Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Stashing: Volume II

When I visited Dressew the other day, I noticed that quite a few items had gone on sale. In particular, there were some beautiful 100% silk chiffon prints for $9.99/metre, and others simply labeled as "100% silk" for $7.99/metre. This got me to thinking again about my love of pricey natural fibres and my position on stashing. Is stashing worthwhile if it'll save you money down the line?


As I wrote before - I feel quite strongly that I'd rather have my money invested in the bank than in my closet. First, I want it to pay off my student loan! And if it's not doing that, I want it in an emergency fund. And if not there, how about a retirement fund? Down payment for a house? Or, if I'm going to spend large amounts of it - how about bigger luxuries like a car? Or a Bernina? (Hey, a girl can dream!)

Now, this is all a matter of personal comfort and preference. I don't mean to sound like I've got it all figured out. Not in the least! I've definitely thrown back my fair share of $5 lattes. I ordered some books and patterns this month that I probably didn't need. But you've got to pick your battles and, for me, it's easy to say no to fabric stashing because I have other reasons for not buying it.

But walking past all that on-sale-silk got me thinking: I know I want to be making some beautiful clothes this year, and I want to use natural fibers. That chiffon would make beautiful blouses and dresses, and some of that simple 100% silk would probably make great lining (thus helping me avoid the dreaded "is rayon natural?" debate.) Wouldn't it be smart to buy some now, rather than pay possibly twice as much down the line when I'm ready to start sewing?

Well, I still think the answer is mostly, "no." Because if you buy without a plan, you can't guarantee you'll use what you buy. And even if you want to, you can't guarantee you'll have the right amount. But on the other hand, those savings... what a shame to miss out on them!

So, I'm thinking the best strategy is to make a long-term sewing plan. Make a rough and realistic schedule, pick the patterns, figure out how much and what kind of fabric and notions are needed. And write it down. That way, when the sales present themselves, I'll be shopping with a list instead of on a whim. And it doesn't feel so much like "stashing" when there's a plan in place.

What do you guys think? Do you shop with a plan? Or do you indulge in fabric spontaneously, the way I indulge in sweet treats and coffee?

For those who are curious, I had great success fitting my second Pendrell muslin. Keep an eye out for a post about it soon!


  1. I am in definite stash mode as of now. Since October I have begun knitting, crocheting, sewing and jewelry making as a way to escape law school stress. Most of my fabric stash comes from clearance, remnant bins and fat quarters, with a few pieces of larger yardage that actually have plans set for them. I do not so clothes yet, so small pieces of .5-2 yards will give me more than enough stuff to play with. I am also doing that with yarn and my current obsession of jewelry components. On one hand I feel immensely guilty spending money on what I see as frivolous. On the other, its nice to know I have a small stash (all my crafting supplies fit on a 5 shelve book case in my closet) allowing me to make stuff when my crazy law schedule allows. I think stashing, like chocolate cake, is good if done in moderation and with, as you say, a long term sketch of a plan.

    My aren't I Chatter McChatty today?

  2. The size of your stash sounds perfectly manageable to me! If I had room for another bookcase, I might slightly reconsider my position, lol :)

  3. I stash depending on price. If fabric is expensive, I must have a clear plan for it. If its $1-$2/m (or more, if its an insane discount for what it is) I grab as much as I think will be useful (or as much as is on the roll if its a small amount) and go from there. eg. I found a 100%silk that looks very similar in weight to the silk you're using for your blouse, usually $34/m here, on sale for $8/m , AND it was a 30% off day. I know I'll use it, so I grabbed about 6m. On the other hand, I now have 3 shopping bags full of fabric, which is my self imposed stash limit, so unless I find something else at a crazy price, I'm done buying till I've made some clothes.

  4. @sarah - I think your personal guidelines make a lot of sense, and if I keep sewing at the rate I plan to, I should probably follow your lead. Less than 8/meter for 100% silk charmeuse is way too good a deal to pass up if you're certain you'll use it down the line! I think having a "stash limit" is also very smart.

    I have to admit, a lot of my feelings about stashing fabric are borrowed from my feelings about stashing yarn, as until recently I was much more devoted to knitting than sewing. I wonder if I'll find that I'm more lenient about fabric because it's easier to use it up faster? But ultimately, craft supplies are craft supplies :D