Thursday, January 20, 2011

All the extra stuff

While working on the pinstripe Follies pantsuit, I had to make a decision about what buttons to put on my jacket.  Since I'm making so many pieces to go with this jacket, I wanted the buttons to coordinate with all of the subsequent garments.   Because this decision is so far reaching, I'd put it off to the last possible moment.  Another reason is because my button collection is so extensive that the thought of wading through all of the choices was a little overwhelming.

This got me to thinking about all of the extra stuff that is needed to complete a garment.  You know what I'm talking about...the thread, the trims, the closures (buttons, snaps, zippers) that we need to finish each garment...and whether you stash it or you purchase it as needed.

I'm pretty sure that if you are a stasher/collector of fabric, you probably stash the extra stuff too...and that if you purchase a piece or two at a time that you probably purchase all of your extra stuff that way too.  Now I'm wondering which way is more effective.  I mean I found some buttons in the collection to use for the jacket and these buttons will tie all of the future pieces to the jacket, as well as, add an unexpected twist to this conservative grouping.  But I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just taken a picture of the jacket and a sample of the fabric to the garment district and found a button.

Which caused me to ponder on whether or not having such a large collection of buttons and trims helps or hinders my projects?  So the question of the day is, Do you collect/stash the extra stuff?  If you do, why do you?  Does it help or speed along the sewing process?  Or does it hinder the process?  And if you don't collect/stash, do you ever feel limited by your lack?  Or is the chase of the extra stuff necessary for you to complete the garment?

Talk back to me people...I really want to know!

More later!  

45 comments:

  1. Interesting question. I tend to have a stash of most notions as I am quite a drive from a garment district. Now if I could just organize them a little better so I find them....

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  2. I don't stash notions, for the most part. I do have a small stash of good zippers and some buttons.

    I kind of enjoy running to the store to buy the perfect buttons when a piece is completed. :)

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  3. I have a lot of buttons, but I'm getting fussier about buying them. It's hard to buy buttons in advance; how many to buy, which size, etc, when one doesn't know what garment they will adorn. Zippers I like to buy when I buy the fabric. I don't know if you have noticed, but zipper colors go in and out of style. Sometimes, it's hard to find the right-colored zipper for an older piece of fabric. I seem to have a lot of thread, but that's just from former projects. I stash interfacing and shoulder pads that I buy from Nancy Erickson because it's hard to find those items here in the far suburbs of San Diego. I have only the "craft store" and a local chain store, neither of which is great on tailoring notions. Now if I lived near the L A fabric district - but I don't. Oh, linings. I have quite a bit of lining fabric because I bought a bundle of silks from Michael years ago and I bought some silks from Fabric Mart more recently. I"m gradually using them up. I also buy Ambiance from Nancy E to match fabric I purchase from her if I don't have anything suitable on hand. So it all adds up.

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  4. I stash fabric but notions... not so much. I tend to stock up on much-used colours of lining when I need them/find reasonable quality ones and I buy my usual kinds of (fusible) interfacing in sort of bulk. However, I only buy buttons and thread for the project at hand and only stock up on zippers in very obvious colours (the place where I buy notions always has those 'cheaper if you buy a certain number' kinds of deals)

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  5. In the last few months, I've tried to stop stashing notions. I've acquired a large (too large) collection of notions (zippers, buttons, hand needles, point turners, lace trim, seam and binding tape, seam rippers, etc) from garage and estate sales so I try to buy notions more selectively. I've REALLY got to need it in order to purchase it. It's easier to stop buying when I'm actually sewing garments.

    I went through my button collection earlier today (I'm sewing some blouses) and I realize that it's going to be a challenge to use all of these because, as Sewing Librarian pointed out, buttons are used in batches and it's difficult to guess in advance how many buttons you will need for a project. I have a lot of stuff that doesn't match. In my upcoming projects, so I'm going to have to be creative about mixing and coordinating buttons.

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  6. I keep a small stash of zippers in colours I use regularly and when I see some buttons or trim that I really love I will probably get them, but generally I prefer to buy these as needed. The chances of my fairly small fabric stash marrying up with a notions stash are slim so this way works best for me.

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  7. I find that I am constantly running out of bias binding- which means that everything grinds to a halt mid-construction. Everything grinds to a halt again as I don't have a big enough stash of zippers. I think that stashing is the way to go- at least for some of the basics.

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  8. I have a really small space so there's not much room for huge notion collections, but I do buy notions here and there and store them in jam jars and boxes. I feel that having them at the ready helps me be creative when embellishing and sewing. If I had room for more stuff, I would definitely stash more!

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  9. I stash and buy as needed when I can. Stash mostly due to not driving and having to take the bus to Joann's the only place nearest to me right now. Stash also as I tend to sew late in the night and at midnight when your needing something it's nice to have that stash. Buy as needed when the urge strikes me to make something that I haven't the fabric I'm looking for.

