bit, so for me it is not so much a matter of having less yardage than being able to fit most of it into my cupboard and get rid of a couple of the boxes.

So my Stash Diet pledge to myself – written down for all to see and call me on is:

In 2014

I can purchase only one piece of fabric for every five pieces used

I can purchase only one new pattern for every four (new to me) patterns used


I do have a fair amount of lining fabric “in stock”, but lining/interfacing/notions may be purchased as needed (and if purchasing online I am allowed to overstock on these consumables to offset postage costs…)

Gifts do not count as new purchases.

If I spot an unmissable bargain (e.g. 2m harris tweed for a fiver in a charity shop) I am allowed to purchase even if I have not yet “earned” it (but it must count towards my allowed purchases).

Travel allowance: I love that Gail and Andrea have both included this. Should I find myself in a fabric shop whilst away on holiday (and a day out shopping in Manchester does not count) I am allowed to buy up to four pieces of fabric over and above my allowance.

Birthday – it is traditional that on my birthday I am allowed to go nuts in a fabric store. This year I am allowing myself up to 10m, which is really, really modest compared to the last couple of years!

So there you go. I really shouldn’t allow myself those exclusions, as even if I were to make one garment a week I could keep going for over three years, but we all know that diets don’t work for long if you are too strict on yourself.

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14 Responses to Stash Dieting

  1. Wow you’ve measured everything! I have a fair amount of fabric and UFOs that I have inherited from my Nan. I know roughly what’s there, very roughly. Feel inspired to get everything out and have a good sort out. But it’s half-term and the kids would trash it. Bet I lose enthusiasm for the task once they are back at school!

    • rachsews says:

      I had just got to the point where I needed to have a really good sort out as the mess was making me feel unproductive! The annoying thing is I had actually measured and photographed everything a few months ago (though the stash has grown considerably since), but I could not find the book I had written it down in, so I had to take it all out, remeasure and refold the whole lot. I do feel more like sewing now it’s all tidy, though.

  2. Vicky sowden says:

    I recently had a destash, got down to 5 crates from 10.
    I have no idea how many metres I have but husband jokes about calling in a structural engineer!
    Just had a birthday so added maybe another 20m to the keep pile, oops!
    I live near Bradford , which as you know is full of fabric places, it would be rude not to support local business (that is my excuse anyway)

    • rachsews says:

      I know – I can get to Bradford or Leeds market within half an hour ( or have you been to the Shuttle in Shipley? – great place!) and Manchester and Minerva crafts are within 45 minutes in the other direction, so temptation is never far away!

  3. nx44 says:

    Wow you have so much! I am kind of jealous but also not because it always seems harder to pick a stashed fabric to sew with than going out buying one. Hard to explain to non-dressmakers just how great fabric shopping is, isn’t it!

    • rachsews says:

      I do like having a stash available, so I can just get stuck in straight away if I want to make something, but the problem is when you see something you want to re-create and you don’t have the ideal fabric to hand…

      • nx44 says:

        Which is the case ALL THE TIME. I have a folder on my computer of things I want to sew (almost all of them far too ambitious but hey..). I add several new things to it a week. Obviously never going to get through that, but we all know that planning is the most fun part!

  4. Wow, what order! I was discussing fabric stashes with my mom (who has more than I do:) and we agreed that you NEED a large stash to 1.have ideas, able to just start doing whatever idea you have. So methinks for the time being, the stash is a good thing. I will not go into he discussion of storage room though:)

  5. My Sewing Suite says:

    I am also trying to cut back and keep my fabric to a specific storage area, when it is full I can not buy more. I like your storage bins for refashioning, mending, altering. I always add it to a pile when one of my daughters hands me something to change for her. Now that I am moving back into my space after a flood I am trying to be more careful on what returns to the space. You have realistic guidelines for your diet.

  6. rachsews says:

    As one of my goals is to fit all of my fabric into one area I clearly need to start using up some of the bulky stuff! I have some yardage of a heavy ribbed sweater knit in there which takes up so much room I could fit about 30m of cotton print in its place, so I must make a long cardigan soon!

  7. Can you come to my house and organise my fabric, please please? Yes you have load but it looks so neat. I haven´t posted my resolution yet but I am also in! As soon as I can properly access my fabric again I will count my pieces.

  8. Pingback: TMS sew stretchy take 2 | Is it fitting?

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