2014 – Starting with a stash busting pledge!

I have a few goals for 2014 but I feel the urge to immediately and publicly declare that I am on a stash diet this year! Might have something to do with the new Liberty of London fabrics at the workroom! Must.Not.Buy!

OK. So it’s time to hash out the details of my 2014 stash diet. I was already thinking of something along these lines to accompany my ban on ready-to-wear purchases (more on this later) when my friends Andrea and Gail posted about their 2014 stash busting plans (posted here and here). Perfect timing! Made even better by my proximity and frequent meet-ups with Andrea as she can give me a stern talking to if she sees me cheat! Nothing like a little accountability. Andrea and Gail started a flickr group and lots of people seem to be on board. This has already grown to include a stash swap with the help of Morgan and I have seen some seriously gorgeous yarn and fabric posted already! It’s going to be a fun (and maybe sometimes a wee painful) challenge with lots of moral support when gorgeous fabrics come calling!

latge yarn bin 2

Let’s just start with my yarn stash as my rules for this one are quick and easy. No.More.Yarn. Period. No exceptions when it comes to buying with my own money. Occasionally friends ask me to make something for them and that’s still fine if the yarn is on their dime. The large bin I am showing is actually only about 2/3 of what I own as I have second short bin that is full.  In my defence (I’m honest and will admit that there is no real defence!), a very large part of this stash came in a single order from Germany. Yarn is cheap in Germany and my very accommodating friends Anne and Andre brought me a suitcase full last summer.  See below if you don’t believe me.  It was impressive!

photo (31)

Shall we now discuss my fabric habits…? In a few short months I went from buying on a project to project basis to the current disaster.  The bulk of my stash lives in these three bins. The two large ones contain all of my apparel fabric, as well as larger pieces of quilting cotton. The smaller middle bin is my collection of fat quarters (it’s not full!) and other craft related fabrics.

fabric bins

My stash hasn’t exactly outgrown these bins but my more recent purchases still need to be washed and moved into the bins. I have some strict rules about what can move into the bins and it all stems from a recent problem with carpet beetles. This was a seriously fucking awful period in this household that has been my primary stash diet motivator… it made me realize that a stash is not safe and I would much rather use what I have then lose it! Fortunately, I do carefully store my fabric and yarn to protect it from cat hair, so no damage was done but it could have been a real disaster!

fabric drawer

I also have a bit of fabric that still lives in a drawer. These are my very recent purchases that includes some Girl Charlee and Etsy fabric that came to me via Bitty.  This fabric was pre-washed by my lovely sister before shipping but doesn’t get to live with my binned stash unless it is washed by me and sealed immediately. Think the carpet beetle experience has left me a wee paranoid?!  But I’ve been using this fabric up quickly so having it nice and accessible has been handy! And finally, I have my most recent purchases that includes a small-ish pile of knits and a few woven pieces that are destined to soon become a La Sylphide blouse and two Archers.

fabric new knits 2fabric new plaids

Oops.  And two lovely pieces of wool crepe that were meant to be my Christmas outfit.  The pink crepe will become either a Chardon skirt or a quarter circle skirt using this handy new calculator developed by the ladies of By Hand London.  Thoughts on this?  The cream coloured crepe was originally going to be a quarter circle skirt as I have had this cream ponte skirt of Heather’s on my mind since she posted it. However, I think I would instead like to use it for the Rachel Comey blouse (Vogue 1247).  If I ever get my hands on the pattern, that is! (Update. I got my hands on the pattern!).

wool crepe

I haven’t been collecting fabric for long but I am surprised by what is in those bins every time I go near them so I think that an inventory would be useful.  I think I am going to follow this example.

