Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stashing

*** For anyone that asked..I got that roll of batting at Joanns.com.  I used a 50% coupon and even with shipping it made it about 4.50 a yard…a good enough reason to buy it!

I got an email from a reader (hi Barbara!) a few days ago asking me how to build a fabric stash…so I thought I’d show you what I buy and keep on hand.  And since the price of fabric may soon be rising….you may find its necessary to watch what you buy more carefully.

Here are my basics….what I consider to be staples in my stash:

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solids, polka dots, stripes, and small scale prints.  Usually I have some gingham in there too.

I basically buy the same type of thing for every color and I always have them on hand:

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So my basics I always have and keep stocked.  I usually buy 1/2 yards of basics…but more if its something I love like that Katie Jump Rope blue basket weave up there.  I don’t buy as many floral, large scale or novelty fabrics, but I do keep some just because I like them.  I usually buy 1/4 yard to 1/2 yard depending on the price. 

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And they are usually the ones that stay in my stash forever until I need to make a baby quilt…but it is nice to have at least some on hand if you need them.   For instance if I wanted to make a quilt today with that floral Dream On fabric….

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I could pull enough “basic” fabrics out of my stash to make it work.  You can usually tell when I’m clear out of fabric and I’m only using my stash…because there will be gagillions of polka dots.  Like this and this quilt…I buy way too many polka dots.

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  I’ve said before I don’t keep a big stash…but because I have a lot of basics and “usable” fabrics…I can usually make a lot of projects from my stash without buying more. 

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But no matter how I can ramble on about stashing…the bottom line is, whether you have a big stash or a small stash..buy what you love.  If you love it, you’ll use it and be more happy with what you have. 

Speaking of fabric I’d like to give a shout out to new sponsors… Mad About Patchwork (out of Canada!)  and Poppy Seed Fabrics…welcome!

58 comments:

Dana said...
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Dana said...

Oooo you seem to stash the same "basics" as me, and you can never have enough polka dots either! Can I ask where you got (or who its by) the red spot on white background?? Im in the uk where the choice is not as good so will happliy buy abroad if they deliver- I would love to know, thanks danaandlee@hotmail.co.uk

Libby said...

I LOVE the fact that you always USE your fabric!! You do such a great job with your fabric and colors and now I know why. I have a stash full of fabric that I dont know how to use...I havent bought enough (my husband would love that) basics. I have bought many big prints and I just dont use them. Thank You so much for these hints!! btw.. Do you usually stick with pure white in the fabrics or do you use cream? or does it matter?

bethanndodd said...

Thanks for the pointers. I love polka dots too! I want to make an entire quilt out of polka dots. I will throw some solids in there too, of course :)

tabbiegirl said...

Thanks, Allison! This gives me (and I'm sure lots of other quilters) some great ideas for building a stash and putting together a cohesive group of fabrics for an interesting quilt. You are so right when you say to buy what you love and you will use it!

Goddess in Progress said...

You can never have too many polka dots, or so I tell myself. :-)

Peggy said...

I really appreciate all your tips! And yes fabric prices will be rising. In fact the price of anything made from cotton will be rising... anything from clothing to feminine products. This bit of information came to me from someone who in the business. (if I remember correctly she said it would be between 5% and 25%... it all depends.)

Do you have any recommendations for masculine quilts/lap blankets? Teenage to young adults? Two of our boys have asked me to make them "something" and I am stumped. So I figured a simple quilt might be in order.... I have to admit my tastes are similar to yours but the guys think it looks too feminine. Suggestions? But then again I might make them something as simple as a bag to carry their drum sticks/mallets or a pillow since they love both!

Michelle said...

I covet your stash. :)

Robyn said...

Thanks for sharing. I inherited my grandma’s stash of fabric and sewing notions about a year and a half ago. It is massive! I haven’t really had an opportunity to use it yet because I have been trying to sort it all to what makes sense to me…like she had fabric sorted as red, but I thought it was more orange. It makes it hard to look for something specific if it's not sorted the way my brain works. Anyway- I am always looking for ways other people create and sort their stash to get ideas to manage my own.

Jackie Russell said...

