Thursday, January 23, 2014

Feast or Famine

On the weekend, I visited with Andrea and Sara on a special stash expedition. Don't get excited; it was not a swap. Alas. 

We actually got together to review Andrea's patterns against her fabrics to support her in a couple of upcoming sewing projects. Sara and I played the role of Tim Gunn, setting the sewing scene by choosing 2 garments, from A's pattern stash, to be made using 2 fabrics, also from her stash. Now she has the opportunity to simply pick-up-and-go on 2 future projects. All the fussing is done! I'd go into more detail but there was a bit of wine happening and I can't quite remember which fabrics we paired with which patterns... I do hope A writes about this on her blog, in upcoming posts!

It was a terrific process in a variety of ways: fun with sewing friends, being creative in a team, learning about new materials. While I do think of myself as an upstanding sort of girl, there was a brief moment when I seriously considered, ahem, "doing away with" Andrea and running with as many pieces as I could carry. And some built-ins and patterns. Lord, that woman's stash is amazing - well-organized, colour-coded, delightfully colourful, varied in texture, luxe, interesting, exotic! I cannot believe she's on a fabric-cleanse because she's so good at accumulating it.

Kristin's Lesson-Learned Number 1: Fuck stash dieting. I need to go on a binge!

Really though, I did learn a few other things:
  • Unlike myself, some sewists use independent patterns extensively. I barely know what's out there, apparently, and, even when I'm aware, I'm not increasing my pattern inventory with the indie outliers. Now's a good time to mention that, whenever I'm with other sewists, they love to talk about the (insert latest cool) pattern. They go into all kinds of details about designers, the etymology of the company name, 5 other bloggers who've also made the garment, and the list goes on. As I can barely remember the names of my freakin' TNTs, I do occasionally feel outclassed. I sense I need to pay a bit more attention.
  • Moreover, if you never sew with a particular fabric, chances are you don't know anything about it. For example, having never touched a Liberty fabric till this weekend (Tana Lawn, for those of you wondering), I had no idea of its drape and hand. It's much softer than I imagined it would be. Chiffon? I confuse that with Tulle on a regular basis. I feel, if only to improve my skills, I need to branch out into sewing with new materials. Don't get me wrong, communing with fabric is one of my strengths. But, really, I'm not getting to know enough of it!
  • More can be more! Leave it to me to get cozy with two committed Stash Busters only to decide that I've gotta buy stuff.
Look, I completely understand the impulse to go on the Diet. Andrea makes the reasonable point that she simply wants to get going on using the beautiful things she owns. And I totally see where she's coming from. I, on the other hand, managed to use up 10 yards of stash fabric during the construction of my last capsule collection - and I wasn't even following a program. So I'm betting on myself not to let the stuff languish. We'll see how that goes. (Clarification: I'm only talking about fabric here, not yarn. Yarn I've got enough of.)

Of course, I'm not intending to go completely insane, though I did just purchase 2 new fabrics (one of which is a navy/pattern chiffon). All of the fabrics I've bought since Jan. 1 have been targeted: I want to know more about stretch charmeuse because I sense it's going to be my go-to shirt "woven" in the future. I bought the stretch Bengaline (from StyleArc) because the designer(s) make up most stretch woven garment samples in it. Since I intend to sew StyleArc patterns, I want to see the properties of a garment made in the "optimal" material. I got a bunch of new jersey (rayon, cotton, merino - washable!) because I love it and I use it and I'd like to work with a few different weights and drapes, over and above the "very drapey" summer-weight stuff I have much of right now. More on this to come.

Mind you, there's no free pass. I still have to find a way to keep everything neatly organized in one cupboard. Dammit. I sense a scrap cull coming. And a lot of sewing in the near future. So please stay tuned.

Today's question: Does all this talk of diet make you want to binge? Certainly I cannot be alone.

19 comments:

  1. It would have been a race to see who could load up with the most of her amazing stash! I remember that I paired some chiffon with a blouse but I'll admit that I don't remember our second selection! We were deep into wine and chocolate by that point. Anyway, the mere talk of "dieting" makes me want to go on a fabric binge, which is why I am so glad that Andrea is close and committed and will maybe not hesitate to take me to task if I cheat. You could as well. Yelling, mocking, and all sorts of fun is officially allowed if I cheat! My stash is not particularly extensive (though I am in the process of cataloging and my final tally may call me a liar on this one) but my storage space is tight and I am also normally so reluctant to cut into the good stuff! As my recent carpet beetle experience has taught me that the good stuff could end in the trash, I want a reason to use it now! In the meantime, I'll happily live vicariously through your new purchases and I can wait to see the FOs in real life! Very, very curious about the stretch Bengaline...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, I realized I was going to have to kill you too, and then it all seemed too evil :-) I can't wait to see the catalogued stash, btw.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like you girls had a real constructive meetup. I wish I could have been invited - would love to run my fingers through some new to me fabrics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are more than welcome any time, Faye!

