Category Archives: Stash Diet 2014

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.

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

Striped Scoop

I’ll spare you a whole paragraph of waffle about stashed fabric, the length of my to sew queue and the Stash Diet… yadda yadda yadda.

Scoop Tee

Let’s talk about the pattern instead: The scoop top is generously available as a free download with instructions from lovely Kristin of Skirt as Top. I went for the speedy approach: no measurements, cut out the one size pattern and skipped the pocket. The only care I took over this make was to match the stripes at the side and shoulder seams – my photographer (not my usual one, so big thanks to my cameo photographer for this) insisted that I show this stripe matching off and came up with an appropriate pose.

Scoop Tee Stripe Matching

I didn’t have any stay tape, twill tape, white ribbon or clear elastic in my stash so I used Kristin’s suggestion of cutting narrow strips of white light weight fusible interfacing to stabilise the shoulder seams. It works… not that I ever doubted Kristin’s advice!

Did you notice my button hair grips? My tutorial for this was posted yesterday on Spread Your Wings and Craft.

Contribute SYWAC

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.

Stash Swapped Lilac Briar

Less than 3 weeks into Stash Diet 2014 I was having withdrawal symptoms from fabric shopping. Luckily Andrea, Gail and, swap organising veteran, Morgan came to my rescue with a swap to end all swaps (open to non-Stash Dieters and it’s on-going throughout the year on Flickr; rules, additional info). The exact swap details are flexible but most people are offering to send fabric/yarn/patterns if the postage costs are paid by the receiver. Reciprocal swaps are also occurring where each person pays the postage but also receives an item of their choosing in return. Stashes are being reduced, those on fabric abstinence are getting a little light relief in a guilt-free form and our group goal of reducing our stashes is being achieved.

So what I have been swapping?

To protect the identity of senders/receivers, I've been deliberately vague about their location... nothing to do with my poor geography!

To protect the identity of senders/receivers, I’ve been deliberately vague about their location… nothing to do with my poor geography!

I sent some 1970s poly fabric to Austria, red yarn to America (reciprocal swap), aqua floral fabric to Canada and a dress pattern to elsewhere in the UK. I have received three vintage patterns from America (reciprocal swap) and some lilac sweater knit from Canada.

I was certain that I didn’t want things I’d received to go from one stash to another so I got going with the lilac sweater knit that Kristin sent me the weekend after it arrived (6 weeks economy shipping from Canada was well worth the wait). Can you believe it’s been another 6 weeks for me to get round to posting this make? It’s just so cosy to wear that it slipped right into my regularly worn clothing rotation and fell off my blog post radar.

I made an executive design decision to use the wrong side of the knit. Less fluffy, more texture. Although using the 'wrong' side did trouble me - I'm goodie goodie two shoes at heart!

I made an executive design decision to use the wrong side of the knit then my first seam was sewn right sides together and suddenly I was using the right side of the fabric after all!

I knew even before the parcel was delivered that I was going to make a Briar top with the fabric. Although I want to make the Briar top and bit more fitted and perfect the arm/shoulder area following my first time using this pattern… a sweater knit was not the right fabric type to start tweaking these aspects when future makes are likely to be cotton jersey. Plus a sweater knit calls for slouchy, comfy and loosely fitting so I knew I could get away with it.

sweater knit briar a

It took quite some time and lots of scraps to get the settings on my overlocker right but after that the fabric (my first time using this type of loose knitted stuff) sewed up like a dream.

sweater knit briar b

In contrast to my overlocker being a bit fussy, my sewing machine loved twin needle stitching the hem and sleeves. It worked perfectly first time on a piece of scrap fabric with no need to faff about with the tension or stitch length and there are no skipped stitches.

sweater knit briar f

I used the longer length of the pattern options to get good bum coverage and allow for wearing with leggings.

Thanks again to Kristin for offering this fabric up for swaps. Since it’s quite distinctive fabric and I had plenty leftover, I’ve put the remaining part back into the Stash Diet Swap.

Grey Check Work Skirt – with lined vent of course!

Grey Simplicity 2451

You all didn’t think I had my feet up during the sew-along did you? I was sewing-along too! I wanted to go back to the bloggers favourite skirt, Simplicity 2451, because it is this skirt that many people write on their blogs “I made the short length so I didn’t have to think about the vent.”  I have to admit that my first and second versions were short for that same reason.

