Monday, April 29, 2013

The Stash - Use it, Lose it or Style it.

Earlier this month I mentioned that I was thinking about starting a low key stash challenge.  Some of you missed the post, so here it is the link:

A couple of you have already indicated interest so I thought I should mention this proposed sew-a-long so I could get your ideas about how you would like to use your stash.

There are no formal rules or guidelines - just a promise to use some of your stash for the rest of this sewing year, and then to let everyone know what you have made from your stash.  Plans can also be posted.  I'm still at the development stage and will probably formally commence the sew-a-long in a few weeks, to allow people to find out and get their ideas together. 

My thoughts were that many of us stash - probably for all sorts of reasons.  And then we don't ever quite get around to using the stash - again, for all sorts of reasons, including the fabric is too good to use.

I also have the problem of guilt about not using my stash.

However, after deciding that guilt is a wasted emotion, I  started cutting into my stash a little more boldly.

And found out that if your don't use the stash - you will lose it:

My new trouser muslin, cut from an old piece of fabric in my stash:

For those of you that have been following the trials and tribulations about my attempts to get a basic trouser (pants) shape that works for me, this is not what this post is about (although these pants are getting close to a good fit).

The point of this picture - I used a piece of fabric that had been in the stash for years - and I was not sure I liked it. I thought about giving it to the Op Shop, but then thought to use it for the muslin (guilty that I was using fabric that was far too good for a muslin - it was old linen).  Well, when I put the muslin on, I heard
strange tearing sounds - along a dart and some seams.

The fabric had deteriorated.  Yes, my stashed piece was no longer useful.  It had been loved and looked at for FAR TOO LONG.

There is a lesson here.  The stash is there to be USED.

I now have stash awareness in a big way.  With little guilt and lots of motivations to:
I plan to officially start at the beginning of June, which gives others of you time to think about how you might like to use parts of your stash.  If you would like to join, we could all swap names/blog addresses  and ideas.

For those of you in other challenges, being aware of and using your stash would fit in well.

I don't think any rules are needed - there are plenty of sew-a-longs that have rules and deadlines.  Some of us have lots of other demands and can't meet deadlines other than our work/study/domestic ones.  Sewing is often "me time".  So I don't want constraints, I want this to be about inspiring and motivating each other to commit to sewing the stash in stylish ways.

 Let me know if you are interested.  Kick of date yet to be decided. 

At the moment, Far from is interested in joining - she would like to make a jacket, skirt and pants.

Also interested are:
Sew Blessed Maw from
Jenny from

All your suggestions are welcome...

Sarah Liz :-)



  1. Definitely a good idea. There is also another Stashbusting challenge running in blogworld this year, where everyone is supposed to nominate a certain number of pieces from the stash to use. I nominated two per month. I did well for the first 3 months, but I'm failing miserably this month!

    1. Hi Carolyn - I think we all fail miserably at stash busting, it's the nature of the beast :-)

      I don't like anyone failing, so I'll set this up so no-one does! (including me :-) ) It's more to keep us all motivated even when we fail our self imposed "shoulds".

  2. I'd like to join in! I've been sewing just a short while, but have become enamored with my new hobby. I have lots of fabric stashed already and lots of things I want to sew. I often end up going through my pattern stash and deciding I need fabric that looks like *THIS* for this project...and I go buy something new...when I have lots and lots of fabric in my bins (for someone who has been sewing for 3 months).

    MrsSmith from

    1. Hi, you are very welcome, glad to have you joining in. It sounds like you have the stash bug as badly as me - by the end of this challenge maybe you will have room in those bins to fill up again :-)

  3. I am definitely on board. I've already committed to the Stashbusting Challenge and should have no problem adapting to this challenge. Thanks so much for starting this!

    1. Hi Li, yes the two should work together well - also with the sewyourownwardrobe challenge. Will post more on Friday.

  4. Thanks for organizing this Sarah Liz. I prefer this smaller scale challenge, coz it's easier to catch up with what a smaller group of people are doing than a huge crowd. I also like that it's pretty easy going and self defined. :) I think I already made a big fabric haul during the Sewing Expo near here early March, so I do have more than enough to work on. This challenge will be a nagging reminder for myself to not give in to the temptations of online fabric shopping at the very least til the end of the year (it's a huge challenge since there's always this and that sales!). Can't say I would try harder to restraint myself from opshop/thrifted fabrics... Once upon a time I went every Saturday, but now so very rarely (EXPENSIVE in Seattle!), who knows what I might pick up if I go to one come summer! LOL

    1. Hi Far, I know just what you mean by temptation - it's so hard to resist the lure - and of course, in the imagination, we can make lots more than we possibly can. I guess this challenge is about just making us aware of not over stashing, because believe you me, it just becomes stash eventually, begatting more stash :-) I like smaller groups as well. I like getting to know people. And, if you fall off the wagon, there won't be any sort of punishment - I mean what better reward for using chunks of stash that stash rebuilding :-)

  5. Sarah I'd like to join in with your stash challenge. I won't be sewing strictly from my stash all year, but will post as you like when I do. When does it start???

    1. Hi Faye, Starting 1st June. I've added you to the list and will write more about this at the end of the week. You can sew from your stash whenever you like, no prohibitions in this challenge!