Stash Interview ~ Amy from Badskirt

on February 11 | in Interviews + Profiles, Sewing + Quilting Tips | by | with 37 Comments

Today’s interview is with SMS board member Amy from Badskirt. Remember: You can play along too! We’d love to hear about your fabric loves and organization, and see pictures of your stash.

SMS: First of all, what do you usually sew?
Amy: Mostly softies and aprons, but I like to try a little of everything. I make fabric buttons, baby bibs, wallets and more. I’m a chaotic crafter.

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Big pieces (“cheap on the left, expensive on the right”)!

SMS: When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)
Amy: I’m a bit of a fabric-store-a-holic, so I like to pick up only a little at a time. Buying in small lots gives me an excuse to go back! I usually buy fat quarters or 40cm at a time. If I really love a fabric or the sale is terrific, I may pick up 2 or 3 meters, but that’s rare.

SMS: Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
Amy: I’m fairly impulsive in my shopping. Because I sell at local markets, there are a few fabrics that sell well and I buy frequently. For the most part though, I look for anything bold, bright or retro styled. I’ve learned that if you see something you love, you should buy some. It may not be there when you go back next week.

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Small scraps in the office organizer.

SMS: Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?
Amy: I used to be a prewasher, but my ironing skills are shockingly bad. So now, I only prewash when I’m ready to use things. Less time for my poorly ironed wrinkles to set in.

SMS: How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
Amy: I sort by fabric size. I have one cabinet for fabrics over 1m, one bin for fat quarters and a small paper tray/office organizer for scraps.

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Fat quarters organized by color in the CD bin.

SMS: Do you have any special folding techniques?
Amy: I’m picky with my fat quarters. I always refold them when they arrive to ensure the cut edges are tucked in. They look nicer in the bin and it helps prevent fraying.

SMS: What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?
Amy: I wouldn’t call my stash well-rounded. My advice is to buy what you love and be sure to keep plenty of “filler” fabrics around to work with. For me that’s pinstripes and tight spots.

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Layer cakes, charm packs and jelly rolls tucked in with the patterns.

SMS: When do you say enough is enough? What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?
Amy: I like to keep my stash pretty small. Things go in and out quite quickly. Once a week, I grab my fat quarter bin and precut pieces for softies. Prepping projects ahead of time makes sewing more fun and keeps the stash from overflowing.

My stash is surprisingly small and changes all the time. I play mental games with myself to help keep my stash in control. I find when it gets out of control, it’s less inspiring.

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37 Responses to Stash Interview ~ Amy from Badskirt

  1. Andi says:

    I love the idea of organizing the smaller scraps in an office organizer! I inherited a large number of small scraps from my grandmother (who loves paper piecing and keeps every scrap “just in case.”) She had them all organized by colour, but stuffed into plastic bags! Every time I want to use a scrap I have to search around the bag for it and then spend a bit of time ironing it into a recognizable shape! I will definitely be buying some office organizers. Thanks for all the great tips!

  2. Bekhy says:

    What a great interview. I loved the links to the mindgames for the stash. Made me giggle :P I actually don’t mind cutting, though it’s not as fun as the sewing part. I get really enthusiastic about starting a project, and get everything cut and organized. I really do enjoy the sewing part, but it’s a different enjoyment from the planning and designing part which for me usually also involves cutting pieces out ready for a project. I also find that if I get things precut and in neat stacks ready to to be sewn, at some point my “gotta get this under control” button gets pushed when the started projects start accumulating and when I get into the sewing mood it’s all ready to just zip through the machine. Makes me feel super-productive :).

  3. Libby says:

    Enjoyed see how Amy organized her fabric stash. I totally agree with her about loosing inspiration when things are out of control.

  4. Laurie says:

    my stash is not very big – YET…thanks for some great ideas

  5. adrienne says:

    What great organization ideas! Love the FQs in the CD case. I try to cut fabric for the projecrs ASAP for many of the dame readons.

    =]
    Love the FQ in the CD case fq

  6. Anne Marie says:

    I recently had a really good idea for stashing all my little craft stuff that I pretty much add to or grab every day….little fabric lined baskets in the pantry, or if you have a cute little ol’ hutch or step back, you could really display your little stuff cute with like the rick rack coming out of a tea cup…buttons in a white iron stone platter….use your hutch you already have and just “stash” it like you would see in a really cute shop!!
    I don’t know about ‘ya’all’ but seeing my craft “goodies” inspires me to craft!!
    Ciao!!

  7. Ashley says:

    Great info! I love that you cut our your patterns in advance so they’re ready when you are. I should start that for the bags I make on a regular basis!

