Stash Interview ~ Manda from Tree Fall

on February 19 | in Interviews + Profiles, Sewing + Quilting Tips | by | with 54 Comments

One peek at Manda’s glass studio cabinets over at Tree Fall tells you she has a deep appreciation for fabric. We’re so pleased to share Manda’s stash interview today. Manda has more posts about her fabric on Tree Fall, and she’s currently in the middle of a big studio move so be sure to visit and see more! Remember, it would be fun to read your answers to our stash interview questions too. Add a picture to the Fabric Stash & Storage pool!

SMS: First of all, what do you usually sew?
Manda: As many things as possible! I love making quilts, pillows, softies and since the birth of my second daughter I’ve been sewing more and more children’s clothes. I’m desperate to start sewing clothes for myself too.

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?)
Manda: That totally depends on how available the fabric is. If I can always buy more then I usually only buy a yard. If it might not be available again then I buy as much as I can afford, which is usually 4-5 yards.


Skirt made with Anna Maria Horner’s Social Climber in Ice,
one of Manda’s current favorite fabrics.

SMS: Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
Manda: Mainly on impulse! I buy fabric because I love it and because I have some crazy belief that my collection won’t be complete without that particular print (and that one, and that one…).

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?
Manda: I only pre wash if I’m making clothing or curtains – something that I really need not to shrink. I never pre wash if I’m making a quilt though. I love the effect caused by quilts shrinking and just throw a colour catcher in the machine if I’m worried about colours running. I do wish I could remember to always pre wash though, but I’m just not organised enough.

SMS: Do you iron it?
Manda: Yes if I’ve pre washed, but only when I’m about to use it. I hate to iron and although I always have the best of intentions, I just can’t bring myself to iron fabric if I don’t have to. In fact the only time that I’ve ever enjoyed ironing was when I was pregnant with my first daughter and I just loved the smell of ironed cotton. But other than then, I hate to iron.

SMS: How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
Manda: I start by separating new and vintage fabrics, as well as grouping different types (flannel, cord, chenille, cotton etc) and then each category is sorted by colour. I LOVE to sort my fabric, it makes me happy (I’m a dork), and since splashing out on my two huge, glass fronted cabinets last year it’s become even more fun.

SMS: Do you have any special folding techniques?
Manda: Ummm, well kind of. I fold all of my fabric in the same way so that it results in the front edge being the folded edge. I can’t share the exact method though, because I can’t work out a way of explaining it! All I can say is that it’s so worth while folding fabric properly and that it doesn’t matter how you do it, but it always looks best if it’s all folded in the same way. Also, if you fold your fabric you don’t need to iron it as much!

SMS: How do you store your fabric?
Manda: All my main fabric is stored in two glass cabinets that I bought from Ikea. They were the best investment that I’ve made and I’m so pleased that I got them. The fact that they’re glass means that my fabric isn’t hidden away and also means that they take up less visual space in my new (much smaller) studio. Love them and couldn’t live without them! I then store all my scraps by colour in big plastic bins that can be easily stacked in a cupboard.


Fabric in one of Manda’s cabinets.

SMS: What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?
Manda: I’m not sure if I have a well rounded stash, but I would say that if you buy what you love then you’ll always use it. I would never buy a fabric just because I don’t have enough florals, for example, although I do try and make sure that I am fairly balanced when it comes to the colourways. That’s not to say that I succeed though – you can always tell which colours are my favourites because that pile just seems to grow faster than the rest.

SMS: When do you say enough is enough?
Manda: I don’t. I can’t understand why anyone would limit themselves if they don’t have to. The only time I don’t buy fabric is when I can’t afford it, but if I have some spending money, then I’ll happily use it to buy yet more fabric. It’s a treat, but it’s a hugely practical treat and is always justifiable!

SMS: What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?
Manda: I don’t try and bust my stash. I see my fabric as a collection and actually get fidgety if it looks like I’m going to run out of a print! I do like to find ways of using up the scraps though and my favourites at the moment are doll quilts and dolls clothes (for my daughter’s dolls). Pin cushions and needle books are always great too!

