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.

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