Monday, December 30, 2013

Stash Diet: 2014

Ah, the lament of most sewing enthusiasts . . . "I need to go on a stash diet!"  I myself didn't really feel this way, until about six months ago.  Somehow, I acquired a lot of fabric this year.

When Andrea and I were visiting together earlier this month, we spent a fair bit of time discussing the need to sew from our respective stashes - even while we were shopping to enhance them!  These conversations led to us deciding to make a pact:  in 2014, the majority of our sewing would be from stash, and we'd help to keep each other on track.  We nicknamed it:


And then we thought:  maybe some other fabric hoarders lovers would like to join us?  So just in case, I set up a Flickr group and made the above badge grab-able.  (Just click on the "share" icon at the lower right of the photo page to get the HTML code.)  I've already added the badge to my sidebar.

There are really no rules for the Stash Diet, other than those that each sewer sets for him- or herself.  The group will exist (if anyone joins) as a place to share stash-busting projects and post discussions.  If we do get a nice group though, we have some ideas to spice things up a bit.

So here's where I am with my pledge:  some thoughts about my stash and then the "rules" I'm setting for myself.

* I found that this year I bought a lot of fabrics I loved, knowing they would become stash.   That is, I didn't have a project in mind for them when I bought them.  I'd like to use some of these beautiful fabrics.

* Of the fabrics I bought that were for specific projects, many didn't get used because I got distracted by another project requiring another fabric before I even got around to the first one!

* At this time last year, I felt my stash was manageable.  Right now it feels somewhat oppressive to me - partly because I've used up all my available storage, but also because I have SO many fabrics to choose from when starting a project, I don't know where to start.  I want my stash to feel like a door to possibility, not something that weighs on me.

My Stash Diet Pledge:

* I will do 80% of my sewing in 2014 from stashed fabrics, in the following way:  I will only be allowed to purchase one new piece of fabric after having used FOUR pieces from my stash.
* Certain exclusions apply:
   ** Fabrics for lining and underlining are not included in the diet, and will be purchased on a per-project basis.
   ** Muslin for working up new patterns is allowed, once I've used up what I have on hand.
   ** If I need to sew a gift, I will try to do so from stashed fabrics, but if I don't have anything appriate, I may purchase fabric.
   ** Travel allowance:  while traveling, I may purchase a maximum of FOUR pieces of fabric per trip.
   ** I have not included my small stashes of quilting cottons or leather in the diet, so any projects I make from those will not count as one of the four needed in order to earn one new piece of fabric.

Over the last month or so, I've taken pictures of every piece of fabric in my stash and loaded them into separate pages up under the header.  I'm starting with 76 pieces of fabric - not an overwhelming amount by some standards, but too much for me.  And more than enough to keep me sewing for all of 2014.

Oh boy - it's going to be hard to limit those impulse purchases, but knowing that I've got someone watching my back should make it a little easier.  Head on over to Andrea's blog to see her own pledge.  And if you feel inspired to do so, join us over at the Flickr group!


57 comments:

  1. Ooh I might join! Let me think about it. Hahaha!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Membership is open to all. We're here when you need us!

      Delete
  2. Seriously, I'm loving this! Gotta go check out your fabrics. I don't think I can join today - as I'm about to go fabric shopping :-) (But I totally see where you're coming from and I think it's terrific.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gah! That makes me realize that I should have mentioned:

      This starts on Jan. 1, 2014!!

      Delete
  3. I’m in! And I totally forgot to mention the start date too - so distracted! My last Hawthorne purchase went through last night... now it's all about reaching that magic 5 number, but given that I'm supposed to be taking my time with makes this year, I may not even miss fabric shopping (famous last words!) Thanks again for making the badge and setting up the flicker group - you're a superstar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem! Ha - I KNOW I'll miss fabric shopping! You've got to help me stay strong. I went and picked up 2 little pieces for skirts this morning. That's it for this year, I promise!

      Delete
    2. You two are hilarious. I said to my husband: I can't do this thing. The minute I tell myself to do something I get all nervy and reactionary.

