Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Year of Sewing from the Collection

It's the third day of February and I made some decisions last year about what direction I want to take my sewing in for 2018. There were two main things I wanted to refrain from:

(Yes there is now a row of fabric behind the cutting table as high as the table.
Nevermind the fabric that's still on the shelves surrounding the Sewing Cave)

1. Buying more fabric. 
I think I could sew for the next 20 years and STILL have plenty of fabric. It really hit me last year when I needed to find something and realized that I had to move around soooooo much fabric to find it. That's not good...even for me!  But I wasn't sure that I could pledge to not purchase any more fabric because I LOVE fabric...LOVE IT!

(Moving fabric around to find a piece)

So my first challenge was to stop purchasing from Fabric Mart...
I met that challenge. I haven't purchased anything from FM in three months. As time goes by, it gets easier not to purchase fabric. So my goal now is not to buy anything until I go to Sew Camp at the end of March.  Even then I'm limiting myself to just three pieces.

My next challenge is that I can't say I won't purchase fabric anymore. 
I've never been able to totally stop purchasing fabric because I LOVE fabric! And I don't want to make that empty pledge again. Then Elliott Berman came to the rescue by collaborating with me. Giving me the opportunity to slake the new fabric thirst whenever I need a fix, especially because I have to use it right away, I can't store it. That's made it easy for me to say that I won't buy new fabric now.

With those pieces in place, I've honestly been thrilled to shop my collection. I've been finding some amazing fabrics on the shelves and rethinking how to use some of it. Now that I'm shopping less, I'm going to try to keep track of fabric in and out this year - praying that the out number is greater than the fabric in number. I'd like to know just how much fabric would come out of the collection in a year, if I only sew from it.

I've made/posted to the blog four garments in January - three garments from fabric from the collection and the shirt from the Elliott Berman piece. The three garments from the collection used 9.5 yards. I'm not counting the Elliott Berman fabric because it came into the collection in December 2017. So right now I'm 9.5 yards out and no yards in! YES!


I believe that will be my story for February too - yardage out but no yardage in. At least I hope so! *LOL* Well I actually know it will be, so I'm finally ready to discuss it here. Putting it in black 'n white makes me accountable to everyone, cause you know I'm into honesty and transparency.

2. Buying stuff
Since I haven't really been purchasing things for myself in December and January, I want to keep that up too. I own a lot of stuff...clothing, shoes, jewelry and other things. I really don't want to add anything unnecessary in 2018. I want to use what I have. Even though I'm not joining the RTW Fasters with Sarah at Goodbye Valentino, my plan is not to purchase any garments this year either. I want to make it myself, work around it, or do without it. 

My end of month recap for January is:
4 garments made/blogged
9.5 yards of fabric out of the collection
No fabric in

I'm presently working on a black version of my TNT shirt. That will be the next finished garment on the blog. I hope you will accompany me on this journey this year...it should be very interesting to say the least!

...as always more later!



50 comments:

  1. That's a real challenge, but I am sure you will make it, you basically have a fabric store at home��

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  2. Yes, totally with you on this. I have joined the RTW fast and I'm using the Stash Shrinker spreadsheet from here - https://sewjourners.net/2018/01/02/stash-shrinker/ - I have rich resources at home, with a sewing room stuffed to the ceiling on one wall and more in the loft. I'm really enjoying sewing things up. I did backdate to include the purchase of fabric in late december, so since 23rd December I have sewn 31 metres (but purchased 22) I'm trying to get a 2:1 ratio so the stash actually goes down.

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    1. Thanks Ruthie for that link. Love the spreadsheet she made available. I'm right there with you on the sewn/purchased ratio - need to up the OUT side!

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    2. Thanks for the link, it will help me realize how weak I am, already 96 meters fabric in and only 12 out... Really need to sew my stash first

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  3. I have far too much fabric and my sew jo seems to have departed. My local market stall has such good fabric that I have stopped going to Wednesday's market as I have no will power! More power to your sewing and stash busting I am hoping to get inspired.

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  4. I agree with B-rouchka that you basically have a fabric store at home. That's a LOT of fabric. My fabric stash is around half of your high as the sewing table stack. I need to sew more of mine and think that it's great that you are sewing your stash down. Congratulations on sticking to your resolutions!

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  5. I’ve found it easier to resist the urge to buy from Fabric Mart since unsubscribing from their e-newsletter list. Face it. I’ve been a customer for so long that I know when the big sales occur. This step has eliminated the daily temptation, and my storage area is the better for it.