  8. Toby says:

    great ideas. I need to reorganize mine…and now the brain is working!

  9. Christy says:

    Great organization! I now realize that I need to refold my stash to stop the fraying – thanks for the tip!

  10. Julia in MI says:

    I don’t have much of a fabric stash. I buy for certain projects. It is fun to hear how others decide on purchases, because I would like to branch out into new areas (quilting, mostly). I’ve currently done mostly children’s clothing.

  11. Danielle D says:

    also…what is a softie?

  12. Danielle D says:

    I like that her stash is smaller. I think it helps keep you from collecting so much fabric that some of it will never be used.
    Cutting out the projects before hand is a great idea, too. I loathe cutting.

  13. Ellen B says:

    I’m beginning to realize my unorganized, over abundant stash is hindering my creativity, especially being that I only have a few hours after work and dinner to do my sewing…Thanks for all these interviews to help with managing and organizing!

  14. amy says:

    Great interview! I love how she keeps her stash small.

  15. min says:

    hmmmm…my mom is on vacation. I’ll see if I can sneak to her house for a few photos of her stash. It amazes me…takes up every inch of an entire room. I’m not even sure if it would photograph well. She’s got one closet full of “quilt back” sizes of fabric, an entire double closet full of other fabrics, and two huge chests of drawers, ya know – 9 drawers each – of more fabric. It goes on and on. Each drawer holds so many surprises. When I need just a tidbit to fill in a project, I just hop on over to her store, I mean stash.
    I told her once that she should join quilters anonymous, not knowing that that was a real group of quilters who have meetings and projects, etc. I think they named it right!

  16. Shellyfish says:

    I really like these interviews for the organizing tips. I have a very, very small stash, but still, I think if it were better organized I would better use it!

  17. kim3timemom says:

    I sure wish I could organize my stash. I’d love to put it all in a book shelf and have them been so pretty.

  18. Lisa says:

    I love that you keep the fabric moving, it makes sense to ‘store’ fabric in the finished project than on shelves in the sewing room. Thanks for sharing your secrets to keeping an organized sewing area.

  19. shaina says:

    I’d love to simply have enough material to need to “sort” it out!

  20. JaneR says:

    I like how she folds the fabric for looks and practicality (keeping the frayed edges in). She’s inspiring in how her stash is so small…in that she uses her fabric up rather quickly. Thank you for this great interview!

  21. Deb says:

    I really am learning a lot from these interviews of how others handle their stash!

  22. Tara says:

    A CD bin…..clever!!

  23. Leah says:

    Great idea with the CD organizer! I may have to steal that one:-)

  24. Danielle says:

    I love the pictures of the different repurposed containers. great storage ideas!

  25. lesley says:

    nice, i love the bit about the ironing. i always prewash, but i’m a terrible ironer, so it usually takes me a while to iron out all those wrinkles when i’m ready to start a project. maybe i should ease off on my prewashing and iron right away ;)

  26. Leigh says:

    I love the idea of cutting fabric once a week to prep for your projects! I hate the cutting part, and I often just don’t start a project b/c nothing is cut.

  27. Anya T. says:

    Thanks for the interview.

  28. Marcia says:

    You are a smart woman. I do feel defeated when I get too many projects/fabric in my sewing room.

  29. sarah f says:

    I am so jealous! I can’t find a good way to store my stash. I do a lot of pattern sewing and quilting so sometimes i have yards of fabric at a time and i usually don’t buy FQs. I hope to see something great to imitate. Doesn’t help my sewing room is in my bedroom with all my DH computer “junk” too.

  30. Jennifer says:

    Wow I wish I was this organized!
    you rock girl!!

  31. Katie says:

    Everytime Sew Mama Sew does one of these stash interviews, I always want to expand my stash! But alas, with a baby on the way and living in a small apartment, I have to make more room for everything which means actually sewing the fabric that I do have stashed.

  32. jodie says:

    Love how you keep th fat quarters!

  33. Michelle S says:

    Your stash looks so well organized!

  34. Wendy says:

    Gorgeous stash! I am destashing myself this week, i’m giving away free fabric on my blog, come check it out!
    Wendy

  35. Michele says:

    Very organized!

  36. Ingrid says:

    I’m getting to the point where I need to figure out how to organize my small but growing stash. I love the CD cases and the file drawer with patterns. I’m using a big binder now but it’s getting a bit unruly.

  37. alisha says:

    I love that fabric in the first photo — the blue fabric with the scooters. So cute!

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