Are you a Hoarder?

I don’t know if it is the start of spring (well in the UK at least) but lots of bloggers are getting just a bit introspective. Why do we keep buying fabric and patterns when we already have enough? First up was Bunny with this provocative quotation from Mimi.

“When I was employed by a major pattern company years ago, I learned a very important piece of information…Pattern companies don’t sell patterns; they sell dreams.  75% of patterns purchased never even get opened by the person who purchased them.  Look in your own storage, and tell me I’m not wrong on this…right?”

I cringed, recognising myself.

Then Kim from The Material Lady wrote a thoughtful piece about sticking to certain styles which suit us, but does that mean we are in a rut? Again I (who have bought the same pattern more than once and had about 20 light grey T shirts) could relate.

And finally Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic posted an article where she describes her fabric collection (I too refuse to call it stash like it is an illegal drug). She has a tremendous amount of fabric put aside, but then she makes lots of clothes, not just for herself. She says her large stock is to take her through retirement when money will be short.

So – what do you think?

My immediate reaction was somewhat defensive.

I admit I have something like;

  • 150 patterns
  • 100 pieces of fashion fabrics plus
  • 10m calico for muslins
  • 20m silk organza
  • 10m lining fabric
  • 10m various interfacings
  • 100 zips
  • 50 reels of thread
  • 500 buttons
  • and a drawer full of scraps

I swore that I will make up all my remaining patterns, post Kondo.  But of course Mimi is right. Most of my (second hand) patterns have never been made up – they are in their pristine factory folds 50 or so years after they were manufactured.

What is true of my patterns is also true of my fabrics. I literally have so many pieces of cloth that I don’t know where to store what I already have. I have a basket under the bed, as well as the official place. Last weekend, in Brussels I succumbed and bought three metres of dark navy fabric with tufts of white, red and blue. I like the fabric, and will probably make up a Chanel type jacket. Excuse: my husband egged me on and paid for it (birthday present).

Stash v Plan
Dream, Stash or Plan?

Do you Dream, Stash or Plan?

The basic reason I have so much stuff is because of how I sew.

This is most easily explained by describing my cooking method. I have a reasonable repertoire of meals that I cook quite well, and based on my wide experience of eating for many years I can make most things.  I don’t have a recipe book and rarely consult the internet. I never pick up those recipe cards in the supermarket and buy all the ingredients. Do you?

Sainsburys Recipe cards
Retro Recipe Cards

I cook my signature dishes, but often I “make do”. Broccoli in the fridge? Soup, stir fry, with pasta or steamed with fish. Fancy a curry?  Ginger, garlic and chilli in the fridge, maybe some coriander, dry spices and can of chick peas in my panty. In other words I see what I have before I decide what to make. I use dried, canned, or frozen ingredients to make up the meal and use my creativity and knowledge of cooking to make it taste pretty good. Even though I live within a ten minute walk of a Waitrose, M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury’s I rarely nip out for a lemon. I would rather use what I already have – a lime, orange or tangerine; possibly vinegar or a splash of wine, tamarind or lemon grass? This is partly laziness but also I don’t feel the need to obey a prescription. What is a recipe, but someone else’s opinion, taste and methodology? I have enough confidence in my own approach to vegetables, fish and meat; herbs, spices and dressings; international flavours experienced through travel and good ethnic restaurants. I don’t feel the need for Jamie to hold my hand.

It’s much the same with the sewing. I can walk to some very good fabric shops. McCullough and Wallis, and John Lewis are a short bus hop away ( I now have a free bus pass). But I don’t really want to buy everything listed on the notions list. Sometimes it is necessary, but invariably I have something left over from a previous project. I may have bought a job lot, at a low price, on the internet – say of zips in a variety of colours – that will certainly do. (I mainly buy long zips – 23″ or so and cut them down if they are too long.)  It makes a lot of sense to buy interfacing, lining, underlining and calico in 10m pieces rather than bits and bobs.

I feel that buying what the list says is like following a recipe slavishly – something you might do if you were learning to cook, or wanted to create something exactly like someone else.  I find that making a garment (if you are reasonably experienced) may require, and even benefit from, many compromises and departures from the plan. I would rather take the risk of this than going out and buying a specified 21″ zip in exactly the right colour and then finding that, post-alterations,  I need a 22″ one.