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  6. As usual, Carolyn, you've provided great food for thought. For me the act of purchasing fabric tends to fuel the "sewjo," but I have to be brutally honest with myself: there is no room left for more fabric and unlikely to be all the time necessary to thoughtfully and creatively use what I have. So I have been engaged in a winter task of assessing/cataloguing what I have and making plans about how it will best be used. As much as I love looking at online fabric shops, I have sworn off buying more until there is a serious dent in the collection or a major need that the collection cannot fill. Tools that help avoid more purchases are unsubscribing from assorted merchants' email lists, and following sites like Goodbye Valentino's RTW fast, as well as your blog. These steps encourage me to think more carefully about what I have and how I can be creative. It is not easy to limit myself, but I think it is going to be a good path to follow. Thank you for your inspiration!

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  7. I not only hear you but am doing the same thing. My room looks like yours and I no longer feel comfortable with that. I have not gone so far as to unscribe from Fabricmart yet, but that may be coming. My fabric stash will far outlive me.

    Because of my size, I have problems with fit and am one of those that become paralyzed with fear of ruining the fabric. Well, no more. Some of it is so 'depreciated' now that it has zero value! Its time to go for it. Besides there is always more fabric out there. I am not getting any younger and neither is the fabric.

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    1. Garnet128 - I 100% agree with you on this. No more fear of ruining fabric. Just sew it! And I have no kids and wonder - who will have the daunting task of cleaning out my sewing room after I sail off into the sunset?

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    2. Well I haven't unsubscribed from any of the fabric company emails. I do delete most of them without looking at them when they come in. But honestly most days I still look at the Fabric Mart emails. I use them to remind myself of what I already own and it inspires me to sew.

      Also I agree just sew the fabric...that's what I'm doing this year too!

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    3. Garnet128 Agree wholeheartedly and with Rebecca. No one will want my stash when I leave this place. And I can use some of the "older" stuff to make up new patterns to get the fit right. And I have joined the RTW fasters in spirit (no photo). Carolyn love your blog and the conversations you start. Jean

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  8. You had a great month - congratulations!!

    I’d made plans not to buy til May but have a short list of things to shop for and am allowing for “but oh my gosh I really need this!” :-) but I need to set a hard limit on number of items or yardage. I just went into the fabric storage area and got a little annoyed yesterday. And I found that piece of gray athletic knit I KNEW I had. Grr.

    Your collection is deep and it’s rich. It’ll be fun combing through looking for special pieces to make!

    As for other stuff OH MY GOSH YES. I meant to not buy things in January and failed miserably. I really don’t need more things. There’s a reason I downsized living space and I honestly cannot buy another thing. I just replaced my area rug but it was desperately needed. But I bought new unneeded pillows; they’re going back.

    I’ll be tracking in/out with ya. Let’s do it! :)

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    1. I'm assuming that these rules are out the window for your trip East, right? Cause girl the fabric delights I'm getting ready to share with you will make you understand why I own a mini fabric store at home!

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    2. Ha! Nope. And I just had to clean up in the basement and reaffirmed my desire to add a few well-loved items. I’m not buying a ton of fabric. I can’t.

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  9. I've joined the no buy club this year.Fabric has outgrowth its storage space so it needs to be used. So far this year, I've sewn one long jacket, one cardigan and 5 tops. I started sewing a Sherpa coat that will take 3 more yards out of the stash. I have a bunch of projects cut out and ready to sew.

    I can't say that I won't buy fabric or anything else but it will be a mindful purchase. I'm learning to corral my impulse buying habits. I have a mini fabric store but there are some pieces of fabric that I need for the summer wardrobe. I've given myself a monthly allowance for buying fabric or embroidery supplies.

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  10. I just wrote a comment, pressed publish - and Poof, it was gone. I'm admiring your resolution to sew from stash. And I'm hoping on the MoiAussi train. Except that I haven't committed to not buying yet. Maybe soon?

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  11. Congratulations on sewing only from your collection! I'm making the same effort but it's hard when you see a fabulous, unique fabric. For me it helps if I just don't visit fabric stores or sites online meaning if I don't see it I won't be tempted! Since I'm moving this Spring/Summer I don't want to pack more which also helps. Best of luck to you on sewing from your collection - it's beautiful! Karen

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  12. Carolyn, thanks for sharing your plan. It's inspired me to do something similar. I am allowing myself a purchase of three yardages in June, likely from Marcy Tilton. In addition I am clearing out patterns this year. I will keep all my Hot Patterns, all my Marcy and Katherine Tiltons but my plan is to donate most of the rest, especially the Big 4. I want a clear, workable sewing room that gives me space to think and create.

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    1. Oh and all my Cashmerette, of course. My February goal is to sew the Concord for the first time

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    2. You are going to love the Concord. I have pulled a bunch of knits to make some long sleeve versions of it to wear as a layering piece now until summer. I've been pickier about pattern purchases so I don't feel as overwhelmed by them...so will try to continue to keep those purchases under control. But I really, really, really want to keep fabric purchases to the bare minimum this year!!!