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  10. I have a huge stash of buttons, zips, linings and other notions - basically anything I can't easily purchase locally. I buy all of my zips long so I can shorten them for any project. With buttons, I just buy what I like in a workable number. We have one good shop 30-40 minutes away with a small but nice selection. Otherwise, it's JoAnn's with their mostly awful buttons. I have to stash!

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  11. I have a moderate stash of fabric, lining, and interfacing. I also have a small stash of zippers in the colors I use most often, but those are easy to pick up locally if needed.

    Buttons, though, I usually pick up as I'm working on a project. I have a few in the stash but not many.

    Here's the thing, though. There are some items which I don't have and don't exactly know how to acquire and which are keeping me from doing a project I really want to do...trench coat. Ugh. No way will I find buckles, etc. locally, and how do I find nice ones online? So...for me it's nice to have a stash of some things but not having others has meant putting off something I really want to do.

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  12. Generally, I buy specific to the garment. HOWEVER, I was lucky to inherit an incredible button/seam binding stash and 90% of the time just go to those goodies and shop. Once in a while I see the perfect button, but there just aren't enough so I have to shop "outside". Interfacings I must stash as there is no availability where I live of quality interfacings. Zippers I cut out of every garment I toss. I never throw out zippers or buttons and remove them from anything being purged. This gives me lots of pants/skirt zippers in lots of great neutral colors. Ripping out zippers and buttons is great "TV" work. I like to stock up on my neutral threads when on sale, too, like black, white, and beige. That is only a couple of spools forward though.

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  13. The other day I went to put a zipper in my dress project and realized I didn't have any - I couldn't believe it! I stash invisible zippers in common colors, and nice thread in common colors. I have a collection of vintage buttons, but I rarely use them. I prefer to buy trims, buttons etc for each project - I find that I never have exactly what I need otherwise, and I don't mind going to the store looking for those items once a week. I sometimes purchase buttons online, but only for specific projects... I'm picky about them!

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  14. I stash interfacings, linings, elastic, basic snaps, hooks/eyes. I generally purchase buttons and zippers by project, although I am well known for acquiring others' button collections and for saving buttons and other closures from otherwise worn-out garments before they get cut up for the rags box.

    At this point, I have enough leftovers of buttons/zips/thread that I scour those drawers for a match before I buy new. I don't have your inventory, though!

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  15. I have a stash of snaps, hook-&-eyes and zippers in basic colors. I have a few buttons and trims that I bought because I like them, and the extras left over from projects. My problem with buying notions with no real plan is how much and what sizes and colors to buy. When I do shop the stash, it seems I'm short on quantity, or have the wrong size or color. And when it comes to buttons, I don't have enough similar buttons to do a *good* mix-n-match.

    I never really thought about colors going out of style and not being available in zippers. But then, I don't use a lot of zippers except for pants where an exact match isn't so obvious.

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  16. I buy notions as I need them. My stash is generic--elastic, thread, and left overs from previous projects. I'm visual and beautiful fabric turns me on, especially if it's on sale. But, if I don't create a garment as soon as I buy the fabric, the thrill is soon gone and it will sit until the feeling (or idea) returns. So I have a nice stash of fabric and I don't decide on notions until I'm ready to sew.

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  17. I'm a stasher of all fabrics and notions. Like you I work full time and just don't have time to go looking for stuff since I often sew at the crack of dawn.

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  18. I have a stash of just about everything. It's great for late night, mid blizzard, and I don't feel like getting dressed and going out sewing.

    I buy basics when on sale so I limit how much I aquire by designating specific space per item in the studio. If I want something a little different, I buy it per project.

    Just yesterday, I bought fifteen 7" zippers. Our one and only fabric store is moving. They won't be buying new stock for three months and some items are already starting to sell out. I panicked. It's hard to sew skirts and pants without zippers - LOL.

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  19. I stock up on things I know I use, like elastic for sure. If I find hem tape, ribbon or bias tape on sale in colors I know I will use, I buy it. I'm notorious for thread that doesn't match anything and never having zippers or buttons on hand. I wish I had more buttons- I can't wait to find one of those button jars that everyone talks about.

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  20. Hmmm... good question! I stash some notions because sometimes I can get them on a good sale. So things like zippers I generally have on hand and thread. Buttons is a gotta check it out at the store thing. I do have some but not as many as I do of other notions. Nothing like sewing away during the middle of the night and finding I'm without something to finish a part of a garment/project!

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  21. You are such an inspiration! I love your style and your knowledge. Have you considered creating trendy patterns for the plus size yourself? Seems like you would have a nice start on a customer base with some of us!

