Wednesday, 20 November 2013

From destash to restash...


Would you like to know what fabric I actually have left after my huge clear-out last week? Well, I still have plenty of dressmaking fabrics, Liberty lawn and some Oakshotts, but as far as quilting fabrics go, the scraps above are all that I held back. They add up to less than a yard in total. I think that qualifies as my biggest ever seasonally-inappropriate Spring cleaning exercise.

It was an odd experience packaging up the entirety of my quilting fabric stash, but ultimately liberating. It felt like I had fabric stashed away all over the place that had been bought at a time when I had my little shop or very young children to make things for and, no longer having either of those things, the inspiration for using the fabrics seemed to have passed. The awfulness of seeing so much much-loved fabric gathering dust made me feel pained each time I caught sight of it. So despite some of the fabrics being ones I could still have happily sewn with for myself or my children, I had an overwhelming desire to start afresh, so I'm incredibly grateful to all those of you who took away the entire contents of a life's fabric stash in just a few days. It's so lovely knowing that they may now be sewn into lovely things and properly enjoyed.


The last time that I destashed some fabric, a few months later, Mary (who sometimes comments on here as 'Homebird'), wrote and sent a photo of the English paper pieced quilt that she'd made using the bundle of duck egg blue fabrics that she'd bought from me. I hope that Mary won't mind me sharing the photo of her quilt with you here, but it's stayed with me as I felt so delighted that she'd had inspiration where I hadn't seen any and created something beautiful where I hadn't managed to do so. I'm really hoping to catch sight of some more of the lovely fabrics that I've said goodbye to over the coming months.


Not too long into my destashing exercise, when I only had a very little amount of fabric left in my Etsy shop, I started to feel a bit odd as I suddenly had new ideas for things that I wanted to sew, but a lot of empty fabric drawers. I'd originally thought that I wouldn't wish to re-accumulate fabric, like a squirrel with over-stuffed cheek pouches, ever again. I actually wondered whether I would buy ANY fabric ever again when I was listing them on Etsy. However, while I'd like to attempt to gather my fabric in a more dignified, less squirrelly, way in future, I realised that I really did still want some quilting fabrics in my life, just new ones and far less of them. It's actually a long time since I've bought any quilting fabrics - I think possibly eighteen months ago, when I bought the fabrics for my Rouenneries quilt - so it was a mystery to me exactly what fabrics I really wanted when I was buying entirely for myself and selecting fabrics from scratch.


After a big think and some 'do I even know my own name without all my fabrics around me' thoughts, I started pinning fabrics from all my favourite fabric shops onto a private board on Pinterest (private, because I didn't want to bombard my followers Pinterest feeds with random fabric photos over the course of three hours one evening!). It was such a refreshing thing to do. What emerged was the I was drawn to soft greys, olivey greens, turquoises and mustards, although not necessarily with it in mind to be used all at once. Th prints are also far more geometric and modern than anything I've bought before.  I've loved these colours for years, so I'm not sure why I didn't own more of them, as certainly the mustards and greys are shades that feature heavily in my wardrobe.


I finally narrowed my selection of fabrics down to fifteen fat quarters, editing my selection to try and make it so that I could find them all in one place to save on postage costs. It seems that M is for Make has a strong geometric, grey, mustard and turquoise bias!


They arrived at the end of last week and sewing has already commenced - I'll show you what I've been up to soon.

Changing everything all at once like this always reminds me of the lines to a Bruce Springsteen song that I spent a lot of time dancing enthusiastically around the living room to with my father as a very small girl. While Bruce shimmies around the stage looking adorable (and like he really should stay in possession of both his hair and face), he sings dramatically, 'I check my look in the mirror. Want to change my hair, my clothes, my face'. It's like that, but with fabrics. Do you remember that video? I've just re-watched it - it's the one where Bruce Springsteen invites a previously unknown Courtney Cox onto stage to dance with him. If you're not familiar with this song or even the curious fashions in the video, don't judge me, it was 1984 and I was 6 (although maybe you will anyway, as I distinctly remember my older sister even then being too cool to join us in Bruce mania and requesting instead to be taken to see Boy George when he came to play in Melbourne where we lived at the time).

