Fabric stash patterns sewing

How using "The life - changing magic of tidying up" to organize my sewing room, landed me in hospital!

When your husband understands that you need to see your Fabric and Pattern Collection to be inspired to sew, you know he gets it.


I have been collecting Fabric and Patterns for quite some time, so I'm sure you can understand I needed a miracle so that I didn't end up dying with the most Fabric. I really don't see how "She who dies with the most Fabric Wins" can be true. I would be looking down from heaven and cringing at my Hope chest (maybe truck load would be more accurate) of fabric being cut up in primary school art classes for collages.... and then eventually thrown out after being on the fridge for a week. That's a reality check for you.


What to do!? Well for starters my clever husband put in some shelves for my Fabric. These shelves were attached to the ceiling via ropes and clear plastic tubes. His main concern was for the Fabric to be off the floor and to be free from sharp edges.

A messy transition period that really needed to happen. I started to really look at my Fabric... all of it!!! You know what I'm talking about! I realized there were quite a few pieces that I really didn't love anymore. I was able to recognize this difference because of my first reactions. The fabric I was still "head over heels in love with" I immediately held and still swooned with joy. My conclusion was I would rather sew up the Fabric I was still in love with and send the "good but not great" on to another home.


At this time I saw a copy of https://www.amazon.com.au/Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering-Organizing-ebook/dp/B00KK0PICK and decided it was a good time read this book and see if I could speed up my tidying up. N.B. I would rather be sewing than rearranging Fabric and Patterns!


Be warned this book is dangerous. Marie Kondo knows her subject and relays in a way that is definitely life changing. Marathon tidying is dangerous ... really dangerous for your back! On page 205 Marie Kondo writes about when her shoulders and neck froze. How timely to read this. Shortly after I bent over to do up my shoelaces and stayed longer than normal! All was not well. Zealous tidying up resulted in an over use of the lower back. I'll spare you the details as it's painful to look back. Anyhoo I'm back in action and tidying smart not fast.

Hopefully looking forward to finally finishing my tidying and on to sewing some really fabulous fabrics into patterns that won't wait... but they have to!

Life is far too short to be making my "may as well sew this" instead of "get out of my way I need this in my wardrobe now" projects.

Thanks to Marie Kondo



I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way..

Slowly be tidied away....


Final warning "Read the book but take breaks between tidying sessions even if you don't think it's necessary!"


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Experience of a Sewist trying to Shop... Ready To Wear!

Some time ago (about 18 years ago eek), I needed an outfit for a wedding. I had 2 weeks notice (it was meant to be a surprise wedding) and needless to say with 2 young children, 6 and 8 years old to look after, I needed to get a move on. I thought the fastest solution would be to go to a shopping centre and just get that outfit! Optimism vs Reality! Boy was I wrong! 


What a complete waste of precious time!!  My body did not suit what was currently in the shops. I purchased and returned numerous outfits. So now with only a week to go, in desperation, I went into a Fabric store. I purchased a funnel necked sheath dress pattern. I felt inspired and found some rust coloured polyester woven crepe that matched my hair! To add a bit of Shazam I purchased a black feather boa! I felt great in the dress and after attaching the boa I realised that there were way too many feathers! To avoid eating feathers with my main meal I needed to come up with a very quick solution. To calm down the flurry of feathers, I hacked them with scissors until it had the perfect density - desperate times call for desperate measures! Made it!  Whew! With only days to spare. 


As it was such a quick make and the style was a bit "out there," I wasn't sure if anyone else thought it looked good .... until a lovely lady, fellow wedding guest, said I looked amazing! Suddenly I felt amazing too. 


I was desperate and resorted to the Ready to Wear Rack. The copius outfits, I purchased and then returned, were alright but didn't hit the mark. Nothing much had changed from when I was a teenager who had unfulfilled shopping hopes, way back then.  


S.Y.O. - Sewing Your Own means you can be you. You have great choices: 

  • Fabric- type & colour
  • Style that suits your body shape
  • Length of garment
  • Fitting 
  • Comfort  
  • Price point
  • Additional creative touches
  • Unique outfit 

Prioritisation of time for sewing outfits is critical when you have a young family. 

When you look for an outfit, under pressure, you usually can't find one! 


Fabric stores or your Fabric Collection could be the faster route. 

The ripple effect of a compliment is indeed delightful! I still remember how I felt after that compliment. Because of that experience and others I enjoy telling people when they look good. It is a verbal hug that we all need. Please write and tell me a time that you were given a compliment, that ended up changing your day.  


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Fabric purchases: you love it, you buy it, you sew it, you wear it... mission accomplished.

Well that's the dream! But life gets in the way, the link is broken or a step unfulfilled in the journey from Fabric purchase to the Runway of wearing your creation..


So let's look at the challenges of missing links

Missing Link one:

You've fallen out love with it...most probably this Fabric won't be Sewn up but It will take up space. If you do sew it you probably won't love it and therefore not wear it!

Solution: Just don't buy it in the first place! 

Missing Link Two:

You love the fabric but You don't buy it at the time.

If you don't buy it when you see it two words... SOLD OUT they are the worst words ever. You will be on the hunt for this fabric in other stores or something similar...it will drive you crazy.

Solution: Buy it if you love it.

Missing Link three

Buying too little Fabric at the time of purchase

You will kick yourself later. Your choices are limited by the amount of Fabric you buy... So buy enough!


Missing Link Four

You don't ever sew it up.

Why aren't you and that Fabric embracing each other on any dates?

First love is a romance! If you found the love of your life... would you put him/her in a cupboard with moths and silver fish? That's no way to treat a true love!

 Missing Link Five

Problem you sew it and it doesn't work out..

