Last year, I focused on a single word- “Reduce.” I didn’t stick to my goals religiously, preferring to allow the word “Reduce” to gently shift my thinking over the course of the year. One major, major shift in my thinking came in regards to buying fabric.
I quit. Well, mostly. I can honestly say that last year I said “no” to fabric purchases many more times than I said “yes.” I had a little stash, but ceased buying fabric purely for the sake of buying fabric. I didn’t have any room to store it, I didn’t have the money to
waste invest, and I wanted to compel myself to finish off a pile of UFOs and sew through the fabric I already owned.
That’s all well and fine to say, but when a fancy new Japanese cotton or a pretty printed linen caught my eye, I itched to take it home. I held on to my wallet (mostly) by asking myself a few questions:
- What is it? (Weave, weight, print, fiber content, designer if applicable. If I knew I already had a couple of unsewn blouses at home, I did not buy more blouse weight fabric. I hate synthetics, so that’s a deal breaker.)
- Why is this any different from any other fabrics? (It’s easy to think the shiny new print/design/fabric is the BEST THING EVER but it’s probably not, and I’ll probably see another just like it in a few months.)
- How many hours did I work to earn this money?
- How will the finished garment fit with the rest of my wardrobe?
- Is the fabric of good quality? How do I wash it?
- When did I last see something like this?
- What could it become? (Sometimes a purchase does not become what I intended, but I do not bring home fabrics without a garment in mind unless it is truly special. Like Guipure lace for $25/m when it is usually $120.)
When I slow down and ask a few questions, I usually go home empty-handed. No fabric, but also no buyer’s guilt. Occasionally, a fabric “gets under my skin” and intrudes on my quieter moments, pestering me to return to the store. I eventually go back for those fabrics. If it’s sold out when I go back, the world keeps turning and does not indeed come to an end. It’s just fabric.
I’m not anti-stashing- it’s just not right for me. I learned how liberating it can be to say “No” to myself, and I want to continue reducing thoughtless consumption and waste in my life. Reduction itself becomes a habit over time.
This year’s word is “expand,” mostly as a person. I’m teaching again (from next month, new classes, more on that soon); I want to nurture older friendships and make new friends (online and off); and I want to begin offering “Consulting Dressmaker” services through this blog (think Sherlock Holmes, but for sewing and using 21st century technology…). I have a few other goals, but these are the ones that relate to sewing.
What are your thoughts on stashing? Is it a useful part of your sewing (I can see how it could be), or does it drown you?