I Really Do Need to Let Go of My Fabric

Mar 4, 2013

My issues with my fabric stash are two-fold: I have too much fabric and too little time!


Silks and wools and jerseys, oh my!

About a year ago, I was finally able to unpack and organize my sewing room, which was great. It looked perfect for a long time, and then I can't really say what happened. It's not that I moved anything or didn't put stuff back where it belonged.

I just have too much stash.

Many of my fabrics are held onto for sentimental reasons.

For instance, I have all this fabric that my mother-in-law gave to me. It's not fabric that I will ever use, but she passed away unexpectedly two years ago and it's all I have of her, other than my memories. Memories are great, but sometimes it's nice to have something to hold onto.

Then I have other fabric from my mother, who is very much alive and kicking, but won't be around forever. Her fabric is more like what I would use, much of it lovely wools and silks, but time to use it is an issue.

And finally I have all of my own fabric, both cheap and expensive, that I have collected over the years. Each piece had a destination when I purchased it. Will I ever have time to make up all that I own? Of course not! It will likely be passed on to a niece's stash or some other unfortunate soul.

I should really bite the bullet and just sit down and start sorting. And yet I can't. I have been able to get rid of many possessions that have cluttered my life, but for some reason, fabric, with all its emotional and physical entanglements, is very difficult to let go of. I love the touch, the feel, the smell of it, especially the musty ones that sat in my mother-in-law's attic for decades. Each piece has a story and an intention, and she told me all of them as we sat in her attic on two boxes, and she turned her stash over to me.

Do you know what I am talking about?

If you do have some time to sew and the stash to use up, check out the new Stash-Busting Kit of the Month in the Sew Daily Shop.

How are you handling your fabric stash? I would love to get some tips!

Happy stitching!


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garden43 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 3:23 AM

I had that problem but now I send a small box per month to a  pastor in Siberia. I asked last year how I could assist him and the church people. He said what is really needed is "cloth" for making children's clothes as what is available is cheap and doesn't last. Imagine his surprise when I told him that was what I wanted to offer!

He said the people are very poor; he travels days by train to reach them in such a vast area. I sent yarn, too. The postage is high but the people are thrilled to receive it. I also put needles, thread,buttons, and sometimes a simple pattern. Every month I am depleting my stash more and more.

jenny 01 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 3:28 AM

I purged my stash of material and yarn this last sunner when my daughter and granddaughter moved back home.  My craft room in the basement has become a storage/playroom. I donated 6 boxes of fabric and 5 large garbage bags of yarn to Project Linus. I still have 6 totes of yarn that I couldn't bear to part with at the time, but I am now ready to donate to them again. The material that they can't use for making blankets will be donated to the various thrift shops in my area. Spreading the wealth, so others may create!

MayleneC wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 3:56 AM

I'm glad its not just me. I had a recent win though. A friend was heading to Africa and needed baby kits - wraps, matinee jackets, booties etc. So out came the cotton interlock stash - colours didn't matter - in fact the brighter the better. Thirty bunny rugs cleared out a box full and all for a good cause.

Now any ideas on how I can use bolts and bolts of curtain fabric???

tmwali wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 4:43 AM

Sounds like the memories require a memento. Why not create a miniature quilt from the person's stash you're holding ? That means a very small piece of the fabric and let the rest of it go out to brighten someone else's life.

ARfoto wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:11 AM

Here is the way that I keep my stash organized. mycraftingcompulsion.wordpress.com/.../the-great-fabric-re-organization-project

I also participate in a yearly pay it forward craft project where each year I make 5 crafts, using only materials that I already own, for 5 friends.

ARfoto wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:11 AM

Here is the way that I keep my stash organized. mycraftingcompulsion.wordpress.com/.../the-great-fabric-re-organization-project

I also participate in a yearly pay it forward craft project where each year I make 5 crafts, using only materials that I already own, for 5 friends.

EvieDunmore wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:17 AM

I could have written this myself, so I know how you feel. I have no answers for you but there are a few ladies here with some excellent ideas. Good luck!.

terridates wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:22 AM

I used to buy beautiful fabrics without a specific project in mind.  I couldn't cut into it because I didn't want to make a mistake with the expensive fabric.  After my last cross country move, I decided that any fabric that was 12 months old or older was now "free" and that I should be making that fabric pay rent!  I took the fabrics from an oriental quilt kit and made a beautiful jacket that makes me happy every time I wear it.  Other fabrics were made into cuffs on pillowcases or pillow covers for the sofa.  

It's a lot easier for me to get creative with "free" fabric than it was when I kept thinking about the price I paid at the fabric store.  I also organized all of my quilting fabric by color so I can quickly find the perfect coordinating fabrics.

JazzSuze wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:27 AM

Oh dear, it could have been me writing this piece! I inherited fabric from my Mum, who taught me to sew, and from her aunt, who taught her. Plus I can't resist new fabric myself - exactly the same situation and far too much for the room it's in. I have a  catalogued snippets book likeARfoto, except that instead of a ring binder, I have smaller snippets stapled to the pages of a handbag-sized notebook, so that I can have it with me when browsing to add to others in the stash. But as you say Amber, where is the time to sew it? I find that it often goes out of season or fashion before I've attempted it!

However, every now and then this old stuff comes into its own; just recently I was asked to design and make a wedding dress for a friend's daughter. A piece of guipure lace from my great aunt has at last come into it's own, it is going to be hand-tinted, so will be 'something old (VERY!)' AND 'something blue'.

valegofer wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:39 AM

I had this issue this past summer. my avid sewing mom passed away and left lots of fabric.  some I have to admit was mine from when I left home. i kept what definitely had her written all over it, then donated to the local school for their sewing classes. This doesn't eliminate the need to sort but I felt it was put to good use.

Sew4Now wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:45 AM

When I feel the need to whittle away at my stash, I make pillowcases. I use up te fabrics that I can otherwise see no immediate use for, either in my art work or otherwise. Then I donate those pillowcases to one of my favorite organizations. I favor the local women's shelter and a group called Soldier's Angels that supports our troops both in the field and in VA hospitals everywhere. Check out their sewing team at:  soldiersangels.org/sewing-team.html.