SMS: What’s your definition of the perfect stash?
Manda: Just a beautiful collection of fabrics that is cared for, loved and used. It doesn’t matter which fabrics are included but I have to admit that a collection of Liberty prints would certainly make my heart beat faster! And I always prefer clean, sharp colours and prints.


Aunty Cookie fabrics

SMS: Do you have a current favorite print in your stash?
Manda: I have too many favourites to mention just one but I am a huge fan of Anna Maria Horner’s Social Climber (in all the colourways, but particularly Ice) and I love all of Aunty Cookies fabrics.

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54 Responses to Stash Interview ~ Manda from Tree Fall

  1. aneela says:

    I love your social climber skirt, I wonder if it would have a social climbing impact?

  2. Heather says:

    i;ve never heard of aunty cookie fabric, but it is adorable, i will probably be searching for some soon!

  3. Danielle D says:

    i’m so so jealous.
    we really need to finish our basement, so that i can have more than a box in the corner to store all thing sewing in. i want glass fronted cabinets filled with fabric!

  4. Laura says:

    I really love the stash sharing series. I’d love glass fronted cabinets, but for now my stash mostly lives in an old chest of drawers and a couple of plastic tubs. I’d prefer to be able to see my fabric without having to open drawers and sort through bins, but I share space with the guest room and this at least makes everything look neat and tidy (until you open the drawers!). 🙂

  5. Kate M. says:

    Oh my goodness! The Aunty Cookie fabrics are so precious.

  6. tjesa says:

    Love how all of the stash interviewees have such an individual way to collect and stash their fabric. Love treefalls fabric.. would love her collection!

  7. Gretchen says:

    What a gorgeous stash! Very good tips too!

  8. Toby says:

    major stash envy!

  9. Christine Bolin says:

    What a wonderful stash. I’m off to find a drool tissue.

  10. MaryP says:

    Another great interview. Thanks!

  11. Pam says:

    The stash is so nice and neat. I also love Anna Maria Horner.

  12. Laurie says:

    lovely collection from the looks of it- and oh- wouldn’t that fabric with the chickens make a fun apron! thanks for sharing

  13. tara boos says:

    Love the skirt, very cute, is it a child’s size?

  14. BCQuilter says:

    The “peeking” into others stash is so much fun. The ideas for storage (love the glass cabinet idea), is great.

    I’m really enjoying the Fat Quarter month!


  15. Stacey says:

    What a nice stash!

  16. April M says:

    I love Manda’s blog and her stash 🙂

  17. Jackie Sue says:

    That was only fabrinc in “one” of your cabinets?? WOAH! I would be in like a kid in a candy store with that ONE cabinet!!! heehee I do like the way you sort! No stash busting eh!? heehee nothing wrong with that! *hugs* – Jackie

  18. staci says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful fabric collection. I have not seen Aunty Cookie fabrics before – but they look adorable!

  19. suesue says:

    posted on an older post so posting again. love the interview-love, love all the fabric. your stash is so neat and beautiful. i keep all my fabric pieces together so the stacks go all wonky. i’m getting ready to move to another room so hopefully things will be more organized! working up the courage to post some “before” pictures on the flickr group.

  20. adrienne says:

    It’s interesting to read that most of the ladies being interviewed are impulse shoppers. I always head to the fabric store with specifics in mind but end up coming home with something different and a whole new plan. =]

  21. suzi says:

    I am enjoying these articles. I am in the process of trying to figure out how to arrange and store my crafts.

  22. Jeanne says:

    You have some great ideas, I need some direction in my stash/collecting. I collect feedsacks (Real Feedsacks) and I am trying to figure out where to stash them seperately from the rest of my fabric, well I collect cowboy fabric, Indian Head Fabric, etc. I am trying to get a handle on where to keep my “Good” Fabric from my stash stuff. Right now some of it is in totes, some of it is in a storage cabinet but I would LOVE TO BE ABLE TO SHOW IT OFF SOMEHOW. Got any suggestions??? TIA, Jeanne

  23. Betsy M says:

    That Aunt Cookie fabric is wonderful. I had not seen that before.

