Show Us Your Stash: Manda of Tree Fall

Manda of Tree Fall wrote a lovely post about her fabric a while back. Did you see it?

Some people cycle through fabric quickly and don’t keep much of a stash, some people have massive stashes and feel guilty about it. I was feeling pressure to be one or the other, but then Manda’s words made me feel better. I have more of an archivist attitude toward my stash collection too.

treefall-archive

I’m not one of those people that thinks that I need to diminish my stash in any way. I don’t feel the pressure to use it all up before I die, the way some people do. In fact it’s quite the opposite for me. Because I don’t see it as a stash, I see it as a collection.

Fabric and print has always played a huge part in defining design eras and I see my collection as something organic that I want to pass on eventually. As sad as it sounds, I see it almost as a reference library. And when I buy fabric I think about how well it will age stylistically. About how outdated it will look in ten years time and about whether or not it goes some way to defining my personal tastes right now.

I also think about how wonderful it will be in twenty years time to have original prints from this era, instead of reproductions. I sorely wish that I had kept hold of far more fabrics from my youth and don’t want to make that mistake again.

So when I use a print up, if possible I try and replace it. Because I hate for my collection to be missing a piece. And I’m just a little obsessed (you think?) with never running out of the prints that I love.

[ ... ] So there you have it. I’m actually a crazy, megalomaniac who thinks that it’s my job to preserve the mainstream fabric prints of this generation.

I am that way with vintage fabrics. It hurts me to see beautiful vintage prints cut up into fat quarters or even smaller pieces on eBay, or used in more disposable crafts. Quilts, clothing, I’m pretty OK with. Almost. Getting there, anyway.

What about you? Are you a quick-turnover user, a guilty stasher, or an unapologetic archivist? (For me this feeds into space limitation issues and family feelings toward my habits, but we’ll save that for a future post.)

11 Comments

  1. nettie says:

    i am a guilty stasher. I just REALLY hate clutter and extras.

    I have thought (like you), how cool it might be to pass my collection on, but I guess I would rather pass it on in the form of a quilt.

  2. I would love to be more like Manda, I sub her blog, and I remember reading this post, and feeling envious! I am fairly new to the whole fabric/textile world. I have only been sewing seriously for a couple of years now…but I am slowly but surely building a fairly sizable stash. MOST of what I have is stuff to be used fairly quickly, with a small assortment of treasures that I am hoarding!

  3. Katharina says:

    I’m a little bit like Manda and I was very happy to hear one speaking it out: COLLECTING is the right word. I’m always very happy when I see a quilt or little projekt in a blog or shop with nice fabrics which I own myself, just like a hunter, always looking for “must-have” fabrics. And then I pet them in my closet…Sometimes they are allowed to become something special.
    But there are several fabrics, I saw so often that I’m fed up with the design. They are not bad or ugly, but they don’t make me happy anymore. And these ones will be used up from time to time. I hope. Because I need space for new darlings!

  4. Tia says:

    I love my fabric collection. I use it, and am happy to buy more to add to the collection. I have many fabrics that are to special to be used….and are waiting in my vault closet for the perfect project. I have the fabric that I use for inspiration out on the shelves (I sit with my cup of tea and daydream looking at them) and the fabric that I use for bags and quilts easily accessable in the open closet by the cutting and design table. That is the working fabric…the fabric I sacrifice to buy more of the fabric I LOVE and horde. It is kinda like a self licking ice cream cone.

  5. Carolyn says:

    I am one of the guilty ones. I LOVE the “collector” idea! I had so much fabric that I don’t like anymore that I gave away 4 boxes of it last year. It was taking up way too much room and there was way too much new fabric to buy. I actually stopped buying fabric for about 6 months because I was so guilty about buying so much and not using it. You see, I don’t really sew. I dabble with small projects like toilet paper covers or runners but that’s it. I buy the fabric with the greatest intentions of using it but I never do. When I first started “collecting” I was into florals, shabby chic type stuff, Robin Pandolph romantic florals, flowers, flowers and more flowers. Now I really like the the mod/retro looks of Amy Butler, Tina Givens, Joel Dewberry etc. I just got back into buying 2 months ago and saw some of the stuff that I’ve missed :-( . I have been tirelessly searching for the bird print from Moda Summer in the City. I’m a year late on that one and having no luck securing any. Just about everything I like has birds so I’ve exchanged flowers for birds. It’s great that there are so many birds patterns to choose from. Now if I could just convince myself that I don’t “need” to “collect” them all!

  6. beki says:

    I am most definitely an unapologetic archivist! I stash and stash, with not the slightest bit of guilt. In fact, I just did a bit of fabric ordering a few clicks ago :)

  7. Susan says:

    My stash primarily consists of your scraps! And a few yards of fabric I have chosen with specific projects in mind. I hoard yarn already and fabric is DANGEROUS. I could see myself developing a problem rather quickly, so I am resisting the collecting. For now.

  8. Diane says:

    That is one of the most gorgeous pictures of a fabric collection I’ve ever seen. I love what respect is given to each piece, and how they are cataloged by color AND type. Thank you for posting that!

    My personal stash is currently in large, very large, plastic tubs sorted by color or collection – which ever felt better at the time. :)

  9. Actually, Manda’s post really got me thinking about my own stash – I’ve been collecting vintage and new fabrics for over ten years, and always looked at my stash from the same ‘historical’ perspective that Manda has.

    But lately, I’ve been having a change of heart. It’s hurting me to see so many lovely fabrics in my stash that I know I’ll never get around to sewing anything out of – and I decided I wanted to share the love, and let some other crafters get their hands on some of my fabrics and actually make something!

    As a result, I’ve started an online store to sell certain choices from my collection, and I’m getting used to the idea of letting some of it go…… It’s actually kind of liberating, and makes some room in my house for more fabric! Everybody wins!

    I’m loving the new blog, by the way – and everyday I see something on here that I’d love to own – keep it up, you’re doing an amazing job!

    Cheers,

    Leah xxx

  10. Dee says:

    I am moving in a few days and this has made me confront the enormity of my fabric stash. I am feeling very guilty. That being said, I hope to start sewing these beautiful fabrics once I unpack. And I cannot buy any more!

  11. Janet says:

    I have quite a large fabric stash – mostly vintage – and I don’t feel guilty about it. I know that I’ll use everything eventually, and if I grow tired of something or don’t think I’ll use it after all, I’ll just resell it. I do wish I was as organized as Manda. I try, but as soon as I get busy with projects my organization goes out the window :)