Grey stripe Simplicity 2451

I had just one meter of this poly check suiting so cutting out required not only some thrifty pattern piece placement but also a bit of mind bending to get the checks on the pocket facings, side seams, back seam and waistband to (mostly) match up.

Simplicity 2451

Of course, if I wasn’t already known as Clipped Curves, I could have a new nom de plume ‘Lined Vent Lady’.

Simplicity 2451 with vent

Damson Gin Dress

When I posted my brown NL6000 dress I asked for help with an ‘n’ shaped ripple of fabric under my bust.

Brown 6000 Fitting IssueI had a few suggestions and speculations but no one seemed confident. Returning to the dress in the New Year I wanted to be able to see the fitting problem in a new light. I took a long hard look in a full length mirror, I pinched, I prodded, I fidgeted… I even tried on un-padded and really, really padded bras (self-SBA and self-FBA without surgery if you will). And then…

Brown 6000 Fitting Issue b

If I imagined the lines of the bust darts and the waist darts extended… *gasp* they didn’t cross at the apex of my bust! The waist darts needed to be moved towards the centre by 1 inch.

Dart position

With no fabric purchases allowed I shopped my stash. At first I went for some mystery black suiting that I had no plans for but when I had the pattern pieces laid out, it dawned on me that it’d be hard to see or photograph fitting issues and the whole point of this make was to get rid of that ‘n’ shaped issue! A quick re-think and I sacrificed this purple suiting that was meant to become a pencil skirt.

Damson Gin Dress 6000
This make made me realise that although we have the same measurement, my bust is different to my dressmakers dummy. The darts look ridiculously close on her. So, has moving the darts solved the mysterious fitting issue on me?

Damson Gin Dress FrontLooks okay from this angle… and more ease in the hips helps smooth things out in that region too.

Damson Gin Dress SideStill no bust ripple from this angle either.

Thank you sewing gods for reminding me of dart positioning.

Thank you sewing gods for reminding me of dart positioning.

Yeah, I think the ripple has been banished. I’m also happier with a bit more ease round the hips.


So why is it called the Damson Gin dress? Ah well the damson purple is on the outside and the gin part is on the inside…

Damson Gin Dress Hem

Over 3 meters of this gorgeous silvery white lining was languishing in my stash. It reminds me of the silvery blue sheen that gin has. I was feeling quite chuffed with my stash shopping and even used the bias binding I’d made from the leftover scraps of my blouse to bind the raw edge before hemming. Bother, that blouse would have gone great with a purple pencil skirt! Nevermind, I’m still on track with my Stash Diet.

Damson Gin Dress CuffI’m considering switching the buttons for fabric covered. Undecided yet.

Want to see more details? I took loads of photos, I think the number of photos in my posts correlates to how pleased I am with my make!

Damson Gin Dress

I fully lined the dress including the sleeves. It’s pretty easy due to the sleeve cuffs but does require some extra understitching to stop the lining rolling to the outside. I found myself swapping the different coloured threads on my sewing machine constantly. Perhaps I’ll stick with matching lining to make things easier in future!

Damson Gin Dress Zip

Another cool lining detail was attaching it by machine to the zip… I thought it’d be difficult but it’s actually pretty easy (following Tasia’s instructions).

Damson Gin Dress Vent

I shoe horned in my favourite skilllining a vent.

It's not easy demonstrating a lined vent while wearing the dress!

It’s not easy demonstrating a lined vent while wearing the dress!

Like this? I’m going to be telling you all about how you can get involved with lined vents tomorrow!

Damson Gin Dress Lined Vent

Stash Delve: Needle book

Swamped by scrap fabric (also part of my Stash Diet 2014) and embarrassed that my last stash delve was so long ago, I stopped sitting on my hands and got on with it. Just a little make to ease me back into the routine – you see if I’m honest I don’t enjoy these little makes anywhere near as much as getting stuck into a real toile-fitting-altering-maybe another toile-fashion fabric-celebrate a new outfit type of a project.


Anyway time for a new needle book with careful consideration about the issues my old needle book had:

1. Not enough ‘pages’
2. Foolish interfacing of the pages
3. Poorly clipped and turned out corners
4. Weak attachment of the loop (it bust on the first use)


And some thought on what I liked about my old needle book:

1. The button – which was re-used for this make.