  24. Annabel says:

    I have read about Manda’s stash before on her blog and find her philosphy completely inspiring. I now buy fabric without guilt, fold it and display it neatly and it brings joy to me every time I step into my sewing room. My only problem is that I love the ‘collection’ so much I find it hard to cut into any of it and I keep having to buy more fabric to actually sew with!

  25. Libby says:

    I also have to have a purpose to buy fabric. But sometimes I might change my mind about making something, I have extra fabric left over from a project, or received fabric someone else didn’t want so I end up with a small stash that needs to be organized.

  26. Christi (sugarscrap) says:

    i am so envious of this stash!

  27. Mary Ann M says:

    Looks like a great collection of fabrics. Wish my stash was so neat!

  28. Barb says:

    What a beautiful stash! I am a little green right now…Thanks for sharing!

  29. Melissa says:

    I love the glass cabinet!!!!! And the fabric stash.

  30. Shellyfish says:

    I’m experiencing some serious stash envy here!

  31. Great interview. I must say that I really like the Aunty Cookie fabrics also!

  32. Alisa says:

    I am drooling. Beautiful fabrics, beautiful display!

  33. naomig says:

    Oh what a beautiful fabric collection… love it! I totally agree about never having too much fabric…

  34. ELIZA says:

    I love your perspective on the collection aspect of “the stash”, the well cared for collection to be maintained idea. I always feel like I have to have a specific purpose for fabric so as not to “waste it” sitting there, but the idea of collecting resonates with me and takes the pressure off!

  35. summersandco says:

    This has been wonderful inspiration. I’m just never quite sure where to start when organizing my fabric stash!!! Maybe a trip to ikea is what I need! Thanks for the help.

  36. wendy says:

    Great stash! I know how you feel about stash busting projects, I don’t want to bust my stash either! You can see photos of my designer fabric stash on my blog.

  37. Kelli says:

    I love Manda’s skirt, especially with the contrasting hemline..I am inspired, so I’m off to sew…

  38. Danielle says:

    I think I need more spending money for fabric!

  39. Kara says:

    Okay, the pictures of all her fabric is making me drool. I wish I had such a collection!

  40. JaneR says:

    Great interview! We had an IKEA store open in our area yesterday. Her fabric cabinet is wonderful – now I know what I’ll be looking for at IKEA. Thanks!

  41. MegVS says:

    Love that cute little skirt. I love Social Climber too. It is so pretty.

  42. Ellen Ban says:

    Love the cabinets! I am inspired to organize, soon!

  43. alisha says:

    I love the Aunty Cookie fabrics, too!

  44. Tamera says:

    That is quite a collection! And I thought I had a lot of fabric! I’m impressed!

  45. Alissa says:

    Now THAT is the right frame of mind! No guilt at all about buying more fabric when she can! I often wonder why people who sew ALL THE TIME feel bad about buying more fabric. Like Manda said, it’s a practical treat! Wonderful interview.

  46. Deb says:

    Wow, what a wonderful stash. I buy my fabric on impulse also. I buy what I love.

  47. Katie says:

    once again, green with envy!

  48. Ramona says:

    Ok, I am coveting your beautiful collection. I love your cabinets too. I love those Aunty Cookies fabrics.

  49. Lorrie says:

    What a great stash – and so well organized. I love the idea of glass shelves – inspiration would always be visible.


  50. georgia says:

    Oh my. Now I have fabric envy! What an amazing collection she has!

  51. Anya T. says:

    Great interview. Thanks.

  52. Dani says:

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing. Never saw these before–Aunty Cookies fabrics–Very CUTE!

  53. lesley says:

    i have some stash envy here! what a lovely collection of fabrics. I totally agree with impulse shopping and needing just one more, and one more, and one more print to “complete” my stash, which I think will never truly be complete 😉

  54. bec says:

    i love the glass cabinet idea…might have to use it.

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