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    3. Rebecca, I am someone who has collected patterns and mostly Vogues for over 40 years. In the past when I moved I did get rid of them thinking if I hadn't sewed them by then when would I. I regret that now. I see them come back sewn up and wish I had my old pattern. I can go over to Etsy and see if I can find it but needing a larger size makes that harder. Case in point, a Koko Bell Carolyn sewed up last year. Just a thought. Jean

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  13. Your post completely resonated with me! I never do the whole resolution thing but this year I did because like you, I looked at my fabric stash (which completely dumbfounds my husband and IS embarrassing - I swear I am not typically one of those people who collects, saves, accumulates) and was downright horrified. I'm 63 and honestly wouldn't use what I have in a lifetime never mind one that isn't likely THAT long :) I joined the RTW2018 Fast, and added to that no fabric, patterns, or shoes. So far so good! Except the pattern part - that remains out of control. What I've added to my process which is definitely helping (got this from a youtube video) is that I put it in my online basket, then delete it and then write down what I just saved $ in my book. This I added up at the end of Jan - what a REWARD :)

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    1. LOL - what a great idea, reduction of the stash BEFORE it becomes stash.

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  14. I love these fabric in/out tallies! I, too, am interested to see how much you can sew out of your amazing collection this year. Not buying from FM is tough, though, I feel like those daily emails are my friends, come to talk to me over coffee ...

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  15. You really spoke to me in this post. My fabric and sewing notions are taking over my house. I also love knitting so yarn is stacked, as well as, books to read. What makes me sad about this abundance is that it controls my future; i.e., I can't buy more until I use what I have (my rule). So I am steadily trying to "use it or lose it" and waiting to get all the stacks down to more manageable sizes so that one day I can shop again with a clear conscience.

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  16. Enjoy the newfound freedom and beautiful makes!

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    1. Melody - So far it has been an enjoyable challenge and I think it will continue to be so! I'm looking forward to "making things" work this year...thank you for understanding and the encouragement!

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  17. You are doing so well! I bought fabric this month, but it was mostly for commissioned projects, so I’m not counting that gains sewing from stash. I did buy some purple chambray for a very specific project that will be made soon, and I am considering a Spoonflower order for another very specific project, but to pair it with stash fabric. I’ve never ordered from Spoonflower before, and it is so expensive I don’t think it’ll send me on a fabric binge... I’ve even ordered sample swatches to make sure I get the exact right look (I have a VERY specific vision). On the whole, though, I’ve pulled out at least 12 stash pieces for my mini spring collection, so I’m perfectly happy to have a 6:1 ratio of stash to purchase fabrics, especially when I’m pairing the new fabrics with the old ones. You have inspired me to clean up my sewing space though... which has temporarily taking over my sister’s vacant bedroom with the fabric stash! I have a lot, and I need to sew it down this year!

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    1. Sounds like you're on a roll here with definite plans in mind. Congratulations!

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  18. I could go to town fabric-shopping from your stash! It's really amazing to see how much fabric you have. Good luck staying away from buying more - it definitely is challenging especially when you find it on sale. I can't wait to see all your 2018 makes.

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    1. Come on over! I'm very generous to people who come to visit. I have no problems sharing with other sewists as visitors to the Sewing Cave can attest. I do have a lot and hardly ever miss what I've shared...plus it use to give me space to add more. Now it would just add to my total yards out of the collection!

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  19. I'm into sewing the stash this year too. I realised I have some wonderful fabric for work suits and if I don't make it up now it will be too late. I joined the RTWfast plus planned not to buy fabric but alas I did buy fabric in Jan. Oh well. But at least it wasn't suit fabric! Good luck with your plans.

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  20. Loving fabric myself, and as a quilter not so much a garment maker, I can totally relate to having more fabric than you can use in a life time. I've made the same pledge myself about the middle of last year! And so far it's working :)The only fabric purchased is to pad out variety in a color for my "scrappy" quilts 1/2 yd cuts or fat quarters, I like to have at least 25 different fabrics of any one color. Not a problem with most colors but kind of limited in purples and turquoise. Have also listed all on going projects and given them priority numbers. That's working too. I wish you luck on your stash reduction, I've found mine to be an exciting challenge.

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  21. This post warms my heart! It is good to see you making strides toward your goal of not buying fabric. And you are an amazing seamstress, so I am sure making your clothes for the year will be attainable. I love that you enjoy fabric that much, and LOVE your collection. I will enjoy watching the pieces you pull from your stash to sew!!!

