This Use Your Stash Challenge has turned out to be really very interesting. I’ve had some eye-opening email conversations with a few of you, and I wanted to share some of that.
I started this challenge because I was tired of having my creativity go down the drain. I felt (and still do) a bit overwhelmed with everything that I owned. I knew that I needed to just make something. I have so much fabric, but I wasn’t feeling okay with using it up. I wrote more about these feelings of fear here.
So I decided that since I was going to take the plunge and cut into my favorite fabrics, I would see if anyone else wanted to as well. I got a very positive response, and lots of people said they were ready to go if I came up with something, so I did.
The really interesting part of this were the emails and conversations I had in person with other seamstresses as they started to go thru and weigh out their stashes. Slowly, they started to say, “I don’t think I can do this. I have too much stuff, and I feel overwhelmed when I see what I have.” Or, “I’m too embarrassed by how much I have. I really think this would be fun, but you don’t understand how long I’ve been collecting.”
I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed to hear this. I listened, sent back a few “oh, that’s too bad” emails, but I really felt kind of sad for each of these women too. I talked before about the mental burden that a stash can create, and here I was, seeing these people who felt the same way I did.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not mad at anyone at all! I just want you to be able to feel creative when you are looking thru your stash. To feel inspired, happy, and like you can make anything. Above all, I don’t want anyone to feel guilty about or afraid to use up their stash. Cleaning it out really does help!
I do have two brave souls, who I am very happy to be working with, who dug thru their fabric stashes and weighed and sorted everything. The first participant is Jennie, of Jagged Rose. She has a lot of fabric from her Mom, but started collecting for herself when she was 16. She studied fashion design in school, and has made some really beautiful dresses and costumes! She and I have emailed back and forth, and it really made me happy when she said, “My job is exhausting & I’d lost my creativity, but thanks to you & the challenge – it’s starting to come back!”
Jennie’s stash weighed in at 183 lbs (83 kilos).
This is a photo that Jennie posted on her Flickr. It’s from 2006, when she covered her living room floor with her stash. She said her collection has definitely grown since then!
Be sure to check out Jennie’s blog as she posts the garments she’s making from her stash. Great job, Jennie!
The other wonderful participant is Elsa. She doesn’t have a blog for me to link to, so I’ll be sharing her stash busting here for her. Elsa used the stash challenge as motivation to clean up her sewing room, which is a loft space. She said, “When I walked up to the loft this morning it was like walking into a new room…it’s sooo clean. I love it. If nothing else comes of this challenge, it will have been worth it.”
Elsa’s stash weighed in at 169 pounds.
She is really lucky and gets to visit the LA garment district when she visits her daughter. She has a lot of beautiful silk from her trips there, and would like to sew a jacket, make a quilt someday, and sew some pillows or something for her grand-daughter.
I’m so grateful to Jennie and Elsa for stash busting with me. They will each be getting a Fashionary sketchbook, and the more stash they use up, the bigger their boxes of goodies will be!
I’m on a top-secret project right now (Eek! Can’t wait to share!), and also trying to get thru my stash. I’ll have new garments to share very soon!