Sewing with That Special Fabric from Your Stash

Do you have some special fabric in your stash? Something that’s never quite good enough for an actual project? Maybe it’s fabric you bought on a faraway trip, or something handed down to you from a mother or grandmother. Maybe it’s something you spent a lot of money on and you just can’t get up the courage to do anything with it.

I have a fabric like thatIMG_20150426_125003394. Here’s a picture.

Everybody may think “that doesn’t look like much,” but of course, there’s  a story.

I bought this when was just getting into sewing again about 10 years ago, because we bought a new house that needed a lot of curtains, window box cushions and other soft furnishings.

On a trip to Philadelphia, I saw an exhibit of fabric designs from students at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. (You must check this out if you ever go to Philly.)  I saw this fabric of red ginkgo leaves on a cream backgound – a cotton with a satin weave. Red is my favorite color and ginkgos are my favorite trees. The fabric had a lovely sheen on it. How could I not buy this?

It was $25 a yard. Yikes. I bought 2 yards, intended for some pillows or valances when we decorated our living room.

Fast forward 10 years. That fabric is still in my stash. I never made the pillows.(The fabric’s too light-colored! The dog will ruin them!) I never made valances. (The pattern’s not going to look good at the top of a window! There’s not enough fabric for this room!) I never did any apparel with it, either, because no pattern I could find seem “right” for its design, hand and drape. So it was basically a museum piece that I would take out of the cupboard once in a while to gaze at, longingly.

When I found Happy Homemade Sew Chic and other Japanese sewing pattern books, I knew I had found my use for this fabric.  This fabric ended up inspiring an entire wardrobe sewing project and this blog, where I share it with you all.

I am making this garment, Cross-over Tunic with the fabric. I have just enough IMG_20150425_172851714fabric to make this work, and the style with gathers and plain-cut pattern pieces will work well with the fabric’s properties. Also, the garment’s Asian style works well with the fabric’s Asian feel. Ginkgos are, after all, native to China and Japan, where the unique shape of the leaves has been a favorite motif since ancient times.

So, if you have some fabric in your stash that’s never quite good enough for any project, find one! Feel that fabric to get some inspiration. Try to envision the fabric in something you can enjoy all the time. Then make it happen.


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