Saturday, October 03, 2020

My Fabric Collection 2020

When I unpacked my fabric collection one major thing I realized is that I neglected it when it was in the Sewing Cave. See it was so well organized and put away that when I added more fabric bins to handle the fabric buying overflow, I stopped paying attention to the main collection.

I saw that as I unpacked it.

The Fabric in the old Sewing Cave

Also, I own so much more fabric than I've been willing to admit I own. In all honesty, I'm an emotional fabric purchaser.  Meaning it wasn't bought when I was happy...no when I was unhappy with a job I worked at for far too long...I bought fabric.  When I was unhappy with my living situation...instead of dealing with it...I bought more fabric.

I saw that as I unpacked it.

Several years ago I wrote a blog post about how my fabric collection was my retirement fund. The internet gave me a lot of flack for that post. However, fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic...when everything shut down for months...my fabric collection was truly a good thing. For that reason and for the fact that it will take me into retirement, I am thankful for the fabric collection.

I saw that as I unpacked it.

As I put it onto the shelves, I wondered why I have so much green fabric when I don't really wear a lot of green. Oh yeah, it was the pantone color of the year and I bought all of the pretty hues of green. I've found 5 yard pieces of merino wool in red, navy and black - why so much? Oh yeah, fabric.com was having an amazing sale so why not buy all the basic colors.

The Fabric Closet at the bottom of the loft stairs

So much of my fabric has stories behind it. Where I bought it. Why I bought it.  Who I was with when I bought it. How I was spending my last disposable dollars to buy it. It's a living history/testament to my sewing journey...

I saw that as I unpacked it.

  • I found the one piece I purchased as a 18 year old and have held onto for all these years. 
  • I found a few pieces I bought when I made my first trip to the original GStreet Fabrics in Maryland. 
  • There are pieces from fabric stores that no longer exist in the NYC Garment District. 
  • Pieces purchased from Mood Fabric when I was a Mood Blogger and pieces that friends have given me over the years. 
  • There are also pieces from online fabric companies that no longer exist. 

I'm thankful for those memories.

I'm also thankful that I have this amazing collection. I can honestly say that I won't be buying any more fabric this year and probably not into the first quarter of 2021. Even if I start sewing from my retirement fund now, I know I won't make a considerable dent in it before I actually retire! *LOL*

Most importantly though, I've learned a few things about myself by unpacking and situating the collection. This is where I'm at now. Just like my extensive pattern collection (which hasn't been sorted yet), I will be sewing from what I have. It's time to make what I have work for me.

A tour of the fabric collection can be seen here

The new black/brown/shirting shelf

The new pinks/prints/red & purple shelf

The Sewing Loft is finally finished...


...and I'm spending my first weekend sewing.  Sewing in what seems like a very long time! 


Enjoying the view from this lovely window since it's a bright, crisp fall day. 

...as always more later!




50 comments:

  1. Such a lovely sewing space!!!!
    I have way more fabric than I am willing to admit to myself as well. But the last major purchases have been for Bible costumes for church theater productions, facemasks, and...cloth diapers, because the wonderful Curity flat diapers that I used as with my kids are no longer available...and I have a handful of folks that I really want to gift w/ flat diapers for their new little ones. But what I need to buy now are...buttons and zippers and thread and the stuff that I used to take for granted that I could just pick up from Hancock's on my way by. No more....

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  2. Looks great. I'm envious. One question though...where is your pressing station?

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    1. Brenda,

      I thought I would be able to put in a wall ironing board but it didn't work out. So I'm trying out some silver ironing mats on the cutting table. Otherwise, the ironing board is presently at the bottom of the steps. Not an ideal situation so I'm still working through that challenge.

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    2. Have you thought of hanging your ironing board? I just found a hanging system on Amazon and it really helped declutter my space while still having my board handy. You could think about a horizontal option even, perhaps under the window there would be room?

      Also, I adore this post. So many feelings and great memories behind fabric.