Threads and buttons
Threads and buttons

 

I buy things I know I will need, when I see them.  I buy fabrics that suit me, in sufficient proportions to make say a coat, jacket, skirt, dress or blouse. Invariably less than a pattern envelop will specify and sometimes I have to change my plans because I am short of fabric. But I enjoy the challenge and creativity involved here, just as I enjoy it when someone turns up unexpectedly and I manage to make a meal from salad ingredients, dry noodles, a chilli and a tablespoon of peanut butter.

The other main reason I have many patterns and pieces of cloth is that I find them inspirational. I enjoy looking at them. I enjoy putting together fabric and patterns, sometimes in unexpected ways. It is the click of creativity that spurs me on to hours of labour.

When I Kondoed I considered giving away my collection, and it’s not that I have a very strong emotional attachment to it; it’s that I fear I would build it up again. For me the pleasure of thinking about what I might make – with a fashionable, modern pattern; or a beautiful, vintage couture pattern, or one I have made myself – is always seductive. And creativity needs raw material, literally, too. This piece of fabric lends itself to this type of garment.  And my mind plays with these unlimited options for days, sometimes years.

Fabric Stash
Patterns and Fabrics

Do you hoard stuff or just buy what you need for the current project? Does your method relate to how you do things more generally?

51 Responses

  1. Like Carolyn, I’m a collector, not a hoarder. I have a certain amount of storage and $ allocated to making stuff. If I don’t exceed either, I don’t see a problem. It just so happens that I have a lot of storage. 😉

    I have a lot to say about this subject, and will post my lengthy thoughts on my blog next week, when I have more time.

    I just gave a well-received talk today, Data Thinking Before Data Crunching. Tomorrow, I teach ~36 graduate students a hands-on workshop on data crunching. Blogging will resume next week.

  2. I am a lot like Carolyn too. I have a sewing room, shelves, lots of bins, and tons of thread, notions, zippers, interfacing and buttons. I do not want to have to run to the store for something I need. I have purchased a few fabrics that once home, have proven to be so distinctive, I will not cut into them — one example is the licensed Beatles “Sea of Holes” fabric. I have enough fabric that a few years ago, I sent twenty APO boxes of fabric and notions to the Iraqi Bundles of Love project, a charity started by a U.S. Army Sergeant, the son and husband of quilters, for the women and children of Iraq who suffered through a war not of their making. I did not miss a bit of it. I still have bins an bins and perhaps my daughter-in-law or grand-daughter will keep some and send the rest to ARC some day.

  3. Stephanie

    I’m really looking forward to hearing other people’s responses to this. I am definitely not a hoarder. I was thinking the other day that after SWAP I will only have some coating and a couple of odds and ends of wool and cotton left in mu sewing cupboard. I haven’t been sewing very long though in comparison to others.

    My point of reference is my knitting yarn as I have learned over the years that the stash stuff no longer interests me for the most part so best not to accumulate more. I get excited now about thinking about projects and buying supplies to pursue those specific projects. That way my taste is in line with what I have to work with. I think this is more in line with how I want to work, although I do like to have a bit of extra interfacing on hand and seem to have a penchand for buying navy zips and thread!

  4. I have a roomfull of various sewing related hoards. Many of the patterns are self drafted, and these get pruned regularly. The fabric was built up because I live a long way from shops, and used to buy a suitcase full when I went to London, mostly low price. I don’t buy calico for toiles now, it’s more expensive than ‘market’ fabric. I’m changing habits or strategy (pick a term!). There’s more fabric than I could sew in a year, and I’m setting out to diminish the hoard considerably, by sewing from it instead of buying new. 3 months dry so far …….

  5. Guilty pleasures. I do not have a fabric collection, I buy what I will sew. That said, I do have a couple of 2m lengths that were never made into what they were originally purchased for but they will be sewn this spring/summer (honest). Most of my stored fabric is the left overs (0.75m – 0.3m) but it still takes up a lot of room and I honestly don’t know why I keep it. Patterns are a slightly different matter. Yes, I have patterns that have never been opened and I keep buying PDFs too. I’ve no zips or trims and my threads are fast diminishing. I have nowhere near as much sewing stuff as other people but what I have still seems to take up an awful lot of space.
    I’ve been following a few French sewing blogs and they have a monthly de-stash project – a pledge to sew something from your hoard (even the scraps) once a month. It’s a good strategy but it doesn’t stop you buying more!

  6. When I buy fabric I generally buy everything I need to complete my garment. I do have fabric on shelves but I’m mindful that storing it for too long is counterproductive for me, just looking at Carolyn’s stuff makes my stomach twirl. I’m also a bit ocd about thread and zips matching and I follow recommendations and instructions. I’ve just completed six or seven garments made from fabric I had in, I feel energised now and am looking forward to purchasing more (but not too much).