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  22. I have collected quite a few zippers but that's because when i buy fabric I buy the zippers to match. Other than that I have elastic, hook and eyes, seaming tape. I only buy buttons when I need them. As a matter of fact this weekend Hancocks had their buttons on sale 50% and I tried to think of something I needed buttons and only thought of the trench I want to make but of course they didnt have any I liked anyway. I make up for the lack of stashing notions in patterns and fabric. LOL!!!

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  23. I love beautiful, unusual buttons and buy them because I love them. My intention is to make garments to showcase these buttons. Unfortunately, the garments themselves must be fairly plain, and I would rather sew "pretty" fabrics (which would overwhelm the buttons) and so I have an overlarge stash of gorgeous buttons. If I would join the JAM I could use those buttons! But no, I'm too busy sewing that glitzy fabric...

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  24. I stash the extra stuff too! Local resources are limited. I've acquired a lot of my stuff through other ASG members purging their sewing rooms, so I've gotten things like zippers, buttons, and fabrics at very low prices or sometimes even free. Our chapter also built a relationship with a couple of sewing factories several years ago, so I got bunches of stuff from them as well. Sadly, those resources are mostly gone now. I also recycle interesting buttons from old garments if I like them well enough.

    Does it help? Sometimes! I have some great buttons stashed--many of them are "go to" whenever I need something of that style. Others I haven't used yet but they'll be there for the right project.

    I may be delusional but I do think a lot of the stash will get used. I also gift my supplies to other sewists and provide stuff for ASG doorprizes and such.

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  25. I have a large stash of the extras too. Sometimes I use the odd colors on my practice muslins. I don't like buying buttons at the store since the selection in my area has gone downhill. I am trying to be more deliberate about looking into my own button stash before running to the store.

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  26. I stash most everything. But buttons are hard to know in advance what I'll want/need and I don't have a good local source. So, while I do have a button collection (bigger thanks to you!), many times I do still have to buy buttons per project. All the other odds and ends, I usually have on hand.

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  27. Well, what an eye opener! Just read the comments and am amazed how restrained you all are! I make bags and it seems I can only work when I'm surrounded with lots of material choices, trimmings, buttons, etc, etc, etc....
    This is creating a problem in itself, because I tend to look for things lost in a pile of'stuff'....However, I do not like searching out suitable shops and spending so much time travelling there and then searching in the shop. I also am not discipled enough not to buy other things I don't really NEED. x

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  28. I love fabric, so my stash is my fabric. But for notions, I keep very few buttons because I enjoy the hunt. As for other notions, I do keep a selection of the basics: shoulder pads, neutral colored zippers and bias binding. One of my favorite stores used to sell this wonderful double-folded bias binding, silk it think, in black, white and beige.

    After that, when it comes time to construct my garment, I go out and get any additional items I need, buttons included, so that I don't burn time.

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  29. I don't buy buttons in advance since buttons are often the priciest pieces of the garment for me. I usually bring a swatch of the fabric and the line drawing of what I'm making to the garment district and pick out buttons then. I also wait until the garment is 99% sewn up so it's just waiting for buttons.

    I don't buy trim in advance either. I bring a fabric swatch and a line drawing to the trim store if my garment needs trim.

    As for zippers, I buy 1 or 2 extra zippers when I go to the notions store, usually one black and one white. I usually can find zippers for fairly cheap, and they're good for those small projects like a simple skirt. I buy invisible zippers so the only part that is sticking out is the zipper handle. That way I can use the zippers I have with a wider variety of fabrics.

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  30. Oh I'm definitely guilty of stashing notions as well as fabric. I make it a point to "shop my stash" both fabric and notions before going to a store, after all the only real fabric store is 90 minutes away. I stash zippers in black, white, navy and tan. I find zippers are hard to find in the right color any time. I like 6-8 buttons. The few times I need more than that, I wait until I can shop. But I stash in colors I know I use.

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  31. I always only buy what I need, and yes I do save all my leftovers, and I do occasionally use them when a button pops off of something etc. It really depends on how much stuff you have. I'm cleaning out my sewing area at this moment, and I won't be getting rid of buttons, but some thread spools that just have alittle left, some short pieces of elastic and some fabric are all going.

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  32. I've tried to stash buttons, but I'm not good at it. I can always find something I like better at the store. I have a stash of tapes and zippers, but they were purchased for projects I never got around to making. I do try to buy the thread when I buy the fabric.

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  33. I'm a stasher too. I think it helps me. Because of our lifestyle, I sew in fits and bursts. If I don't have something on hand that I can work with NOW, I don't get to sew. So I'm always looking for good deals and fabric I adore.

    If I have a specific project that comes up, I'll head to the store. But I can create some pretty neat things because of my stash.

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  34. I try to buy fabric with a specific garment in mind and when I do that I buy notions at the same time. However, more often than not the fabric ends up in the cupboard and the notions in the stash.

