(Drawing above is of the layout of my sewing room to be as discussed in the last post)
I’m pretty sure that with the redo of the sewing room, this fall will not see much in the way of actual sewing – and yet I find myself planning out an autumn wardrobe anyway. This is something I find myself doing every year – a habit leftover from back-to-school shopping – though I rarely make more than one or two of my planned items. My goal in making a list this year, however, is to help me in the quest to whittle down my fabric stash to something manageable going forward. I am ashamed to admit it, but this is what my fabric stash currently looks like:
Plus I have another shelf full of items that intend to use sooner rather than later, plus I have a few pieces of fabric sitting on top of my printer for “imminent” projects, plus of course I also have three jackets, two skirts and a couple other items in various stages of construction. I know that I am not the only sewist with much fabric and many unfinished objects, but I would like to use my upcoming room-reno to put an end to this habit of collecting fabrics “just in case” and then cramming them into a tiny closet never to be seen again. One part of my redo will involve putting proper storage shelves into this closet, but another part will focus on halving my fabric collection so that it all fits tidily into this closet. To do this means letting go of all sorts of odds and sods collected from thrift stores and “our social fabric” sales and keeping only the materials for which I have *enough* to make something out of. I will also get rid of all “mystery” fabrics and stick with the jerseys, cotton wovens, silks, wool, and higher-quality materials that I have purchased (rather than found) over the years. And while I will allow myself lots of quilting cotton, it will get organized and sorted into sections that are likely to get used (versus those that aren’t).
And so my autumn wardrobe list is useful because for each thing I write down I think about what fabric I currently have and could use. As much as I have collected all sorts of fanciful material – the truth is, at the moment I am a very practical sewist. This is true for crochet and knitting also. I don’t have as much time as I would like for making, and so I limit myself to things that I will actually wear (darker colours, plainer designs, simple cuts). Collecting fabric for some other kind of garment sewing really doesn’t make much sense! Limiting the amount of fabric that I have at my ready also means that when I am inspired to make something new, I can allow myself the luxury of picking the right fabric for that project rather than trying shoehorn a textile into a pattern unsuited for it.
It also means putting an end to the lie that I am somehow spontaneously creating non-stop. I’m lucky if I can create ten garments in a year – which at most would mean having fifteen different garment-ready fabrics on hand at any given time to choose from – rather than the bizarre collection that is currently growing every time I attend another sale or take apart an old piece of clothing so as not to waste the material.
My autumn sewing list includes a couple of dresses for meditation retreats (a Moneta and a Cappuccino), a couple of knit-fabric tops, a couple of skirts (perhaps one of my ufos will count), a kimono-style top, a cape (for which I have a beautiful vintage wool), and a new tote bag. I will be lucky if I make two of these items – but choosing out fabric from my collection for each of these will be a starting place for what I will keep (I can envision the fabric for each). From there I will stick with the basics, throwing in some of the fancier dress and skirt fabrics because they cost some serious money, and paring out anything that I don’t love. The quilting fabrics will be more difficult, but I’m willing to live with some uncertainty as I go through and divide the scraps into colour piles for later use or discarding. I am thinking of attaching small baskets to the back of the closet door into which the fat quarters and bits can go in their colour families. It feels naive to think they will all fit.
Fortunately, my yarn collection isn’t nearly so advanced – and for that I am grateful! My intention for yarn is to fit into under-bed storage which is entirely possible given that I only own two smallish-boxes worth (one is wools, the other is cottons). And speaking of that, I’ve got a lot of dishcloth knitting to catch up on! Apparently I went crazy a few years ago and bought a lot of supplies for dish cloths which have been languishing as I moved onto other things.
I’m taking a big breath as I contemplate this – but I’m committed! Both to the de-stash and some autumn sewing – even if I have to decamp my sewing machine from the clutter in order to do so.