Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The state of the fabric stash

Since I leave for the UK tomorrow, my sewing year is effectively over. This led me this morning, during a fit of procrastination when I should have been getting my apartment ready to go, to play with my fabric spreadsheet and try to figure out the state of my fabric stash. I already know that I totally flunked in my attempt to use more fabric than I bought in 2013 -- actually, I added about 30m total to the stash. Oops!

In 2013 I mainly just tracked total metres. This year I am going for slightly more detail in my tracking. The actual numbers below are of zero interest to anyone but me, but actually it was quite revealing as a way to look at my stash.

- A good 45m or 20% of my ~215m total is lining or muslin.
- I think you CAN see the effect of me trying to fabric fast in 2013, insofar as I clearly stashed much less than in 2012 (I didn't track use vs. buy in 2012).
- My ambitions have clearly always been greater than my talents, because I have a good 30m of fabric stashed for jackets or coats in spite of the fact that it's going to be a real challenge to my sewing skills to make even one.
- On the other hand, given my lifestyle, I'm pretty happy to see that although I've succumbed to the temptation to buy a few pieces of fancy fabric for evening wear I really don't have all that much. There's just 15m in stash, and all the rest is every day fabric for my normal life.

Strangely, seeing that list makes me excited to just start sewing my stash. I already have it! It's a sunk cost at this point, so I might as well use it. Plus, if I make mistakes with this fabric, I get to eventually go buy new fabric because there will always be more fabric. Plus it reminds me how much I LIKE my stash. My problem is more overcoming that novice sewers reluctance to "waste" nice fabric on inferior beginner outcomes than buyer's remorse.

The other thing that pleases me is that actually, I know what I want to do with most of this fabric. I have a little note on what I want to use the fabric for -- it's not hard and fast, in any way, right up until the moment I cut out the pattern, but it's an idea. I only have 18m of fabric where I have really no idea what to do with it, and most of those fabrics are decently sized remnants of fabrics I have already used once.

Total metres at 1-Jan-2014: 213.45m (89 fabrics)

By type:
Knits: 37.2m

Woven: 129.55m*
of which
Everyday: 86.05m
Outerwear: 29.95m
Fancy: 13.95m

Muslin: 30.0m
Lining: 16.7m

By length:
<1.5m: 20.8m (21 fabrics)
1.5-2.9m: 77.3m (36 fabrics)
3m+: 115.m (32 fabrics)

By age:
Bought in 2012: 150.75m
Bought in 2013: 62.7m


  1. From one academic to another: I totally get this post (though thousands wouldn't)!

    1. Ha! If only I'd known what would happen to me after I started teaching statistics to bored students... ;)

  2. I very much get this too :-) (another academic)

    1. Academic sewers unite! We can be needlessly analytical about our fabric stashes together :D

  3. Cool that you are so organized westmoon! I have sewed through 2 rubbermaid containers this year, and am thrilled!! Some of the fabric was very poor quality and I must have bought it years ago. I did lots of test garments, and camping clothes :-) Having less fabric has been freeing for me.

    1. Well done! :D

      I like almost all the fabric I have, but there's just TOO MUCH. I'm hoping this time next year I have it more under control.