 Solution: Sewing is a learning experience. Tears of disappointment happen but remember  you tried and sometimes it just doesn't work out. The marriage of Fabric and pattern is far more complex than finding a partner in life: body proportions, personality, season, occasion, lifestyle, wants & needs etc...


Missing Link six 

You wear it but it's not perfectly made, so you feel inferior and disappointed in yourself. You show others the flaws.

Solutions: Don't be showing anyone anything that you feel bad about! Wear it and celebrate the bits you got right. It's like a pimple on your back... You are still beautiful but don't alert others that you have a pimple on your back ..too much information

Missing Link Seven 

You did everything right but it's not working for you.

Solution: Maybe you need to personalise the garment to make it more you. Topstitching, necklaces, earrings, a different neckline, higher hem ...take a photo and look at it... Make adjustments

Missing Link Eight 

It turned out differently to what you expected. 

Explanation: Our bodies give a different visual result. If we are different to the Jerry Hall type fit model,  you WILL  look different. Models have long legs and different proportions to most Sewists.. you could get stretched on a rack but I don't advise that. See where you can add vertical lines to give you the illusion of more height and know more of us are in this boat than that other boat that holds the models. 


Reality Check

Making garments is like a box of chocolates, different factors to get an outfit together that is you... Feels like you... You feel comfortable in it... You don't have to fiddle with it.. in fact it feels like the Emperor's new clothes ...it doesn't feel like you have anything on at all! 

When you feel so comfortable you have to look to see what you have on and you feel happy in your own skin, so to speak, you have hit on an outfit that is effortless for you. Take a snap and keep it handy so you can recreate the combination at another time or do different versions of it


At the end of the day

Buying fabric is for making clothes that you will love wearing. Storing fabric does not give you value for money... Just guilt and a storage issue.

Delve deeper into your Fabric...

See what grabs your interest...

Make one garment...

Build on this foundation...

Make other garments that go with this piece..

This is the beginning of your capsule wardrobe ( first building block)

Love fulfilled.. a wardrobe that supports you and you love to wear. 

Imagine the romance between you and your Wardrobe when you open your wardrobe ... All garments love you and you love them

Happy Sewing 

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A Wardrobe full of Fabric and nothing to wear!

I love the beginning of every new season. Whether it's  Spring or Fall  means it's time to re-think your Wardrobe. Something new to wear, peak your interest & help you want to face each new day!


If you have a large collection of Fabric and Patterns then the horse has bolted .. so you may as well giddy up and sew it up! Enjoy it while you can before the moths and silverfish get to it first!

I speak to a lot of Sewists who have stashes large and small but stashes nonetheless. One admitted she had been wearing the same Winter's coat for the last five years. I suggested, surely it's time to break out and make another...or a cape..poncho..unlined jacket... anything to change it up a and maybe use the Fabric she had. Yes there was a happy ending. A new funky jacket was made. Wardrobe up one! Stash down one! Double win.

It's fun finding Fabric & Patterns on sale and adding them to the Collection. Sometimes buying is easier than sewing but this turns into a bad habit ... buying, storing and not sewing as fast as we purchase, results in too much Fabric and too many Patterns. Overloaded and overwhelmed minds can cause too many roadblocks.


 Fabric Space: the final frontier. 

These are the voyages of a Sewists' Enterprise. 

Its five-year mission: to explore strange, Old & New Patterns and Fabrics, to seek out new ideas and new civilised outfits, to boldly go where no Sewist has gone before.

Apologies to Star Trek

Photo credit bostonglobe.com

Photo credit bostonglobe.com

Our Mission: Getting the Fabric out of the collection and onto your body....

I admit to a Fabric Collection and here's what I do to give myself a clear pathway to my sewing machine!

Let's imagine that the Fabric is just in a wardrobe

Get like colours together .. rainbow time

Put all the black together


Now sort; silks, polyester, ponte, denim, cotton...

If there is too much for the Wardrobe scenario hit the floor and stack your Fabric... lock the doors and do not let anyone in! It's concentration time.


Have a good look:

  • Eradicate the Fabric you wouldn't buy now
  • Get rid of the poor quality fabric that looks cheap
  • Get rid of Frumpy Fabric
  • Grab the Fabric that calls your name and makes your eyes light up

Now see what else goes with these pieces of Fabric and grab them

  • Take photos of the piles if you like so you can see what you have
  • Write yardage notes on luggage tags and staple a sample..get some string, thread through all the reinforced holes and keep your tags together for reference

Two choices now..

1. You can really get this Fabric sorted or...

2. Continue on the journey to decide on what to actually sew  ....

Get your patterns out

  • Sort into pants, skirts, dresses, jackets, casuals mix & match patterns
  • Think about what fabric you have and what garments you need in your wardrobe
  • Select the patterns that you really want to make
  • Next put the rest of the patterns away in an orderly fashion: simple white plastic bags with skirt / dress/ pants labelled with a black Sharpie

Two choices now..

1. While you're here sort your patterns into a system


2. It you want to sew some clothes keep going...

Sit with the Fabric and Patterns

  • Look at the garments
  • What is obviously the one pattern/fabric combination you see, that you want to make?
  • Put that aside with the pattern, then choose the next Fabric...and so on

Start with simple pieces

  • Make them
  • Wear them
  • Feel inspired
  • Make more
  • Enjoy your fabric
  • Make what you need
  • Remember the Fabric and Patterns you have
  • Use what you have

Only buy more Fabric and Patterns to help complete  your outfit gaps.. unless a Fabric is really irresistible of course!

Build your confidence to restart sewing by starting with a pattern that worked for you previously. If you want some ideas read my next blog post on my recent travel wardrobe I made for a 10 day trip to China.

You have what you need already

Clear the decks and let's get this party started  


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