Precious Fabrics for Everyday Use

This summer I was looking for a fabric to cover the cradle I had found second hand. I looked through my stash (ever grateful I had sampled and organised it) but deemed the suitable fabric types too precious to use for this purpose. So I started looking online for a fabric that would be perfect – not too cute, with a cool print, and not too expensive. I spent quite some time looking for it, comparing a few different ones, wondering how much I actually wanted to spend. I couldn’t decide so I put it aside for a day.

This process of searching for the right fabric for a project I have in mind always goes the same way. I start out excited, but then after hours of browsing fabric shops I lose track of what I was looking for. I either get overwhelmed by the amount of choice or I find fabrics that I love but aren’t suitable for the project. Then the process reverses: I start looking for patterns that I could use those fabrics for. Either way, I usually finish my search unsatisfied and with my inspiration extinguished.

Disappointed,  I took another look at my fabrics and thought: you know, why not use that really nice fabric? It’s there to be used and I didn’t have a specific project in mind for it. For some reason I feel that precious fabrics should be made into beautiful garments. But using them for other kinds of projects might mean that you get to look at them more often. If I made a dress out of this striped, ‘hand printed in India’ cotton from Faberwood, I’d wear it maybe a handful of times. If I used it for this cradle, I’d get to look at it every day. So I decided to use it and I’m glad I did. Well, I thought, I can always make a top with what I have left.

However, when Frida grew out of her cradle, I thought the transition to her bed would be easier if she recognised her surroundings. So I used the remainder of the fabric to make a bed bumper. Another every day object that I get to see a lot, instead of a top that may or may not have been made.

I have to keep reminding myself of these things, especially with my stash challenge this year. I often find myself withholding from using a fabric because I have this idea that precious fabrics should be made into something special. Those special things rarely get made though, so I end up just buying more fabric and hoarding the good stuff. No more of that! Fabric is there to be made into something. I hope I can remember that the next time I hesitate using a good piece.

What about you? Do you easily cut into your good stuff or is it collecting dust like mine?

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  1. I recognised this fabric straight away as I’ve got 2 metres of it too! What a beautiful way to use it as, like you say, you’ll be able to enjoy it every day now. You’re so right about using those precious fabrics, what good are they sitting in a box?!

  2. I have no trouble cutting into beautiful fabric as long as I know that the project is going to turn out ok. The problem is, appart from patterns I have already sewn, or one specific brand which I know fits me, I have no idea if it will turn out ok. So I figure I should start by a muslin, but buying muslin fabric in France would be more expensive than my nice fabrics that I bought in China. So it’s kind of pointless. I end up losing inspiration quite often…

    1. I can imagine! Having to make a muslin often puts me off too, but I still regret not doing it when in the end the garment doesn’t fit right… I too struggle to find cheap muslin fabric in France. Ikea has good stuff but they don’t sell it online.

  3. Recently I made a skirt for my grandmother. I knew she would cherish it by “keeping it nice” in the closet and only wearing it on special occasions, as she does most gifts of clothing (she’s afraid of ruining them). I really wanted her to enjoy it, so I insisted that it was to be worn for any activity, from gardening to baking. It didn’t matter if it got torn or dirty. I just wanted her to be comfortable and get good use out of it. To me, wearing the skirt would express her appreciation much more than keeping it pristine, hanging in a closet. My sewing project following her skirt had me debating on using some precious fabric, saved for a special occasion. I laughed out loud when I considered the hypocrisy. So what if I messed up while sewing or found a better pattern for it later? To me, enjoying the process, appreciating the medium and challenging my abilities are perhaps more important than stitching a perfect end product. Your story is as precious as your fabric. I understand the hesitancy and appreciate that you just went for it!

    1. You are so right! I too have to remind myself that it’s as much about the process as it is about the end product. There is progress in EVERY project so it is never completely lost.

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