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.