Friday, 8 August 2014

Me and my stash

A discussion on whether the fabrics that you have in your stash is free or no, and how they should be calculated into the costs of projects over at the HSF facebook group made me think about what I have in my stash.

I'm quite happy with my stash, after I cleared out a lot of it earlier this spring. My stash contains mainly of four categories of fabrics.

1. Leftovers from older projects.

Since I do most of my fabric shopping online I tend to order a bit extra, just to be on the safe side That means that when a project is finished, I usually have around one meter of fabric left. Another drawback with ordering things online is that you don't always get exactly the quality or colour that it looked to be on the screen, for some projects that doesn't matter so much, but for other it does. I have quite a lot of pink/purple fabrics still left after my Queen Amidala travel gown since I ordered fabrics that when they arrived simply weren't the right colour.

A good thing with leftovers is though that they are usually of quite a nice quality, since for the last few years I have tried to save up and do fewer, but more expensive projects. The HSF challenges have been a good way of reducing this part of the stash, and the reticule in the picture is a good example of small pieces of leftover fabrics that were too nice to throw away, but also too small to make anything big out of.

2. Planned projects that never came to be
This is the dark spot in my stash, and I'm not too happy about it. A couple of years ago I planned to make more "normal" clothes and bought quite a few fabrics to make skirts and dresses out of. Well that has never happened, and I also must question my judgement when it comes to the look of the fabrics. This part of the stash is mostly filled with knits and pin stripes, but in colours that won't be usable for historical projects. Also I don't like working with knits, so I'm not sure when I'm going to make something out of those.
3. "natural fibres"
Since I started with historical costuming I've come to realize that it's always good to have some white/natural linen and cotton around. I always need something to line with, or make a petticoat or chemise. These kinds of fabrics are also great for tusken, jawas, jedis and other Star Wars costumes. This is the one part of my stash that I'm actively refilling, without having proper plans for it. It's usually comes down to me ordering a couple of meters of cotton voile or linen when I order other things from Stoff och Stil, since I love their voile.

4. Given fabrics
 These are the truly free fabrics, the ones that I have been given as a gift. Ironically quite a lot of these fabrics would probably be very expensive. In the early 1990's my father went on business trips to China, this was before it was opened up to the West like today. He brought with him quite a few really nice silks and brocades that he gave to the family In later years when members of the family have been to Asia they have usually come back with fabrics, since I like sewing I will appreciate fabrics after all. Many of these fabrics are gorgeous, but it's hard to find a use for them. They are usually modern patterns, or in colours that I don't really know how I should use. Also since they usually carry some emotional meaning and connection to the person who gave it to me, I'm hesitant to cut them up.

A good example of when I was able to use a fabric like this was for these pair of stays. That's a fabric that I feel very connected to, due to family history, but it was great to be able to squeeze the last remaining piece into something that I can use. The outfit that I'm making for myself for my sister's wedding is also a fabric from this part of the stash.

The rest though...
I have other fabrics in the stash, but those are fabrics that have been bought for specific projects that I'm planning to make in the near future. That includes fabric for a new Princess Leia white gown, two new 18th century jackets and so on. Since these fabrics are earmarked for these projects I don't count them as part of my stash, since I can't just grab them and make something out of them or use them for other projects.

This is not the current state of the stash, I have filled it with some more fabrics and removed some, but I have decided that I'm not allowed to fill up more space than I have here. Except for the "natural fibre" part of the stash I am trying to not buy more fabrics, unless I have a certain project in mind for it, and hopefully that will keep the stash in check so it doesn't start overflowing too much.

In all though I must say that I really haven't got a clue about the value of my stash, or the cost of individual fabrics. Once they are in my stash and up for grabs for non-specific purposes they are "free" in my mind. I have bought these fabrics because I could afford it at the time, so it doesn't cost me anything now. I try to estimate when I'm doing the HSF challenges, but those are just estimates.

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