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(source: wren handmade)

At this sewing party I attended over the weekend the subject of fabric stash came up and an acronym that I had never heard of before piqued my interest – S.A.B.L.E. = Stash Acumulation Beyond Life Expectancy.

Has anyone else heard of this term? I thought it was hilarious yet probably very true for many.

Some of the women at the party admitted to stashes that, were it food and not fabric, would feed all of North Korea.

One woman had one of those double folding door closets filled to the brim with quilting cottons alone!

This is a surprising thought for me because I am not, in any way, a fabric hoarder. I’ll gaze and admire many pretty fabrics on the interwebs but I’m rarely compelled to buy them and I never shop at the big fabric stores without at least a 40% off coupon (which limits my shopping to my number of coupons).

Every fabric I buy I purchase with the intention of using it for a specific project. Even if I don’t know the exact pattern I will use I will have already decided if the fabric will become a dress or top or coat or whatever.

My fabric stash consists entirely of fabric about to be used; leftovers from already made projects; and staples like muslin fabric, interfacing, and plain colored batiste for linings. And even still, that amount is a little too much for my minimalist comfort level.

On the other hand I load up on on sale sewing patterns like it’s bottled water before a hurricane.

And I’m also guilty of hoarding scraps. Anything bigger than my hand is saved in a bin because I have this delusion that one day they’ll be used for some crafty project. I really should stop kidding myself but I don’t like to waste anything.

The woman with the closet of cotton also said that sewers load up on fabric most often when they aren’t sewing (maybe they’re too busy, away from their machine for awhile, etc). Something about trying to fill a creative void with thoughts of sewing. I’m not sure where she learned that tidbit but I think it makes sense. Fabric represents the opportunity to make something be it on a shelf or under a presser foot.

Even though I don’t have a huge stash I do envy those with so many options already at their fingertips in their own home. I, too, love browsing fabric sites for inspiration. I’ve even benefited from some of those stash owners at a recent fabric swap (I got the fabric for this skirt for free!).

So, to the Stashers – those who buy extra just to get free shipping on, those who don’t care if their significant others complain about their fabric addictions, those who have kid rooms with closets filled with more fabric than childrens’ clothes, those whose hearts swoon at the sight of fine wools and silks, those whose idea of a great trip to NYC would not be a visit to Times Square but to Mood, those who keep little indie fabric stores (like the one I intern for) alive – I salute you!

How big is your stash? And if you are a SABLE person what is your most prized piece of fabric? You know, the one you’re saving for something really special. Have you ever participated in one of those stash busting challenges?

***See you next week after Christmas!

Comments (9) for post “S.A.B.L.E.”

  • I don’t think I’m quite to the SABLE point yet, but I could definitely survive for at least a year or two if the world suddenly had a fabric shortage. I’m drawn in by the $3 and below fabrics that are probably bad quality, but they’re good enough for me!

  • I’m right there with, ya. I can’t bring myself to buy anything unless I know what it will be used for. However, I just received a mystery fabric bundle from Fabric Mart Fabrics (10 yards of free fabric!). I’ve never had that much fabric in my life. At one point it was all in a giant mound on my kitchen table and it was wonderful! I now know why some people hoard fabric! 🙂

  • I am a SABLE person.. It’s actually embarrassing how much of a stash I own. Majority of it is vintage sheets and pillowcases, denim, and jersey. One of my most prized pieces is some lapiz blue vintage rayon with black and white circles on it. I know I want it to be a dress, but I just haven’t designed it yet. I like to participate in fabric swaps where I can destash a lot. Merry Christmas!

  • I just walked by my stash the other day and thought to myself that it was getting out of control. I wouldn’t say I have a SABLE, but like molly I’d be ok for a year or two.

  • I wouldn’t say that if there was a fabric shortage I could sew for years and years. I could probably sew through spring, but after that it would be a struggle.Still, I have a lot of fabric, by my own estimation. I try to go through it periodically, just so I don’t forget about anything!

  • I havn’t been sewing for very long but my nana is a S.A.B.L.E! She has two wall to ceiling wardrobes covering two full walls in her bedroom almost filled with fabric! Although this does benifit me as I get alot of free, good-quality fabric!

  • I admire your self control! I definitely have a large stash, but thankfully not enough to feed a country. One of my sewing goals for 2012 is to work through my stash and get to the point you are at, only buying fabric per project.

  • It’s nice to learn about the variety of stash sizes out there and that I’m not alone with my small stash. I am envious of you ladies who inherited your mom’s or grandma’s vintage fabrics!

  • I go in spurts. Sometimes I have a lot of fabric (like now when I haven’t been sewing for the last year) and other times I need to shop.

    I have about 400 yards, give or take. Some of it is stuff that I got from Freecycle that I won’t use, some is stuff I bought that I no longer like, etc. When I get back to sewing this month, my stash will go down a considerable amount over the next few months.

    Then I start the cycle again.

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