Friday, January 17, 2014

How to NOT Buy Fabric!

Hello Again Stashbusting Friends,
  Once again I did not photograph my new favorite blouse, or do my tutorial for you, or any of what I had planned. My Korean language classes started up again and my little brain is feeling squished or like part of it is being rewritten as I try to fit another language in there. I'm not complaining though, I've always wanted to learn another language and it's exciting to see it start to take shape but it leaves very little brain power left over for writing the comprehensive, informative and madly witty blog posts I had planned to start doing this year.

Before I start I just want to say this isn't meant to make anyone feel bad and I don't want to sound harsh because that's not my intention. I want to help you and me live in freedom with our stuff.

Everyone on twitter is going through withdrawals, (Hi Guys! I also got on twitter! Come find me!) so I thought why not post something already partially written. Finally! Time for some photos!
Look it's my itty bits stash and my ribbon and elastic drawers.

More small pieces and sadly I do serge in that mess. 
Oh look! Some coherent thought:
It has been a great year and I’ve learned a lot about my fabric buying habits. If your goal was like mine, to use up all the excess fabric you have accumulated and not buy any more than my existing space can hold, you don’t want to go back out and make the same choices that landed you in that situation in the first place. Here’s some tips I’ve learned to keep the stash under control 
Delete all the emails! No matter who they're from; Connecting Threads,, Girl Charlee, etc. Don’t even read them. It's marketing at work!  If you can’t see it you can’t realize how necessary it is to your life and you can’t purchase it. 
Ask yourself, "Will I live long enough to sew all this fabric up?" Cindy's tip on thinking of fabric as sewing time explains this clearly. 
Only Shop with a plan or plans. Depending on what you sew you may only need one or maybe all of these plans. 
Personal Sewing: Know what you love to wear/sew with. Make a list of the holes in your wardrobe that you want to fill. List the patterns you have and want to make and the kind of fabric you need to make them.
Basics list. Those go to colors or neutrals or staples. The cream knit you always need for undershirts or leggings. Buy it when you see it. But don’t be like my Alzheimer's lady who bought a tube of toothpaste every time we went to the grocery store. She had ten, twelve, brand new, still in the box, large tubes of toothpaste under her bathroom sink. Don’t have fabric Alzheimer's.

Random Sewing for Others: If you don’t already have what you need in your stash make up personal lists for the individuals you sew for or buy only what you need for that project. I know the not-nieces and nephew’s favorite colors that I may occasionally buy but otherwise I buy what I need for the project I’m going to make for that person only after I've found.
Quilting/Home Decor: Keep a list of what you have so you can make an intelligent buy. Think about how much fabric you have now and how many quilts you will have to make before it is gone. 

Some other things I do,

  • Start a Pinterest Board. Mine's called Fabric I Want To Wear. For some reason when I pin it it makes me all happy and it feels like it's mine!
    I just realized this may be a good way to figure out my colors too..
  • Remember the pieces you love already at home languishing away unused in piles everyone kicks. Remember those you live with giving you the hairy eyeball as you truck more fabric into the house. Remember your checkbook balance. Remember whatever you need to remember to guilt you into not buying more fabric. Just try to make it positive cause according to Inception, "positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time."
    I'm not even sure what all's in this pile... but I sew right next to it.
  • Just say NO! Just say, "No". Say it with my guys, "No." 
  • Remember you'll forget! Hehe, really though in two weeks or a month we won't remember that fabric we had to have. We will remember this!
Oh yellow fabric I still haven't used... I'll get to you eventually. 
Sadly this isn't even the bulk of my stash. I can't show you it cause it would give away part of the curating challenges coming up... I counted and there's over 150 pieces of fabric not shown. 

So do you have any tips for NOT buying fabric? 


Heather Bee said...

I do try to get out my stash and paw through it when I'm feeling really sorry for myself. Oh pretty purchased fabric, hold me until the buying frenzy passes.

EmSewCrazy said...

Oh yes. I think we're all going through fabric withdrawals!

Dottie Doodle said...

Great tips! I really like the Pinterest board idea. My biggest problem is vintage fabric fairs (especially the Liberty lady who is so nice I have to buy from her). So I'm not going to go to the next one.

Sharon said...

I know I try to only purchase specific project fabrics but the 19.5m of activewear fabric might have been a bit over the top :)

Andrea Firth said...

You did a great job offering tips to not buy fabric, I don't have any to add. I did want to say, I love your the new look of your blog! That's something I've been putting off doing for my own. Seeing your fabric stash makes mine pale in comparison. My biggest issue is to actually sew anything from my stash. It seems that every time I start something for myself, actual work gets in the way. *Sigh* the life of a dressmaker!

EmSewCrazy said...

Glad you like the tips. Great job on avoiding places that tempt you. The Liberty lady sounds irresistible!

EmSewCrazy said...

:) Are you planning on setting up an athletic shop? I'm sure you'll find things to do with it and you can cross that fabric off your list. :)

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks! I was hoping everyone would like the new blog look.

Hope you get some time to sew for yourself! I'd love it if I could make a living with my sewing but understand how frustrating it must be at times to not be able to do it for yourself.

Gjeometry said...

Woah! That's a lot of fabric, but I'm positive others have even larger 'stashes'. My collection is not too large, but I'm pretty committed to attempted to sew through it. Here's the catch for me. I go to thrift shoppes all the time and they very often have fantastic high quality hard to find or vintage fabric for ridiculously low prices (like $1 / m as I posted on IG and twitter!). So, I mean, how to resist that? For me, the easiest to follow tip for not buying fabric is simply the price. I know I can find fabric for such a great price that even if I love a fabric, if it is full price, I won't buy it.

EmSewCrazy said...

I know there are many who have larger stashes but mine is too big for me. :) That's one thing that I think is cool about the stash busting, everyone has different sizes and goals.
I feel your pain with the thrift stores. I will admit I bought at them last year because the great fabric for that cheap of a price is too good to pass up. Price is a really good factor to consider!

Borsmenta said...

My stash is far from this but giving me a lot of stress. I´m pleased to see it´s not only me sewing on a pile of fabrics (literally) :)
I love the new look of the blog :)

EmSewCrazy said...

Yes you are not alone in fabric piles or the stress they bring. So glad you like the new blog design! :)