To Stash…Or Not To Stash?

That is the question! I’m a self-admitted fabric “collector”. This addiction started back in the day when it was really difficult to find much good fabric locally. So, I started buying fabric as I saw it, gradually building up my stash. I have known people who just buy fabric for the sake of it and never use it but I am not one of those people! I now buy most of my fabric from online vendors and really enjoy adding to my collection. Over the years, I have built up my own little in-house store that is better-stocked than any local shop could ever hope to be. :-) When The Boyfriend’s mother visited last weekend, she noted that “there is fabric in every closet!”. Um, yes, there is and that’s just the way I like it.

My friend Lindsay does not stash. Yes, you read that correctly. She admits to being a fabric teetotaler. Then, there’s Carolyn who might be even more of a collector than I am and whose blog posts often cause me to add a few more yards to my stash. Most of you are somewhere in the middle.

About 5 years ago, I took a fabric inventory. At the time, I had approximately 1200 yards in my collection. It’s grown since then, to be sure. And, no, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

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31 responses to “To Stash…Or Not To Stash?

  1. Hey, I only blog about the “good” stuff! Do you know how much I buy that flies under the radar?! *LOL* Plus that was a great deal, I had to share!!!

  2. I have no clue how much fabric I have but I do know that almost everytime I order something, I buy almost 30 yards lol. I don’t have a problem with it lol.

  3. I admit it, I’m a stasher. DF will be shocked when he moves in!

  4. Hahahahahahaha! Ah….(wiping eyes) Don’t even get me going. As my DH said, “You haven’t seen stash until my wife started a fabric store.” And he wasn’t talking about the store’s inventory.

  5. I always tell my husband, “It’s cheaper than therapy, and that’s my only other alternative.” Someohow, he has no problem with me stashing fabric and he even adds to it every once in a while.

  6. Nor should anyone feel guilty of their fabric obsession. It is a good addiction. Doesn’t hurt anyone. Makes one happy. I love stash!

  7. After reading your post I was going to estimate how much fabric I have and then I thought “what’s the point?” I know I have a lot and knowing the amount won’t do anything but cause me anxiety (SABLE!). I have curtailed my fabric shopping because I should sew what I have (instead of just collecting it) and I’m running out of room to store fabric. But knowing that I have 500 yards, 1000 yards, or 1500 yards wouldn’t keep me from buying the perfect fabric for a certain project or buying “travel fabric” as a souvenir. So why torture myself?

  8. Jeanette

    Lots of people “collect” things that they don’t do anything with (like figurines for example). What’s the difference in “collecting” fabric (or patterns or …)

  9. I can’t say that I’ve ever tallied up the total yards of fabric that live with me (nor have I ever counted patterns), but I can say this — there are 31 30-gallon totes, a cabinet and 2 shelves in my linen closet full of fabric. Granted corduroy, fleece, faux fur and knit boucles take up a great deal of room, but I don’t think I’d blink if it was around 2,500 yards. I don’t feel bad about it for one reason. I can sit down and sew anything I want any time I want. I do not have to make a trip to the fabric store (if there was a fabric store near me — just JoAnns). I have tons of notions, hundreds of spools of thread, hundreds of yards of elastic and zippers in every color you can imagine. I like having that flexibility. I like not having to stop and run out for a zipper or thread. Yes, it’s a fabric store in here and I like it!

  10. Karla

    The stash is no longer stashed – and that’s becoming a problem. It’s now draped decoratively on every available flat surface, but I know that if I put it away (and where might I do that?), I’ll never find the piece I’m looking for. I can understand NOT stashing, if you live someplace like – oh, a few minutes from the Garment District or within a few feet of your own fabric business – but most of us know that when we see great stuff, we’d better buy it now, cuz it won’t be available when we need it.

  11. I’ve been following your blog for a long time now. Always enjoy seeing your creations. I’m a horible greedy stasher. I’ve been trying really hard this past year to stop it. But I’m not doing a very good job of it. I just love fabric. I love the feel, the look, the dream of it. It makes me feel good to know I’m not the only one who needs a twelve step program for fabric obsessive compulsive disorder. At least you don’t feel quilty about it. I guess it’s my Catholic upbringing. It warms my heart to read so many other ladies have my same problem.