Sarahatlake wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:58 AM

I  have "inherited fabric" as well. I have a large amount of odd shaped 1970s era cotton fabric that was my great aunt's.  Wild colors and prints.  I suspect some of it was sheeting fabric because she worked at Cannon Mills in NC around that time.   I also have a few odd pieces that were my grandmother's. She did alterations and monogramming (before computerized machines) and most of her fabric was also from the 70s consisting of double knits and various polyesters.  I have small odd shaped plaid cottons that were giving to my mother when she quit her job at a shirt factory. And I also have my own over abundant stash of just about everything. The older stuff is from a time I lived minutes from a fabric store and would buy pieces that I thought I could make skirts and pullover shirts to wear to work.  Later the stashing buying came to be cottons for quilts as I got into that!   Recently I've started cutting odd shaped pieces from my great aunt into 4" blocks and plan to make a retro quilt.  Old pieces of denim are being cut similarly to make a throw to use as an outdoor blanket.   Things that aren't the right size for my 4" blocks are set aside and cut as strips of various widths 2" and 1" primarily or various rectangles and stored in shoe boxes.  The small pieces I hope to put into a crazy quilt.   That has put a good start on my cleaning out!  I hope to cover my shoeboxes with the doubleknits I can't use for anything else. Their bright colors will make it a cheerful sewing room.

arizonarose wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 6:08 AM

Hi - re reducing your stash to a less overwhelming fabric horde! Think about what you will probably make in the future and the not so probable.  Would you have time to make a jacket out of this or that fabric, truly? Would you be more likely to buy off the rack due to lack of time??

Take a good look at a fabric, do you really like it, or is it not so nice, regardless of who gave it to you? If you get to the discarding and ruthless part of stash busting, take a photo of the beloved fabric. You will still have the memories, without the guilt.

Donate to charities who sew for the homeless, orphans etc.

I reduced my stash twice!! First I made all my nieces and nephews (parents themselves) a double car blanket. I patched all the corduroy, woollen fabrics, anything that was thick and washable, together. On the other side I used flannelette fabrics, and I also overlapped all the patchworked seams, one over the other and sewed the seams together with a sturdy stitch over some ricrac. The I placed the front and back wrong sides together and sewed them together in biggish squares, then I bound them as you would a Patchwork quilt. I could have also sewed r/s/together, and turrned the rugs, and closed the seam. I  think I made about 6 car blankets, and I told them to use them and throw into the washing machine. (my fabrics are all prewashed).

Second de-stash: I had a Very Serious Look thru the knits, wovens, patterns!!! (1970's patterns!!) and gave the lot to the thrift shop. I had pieces of interlock suitable for a small child, but not for us grown ups....that sort of stuff went. I just purged the cupboard like a woman possessed! I I tossed fabrics that I disliked, and wow what a great feeling later. What I am left with are some knits, wovens and a good er...excellent assortment of patchwork fabrics. I feel really good about the stash now..and I deserve those gorgeous green floral patchwork fabrics!!!(amongst other colours! lol) Jenny.

on Mar 4, 2013 6:09 AM

I offer my extra stash on Freecycle.  I know most states have this program.  I have passed on fabric that I know has gone to a scout troup for a badge earning project. Also, to a woman with a special needs child whom she was teaching to sew.  And to another woman who won't let anything go into the landfill so she find a way to recycle everything.  When I post on Freecycle I get many more people wanting the fabric than I have fabric to share.

tmbuckner wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 6:13 AM

I'm taking fabric I think I will never use because it's dated or ugly or whatever, and cutting it into1" strips.  I then tie the strips together and using two strands of strips and #17 knitting needles, to knit rag rugs.  

Terrie B.

RosemaryW@9 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 6:17 AM

Since we were moving I donated a lot of my fabric (even some I had lets just say along time) to a lady who makes quilts for veterans .   what she could not use she gave to a chuch who also made quilts for the homeless.  

    I did not feel like I was throwing it away but letting someone else get some use out of it.  

  I donated my extra yarn to a lady who made  throws for people in nursing homes.  

        Rosemary

jozier wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 6:34 AM

I can relate.  You wouldn't think of me as a hoarder, until you get to my sewing room!  

If I were you, I would make a crazy quilt with your m-i-l's fabric.  That way you can mix and match types of fabric and it won't matter.  And don't worry about it being perfect, you're going to love it no matter what and you can eventually pass it down to someone who will love it too, without the guilt of passing on more unfinished projects.

jwweaver wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 6:49 AM

One way to keep that stash, but also reclaim your sewing room, would be to turn it into a memoir.  You said, " Each piece has a story and an intention, and she told me all of them as we sat in her attic on two boxes, and she turned her stash over to me."  You could write down each of those stories (you are a very good writer) and put a piece of the cloth with the story.  Many of us would love to read such a memoir.

on Mar 4, 2013 6:57 AM

For me letting go of my stash is difficult because each piece was a dream or an intention of something that I wanted to create or do.   It's easy to get rid of some old cloth, it's hard to let go of dreams and intentions.  I suppose that somehow we need to move that fabric out of the dreams/intentions category, but I have not figured out how to do that yet. It's easier for me to do with garment fabrics, a lot harder for me to let go of art fabrics.  Our guild has a freebie table where members can put orphan material and others can pick it up and take it home.  We also have annual sewing related guild garage sales.  We love those.  Maybe your local guild can help move your stash for you.  Happy Stitching!    

AliceB7777 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 7:29 AM

There are 2 ladies who sell at our local Farmers & Crafts Market.  They are Social Workers, and began to sell to make some pocket-change to give to clients in dire-need.  Whenever I look through my stash, and say, "I'll never use this!", I drop it into a box I keep just for them.

Good Luck -- it's not easy!

on Mar 4, 2013 7:41 AM

I belong to a Lutheran church and FYI, all Lutheran churches have Quilting Guilds as we make 60 by 80 inch quilts to send to poor countries via Lutheran World Relief.  I am an interior decorator and talk about fabric stash!  When my fabric books are discontinued, I make the rounds of the Lutheran Churches to donate.  You can sew your stash into 60 by 80 tops and donate them.  

Secondly, I never turn down a donated fabric stash from someone who has retired from quilting. The first thing I do is throw it in the washing machine and then the dryer.  The little useless bits and scraps will shred and clump together.  Take it out of the dryer and instantly put it into the trash can.  The rest, the bigger pieces you can save or donate.  I like having a clean wash for experimenting on patterns or for just seiwng something when I feel the urge.  I recently have been cutting .2.5 inch strips to make the scrappy Trip Around the World quilt that is floating out there on the internet.  

This past Sunday, I actually took the time to clean off my sewing table which was starting to show some thick dust bunnies.  What a good feeling that was and I found some things I didn't know I had, like template penciles, etc.  My next task is to attack a bookshelf of fabrics and organize them into color secitons.  While doing this, I can have a handy box to throw in bits to donate.

Dont' forget patterns.  How many patterns have I bought because they looked interesting and  I will probably never use?  I need to go through those and get rid of them.  I belong to a local guild and I take my donated items to guild night where they disappear.

This year for Lent, instead of giving up a food item, I decided to get rid of a box of clutter everyday.  I haven't been diligent in my daily cleaning but I have managed to eliminate some piles of clutter and some boxes of stuff.  That is 40 days fo clutter and destashing!  