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  22. I have enjoyed reading all the comments, and nodding my head furiously. I love fabric more than I love sewing, and I really love sewing.
    What I have been doing with the hoard is culling it. I do make purchases for things that don't happen, and grab things at the thrift store (yes, they sell yardage at mine). I have ruthlessly taken out and donated the cotton I won't need to the sewing class at the high school (got turned onto their lack when my older son signed up for it). The yarn went to the library when they had a knitalong month (so did the needles) and the sheets I still use for 'muslins'. The coat I just finished was all stash (except for the nasty zipper), and I just wiped out the track suit velour (thrift store purchase) stash on a job. I am not immune to a pretty piece of Liberty lawn, and there's some velvet riding on the tails of a work swatch order from fabric.com.......but I've been good the last months.
    Now if my sister's stash could move back to her house, it would all fit in one cabinet. But I am sewing for the both of us it seems....so hers doesn't count!

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  23. Great fabric collection you have Carolyn; almost envious. In addition to all the suggestions and tips, here is mine.
    How about sewing clothes / bags / pouches / aprons, etc. and sell? That way
    1. You will clear out the fabric that you no longer want to keep or wear, and
    2. You will recover the fabric cost and
    3. Your desire to sew is fulfilled
    4. You can make money from your tailoring
    5. More sewing is better than more fabric purchasing. You will hone your sewing skills
    You are making clothes for yourself. Very good. How many clothes do you need? You are only shifting from fabric cave to your wardrobe. Not a great move.

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    1. Thank you for your suggestions, however I'm not complaining about having the collection. I'm just merely taking this year to sew from it because I have some amazing pieces that I've collected and they are not being used. Also, I don't sew to sell. It kills my creativeness. Any kind of sewing deadline or have to sew causes my desires to dry up because I really only like creating garments. Finally, I believe in constantly purging my wardrobe of unused and unworn clothing so there is a constant in and out which solves the too much wardrobe challenge.

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  24. I think unused fabric is a bit like clothes, you have to be ruthless sometime and get rid of it if it is lingering too long in the unused portion. I have to say though that I suspect you are the Queen of Stash, I have never seen anyone with so much available fabric. Not exactly sure but I think I have at the most around 20 yards. In some ways I wish I could be like when I had little money, then I didn't buy until I was ready to make.

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  25. I am so with you on this! I unsubscribed from FM's mailing list; doing so has significantly cut down my fabric buying. I have way too much and can sew for a long time without the need to buy another inch. I won't commit to not buying more fabric, but I will commit to sewing more from the stash.

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    1. L - you're right every time I say I'm not buying more let's open the flood gates to more fabric coming home! LOL! So I'm setting mini goals and trying my hardest to shop the collection before I think about looking for a piece outside of the sewing cave. Believe it or not but the FM emails haven't bothered me yet...time will tell though!

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  26. I am trying to treat fabric buying as I do gadgets for the kitchen. If I don't have room to store it away, I don't buy it. I have no where near the fabric you have, but I really want a new sewing machine and not buying fabric would certainly put me there much more quickly. I still look, cause it's fun and I do need a few pieces to add for summer sewing.
    I look forward to seeing what you pull out of your collection.

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    1. Ohhhhh what kind of sewing machine are you thinking about buying? I keep wanting to upgrade my 8900QCP but it sews fine and I have no real reason to do so except want...and right now that's just not a good reason! *smile*

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  27. Carolyn, your blog, garments and collection are always inspiring!! Looking forward to seeing what you create in the future.

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  28. Awesome goals for 2018! I know you can do it and I hope you have fun shopping from your collection. :) I am doing the RTW fast and even just a month in, it's been very revealing. I'm really curious to see how much my habits change in the next 11 months.

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  29. Marilyn he aprendido mucho de tu post, yo no quiero comprar más telas , tengo demasiadas.
    Es una tentación pasar delante de mi tienda favorita Ribes y Casals.
    Saludos

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    1. Reme - " I have learned a lot from your post, I do not want to buy more fabrics, I have too many. It's a temptation to pass in front of my favorite store Ribes and Casals.
      regards" - I translated your comment. Thank you for leaving one and for understanding. We should have fun sewing from what we already have this year!

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  30. I look forward to seeing all of your creations from your stash. You have collected some really beautiful fabrics!

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  31. This year my best friend and I said we won't by fabric for 6 months. I will admit It's hard at times. I wake up on the weekends and sew between 9 an 12. So far I've made a pair of leggings and I used a boarder print and made a cardigan. What ever fabric I have left over will probably be given away(except for my teal needle cord).

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  32. Hi Carolyn, for the last two years now I finally buckled down and attempted stash reduction. I did acquire some fabric with the promise it had to be made up as soon as possible and mainly this worked. My collection is measurable so I know my figures have gone from 220 metres and now stands at about 170 . However the figues are not so important in that now at least my fabric all fits in my one cupboard and I have enjoyed sewing and wearing fabrics that have been around for a decade at times. It is very satisfying to sew but even more so when it comes from deep stash. When I get to about 160 metres I will reward myself with one new piece of fabric so I still have the pleasure of thinkng of new ideas.

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