  7. I don’t hoard because it makes me feel ‘guilty’ if I have too much stuff. I have, at the moment got 4 lengths of fabric and they worry me. I need to get them made up and out of my sewing drawers. I always finish one project before I start another and clear up in between projects too. I do have a lot of threads which is very handy, jars of buttons (all colour sorted) and a pile of linings but they don’t take up too much space. I have made small fabric baskets for my cotton scraps (again colour sorted) and they actually look quite pretty on a shelf. What I do have though is a lot of leftover fabric pieces which are probably too small for a project at the moment but may be useful in the future, say for the granddaughters or a quilt, cushion, runner or dog bed! They annoy me firstly because they don’t fold up neatly and secondly because they accumulate. I have impulse purchased fabric in the past and not used it so I have been selling it on eBay, at low prices, just to clear it from my house and my mind. Can you tell I am a control freak?

  8. I don’t consider myself a hoarder, but it is very easy to build up a “stash”. I tend to buy fabric on impulse – because I love it or because I know I’ll regret it if it sells out and it’s “just what I’m looking for” at a later stage. I find it impossible to go fabric shopping and come home with just the one piece that I intend to work on straight away. However, I do find fabric that has been in my collection for a long time loses it allure and starts to become a “to do” chore. Either that, or I get far too precious about treasured pieces and fear cutting into them in case I mess up.
    Must rethink my usual strategy. Having typed this, I can now see how crazy it is all is!

  9. Almost everything in my stash has an intention attached to it. I did try to clear some fabrics a while back and was simply reminded of things I still wanted to make. In truth I am unlikely to make it all up but I try not to buy now unless it is something needed to compliment a fabric I am actually using.
    Like you I buy some essentials in bulk, and enjoy ‘making do’ with what I have. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  10. Yes. No. Yes. Sort of… years ago, when I first started sewing, I would shop for exactly what the packet told me to get. I soon realised that I rarely needed anywhere near the amount of fabric but didn’t dare buy yardage using guesswork. So I started to accumulate leftover bits. It always seemed sinful to throw away any scrap unless it was clearly smaller than my hand, don’t ask me why. [Although I was brought up by wartime parents/grandfather who saved every bread wrapper, piece of string and elastic band that came their way.] When Is tarted making things for other people, I had to tell them how much to buy, guided by pattern packets, and I kept the leftover lengths. Before long, I had a washing machine box FULL of scraps.
    When I was making costumes for the amateur opera company, I got to buy fabric ‘on spec’, always cheap, always from the markets. I still have some 20 years later.
    I bought a sewing machine 20 years ago that came with gazillions of thread spools, and I’m slowly getting through them. Thanks to the markets I have a stash of buttons and zips, all colour sorted, as are the scraps and threads…
    Now I buy whatever I like, whenever I like…but I sew prolifically, and most of my hoard is still scraps and oddments. I’m getting good at using it up with crazy quilt squares, bias binding and piping, and I’ve just cooked up a new stashbusting idea. Watch me!

  11. This is a very interesting post Kate. I’m away from home a lot of the time at the moment for family reasons so am not looking at my fabric collection on a daily basis (nor do I have the opportunity to sew) but there is certainly more of it than I need. I also know that I will probably never use some of it and should really pass it on to a new home. Having said that, I bought three metres of fabric from a charity shop yesterday and I’ll almost certainly come away with something from the Fabric Godmother’s open day on Saturday if I manage to get there. I’m with Jenny on fabric scraps. I can never bring myself to throw them away but I don’t like the fact that a lot of them can’t be folded up neatly. I don’t have anything like your pattern collection but I do have quite a number that have never been opened! One of my pledges for Me-Made-May this year is to open a least a couple of them and make something new!

    • Oh the horror of messy scraps! I trimmed some of them so they had straight edges, and folded them up. But if I haven’t used my scraps after a while I do give them to the charity shop. I felt guilty at first but they tell me they sell very well. Surprising I know.

  12. I am definitely a fabric hoarder. Having ample storage space and easy access to NYC garment district shopping (as well as buying fabric whenever I travel) tends to make one accumulate. Finding time to complete all the planned projects is the problem. I’m with you on stocking basics like zippers, threads, underlinings, etc. It’s frustrating to be in the middle of a project and need to run to the store for interfacing or the like.

