My last post on fabric stashes and their effect on creativity was something that I thought about a lot this last week. There were so many good comments on that post, and it was really nice to know that I’m not alone. One comment in particular, from Julie, got me thinking of sharing a few thoughts and tips of my own that help me to get through times that feel creatively challenging. If you have some of your own, please add them in the comments! I always love hearing how someone else works towards a more productive and happy sewing/knitting/crafting life.
The way that you choose to do this is up to you. I made a list on my computer that broke my projects down into six categories. Yes, these are my actual category names:
- In-process items to finish: These are those half-done WIP’s that you lost steam on along the way. As you find and list them, think about your feelings towards each project. Is is unfinished because you decided you hated it? Then throw it away! If you won’t like the finished garment, there’s no reason to waste your precious crafting time to finish it, no matter how much time you’ve already poured into it.
- Items I have the fabric and pattern for: Once I finish up items from the first list, I can move on to anything under this category, because I have everything I need to start and finish them. It can be a good idea to bundle the notions, pattern and yardage all together so they’re easy to grab and get started on.
- Items that I have the materials and idea for, but no pattern: That fabric yardage or yarn that you bought because a brilliant idea popped into your head when you saw it? That goes here. I like to write down the yardage I have, and also the idea, so no matter if I end up buying the pattern or making it, I don’t have to question how much I have. Going back to measure the yardage slows you down! As you buy patterns, you can move fabric from this list up to the next category.
- Items I have the pattern for, but no fabric: Let’s say you want to make a few more shirts from your lovely Renfrew pattern or a couple of tank tops. Whenever you have the itch to buy fabric, look for fabrics that you can use with patterns you’ve already tried and love, so that it doesn’t sit there, unused. By relying on already tried-and-true patterns, you’ll be more likely to dive in and finish your project, since you know you’ll like how it turns out. As you buy fabric, you can bundle it up with the pattern and move it on up the list!
- Mending: We all (at least I hope it’s not just me) have a project that made its way back into a sewing basket because either a seam popped, a button came loose, or a sleeve needs shortened. Oftentimes my mending pile grows because I’d rather work on something else than a simple mending job, but getting it out of my room is important to keeping my space clear and my project options open. Bonus? Most mending takes 15 minutes and you feel accomplished when a pile leaves your sewing room!
- Things I’d like to make: Sometimes an idea gets in your brain and you can’t stop thinking about it. Instead of rushing out and buying the supplies and adding to your plate, write them down as a “some day I’ll make this” option. You may choose to draw these instead of writing them down, to better process your idea.
As you go thru your projects, patterns and fabrics, think about how you like to spend your sewing time. Do you really want to sew with that suit jacket material that you’ve had for 2 years, or are you holding on to it because it was such a good deal? Let it go! Get rid of it and make room for something that inspires you. Have you kept a certain pattern for 5 years and never found the time to make it? Chances are you don’t even like the pattern anymore. Give it away and make room for something better!
On my “in-process items to finish list” was the burgundy knit Jul hat from my last post. I finished it and it felt sooo good to cross off of my list!
Under “items I have the fabric and pattern for” was my Lola Sweater dress. I also finished that, and it is so comfortable. I want to make more! I like it so much that I’m teaching a class on making this dress with a serger at Modern Domestic.
I promise that I was ready to go and use the fabric that I had showed you in my last post. If you can’t remember what it was, it’s the sweater knit that Duncan decided to take a nap on at the top of this post (he’s lucky he’s so cute). It’s a nice heavy weight that’s napped on the back. It feels amazing, and I was excited to make a Lola out of it.
The fabric didn’t have much stretch to it though, so I knew I’d have to buy the ribbing that the pattern calls for, instead of making bands out of self-fabric. I went in to Rose City Textiles and searched and searched, but there was nothing that would match it. Everything was either too white or too yellow. It was really hard for me to not come home with some more sweater knits. I love them so much, and RCT always has the best selection to choose from. I carefully considered my list though, and walked away. There will always be more fabric to love!
Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the List of Things I Can Make Right This Very Second is helping me to choose projects. Yes, I brought home one new pattern, but that’s only because I already have the fabric to go with it. Now I have moved that fabric and idea from the “Items that I have the materials and idea for, but no pattern” category to the “Items I have the fabric and pattern for” list.
I will conquer my fabric stash! What are you doing to work your way through your projects?