Sewing From My Stash

I’ve had extra time on my hands the last few weeks due to my frequent male companion’s six and now seven-day work week (project roll out). While I am sorry for him, I’m pretty happy with all the extra evenings I’ve been gifted. One of the projects I’ve tackled with this windfall of free time is cleaning up my basement / sewing area. Twenty minutes a night for a week seriously cleared out 50 percent of the clutter. I went through bins of fabric. Not organizing really, but taking a cue from Trena and making a concerted effort to sew from my stash.

I’m not even talking random projects to use up my stash. But projects that I actually already want to make.  In truth, I was shocked to see that I had at least 30 projects when I compiled my list. Thirty projects with pattern and fabric matched! I could sew at least two garments a month and still not be done in a year. And, I’ll be honest. There are still about 100 cuts of fabric outside of those 30 projects. My slide show is below (RSS Readers, please click through). Some of the items I’ve made before, but want to re-make. Some are so that when a wedding comes around I’m not scrambling for an outfit to wear (I have at least one, possibly three this summer in addition to two black-tie events).

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My goals are simple.

  1. Not sew maniacally for events because I don’t have anything in my closet
  2. Sew the projects that I’ve wanted to work on
  3. Not be distracted by new projects or fabric. It just takes time away from things I want to make.

By focusing on these projects that I want to make, I want to avoid the sewing slump of not knowing what I want to make. By sewing things I’m passionate about, I can make room for new things and fresh ideas. I’ve made two fabric purchases this year.

There is material in my stash I ADORE. But, I don’t know what to do with them. If i focus on what I do have ideas for, that will allow me to think about those other projects. So, there you have it. Sewing projects for likely the next two years. Crazy, right?

I’m working on uploading my spreadsheet to Google docs so it’s all on public display 🙂


  1. Best of luck with your resolutions – I’m not sure I could be so disciplined!

  2. I love a lot of the projects you want to make! This year I decided to try and make clothes that will hopefully prevent me from feeling like I have nothing to wear. So far, I still have days where I don’t have something I am looking for, but mostly because I haven’t gotten around to making it yet! I am thinking that next year I want to try and focus on finishing projects that I have been wanting to make for a long time (having both patterns and fabric) like you are going to try to do. Good luck with sewing from your stash, I look forward to seeing all of your creations!

  3. I pretty much adopted your goals a couple of weeks back. My fabric shopping was getting out of control and I was putting aside projects that I wanted to do in order to buy fabric and plan new projects for the future (which would be put off while I repeated the process). I just stopped and I am not going to allow myself any new fabric until my Birthday in August. I am working on sewing from my stash. I look forward to seeing your future stash projects.

  4. You have made a great set of goals. I look forward to seeing your projects pop up. I really miss seeing a lot of people’s BS/BWOF sewing projects. So many great, stylish patterns from past issues. You’ve picked some I really love.

  5. And, when my husband is occasionally out of town I certainly miss him, but I love the chance to dive into a project without feeling like I am neglecting him in the evenings.

  6. I love this idea of setting up a spreadsheet to keep track of your project ideas/goals! Looks like you have a fun line-up, too! I look forward to seeing your spreadsheet come to life. 🙂

  7. What a brilliant idea! My stash is growing faster than I am sewing at the moment. If I documented my stash and put a limit on buying new fabrics I would save money and get some of my “dream garment” finally sewn. I am inspired and will pull all my fabric out as soon as I’ve finished my coffee.
    Most of these look as though they’ve come from Burda – any chance you could list the issues that the patterns come from?
    I look forward to seeing these garments appear on here.

  8. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I know exactly what you mean by having stuff that you love in the stash but not knowing what to do with it. I have the same problem, especially if it’s expensive stuff.

  9. So many fantastic projects! You may have just sold me on a subscription to Burda. But then I’d have to send the husband and kids away a few times a year so I could work on all my projects. Actually, I need that even without the Burda subscription.

  10. It’s comforting to see that garment construction brings out the OCD in many people. Mine expresses itself more through procrastination and self-doubt, but I often feel overwhelmed by my supplies, which I do appreciate and use, not just hoard. Still, they’re never organized efficiently no matter how hard I try.

  11. I need to adopt this logic! I have more than enough fabric, and so much that I really love. If I ever want to get back to NYC for serious fabric shopping, I’d better sew up what I already own! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  12. A year ago January, I resolved to get through a pile of actual and virtual UFOs. I have had a great deal of success though incomplete. I have mostly resisted new fabric, except for a lovely navy melton to make a Burda duffel coat and a gorgeous Italian tweed for a Chanel jacket. I struggle to overcome self-imposed road blocks involving techniques, etc., and tend to side-line a project if I hit a snag. Wherein UFOs. And I have caved to the occasional Fix-it Friday. Imagine two pair of biker boots getting relined in order to avoid blisters on the wearer’s calves. I congratulate you on your project and shall cheer you on from the sidelines!

  13. I need to do this. I’ve been planning on sewing from stash when SWAP is finished and I started to make a list of projects last week, but I lost impetous because I’m lazy. I have a long weekend and I’m going to do this! A spreadsheet is a great idea.

  14. I love your project choices! I have made one (the Burda shirt waist dress with the blousy back) but may have to snaffle a few of your ideas!

  15. I have really similar goals at the moment – focus on making what I need from the gorgeous fabrics and patterns that I already have. Today I cut 5 new business blouses. Totally satisfying.

  16. Yay! I’ve set my “face like a flint” to do the same thing this year. Too much choice of new patterns/cloth equals sewing paralysis. So I’m working backwards through my stash. It’s kind of fun, actually. When I come across a pattern I’d like to try and go rummaging through my bins, I’m always amazed at what I find. It’s like shopping at home!

  17. My husband travels overseas for work every once in a while. While I desperately miss him while he’s gone, I also secretly enjoy my completely unregulated sewing time! Good luck with your resolution!

  18. Good for you! I’m trying really hard to just sew what I’ve got as well. For the past year, I’ve only bought things that I would sew up right away, and I’ve done that for the most part. Must be a bug biting the sewing community to stop buying every fabric that gets us excited. 🙂

  19. Can I ask you for a GIANT favor? What is the shirt right after the 1940s puffy sleeved dress? I’m a beginner(ish) and I live in a country where the only clothing options for women over a size 12 are oversized t-shirts and baggy jeans. I think this shirt is within my skill set and it would be perfect for the ridiculously hot and muggy summer weather. Thanks 🙂

  20. We need to figure out some way to keep each other on track. I have to say, though, that keeping a gigundo project list has really helped me to focus to the extent that I want to focus. If I don’t know what to do next I go to the oldest (seasonally appropriate) project on the list. It is a huge reward to be able to cross off a completed project.

  21. Congrats on all that organization. It must feel really good! I love that ruched sleeve wrap dress (from Burda?). I have been trying hard to organize my projects as I have so many already ready to go, too, but then I get so distracted.

  22. Don’t even talk to me about list of things you want to make. 🙂 I have a super long list too. It does help to make the list though. I need to stop buying fabric which adds more projects to my list because at this rate it’ll be the rest of the year before I sew all this material.

  23. Just want to give the link to a French collective blog called With Wax where all the projects are made of various African prints (bazin included, yay!)

    All posts are in French but the photos are usually clear. Also, most members take care to post the pattern references. A lot of those japanese sewing books, from what I can tell. And some french indie patterns.

    Check out this Vogue 1146 Koos Van der ??? coat from one of the members (posted on her own blog):

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