Stash Interview ~ Lara from Thornberry

on February 27 | in Interviews + Profiles, Sewing + Quilting Tips | by | with 46 Comments

Lara from thornberry just shared her Crochet Project Roll Tutorial with us. We asked her to tell us a bit about her fabric stash. In addition to today’s interview, Lara also plays along with Sunday Stash; she writes, “Every Sunday we show one or two of our stash fabrics on our blogs.” Regular posts about Lara’s recent “stash increases” are under the “fabric stash” category on thornberry, and a stash set in her Flickr stream.

SMS: First of all, what do you usually sew?
Lara: I sew a few different things, but the constants would be children’s clothing (mostly for girls), bags, women’s clothing, and I have just started quilting.

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?)
Lara: I usually buy fabric in metreage, possibly because I have primarily sewn garments. I tend to buy at least two metres, often three or more. Now that I’m sewing more bags and have started quilts, I am learning to buy smaller quantities. I’ve recently grown fond of the fat quarter, but metre or half metre cuts are more common for craft.


Half yards in the stash.

SMS: Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
Lara: Both! If I see something that I really love and can visualise what I could make with it, I buy it. I tend to have plenty of prints sitting in my stash, so am more likely to go out looking for coordinating plains. I spend a lot of time window-shopping (and actually shopping) for fabric on the internet.


Some of Lara’s stash.

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?
Lara: I am a pre-washer. I pre-wash the same way I intend to wash the finished project. I’m more concerned about colour running than shrinkage, although it’s handy to reduce the risk of both. I generally wash fabric as soon as I have bought it, so everything in my stash is washed, pressed and ready to sew. I suspect that my tendency to pre-wash is due to my background in garment sewing. Apparently pre-washing isn’t necessary if you are using good quality quilting fabrics, but it will be a difficult habit for me to break.

SMS: Do you iron it?
Lara: I do iron my fabrics once they are pre-washed. I like things to be nice and neat – it makes folding simpler and once again it means that fabric is all ready to use when inspiration strikes.

SMS: How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
Lara: Most of my fabric is sorted according to intended use (dress fabrics in one area, craft fabrics in another, although there is some cross-over) and then according to fabric type/weight. I group similar fabrics together, so those from a collection are generally with one another. I also group fabrics intended for one project together. Colour is one of the last categories I use to sort my fabric. My sorting method changes and evolves depending on what is in the stash.


Vintage sheet fat quarters.

SMS: Do you have any special folding techniques?
Lara: My folding technique is whatever will make the fabric fit on the shelf! I prefer to have the selvedge and edges of fabric folded into the middle though.

SMS: How do you store your fabric?
Lara: I am lucky enough to have a craft room with purpose-built shelving and drawers to hold my fabric and sewing supplies. The fabrics are all folded and stacked on shelves, very easy to see. Sliding doors keep the fabrics protected from light. I have discovered that the more shelves you have, the more fabric you accumulate…


The craft cupboards.

SMS: What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?
Lara: I’m not sure that my stash is well-rounded. It is certainly sizable, but is missing plain and tonal fabrics. Most fabrics seem to be a bright print – that is obviously what I am drawn to! I think that if you buy what you love, your stash will work for you and reflect your personality. That said, be practical too. Plain drill, denim, linen and cotton work well in many projects. But once again, buy the colours that you love. Also, a fabric stash isn’t complete without plenty of notions – you do need buttons, zips, ribbons, laces, threads, elastic, bag-making supplies, interfacing and fusible wadding.

SMS: When do you say enough is enough?
Lara: I am trying to tell myself that enough is enough at the moment because the shelves are full to bursting! Although I have bought plenty of the fabrics in it myself, I have inherited a substantial amount from friends.


Lara’s favorite fabrics: Amy Butler August Fields fabric.

SMS: What are some of your favourite stash-busting projects?
Lara: Clothing, particularly for the kids! Bags are fantastic – big ones that use plenty of fabric and a variety of techniques, or small ones that highlight precious pieces. And of course, eventually quilts will be a great stash-buster for me (although my newfound interest in quilting has actually been a stash-increaser).


Lara’s favorite fabrics: Selections from the Heather Bailey Freshcut collection.

SMS: What’s your definition of the perfect stash?
Lara: The perfect stash would have everything you need for any project without having to go to the shops! Thread of every type and colour, plenty of coordinating plain fabrics and tonal prints, and loads of bright prints! My stash isn’t too far off, but I still rarely manage to sew a project from start to finish without having to buy some sort of supplies.