Really? You can buy to many polka dots. I didn't know that I thought you could never have too many. LOL! Love your fabric stash.

Cheri said...

I noticed only one of those groupings was without polka dots...they are like vitamins...you gotta have em.

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

OK, I have to admit....I dont think that I have any polka dots!!! I see now the error of my ways :) I will have to correct that....soon.
I was so excited about your batting....but too bad, they do not ship to Canada :(
Thanks for all the advice on organizing a stash!

Jo said...

Thanks for the stash advice! I'm in the midst of destashing the stuff I'll never use (garish colours and too many big prints) and trying to buy organic fabrics where possible for the replacements.

Amy said...

This post was so helpful and interesting to me. I am just beginning to build up a stash, and I think this was just perfect! Thank you so much!
xoxo,
Amy

Jenny said...

What a great post! I am with you on the polka dots: love them, can't get enough of them!

I'll link to this in my Link Love post on Friday.

Ricki said...

I'm addicted to polka dots too! Love them!

Kate said...

oo, I always love good fabric photos... and I am a huge polka dot person too! Thanks for sharing your tips!

momto2wasd said...

I have never really liked polka dots, so I don't have many in my stash. However, I think that might be what's missing sometimes when I can't find the right thing for a quilt. Just because I don't like them much individually, it doesn't mean they won't be perfect in the right mix for a quilt. I guess I gotta add to my stash, right? Thanks for a great post about purposeful and practical stash building!

Purple Quilter Queen said...

Thanks for sharing your tips! I always love the fabrics that you use in your quilts. They always seem to "go". Love your work! Jenn

Jen said...

Thanks for the insight. I just moved into a new house and have my own sewing room with my very own shelves to store my "stash" so I can see it. Very exciting to me...but I realized that I don't have very many "basics." Thanks of opening my brain to why I can't make the colors work!

marlene said...

Oh, I love polka dots, too! Thanks for the great post. Now that I think about it, I probably buy way too much floral, novelty and large prints and not enough of the "basics." For example, I was (still am) obsessed with Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane line ... and while they all coordinate nicely, sometimes I just don't want it to be so matchy-matchy. Perhaps if I had a little more of the basics, I would find it easier to pull fabric for projects. Hmmm ... gives me a lot to think about. Thank you for the insightful post!

Erin @ two more seconds said...

kindred spirits .... I stash way too many polka dots too!

randi---i have to say said...

all of those beautiful sets of fabric--love it!

i am so bummed about the prices going up. such bad timing. just when the economy gets going, the price rises. :( i say that as a fabric-buyer as well as a fabric-seller!

Cara said...

fun to see how you think about the fabric buying - that is the same process we use for putting together a collection, making sure there is a nice balance of small, medium and large scale.

lifeinredshoes said...

Great advice and perfect timing! I love your blog:)

Sleepy Cat Hollow said...

Thank you for sharing!

As with a few others that have already posted...I plan on making a polka dot quilt too. :) No such thing as too much polka dots! :)

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Love your stash tips!! Thanks for sharing!

CJ said...

LOVELY stash. I like seeing all the different color groupings. I don't seem to be that organized. Hmmmmmm

Chris {frecklemama} said...

Great post! Reading it was like an AHA moment for me. Thanks for posting the fabric porn, but more importantly, thanks for posting your process.

RachellaBella said...

Lovely stash and lovely advice! Thanks so much for sharing your expertise.

Judy said...

Very nice stash! I just keep buying the entire line, plan a quilt even the backing. Way, Way too much fabric. I'm up to maybe $7,000. in fabric of complete lines. Thank you. I wish I had done this instead!

Katri said...

I love that yellow elephant print, what is it? :) I have been looking something like that!

And oh, polka dots, I love them too!!

And you're blog is wonderful, thank you!

JCnNC said...

Love this post - I think when I started collecting, I got everything without knowing why, just needed a stash - now I buy mostly blenders and love bright saturated color. When I want civil war or reproduction fabric I buy for a particular project instead of collecting it. www.shadetreequilting.com

KerryQ said...

