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.
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.
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.
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.
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.