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46 Responses to Stash Interview ~ Lara from Thornberry

  1. Sue Niven says:

    The type of fabrics that I buy are generally a metre or two. Usually i have a project or need in mind but I also have been known to go in a complete tangent once i get to the store, and come home with something else, Is that bad?, No, I LOVE fabric and until it gets used it gives me joy just to see. I have very rairly regretted anything i bought

  2. Kellie says:

    Thanks for sharing Lara!!! It’s so neat!!!!

  3. Stacy says:

    Oh, I am so envious of those closets!

  4. Stacey says:

    What a beautiful stash!

  5. moiraeknittoo says:

    I really love seeing how other people store their stash (now that I’m accumulating my own), as well as describing what they love about theirs. This is such a great series!

  6. alisha says:

    I have really enjoyed the stash interviews this month. And I’ve realized that my stash is way too small. 🙂

  7. KZ says:

    What a beautiful stash!

  8. Christine Bolin says:

    I have stash envy!

  9. Lynne in NC says:

    The photo of the craft cupboard makes one quite envious!
    All of the fabrics neatly stacked is beautiful.

  10. Shellyfish says:

    Oh how I wish I had some shelves like that in my room! Beautiful.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Yup, quilting will definitely increase your stash! All that space!

  12. Libby says:

    People really take their stash seriously. Thank you for the info.

  13. JaneR says:

    Great interview! I would love to know of her plans for the vintage sheet fat quarters…can the quilt(s) beat that cute picture?!

  14. Lisa says:

    Seeing the shelves gave me ideas for organizing my craft room…

  15. betsy says:

    EXcellent story. Sounds like my stash. Always missing the plain colors too.

  16. tjesa says:

    Would love to collect vintage fabric like lara’s vintage fat quarter sheets. Nice stash!

  17. Sara D. says:

    I want that craft closet and all the contents!

  18. Clara says:

    Beautiful Fabrics.

  19. Beth G. says:

    I think I’ll always enjoy Heather’s fresh cut line. Also, the beginning crafters need to hear about pre-washing so thanks for mentioning it.

  20. Helena says:

    Lovely stash.

  21. Leigh says:

    Those shelves are amazing! One day…

  22. Norma in NZ says:

    this is a really amazing stash… I like the way the fabrics are presented, so neat and easy to see.

  23. Leah says:

    What great advice about also having notions in your stash–that is where I am lacking! Thanks for the tip!

  24. Betsy M says:

    Thanks and that Heather Bailey fabric is wonderful!

  25. jodie says:


  26. Baba says:

    I love those shelves! Hoping I can do this in the Stone House sewing room.

  27. Bethany says:

    Wow! What a spectacular stash! Those shelves look absolutely perfect for storing such a beautiful stash!

  28. Deb V says:

    I love your craft cupboard and your stash. I wish I had that kind of room.

  29. Sabra says:

    Amazing. I can’t imagine having that much room to craft and store craft supplies. Seriously coveting over here.

  30. Andrea Brown says:

    I’m sharing the picture of that closet with my husband. I want one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Laura says:

    Lovely stash. I have some orange august fields fabric I hope to make into a Weekender bag… eventually…

  32. Valerie says:

    Wow, fabric heaven!

  33. Jodie says:

    I’m loving these stash interviews – it’s so interesting to see what other people are buying and how they organize their “inventory.” I am soooooo envious of Lara’s shelves… beauty!

    I did my own stash interview on my blog… mine is so little compared to the other’s I’ve seen, but I am so inspired. We’re getting ready to build a house and these posts on SMS have definitely inspired me to start looking for a floor plan that allows a room devoted to sewing. Ahh… a girl can dream.

  34. Danielle says:

    I am soooo jealous of her stash and craft room. Gorgeous!

  35. Heidi says:

    I love Lara’s favorite fabrics!!

  36. Renee says:

    (((WOW))) the cabinets are gorgeous! Thanks for letting us peek inside your space! Very inspirational 🙂

  37. Lauranie says:

    I am so jealous of The Craft Cupboards! I need to get my man started on making me some of those!!

  38. lesley says:

    ah, this is nice! i wish i had a dedicated craft room, although i fear my stash would grow exponentially!

  39. Ellen Ban says:

    Thanks to the stash interviews this month, my work area is looking so much better!

  40. Tammy :) says:

    Her stash looks like my clothes closet!

  41. bec says:

    what a lovely stash. i am jealous of your shelves, though

  42. Anya T. says:

    Great interview. Thanks.

  43. Kara says:

    Once again, this stash interview has managed to make me want to buy more fabric! I love the pictures of her collection.

  44. naomig says:

    Wow! What an amazing stash!

  45. Toby says:

    holy cow! what a stash!

  46. Katie says:

    I really like her fave fabrics too! I haven’t seen that Heather Bailey fabric. Thanks for sharing.

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