Now I know why I love your quilts so much, we have the same taste in fabrics! We actually have the same stash, only you actually make stuff with yours! Maybe you should work with a sponsor and choose a bundle of fabrics for us! With dots, ofcourse!

Shelley said...

Great advice - thanks for taking the time to write it all down and photograph it.

momawake said...

I love your advice about stashing! When I read "build a fabric stash" I laughed out loud. My stash building procedure has always been love it buy it. I have tons of that! There was not much thought given to it. Now I'll be more thoughtful when buying. Thanks.

Shasta said...

That's a great idea to load up on the basics. I usually buy what I love, and wind up with a huge stack of the floral, large scale, novelty fabrics, which is your smallest stack. Now I am trying to avoid adding to the stash altogether - buying only what I will use right away.

JenniferO said...

Good advice. I've realized I buy lots of large scale florals. I need more of your basics.

everyday muses said...

Good idea about buying staples of the same color...I always end up with really cute fabric of clashing color when I feel like making a quilt.

I am Just One Mom said...

good basics in a stash make any quilt possible! love all the polka dot lovers in the posts above. hope fab fabric designers are listening!

Dianne said...

Without a doubt THE best tutorial on stash building I have seen. I now have the info I need to weed out my stash, keep what I need for a really wellrounded selection, then decide what to do with the detritus. THANKS!!!!

Jessica Plumeau said...

Thanks for posting this! I am always stashing fabric, but it doesn't always seem to go together unless it comes from the same collection - this is a great starting point!

Alex Duenkel said...

Thanks for the hints... Now it's time to get my stash organized. I'm afraid that I might have too many novelty prints. Just can't help myself sometimes!
Like you, I like to buy 1/2 yards and love polka dots, any size.
I enjoy your blog so much and you inspire me on a daily basis! Thanks!

Camille said...

Love all the polka dots! I recently went through my stash and realized if I'm going to start quilting, I need to start stashing smaller prints too. I also LOVE polka dots! I am jealous of all your polka dot cuteness!
Camille @allaboutmommies.blogspot.com

Plum Patchwork said...

So this is why I have a huge stash and can never make anything out of it!

Emily Elizabeth said...

Awesome post! When I started out I did things backwards and built my stash around the "wow" prints. I ended up having to go to the fabric store all the time to get coordinates!

Tracey said...

I am very new to sewing/quilting and found this post full of information. I have been wondering how much fabric to buy if I don't have a particular project in mind, and this article has answered it well.
Thanks
Love me :-)

rachel griffith said...

great post.
:)

Carol said...

Thanks so much for your post. I have been stashing, but often forget to add the small prints and polka dots that will balance out the larger prints. I'm pretty sure your post gives me a license to do some fabric shopping!

Cindy said...
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amandajean said...

i don't think you can EVER have too many polka dots! just my two cents. :)

Gemma Day said...

I need to stop buying and start using! :O) http://everydayimstitchin.blogspot.com/

Krista said...
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Krista said...

Your post inspired me to reorganize my stash into basics and novelty/florals and pass on some of my fabric stash. I linked back to your blog post. I vow to be more mindful of my fabric purchases! Thanks for the inspiration.

Sue B said...

I have just found your blog, via the sprocket pillow tutorial, but found this one on stash. I have been buying fabric just because it was cheap and not because I love it, and when I look back 50% of my stash is fabric I wont use. So I started weeding that all out and have listed it for sale on ebay and with the money I make I will but some new fabric, that I love. Thank you for opening my eyes.

Christine Welsh said...

I must admit I learnt a long time ago to always ONLY buy fabrics I love.....otherwise I just don't use it and it stays hogging space that could have been occupied by something I might actually enjoy looking at! Well....come to think of it,I have some I love so much I just don't want to use it, just look at it! LOLLL Christine
- ChrisW Designs

Luanne Pang said...

Love your stash! Are these cotton?

Janet Maddox said...

I enjoyed the blog. I am cleaning out my stash drawers. Many of the fabric pieces I was given and they just do not speak to me. They have just sat in the drawer. These same pieces of fabric have been passed by even for use in lining in projects. So I am cleaning out! Thanks for the ideas on building a stash.

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