It’s been an interesting few days, it has to be said.
Back last week, I had a nasty fall, like the decrepit old baggage I am, tearing some muscles my hip. Fortunately, X-rays showed it’s not broken, but apparently it’s likely to take a good month or two to get better. So not only am I not really at all mobile at present, relying on a wheelchair and a pair of crutches to get around, I haven’t been able to get much sewing done recently.
Well, until yesterday, that is. When for the first time in a while I had a real urge to sew.
But what to make? I didn’t fancy just doing some mindless piecing, but I didn’t want anything too complicated. I was looking for a little project to work on that wouldn’t take too long, didn’t require too much thought, and would provide me with instant gratification.
And I found it, thanks to the lovely Ms K, over at Easy Patchwork. A few days ago, she’d posted a picture on Instagram of the cutest little messenger bag she’d made, using a tutorial from mmmcrafts. Now, Mum’s been dropping some not-so-subtle hints recently about how useful such a bag would be for when she’s out walking her dogs, so I’d been on the lookout for a simple pattern to try my hand at.
And now, it seems, I’d found it! Perfect 🙂
But before sewing a bag for Mum, I decided to make a practice one for me. I thought it would be very useful to have a bag I could wear slung across my body over the next couple of months, leaving my hands free for crutches etc, until my hip gets better.
Good idea, non?!
Now, I didn’t follow the pattern exactly as given in the tutorial. For a start, I only had a half metre of the outer fabric I wanted to use (a beautiful Echino butterfly print) – so I had to scale the bag pattern down to fit what I had available. It actually measures 9 1/2″ square, rather than the 12″ square of the original. And, as luck would have it, it’s turned out to be the perfect size for a dog-walking bag. Well, I think so, anyway 😉
As per the pattern, I added a cute back pocket to keep my phone in. Check out that pattern matching!
But I also added a magnetic bag closure for security.
And used some co-ordinating Echino stitched webbing I had leftover from another project for the strap.
All in all, this little project was quite the success. Super easy to make, as well as to adapt. Pretty and practical, too. And quick to put together, thus providing that all-important instant gratification!
I’ll definitely be making one for Mum at some point, but in the meantime I think I’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy making good use of the fruits of my labours.
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...
This time next week Ms C and I will be on our way to Birmingham for the Festival of Quilts. Woohoo!!! It seems to have come round really quickly, and I’m so looking forward to it! But with only a week to go, I really need to get my backside in gear and start on the pre-work for my Colourful Quilt class.
After my last post, and the comments about my fabric selection, I made a few changes and I’m pretty much there now – well, I think this is about as good as I’m going to get it, in any case. I took out the darkest green and the darkest blue fabric and replaced them with lighter options, not only to balance out the distribution of colour value so that the darks wouldn’t dominate, but also so that there would be enough contrast between the 24 colours I had chosen and the background fabrics.
And here is the new round-up…
… with the background fabrics at the bottom of the pile
On the whole, I like it better; I think it’s more balanced, and much better reflects my initial thoughts of creating undulating curves in beautiful greeny-blue sea tones. Mmmmmmm!
Sadly (!) I had to break my fabric fast to get the fabric line-up how I wanted. I ordered a couple of half yards of solid fabric to replace the darks I wanted to remove, but while I was at it, I took the opportunity to fill up the Flat Rate envelope with some other fabric lovelies to make the shipping cost worthwhile. Well, it would have been rude not to!
In my defence, they were all in the sale section, this was my first ‘splurge’ all year, and, what’s more, the whole lot came in under the 62CHF limit allowed by Swiss customs before they tax the heck out of anything you want to import!
3 half yards of Simply Style
Half yard bundle of Theodore and Izzy
3 yards of Hello Tokyo
Judicious fabric purchasing – that’s the name of the game 🙂
In the meantime, an 11 page document detailing our preliminary cutting instructions has arrived by email. Yes, that’s right – 11 pages! And that’s only the cutting we need to do before the class! It’s mind-bendingly complicated, and all colour-coded too, if you please!
Crikey! It made my head hurt just thinking about it, so I took the sensible and adult approach to the problem. I printed off the instructions, and stuck them in the box with the fabric and shoved it away at the back of my sewing room. And there they will remain until the lovely Ms C, my partner in crime in all things quilty, gets back from sunny Spain later this week. At which point we can hopefully get together for a good old chinwag, before trying and work out what the heck it is we’re meant to be doing before we get on the plane next week.
Well, we did book the class because we wanted a challenge – bring it on!