Thanks for the post.  THere are some great ideas here!  

mwilliams4 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 7:41 AM

You should make a memory quilt from your mother-in-laws stash. A quick and easy method is to make a strip quilt. I have made these for friends who have lost a parent and used their clothing. You can cut your strips into any width. This method makes a scrappy quilt where all textures and patterns end up making a great quilt. I make lap throws. To unify the fabrics, pick one color and make it your center strip or a corner strip. There are lots of free tutorials on the internet and great pictures. If you enjoy the project, you could make lap throws for other family members, I'm sure they would treasure it.

on Mar 4, 2013 7:54 AM

As an art teacher at a local high school who teaches a Fibers classes, among other classes, I am grateful for donations of fabrics for my students to claim and use, to create new pieces of artwork. If you contact a local school's art department you may find an outlet for your excess yard goods.  In our case, we also supply the donor with a donation voucher that can then be used as a deduction for tax purposes. It's a win/win situation!

ladyhawk60 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 7:56 AM

I have a drapery workroom so you can just imagine the hordes of fabric pieces I have saved! I finally had no more room so I go to craft fairs and ask the crafty seamstresses if they would like some free fabrics! Works wonderfully! They are so appreciative and the fabrics are put to good use.

lcerlon wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 8:18 AM

What do you call a stash gone wild?  I decided one day, that if there were fabrics in my stash that had been there forever (a few years), I would donate them to people that would use them.  I live in Toronto. We've had some great little sewing studios open up in the past couple of years.  I gave fabric and old patterns to one of these shops.  We are also very fortunate to have a Textile Museum in Toronto.  They have an annual "sale" where they sell their own stash and any fabric that has been donated.  I'm pretty sure it's for a good cause.  Regardless, I've been known to drop off bags of fabric there too...  In the past few months, whenever I start a new project, I've made every effort to "shop" my stash.  I've found pieces that I forgot about.  Slowly by surely, my stash is becoming more manageable.

I'm also inspired by others who have commented here, to perhaps send fabric (and thread, etc) abroad, to communities that would not have access otherwise.  

bernis wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 8:22 AM

I recently went to a house sale to potentially buy MORE fabric.  The sale was a bust, lousy stuff, ridiculous prices, but on the way out I started talking to a disappointed young woman who said she had hoped to talk the woman into selling the half used spools of thread for $.50 instead of $1 each if she bought a lot. The young woman was shopping with her own money for her high school home ec students who can't afford their own materials in a school district with very low budgets for home ec.  We exchanged numbers and I went home and started cleaning out....lots of stuff new sewers would need including tons of fabric.  She came over and it was great fun to spend an hour talking about sewing.  She left with a car load of goodies for her kids and I put a copy paper box in the corner of my studio that I have begun to fill with more stuff.

An added bonus is that this donation is tax deductible.  Call your area high schools where you think the need may be the greatest and help get the next generation enthused about sewing.

Bernis

on Mar 4, 2013 8:36 AM

I have finally come to terms with having a huge-mongous fabric stash. Instead of feeling "guilty" about it just sitting there, I look at my stash as a fine wine that has to properly aged before it can be enjoyed as it should!!

I tell my children that my stashes of fabrics, yarns, and beads is their inheritance.

Seriously,  I have committed to not ADDING to the stash. When I'm ready to make something, I go shopping in my stash. If there is nothing suitable I force myself to rethink the whole idea!  Often, I can then be inspired BY my stash!!  I refuse to buy something that I could realisticly make myself. If I'm not inspired enough to get out there and do it, I have to live without it.

I do cheat when it comes to making a special gift for someone else, but I do my best to "Shop at Home"!!

Earleen2 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 8:39 AM

We have a group of Christian Crafters at our local Church.  The ladies embroider quilt blocks & they needed a sasher, so I volunteered.  I bring home the blocks & go through my stash & sash them.     Also I had a couple of girls (young women) that wanted to learn to sew.  I put them to cutting & sewing my smaller scraps into quilts for our local fire department to have for emergencies, such as fires & car wrecks.  Sure is helping the stash, but I have a few more years of getting rid of..................

on Mar 4, 2013 8:40 AM

Donate, donate, donate...to other sewers who may sew for self, charity or to make $$ to live. Donate to Goodwill, Sewing Circles, Church quilting groups, any charity that could either use or resell the fabric before it is too old to be used. Don't continue to burden yourself with the "I should get rid of some of my fabric".

I've sent some of the fabric donated to me by a quilting group in Tobermory, ON and other ladies who are unable to sew anymore, to Haiti for use in a sewing class being taught by missionaries and made tote bags for the Haitian women to take to market. Our Sexual Assault Centre runs a Sewing Circle to which I donated fabric, notions, craft and sewing books etc.  I make tote bags and aprons from the donated fabrics to raise funds through bake sales and silent auctions for charity.  Someone else's waste can always be turned into gold!!  I love the suggestion I read below to donate to a highschool sewing class for their use!  Get the girls interested in sewing especially without a financial burden, and they will continue sew into adulthood.  Here's hopin' it doesn't become a lost art.

cmacfarlane wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 8:47 AM

I, too, have too much fabric and too little time to sew.  I've looked at it as saving for retirement in some ways.  I'll be using it soon and have some charities in mind along with projects for my children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc.  One thing I have done though, I'd like to pass along.  When I got my grandmother's stash, there were several pieces of good quality polyester in wide widths.  We'd just purchased a new dining room table that has two extra leaves, so I needed some extra long tablecloths for family dinners.  A white piece and a red piece were

perfect.  I simply did a narrow hem on all four sides and, viola! Two washable tablecloths.  Not exactly what I think she had in mind for the fabric, but I use those tablecloths over and over.  They wash up beautifully and I think of her each time I put them on the table.  

DP1955 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 8:48 AM

It's hopeless, I believe. I also want to pare down, but every time I go through them, there are the stories from my Mother, my own memories of what a piece was intended to be, etc, etc, etc. If we're fabriholics, we have stories. I even have the two cotton brocade dresses I wore in 1957 as a senior in high school, made by my Mom who also worked full time. Fabric just too beautiful to cut up or give away.  A friend and lifetime fellow fabriholic calls it a "disease."  It is an addicition. I love to pet and stroke the lovely yardage and dream of what it could be.  Perhaps with the waning economy more young people will be inspired to "make your own" clothes and a new generation of fabriholics will be born.  Good luck to all of you out there.

JenWeaver wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 8:58 AM

I have no "purging" ideas that are very different; most of my extra art and craft supplies go to local schools or artists who ask for specific materials such as old jeans and yarnor fibre.

