Building a Fabric Stash 2

The fabric that we buy should reflect our personal style and our lifestyle needs. If we are stashing fabric, we are buying for the future, so we need to think ahead. A college student should buy for work, a newlywed should think about children, a middle-age person should think about retirement. I have not found that my style has changed that much as I have gotten older, I have just had to add a tailored garment to the mix and avoid extremes of any quirky style, but the fabrics I loved when I was young still find their way into my wardrobe.

Too often we stash for where we are now, but we are all getting older, and typically, wider. Buy a little more fabric than you need right now if you are young. There is a good chance you are going to gain a few pounds as you age. You are also likely to want a little more coverage as you get older, so buy enough for sleeves, and enough length for a longer skirt. As I mentioned in my last post, most women want better fabrics as they get older, so in your 30’s start buying only the best fabric, and use up what you bought when you were younger.

Women’s Wardrobe by Kim Johnson Gross and Jeff Stone discusses how fabric gives personality to a garment. The authors give the example of a plain white cotton t-shirt vs a silk tee covered with sequins. The authors have broken down fabrics into categories that I think will be useful to someone just learning about fabrics. Although their list is open to discussion, it got me thinking.

I highly recommend this book for its slightly different twist to thinking about one’s wardrobe.

Day
Wool
Synthetic blends
Denim
Cotton
Silk
Linen
Knits
Corduroy
Flannel
Gabardine
Matte jersey
Seersucker
Leather
Suede
Tweed
Night
Satin
Silk
Sequins
Beading
Chiffon
Taffeta
Brocade
Moire
Organza
Lace
Lame
Velvet
Casual
Cotton knits
Denim
Fleece
Stretch fabrics
Synthetics
Tweed
Cotton flannel
Corduroy
Business
Worsted wool
Tropical wool
Wool crepe
Fine cotton
Silk
Synthetic blends
Travel
Synthetics
Microfibers
Wool
Classic
Wool
Cotton
Linen
Silk
Cashmere
Velvet
Progressive
Synthetic blends
Metallics
Vinyl
Seasonless
Rayon
Viscose
Lycra
Wool Gauze
Cotton
Tropical Wool
Silk
Cotton
Denim
Microfibers
Synthetics blended with natural fibers
Winter
Wool and wool blends
silk
Heavy knits
Flannel
Cashmere
Velvet
Corduroy
Fleece
Fur
Leather
Mohair
Tweeds
Chenille
Suede
Summer
Rayon
Cotton
Linen
Tropical wools
Light knits
Seersucker
Cotton pique
Ramie
Terry cloth
Super Masculine
Broadcloth
Chino
Corduroy
Flannel
Gabardine
Wool tweeds
Super Feminine
Angora
Brocade
Chenille
Chiffon
Crinkled silk or cotton
Damsk
Eyelet
Organza
Silk
Satin
Velvet
Sequins
Lame
Voile
Lace
Sexy
Sheer Fabrics
Lace
Satin
Silk Jersey
Clingy Knits
Angora
Breathable
Natural Fiber Fabrics
Fleece
Wicking Fabrics
Non-Breathable
Nylon
Mylar
Quick Dry
Synthetics

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Building A Fabric Stash

There has been a discussion recently at Stitcher’s Guild on fabric collecting. I have made some mistakes that I shared there, but thought it would be a good topic for the blog.

When I was teaching, I spent summers working at fabric stores. In 30 years, I built up a huge stash of fabric. I am very grateful for that fabric now that my income is limited, but I did not spend my money wisely, and I do not want you to make the same mistakes. So here are my tips.

If you are going to buy fabric for later use, buy only the best fabric in your favorite neutral colors. As you get older, you will want better fabrics. Neutrals will always work, no matter what the trends.

Limit the number of prints that you purchase. I have found prints go in and out of style. The big graphic prints that are popular now may look very dated a few years from now.

If you move around a lot, remember the regional differences in fabrics. I have wool that I will never use here in Florida, but it moved with me the farther south I moved. Fabric has always been used to pad fragile items when moving, so it always moves with me.

Do not buy more than you can store in the available space. I ended up renting a storage shed for my fabric at one point in my life. That is too much fabric!

Establish a system of organization from your first piece of fabric. If you put it on your computer, make sure to update regularly and back it up.

The fabrics that I wouldn’t wear now get used for muslins, but I do wish now I hadn’t bought so much, or had been more selective in what I purchased.

To My Teacher

I have always been meticulous about keeping my sewing room neat and organized, but something has happened over the last 10 years while taking care of my parents.  I attempted to do some sewing yesterday for the first time in years, and when I stepped into the room I couldn’t even see my sewing machine.  The room is filled with boxes.  After my mother died, I put all the boxes of her sewing things in my sewing room, and haven’t touched them since.  The time has now come to go through those boxes and eliminate duplicates and things that I will never use.

This is going to be a difficult task.  My mother taught me to sew when I was 9 years old.  My first project was a purple moomoo, and my mother went on to teach me how to make everything from underwear to tailored suits.  She saved scraps of everything she made, and stored all her notions in containers that were uniquely my mom.  Each box contains a memory of my mother, but they are the best of memories.

Thank you, Mom.