      I really do try to avoid stash - and I'll sew 8 things in a row with stash fabric before I decide to make something that I need to purchase fabric for. What I've got going for me is expensive shipping to keep me on the straight and narrow.

      And I'm too lazy to hit the garment district without an idea in mind.

      But yarn shopping creeps up on me. It's light and easy to store. And it feels so soft. The shipping is reasonable because even 8 skeins aren't heavy...

      Delete
  4. Gail, I really subscribe to your travel allowance...I guess that's just my way to find a good excuse for having bought fabric during my latest trip. I really admire your effort to take photos of your stash. I will do that too...I have been postponing it for way too long. Thanks to you ladies for coming up with this great initiative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you're joining us, Silvia!

      I'm really a visual person - I think having photos of all of it will help me keep track of what I have. It should be pretty satisfying to watch those numbers dwindle over the course of the year!

      Delete
  5. I'm in. I was JUST thinking about how I needed to go on a fabric diet, use what I have and get it all sorted. Thanks for this. I need someone to hold me accountable. Will we have monthly check-ins?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Saw your instagram too :-) Isn't it crazy how so many of us need others to keep us accountable? I'm totally guilty of that. I think monthly check-ins are a great idea. I've started a couple of threads on the group, and one asks for suggestions. I will remember to start a monthly check in thread too!

      Delete
  6. I'm not yet at the point where my stash is bothering me, so I refuse to participate :) I do admit that I've recently outgrown my storage capacity, but that's okay. You don't have a problem if it doesn't bother you, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great place to be, Kelly! I was very content with the size of my stash last year. I totally agree that if it doesn't bother you, then it's not a problem. This is a theme I'm hoping to have extend to other areas of my life as well this year: use what I have before mindlessly acquiring more. For me, it's time!

      Delete
  7. What a great idea! I will probably take part informally, as my sewing for Mood keeps me in a constant supply of new fabric, but otherwise I'm really looking forward to sewing with the treasured pieces of fabric in my stash! I'm excited to hear about your experiences!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sonja! Andrea and I were pretty excited to do this between ourselves, and now I think it's even more exciting that other people are joining in with us!

      Delete
  8. I'm in too! I put myself on a stash diet of my own a few weeks ago since my stash is overflowing my sewing room. Off to gra the button and join the Flickr group. (Found you through Mela R. by the way :) ).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Welcome, Katie! The more the merrier!

      Delete
    2. Ahh - you're kglee!! I see your name everywhere, LOL!

      Delete
  9. I think I need to join as well - I now have over 200 pieces in my stash, but whose counting :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think I need to join. Probably for both patterns and fabric. I'll have to figure out my personal rules in a bit though. I went almost pattern free on year and that felt too forced.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrea put patterns on her pledge, but I'm not as concerned with my pattern-buying habits. I have just about every pattern now, so I'm not buying as many any more, LOL!

      Delete
  11. OK, I'm in. I have a baby stash compared to most, but I was totally surprised when I just counted and found I have 24 woven and 12 knit fabrics (so just a little less than half of what you have). Since I tend to buy for a specific project I didn't realize how many extras I have. I'm a bit scattered when it comes to making sewing plans so I really think this will help me to focus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! I have to say, I'm surprised you have that much!

      Delete
  12. Hee hee. . . just wondering whether you have a yarn-stash diet going on in parallel with your fabric-stash diet. Mine has been interrupted by a couple of binges during the past two years, but in general has done fairly well. I certainly appreciate Ravelry's stash-for-sale listing, though: more things have been sold off than converted into my own new projects!
    -- stashdragon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't see why you couldn't join us and make your rules be about yarn. We hadn't really thought of that! We just both felt that we needed to be accountable to someone else in order to stay motivated :-)

      Delete
  13. Great idea, and I love your hit list - your Victoria blazer is just fab, as is coat 3!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I was happy to see when I looked back that I loved so many of my makes this year!

      Delete
  14. Good for you! I look forward to seeing your progress with this pledge.

    No fabric stash diet for me. I've managed to keep my fabric stash under control. Now if you could tell me how to organize the four overflowing bins of patterns I have (and the ones I keep buying), I would be eternally grateful ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oy, I wish I could! Rent a storage unit maybe? LOL!

