Monday, April 07, 2008

Are You SABLE?

an acronym meaning Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy

Have you a collection of fabric, patterns, or yarn that qualifies you for SABLE status?

There has been quite a discussion lately on some of the message boards about paring down, about owning "things", and about what is essential.
Lisa began a post last Friday asking the question: "If you could only take 12 patterns with you for a year, what would you take?" (I'm paraphrasing, go read her blog for her excellent ideas on the subject).
I had to think, because I don't think I have 12 patterns that I've used more than once. I tend to be a use it and move on kinda sewist. I think part of the desire to use a pattern more than once stems from the challenge it is to get one to fit, more than a desire not to spend $ on patterns. I'm finding, in sewing for my sister, that once I get a pattern fit, by gosh and by golly I'm going to Get My Money's/Time's worth out of that pattern. For myself, since my fitting issues haven't been that challenging, I'm willing to spend the time it takes to alter new patterns all the time.

Anyway, the patterns I have used more than once, mostly OOP now, are probably not the patterns I'd take with me.
Pop in later for pictures, since I will add some, but I've got to get some sewing done now.

I wanted to get this question out there though.
As you ponder Lisa's question of the 12 patterns you'd take with you,
think about this too:
  • If you are fabric SABLE, and you had to make a decision on what to sew in the next 12 months, and what to let go of, How would you even begin to go about making the decisions?
Last item of the morning.
I am quickly coming up on calling it finished on 50 garments this year - sewn. I had thought to wait to do this at 100, but I'm going to start on the first 50 now - Spring cleaning and all.
When I reach 50, I'm going to pull 50 Things out of my sewing room and do a 50 at 50 giveaway.
There will be everything from buttons to back issues on some Threads and Fiberarts to notions, books, trims and yes my friends, even fabric.
In fact, I think that I'm going to let go of 50 yds of fabric.
I should hit 50 by Friday.
So, on the weekend I'll be putting up my 50 and the way that you can put in your request for which of the 50 you would like. Stay tuned.

oh, and I really want to hear your ideas about how You would go about paring down - that question in blue up there.


a little sewing on the side said...

What a timely question! I don't have the head start on acquisiton you do. I got serious about sewing my own garments about 18 months ago.
I have, on hand, enough fabric to sew for the next 3 years. (LOL, if you wanna throw around arithmetic, then that's my equation!!)

Since I am paring away excess myself :)!!! I will let go of all the old home dec things and all the pieces that seemed like a good idea a year ago.

It has taken some trial and error to realize that I am a purist - I prefer cotton, linen, silk, wool, etc. And the great new blends coming out. But all my pre-epiphany fabrics will be given away. In fact I think i will do another give-away on my blog.

Sounds exciting Marji, can't wait to see what shakes out!

Elizabeth said...

I would try to think critically about what I would wear most in my daily life, then try to purge stuff that is obviously farthest from that.

Since I almost never dress up, purging could safely begin with formal fabrics.

My choices would usually come down to ways to make a very comfortable, utilitarian wardrobe that looks a few notches up from sweatshirts and jeans. Slacks that are as easy to wear and wash as jeans, but not denim.

How that might translate to someone else: What clothes do you wear every day? What fabrics would you need to make those? What fabrics would work together to make a wardrobe, as opposed to a bunch of garments that might not work together?

With yarn, I've been getting rid of things that I just don't think I'll miss. Stuff that hasn't even been on my list to play with and see what ideas shape up in many years.

Tamara said...

I do not have a lifetime stash but I think that my stash could last a couple of years at the rate I complete projects. First, I would get rid of all the stuff I got on sale that I liked only because it was so cheap. Second, I would get rid of all the fabric that is intended for clothing that I wouldn't really wear much when it was completed anyway. That would still leave me with quite a bit. So lastly, I would keep the fabric that I am so excited to wear and can't wait to have a garment made of (although this is what I always use first). I have quite a bit that I really like but am not just dying to make up. That would leave me with a fairly minimal (unfortunately mismatched) group of fabrics. Phew (wiping sweat off brow)!

designdreamer said...

Are you saying you've made 50 garments already this year??????
Is there an emoticon for shock?
Does this include the knit things you've made? OMG! Do you sleep?

Birgitte said...

Like 'a little sewing on the side said', I'm a purist too. Actually I'm a flat-out fabric snob :-) And due to my love of dying and painting, most of my stash is white. Being a terrible planner, I could never do a wardrobe like some of you have done so masterfully. How I envy you!!
And Marji, 50 garments??? Are you kiddin' me?!! You're super-human!

Nancy K said...

I am lining up for your give aways Marji! Well, maybe not. I have my recent acquisitions all piled up on the half wall of my sewing room. They are approaching critical, ie they are in danger of falling off into the living room. We are having lots of company for my dd's graduation at the end of May and they have to be gone by then. When my dd asked, I said I couldn't put them away until I catalogued them, but dd had taken the last of my index cards. Until I finish this swap they will remain precariously perched.

Alexandra said...

50 garments this year? Oh my gosh! I could only dream.

I have about 2 years' worth of projects in fabric but if I had to pare it down, I'd first look at the type of fabric and leave out any that aren't perfect for me (that would be any stiff, firm fabric).
Then I'd take a closer look at colors and leave out any that aren't perfect for me (did this after I had my colors done).
And then I'd make a realistic (ha!) plan of what I could sew in a year and pick out the fabrics that would be most suitable for those garments.

Nneka said...

I would pare down based on color (i.e., only those colors that are truly flattering and/or required for my lifestyle) and utility for what I need to wear for 90% my lifestyle. For that other 10%, I would only keep the truly fabulous fabrics for which I already have a plan (okay, at least a dim vision).

