On Buying Fabric

I have a problem.  I’m addicted to buying fabric.  OK, and if I’m being honest, patterns are a bit of a problem, too.

I realize that many of you have similar “problems.”

Look at all of the fabric I’ve received in the last week from Girl Charlee and Fabric Mart:


I actually had an order come from Mood, too, but that is for a very specific special project that shall not be named, and the fabric shall not be photographed and shared until later.

And you know I’m not sewing at this fast of a rate these days.  Nor have I ever, really.

After combing through my stash for an appropriate fabric to make a dress for Cheeks’ birthday, I realized within my probably ~1000 yard stash, I have no fabrics of appropriate weight and yardage.  For serious?  I incredulously informed Mr. 5, and his response was a very appropriate “Are you f*cking kidding me?”

It’s making me yet again rethink my approach to buying fabric.

As I waited for the Fabric Mart order to arrive on Friday, I realized that enough is enough.  My expedit is filled to the brim with fabric, and I can’t find one suitable cut for a dress that takes 4 yards of a lightweight woven?

There comes a point when the “too much” is not just about the money (which, of course, is also a factor.  I keep myself on a monthly crafting budget which I adhere to 90% of the time).  I love finding and ordering cool fabrics, but finding places to put everything is giving me anxiety.

Stashing (hoarding, if you will) is about having the materials on hand to enjoy your hobby; not about having SO MUCH that you will never be able to use it in your entire life…so much that your family will have to figure out what to do with it after the life has finally left your currently busily sewing fingertips.

I feel like the latter is what is starting to happen to me. And I don’t want that.  I just want to enjoy the time I have in the sewing room, but I am bogging myself down with stuff.  Why?  Out of fear that I won’t see that neato fabric again?  Probably.  But there is always more fabric…

This especially hit me since receiving my first fabric order this week:  I quietly brought the package into our home, into my sewing room.  In the past, I have excitedly shown Mr. 5 my new textiles with glee. If I have come to a place where I feel like I almost have to sneak them in out of guilt, there’s a problem.

A real problem, instead of one with quotes.

And so:

I, Jess, publicly pledge that I shall buy no more fabric in 2016, unless it will be immediately used for a specific project*.

UntitledThe Last* Haul of 2016

I have plenty of fun impulse splurge fabric in my stash to last well past the next 6ish months.  *Fabric gifts are OK.  Hint, hint.  :P

If anyone cares to join me, we can chat about our shame here, or you can see me over at the Fabric Fast thread on Pattern Review.  :)


15 thoughts on “On Buying Fabric”

  1. I blogged about buying *all* the fabric at the Edinburgh knitting and stitching show. That was in April I think. I have only just been able to cut into one piece for a top and am only just considering using the fat quarters (with the other FQs I had stashed) to make a blanket for the boy. Yet I am *still* constantly trawling through websites looking for more and more fabric. That I know I will probably not use and will instead just look at and occasionally unfold and refold.

    It’s a problem! I am time poor (thanks, children!) and cash poor (thanks, children!) so I can’t feed the habit. And I need to learn to use the fabric I do have for new projects. It was all chosen because i thought it was lovely at one point, so I need to remember that!

    Good luck to you, I’ll join you in not feeding my stash!

    1. Getting past the “OMG I might ruin it!” is one of the hardest parts of fabric selection. Heck, I even do that with fabrics that weren’t expensive, but I really like and know I won’t be able to find again. I’ve gotten a little better by realizing “I can’t take it with me,” but it’s still an issue at times!

      Thanks for joining me: solidarity, sister!

  2. Good luck sticking to your pledge! I’d love to be able to do the same but I know I’ll never be able to keep it! Major fabric shopping addict here…

  3. I can easily see myself at 1000 yards but I don’t keep track. I, too, have found myself overwhelmed at the amount of fabric I have but often feel like I don’t have the right piece. I do not have a sewing room so more than half of my stash is in my room – in my closet, dresser drawers, bins under my bench, sewing cubbies, overfilling the large laundry basket in the corner and finally filling 3 large reusable bags. I’m in the process of editing out pieces I definitely don’t like anyone and scraps. I should take the pledge. But…. I just discovered custom fabric groups on Facebook. I hoping to catch a couple more pieces then I really need to stop. Like really stop.

    1. I don’t keep track, either. The 1000 is a very rough estimate. For a couple of years I had an “in/out” spreadsheet with the goal of having negative overall intake (LOL RIGHT) but I never did go through and catalog everything I had on hand before I started doing that.

      Hehe…just one more fix, eh? Maybe two? The custom fabric groups on FB do have some really neat stuff, but I am way too much of a cheapass to spend $20-25 on a neat knit print, no matter how nice of quality the fabric is.

  4. I wish you all the luck in the world with your pledge–for real. I should embark on a similar one myself, adding yarn to that now that I have learned to knit. O_O It’s tough: on the one hand, my stash is AMAZING and I have enough in there to theoretically make whatever I might want to make. Lady tuxedo? Got it. Casual day dress? Got it. Underwear? You bet. But GOOD LORD do I have too much. I track my stash in a spreadsheet and I am probably around 430 yards now, and I’m at the point of high anxiety and stress with respect to storage and $ outlay vs. garment production. A house full of fabric and nothing to wear, basically.

    I made the mistake of going to pick up my last Fabric Mart order from FedEx (deliveries for orders over a certain $ require signatures now…d’oh) while my in-laws were visiting. My dear MIL was so excited to see what I got (to be fair, I got some AMAZING brag-worthy stuff, like wool sateen designer suiting for 70% off *drool*), which meant she wanted me to open the box in the living room so she could see my prizes and share in my moment of glorious Fabric Victory. Hubs was *right there* and I was pretty sweaty by the time the show-and-tell was over. As you say, that’s not a sign of a healthy relationship with one’s stash: it’s a legit problem. :-(

    You know what? I’m in. After writing that mess^^, I went and unsubscribed from every email list I had for fabric. Gone. I will shop my stash and only venture out if I don’t have what I need to get the job done (say, a lining fabric, of which I have virtually none). I will continue this for at least the remainder of 2016. I am also planning to destash those things I bought early on that aren’t suitable for my intended project(s): no sense in keeping something I will never use!

    Thanks for the inspiration: you can do it!!!!

  5. You know I’m right there with you! Both on the addiction and the recovery! :-p

    I will never NOT have a stash…I could see having far more anxiety over shopping for something exact/specific every time I’m ready to sew. No thank you. But I reached this point with my stash and have slowed WAY down on stashing. I just tallied and I’ve added 42 yards this year (5 Fabric Mart orders, 2 Fashion Fabrics Club orders and 1 SR Harris trip). And 10 of those yards were of fabrics I will use for several projects over time (black ponte and a striped jersey).

    I think that’s a small miracle, no? :)

    And I’ve sewn 67.5 yards. I don’t think I have EVER (NEVER!) been under for fabric out vs fabric in. Eek!

    You’ve just inspired a concrete goal. 2016 I will purchase half as much fabric as I sew.

    1. Oh yes, totally agreed. Not having ANYTHING on hand and trying to find the right thing also sounds stressful. It’s all about being the baby bear in the Goldilocks situation. Moderation, my friend.

      That is a small miracle! You rock! Of course, you are also a sewing cyborg from the future, so I’m not surprised that you’ve sewn ALMOST 70 YARDS this year, but excellent work on the net negative to the stash!

      Woohoo for goals!

  6. Anybody want to form an exchange? I have no idea how to do it, but it shouldn’t be hard. Just post, “hey, I need some lining for a red jacket; anybody have something that would work?” then email a photo? ???

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