I realised earlier today that I have been sewing for over seven months now, and got quite excited. In that time, I've managed to succumb to the obvious rookie mistake of making about 10 garments which I don't wear anymore, due to diving in with no experience, getting the fit all wrong and generally going off piste with my usual style and ending up feeling uncomfortable whilst wearing them. However, in between all the beginner mistakes, I've also managed to create clothes that I now love to wear, and feel so much nicer in them than their ready to wear equivalents. I feel a real sense of pride in what I do - people at school coming up to me saying 'Ooh, is that dress one of yours? It's nice', and 'We expect you to MAKE your prom dress Beth!' Their confidence in my ability to make a prom dress was really what pushed me to do it, and you know what? I got a lot of compliments :)
Sewing is what I do now. I may not even do it well, I'm sure I never use 'proper' sewing techniques. But I love it. And this got me to thinking - should I have a fabric stash?
It's said, on many of the sewing blogs I read, that even people who have only been sewing for a couple of months usually have a modest stash of material that they've collected over the course of their hobby. But that's the thing. I don't.
In the eyes of many (probably those who have run out of space for their enormous stash of fabric!) this will probably be seen as a good thing. From what I hear, having a large stash of fabric is something that is never really admitted to in the world of sewing, viewed as something to be embarrassed of or to be kept secret.
I can understand this, to a certain extent. Hoarding fabric which sits around unused is certainly wasteful, especially in our consumerist society where the production of these materials is hardly beneficial to human kind or our environment, but as a person who doesn't have a sewing stash at all, I can also see that having one may prove to bring just as many benefits as drawbacks. As selfish as this may seem, I admit I would love to be able to rifle through a box filled with the many sewing patterns I've collected, then head on over to pick the perfect material from my collection, before choosing the right notions to use. No trips to the market, no bus trips to Abakhan. Ahh, lovely.
As good as that would be though, don't worry! That's not my reality. I have a pretty quick sewing output, so I normally find myself at the market once or twice a week minimim to pick up the metres of fabric I need for a specific project, along with any zips, interfacing and other notions needed. These then get used on whatever I've been planning, and when I want to make something else, I have to head back to the market again. I very, very rarely buy fabric without a project in mind, and it's even more rare for me to take more than a month to use any fabric sitting around.
My sewing box is filled with about ten reels of thread, in various colours, most of which are only half full after being used for various projects, and I never have zips or buttons to hand. Everything I need comes from the market and then is used fairly soon after. Those ladies know me well! I enjoy this though. Being a regular visitor has enabled me to get to know the lovely people who supply me with the tools to do what I love.
Here's the thing though: I can't carry on like this forever. I'm moving from my tiny English town over the border into Wales in the next couple of months to take a degree in Welsh History, and I have absolutely no idea what the fabric shopping situation is like over there. Will it be reasonably priced? Will the owners be friendly? Will they have everything I need? Will they be nearby? Will there be a shop AT ALL? I'm used to nothing being priced over £10 a metre, with £2 a metre polycotton available if I'm low on funds, so I know I'll be hard to please price wise.
So. The time has come.
I think I will have to start a bit of a fabric stash. Seven months is a long enough initiation period. Jars of zips and buttons, a box of fabric, a spool holder filled with thread and a folder full of patterns will have to be collated before I head off to Wales. Sewing has become such an important part of my life, I'm not letting it go just because there may be no affordable fabric shops near to my new home. I shall be prepared. Maybe not to the extent of my secret dream stash, but good enough to keep me going for a couple of months until I can get home to visit the trusty market! The best thing about this new stash in the making though, is that I know it will never reach a size where none of it gets used, helping me to keep a guilt free mind.
So there we have it. Now all I have to do is find a way to afford all the fabric I know I'll need to keep me going with all my planned projects!
How big is your sewing stash, please?