Marjie said...

Fifty? Gotta admire your work ethic. Hell, I thought I'd made three for the year. Then I looked at the color of one, and said, NO, this is not working for me. The skirt is pretty, but there will be no jacket out of the remaining 5 yards. Anyone want a dark orange with white floral pattern?

Vicki said...

Mmmm, I think I would choose those that I love the most. I would have to wouldn't I? Otherwise I would lose them forever!

So maybe I should base my 2008 sewing on that thought.

BTW, 50 garments!! Fantastic sewing progress.

Nancy W. said...

OK, I thought I understood you to say you are getting rid of 50 yards of fabric. Is that right? I just gave away 60 someting and it felt good, but I still am SABLE. Your question is very thought provoking and I think I will have to ponder it and respond on my blog. I guess the first thing would be to look at what I could realistically sew.

Sewfast said...

I have a lot of fabric, but SABLE? I'm not sure about that...I have started whittling down the stash and with my daughter learning to sew and shopping the is starting to be more manageable. I am fabric shopping with more purpose and sew I have a good idea of what each piece of fabric will become. the term SWAP was foriegn to me until about 6 months ago, so I have tried to adopt that concept in all my sewing...not just in a season's wardrobe. Mary

kbenco said...

I agree with Vicki, it would have to chose my favourite fabrics, so as not to lose them. I have 5m of liberty lawn that is too favourite to use!My stash is very modest other than a few little treasures of this nature. I am in the accumulating stage. I do have lots of awful fabrics that I will not throw out until the children have finished needing costumes, but will be very happy to dispose of at that point.

Anonymous said...

Marji - I have a stash. Mostly of fabrics you gave me :) Anything that I still have that I bought is not appropriate for Florida at all. BUT, you may be impressed to know that I've taken your closet cleaning to a new level. Hubster and I stood in the kitchen last week going through and discarding anything we hadn't touched in the last year. Even the kids noticed when they came home from spring break. WOW - you can even see what's in that drawer, now. D.

When Ladies Dressed said...

Holy cow Marji - you sure are cranking out the projects! What an interesting concept, only bringing 12 patterns... I'm not yet at SABLE status, but I have enough to keep me busy for years. I'm sure several would from my beloved vintage stash, and others would be simple dresses...then perhaps a few skirts and tops. Yikes - tough choice!

Mardel said...

Wow Marji, 50 already! I bow at your feet. I have a lot of stash but I can't say I am at SABLE, that depends on how much I sew. If I sewed at my old rate I have a decade's worth, at my rate the last 2 or 3 years, more than 2 decades worth, which might be SABLE if I am unlucky, since I am only about to turn 50. Even so, it is probably much too much.

As to paring down, you have said you need basics to wear now, make those, make things you actually love to wear not just things you think you need to wear. Then work from there, keeping things that work with everyday, but not limited to that because you need things that although less frequently worn might bring very high pleasure ratio per wearing. As for all the other stuff I can't imagine, although I suspect we all have basic shapes of garments we tend to wear more than others.

EMC said...

First, I would get rid of the 10yds of pink floral that I got for my DD room - 12 years ago. (There is no way a college studen or any of her brothers would live it it, and it would give DH nightmares in the MB.) Then, I would give the little boy fabric away to my neice for her son. The rest I really think I will use someday. The colors that don't work for me will work for DD, and by the time I get to them, she'll need a professional wardrobe.

rosecy said...

Now I know what I am - SABLE! I have an addiction to fabric and pattern purchasing. I add to the piles faster than I reduce them. How will I pare down my stash? Well, I started doing that last Fall and had severe withdrawal. I did get everything organized which helps. I think what I need to do is sew more like you do. If I had made 50 garments so far this year, I would definitely have a pared-down stash.
Gotta get back to sewing!!

JohannaLu said...

I don't think I am a SABLE (love the acronym!). I do however still struggle with these decisions since there are fabrics in my stash who has remained unsewn for several years and I can't decide if I should give them way or wait for the right moment (I still really like all of them).

To reduce my stash a bit more I have decided to enter as many PR-contests this year as I can muster and only use stuff from my stash.
If there are still old fabrics unused by the end of the year I will probably give some of them away.

Clare said...

Thank you for your most timely post - when searching through my fabrics the other day I came across some I purchased to make my daughter a dress aged 3 - she is now 21. I think I need to rationalise! But where to start?

Tany said...

Well, I'm not SABLE, but that's not really my choice; you see, I have no SPACE in my small apartment for stashing more fabric (but I keep stashing patterns and magazines, so I don't know if I'll be able to move at all here at home in the future!!)

Cennetta said...

I am a SABLE, who recently moved into an apartment half the size of my former home. Your question requires some heavy duty thinking. I love my stash of fabric and patterns. Just last week I decided to bring everything from my storage room in the basement, in the closets, and under the bed to one room. Then sort through all of it: the UFO's, the scraps, and the lengths of fabric. Umm..., this is one to ponder. I will certainly stop by again to participate in this discussion.

Thanks for the great post.

Hen said...

I sew on average one garment per month. I have a fabric stash good for 3 years if I keep this speed. My resolution for this year is, I am only allowed to buy more fabric, each time I used 3 from my stash. For this, I will try to apply the rules from time-allocation-books: A-items are urgent and important and get the most time (like the blouse I need to have something to go with the skirt now spring is coming), B-items are important but not urgent and regular attention has to be planned (like a coat I need for next autumn), C is routine, you don't want to loose much time with that, and D is not important and not urgent (get rid of that fabric).