Category Archives: Fabric stash

Stash Diet 2014: Final Weigh In

Everyone else is posting their sewing hits, misses and resolutions but for me, the new year marks the end of Stash Diet 2014. The final weigh-in has been verified and the results are… I can’t keep you in suspense any longer…

I smashed my goal fabric weight of 12.4kg, ending the Stash Diet 2014 year on just 8.9kg.

Stash fabric height: 28cm (starting 90cm) 
Stash fabric weight: 7.7kg 
(starting 23.5kg)
Scrap fabric weight: 1.2kg 
(starting 1.3kg)
Total stash weight: 8.9kg (starting 24.8kg) —> Goal weight 12.4kg

My shrinking stash over the last 12 months…

Stash Diet 2014

It now fits neatly into my sewing room cupboard.

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And the fluctuating volume of fabric scraps are much more manageable too.

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What did I learn?

  • Acquiring someone else’s lifetime stash doesn’t bring the same excitement as selecting each piece of fabric myself.
  • Purchasing fabric does not buy me the time to sew it.
  • Swapping with other sewers is exciting.
  • Pushing myself to use up scraps can lead to little moments of creativity that nicely finish a hand-made garment or provide a bit of fun.
  • Scraps can be recycled or sold but small item crafting and quilting isn’t for me.

Most surprising of all, I don’t want a rebound fabric shopping binge. I’ve unintentionally saved some really nice pieces of fabric till last so I’m looking forward to getting those cut and under the presser foot in the new year before even thinking about shopping for new makes.

And finally…

A huge thanks to Andrea and Gail for being such lovely Stash Diet 2014 hosts.

Happy New Year!

Stash Diet 2014: Quarter 3: Weigh In

Just one quarter remains for Stash Diet 2014 which means it’s time to track my progress with a weigh-in. Much like a real diet when you realise your clothes feel more comfortable (or even loose), I managed to pick up and weigh my stash as one pile this time!

Stash-tistics at the end of Quarter 3:

Stash fabric height: 45cm (starting 90cm/ Q1 76cm/ Q2 56cm) 
Stash fabric weight: 12.4kg 
(starting 23.5kg/ Q1 18.8kg/ Q2 14.8kg)
Scrap fabric weight: 0.7kg 
(starting 1.3kg/ Q1 1.2kg/ Q2 1.7kg)
Total stash weight: 13.1kg (starting 24.8kg/ Q1 20.0kg/ Q2 16.5kg) —> Goal weight 12.4kg

September Stash Diet

The tape on the wall indicate my starting, quarter 1 and quarter 2 stash heights.

Last quarter I was getting desperate over the bulging scrap fabrics box. I don’t enjoy small crafting projects and I’m constantly fighting the clutter to keep my home minimalistic. It turns out someone was willing to pay a few pounds to buy a kilogram of scrap fabric on ebay for their crafting needs and that suited me. This listing was an experiment but it seems a viable option for keeping scraps under control in the future. I’ve also started to use scraps fabric for pockets, binding and facings in some makes. I used to stick with self-fabric facings for fear colours/patterns would look silly together but I’m slowly coming round to the idea that I can cautiously make good pairings.

What else? Well there have been fabric purchases here and there this quarter. I crumbled under the excitement of sewing bikinis and splurged on printed-to-order lycra, although I have sportswear plans for the off-cut giving that purchase some milage. Then I created potentially my favourite make ever, made possible only by purchasing a viscose-cotton blend which wasn’t available in my stash. Finally I wangled a birthday present fabric to elevate my sportswear sewing. But enough of me justifying fabric purchases. I need to stay focused for the final quarter as I have just 0.7kg to go to achieve my goal stash weight. Although I’ve always striven to exceed expectations so I won’t stop at just meeting a goal, I’m motivated to smash it.