May I recommend though that laundering everything in batches (you mentioned musty fabric and that prompted this note) is a great motivator to carry through a process of sorting and moving fabrics along. An automatic washer does the majority of the labour. You could then cut, say a slice 4"xwidth, or squares 6x6, of the textiles from your mother-in-law. (Keep the decision-making simple when cutting.) The new stack of pieces can help determine the project. You imply that these are cheaper fabrics than you might choose. Are the fabrics double-knits and jerseys? Cut pieces can be put together into stuffed creatures or shapes that children can enjoy. Maybe chemo caps can be sewn from T-shirt fabrics or fleeces. Your moth-in-law's fabrics become part of her legacy, and you get to share the love you obviously have for her memory.

golden egg wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 9:00 AM

I have to echo jwweavers idea - make a book from bits of the fabric and write down why each piece is meaningful, then donate the rest to any of the wonderful charities listed.  I recently destashed my whole house and it is so wonderfully freeing.

marygehm wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 9:05 AM

I donate it to the local high schools.  They can use it and patterns for their students.

on Mar 4, 2013 9:15 AM

I plan on cutting my stash into 2 1/2 strips and  then doing the jelly roll race with them.

vlhinton wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 9:19 AM

Fabric stash?  What's that?  LOL   I am actually down to one wall on the bedroom having a floor to nearly ceiling 'book' case with rolled fabric stacked on it. and a row of waist high boxes in the 'middle aisle' and a closet full.  a couple of years ago I had a fabric party, where I got out a ton of fabric that I liked (I like all fabric) and put it on the couch and chairs and tables and brought in a table.  When someone would knock at the door, theywere handed a grocery bag with instructions that they could get a few more IF they wanted, but they would not be allowed to leave without at least one bag of fabric.  They could take it to give away if they wanted, but none of it could go into the trash.   That is why I don't have more now.

heddasidla wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 9:20 AM

To address the issue of 'memory value', why not arrange fabrics in jumbles or neat stacks, and take photos of these groupings...thereby turning the stash components into another form of art that you can frame or keep in a binder.

To address the issue of 'material value', why not offer the stash up to a few textile artists and see what they come up with...thereby encouraging more creativity.

Love your posts,

Hedda

judybuck wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 9:26 AM

Moving to a much smaller retirement condo meant going thru my large stash.  I saved just a very few favorites and organized the rest by color and gave them to Goodwill.  Hopefully a quilter will find them and be thrilled.  I actually had tears in my eyes that day.

Mizrae13 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 9:41 AM

Once a year a bunch of my sewing friends get together for a fabric swap.  It helps each of us feel like we have a fresh stash, and sometimes years later we might end up getting back a favorite piece we sacrificed before.  We have tea and goodies and tell lies and It's a fun time. Bets of all, it makes each of us feel a little less neurotic about our hoarding habits.

jnetcom wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 9:44 AM

My stash gets whittled away in scrappy quilts that I make for disabled veterens at the Danville, IL Illiana Veterans facility.  I know they are all much appreciated.  I buy for special baby quilts, my great granddaughter was last.

egremont wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:04 AM

Purchase a few plain file/banker's boxes and sort and pack as if you are moving.  Date the boxes and if you have not opened or used any fabric from that box in 18 months then pass it on.

Or...consider the stash as "aging fabric" as if it were fine wine.

on Mar 4, 2013 10:22 AM

I collected fabric for years as souvenirs from my global travels. Then I started an MFA program and bought a large floor loom and began to collect yarn. BIG MISTAKE!  The yarn stash grows faster than my fabric stash ever did.

But to the topic at hand:  a local church has a quilters group. I sorted my fabric - and many notions - and took an entire carload to the church. Their 'WIP' room was a thing of beauty: perfectly organized, fabric stacked on neat shelves sorted by color. I know that my treasured fabric found a good new home.

Good luck,

maureen

Terri SAT wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:22 AM

I don't have much of a fabric stash.  Mine was stored at my mother-in-law's home 1 1/2 years ago when the Bastrop Wildfire burned her home to the ground.  We were in transition, moving into a new area, and did not benefit from the local quilt shop give-away to quilters who lost their fabric.  But this is a great way to 'purge' your stash.  When you hear of a disaster, find a shop that will accept donations to distribute to those who lost theirs.

bubbieone wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:23 AM

Now that I have retired from sewing for others, I realized, my stash, for me is overwhelming. I go through things, bit by bit.............donate some stuff to the local high school, who has recently taken up a sewing course, take some to the local sewing store, where people go through and help themselves, and some goes to the thrift store.

Of course this is stuff, I KNOW I will never use, for me!

One day, of course, I will look for something and realize it is gone, but I am getting to old to really care anymore.

PamelaOK wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:25 AM

I just moved my sewing room into an unused bedroom in our house. Wow, I had no idea that I had squirreled away so much. I set up a garment rack with an extension rod and am hanging up what wasn't already in boxes. Once I see what I've got, I can make decisions on what to edit. Awhile ago I gave some fabric to a neighborhood group teaching our new Somali population how to sew. I will contact them again. I've also begun to think like terridates, in that if I've had it long enough, just make something, anything, that makes me or someone else happy.

on Mar 4, 2013 10:26 AM

I collected fabric for years as souvenirs from my global travels. Then I started an MFA program and bought a large floor loom and began to collect yarn. BIG MISTAKE!  The yarn stash grows faster than my fabric stash ever did.

But to the topic at hand:  a local church has a quilters group. I sorted my fabric - and many notions - and took an entire carload to the church. Their 'WIP' room was a thing of beauty: perfectly organized, fabric stacked on neat shelves sorted by color. I know that my treasured fabric found a good new home.

Good luck,

maureen

Sherry Haun wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:30 AM

So, ladies, after my mother passed away, I not only had her stash collected from the 30's forward, but my own as well.  Since we're moving, downsizing, etc., the fabric had to go.  I picked out my "I have to have this" and sorted the rest onto 6 tables in our family room. Put out the word that the fabric was a "come-and-get-it; 1st come, 1st serve".  And they came: quilter's groups from churches, friends needing that one more color, high school drama teachers, costumers.  When it was over, there was very little left, so I took it to Salvation Army stores.  I wish I could show the pictures.  It really was great fun to send the fabric to new, happy homes.  

Rockymom wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:31 AM

I can't really add as I believe in the donate, donate, donate.   Guilds, schools, retirement centers etc.,   A great idea is to also make a video of the fabric and the story of the fabric.   If you have the box you can sit on it and just talk while someone videos.    My most important piece of advice and the one I have remembered making 2 corporate money's within the last five years is because you are donating the "stuff" you aren't getting rid of you memories.  

