Fabric Fast – Day One

The time has come. I’m really going to do it.  I have pledged to buy no fabric – of any sort – for one whole year.

Some of you suggested six months would be more achievable but I fancy a challenge and I ‘m going to go the whole hog and do the year.  Although I have called this ‘day one’ I am actually going to count it from the beginning of September as I haven’t bought any fabric yet this month and it feels good to be one week in already.

I don’t have as much fabric as a lot of other people but I still think I have too much and, instead of using what I’ve got already I too often buy new supplies when I have perfectly good stuff to hand. My daughter asks why I don’t do as she does and buy the fabric as needed for each new project.  There are many reasons for this, three of them being:  She is a student.  She lives in a small space.   She is more sensible than her mother.

By my reckoning, I have in my possession at the moment, enough fabric to make around 10 dresses, 30 tops and/or skirts, about 20 patchwork quilts, 4 rag quilts, 100 cushions, 10 bags, 50 coin purses, 20 cartonnage boxes and numerous other things I can’t think of at the moment.  When will I have the time to make all this stuff and, if I do, why can’t I use what I’ve got?  After all, I bought it all originally so I must have liked it.  I know familiarity is supposed to breed contempt but if I get the fabric out, open it up, stroke it a little and imagine what I can do with it, maybe my first feelings about it could be rekindled (oo-er Missus!).

Cupboard and Drawers

A cupboard holding lots of Ikea home furnishing fabric, some oilcloth and a basket of large scraps.  The drawers hold flannel fabric, scraps of linen and some vintage kimono silk.  Nobody can say I’m not eclectic in my choices.

Patchwork & Crafts

Liberty yardage and patchwork/craft fabric.

Jelly Rolls and Charm Packs and Fat Quarters

Fat quarters, charm packs and jelly rolls.

Dressmaking Fabrics

Dressmaking fabric and some patterned linen.

Plains & Linens

A few plains (hmmm….. I’m a bit short on plains)  and some more dressmaking fabric.

Towelling, Polar Fleece, etc.

A basket of cotton flannel, towelling, polar fleece and stretch lace all watched over by a scary baby mannequin and topped with a basket of selvedges (selvedges? Don’t ask.  It seemed like a good idea at the time)


Even my yarn stash – which may be a fast for another day – has pieces of fabric peeping out from beneath.


One of my many scrap bags (others, without skulls, are concealed in the attic).

By next September :

I hope to have more space in my workroom and the stuff that is still there will be arranged more tidily.

I hope to have become more disciplined in what I choose to buy in future.

I hope to have spent less time on the internet lusting after  looking at fabric.

I hope to have completed every project I undertake – be it craft, home decor or dressmaking with fabric already in my possession.

I hope to have more money.

So, I pledge to buy no more fabric of any sort until 1st September 2016.

I will be blogging about my progress from time to time so I’m hoping, now I’ve announced my intention, the shame of failing will keep me on the straight and narrow.

Would you ever consider a ‘fabric fast’ or have you done one in the past?  How did you cope?  Did you over compensate when you finished with a buying spree?

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  1. #1 by Jan Marriott on September 7, 2015 - 12:55

    I ones saw a charming vintage quilt made entirely of shelved getsJanSent from Yahoo Ma

  2. #2 by Jan Marriott on September 7, 2015 - 13:14

    It’s a bit early, no coffee yet, please forgive typos.Sent from Yahoo Ma

    • #3 by tialys on September 7, 2015 - 13:42

      Don’t worry Jan – I just assumed you’d had gin on your cornflakes again 😉

  3. #4 by katechiconi on September 7, 2015 - 13:14

    I probably wouldn’t consider a fast, because after making quite a lot recently, my stash is quite depleted. I have a fair amount of dress fabric as opposed to quilting fabric, and I’ll probably go through a phase of dressmaking to munch up some of that. If you come across fabrics you absolutely know you won’t use, why not offer them for a swap with someone else’s unwanted stash? That way you both win and get something new without buying a thing!

    • #5 by tialys on September 7, 2015 - 13:44

      You are one of my (many) eminently sensible blogging friends! I will definitely think about the swapping thing. The trouble is, it’s a bit like throwing stuff out or sending it off to the charity shop – as soon as you do it you think of a use for it.

      • #6 by katechiconi on September 7, 2015 - 22:45

        Well, if you ever end up with scraps of that gorgeous French grey with a large white spot, can I put my hand up for that?

      • #7 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 08:46

        It’s linen. I’ll have to have a look and see what I’ve got left. I’ve made two handbags with it so far.