Curiosity Jumpsuit

I started a Jumpsuit Curiosity Pinterest Board off the back of Wardrobe Architect as a little side project on silhouette, fabric, colour and styling options without deciding whether I would definitely make a jumpsuit at all. I made comments on each pin, slowly gathering the individual components that might be blended together to build my perfect jumpsuit.  I guess this might be called my ‘Design Process’ but I’ve never considered myself artistic enough to have that as a skill. After a couple of months I had a plan and I’d found the perfect fabric for it too. Blowing my Stash Diet a third time (first and second fabric purchases of the year) to snap up this drapey, geometric printed cotton viscose blend. To redeem myself, the solid black lining, zip, thread and all patterns were all from my stash.Lonsdale Jumpsuit Front aThis was a pattern hack of epic proportions so I made two toiles with a few alterations each to be confident enough to cut into my fashion fabric. I merged the bodice of Sewaholic Lonsdale, with the middle part of Burda Style 04/2014 #107A and blended from the hips into Simplicity 4044 trousers to achieve the silhouette I was aiming for. During my non-design process I realised that I had to show some back and shoulder so as not to drown my 5 foot 2″ frame. By the same methodology, wide-legs are much more flattering for a pear shaped figure as they balance out the hips. And finally some front pleats and pockets for the trousers elevate this from catsuit to more comfortable but still elegant jumpsuit.
Lonsdale Jumpsuit Side I moved the zip (invisible, of course) to the side seam which meant I could do away with the front fly of the trousers and cut the bodice back on the fold. However, this meant that I had to have a perfectly fitting Lonsdale bodice – the beauty of the Lonsdale dress is that you can make some final fitting adjustments when you insert the centre back zip. Oh and I shook up the order of construction for the Lonsdale bodice so that the bodice lining is machine sewn to the zip – I really love the finish this method gives on the inside.Lonsdale Jumpsuit BackThe Lonsdale aspects were the easiest though, headaches were mostly induced in the Burda mid-section. First in the form of in-pleat pockets, how to add seam allowances to the funny-looking pattern piece and then how to attach the pocket pieces with typically minimal Burda magazine instructions. Next I realised the side seams on the trousers were really far forwards so I had to do some jiggery-pokery to slide them towards the back so that the trouser and bodice sides seams would align. I wasn’t going to settle for a shoddy finish even if it is almost impossible to see in this print with a waistband separating the side seams!Lonsdale Jumpsuit PocketI made the Lonsdale top into a halter style by eliminating the back loops and shortening the straps. This saved some fabric but not enough to self-line the bodice. At the same time I felt that a bit more structure around the bodice (particularly to hold it up above the bust) would be a good thing. Solid black lining from my stash worked well and I applied fusible interfacing along the top edge of both the shell and lining fabrics so avoid any stretching out. Lonsdale Jumpsuit HalterneckYou get some small flashes of the lining on the front knot (depending on how you tie it) and in the back halter bow which I quite like.Lonsdale Jumpsuit Halter TiesI think this is one of the hardest things I’ve created, stretching my pattern hacking abilities to the extreme, but I feel so glam wearing it and a huge sense of satisfaction that my vision is just as good as I imagined. What’s you’re most satisfyingly difficult make? Have you got a master piece vision taking shape on your sewing table at the moment?

Lonsdale by the Sea

Well, well, well… after a fantastic holiday and most of August taking it at an easier pace than usual I’m back at the blogging helm. I made four garments in the run up to holidaying in St Lucia but I completely ran out of time to photograph them. No matter. The beautiful Caribbean island provided a nice change of scenery for some blog photographs.

Lonsdale Skirt Tessuti Twill 1

Hot on the heels of my first Lonsdale I couldn’t wait to get a Lonsdale skirt cut out and under my presser foot. The fabric is a lightweight twill from Tessuti Melbourne and is leftover from a Sureau I sewed way back in June 2013.

Lonsdale Skirt Tessuti Twill 2

I cut the skirt front on the fold as I like to avoid a centre front seam where possible. I’d have cut the back on the fold and moved the zip to the side seam if I’d had enough fabric. All other aspects and fit were exactly the same as my red dress Lonsdale which got some cocktail drinking outings during holiday too.

Lonsdale Skirt Tessuti Twill 3

What with four items to photograph on holiday plus a whole host of other Me Made’s in my suitcase, it dawned on me just how much of my things are hand made these days. I’m also pleased to report that my abstract floral Burda shorts made it up to the top of Gros Piton, my Movies in the Park shorts endured zip-lining and my Halogen bikini survived water skiing! Well you didn’t think I idly dipped my toes into the sea on the white sandy beach all holiday, did you?