Fabri-Kate wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:38 AM

I too have so much fabric that I will never use. My daughter brought me a large bundle of denim samples that a large department store use for their jeans, some of it is metres long. It's stretchy and I haven't any ideas other than jeans (which I wont make)what to use it for...any ideas. Then I bought in sales and was donated fabrics from the attics of my art club members once they knew I made quilting and dolls. Lots of bric-a-brac came in handy for the art dolls but I only need small amounts. I once went through everything and put it in a sack to donate to charity. The very morning I was to leave it outside the gate, by chance I came across shopping channel that was selling a Jeans machine that sewed  through 8  layers of denim, what did I do.. I bought the machine and put the denim stash back. Since then I haven't used the denim or the machine other than to repair the next door neighbours coat. So on top of excess stash I now have another machine that takes up room on my cutting table. I also have my sisters machine that she uses when visiting and an embrodery machine that I use half a dozen times then lost interest because the thread kept breaking. I have on top of that all my books on quilting etc and books and items for my art club. I sometimes go into my sewing room  and dispair. I've only had the sewing room a year (a converted shed). When I first moved in, it was so immaculate that I was scared to sew in it incase it got untidy. I now spent most of my free hours out there sewing and listening to the radio but in a pickle of thread and fabric. I dont lose things when I'm in a 'mess' but as soon as I spend a day tidying I cant find anything to hand. I feel I'm talking for other fanatics at their arts and craft. If there is an immaculate, never in a mess craftsman out there please let me know how you do it......jackie

sweetmischel wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:52 AM

I have been taking those sentimental and not pieces and have been making summer purses for friends. I used what was left from a shawl I wore at my son's wedding and turned it into a BoHo purse for a sweet, hip, trendy girl who appreciates hand made items. I designed my own pattern to fit the pieces and created an odd shaped multi directional purse with an antique button clasp. Once I gave up that piece of material the others became easy.

abbyfuller wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 10:59 AM

OMG can I relate! When my sister moved she sent me a big box of fabric. When my mom cleaned out her closet she sent me two big boxes of fabric. Last Spring I took advantage of an offer on Craigslist and bought an entire stash from the estate of a quilter. Price was dirt cheap but the deal was I had to take it all. I filled my car to the roof.

So I am making charity quilts from the excess stash and other clutter in my sewing room (my UFO collection takes up more space than my stash). It may take awhile to clear my space, but I'm having fun making quick quilts that someone else will love.

AgnesDay wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 11:14 AM

I followed a set of directions on Pinterest to use two fat quarters to make an infinity scarf.  I see no reason you could not make same (hers was quilted:  I wanted spring weight and didn't quilt) with your stash to go with a black or neutral pantsuit.  Make a Mom scarf and a Mom-in-law scarf.  Donate the rest.  I didn't know how many places there were to donate stash until I read this column.

judymorris wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 11:19 AM

I suggest a book with a swatch of each in it with the story behind each written with it.  What a wonderful keepsake.  You might even be able to make her nieces, grandchildren etc copies for each.  You might consider than donating the fabric to a place where things like your mother-in-law would have made, are being made.  My daughter was ask to make a Quilt out of a friend's mothers chenille robes.  I have also heard of bears, etc being made from fabrics and the like of loved ones.  I think a photo faced doll featuring your Mother in law with the body made from her fabric stash.  These can be also given out to the whole family if wanted.  Hope this will help you in some way.  Judy Morris, La Vernia, Texas Avid Sewer

judymorris wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 11:23 AM

To Maylene C - what are bunny rugs?

Robin1916 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 11:25 AM

I'm primarily a quilter (OK, I only quilt) but a few years ago a friend gave me several (as in 13) boxes of fabric remnants she found in the attic after her mother-in-law died.  None of it was quilting fabric so I couldn't use it.  My friend mentioned that she remembered most of the fabrics and the things her mother-in-law made with it.  

Since I couldn't use the fabric and most of it wasn't useable for other projects, I decided to make a memory quilt for her and each of her four children (5 in all).  I waited until I found the perfect SIMPLE pattern that would stand up to the various types and weights of fabrics.  With simple sashing in a different color for each child and my friend and her husband, it made very nice sentimental memories of their grandmother,  mother and mother-in-law.  Perhaps you could do something similar with YOUR mother-in-law's fabrics.  How many children did she have?  Is there enough to make a quilt for each of them?

on Mar 4, 2013 12:00 PM

Like so many of you, I have more fabric than I will ever use. Even though I frequently donate to my ASG group for charity projects and such, there is still a lot in storage. Recently, my husband and I updated our family trust and wills. I made a provision in my trust that all of my fabric and sewing equipment and notions will be donated to a nearby university that has an excellent fashion department. This will eliminate any family squabbles about who gets what when i pass on.

4dogs wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 12:17 PM

If you can get those fabrics all into catagories, and put it with your other stash, you will be more likely to use it. I have all mine (anything a yard and over) on boards. The large yardage is on bolts from the stores trash can....the smaller pieces (1 yd+) are on the foam board from the Dollar Tree. I catagorize  mine by color. So when I need a piece of, say BLUE, I go to that shelf and can see what everything I have in blue is filed. With the smaller pieces, I have them by color too..........I use the buckets my cat litter comes in, from Sam's. The exceoption is that I have all the "KID" prints in thier own bucket. I have a TON of fabric, and I had to get it organaized to be able to use it. Hope that helps..

ioliveoyl wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 12:37 PM

Maylenec.....you could probably go to etsy and sell it all by bolt or yard...?  I would love to make curtains for my daughters home.  She has blinds but bare windows....if you are interested in selling some you can reach me at cassy0901@gmail.com.  At this point I don't think color even matters!  lol.  Just a young married couple with kiddos.  Have a great day.  Cassy

ioliveoyl wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 12:38 PM

Maylenec.....you could probably go to etsy and sell it all by bolt or yard...?  I would love to make curtains for my daughters home.  She has blinds but bare windows....if you are interested in selling some you can reach me at cassy0901@gmail.com.  At this point I don't think color even matters!  lol.  Just a young married couple with kiddos.  Have a great day.  Cassy

ioliveoyl wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 12:40 PM

Maylenec.....you could probably go to etsy and sell it all by bolt or yard...?  I would love to make curtains for my daughters home.  She has blinds but bare windows....if you are interested in selling some you can reach me at cassy0901@gmail.com.  At this point I don't think color even matters!  lol.  Just a young married couple with kiddos.  Have a great day.  Cassy

YvetteJ@4 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 1:50 PM

I find young people who are in sewing class or fashion design schools and give them loads of fabric and tools and books.  Then I don't fell the fabric lost so deep cause the young folks are excited to get them and eager to work with the items I've given them  and I know they old not afford  to purchase the item to sew. Win win all they way around I clear up my fabric and the students get materials.

llily2 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 2:00 PM

Donate-donate-donate. Seniors have the time and ambition but limited resources. Just recently I gave them some flannel for baby sheets, blankets for our church's right-to-life baby shower. Besides school programs, look for programs that assist troubled youth. (Good way to "share the love.") And I also donate patterns and fabric to groups like Salvation Army. They can sell the goods and use the money for their programs. Despite my regularly purging, I still have quite the collection!

ilovefabric wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 2:06 PM

I recently purged my stash...and it was amazing.  I, too, buy with ideas in mind.  I can tell you what every piece of fabric in my stash was 'supposed' to become.  But when years go by...and all I see when I walk into my studio is stash - my creativity is squelched.