      • #8 by katechiconi on September 8, 2015 - 10:45

        It’s obviously gorgeous, then!

  4. #9 by rosealys on September 7, 2015 - 13:34

    Yikes. Good luck! I thought about doing something like this (although not for a year) a few weeks ago, but then I remembered that I’m going to the Stoffspektakel in Strasbourg with a friend next month, and it would be just foolish not to take advantage of any bargains I may see, particularly when shopping with a more experienced seamstress. There. That’s my excuse.

    • #10 by tialys on September 7, 2015 - 13:47

      I completely understand. No way should you start a fabric fast before such an event. It might be a good time to do one afterwards though – when you are fully stocked up and broke!

  5. #11 by http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com on September 7, 2015 - 13:37

    Your stash looks as huge as every piece of fabric I have ever bought/used in my entire long life!. I thought I had a lot, but the idea of buying even one jelly roll or charm pack and putting it into stock is anathema! I can never wait to get it home without planning the use of every inch before I get there!

    Bon courage.

    • #12 by tialys on September 7, 2015 - 13:53

      I think that’s where internet shopping gets you. When you buy something in a shop, as you say, the excitement is immediate and you want to get home and make something with it straight away. When you see something you like on the internet and fall in love with it, by the time it arrives, the immediate excitement has passed and you have moved on to something else so you add it to the ‘stash’. The trouble is, living where I do, if I didn’t fabric shop on the internet I’d never have any sort of stash. Wait! Perhaps that’s the answer!!

      • #13 by http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com on September 7, 2015 - 15:28

        Although living in the depths of rural Normandy, I’m lucky enough to have a very good (and reasonably-priced) quilt shop within 10 minutes drive, and a shop “Tissus” not much further away from dress materials and furnishing fabrics as well as a limited supply of quilting fabrics and yarns. The only thing I buy online is rotary cutter blades.

      • #14 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 08:49

        I have a local shop but I try to avoid it. His patchwork fabric costs between 18 and 22 euros a metre 😮

      • #15 by http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com on September 8, 2015 - 09:00

        And ours http://www.hambyance.com/index.html chargs between 10 and 20 euros, with lots of bargains. I use her scrap basket as a resource – 10 -20 cents according to size – I made a large quilt entirely from her strips!

  6. #16 by jendavismiller on September 7, 2015 - 15:26

    Wow, that is an impressive stash! And oh, did I spy some interesting bits…..lots of dots (hard to go wrong with dots) and a simply amazing large red/white/black(?) graphic print in the dresser. Very curious to see what that becomes! Good job going all the way with this.

    • #17 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 08:48

      That print you are talking about is some Ikea home furnishing fabric from about 8 years ago. I made a large pouffe, two roman blinds and still have some left so I don’t know how much of it I bought. It is striking though isn’t it?

      • #18 by jendavismiller on September 8, 2015 - 15:45

        Striking indeed. So now the question is….do you still use and love the pouffe and roman blinds? They must be fabulous!

      • #19 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 18:34

        Yes – they are both in my daughter’s bedroom – although largely unappreciated these days as she’s in the U.K. at University.

  7. #20 by quiltsandchemo on September 7, 2015 - 17:26

    Love your stash, and you are very brave to announce your intentions to the world! Good luck. I think if you make it for the entire year you will appreciate your future purchases even more. Last month my local quilt shop had a HUGE sale, and I bought way more fabric than I needed, and some that I’m not even sure WHAT I’ll do with it. I’ve tried to fabric fast before, but then a worthy project came along that I just didn’t have the right stuff from my stash…….what’s a girl to do? Keep us posted!!

    • #21 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 08:50

      It’s a bit like having a wardrobe stuffed to bursting (and I do!) and saying you have nothing to wear 😉

  8. #22 by Magpie Sue on September 7, 2015 - 18:50

    I admire your courage and determination. I couldn’t do it. I do go through spells when I won’t buy any new fabric for months at a time (locally or online) but then I inevitably make up for it with a binge buy (or two, or three…). I manage the financial impact by sticking to the clearance and sale bolts as often as I possibly can. But then I’m part Scot so being frugal comes naturally!

    • #23 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 08:52

      It’s hard to resist emails that announce fabric sales. I often buy from the U.S. as it’s so much cheaper but the shipping cost is a good deterrent!

  9. #24 by Emmely on September 7, 2015 - 21:41

    Yay! I will be admiring and cheering from afar. I received a box with fabrics on Saturday, but at least I’ve already layed out pattern pieces on one of the fabrics and will probably cut out tomorrow… Only problem, I appear to have bought way too much and can probably make another garment out of the leftovers…

    • #25 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 08:53

      That’s a good problem to have though – especially if you really like the fabric. Or, you could try to swap it.

