5 things I’ve Learned About Sewing from My Own Fabric Stash

colourful fabrics

One of my new favourite blog is Sarai Mitnick’s Coletterie. I love that she posts things that are useful, well thought, honest, beautiful and the list can go on and on. I check my rss reader and many times the first blog I open is Coletterie.

Her latest post, 7 tips for using fabric that you have (you know sewing from my stash has been a personal challenge in the past) made me realize there are some things that I’ve learned this last year about sewing from the fabric you own and never shared them.

So here is my list of tips (and observations) for sewing from your fabric stash:

When I start making a new piece of clothing, I generally start with a general idea. I realize I need a new skirt, for example. I more or less have a style in mind, a midi skirt that fits close to the body, but not as close as a pencil skirt.

With this I already know more or less how much fabric I need and with that mental note I go shopping… the fabric stash first.

1. Revise the fabric you already have before buying more

You don’t have to sew everything from now in 6 months from the fabric you have. Sometimes you have a certain type of fabric in mind for a certain project and sewing it from another fabric will just make you feel bored with what you’re working on.

Just shop your own stash first and then go fabric shopping.

2. Stop “saving” it for that project you’ll never sew

I own more fabric that I should for the space that I have to keep it. You’d think a mature realization of that would make things easier, but the truth is, sewing from your own fabric is not that easy when you always think: “Oh, not this one, I can make something else from this…”.

3. Organize fabric by type

And when I say type I mean organize it the way it makes sense for you. I organize it like this: knit fabrics, soft fabrics (for dresses, blouses, scarfs etc), medium weight fabrics and cottons (for skirts, pants, etc) and heavy weight fabrics (coats, bags, hats). I then have another section with smaller pieces of fabric of all kinds – I use this for pockets, decorative details or pouches and another for fleece, wool and no frays.

This way, when I am sewing a new project, like this skirt, I already know in which category to look in. (I’m sewing for winter so the fabric should be thicker than summer skirts).

4. Think in colours

Another way to get you in the mood to sew something from the fabric that you have and have seen and seen again for many years (just guessing here, never happened to me :P ) is to search by color. Pick a color that you like a lot and look for fabric of that color in your stash. Then design the garment around it.

5. Weed out your fabric

Ever happened to you that you buy a piece of fabric with a great project in mind, then it takes you so much time to actually sew it that you forget your original idea or lose the interest in sewing it ? Learn to say bye bye. Sell it, give it, but do something with it if you don’t like it anymore.

I hope these tips help you not only to shop for less fabric this month, but also think about your own process or creating a garment.

Hope you’ll share, I’d love to know more about the way you sew new clothes.

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