Betrayed by the Fabric Stash

I’ve never been much of a fabric stash person. You know, one of those sewists who buys up lots of fabric for the love of it, with vague plans (or maybe none at all) to use the fabric in a project. Someday.

I’ve always tended to just buy fabric when I needed it for a specific project. I also have tended to just sew special items, not everyday wear. I made a dress and jacket for my sister’s wedding, a wool-cashmere winter coat, that kind of thing. I also have done a ton of home dec sewing for my old house in Connecticut – always in need of some curtains, window box cushions or something.

The Pattern Review Fabric Stash Contest during June inspired me to make something out of those few stash pieces I have. I counted maybe 40 yards in all, mostly home dec items and staples, such as linings, interfacings and the like. A few pieces of stash seemed worthy of some projects for Happy Homemade Sew Chic:

  • 2 yards of sage-green Irish linen. Bought 10+ years ago to make an unlined jacket for a summer wedding. The bride got cold feet and the wedding was cancelled, so I never made the jacket.
  • 3 yards of black Irish linen, bought at the same time with no specific project in mind. Just loved the linen and thought it was sure to get used. Ha!
  • 7-8 yards of silk dupioni remnants in various jeweltone colors from Horowitz Bros. an old-fashioned fabric store in New Haven, Conn. that closed in 2004, much to the dismay of people who knew good fabric.

So I set out to make Jacket with Back Tie from Happy Homemade out of the green linen. But there was a problem.


I don’t know if you can see in this picture, but the linen has some fade marks along the fold lines. I used to store my fabric in one of those cheap plastic chests of drawers with the see-through fronts. This was in there forever and it obviously faded in places. I don’t think I can just cut around the faded parts. I marked the fabric “for muslin use” so I will remember not to try to use it for something else.

After this discovery last night, I spent a frantic hour going through the rest of my small stash. Nothing else seems faded or otherwise damaged from long storage. Among the dupioni remnants I found about 1.5 yards (1.5 m) of cherry-red dupioni that’s more of an apparel weight and weave than a home-dec type. It’s pretty stable and I don’t think I would need an underlining to make a simple unlined jacket out of it, although I will need to use French seams or seam bindings to keep it together. Worth a try.


2 thoughts on “Betrayed by the Fabric Stash

  1. I’m with you on this! I have a small stash with a goal of using it up before I buy any more fabric. I only want to buy fabric for one or two projects at a time. I’m most excited about a fabric (or project) when it’s a new idea.


  2. How terrible, to find fade marks on your lovely cloth! Is there anyway you can make it a feature of the design?

    When I had my studio I got stuck in the ‘buying’ mentality, I dreamed about having lots of inspiring fabric all around me. It wasn’t inspiring, it was de-motivating, all of that potential and none of it realised. I learned a lot.

    I don’t go random shopping anymore, most of the fabric I buy is for something specific, for example I bought some beautiful curtain fabric from a shop that was closing down, I imagined it would make a gorgeous 50’s style dress and it did. It is quite heavy, (its lined with curtain satin) but it is a delightful weight to wear.

    I do have a stock of zips, thread and the usual notions – things that I need now and then. But I think it is essential to have a clear space to work.


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