Going on a Fabric Diet

Dear Sewfie,

I have WAY too much fabric. It’s cluttering up my house and life. I can’t find fabric that I’ve previously purchased. I’ve even resorted to re-purchasing fabric I knew I had, just because I couldn’t find it! I want to go on a fabric diet. How can I shed those extra yards?

– Packing an extra 100 (yards)

Dear Packing,

Diets are really pretty simple: burn off more than you consume. Simply buy less and sew more. Let’s start off by focusing on the buy less part of that equation. Just like Coke and Wendy’s French fries, you can cut back on fabric too. Starting today, tell yourself you will not buy any NEW fabric if there is a perfectly suitable alternative already in the house. (For those of you who are Extreme Fabric Dieters, you can preclude yourself from acquiring any new fabric while there is any fabric at all available in your house… good luck with that.) And that means, no, you can’t go out to your Local Quilt Shop to get that one little fat quarter in the perfect shade of purple to finish a project … even though you already have 10 other purples in the house which you deem not quite the right match. You’ve already proven you can’t be trusted to go into that shop: you will buy the one fat quarter, and probably $40 worth of other fabric that, although beautiful, fills no immediate need in your sewing queue. And, no, seeing how pretty it looks on your shelf doesn’t count as filing a need.

You know you have so much fabric, that you could meet all of your sewing needs for months (or years) without the need to buy more. You already know this to be true, so just try it. Being forced to use what you already have in your stash is actually an exercise in being creative. Instead of just buying pre-matched color ways from some collection, you will give yourself the opportunity to pick from different designers, different lines and even mix and match between modern and vintage. The results will be truly unique. And just like those pesky Pilates, all that stretching may hurt a little at first, but after a while, you will start to enjoy it and soon you will be appreciating the results.

Sewfie always practices what she preaches. On that note, here is an example: a lovely animal themed log cabin baby quilt she is working on – entirely from her stash:

  • The two plaids and the animal print are from a Daisy Kingdom collection (from 1994!), originally designated to be a toddler dress. The intended recipient is now 14, so that ship has pretty much sailed.
  • The calicoes are leftovers from a holiday Dress-A-Doll charity sewing project for the Salvation Army. Sewfie made Colonial styled doll outfits, way back 8 or 9 years ago when she was mad for sewing for 18”dolls.
  • Finally, the brown fabric is leftover from the cover model of the Sew Fun pattern Baby Sand Castle Quilt & Beach Ball. This fabric was called Pumpkin & Spice, but it looked just like sand to Sewfie.

What can YOU sew from your stash today?

Warm Stitches,


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