Stash Delve: Strapless Sunbathing Top

If there’s one thing that came out of the half-way weigh-in for Stash Diet 2014, it’s that my scraps box needs more attention. You can’t get much more attention that two stash delve posts on the trot!

Strapless Sunbathing Top

Attempting the sultry… but looking miserable!

Using the remaining blue jersey from my sporty top I cut out two rectangles with some waist shaping. I made a hem band out of self-fabric and a bust band out of leftover waistband (already cut and folded) from my graffiti maxi. A quick blast on the overlocker and I’d created a strapless sunbathing top.

Useful for holidays and stash busting but really I’m just putting off starting that bikini. The thought of wrestling with elastic is zapped any motivation I had. What are you putting off… and why?

Stash Delve: Travel Pillow

I’ve made a nice dent in the scrap fabric box with this make.

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On my first flick through the June Burda I hastily passed over the travel pillow but on a more leisurely page turning session I had second thoughts. I don’t own a travel pillow because I hate the noise of the polystyrene balls moving so close to my ear. If I made my own, I could stuff it with regular pillow filling…

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…and I could make a pillow case for it so that I could wash out the funky aeroplane smell afterwards. Brilliant.

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And everything used was from the stash so no purchases required.

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It does zip up by the way… I was merely demonstrating the pillow case capabilities and forgot to take a photo of the back of it zipped up!!!


Stash Diet 2014: Quarter 2 Weigh-In

This is the half-way point for Stash Diet 2014 and there was some reluctance to step on the scales in my house. I’d suffered a 4 week sewing machine breakdown and then I fell off the Stash Diet Wagon purchasing my first piece of fabric this year.

Half way through the year but am I halfway from 24.8kg to my goal Stash Weight of 12.4kg?

Stash-tistics at the end of Quarter 2:

Stash fabric height: 56cm (starting 90cm/ Q1 76cm) 
Stash fabric weight: 14.8kg 
(starting 23.5kg/ Q1 18.8kg)
Scrap fabric weight: 1.7kg 
(starting 1.3kg/ Q1 1.2kg)
Total stash weight: 16.5kg (starting 24.8kg/ Q1 20.0kg) —> Goal weight 12.4kg

Stash Pile June 2014

The blue marks on the wall indicate my stash heights at the start of January and April.

Buying fabric doesn’t break my self-imposed Stash Diet rules but it does make it harder for me to achieve my goal weight and I think that is evident from this weigh-in. While toiles (and I made a few of those during the second quarter) bring down the over all stash, they contribute significantly to the scrap fabric box… I need to tackle this problem zone. Any non-quilting ideas or shall I just offer the off-cuts to a quilter?

Ticking all the boxes

Occasionally everything aligns to fulfill all sewing and blogging commitments in one fell swoop. Ticking boxes for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month ‘New-to-me’ competition, my findings for Me Made May and Stash Diet… not to mention a winning fabric and pattern match, I present to you my Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Front 4

I used stashed Fabric Freedom lawn which I purchased from Dalston Mill last summer. I have to give a special thank you to the lady who, when asked “Red or purple?” Very decisively answered “Red”.  Better to ask a stranger their opinion than blow my cash on both or walk away with neither, right?

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I want mention to Purple Stitches too. I purchased the pattern from this store (it is available as a PDF but I don’t have a working printer at the moment). I was impressed with Purple Stitches’ good value delivery price and excellent customer service. I’m not being compensated for this comment, I just like to give praise where it’s due!

Sewaholic Lonsdale Back 2

The fit of the toile wasn’t too bad but I wanted to absolutely nail the fit of the bodice so I made a number of tweaks. Taking wedges from the side seams and the centre back (zip) seam, I tapered from the bust to the original size 6 waist. I shaved off some of the curve of the centre front seam too – a cheat small bust adjustment I think but it worked for me.

Wedges to fit bust with very little ease.

Wedges to fit bust with very little ease.

Shallowed off curve at centre front seam

Shallowed off curve at centre front seam

The largest alteration I made was a sway back adjustment which for my shape landed right on the waist seam.

