Did you see Jennifer’s fantastic tutorial for a Fat Quarter Handbag? You can find Jennifer at the Jennifer Ladd shop, and here as a board member too! Have you answered our stash interview questions? Have you added a picture to the Fabric Stash & Storage pool? Here’s what Jennifer has to say about fabric and her stash:

SMS: First of all, what do you usually sew?
Jennifer: I am usually the happiest when I am sewing bags and purses. I’m a bit of a purse addict, myself, so I satisfy my cravings by making bags and then selling them in my shop so I can make more! I also sell my handmade baby booties, baby bibs, and burp cloths in my shop – I love imagining the babies who will be wearing my creations and I try to put extra love into each piece for them. And I always find extra time to sew as much as I can for my daughter. I make her dresses, and since she loves to dress and undress her baby doll dozens of times a day, I make matching mini-dresses for her doll, as well. I make her stuffed animals, tote bags, slippers – whatever I can to show how much I love her.

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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?)
Jennifer: I love fat quarters – they are the perfect size for most of the projects I sew. They are inexpensive so I don’t have to feel guilty that I am spending too much money on fabric (of course … it does add up … but it just SEEMS better, mentally!). I love to use a lot of different prints in my projects, so fat quarters allow me to experiment with lots of different fabric designers without having to commit to lots of yardage. And since I like to keep my sewing room as neat as I can, they are the easiest to store.

SMS: Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
Jennifer: Impulse. I love to work with beautiful fabric, so when I see something I love, I always buy it. That way, I always have a beautiful fabric stash on hand to inspire me.

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?
Jennifer: I do like to pre-wash. That way I know my project will hold up to all sorts of wear and tear once it is finished. I usually wash it as soon as I get it, so I’m ready to sew as soon as inspiration strikes.

SMS: Do you iron it?
Jennifer: Always. It makes such a difference to sew with a crisp, clean piece of fabric. I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) sew without my iron.

SMS: How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
Jennifer: I tend to sort by color. I love opening my sewing cabinet and seeing the beautiful groups of color jump out at me – it fills me with happiness every time!

SMS: Do you have any special folding techniques?
Jennifer: I try to fold all my fabrics into similar-sized rectangles. This makes it easier to stack them on top of each other without them all falling into a big mess. I also try to fold all the raw edges in so they do not fray (and so my stash just looks neater!).

SMS: How do you store your fabric?
Jennifer: I have a large cabinet where I stack my fabric into similar piles (usually based on color, sometimes based on designer). I have learned, though, to keep each pile pretty short. If your stack gets too large, you will inevitably end up needing the piece that’s on the bottom and the hardest to get to!

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SMS: What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?
Jennifer: Whenever you are buying fabric (especially online), look through the whole store before you check out. Chances are, if you like the store’s style, you will end up finding many great prints that you might not have been searching for originally. And you can usually save quite a bit on shipping by buying a lot at one time.

SMS: When do you say enough is enough?
Jennifer: Hmmm… I haven’t yet. But as long as I continue to sew, I will have fabric coming in and fabric going out, so it all balances out eventually. Or maybe I’ll just have to buy a bigger storage cabinet.

SMS: What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?
Jennifer: I love making so many different types of bags that I usually like to use my stash on some sort of purse. The bigger pieces usually end up as shoulder bags. The smaller ones will be clutches or wallets. If I have fabric scraps, I like to pair complimentary prints together and make small, lined pouches – they are quick and easy and fun to make. Lately, I have been using some of my stash on matching dresses for my daughter and her doll – they are a great way to use my fabric, and I always love the result (ANY fabric looks so cute on my daughter!).

SMS: What’s your definition of the perfect stash?
Jennifer: Big. I actually get a little nervous if I don’t buy fabric for a while. I love having a large stash of beautiful fabrics to choose from, and I hate the thought of opening my fabric cabinet some day and not finding something inspiring to work with. I keep my stash well-stocked to prevent such a disaster.

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SMS: Do you have a current favorite print in your stash?
Jennifer: It is so hard to choose, but I love a Japanese print by Echino with scooters. It reminds me of the millions of scooters I saw every day in the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.