It’s been a few months since I wrote part 1 and part 2 of these mini series, and I thought I’d report back on how my system has worked so far. The first post was about how my large stash was inhibiting my creativity, not fuelling it. Because I didn’t know what fabrics and what patterns I had, and there was no way to quickly browse through them, thinking about a new project made me indecisive rather than inspired. Instead of using great fabric I already had, I just purchased new fabric. I’ve found that organising my stash, patterns and fabric both made it easier to see what I have and to come up with new projects that didn’t require spending money. Today I’ll talk about whether this system has held up and some new insights I gained.
If you want to start using your stash and buy less, then this one absolutely works best. I unsubscribed from fabric shop emails and unfollowed them on social media. There are so many shops and so many sales going on all the time, it is really hard to ignore all that. I find myself clicking a link every.single.time. it announces a sale. Not being exposed to the sales in the first place is the best way to stop yourself from purchasing new fabric that you really don’t need. Don’t be afraid you’re missing out. If you don’t know about it, you’re not missing anything.
What I’ve Learned
So the first thing I noticed was that the urge to buy new fabric comes and goes. Sometimes I do fine and am not tempted at all. Then comes a week or so when I find myself clicking every sale and browsing for hours. And I’ve also found that it doesn’t actually make me feel good. This browsing, putting things in and out of my cart, closing the browser, coming back later, doubting what I should buy and whether I should buy it at all, it doesn’t actually make me happy. And it’s not even about the fabric. The feeling that I need to buy something stems from feeling uncomfortable in some way. It has nothing to do with fabric, but with the idea that buying something will somehow take away that feeling. It’s just ‘shopping therapy’. This past month, especially with SlowFashionOctober going on, I’ve managed to concentrate on that thought and have been able to convince myself to stop the mindless browsing.
In terms of choosing new projects and using more of my stash, the cataloguing has really brought about a change. I love to browse through the cards to see whether a fabric inspires me for my next project, or to see whether I have the right fabric for a project. I am definitely making better use of my stash than before. And I’ve also been good with cataloguing new fabric. The swatches make it really easy to plan new projects. I printed the tech drawings from some patterns and paired them with a swatch to make a project board. If I want to sew something, I just look up and there’s my choice. I’m careful not to pin too many projects up there though. Just enough to have a choice, but not too many to be discouraged by a long to do list.
Another thing I’ve learned is that my sewing mojo comes and goes. The project list I have is not based on that, though. That list is written for the imaginary me who never loses her mojo and has a lot more time to sew than the real me. I’ve pinned 8 projects on my board a month ago, and I’ve made two and cut out one. And those are the most simple projects, I haven’t even begun cutting the jeans. So as much as I would like it to be otherwise, 8 projects is probably more than enough for the whole winter. This might feel disappointing, but accepting your true sewing speed is a good thing. If I take that as a given, I can choose the 8 projects that really make me the most excited.
In terms of reducing my stash, this method has not worked so far. Most of all because I didn’t keep to the various ‘no new fabric’ rules I imposed on myself. In fact, my stash has grown from 80 to 106 pieces of fabric. But now that I have come to these insights regarding my fabric buying sprees I feel like I’ll be better able to actually buy less fabric. And I have some projects on my board with fabrics from my stash that I have been wanting to use for a while. I’m not sure if I’ll set any new goals – being aware of why I’m buying new fabric is a good start. Sometimes I just buy something because there’s nothing like it in my stash. Those pieces add something new to my collection, and that’s a good reason to buy them.
Have you organised your stash yet? What ways do you have of reducing it? Do you buy fabric as therapy?