Growing My Fabric Stash

Awhile back I wrote about how much I enjoy fabric shopping. I usually go only occasionally, when I have a specific need for a project. But I was reminded lately that shopping my own sewing fabric can be just as rewarding-not to mention free!

A blue Moda print I found in my stash.

I'm working on a quick baby quilt in a black, white, and gray chevron pattern. I want to use a bold, dark blue print fabric for the borders, and thought a trip to my local fabric store was in order.

But I realized first it would be worth perusing a stash of fabric I have stored away. I opened that bin, and found a few nice blues to choose from, that I didn't remember I had. Presto, my border problem was solved, and I didn't even need to leave the house or spend any money.

It was a good reminder that I don't necessarily need to hit the store every time I need sewing fabric. While the exact fabric in mind might not be in my stash, something close may be. And, you never know when you'll come across something unexpected and even better than what you'd envisioned.

If you're looking for some stash-busting projects, you'll find plenty to choose from in Stitch. You can purchase a Stitch one-year subscription in the Sew Daily Shop.

What about you? Is fabric shopping your knee-jerk reaction when you're looking for material for a project? Or are you really good about utilizing your stash? I can't wait to hear. 

 

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Sewing Fabric & Fabric Basics
Abby Kaufman

About Abby Kaufman

Abby Kaufman is assistant editor of Stitch magazine. When she's not scoping out new fabrics for her collection, Abby enjoys outdoor activities, and spending time with her husband and two dogs. 

9 thoughts on “Growing My Fabric Stash

  1. I usually do the same thing – head for the store. Lately money has been really tight so I have been looking at my stach and realizing how many beautiful materials I have bought. Unfortunately i did not buy enough of the “plain” material – neutrals, small prints, etc. but that just means my finished products will be a little ‘loud’. LOL
    On the bright side, I have enough Christmas material to start next year’s gifts, and 2015 and 2016……

  2. I love going to the fabric store but am usually too cheap to buy the fabric that I really love, so I compromise with something from the bargain bin that then languishes because I don’t love it enough to start sewing with it.

    Sometimes I forget that I’ve bought something for a specific project and buy yet another compromise fabric (maybe a slightly better one if I’m feeling richer). But all this means that my stash has grown to epic proportions over the past 30 of sewing.

    I’m going to have a yard sale this spring in the hopes of unloading most of the unloved yardage. Did I mention that I do the same thing with yarn?

  3. I have to re-organize my stash (for the millionth time, it seems.) I do, mostly, look in my stash, tho if I cannot find what I am looking for (wonder under, recently, tho I knew I had some,) I will go to the store. hence, the need to reorganize. I pretty much declared a moratorium on purchasing fabric, tho sometimes I just NEED a fabric fix.
    I used to sew clothing almost exclusively, which meant more yardage. Now I am sewing smaller items – wall hangings, bags, etc., which means that the yardage i need is much smaller. Thus I can usually justify a small purchase. Yesterday, I decided I wanted to sew make some artsy pincushions and needed felt, which I knew I did not have as I did not sew clothing out of felt. It only cost me $5.00 for my purchase, so that was OK.
    What I like, tho, about shopping in my stash is that the older fabrics become new and fresh and interesting again. They are not the same as other people have now, if they were trendy. The only exception to that is ’90’s fabrics – they smack of something passe’. They are not old enough to be desirable again – yet anyway.

    Sometimes I have made something with one of my older stash fabrics, and people ask me where I got it as they would like to buy some also. Then I tell them I bought it several years ago – which makes what I have sewn unique. (Unless someone has some of it in their stash by chance.)

  4. A number of years ago, we had a winter like we are having now. I was going to take a class on Faux Log Cabin. I had some lots of fabric so I looked for a piece of main fabric and then worked off that piece. When I got done cutting I ended up with enough to make two twin size quilts. One I finished the top and bought the fabric for the back, and some for the binding. The other grandmother did the quilting and put the binding on. It was done in time for our mutual grand daugher’s 13th birthday. She was so surprised and loved the quilt and redecorated her bedroom to match. She made a canopy and curtains out of matching the main fabric.

  5. A number of years ago, we had a winter like we are having now. I was going to take a class on Faux Log Cabin. I had some lots of fabric so I looked for a piece of main fabric and then worked off that piece. When I got done cutting I ended up with enough to make two twin size quilts. One I finished the top and bought the fabric for the back, and some for the binding. The other grandmother did the quilting and put the binding on. It was done in time for our mutual grand daugher’s 13th birthday. She was so surprised and loved the quilt and redecorated her bedroom to match. She made a canopy and curtains out of matching the main fabric.

  6. Last spring, my professional choir, which usually does classical music, decided to branch out and do a Country-Western concert. Our usual long black dresses and tuxedos wouldn’t do. I knew in advance (my boyfriend is on the programming & arts committee) that we would be wearing Western shirts, jeans, and boots, so I started looking for fabric for my shirt.

    I found a gorgeous yellow, orange and blue batik that practically jumped off the rack into my arms, and got a blue solid for the yokes, orange snaps and orange piping. It turned out terrific. (And only then did I remember that orange and blue were my high school colors…)

    However! Two weeks before the concert, they gave us the costume rules, and said the body of the shirt had to be solid color or plaid. The body of my shirt was the batik. Eep! New shirt required, fast!

    I came home from rehearsal that night and started going through my stash. I found bunches of neat stuff, and thought up several different possibilities, one of which was a light brown solid body and a print for the yokes that has little cactuses, growing in sand, on it. But my boots are black… Then I remembered I had some William Morris-y prints that had black backgrounds and gold and tan flowers. With one of them, plain black collar and cuffs, gold piping, yellow snaps, and the brown body, I had another terrific shirt.

    I ended up with five Western shirts. The design process that one night was just so much fun!

    I reversed the cactus one, with brown yokes and appliquéd/embellished green cactuses on them, made another from fabric I found in my stash that had always been intended for a Western shirt (Laurel Burch horse print – and there’s enough for a broomstick skirt when I get around to it), and the fifth one has a print of cats it theater seats munching theater treats and clearly watching the scary part, with popcorn-print yokes (I call that my ‘Matinee Cowboy’ shirt). Everything except the snaps, some of the piping, and the greens for the cactus appliqués came from stash. I have since added beaded appliqués mimicking the batik motifs to the yokes of the orange-and-blue shirt, and I did have to buy some orange and blue beads for that.

    If we ever do another Western concert, I’m ready!

  7. All my quilting fabrics were in a huge bin that was hard to even get to! It was actually easier to go to the store (45 minutes away!!) than to find a fabric! Recently I sorted the whole bin out into smaller bins by color and have found some really nice fabrics that I had completely forgotten. At Christmas I was able to make several gifts just by using my stash…saving time, gas and money! 🙂

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