So we’ve seen the stash but now it’s time for the rules.  I think the bottom line is that I would like to primarily work from what I own this year. This is going to be a big transition year for me as I move from a postdoc into a real job (scary! exciting!) and I have no idea where I will end up.  Therefore, saving most of my money seems like the smart thing to do. However, I know me and fabric purchases are going to be hard to resist! So I think I am going to follow Andrea’s lead on this one and say that I am allowed to buy a single piece of fabric after I have made five items using fabric that I already own.  And that’s only if I come across a really special piece of fabric or have a particular project in mind that I don’t have stash fabric for (Robson trench or Thurlow pants, for example). The exceptions to this will be lining fabric and/or any notions needed for a particular project. Gifts are also a possible exception. I am going to try and use stash fabric for any gifts but I can purchase if I don’t have anything acceptable. Muslin is also not on the diet though I have to be more careful to use what I own before picking up more.  I tend to forget what I have available so grab a couple of metres whenever I am near Designer Fabrics.  I’m going to keep a running tally of what I own in my wallet at all times so that I don’t overbuy.  Same goes for interfacing.  I forget what I have and therefore tend to overbuy.  To that end, an inventory of all thread and notions would be useful but we’ll have to see if I get around to making that! I’m undecided about my rules on travel fabric purchases.  Thoughts on what is reasonable?  I will say that any rules I make for travel will NOT include local towns that I visit for sewcialist meet-ups as that could quickly get out of hand! It’s late so I am sure I am forgetting some crucial rule or circumstance so feel free to speak up if you think my rules are lacking!

Patterns? I’m not too worried on this front. Bitty and I share patterns so that already keeps the cost reasonable and I’d say that our collection is not too crazy at this point. We’re making an effort to use the ones we own before buying new ones but we’ll have to see how that goes! I rather desperately want this wrap dress pattern but the shipping costs are holding me back so far. But the second Jen releases the Morris Blazer pattern it will be in my collection! I guess I should start saving one of my allowed fabric purchases for this one as I have nothing appropriate in my stash already!

Bitty is apparently far more restrained than I am on this front so she says there is no need for a Stash Diet. Good girl!

So who is joining us on this challenge? Any other New Years resolutions?



15 thoughts on “2014 – Starting with a stash busting pledge!

  1. Ooooo I can totally relate. I walked into one of our(South Africa’s) biggest material shops this weekend and came out with 28 PIECES of fabric!! Now my mind races at 120km/h to think of things to do with it

  2. Very interesting post S! I do love rue des Renards’ version of cataloging her fabric. I should use that template Andrea sent us and put something like that together. But I sense my photo catalog and the word doc, with details, is as far as I’m going to go anytime soon. I’m almost stash-organizationed out. Is it wrong that the photo of the yarn suitcase actually made me yelp slightly, with excitement?

    • I’ve only started the stash cataloging but I am indeed combining Tassadit’s method with Andrea’s template. I think it’s working well and I like being able to remind myself of the texture and drape of the fabric without digging into the bins. Your method sounds pretty thorough so I don’t think anything additional is needed! The suitcase full of yarn brings out a mix of giddiness, excitement and anxiety every time I think about it. It is enough for two sweaters, a longer tunic and two large shawls. So far I have only made one of the shawls and the rest remains untouched. Will have to dig in soon!

  3. Oh, gawd! Between the IG posts yesterday and today’s e-mail from The Workroom I have been twitching thinking about all the Liberty love I won’t be going near. But I too shall be strong 🙂 Your rules seem pretty reasonable to me. I am serious about offering my help with the organizing and I can’t wait to see what treasures those boxes hold!

    • And now that I’ve seen your mad folding skills, I’m serious about taking you up on your help! Thanks! And between visiting your Liberty fabrics yesterday and mine today, I think I am over the worst of my urge to go and buy!

  4. Happy destashing! I think I have more fabric than you, but still don’t feel like it’s enough… I love how relative it is! 🙂 I’ll try not to tempt you into buying more fabric!

  5. Good luck withe the stashbusting! Your rules sound good. My stash is tiny in comparison with a lot of others, but it was also pretty much non-existent before last year (I blame the interwebz). I’ve already got new fabric (for actual planned projects, I swear!) that won’t fit into the designated bins. Must get cracking on the sewing.

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