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  3. I thought I had a lot of fabric, but I can see I'm just an amateur. You have some gorgeous yardage. I love how you have set up your loft, and may be borrowing some of your ideas for my sewing rooms. It's amazing how much difference having slanted walls make in how things can be stored and organized. Thanks you for sharing your sewing space with us.

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  4. I, too am in the process of reorganizing my sewing space. My initial thought was to purge unwanted fabric, but the pandemic and the cost of new fabric has made me rethink that plan. Still a few what was I thinking pieces will go, but I have grandkids who want to sew with me, and I love shopping my stash. It has a lot of memories, even if I never cut into it. My sweet husband has fishing gear and he supports my passion to sew and I encourage him to get a new fishing pole or gun whenever he wants. My Mother used to tell me sewing was cheaper than therapy. I'm not sure it's cheaper, but it is surely more fun.

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  5. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings when you unpacked your fabric. It's such a marvellous collection - it's more than 'just' fabric! Like you, I have many memories associated with my fabrics. It's a wonderful hobby to have.

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  6. Just watched your Instagram fabric your. You have such a beautiful voice! Thanks for sharing your sewing and your thoughts.

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  7. I too have been an emotional fabric purchaser. I can relate. You have a beautiful collection, enjoy your weekend sewing.

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  8. It looks so nice and neat! I have (only) one of those shelve units and after a couple years there isn’t any more organization to it, and I fear some yardage is hiding in the back. Moving is so good for making you straighten every thing up. I hope this space brings you comfort and joy.

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  9. Thank you for sharing. Many of us buy stuff to lift our spirits. It's normal. You are have a great stash and I hope you enjoy every moment shopping from your stash to create something wonderful. I've been doing that with my quilt fabric - making my own kits from what I have and it's been challenging but fun. Can't wait to see what you make with your treasures!

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  10. I could have written everything in this post word-for-word. My stash is big because of retail therapy and trying to cope with a situation that seems to have no end in sight. I'm much better about it now, but there are still *those moments*.

    I'm glad you have settled in your space and are back to sewing.

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  11. What kind of machines do you have ?

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    1. I own a Janome 8900QCP and a Babylock Imagine serger. I'm repping Janome's 9450QCP too that's what's on the single sewing table in the pictures.

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  12. Ditto. Can relate to it all! I will never use all my stash no matter how long I live (and sew). Now when perusing the stash I pull out things I know I will never use and donate to local thrift or a new sewer that I encourage. I actually had a daily reminder on my phone for awhile to pull 1 thing from stash and put in donate box. Unfortunately, I kept going and pulling things back out of the box :( before taking it.
    You know...we have to do what is right for us as individuals. I am thankful for the stash that I have no matter what the reason for purchase. And it is obvious that you are as well.

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  13. Dang. I thought I had a lot of fabric! I do love it, though, when it is arranged in rainbow fashion, as you have arranged your stash. I'm in the "simplify" stage of my life now, though, and I've decided to choose five or ten patterns and just make them over and over again. It's not a uniform when you have so many bright and beautiful prints and patterns, is it?

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  14. Now I don't feel so bad about my collection of fabrics!! I do have lots - much of it purchased while I was still working and had ideas of what would be neat to sew on when I retired. Now, 13 yrs after retiring, I still have "tons" of fabrics. Many life events got in the way of my sewing, but I'm trying to work on it and thin down the stash. I have several cupboards and totes w/fabric, so it's like a treasure hunt at times!! I like your curtains on the shelves in the corners. What a neat way to protect the shelves of fabric!!

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  15. I live this post, Carolyn! My stash tells a story, too. So glad that you've settled into your new setting space.

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    1. Jodi - I know you meant sewing space but setting which I read to be settling space is such an appropriate name for how I feel about the loft. It definitely settles and soothes me.