Florence x

23 comments:

  1. Lovely fabric. I just watched Bruce too. "There's something happening somewhere..."

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  2. Hello,Wow how excited and surprised am I to see something I have made posted. Thank you Florence that is very kind of you. The way you put fabrics together is what gives me the inspiration, so carry on. Sorry I have not commented for a while, I have been reading what you post but have been somewhat busy as I have bought a fabric shop and have been doing it up so as you can imagine I have had little time to stitch :( x

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    1. Mary, that's so exciting! What's your fabric shop called? Is it online or bricks & mortar? x

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  3. Speaking as someone who bought your lovely fabric, I must say I am very grateful! Its especially nice for me to be able to get hold of lots of smaller pieces as I like to use lots of different fabrics in my quilts (makes me sound like I've made hundreds...only on my second, but have plans...!). A number of your lovely pieces are already in blocks, or lining up to be, for my current quilt. I also have lots of smaller things I want to make, so lots of fabrics I wouldn't necessarily have bought a whole fat quarter of are useful indeed. I do know what you mean about squirreling, though, and am a bit guilty of that, but I'm still telling myself they'll be useful sometime. I'm hoping to start a blog in the New Year (lets get past Christmas first) and will post photos (blog name, as Pinterest, will be Quince&Pippin). Incidentaly, your remarks about being 6 in 1984 makes me feel very old...don't know why but maybe because you must have been born in '78 and I clearly remember the legendary summer of '76 (very hot), when I was 11. Boy George and the romantics were around in my teens. Hey ho! Thanks again! Jen x

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    1. Quince & Pippin is such a gorgeous name - I've just followed your boards on Pinterest.

      So looking forward to seeing some of my fabrics in your quilts. x

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  4. Love your new fabric! Thank you for my parcel from your stash. I'll send you a pic of what i make.

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  5. How exciting! New fabric purchases are always good fun! The PB&J is one of my favourites. And greys with mustard - perfect?! Can't wait to see what you've making :)

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    1. I know - I have a total weakness for that colour combination. x

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  6. It must be so reinvigorating to sort of start from scratch with fabric! I feel guilty about the fabrics in my stash-- every time I look at them, I feel terrible that I haven't used them. I'm glad you were able to clear out space for more creativity!

    "Dancing in the Dark" is one of my favorite songs. I was a small child when that song came out, but I remember listening to it over and over again years later when I was a college student. It's definitely easy to relate to. :)

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    1. So pleased you were listening to that around the same time too :). Starting over is indeed lovely, but I'm finding it's making me feel as though I have a duty to reaccumulate a little…not quite what I was planning! x

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  7. Homebird Mary, what a beautiful quilt!

    Florence, how adult of you to buy fabric only for your current project. And what does that make me, who is apparently five years older and snapping up fabric this way and that, mostly to line it up on the shelf to look at it.

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    1. A fabric addict…but I'm not managing to be quite as mature and sensible as I'd first hoped! x

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  8. The EPP quilt is just beautiful. Your new fabric is lovely, you are very disciplined at only buying for your needs!

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  9. Love your new choice of fabrics....i was always surprised to see so much pink in your previous stashes!

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    1. Yes, I know what you mean - I could never quite work that one out as I'm not an especially pink person...

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  10. Your new fabrics are lovely, I must say I've been reading your blog for a few years now, and it's fascinating to see just how much your tastes have changed in that time!

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    1. I think that's partly having growing children maybe - my tastes have changed very much in line with where they are in their lives…it's an odd though as I haven't been aware at the time of quite what an influence motherhood seems to have on my fabric choices!

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  11. Wow, I'm impressed you managed to get rid of so much fabric - every time I think about destashing I end up putting it all back in the cupboard again!! But also very happy that you did as I have now finished making a pretty cushion with the fabrics I bought - you can see it on my blog here: http://contented.typepad.co.uk/contented/2013/11/ta-daa.html
    A lovely excuse for you to do some fabric shopping though, have fun with your new purchases. x

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    1. I've done that many times, but was finally prompted into action. So lovely to see your cushion and the fabric being used - thank you so much for leaving a link, Rachel! x

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  12. Wow, what a cull of your old fabric- you must be very disciplined- I would end up putting it all back in the cupboard and chicken out! I love the new fabric colours though- and yes it's very strange how our tastes change over the years... oh and now you have me singing along too:)

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    1. Yes, it's really odd. I'd always intended to save a small piece of every fabric I've ever owned to make into a quilt to document the change…I didn't quite get around to doing that though!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x