Why I Got Rid of My Fabric Stash

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When I first started quilting, I eagerly jumped in with both feet. I almost immediately signed up for a "color of the month" stash builder club. Each month, 12 beautiful 1/2 yard cuts would arrive in my mailbox that I would lovingly fold and place on a shelf to admire. 

I imagined having one of those beautiful sewing studios with a wall of perfectly stacked FQs arranged in rainbow order to pull from whenever I wanted to make a new quilt. Makes sense, right? 

Wrong. 

There were several things wrong with this approach (for me).

The fabrics I was collecting weren't my style

The fabrics I was getting in the stash builder boxes were full of novelty prints that I don't use. They are cute and fun, and I held on to them because I might have the "perfect project someday". But, I've come to realize, unless specifically requested by a client, I'm never going to reach for those kinds of fabrics. It's just not my style.

My style is still evolving and changing. The fabrics or colors I'm choosing right now will probably be different next year. Even though it is fun to look at, my small stash is taking up space we don't have a ton of and will just have to pack up and move again (thanks, Army). 

Two types of quilters: the stash builder and the project purchaser

The "stash builder" buys new fabric collections as they are released, buys basics and blenders to have a variety of fabrics to mix and match for any project, and (probably) has the wall of beautifully stacked FQs. 

The "project purchaser" buys a pattern (or creates one), determines how much fabric is needed, and purchases that amount. This quilter may have a small stash of basics and blenders and/or a scrap fabric system, but generally buys what she needs when she needs it. 

I'm the second. 

It didn't make sense for me to have a stash (however small) of fabrics I was probably never going to use because I was buying what I wanted when I needed it. 

I started writing patterns

I'm using more solids than prints these days.

With pattern writing, I've found that it's better to make the cover quilts with solids so the pattern stays relevant. Using a fabric line that won't be available in 6 months could make the pattern look outdated, or frustrate a quilter who wanted to make the cover quilt but can't because that fabric is no longer available. 

We move every few years

In the scenario where I pictured a wall of beautifully stacked FQs arranged in rainbow order, I'm imagining a forever house. One that won't be packed up, moved across the country, and then rearranged into a new house that may or may not have the same space or layout. 

My husband is in the Army so we get to move every 1 to 3 years. Someday we will have a forever house, but until then, I need to part with the fabric I know I won't use so it is one less thing to pack, move, or store. 

The solution

I created a destash Instagram account. I'm still working on getting all the photos taken, but I plan for it to go live on Tuesday, June 11 at 9am EST.

These fabrics are fun and beautiful and someone who will actually use them should have them! I'm getting rid of almost everything at ridiculously low prices, so feel free to take a look around and see if there is anything you want or need for your next project! There are also some good stash builders in there if that's more your style too. ;) 

 

Tell me, are you a stash builder or a project purchaser? 

 

I used to collect fabrics because they are pretty, but then realized why I don't need a fabric stash after all!

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Comments


  • Thank you for this article. I am new to quilting and automatically I became a project purchaser. It made more sense to me. But I still need ideas as to how to best organize my quilting/sewing room. This was a helpful article and comments.

    Debra C on
  • Enjoyed reading about getting rid of your fabric stash—a revolutionary idea! We are retired US Air Force & live in our forever home in the mountains of Montana. I have been quilting for 30 years & have changed the way I buy fabric over the years. I love appliqué so I like to have enough fabrics that I can start a project, then add whatever I need from our local quilt shops—closest is 45 miles away. If I want to get rid of things I now know I will never use, I donate it to Project Linus or Comforters for Kids.

    JAN on
  • Good morning! I’m so sorry you lost your gingham quilt. I would’ve been devastated (especially since the picture is so cute and my favorite color).
    I’m a fabric hoarder. I even bought a t-shirt that says “I’m one yard short of being on Hoarders”! It’s so true and so sad. I have a full basement with an area designated for cutting, batting and tubs FULL of fabric.
    I’m an empty nester with 2 puppies and have no excuse for not piecing and quilting everyday except I have so much it’s overwhelming. I also have a sewing room upstairs (spare bedroom) and the closet is filled from floor to ceiling, under the bed and stacked around the room. My linen closet outside that bedroom is also filled from floor to ceiling. It really is a sad situation! In my defense I do have the pattern with the fabric and who it’s for altogether and the person’s name (if there is one).
    BUT, I do have to ask you if you have any dog fabric?? I have several patterns for dog items.
    Your daughter is darling! I love your blog too!
    Thank you,
    Dianne

    Dianne G Patterson on
  • I have a huge stash collected over 35 years of quilting. I’m trying now to make quilts without buying extra fabric. It’s hard because often I don’t have the right shade of a colour, or the fabric design is the right colour but the wrong scale in design.
    I’ve never bought a whole collection, just the main print and usually two prints that go with it. The rest comes from my stash.
    I should sell off some of my earlier purchases and so I started putting lengths of fabric aside for that purpose, but have had to dive into that pile for something that was perfect for what I was making.
    At almost 80 years of age, and with 26 large quilt tops waiting to be quilted I should just stop making more, but that is the part I like best, putting fabrics together and making tops.

    Marie Ravening on
  • Great post! My tastes have changed so much over the years and I felt guilty buying new fabrics when I had so much. I have spent the last year using my stash to make awesome car quilts (patterns like disappearing nine patch). Hoping next year to be able to be at the point that I can be a project quilter!

    Jacque on


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