Sewing Your Stash 2020 - Stretching Your Quilting Dollar Further.

In the week between Christmas and New Year, I give my sewing room a deep clean and purge - you'd be surprised where I find stray cottons and that pesky seam ripper I lost back in March. ;)  My main focus is always my fabric stash, and everything gets sorted, folded and if I'm not feeling it anymore, certain fabrics get culled.

I like to identify the problem areas in my stash and earmark these fabrics for new projects. In 2018 I had a surplus of blue/aqua/teal fabrics and I reduced my stash by sewing my Little Blue Lake Quilt. This year I know it's going to be my scrap bin of Bonnie and Camille fabrics (it's out of control), and I hope to share my plans with you earlier next year.

Quilting can be an expensive hobby and we're spoilt for choice with range after range of gorgeous fabrics, so it's tempting to buy more than we need.  I've put together a few ideas for Sewing Your Stash 2020 and Stretching Your Quilting Dollar Further.

Stash Busting: Shop Your Stash Fabrics First

A fabric stash can be inspiring and pretty to look at, but a quilt gives comfort and warmth to those you love. Regardless of the size of your stash it should always be your first option when choosing fabrics for a project.

At some point you decided you liked a fabric enough to buy it, so maybe now is the time to let it shine in a new quilt. Find as many options as you can in your stash and add a few newer pieces if your selection is lacking some contrast or you want to inject more colour etc. - one or two new fabrics can change the way your fabric stash works.

It's satisfying to find a forever home for your fabrics, and you and your family will enjoy it more as a snuggly quilt instead of on display in your sewing space.

Fabric Organisation: Keep Your Stash/Scraps Organised

Good organisation is always the key when storing fabrics for quilting. Invest in plastic containers to sort fabrics by colour, designer or size and be sure to clearly label them for easy access. If you're looking for a specific colour or size, your options will all be in the one place.

Fabrics that you may have fallen out of love with can be stored together to use as backings, bag linings or pieced blocks for quilt labels.

Keep a container of small scraps to use for applique; plain borders are instantly transformed with the addition of applique and it's an effective use of small fabric scraps.

Left over Jelly Roll strips make great bindings for small projects, so keep them easily accessible and audition them before buying or cutting into larger cuts of fabric.

Get Detailed: Keep A List Of Quilting Projects

Keep a detailed list of the projects you are currently working on or the ones you wish to make. Include any fabric choices you need to purchase and shop the sales to find exactly what you need.

My personal rule is to only buy fabrics required for the projects I'm currently working on or the projects I'm committed to work on in the immediate future - it's a rule I break often, I'm addicted to pretty fabric.

Project boxes are a great way to store your selected fabrics, pattern and any other materials you need to complete a project - they keep everything together, and fabric allocated to these boxes doesn't get "stolen" and used in other projects. 

Perfect Patterns: Find A Pattern For Your Fabrics

Large block quilts are a great way to showcase some of your fabrics. The generous sized blocks allow you to frame large cuts of your favorite prints and make them shine. They are quick to sew, and they help to reduce your stash considerably.

Small block quilts such as Postage Stamps quilts are great stash busters, especially for your bins of smaller fabric scraps. The focus is on the overall scrappiness of the quilt and not the individual fabrics, allowing you to use a larger selection of prints and have the freedom to play.

Use The Internet: Free Quilting Patterns

The internet gives you instant access to many free quilting patterns which not only saves you money but is also another great option for sewing your stash.

Free patterns are offered on all forms of social media, so search online, join a Facebook group and look through their files, or browse your favorite blogs to find a pattern that works best for your stash.

Plan Ahead: Long Term Quilting Projects

It's satisfying to work on quick and easy patterns but consider having one long term project on the go. Sampler quilts are the perfect way to learn how fabrics and colours work together while enhancing your sewing skills, and you can incorporate many of the fabrics from your stash.

Set your own timeframe and return to the more relaxed art of making a quilt as a labour of love without the pressure of a quick finish.

If you're looking for a fun, scrappy Sampler Quilt pattern then my Free Chatelaine Sampler Quilt pattern might just be for you. Have fun!

Make It Scrappy: Quilt Backs and Bindings

Making your own scrappy bindings and pieced backings is a great way to reduce your stash. You might not consider using some of these fabrics in your quilt top, but they'll add something special to the backing or binding.

You can also incorporate leftover fabrics from your quilt top into pieced backings and add any test blocks you may have made as your quilt label or as a focal point on the back of the quilt.

When I use a FQ bundle for my mini quilts, there's always a few fabrics that aren't my favorites, so I use them as the mini quilt backing. I know it works well with the quilt top fabrics and I've found it a new forever home.

Be Realistic: Fabric Sorting, Selling and Swapping

Once a year sort through the fabrics in your stash, keeping those fabrics you still love for future projects and designating others for scrappy bindings, pieced backings or for culling.

Think about holding your own de-stash fabric sale online to sell unwanted fabrics or participate in fabric swaps and pass on pieces you no longer require to benefit someone else.

Participate in online community fabric swaps or organise one with your own craft group. Swapping fabrics is a great way to enhance and cull your stash without spending any money. Choose a monthly theme and swap by colour, designer or pattern to help build each other's stashes.

Enhance Your Stash: Shop By Designer

Fabric designers have their own distinctive signature look and colour palette. Generally, ranges by the same designer blend well together and you can play with different combinations.

Simply adding a few fat quarters or a precut (Jelly Roll or Charm Pack) of a new range to your stash will breathe new life into your fabrics without having to buy the entire range. It gives your stash an instant pep without investing too much money, and it adds more options when shopping from your stash.

Shop Wisely: Destash and End of Bolt Sales

Destash sales are very popular on the internet and they're a great place to find a good bargain. Consider having one of your own to sell those fabrics you no longer need, giving you more money to spend on those you may be searching for.

Advertise your sale on social media accounts to reach a larger audience and pay close attention to hashtags; the correct ones will direct people to your sales.

Keep an eye out for end of bolt sales and discount coupons. You can save money shopping for fabric as fabric range come to an end and shops are making room for new stock.

So that's my tips for Sewing Your Stash 2020 and Stretching Your Quilting Dollar Further. We frivolously buy pretty fabric, but without a project in mind or good organisation it tends to accumulate in our stash.

Your fabric stash is an investment in your quilting future so purchase wisely for the projects you want to sew. It's natural for our choices to change so remember to destash often or swap any fabrics you no longer require as they may be just the fabrics someone else has been searching for.

Happy quilting :)
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  1. I made bags for 5 adults and 2 children for Christmas. Everything was out of my stash and supplies! Excited that I have been stash busting this year. Made a baby blanket our of almost everything I had on hand.

    1. Oh that's wonderful! It's so satisfying when you find a forever home for your stash fabrics. Well done :)


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