Sway back adjustment centered on the waist seam

Sway back adjustment centered on the waist seam

As for the skirt length, I removed 3 inches from View A (shorter) skirt so that, once hemmed, it just touched my knee. Although after a sway back adjustment to the bodice, I was forced to load up my hemline marker with chalk to make sure it was level.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Chalk hem line

On the inside I lined the skirt, pinked seams that were enclosed in the self-lined bodice and overlocked all other seams.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Inside 1 Sewaholic Lonsdale Inside 2

The pattern is beautifully drafted (I swooned over how easily the pockets came together with a professional finish) and deceptively easy to sew.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Pocket

I followed both the online sewalong and the printed pattern instructions which made for a really easy construction process with lots of extra guidance, tips, photographs and options. I like that the sewalong comes in bite-size posts… just perfect for evening sewing. In fact I was inserting the zip with a fantastic hail, rain, thunder and lightening display going on outside… also questioning why I was sewing a summer dress at all!

Sewaholic Lonsdale Back

As I mentioned, I’ve entered this dress into The Monthly Stitch ‘New-to-Me’ competition for Indie Pattern Month… so of course once the voting opens on Sunday I’d be grateful for your support!

Sewaholic Lonsdale Front 3

Lets talk about the elephant on the pile…

When I was a little girl, I loved the book ‘Elephants don’t sit on cars’ but then I loved anything elephant-themed… and I still do! I was confused about the phrase ‘the elephant in the room’ because I had so many elephants in my bedroom that they were always an immediate talking point with my baby sitters and friends.

Elephants Don't Sit on Cars

You may be asking where I am going with this. Well, there is an elephant  in my sewing room. It sits on my pile of stashed fabrics. It looms large each time I have photographed my stash for the Stash Diet or just re-folded some fabric to tidy the pile.

And looking a little trimmer at the end of March.

See… right there at the top?

The elephant, in this instance, is a piece of hessian partially adorned with denim rectangles and a plastic carrier bag of cut denim rectangles.

I’m normally a completer-finisher but this half-hearted rag rug project evaded me. Finally, last week, I decided that I could not ignore this obvious discussion point any longer and consulted my husband on the matter. We talked about the elephant in my sewing room, the one sat on my pile of fabrics.

You see, once the elephant in the room had been spoken about, my husband was very good at helping me to get to the crux of the problem. He made me realise that even though I’d invested many hours cutting denim rectangles and prodding them through the hessian, I had still many more painstaking hours to go. He probed whether I still wanted a rag rug and I confessed that I didn’t think it really fitted with our taste for interior decor. Finally he asked why I was keeping it and I realised it was because I felt I had to finish it. He told me I didn’t have to use my hobby-time on anything that I didn’t want to do.

And he is right.

Stash Diet 2014: Quarter 1 Weigh-In

We are 3 months into Stash Diet 2014 and the slimming/weight jokes are still coming thick and fast with regards to the size of our stashes. I’m proud to report some promising first quarter activity.

This is how my stash was shaping up at the start of the year.

This is how my bulging stash looked at the start of the year. The photo is blurry because it was just about to topple over!

At the start of Stash Diet 2014, I had 13 pattern-fabric matched makes in my stash and I promised to sew these up before purchasing more fabric. I made 4 of the 13 matches (S4044 Trousers, Sage dip hem dress, Damson Gin dress, grey work skirt) and I haven’t made any fabric purchases this quarter, not even lining!

I took part in the Stash Diet Swap shedding 2 pieces of fabric, 1 batch of yarn and 1 pattern. I also received 1 piece of fabric (made into a Briar top) and 3 patterns.

And looking a little trimmer at the end of March.

Looking a little trimmer and an altogether more stable pile at the end of March.

And now it’s time for the weigh-in…

Stash-tistics at the end of Quarter 1:

Stash fabric height: 76cm (starting 90cm)
Stash fabric weight: 18.8kg
(starting 23.5kg)
Scrap fabric weight: 1.2kg
(starting 1.3kg)
Total stash weight: 20.0kg (starting 24.8kg)

That’s 4.8kg closer to my goal weight of 12.4kg and I’m keeping on top of the scraps too. More importantly, I haven’t bought any fabric so far this year – I know I’ve said that already but I’ve surprised myself so I’m enjoying bragging about this achievement. I expect this impressive start is due to sewing winter weight fabrics. Likely progress towards my goal will slow up as I transit from heavier winter weight fabric to lighter weights for spring/summer.