Let it go.  Pass it on.  You will be amazed how much you are able to get done when you sit down to sew with a clear space and clear conscience!

I like the idea of taking small bits of your mother-in-laws fabric and make a "something" out of it.  I did this for my grandma...she has a framed crazy quilt block with bits and pieces of her that I can enjoy everyday.

I too have limited time...and with less clutter -- I can now walk into my studio and sew for the 15 or 20 minutes I have here and there -- instead of wading through what could have been.

It felt so good...I am getting ready to do it again!!!  Good Luck!  

C.N wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 2:11 PM

I started making a quilt block from each project a couple years ago.  (Make a crazy quilt block if not using all cotton fabric).  They will make it into one entire quilt someday.  I no longer have to hang on to my stash as I have a record of it forever!  When I have free time - I go into my old stash and I am starting to catch up to old projects as well.  Much fun and memories!

noahcrook wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 2:52 PM

I had tons of fabric which had been collected over a thirty year period.  I decided to get rid of it by donating some of it to one local high school where many of the students were underprivileged and could not afford to purchase fabric.  The remainder of it was given to another  high school for the fashion design class and the students can use it for their projects.  It was hard to part with it but it will be put to good use.  Now, I have more shelf space for my beads.

on Mar 4, 2013 3:01 PM

I can completely relate to this problem, except that I have just bought far too much fabric over the years and none of it came from family.  I simply have to get rid of the stuff.

It's always a painful process to let go of sentimental items from loved ones, but to keep an item and the memories it evokes you can do a couple of things:  1)  Take a photograph of the item(s) and keep it in a special album or scrapbook and/or   2) Cut a swatch of the fabric in any design you like (hearts, squares w/pinked edges, etc.)  You can then put it in the album/scrapbook or, even better, arrange all of them as a collage in a frame and hang them in your sewing area.  You might even include a photo of your mother or mother-in-law in the frame to make it extra special.  You keep the memories and a piece of the fabric, but can donate the rest to a good cause in the lady's honor, perhaps to be used for service quilts or something that will comfort others.

I think this is a lovely way to keep what's important, yet not be weighted down by hanging on to large pieces of fabric that take up room and eventually become an emotional burden.  

I hope this helps you as its helped me let go of things I've lugged around for years.  I apologize if these tips have been mentioned in other posts.

PawsomeDogz wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 3:23 PM

There are several destash groups on Facebook where you can unload what you don't want!

saritabrewer wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 3:33 PM

the idea of musty fabric ... just sets off my asthma. We have ugly fabric auction about 3 times a year.  Members donate unwanted fabric and proceeds go to the guild funds.  

lauraflora wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:10 PM

If you give away fabric to a cause that is perhaps more worthy than just using it for a new fashion garment, or something you might like but don't really need - then the giving is much easier.  I used some of mine to make up, with a church quilt group, Little Dresses for Africa.  Other fabric I had that was not suitable for that, I gave to a high school theater group that had a very low budget, but had a good and cheap seamstress available.  Other fabric was donated to the quilt group to help make lap quilts for veterans.  Some was made into things that were sold at a bazaar to finance the youth group work trip.

The other ladies who made some comments below can attest that it is much easier and very rewarding to give fabric away for charitable causes.  My Scottish mother-in-law knitted beautiful sweaters for our children.  When they were outgrown, I asked her what I should do with them.  She did not hesitate, but said to keep a few favourites and donate the rest to a battered women / childrens'

shelter.  The generous feeling of spirit you get from doing this far outweighs the sentimentality of keeping the fabric.

You could also use small amounts of the special fabrics to make a few crazy quilt blocks to frame or make into a wallhanging.  Then let the rest go.  And nevermind what the original idea was for buying each fabric.  We all know that can change as time goes by.  Then embrace the space you have freed up, which will help you work more easily in your workroom.

earthmama3 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:26 PM

How do I handle my fabric stash?---very carefully, as I do my willful cat.  I feed them both generously and regularly, and allow them to "sleep" wherever they feel the urge to sprawl out.  I even pause to stroke them gently on occasion. (Petting the cat makes him purr, petting the fabric makes me purr.)  So far, neither one has turned on me. (The cat could cause me pain, the fabric stash could probably make me disappear.)  Chrys

SewSoSlow wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:29 PM

My mother-in-law was very precious to me (no valid jokes from me). I saved some of her iconic clothing choices to use for mementos of her. A Jacket and blouse have been used for matting a beautiful picture of her. I've used pieces for wall quilts that have embroidered words, and facts that describe her for her grandsons. My mother was the one that hoarded fabric. The things that had special meaning for me I have used in my home. One fabric was just so meaningful for me that I didn't want to cut it up and it needed to remain whole. I made a bulletin board with it. I wrapped ribbon and lace from her stash and now I don't need to pin anything to the board, but I can see that fabric and have the special feeling of mom being there yet. I have also purchased a large picture frame and I put a piece of fabric in it for the picture. It can be special because of who it belonged to, or for the feelings it evokes in  me. I've fallen in love with a print, and had no idea what I would ever do with it - that is what the frame is for. It's changed out, and sometimes because it is there I can finally figure out a use for the fabric and sometimes the use of the fabric is just from giving me a great feeling whenever I see it in the frame.

Aless66 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:30 PM

Like just about everyone here, I have had to 'bite the bullet' with my stash, especially as I get older and my number of storage boxes is growing!! (20+ at best guess-stopped counting them and they are labelled with letters rather than numbers!! lol ).

I asked around, and found two women I know who knew of 2 church groups sewing for missions overseas (Africa and the Pacific islands). These groups couldn't get enough!! I gave them bags and BAGS  and BAGS of beautiful fabric. One group sewing even asked if I was *sure* I meant to give this fabric away......I am VERY happy to know that women and children now have lovely clothes,school bags etc because I could bear to give up what I could never use anyway. Great result for everyone.

kose2 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:32 PM

Same problem as you have i can't lat go but the stashes are growing I promise that I won't enter any fabric store this year and sit down and what i realy will use .

Carol P wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 5:55 PM

Always remember: the one who dies with the most fabric wins!  I think I'm in the running.

rhabunek wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 6:20 PM

Hi, recently I've been making memory teddy bears using loved ones clothing, same could be done with the inherited fabric. I am currently using my leftover stash of purple fabric, (used in making dolls for the Red Hat Society chapter's members) and making stuffed animals and other critters and stuffies to donate to The Purple Stitch Project, a charitable org. for Epilepsy. Another use of fabric stash is for a non-profit called Newborns In Need that assists with clothing needs for prematurely born babies.  Local hospitals can use plain fabric doll figures for their therapy sessions with children.  I too have 'inherited' fabric from the 50's-60's and since retro is so in right now it's been fun to make some curtain panels, etc. Have fun.

