How Do You Use Up Your Fabric Stash for Sewing a Project? You Just Do It!

I recently completed a final project for my patternmaking certificate, and I think that one of the most challenging aspects was selecting the fabric.

The original blouse design looked like
it would make a good jacket as well.


The denim took to pleating excellently.

  Stitching down pleats made
them even more knife-like.

The project was a blouse with a peplum, and when I think of a blouse, I naturally think of softer, more flowing fabric. But I kept thinking that the design would make a good jacket, too.

I went into my fabric stash, which is considerable. Going into my fabric stash and not finding something to sew for a project is akin to looking into a crammed closet and not finding a thing to wear. I wanted something with body, but with drape. I was thinking of a double knit, which is a great fabric with all the benefits of a knit and a woven. However, that particular fabric did not exist in my stash.

At this point, my thoughts veered, like a good fabric-holic, to shopping, but there was not time. Good thing, as I really need to use the fabric I have, not buy more.

I kept searching through my baskets and I landed upon a dark denim sample that I had bought many years ago, when I first returned to sewing. My first projects were all home dec projects, especially curtains. I made curtains for everyone. I had 10 or so yards of this denim. Some went to sewing a slipcover for a couch. More went to making a beautiful curtain with a  muslin lining for my sister-in-law. Now I was down to the last 2-3 yards.

As I considered the fabric, it grew on me. The denim had good body to it, but with just the right bit of drape. It would press nicely for the peplum pleats, form a nice shawl collar with the help of some good interfacing, and hang nicely, without drooping, on the dolman sleeves.

I was so excited to have found a match between a project and my fabric stash. How long had the denim languished there, just waiting to be used?

The denim was everything I dreamed it would be, and more. I stitched down the inner pleats on the peplum to give them a sharp edge. Denim is made for topstitching: I topstitched the top of the pleats and the shawl collar to reinforce its lines. I threw in a colorful lining, also from my stash, and finished it off with some vintage buttons from my family collection.

At the end I was so much more satisfied having used my stash. I just needed to open my mind to the possibilities, as denim certainly would not have been my first choice had I just gone shopping.

For lots of colorful projects to use up your stash, check out Stitch Summer 2014 in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have any stories of sewing fabric from your stash? Tell me about your marrying a fabric to a project.

Happy stitching!


Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


How To Sew, Sewing Fabric & Fabric Basics

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

7 thoughts on “How Do You Use Up Your Fabric Stash for Sewing a Project? You Just Do It!

  1. I had some gorgeous fabric for I don’t know how long, acquired I don’t know how. It sat for ages because I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Then my son came home with a pashmina including the exact same teal, so I made a skirt to go with it. I either wear the pashmina as a shawl, or as a headwrap, and get nothing but compliments. Looking to sew down my stash regularly now, but not making much progress so far.

  2. The email version of this is very difficult to read due to both spelling and grammar errors. I was so happy to see this version as I enjoy reading your articles,

  3. Sewing for my grandkids and using stash is interesting. What I’ve resorted to is buying T-shirts, plain dresses, etc. and using stash for embellishments. Like using ruffles, ribbons, lace, etc. which goes great with my stash AND I manage to get a few done on time!

  4. I learned to make hats and handbags from left over fabric and yardage well meaning but tasteless in-laws passed on to me. If a piece is too small to make a cuff from, I throw it away! Since I recently moved, I found out how large my stash is and the new house has no closets to hide it away. Time to get busy.

  5. Great project! I sew, do mix-media art, and make jewelry so I know what you mean about needing to use from your stash. One week I was determined to use completely from my stash and was amazed that I didn’t need to buy one single thing! Felt pretty daggone proud of myself at the end of the week.