  13. I really enjoyed your article. If you ask me that Kondo woman has a lot to answer for. I amass fabric [small scale], patterns, coffee table fashion books and Newbridge jewellery. No I haven’t used half the patterns, no I don’t wear half my jewellery. So what. I love it. And as for my fabric. I like to take it out, look at it and make plans for it. Ditto my patterns. Then I get tired and put it away. Yes, I am a Gollum. And proud. Don’t give away your fabric. There is nothing wrong with hoarding stuff and having lots of some stuff if we enjoy it. Kudos to the Kondo rolling method for storing clothes though – it means I can have more clothes. Probably not what Ms. Kondo intended. Lol. Great article. Selina

    • Thank you for such a lovely and funny comment. Kondo does say that folding (and rolling) takes up less space than hanging. But I agree her intention is probably different to yours and mine.

  14. Much like you, I cook with what’s around, which in turn is often a rather odd collection because I don’t go shopping with something specific in mind most of the time, just pick up whatever is in season or takes my fancy.
    My fabric collection isn’t huge but sizeable, and I love it. Like my cooking, my sewing usually follows a very loose plan – I notice that I’m wearing the same cardigan all the time and decide I need some other layerable garment. Those black jeans getting too much of a workout? Make some trousers.
    Consequently my collection is mostly comprised of the “if in doubt, buy 2m” pieces of fabric that I picked up because I liked them and could see them fit into my wardrobe in some, yet to be defined, capacity.
    And since I now have a fair idea of what kind of garments I like to make and wear, my oddities and notions reflect that, and I tend to buy in bulk more often than not.

    • Yes I have sewing in my mind much of the time and like you I do see something that sort of “speaks to me”. I am sure you know what I mean Katja.

  15. I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder, but I operate just like you and have lots of supplies. I buy the very best quality fabrics I can, because all of my inspiration starts there, and I need to have it in my hands. I have lots of fabric, but it’s not hoarded. I’m not saving it for a rainy day, drought or bad times. I like a bargain, so buy what is good value and if I find I won’t use it after a while I donate it easily. I can’t operate any other way and I’m mostly happy with it.

  16. I guess I probably have hoarding tendencies, but I have to keep them a little in check because I do not have a sewing room. I feel virtuous when I make something entirely from supplies on hand, as if that justifies the original purchases, but I am not sure that is logically sound.

    • Yes, that makes sense I think Mags. You are so good as so many crafts that the “problem” must be multiplied. One of the reasons I don’t knit is I don’t think I could accommodate a yarn collection too.

  17. You know, I think this is a perfect example of why Kondo doesn’t work. Those collections spark joy, even if it isn’t the direct joy of use. I will never give away the beautiful jars of buttons I’ve collected. They make me happy just sitting there in the sun.

    • Thank you Lynn. I don’t have great buttons, and hardly any sunshine to sit in, but like you I am happy with my lot.

  18. I love fabric, so it is my ‘collection’. That said, I have been known to overdo it a bit. However looking at some of the wonderful fabrics I have, I can’t regret that at all. And I can’t resist a new ‘old’ fabric. In fact I’m a weekly visitor to my local charity shop sewing corner. Is it an addiction? If it is, it isn’t a bad one, or particularly out of hand, and it isn’t doing anyone any harm. I get pleasure out of it, and mostly, I make it up into useful things that I also love. I am fonder of the fabric, than the patterns and accoutrements of sewing, so the fabric came first. The need to do something with it, seconds later. My first post here too, so thanks for an interesting and thought provoking blog.

    • Thank you Trish for commenting, I really appreciate it, and learn so much from comments and blogs. Charity shops seem entirely virtuous don’t they. Recycling, donating to charity and finding unique items that seem to have had a previous life. And when you have finished with them they can go back to the charity shop.

  19. Interesting! I, too, bought fabric for retirement. What I did not plan for was who I would be then so things have changed and I am regrouping. I understand the pattern purchases. I have done the same. I also combine pictures of clothing items I like. I have upped the challenge recently but trying to stick to a limited color palette and style limitations – like it must have some indication of a waist. You are right, I like the challenge. I certainly don’t need more clothing. I have also added another level by trying to put together a capsule – new things must work with my neutrals and current basics. I try not to buy anything new but I do need to once in a while and sometimes I just fall in love with new things. My collection is larger than I need and I do sort through it periodically but like you, some pieces are reminders of travels or adventures or just loved ones. I have made almost everything up – in my mind, some many times! As I am still figuring out what this new life will consist of, I tend to actually make the things I will really get some wear out of or that I find some kind of artistic challenge in. Oh yes, I am also taking the time to make sure things fit well and are flattering! The introspection is good. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your insight Sue. It is interesting and I have had similar thoughts, and thankfully I think I have more or less worked out (six decades later) what suits me in terms of shape and colour. So now everything does more or less go with everything.