  12. eword10

    I’m just starting out on my sewing adventures, but I have a major stash building already. I guess I could calculate how much, but why? I have knitted for over 6 or 7 years and have almost no stash. I always just buy for whatever project I want to work on and that’s it. I think the difference between knitting and sewing is that yarn is way more expensive than fabric. So maybe I’ve found the perfect activity for me. ;)

  13. What was the boyfriend’s mother doing rooting around in EVERY closet?? LOL!

  14. Boopsie1977

    Wow! I definitely feel less guilty now. I’m not even going to THINK about how much I’ve spent over the years. But just knowing I can shop in my own home from all these beautiful fabrics has quite a calming effect on me. It’s great therapy. I even like just opening the closet and looking at all my favorite colors and all the wonderful weaves, patterns, weights, shades, etc. I may never sew very many of them up, but at least I don’t feel as guilty about it after reading your post!

  15. I have a stash of about 350 or so yards, so a medium sized stash, and no I don’t feel guilty about it. There are no good fabric stores close by so my stash, like yours, is my at home fabric store.

  16. I have never been able to accept the concept, “they will always make more fabric”…so my stash grows and grows…..time for me to give some of it away again to a super-sweet 17-yr old sewist in OK who does fabulous designs with my cast-off fabric!

  17. Jen

    No stash for me – I’ve never had room. Or the money :) I only buy, 95% of the time, for a planned project. The only time it starts to stack up is when I am sewing too slowly.

  18. Lois K

    I love to stash. ;) There is such potential sitting in my closets and it makes me happy to touch it and remember where I went shopping and what I planned to do with each piece of fabric. On the other hand, my stash has gotten out of hand. :O When we moved here 13 years ago my stash occupied most of a bookshelf. Shortly after getting here I built a wonderful cutting table of Closet Maid drawer units topped with a piece of melamine board. My stash about half filled the drawers and I thought I would never fill them. ;) Now the drawers are all full and the stash runneth over into plastic bins in two closets and stacked in the corner of the guest bedroom. DH caught me in the closet in the guest bedroom and commented that he didn’t realize I had fabric in there also. ;) I do need to do some pruning. I moved here with mostly fabric for cold weather climates and I don’t need that in the south nor at this peri-menopause time of life. Nor do I ever again plan to live in a cold weather place.

    Lois K

  19. vernonfashionstudio

    I have a very small stash and have made an effort to shop my stash for projects. I have added to my stash from Gorgeous Fabrics and my local store but only if I have a project in mind. I really don’t have the room for too much fabric.

    But I have buttons! Lots of buttons. I really need to organize them into color families to make finding buttons easier.
    Linda T

    • I love buttons too! I have mine organized by color in embroidery floss boxes – many embroidery floss boxes!

      • vernonfashionstudio

        Oh what a great idea Gigi! I hadn’t thought of using floss boxes. They would store well. Thanks so much for sharing.
        Linda T

  20. I love fabrics too, esp. batiks.

  21. sewsy

    Thanks for this post, Gigi. Does my heart REAL good to know that there are sewers out there who feels as I do about the fabrics they own. UNAPOLOGETIC!!!! ;-) AND LOVING EVERY (well, maybe not every) LAST YARD.

  22. Once I tally up my new bundle from Michaels (my first !) I’ll be just shy of 400m. Not bad for someone who’s only been collecting for about a year & a half. Guilty ? Nope :-)

  23. Miriam in KS

    I love being able to go “shop the basement”! Many a baby gift has emerged from that special store. Or a last minute Halloween costume for my teacher mother or a Pilgrim outfit for Thanksgiving –requested at 10 p.m. no less by a bedtime-avoiding 7 year old girl! Solved that one by making a cap and apron to layer over a previously constructed denim jumper and white eyelet blouse. I was even in bed before midnight. My daughter was happy and the hit of the family dinner the next day.

    At any rate, I have no idea how many yards still reside in my “store”. I do know that I am glad I have some options available whenever I feel like planning or starting a new project.

  24. Lindsay T

    Well, a major reason for my abhorring having a stash is that I live in a small house and really have no place for it. But would I collect more if I had the room for it? Probably not. I blame this restraint on my New England Yankee heritage: it’s a genetic thing.

    • I bet your closets look a lot better than mine. ;-) I really do think my stash is a bit of a security blanket for me. I keep telling myself that there will always be more fabric but still I am powerless to resist!

  25. I live in a fabric-deprived area too….although we have another local store, I still long for a large, well-stocked store. Maybe I’m just spoiled, so I have a whole closet devoted to my stash, and I love it!

  26. This is a major issue in my home. I would love to stash away fabric of all kinds. There is just no room in our house.