      • #26 by Emmely on September 8, 2015 - 10:04

        I think I’ll try to find another pattern that I can use it for. The fabric feels like it will be very comfortable to wear.

  10. #27 by Carole Mayne on September 7, 2015 - 23:30

    Thank you for your courage to go on a fast..I will go on a ‘paintbrush fast’ for the next year, because of your inspiration! I promise to inform you if I back-slide for even one! I have enough brushes to paint for 3 lifetimes, so yeah, I’m there with you. xoxo

    • #28 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 09:00

      It’s funny what other people hoard isn’t it? I don’t paint – apart from the odd piece of furniture – so I have no idea how many brushes an artist would get through and whether some are more covetable than others. I’m sure there must be some that are on artists’ wish lists. I love your fluffy eqret painting in your shop by the way.

  11. #29 by sew2pro on September 8, 2015 - 00:53

    Well at least it’s reasonably tidy-looking and folded up in a compact way; mine is squirreled away in several locations around the house and garden (.. well, shed. ) Good luck! It’s a bit like going on long-term a diet I suppose, where discipline and planning ahead are key, and not allowing anything to tempt you off focus. I look forward to following your progress.

    • #30 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 09:04

      I think you’re being polite by saying ‘reasonably tidy’. It could be much more tidy and will be when there’s less of it!!

  12. #31 by lovelucie1 on September 9, 2015 - 14:00

    Your stash makes me a lot happier about mine which is fairly modest compared with this! However I probably have at least a year’s worth of fabric at my current rate. But no, I won’t be joining you in your diet. Restraining from too much wine and chocolate is enough for me!

    • #32 by tialys on September 10, 2015 - 12:47

      Well, I have restricted my wine intake to weekends only (unless I’m on holiday of course) and I don’t eat much chocolate but, when I do, I eat the very dark stuff and they say that’s good for you 😉

  13. #33 by Nanette on September 10, 2015 - 11:54

    I love that cupboard in your first pic and the wee mouse further down….oh and look, you have some fabric too 🙂 I didn’t think your stash was too bad, thought you were going to show us way more than that. I have a bit of a stash, I tend to buy the odd fat quarter as I need it, usually lately for the F2F, but I like to upcycle fabrics from op shop clothes for my own quilts and sewing. Looking forward to watching your progress……

    • #34 by tialys on September 10, 2015 - 12:52

      You’re right – the stash isn’t too bad and I’ve seen much, much worse but, for me, it was time to rein it in a bit. I want to make the ratio between what I make and the amount of fabric I buy more sensible. I also recycle fabric and have a nice big bundle of vintage sheets which I forgot to photograph with the rest of the stash. The little sailor mouse is gorgeous isn’t he? I don’t like making toys myself – can’t get on with the stuffing part! – and this was made by a French lady and I couldn’t resist it.

  14. #35 by nanacathy2 on September 12, 2015 - 09:57

    Oh my, that is a lot of gorgeous fabric. Good luck! Be strong!

    • #36 by tialys on September 12, 2015 - 13:40

      Thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many emails offering me discount codes and sale fabric since starting the ‘fast’ – and I’m only a week in. I just close them without opening otherwise I’d be lost.

  15. #37 by claire93 on September 12, 2015 - 21:17

    good luck on your fast ^^
    I tried one a few years ago with cross stitch supplies – I managed about 5 months and then caved in.
    As for fabrics for patchwork, I can never resisit a bargain, and have several online shops where I am frequently tempted (and where I give in to temptation). My excuse is, I don’t spend money on clothes/shoes/make-up/hair appointments or any of the usual things ladies spend their money on. And I get enormous pleasure from adding to my hoard ^^

    • #38 by tialys on September 13, 2015 - 09:07

      I’m afraid I don’t have that excuse Claire as I spend money on all of those things :/ However, if I didn’t, I would definitely think like you and keep my stash growing!

  16. #39 by Carole Mayne on September 17, 2015 - 05:18

    So glad I remembered the Pledge today…I caught myself fondling a paintbrush and had to rush and buy something else!! (-:

    • #40 by tialys on September 17, 2015 - 08:20

      Well done! I haven’t done any actual fondling of fabric because I am avoiding the only two shops we have near here that sells it. However, I’m being inundated with emails and offers from online suppliers – probably no more than I usually am but it seems like it! – which are easier to ignore as I just don’t open them. It did cross my mind to go over the U.K. next month for the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace but that would be far too much of a temptation – I’m not a good window shopper.

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