Back in the day, when I first started sewing, the lovely ladies who were teaching me to quilt gave me some advice. “If you see some fabric you like and think you’ll use”, they said, “buy at least 3 yards. It’s rare you’ll ever need more than 3 yards of any one fabric in a quilt top, and it’s usually plenty for the backing of a lap size quilt.” And so from my early quilting days, I started buying largish lengths of fabric for my stash.
For the first couple of years as a quilter, my stash was relatively small. There were some great quilt stores near where we lived on Long Island, so I never really felt the need to ‘stock up’ or hoard. So, if I saw some fabric that I liked and had tentative plans for, I’d buy it. At least 3 yards of it. But I never made a habit of it.
Then RR was offered a job in Switzerland, and we got ready to move back to Europe. Where quilt shops are less plentiful, and quilting fabric is significantly more expensive. And so before we left the US, RR took me on a massive fabric-buying spree in Lancaster County, PA. I spent a small fortune stocking up, but figured that we’d save a fortune too, given the price of fabric in Switzerland.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind paying the going rate for fabric, and I would dearly love to support local quilting stores here. The problem is that there just isn’t enough choice, so to find what I want, I have to go online. And pay the resulting international delivery charges, as well as import duty and the not-insubstantial flat-rate ‘administrative fee’ charged by Swiss customs to merely process said package. So if I want to order a yard or two of fabric to complete a project, and am paying upwards of $25 for delivery, it makes sense to fill each and every flat-rate envelope I order to bursting with yummy fabric.
And so my stash kept on growing…
To enormous proportions…
To the point where it started to get overwhelming, and I had to start stashing in the spare room wardrobe, because I’d run out of room in my sewing room. It was all getting a bit out of control…
At the same time my tastes have changed. Pretty dramatically, actually. So although I still like the fabric I have, I no longer love all of it. And I’m never going be able to use it all. There’s. Just. Too. Much. Of. It.
That’s why I decided to have a massive clear-out. Get rid of the fabric that, realistically, I’m never going to use. Or which I bought too much of, have already used in another project, and no longer need. Or just don’t love enough any more to justify keeping.
And so I’ve spent the last month doing just that, working out what to keep and what it’s time to let go of. And I’ve been ruthless. I’ve cleared out well over half my stash. The pile of boxes to destash is now over 6 feet high…
These boxes contain yards and yards of fabric, along with some kits I bought and never got round to making. Pre-cuts such as jelly rolls, fat quarter bundles, layer cakes and charm packs.
… and other sized cuts of fabric…
…and a whole bunch of 1930s fabrics too.
All I have to do now is to work out how best to sell them! And for that, dear reader, I’m hoping for your help…
I was going to offer them to local quilty friends first, but after that I wasn’t sure. Where should I sell them? Online via my Etsy store? Or another way? I’ve seen destash sales and postings on Instagram, for example…
And then, how to sell them, as in what format? As yardage, or as bundles of fabrics that go well together? Or a bit of both? How do people like to buy fabric? How would you prefer to buy fabric?
Any thoughts and ideas extremely welcome! And don’t forget to check back soon for more details of my mahoosive destash 🙂
Well, there seems to have been a bit of radio silence chez LPC recently. And for a very good reason! Not only have I been travelling – visiting Mum, weekend in Bath, day trip to Lyon – I’ve also been sewing away like a crazy woman.
Mais pourquoi I hear you cry! Well, a local group I belong to – the International Women’s Club of Lausanne – is holding a Holiday Gift Fair in early December. And I’ve decided to take a table to try and sell my wares.
This is a bit of a departure for me, as, until now, I’ve never seriously considered selling what I create. Most of it is made for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, and ends up as gifts for people close to me. What’s more, I’ve never actually been convinced that anything I make is good enough to sell. But a couple of things have recently helped changed my mind.
First off, I successfully completed my Fabric Fast earlier this year, during which I committed to not buying any new fabric for 6 whole months. And so, from January to June, everything I made came my stash. This not only made me feel Deeply Virtuous, it also made me really take stock of the yards and yards of beautiful fabric I already have and which I’ve been hoarding for Some Special Project Or Other. But I’ve come to realise that such a Special Project may never materialise. Or, if it does, I’m much more likely to buy something yummy and new. And this is because of another revelation from my Fabric Fast – over the years my tastes have evolved. Fabric that I bought, say, 5 years ago, whilst still very beautiful, just doesn’t inspire me like it used to. It’s just sitting forlornly in my cupboard, waiting to be used. And that makes me a little sad. Fabric should be enjoyed, not hidden away in a cupboard!
And so I resolved to use up some of these former favourites to make beautiful and useful items – not just quilts, but things like various-sized fabric baskets, tissue holders, bookmarks, bags – and whatever else I can think of! And seeing as I can only use so many of these, and only have so many friends that would appreciate them as a gift, the logical conclusion is that I should try to sell them, so that they can be used and enjoyed as the fabric gods intended.
Secondly, I recently attended Patchwork in the Peaks – a twice yearly quilt retreat, held by the lovely Ms E in the glorious French Alps. And when I was there, I made a new friend, Ms S. Now Ms S, like me, loves modern quilting fabric, and was, like me, hugely frustrated by the lack of said modern quilting fabric available in the local area. And so she opened an Etsy store to sell fabric that she loves (she currently has some beautiful Jeni Baker Art Gallery fabric for sale…) One of the evenings we got chatting about fabric in general, and fabrics we’ve grown out of in particular, and she suggested I look into selling off some of my stash on Etsy, which, she assured me, is nowhere near as complicated or expensive as I’d previously assumed. And so a seed was planted…
Finally, I heard about the Holiday Gift Fair, and it occurred to me that this would be the ideal opportunity to maybe try and sell some of my creations, and then, if it goes well, possibly open up a little Etsy store myself as well.
