Thursday, September 30, 2010

Attachment Issues; or Why I Have A Hard Time Getting Rid of Fabric

I seem to have an unusually large fabric stash for an individual person. At least, that is what I gather from reading other sewing blogs and comparing stashes with the (few) other real life sewing friends I have. And I have a really Really REALLY hard time letting any piece of fabric go, no matter how small. Part of that is not wanting to be wasteful (hey, all those tiny scraps can totally stuff that pillow!); but I must admit that a bigger part of it is probably emotional.

The problem is, I have a memory attached with almost all of the fabric in my stash. And I'm not just talking about yardage here. I'm also talking about the 60+ plastic drawers full of scraps less than a yard long. Pull out any significant yardage piece of fabric from my stash, and there is a 90% chance that I can tell you where I bought it, when I bought it, approximately how much it cost per yard, what percentage it was on sale, and what first attracted me to the fabric, or alternately, who gave it to me and why. But beyond the "facts", I could probably also tell you how I was feeling when I bought it, what the general mood of my life was those days, who I was interacting the most with, what big changes were happening or about to happen, and what dreams I had for the fabric. That is a lot of stuff, all packed into a couple of yards of cotton or rayon.

For the smaller scraps, I may not be able to tell you where exactly every piece came from, but I have a good idea who 75% of the scraps in my collection came from. Because at this point, I have a reputation for not turning away any fabric, no matter how hideous or how small. There is some sort of redeeming quality in almost every fabric I have ever met, which usually comes out when used in small doses with plenty of other fabric to tone it down. Of course, many of the scraps come from various costume shops I have worked at over the years, and I can tell you every piece that they were used in, and some interesting drama about the designers or the drapers.

All of this makes it pretty hard to contemplate getting rid of any of my fabric. Getting rid of fabric would feel kind of like giving away my photographs, or my memories. Part of ME lives in all of these fabrics that I have caressed and adored. I have at points considered selling some of it (especially when I have been hard up for money or space), and I have occasionally donated some of it to a specific costume that I was working on, or to a friend who was learning how to sew. But even then, I remain fairly possessive. If I find out they aren't going to use it, I kinda want to ask for it back and make sure that it doesn't just end up in the garbage.

At this point, though, I have so much fabric that the thought of moving it again, and how long it would take me to sew through all of it is rather daunting. I may actually consider trying to get rid of some of it. I'm not sure how, or when, but it may just be inevitable in my future. I know for sure that I am not allowed to buy any more fabric unless I have a really Really REALLY good reason. And I may even have to stop taking fabric donations...


But lest you think this post is all about my Issues, I give you Tiny Umbrellas! This fabric is one that I bought at Bolt in Portland, OR about 2 years ago, at one of their sales. It was so cute, and colors that I love, so I bought one yard of it, intending to use it for purses. Now I may just have to use it as trim on something....A black button-down shirt maybe? or side panels/pleated ruffles on a pencil skirt? It is 100% cotton, but I would have to look on the selvedge for the designers information, and frankly I'm not sure where I put this piece.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I often have a problem finishing a sewing project in a "reasonable" amount of time. If I don't finish a project within a week of having started it, I will often get busy with work, or gain more interest in another project, and will abandon the half-finished one. The thing is, I never abandon it completely. I usually just end up bagging the pieces up, sticking them in a plastic container somewhere, and forgetting about them. Until one glorious day, 6 months later, a year later, 3 years later, when I stumble across it again and think "Gee, I am so close to finishing this, and it is such a cool project." Out comes the bag and the half-sewn fabric, and we are back in business!
Such is the story of this floral skirt that I have been working on lately. I bought this skirt super cheep somewhere between 6 and 8 years ago. I really liked the fabric, but was bored with the style. I thought that adding some ruffles would solve that problem and make it totally worth buying. I had in my head circular ruffles, to give it a cuban/salsa feel to match the floral. The only problem was that at the time, I had no idea what circular ruffles were or how to make them. I only knew that there was a way to make ruffles that didn't involve lots of gathering at the seam, and that was what I wanted. About 6 months later I finally managed to acquire some fabric that I liked for said ruffles (the black and red-violet cottons, which were purchased at Fabric Depot purely for their color and weight). At which point, the skirt and fabric sat in my UFO (UnFinished Object) drawer for years. Every once in a while I would take it out, but I would always put it back as the idea of doing the math to figure out the necessary size of the circles was too much for my poor word-addled brain.
Until 2 weeks ago, when I bought a book at the used book store that inspired me: Singer 101 Sewing Secrets. On pages 84-87 there is a whole spread on how to make circular ruffles (which, as the name implies, are ruffles made out of sewing basically doughnuts of fabric with one vertical cut in them together). This type of ruffle gives a soft, even wave and doesn't add any bulk at the seamline (think Spanish ladies/Flamenco dancers). So I got to work calculating circle circumferences and cutting and sewing fabric. I am so very close to being done with the skirt: all I have left is to attach the completed ruffles to the skirt, and to replace the invisible zipper that broke. But I must confess, my interest is waning rapidly. Yesterday when I went to work on the skirt, I ended up sewing this instead:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just call me Betty Crocker...

Here is the finished apron made out of last post's fabric. I finished the apron on Monday. I never did take any "in progress" pics, so you only get to see the finished product. The pattern that I used is called "More Retro Aprons" by Cindy Taylor Oates; I made view A2 (which is on the back) without the bow. This is the first time that I have used a pattern like this, but I think it worked out well. The green material for the lining is something that I had in my stash. It's a pretty heavy cotton weave. The yellow ricrac was also in my stash. I didn't exactly follow the measurements for the ruffles. The cupcake fabric wasn't wide enough with the direction of the pattern on the fabric, so my ruffles are less full than the pattern calls for. I would have liked fuller ruffles but didn't want to piece them, so this seemed to be my best option.

My only dislike about the way that this project turned out, is that somehow the front of the apron ended up being about 1/2 inch longer than the lining, which causes it to bag and hang in such a way that the bottom ruffle looks uneven. The solution to this problem is pretty simple (remove part of the lining and shorten one of the seams between the under-section and one of the ruffles), but I am too lazy right now to fix it. Also, I'm fair certain no one will notice besides me.

I got to test drive my apron by making some brownies. I looked pretty cute while doing so, although I still managed to drip brownie goo between my shirt and the apron, staining my shirt and defeating the point of wearing an apron in the first place. ::sigh::

Close up of the back loop and lining

Close up of the ruffles

The back/straps/tie

Thursday, September 2, 2010

mmmm...Tastey fabric

So, I haven't posted for a really long time. I mostly blame that on work, and my own laziness. Also, I'd rather be sewing than blogging about sewing, but I also want to share the awesome fabric I find. Anyways, I am back, and hopefully this blog shall not waste away entirely.

My latest project involves some fabric that is not only adorable and colorful, it's practically edible. Although anything I bake never looks this perfect (except maybe my cookies). Pictures of the work in progress to come soon!

Fabric Stats- Purchased at: Beverly's in Fair Oaks Fiber: cotton, probably quilting cotton Selvedge text: VIP by Cranston and Robert Kaufman Sweet Tooth Screen Print D#6828