      Delete
  15. I'll be following you progress rather than joining fomally... The photographing stash is a good idea though, I might need to do that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a little tedious and took me a few days, so I'm hoping it will be worth it!

      Delete
  16. This is such a great idea! I can hardly imagine how overwhelmed you feel by your massive stash ;) I feel already overwhelmed by my stash with has "only" 20 fabrics (not counting 3 boxes of quilting cotton, woha). I am struggling for the last couple of days not to go fabric shopping, because I have project-dedicated fabrics at home. :) So, I am also pledging to use up more fabrics from my stash :) By the way, I really like your idea to catalog the fabric!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehe, believe it or not, there are stashes bigger than mine! But any stash is too big if it feels overwhelming to its owner. Glad to have you joining us!

      Delete
  17. oh these posts always crack me up! i've been in the habit of fabric shopping only a handful of projects at a time, and so lamented many missed sales and good deals due to budget constraints... however, i've read so many "overwhelmed by stash" posts that i no longer feel bad about it! i do have a few pieces of fabric with specific projects in mind that i haven't gotten to, sometimes distracted by the shiny and new, but i'm trying to get through them in the next month. good luck with your stash diet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I honestly never thought I'd be one of "those" people! But I had a kind of hard year, and ended up doing a lot of retail therapy in the form of buying fabric :-) Much better to operate in the way that you do!

      Delete
  18. I'm so in Gail! And I love how we can make up our own pledge so we can tailor it to our own "issues" - haha! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great, Eleyna! I was hoping you'd join!

      Looks like we are having some badge issues - maybe you can help? I took a look at your blog and it looks like the badge you posted links back to this post. I thought that I made it so that the badge links to the Flickr group, and my own badge in the side bar does. Did you grab the badge from here, or from the Flickr page? Another member was having trouble so I'm trying to sort it out!

      Delete
  19. Great idea! I am in for this :)
    Although I am not subscribing to your travelling idea - I'd hate to pass up an opportunity :)
    It's not that I feel bad about my stash, it's more that I hate it sitting there in a state of unmadeness!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool! Glad to have you with us, Lizzie! Not to worry - everyone gets to set their own rules. It's all about making a set of guidelines that work for you to help you achieve your goals!

      Delete
  20. I'm definitely in! too many fabrics in my stash :) and if I don't plan to use them in the near future (beginner's buying impulse), I will try to donate fabrics :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you have been a little busy this year ;-) Maybe this coming year will give you a little more flexibility to get in some sewing time!

      Delete
    2. I hope so :) maybe a little organization could be a plus!

      Delete
  21. What a great idea - count me in!
    I don't think I have a huge stash, but this challenge is certainly going to encourage me to refresh my fabric stash by using existing fabrics before buying new ones. I'm hoping this will stop it from getting out of hand!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Not sure If I have commented before, if not Hello! Been following you for a while and love the idea of this challenge (and your idea to photograph your stash, I might do that too). I'll be following along and joining the flickr group, I need to do this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (catching up!!) Hi Laurel! Welcome to the group!

      Delete
  23. You put me to shame...I have piles of stuff that need upcycling and fabric for me. And my family are such enablers....6 metres of polka dot cotton from the husband for our anniversary and a gift voucher for the local sewing shop from Ma for Christmas. Eep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I would not be on this diet if I had room to store more fabric!

      Delete
  24. Perfect timing and I am so in! However, I may have purchased some new fabric at the Kitchener meet-up this weekend (know I would) so my Stash Diet officially started yesterday :) I'm including yarn in this pledge (I'll post about it soon-ish once I fully settle on my own rules).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY! And the Kitchener stuff doesn't count, because you were on a trip! (If that's going to be in your rules!)

      Delete
  25. Gail, this is perfect timing! I would really like to join for this year :0) m.b.

    ReplyDelete
  26. That's a very good idea of uploading pictures of all your fabric, so you always can see what is in your stash. I often forget about fabric/yarn that I have. Recently I was tidying up in my sewing room and I was shocked by the amount of fabric accumulated and forgotten... I might do the same with my stash..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been very helpful - I find myself referring to those pages a lot!

      Delete