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  16. Thank you for sharing your story of your fabric stash, my fellow Fabric-holic. Can you really ever have enough fabric? Beautiful collection. I always look forward to your makes! Happy Sewing!

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  17. It's full of stories!
    Thank you for the big smile on my face. Thank you so much!

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  18. Your new sewing space is lovely! I'm also an emotional fabric buyer--your words around that really struck a chord with me. I'm in the process of moving my sewing space to a different part of the house (to make better use of our space while we'll all be stuck at home a while longer), so pretty much this whole post hit home with me.

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  19. i like your sewing loft. What wonderful fabric you have. My goal is to sew my stash as well.

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  20. Your space looks so wonderful. I hope you enjoy making many new memories as you play with your marvelous fabric stash!

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  21. Thank you Carolyn. I enjoy your posts. Not only are you an Amazing Sewist You are also an Amazing writer Also! Keep up the Good Work!

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  22. Your new sewing loft is enviable you can actually walk around that table, perfect. I hope you have loads of sewing fun in that loft .I look forward to your posts always and hope to see another soon.

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    1. Connie - I was cutting out this weekend and almost wanted to cry at the ease of walking around my cutting table. To someone who has always had this I'm sure they think it's an overreaction but for at least the last 5 years I've been unable to use all four sides of mine. I'm going to try hard to let that never happen again.

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  23. As always, I envy your stash. Not so much for its size but that it's so well thought out, unlike my stash of way too many goes with nothing else see it want it gotta have it fabrics. I dare say you could walk in blindfolded and pull a fabric from each rack and they would all go together.

    I had to go back and read the retirement fund post, didn't really see any trash talk in the comments? Must have been emails. Anyway, I know what you meant - for years I told people (OK it was DH and the parents) that now I have the funds, not the time, and when I retire I'll have the time not the funds. And except for differing garment needs in retirement, it's worked well. IMHO as long as bills are paid, retirement & college (if applicable) accounts are being funded, what you spend on stash is no one's business.

    How is the heat resistant mat on the cutting table working for ironing? I've looked at them and thought I wouldn't trust them to no melt the plasticy finish on my cutting table. Many quilters (myself included) use a 2'x4' piece of 1/2" thick plywood covered in cotton batting and fabric on top of regular ironing board to get a larger area. Those who use lots of steam when pressing also put foil between batting and plywood. Maybe that's an option for your to put on the cutting table? OTOH, I've found having the ironing/pressing area away from the machines is good to get a bit of exercise in. But steps may be a bit much...

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  24. I forgot to mention - you can buy ready cut 2'x2' or 2'x4' plywood at big box home improvement stores. A "real" lumber yard might cut to whatever size you need.

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    1. The trash talking was on the internet not on my blog about my fabric collection. But the pandemic has definitely vindicated me! *LOL* I will report back on the ironing mats. I read the reviews and it seems like I shouldn't have a problem with it but who knows? It will only be for pressing seams open and the like. For any large jobs I will march myself down the steps to the ironing board.

      Oh and no I couldn't do it blindfolded but there is a lot of coordination going on in the collection!

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  25. Abby says, I love your blog and i love your stories...I am so glad i stumbled across your blog a few years back. Thanks for sharing your joys and sorrows and for sharing your amazing fabric collection. Looking forward to seeing your made items and reading your blog for your perspective on life...

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  26. I bow down to the queen of fabric! It's an absolutely fabulous collection. Enjoy shopping in your very own fabric store.

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  27. I'm so happy for you, Carolyn, and your new sewing studio. I agree the pandemic has confirmed that having a fabric collection is so worthwhile. Sewing these last few months from my collection has given me such peace and, therefore, sanity! I have my ironing board in a different room and like the idea of getting up from the machine to walk to my iron as it's good for my body. Karen

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  28. Your new space looks almost too nice to use! It's so well thought out, did you make drawings of your plans to get everything to fit? I'm sure it must be a big bonus to have some natural daylight now, too especially after The Sewing Cave being in the basement!

