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Shop Your Stash!

Stash (n) 1: hiding place; 2: something stored or hidden away (source, Merriam-Webster)

If you’re like most seamsters, you have probably accumulated a little collection of fabrics-also called a “stash”. This can be one of the best tools in your sewing arsenal. A fabric that you bought, say, on vacation, or when it was on sale at the end of last season can become a cornerstone of this season’s wardrobe plan. To ensure that your stash continues to be useful to you, it’s important that you periodically “shop” it.

Every six weeks or so, I go into my sewing-room closets and pull everything out. I refold fabrics and order them by color or fiber type; then I restore them to their shelves and drawers. During this process, I pull out a few that catch my eye and match them up to patterns that I want to make. Those I put in the “to-do” queue.

By doing this, I accomplish several things. First, I remind myself of what I already have. This serves both an emotional and a rational purpose. Some of my stash fabrics remind me of places I have been and things I have done. It also helps me use up fabric that would otherwise continue to wait for a project. Lastly, I save by not running out and buying a new fabric for every project. (Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it!)

This works not only for fabric but also for zippers, trims, and notions. Periodically, I buy zippers in bulk-just to have them on hand. I also keep a supply of snaps, hooks, elastics, trims, and buttons that I pick up on sale or when I am out and about. I keep these in rolling carts with drawers and “shop” them as well. It’s a great way to avoid having to run to the store for notions on a cold winter’s day, and it helps feed my creative impulses!


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