And so I’ve been creating… And here is a little snapshot of some of my Works in Progress.
Noodlehead Divided Baskets
Pocket Tissue Holders
Reversible Twisted Fabric Baskets
And last, but by no means least, Kitty Cat Tissue Box Holders, just like this little guy – but in waaaay cooler fabrics 🙂
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday...
Well, who’d have thought it?!
It’s been 2 months since I took the plunge and signed up to the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, and I’m doing well. Really well, in fact. Oh yes!
I started out back in January by taking a good hard look at my sewing room, and deciding that it Was Not Conducive to finishing projects or making the most of my stash. Sure, I had fabric stored neatly in my cupboard and drawers (and the spare room wardrobe too, if you really want to know…), and my projects were all nicely organised into boxes, but they were piled up all over the place higgledy-piggledy and not desperately accessible.
Following the tactical purchase of an Ikea bookcase, and the relocation of my sewing machine to the corner by the window to enable said bookcase to actually fit in the room, my sewing space is now much more organised, and I can see all my stash and my projects at a glance.
New Ikea bookcase full of project boxes
My newly-organised stash cupboard
Pre-cuts and fabric bundles
Dress making fabric
Now I can actually see all my yummy fabric, I’m feeling inspired to cut into it and use it up. And I have been! I earmarked my stash of Taxi fabrics for the 2014 Sugar Block Club block of the month, and have already made January and February’s blocks. I’ve also re-discovered some Fig Tree pre-cuts, which had been stored out of sight in a drawer, and which I’m planning to use to make a wedding quilt for RR’s cousin, Miss S, and her soon to be husband, Mr E.
I still have a whole box of scraps which need to be sorted, but I’ve been waiting for a snow day to get going on this and we haven’t had any snow yet this year…
But what’s more important for me is that I haven’t felt the need to buy any more quilting fabric. I’ve unsubscribed from all the fabric-porn newsletters I used get, and haven’t been actively looking on-line at new, must-have fabric lines. A big test came 2 weeks ago, when I popped into my local quilt shop with Ms C, who needed border fabric for her beautiful one block wonder quilt. Yes I looked, and yes I touched, and yes I may have been a teeny bit tempted – but I didn’t buy ANYTHING!!! I don’t know who was more shocked – me, Ms C, or the owner!
What’s more, I’m not getting bored with the projects I have on the go, or with my stash, and I’ve so many quilt and dressmaking ideas whirring around in my head that I’m excited about.
So, all in all, so far so good on the Fabric Fast front – long may it continue!
I’ve not been sewing much this past few weeks. I’ve had a really bad back since Christmas and I’ve just not been up to much, to tell the truth. But it’s slowly getting better, and I’ve been able to use the time profitably by re-acquainting myself with my projects and my stash, and deciding what I want to work on over the next few months.
First thing to admit is that I have a lot of fabric. Actually, let’s make that a s**tload of fabric! I’ve been doing a bit of an audit since Christmas, and the quantities I have shocked even me. As did the number of projects I have in progress, the number waiting to be quilted, not to mention the number I have bought all the fabric for but not quite got round to starting yet. Hmmm…
My Stash and Project Cupboard
Inside the cupboard, all so neatly organised
Auditing and re-organising stashed yardage
Suffice to say it was all becoming a bit overwhelming. And this is one of the main reasons why I decided to join in the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, hosted by Rebecca Lynne at Making Rebecca Lynne and Jess from The Elven Garden.
When I first heard about their plan to completely stop buying fabric for 6 months, I was utterly intrigued. Over the past year or so, I have slowly been coming to terms with the fact that I might have a bit of a fabric buying habit. And that it may possibly be starting to get slightly out of control. Two years ago, when I last reorganised my sewing room, everything pretty much fit into the lovely glass-doored cupboard I bought to house my stash and my various projects. Now it is spilling over into piles of boxes everywhere, the bottoms of the drawers in my cutting table are falling out due to fabric overload, and I have started to invade other cupboards in the apartment to store my ever-increasing stash.
Extra projects in boxes that won’t fit in the cupboard anymore
More projects and scrap bin hidden under sewing table…
Cutting table drawer 1 – Assorted fat quarter and half yard bundles
Cutting table drawer 2 – Precuts: Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes and Charm Packs
Spilling over into the spare room wardrobe…
So the Fabric Fast idea really started to get me thinking. Could I do it? I was sure I could. More importantly, did I want to do it? And yes, I was equally sure I did. The decision was finally made when I read a fantastic blog post by Jodi of Tickle and Hide, describing her own 2013 fabric fast. She wrote about how she managed, and how, as the year progressed, she started realising her own style and tastes a lot more. This really struck a chord with me, as I seem to make a bit of this and a bit of that – some of my projects are very traditional and some are über-modern, some use a muted colour scheme and some are in-your-face loud. And in general, I love them all. But I really hope that not getting distracted by the lure of new fabric lines and of new projects means I’ll be able to focus more on defining my own style. And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll surely have fun trying 🙂
And so I joined up. And I feel pretty darned good about it, too!
So here is my master plan:
- First step – re-organise my fabric and sewing room, to get me motivated to start.
- Next step – create a list of projects I’d like to work on for the first half of the year. I have plenty, so narrowing it down will be tricky, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. I’m also planning on joining in with the 2014 Q1 Finish-Along with the lovely Katy from The Littlest Thistle, so I should have plenty of motivation to keep me going.
- Final step – get cracking on the sewing!
I have the feeling it’s going to be challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding, so wish me luck, and here goes…