LaurelK@3 wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 8:19 PM

Oprah magazine just ran an article on how to get rid of clutter recomends:

Craft Supplies

Offer up leftover supplies from knitting, painting, and sewing projects through Made4Aid.org, which sells them to artists and crafters and donates proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.

KayPB wrote
on Mar 4, 2013 11:08 PM

Our quilt guild members are making baby quilts that will go to the NICU unit at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.  Each time we finish a UFO (unfinished project) we get into our stash and make a baby quilt.

hoss girl wrote
on Mar 5, 2013 12:33 AM

I have a small quilt club that makes blankets for seniors & children in hospitals, and nursing homes. They sure can use my stash as I have come to realize I won't EVER get to it all. And knowing that my "precious " stash has a bright future, it makes it easier to let go. It also helps that I get to work with, and see it in its final form, knowing it will warm someone's heart!

hoss girl wrote
on Mar 5, 2013 6:55 AM

I have a small quilt club that makes blankets for seniors & children in hospitals, and nursing homes. They sure can use my stash as I have come to realize I won't EVER get to it all. And knowing that my "precious " stash has a bright future, it makes it easier to let go. It also helps that I get to work with, and see it in its final form, knowing it will warm someone's heart!

lamonson wrote
on Mar 5, 2013 10:44 AM

Donating fabric to a charity is always a "feel-good" way to purge your stash.  I make quilts with a group at church (we're called the "Cover Girls") and we can always use almost any fabrics in any amounts.  I know when I dig into my stash for this project, I'm helping to keep someone warm.

validees wrote
on Mar 5, 2013 10:58 AM

Every new season I organise a Swap. So four fun night per year we to talk about sewing, fabrics and clothes with my friends.  Everybody is always happy to go back home with less of the old one and some new stuff.  I give the one that nobody want anymore to a thrift store!

bothebo wrote
on Mar 5, 2013 12:08 PM

I see lauraflora made a similar suggestion to what I'm about to say, only I gave my stash to the local Shakespeare community theater group (rather than a school) several years ago.  Community theater is notoriously low on funds most of the time, so they were very grateful.  I have a habit of pinning washing, fabric content & yardage info on each piece, and they told me that was helpful too.  (It's actually just my OCD coming through but whatever LOL)  I don't quilt, it was all pieces large enough for clothing, but I think any size fabric would have been welcome.

KElittle wrote
on Mar 5, 2013 11:07 PM

I keep "bits and pieces" in one container so that when I want to sew something but don't have time or energy for a large project, I make up pincushions or pot holders, or doll clothes, or something for a small child or ...... I have lots of ideas for small things that are rewarding when done, allow me to try new techniques or perfect some that are not up to my standard -- then the items go into my "gift cupboard".  This is a place that I go to when I need a small hostess gift, or baby shower gift or Christmas gift ......  These items are also welcomed at Christmas markets, etc.  I feel creative and something is accomplished!

AmberStitch wrote
on Mar 6, 2013 11:35 AM

I am overwhelmed by the response! Thanks for all of your great suggestions. Now it's just a matter of deciding which great idea to use! :-) Amber

Sharon Scott wrote
on Mar 7, 2013 7:16 PM

I am opening a fabric recycle.  I will purchase your unwanted fabric at $1.50 a pound and reintroduce it and sell it at an affordable cost.   I am in a remote community without a fabric store and lots of quilters who have to drive an hour or more to a fabric store.  So I got this idea from Generation Q magazine and am using 1/2 of my studio as a fabric recycle.  

Just another idea.

Sharon Scott

lindakyger wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 8:33 AM

I had the same situation about 6 years ago, down sized from a very large home to a very small on. First thing I did was find a quilt or sewing group that was teaching women how to sew at a domestice violence shelter, head start moms and the starting going through the fabric choosing kinds I thought they could use in the different classes. Knowimg my mother and grandmother would be happy with it going to those just learning the art, made my choices much easier. Of, course I did not let go of enough. But have continued on and found two quilt guilds that make baby quilts for moms in need - so again they got loads of fabric. It is such a joy when I hear back from one of these groups that they have used up the fabric I gave or sent them - so I just send them more.  This year I made the decision (3 years in a row now) that if I do not start making me all the outfits with the wonder fabric I have it to is leaving the house. I have not bought any fabric for over 6 years except to finish a project. My stash fits in my small room on a shelves 12" from the ceiling all around the room (well and a couple picnic baskets). This process has been the best solution for me as I know the fabic is helping others, thus it still has a great purpose. Amazingly I can not do more of the art sewing that I want and not feel guilting about all the fabric that needed used.

sewlucky wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 9:01 AM

We are using up our stash to make quilts for our local emergency management team.  After a fire or accident people are sometimes literally left with nothing so they are given a blanket, hopefully some slippers, and put up in a local hotel.  We don't always use batting, sometimes we do without or substitute flannel.  We were told one woman escaped from a fire without any clothing on and was thriled to get a quilt for comfort and warmth.

sewlucky wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 9:01 AM

We are using up our stash to make quilts for our local emergency management team.  After a fire or accident people are sometimes literally left with nothing so they are given a blanket, hopefully some slippers, and put up in a local hotel.  We don't always use batting, sometimes we do without or substitute flannel.  We were told one woman escaped from a fire without any clothing on and was thriled to get a quilt for comfort and warmth.

sewlucky wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 9:01 AM

We are using up our stash to make quilts for our local emergency management team.  After a fire or accident people are sometimes literally left with nothing so they are given a blanket, hopefully some slippers, and put up in a local hotel.  We don't always use batting, sometimes we do without or substitute flannel.  We were told one woman escaped from a fire without any clothing on and was thriled to get a quilt for comfort and warmth.

Linda@12 wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 9:08 AM

I gave all my stash to the Church where I organized for 15 yrs... We made walker bags, children's clothes for different places in the world, especially when disaster struck. School chair book bags for the class rooms, etc.. You would be surprised what sewing groups make for community  & our military too!  

Place a free add on Craigs list in your area or in the free add paper.  They will love you for it.

God Bless our troops,

Linda

altnamara3 wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 9:37 AM

Ah, the stash...sigh.

I used to make clothing so have lots of fabrics that seemed like a good idea at the time. I boxed up a couple of loads and took them to the Goodwill Store. However, as a tiny space had opened up in my Universe, several people gave me big boxes of fabric, stuff I'll never use but just couldn't say no to. I'll probably take them to G'will also.

I have pieces of luxury fabrics that aren't quite big enough to make clothing out of, but  I can't make pillowcases with these because my husband will chuck the pillows on the floor when he goes to bed and never pick them up again, and I can't make cushion covers either because the dogs will chuck them off the sofa to make more room for themselves so I still have to find projects for the better fabrics. I know I will one day.

The upholstery fabrics have become dog bed covers or crate pads for my show/performance dogs, and the mountain of polar fleece bit by bit is turning into dog coats.