  20. Borrowing a phrase from my husband,
    The difference between a hoarder and a collector: the hoarder feels shame about their stuff, the collector feels pride.
    Pretty much none of my fabric was acquired with a project in mind. It’s all just stuff that I like and have been gathering or have been given over the past twenty years or so. I’m pleased every time I use a piece and remember when I got it and where I was and what I was thinking.
    Like time travel.

  21. Mmmm. Yes, I hoard, er, collect, and I’ve added to it now that Hancock’s Fabrics is closing all, and I mean every single one, not just a select few, here in the States. I added jacket and pant fabric and a limited amount of dress fabric to the collection. None of it was on trend but classic neutral colors so if it marinates for a few years, not a problem. I sew quite a bit and use up my fabric. Fabric that I’m absolutely not in love with gets used for the muslin, so-so fabric used for the “first” garment and if it is a success, then made up with my “favorites”. I must admit, though, there are pieces in the collection likely to never be used. A white silk/wool crepe comes to mind. What on earth was I thinking when I bought that.
    Theresa in Tucson

    • Yes! I like most of my fabric so I don’t want to use it for the toile or first, rough version. So I go out and buy “cheap” fabric to toile or drape with and then I find my collection grows even more, but now includes fabric I don’t actually like.

  22. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Kate. I sewed almost everything in my wardrobe from my early teen age years until my mid-30’s, then stopped because I had three kids, two jobs, etc. In those days, I would buy a piece of fabric, the pattern, and the notions all at one time. I had no stash. All those beautiful clothes are gone now, and I have just a few photos. I do have all the lovely patterns, including a few designer Vogue.

    Thirty years on, I picked up sewing again, and was shocked at the prices of both patterns and fabric. So about six years ago I started buying for my stash, or my collection, if you prefer. I noticed in a short period of time that silk in particular was going up in price rapidly. From $16/yd at 54″ width to $25/yd with 45″ width. This happened about 2010 to 2012. I’m going to write more about this on my blog. Thanks for the topic.

    I have already posted about “How I Buy Patterns.” You find it here, although you may have to scroll down: diaryofasewciopath@blogspot.com

  23. I wish I had kept patterns from when I sewed in the 1980s. However, when I started to sew again in 2013, what’s been scary is how easy it is to obtain patterns and fabric. I have currently got at least 40 pieces of fabric, and know my comfort zone is between 10 and 20. Also even in 3 years my taste has changed, so I don’t want to have a massive stash, because part of the fun of sewing is buying fabric, and hopefully my budget will always include money for that. I have collected too many patterns, both paper and PDFs. So this year I am trying to sew rather than buy. I don’t mind having vintage patterns, as they will hopefully appreciate in value. Thanks Kate for a really thought provoking post.

    • I can relate very much to your view as I used to sew – completely let it go for decades – and came back to it. I have virtually nothing from the early days (I think I found one dress that I made in the 1980s, plus a few photographs). I collected an amazing library of vintage sewing books when no one else wanted them and they were pennies in charity shops.

  24. I am of the mind that many have read Kondo but not really understood her message. I believe her message is not that we have to part with extraneous belongings, but instead we should rid ourselves of thing we do not enjoy to make room to enjoy that which brings us joy.

    As a sewist and knitter I would not part with the materials and yarns I have bought that I loved so much that I spent hard earned money to have them. This is different from going through your materials and ridding yourself of bits and bobs and fabrics and yarns that you do not see yourself using.

    Feel free to keep your stores of items that you will eventually use. Her message is one of joy and using what you have, not simply dumping everything that does not have an immediate purpose today.

    • I think you are right in your interpretation of Kondo. But clearly there are also mixed and ambiguous feelings – pleasure with guilt, the “weight” of acquisitiveness, really feeling desire followed by loathing. In general I don’t have much guilt – my possessions do spark my creativity – but I know I thrive more on restriction and discipline than I do on too much choice/freedom.