    I love having zippers on hand for when I just want to make a skirt right now! I'm also starting to 'stash' linings. Pretty linings - again for when I have to have a new skirt. g

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  35. I'm a stasher. I have a huge button collection, a sizable button collection, a pretty decent lining collection and an embarrassingly large selection of interfacings. I keep a selection of bias bindings, but not too large as I try to match those to garments as I need them. I like to have things on hand in case I get the urge to make something at 3am. Also, living in the country I am accustomed to stashing everything because the shops are too far away to go out for a lightbulb or a packet of flour.

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  36. I am a stasher too. Mostly buttons, ribbon and grommets, since I do a lot of period costumes I tend to buy up anything that may work for something I may or may not make in the future. I also stash zippers. Whenever I want to start a project form my fabric stash not having the right zipper is what stops me. So, I like to keep a variety of colors and sizes on hand. Same goes for elastic.

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  37. I have button stash, but it's not deliberate. It is either buttons I bought with something in mind, but then didn't use, or buttons I inherited from my Mum or Nana, who both did the same as me.

    Mum's and Nanas buttons bring back great memories for me of looking though their button "collections" as a child, and loving their prettiness.

    I recently found a box of my Mum's stash of notions that I'd overlooked previously. What fun it was going through it all! I now have assorted lengths of bias binding, laces, trims and zippers in almost every colour of the rainbow.

    -Sewingelle

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  38. I don't collect the extra stuff. I've found that even if you do have the extras they are never 'exactly' what you want and you still have to go and buy something. There's something about taking that sample piece of fabric to the store and holding it up against buttons and seeing that special button leap out at you. However I was gifted lots of buttons, antique/old buttons from a great aunt and I have used some of them on projects. I do check there first before shopping.
    I don't stash zippers or lining fabric but I do have lots of interfacings.

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  39. when I lived in NYC, I bought buttons as needed; fabric in hand,etc. When I moved to Cleveland Oh, that was a different story! To me, buttons where more expensive in Cleveland and there where only two stores: Joann's and Hancock's. I only buy buttons when they're 50%off at Joann's; I buy at random, anything that looks pretty to me. I buy at least 8 matching buttons.

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  40. I stash notions, interfacing, and some lining. I've been doing it for so long I don't even remember what it's like not to have them around! It's not that I don't like buying things per project, for me it's all about the sale. When those things go on sale I stock up.

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  41. I might stash interfacing when I find it at a great price and it's a type I like or can "foresee" myself using. The stash of stray ribbons and buttons is mostly from gifts, new garments that provide an extra button or two. I buy notions specifically for a garment. Unless I come across something I absolutely admire, must have, etc. I usually don't get too excited over buttons, but I love trims. I actually teared up over a brief video shot in the basement of the old tinsel trading. How I would have loved to have been there.....

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  42. I stash nearly everything, although my button collection is small (not counting the button "bundle" I purchased from Fabric Mart a couple of years ago). I have 3 or 4 thread collections purchased on eBay, hundreds of zippers--purchased in bulk assortments on eBay--interfacing, a bin or two of lining, tie silk, elastic, pants' hooks and eyes, and of course fabric. When I sew, I want everything right there. Buttons can be a problem as JoAnns is my local resource.

    I have enough stash that I have been able to not only get my Grand-daughter started in her sewing but to also send 12 bundles of fabric and notions to IBOL (Iraqi Bundles of Love http://ibol.wordpress.com/ ) to women in Iraq over the last two years. IBOL3D is being organized right now. The organizer is Maj. Art LaFlamme, US Army whose wife is a quilter.

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  43. Well, I don't keep a stash of notions like I do the fabric collection. I have a few things like black zippers. I end up going to buy notions for a particular project because when I've purchased buttons in advance to use at a much later time, there are never enough or they're not the right size, something doesn't work.

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  44. I am lucky enough to live near Gayfeather Fabrics in Madison WI --I keep my collection there (so to speak) At one point about 5 years ago I really had amassed quite a button collection and I found it really didn't work in terms of being able to choose the right buttons for the right garment. --Okay so maybe NOT such a HUGE collection; but some I'd spent quite a bit of $$ on! So now I think of it as a button collection -because I love all the buttons, beautiful glass, italian, novelty like my marilyn monroe buttons-- and slowly slowly I'm whittling into it.

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  45. In the last year I have become such a notions stasher. Virgo Fabric store has a notions bin and a lot of it is old stuff, like Dritz Waistband Shapers & Knit patches, Bondex Mending Tape, Scovill pockets bags & snaps, bags of buttons, zippers, bias tape, and an assortment of other items, most at a cost of .25 each. Why I continue to stash, because when I decide to pop up at 4:00am, I don't want my sewing to be hindered by lack of a notion. Of course, with all the stashing of notions & fabric my space is slowly becoming cramp...lol

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