Sunday, December 2, 2007

Purchase with a purpose

Relative to most crafty sewing types, my fabric stash is pretty .... small. I have a decent sample of fabrics in there, but it pales in comparison to some of the fabric stashes I've seen paraded on the blog circuit. I'm frugal. Cheap, if you will, and I rarely splurge on anything that's more than about $4/yd. I keep thinking that's a good idea, and that I need to make new things *only* from what I have in my stash.

But that's left me in a rut. And even though I have this somewhat mediocre stash of fabric staring back at me, I still hesitate to jump in and make something. I think it's because I like most of the fabrics, but I don't like, like them. Maybe I liked them in the store, and even still appreciate what initially drew me to them, but I can't look at them and see their purpose. They were fun to find, fun to buy and fun to bring home, but once I got them home I had no idea what to do with them.

So tonight I figured out what I needed to do to get jazzed about the fabric I purchase and actually jump into making something with them within a few days of bringing it home.

Purchase. with. a. purpose.

I have a stockings class coming up with Leslie this week. I need to make a stick horse for Ben for Christmas, and I'm making eye pillows for teacher gifts. My stash wasn't cutting it. It turned out that I actually needed to get to the fabric store and buy some fabric for these specific projects. I also happened to have several 50% off coupons I could use at Joann's, so even the frugal cheapskate in me was ok with it.

I was in and out of Joann's in less than 20 minutes (and that included waiting in a huge line for cutting). I got exactly what I needed, didn't meander, and I even treated myself to some wool felt (can you believe I've never treated myself to wool felt? I told you. I'm ... frugal) since I was getting everything else so cheap.

And when I got home, I was more motivated to make stuff than I've been in weeks. It turns out that I just need to purchase things with a specific purpose so I can jump right in to them. And I didn't even buy anything too spectacular - some felt, some brocade, some thread - but nothing that was over-the-top fabulous in terms of aesthetic appeal.

I love random browsing of fabrics as much as the next person, and goodness knows that special, yummy fabrics are a treat, but for now at least, I have to realize with my limited sewing/crafting schedule, it makes more sense to just get exactly what I need. Where I used to think that a growing stash would inspire me, I've come to realize that it can actually overwhelm me and freeze me in my tracks.

But the purchase with a purpose? Now that is inspirational.


  1. Love your post! I know just what you mean about your stash. Sometimes I get caught up in not wanting to use fabric that is too cute for fear of not finding it again to be replaced.

  2. I don't have too big of a stash so I can totally relate! When I want to make something I think 'huh, I'm just not sure anymore' - and I feel the need to go shopping. We don't have a JoAnn's where I live now though!

  3. If you come across any more Rudolph fabric, Fuzz is dying for a blanket. We'll pay whatever you want! AK's Rudolph blanket is just so great.

  4. So glad your purchases were fruitful. That stick horse looks like a fun project :)

  5. We're like Jack Sprat and his wife. I have a huge stash, a long project list and no time to even shave my legs.

    Your approach is very pragmatic and one I should follow, HOWEVER, if you are going to make something yourself, why not spend $30 on fabric for a dress for instance? You'll end up with something spectacular that was still pretty cheap.

  6. Heh! I know what you mean about buying with purpose, but I'm living proof that that doesn't always work out. I have so many yards of fabric with the pattern sitting on top of them that *someday* I will make.

    Oh, and I made the eye pillows from Sew, Mama, Sew too... I. LOVE. THEM.


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