  25. Great post! I love my collection, when I feel poorly and too ill to sew I will often get my box of vintage patterns out and spend an enjoyable few hours rifeling through and imagining different projects. I adore all my sewing bits and bobs they make me happy and that’s what’s important. Lou

  26. No I am not a hoarder in general. I do not have that much fabric that I won’t be able to sew it up in my lifetime assuming I don’t die in the next few to 10 years ! However I can not abide waste so I do have difficulty throwing away scraps – this is hoarderish behaviour as they may not ever have a use but they are so far confined to my available storage. Same with buttons – i probably have thousands but again kept within a few small containers but still hoarderish. Threads I have kept down to only about 30 spools – not bad for my 30+ year sewing hobby. Guilt about waste unfortunately impacts on my habits on keeping scraps but for the large ones I enjoy the challenge of combining them to make a useful garment. Last year I made a few tops and skirts from large remnants which I love and wear.

  27. Great post. I am a hoarder which I am trying hard to resolve. Yes I hoarded all the scraps tied neatly into bundles with a strip of matching fabric until the day I bought an American sewing magazine. A lady had sent in a letter to say that she kept an old pillowcase in her sewing room and with each new project she gradually filled it with all unusable scraps. When it was plump enough she then donated it to the local cats/dogs home for bedding. I still haven’t managed to fill one but maybe I should make a smaller one out of a remnant I no longer love!

  28. I tend to buy with specific projects in mind. Then reality/time set in and they don’t get made with the speed I imagine they will, so things start accumulating. Like you, I enjoy looking at my goodies, the wonderful vintage buttons and biases, the books and magazines which I read all the time and the fabrics and patterns. They inspire me. I consider them my “palette” waiting to be pulled into a beautiful piece of art. Hopefully! A fair amount of my stash has accumulated from gifts from friends, homes being broken down after someone has deceased, etc. I think of friends who kindly gave me these things and it makes me feel good when I make something with them, bringing on thoughts and memories of a friendship. So much of my stash has not been purchased by me so I don’t get the guilts over that and I actually feel like I honor my friends when I make something. I hope I have a kindred spirit to share my “wealth” with when the time comes. All that said, my “stash” is no where near the size of many. I do try to keep it under control.

  29. I can’t even think like an organized, or even SANE person when I am looking at my sewing space. I embrace the chaos, clean it up every once in a while, and start again. I have old patterns, new patterns, I collect old sewing books, I change my mind, have unfinished projects, ridiculously prolific weekends balanced with long periods of inactivity. This is all just my life, now. I sewed a kimono top for a friend from silk fabric her recently deceased 100 year old grandma bought in Japan probably 60 or more years ago. How’s that for a stash? I’ve got commercial patterns so old, the instructions were handwritten – still untouched. They will have their day… maybe. I’m okay with it all now. Interesting thing, though. I don’t really have that many patterns. They all fit in one plastic tub… okay, its probably a 30 gallon tub, but still a tub.

    • Thank you Mimi for sharing your wonderful dis-order. I feel like you much of the time, but I know that good organisation does make me feel better, but I find it quite hard work.

  30. I am a hoarder when it comes to patterns, and apparently I am over it when it comes to fabric and yarn – it is most peculiar. Maybe a pattern is like a magazine, they are selling me a good dream…

  31. Carolyn Rogers

    I curate a rather large collection which takes up two full height custom made double door cupboards my lovely hubby installed into my sewing room about 10 years ago. I inherited fabric and notions from my MIL when she died and lots from my sister-in-law when she downsized from house to small unit.
    I have purged ruthlessly about every 3 years donating to school or charity shop pieces I didn’t love, colours not in my best palette and a LOT of curtain/cushion fabric that was never going to be used.
    Last weekend I spent 8 hours grouping by type and editing in Fabric Stash App so I can find the piece in the right bin. Found a piece of salmon linen mix I purchased in 1987 in London, no plans but can’t part with it.
    Maybe I should stop leave instructions that my coffin be lined with it.
    But mostly I intend to sew in the next few years as my home work balance changes.

    • Thanks for the interesting comment Carolyn. I laughed out loud about having a coffin lined with salmon linen – very smart. The key for me is being able to see what I have – so easy to forget what I bought some time ago. I didn’t know there was an App for it – I find that a bit scary to be honest – like stocktaking, health and safety and facilities management I feel it is too much like work.

  32. I found this really interesting especially what you said about stash and collection. I think I shall change my terminology. I operate like you .. cooking and sewing (although my sewing is done very quickly now… my “fast fashion” ). I work with what I have and I think this makes you think more and waste less, even though you have a lot in the collection. I too find my collection as a start to what I make, and then maybe modify to suit what I have. I do find it hard to throw away good sized scraps and really want to make some small things to use it up.. will I? I don’t know but at least I’m thinking about it. I also want to say I remember where and when I bought nearly every piece of my considerable collection and I love it!

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