      Delete
  3. Oh where shall I begin?? This post speaks to me on so many levels. First, I'm jealous that you have local people to share all of this with. There is nobody that I can find within 3 hours who loves sewing on the same level as I...that is not also in her 70s. Thank goodness for the Internet for that purpose alone.

    I am not on a stash diet and many of the blog posts I've been seeing of late are inspiring me to buy more fabric as well. I really need to liquidate some of the "what was I thinking?" fabrics in my stash as I was pregnant when much of it was acquired. That was dumb. I don't recommend letting pregnancy brain influence style decisions for non-pregnancy projects. I bit the bullet and purchased a stack of StyleArc patterns just today, but passed on the stretch Bengaline this time around as the one 1.5 meter length DOUBLED my shipping costs. I suspect it's similar in nature to RPL judging from the fabric content (which is one of my all-time favorite workhorse fabrics). I will be living vicariously through your experience with it until I can justify the purchase myself :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, don't badmouth us old ladies! We may not be hip but we're clever

      Delete
    2. Have to say, I bet those older ladies could run us under the bridge with their skillz! :-) Mind you, it's fun to have access to a wide range of friends. You know, I've been blogging almost daily for 6 years and it's only in the last 2 that the blog community in TO has grown to this extent. I do know what you mean about feeling isolated...

      And, I can only imagine the challenge of purchasing fabric while pregnant. I mean, it's hard to make the "smart" decisions at the best of times :-)

      Delete
  4. Oh yeah, people talking about fabric diets always makes me want to binge!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's starting to make its way to food consumption :-(

      Delete
  5. Your get-togethers sound so fun! Andrea is a sweetheart. I have a few friends that I knit and sew with regularly and it's one of my favorite experiences. We have such a wonderful time and really understand one another. Who else can you talk to about madelinetosh and indie patterns??

    I have zero self-control and will not be participating in any sort of fabric diet, but I do clean out and sell stash pieces regularly while adding new ones. My tastes have changed over the years, but they're slowly becoming more predictable and practical. I'm working on it.

    There are a few phenomenal indie pattern companies. I was going to say that I haven't used a BIg 4 pattern in years, but that's actually not true - I made a Vogue dress last year. But I really love Grainline, Papercut and Victory patterns right now. They all have slightly different aesthetics that still suit my style and they're beautifully drafted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's pretty amazing to have access to people with the same passions. We can talk endlessly about the things that most people zone out about in 5 minutes!

      Delete
  6. So many thoughts! I added 8.5 yards of fabric to my stash just yesterday! Subconsciously, I must have been influenced by all the dieters. I actually don't think this fabric will sit long in stash since I have projects in mind for every yard even though I wasn't shopping with a mission.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't keep track of all the indie patterns and who has sewn what! I'm just happy if I know what pattern is being talked about most of the time.

    I'm actually ruing not having a yarn stash aside from leftovers/scraps. I've hit a few blocks with my current knitting projects and don't have yarn for the other things I want to knit. I've been trying to content myself with learning how to fix socks until I can get to my LYS tomorrow, where I intend to binge. Honestly, I think that having a supply of fun sock yarn so I can always cast something on is a must moving forward for me. :-)



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I blame the dieters! Look, I like any pattern I like, but I cannot remember what's what 5 minutes after the pattern is complete. And by all means, go and buy some yarn! And photo it and put it up on your blog! I want to see.

      Delete
  7. Ditto - don't talk to me about my weight or I will eat double and its the same with fabric. To stash or not is a hot topic at present on the net both Myna and Carolyn have posted great discussions about this. I have just purchased some wonderful coating after reading Shams post about "who cares how many coats I have in the closet". I love sewing coats so off I go!!

    Your afternoon with your sewing buddys sounds like a blast and I look forward to seeing the future garments!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know - I love Myrna and Carolyn's posts. I'm leaning to their perspective, as you can probably tell. :-)

      Delete
  8. Good friends. Fabric. Wine. Chocolate.
    The perfect combination, no?
    I'm saying nothing about the floral linen and the print jersey I bought last week. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is the perfect combo! And say more about linen and jersey! I want to know!

      Delete
  9. I have put Mr. Stitch on notice that if I windup murdered he should think of you and Sara as prime suspects. Of course talk of diet makes me want to binge, hence the fact that I never go on a food diet. I think of it as modifying my food choices so that is precisely what I'm doing with my sewing. Don't go talking me out of it - need to sew all that pretty fabric before you carry out your threats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that was smart! And I admire your fortitude. Keep on with the diet. I won't let you succumb. I'll do it for you :-)

      Delete