My huge collection of ribbon has been whittled down a bit, some ribbon turned into dog collars which I use and have donated to Greyhound rescue, and I also use some for hand-crafted journals and greeting/christmas/ get well cards.

I'm thinking I should ask the local animal rescue if they need blankets, stuff that would be easy to wash, I know the vet uses a ton of towels but maybe polar fleece would be useful for them too. Ah, my mind is spinning now and I have a day off stretching before me, now I'm feeling inspired to sew, woo hoo! Happy weekend all.

nurseli wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 9:39 AM

My LQS owner goes to Mexico with her church group a few times a year and teaches the girls in the orphanage she goes to how to sew.  I've been donating my fabric to her.  

rutabagas56 wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 11:51 AM

Garden 43, can you share an address for your contact in Siberia?

MsNan wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 12:44 PM

I think this is a universal issue for all sewers.

I gave all of my quilting scraps to a local quilt guild.  I found a local theatre that was looking for some specific items (fake fur and children's fabrics) and I gave them 3 boxes of donations.  Then I culled my stash by about 25% by donating 400+ yards to a local community college theatre that just built a new perfoming arts center and could really use it.

My plan is to go through this process every other year to reduce the amount of fabric I'm just sitting on.  I want it to be used so it doesn't go to waste.

MsNan wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 12:44 PM

I think this is a universal issue for all sewers.

I gave all of my quilting scraps to a local quilt guild.  I found a local theatre that was looking for some specific items (fake fur and children's fabrics) and I gave them 3 boxes of donations.  Then I culled my stash by about 25% by donating 400+ yards to a local community college theatre that just built a new perfoming arts center and could really use it.

My plan is to go through this process every other year to reduce the amount of fabric I'm just sitting on.  I want it to be used so it doesn't go to waste.

lfogus wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 3:48 PM

My sister and I are making up quilt kits, complete with pattern instructions, and storing them in zipper bags from bedding purchases until we have time to sew. After we make the quilts we donate them to our local Comforts for Children in Oregon. It is easier to let go of fabric when we know it will be comforting and warming a child who may be feeling lost and alone. Comforts for Children is more relaxed about fabric content (it's not just cotton), tho they do want the quilts made to fairly specific sizes, depending on whether the quilt is going to a young child or to organizations that house older children and teens. Also, Paramount Sewing in Eugene, Oregon, donates a very nice sewing machine in a raffle every year. For every quilt donated for Comforts for Children, the quilter gets one raffle ticket toward a drawing.

jmass wrote
on Mar 9, 2013 6:05 PM

I have done the same things many of you have mentioned. In addition, I donate to quilters that survived natural disasters - floods, tornadoes, fires, etc. The ones who have lost their stash really enjoy and need fabric to begin again.

on Mar 10, 2013 8:37 AM

As a fabric store owner, advocate for local economies and communities, and a avid lover of fabric, I always get a little miffed when bloggers and customers advocate that they have too much fabric.  First off, if your not sewing and yet fretting about your stash, you need to rethink if your stash is serving its purpose.   A stash is a "go to" resource when you're putting together most projects.  Your stash should be where you go to answer the question, "what do I have that I can use in this project and what do I need to buy?"  If you are in any way more than the occasional project sewer a stash is something you will always need.  Not something you need to use up.

Also, a good way to organize your stash is to start a new project.  Go through your stash and set aside what fabrics could be used and organize the rest.  This is a great way to motivate yourself to sew.

Fabric motivates!  Fabric provokes wonderful emotions inside of each of us.  Fabric is so wonderful that most of us want to be collectors, not just sewist, designers and quilters.  If you have an abundance of fabric and don't spend time sewing, sorting and creating with it, maybe a charity would get better use out of most of it.  You may need to buy new fabric in order to get you doing what you love!

judy.nell wrote
on Mar 10, 2013 9:42 AM

Hi everyone.  My name is Judy and I am a beginner sewer/quilter.  I hope to one day be overwhelmed with material lol.  I'm 51 years old and on disability so it is difficult to purchase much fabric.  Are there fabric stores that donate fabric that doesn't sell?  Or websites that offer good quality discount fabric.  I would like to make items to sell to suplement my income.  I am involved in a quilt guild and have gotten a few leftovers there.  I'm not asking any of you for a handout.  I can't pay much, but am willing to pay for any fabric.  Any information I can get on obtaining fabric is greatly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.

Qiane wrote
on Mar 11, 2013 5:45 PM

When I got a new machine I stitched knit scraps to an old sheet using all the variety of stitches.  I used a "crazy quilt" method, tried out a lot of stitches & made covers for a roaster, bread machine & crock pot that were stored on shelves in the garage.  It keeps them clean.  My daughter has a Girl Scout troop of 32 girls.  When they were Brownies, they wanted to get their sewing badge.  I went through my stash and cut 4" squares for learning to sew them together into  a square (4 each).  I cut  6" squares to make a potholder (2 each).  I cut 12" squares to make a small doll blanket (2 each).  I cut quite a few extra of each, especially the 4" ones so that the last ones to choose still had choices.  Sadly, it didn't reduce my stash very much.  I'm always looking for quilt patterns that can use a multitude of scraps.

VioletGypsie wrote
on Nov 12, 2013 2:02 PM

For all of you have too much fabric I wish I was in the same boat!  I am in Canada and would love any free fabric I could get my hands on.  I would like to teach both of my teen children to sew but have very limited funds. If this goes well, I would like to offer my children's friends some basic sewing skills as they don't teach this at our local schools.  If anyone knows somewhere I might be able to get free fabrics, notions, etc I would really appreciate it.  I have scoured my local thrift store but even they are expensive and overprice and very limited selection (there is only so much lining material a person can use, LOL!).  As I do not drive I cannot get out much.  I have a few old sheets I can use but that's about it.   For all of you donating your fabrics to those who can use them good for you.  I hope to be able to do the same one day.

hdypl wrote
on Jan 10, 2014 1:15 PM

I am creating a new line I have already started it and NEED FABRIC AND MATERIALS BAD. Please let me know if you have any. I have started a PLUS SIZE line and I want it extra ordinary, sexy and fun yet special. I have been looking online for free fabric and material and everyone that I have contacted have already given their fabrics and materials away. Please let me know if you have and want to get rid of please. Email me @ hdypl@yahoo.com

Linda Sewer wrote
on Apr 11, 2014 7:15 PM

I too am living with fabric that I have had for years. The projects were made and I kept the scraps. Oh my gosh, now that I have been making doll clothes I sure do use those scraps. But I have more fabric than I will ever use. It's time to go through and not budge, but just do it. I will do some tonight and take a big bag to the Goodwill. Need to begin somewhere. I could use ideas of where to donate fabric and yarn. Any ideas out there? Addresses of websites would be helpful.