    I can relate to owning and enjoying having things in the stash for sentimental reasons. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was so thrilled to have the stash I have. It's nothing in comparison to yours, though! I used one of my fabrics from my mother to make a couple of baby outfits for my newest grand-niece. She was born a six weeks early and so small even premie clothes were still too big when she finally got to go home from the NICU. I also used a doll pattern that I made for my daughter's baby dolls, almost 40 years ago. So the baby got something from a cousin, a great-aunt and a great grandmother without me having to leave the house for anything other than sending it the mail! By the way, the 2 bunting sacks easily fit into one sandwich bag!

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    1. Mary - thank you. No I did not make a drawing. I put things where I thought they would work and then moved them around until I had the configuration that I wanted.

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  29. Love everything you post. Am so envious of your fabric collection! I have a question about your cutting table. I have a similar table. Did you take the legs off? What is it that is supporting it. I hate the legs on mine they are always moving, would love to have it be more stable. THanks!

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    1. Laurie - yes I did take the legs off. I damaged the legs in a move because they were crappy legs. So I bought a drawer system from IKEA and that's what my table top is covering. If you scroll through some of the posts in my "Sewing Studio" heading, there are quite a few posts on how I put the sewing cave together with better looks of the cutting table. Hope that helps!

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  30. This reminded me that in high school I shopped at the Original G Street Fabrics on G Street in DC, before they moved to Maryland! LOL

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    1. Toni - I'm impressed! I guess I should have written the original GStreet in Maryland!

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  31. I am relieved on your behalf that this sewing center location appears much more protected from the ravages of future hurricanes!

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  32. Just want to say,, i TOTALLY get this... the pandemic has me diving into and seeing what i DON'T need.. making about 2 lap quilts a week! Trying to use up that "retirement" stash... been retired for 17 years.. can't sew fast enough...LOL

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  33. I just reorganized my fabric and found a piece that is 49 years old. Lovely crisp Key West Hand Print Fabric, the kind used by Lily Pulitzer for her iconic clothing. The company no longer exists, but you can find the fabric on eBay or Etsy for $75/yd. I have one yard, now I have to find a use for it.

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    1. HospiceNP - I'm impressed that you have a yard of an original fabric used by Lily Pulitzer!

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  34. Impressive and I love how you have it by type and COLOR. That so works for me too. Your new space is so welcoming and I know it will be a beehive of creativity. Enjoy!

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  35. I understand you completely. one day I realized that I will never sew most of them , I donated most of the to the local community college fashion department. some young designer would be able to put it to goid use.

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  36. I love that you bought fabric when you were 18 and have kept it! I'm 65 and still have a couple of yards of beautiful Scottish tweed that I bought when I was 18. I live in the UK and at the time I was living in Scotland. I worked in a garden centre which had three small shops and a cafe within the same grounds. One shop was a fabric shop which sold mainly Scottish tweed and I fell in love with one particular one. It was the first time in my life that I saw fabric and just HAD to buy it. I don't know why I've never used it; maybe because it's almost too pretty to cut into. It's grey, pink and pale blue check, 100% wool and I just wouldn't know what to make with it.

    Your sewing space is just gorgeous, I could spend all week in it!

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  37. You've got me beat. I don't have any fabric from when I was 18. My oldest piece is Pendleton wool a friend brought me from the factory in Oregon, when we were both newlyweds. I have been sewing from my collection too. There is really not much I need. And I see no problem with referring to it as your retirement fund. Mine will be my retirement activity. I've told my family that when we do retire in 4 years, I will have my own drone and the fabric will just land on my front step. I can't wait! Glad to see you are settling into this great new room. I want to see you wear something smashing to go vote. Send a message with color and style, action, not words!

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    1. TC - because of Covid-19, our Governor sent all registered voters ballots in the mail. We can mail them back or there are local drop boxes that you can put them in. Mine is going in the drop box tomorrow. I want my vote counted EARLY!

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