Buy what you wear, and everything old is new again

I finished my most recent round of fabric stash culling in time to take a bag of things to the FabMo distribution last weekend. Instead of organizing my fabric by color, which is how it had been grouped, I rearranged it by weight and use after dividing it into knit or woven – top, dress, pants, jacket, etc. I am hoping that approach will make it easier for me to match patterns and fabric.

I am giving serious thought to doing some sort of fabric list or inventory. While I was cleaning up, I found some printouts of this PDF from Stitch magazine, which could work well. But it occurs to me that a simple index card, with a swatch of the fabric stapled to it, in an index card box would work just as well. I had been putting sticky labels on each piece of fabric as I got it, but something separate from the fabric itself could be nice for browsing and thinking through projects, without having to go dive through my entire fabric stash.

The thing that I really noticed was that I have a lot, I mean a lot, of lightweight summer fabrics and things to make pajamas out of. I think I bought a lot of these when I first started sewing because I could make simple garments out of it – sleeveless no-closure tops and dresses or elastic waist bottoms. But I live in a place that doesn’t have a particularly hot summer, and I tend to wear structured garments most of the time even then. How many pairs of PJs does one woman need, anyway?

It reminds me of the advice in all those “what do I wear” fashion/wardrobe books, to make sure to buy things that you can wear for most of your life and how you spend your time, not just for special occasions or your “fantasy life.” If you spend much of your time chasing after your young kids, maybe pencil skirts and heels aren’t the best bet, and if you live in Miami you probably don’t need that much wool. Angie at YouLookFab reminds us to “shop our dominant season,” and I need to remember that that’s true as much for fabric as it is for RTW clothes. Anybody want some nice linen and crinkle cotton?

While at FabMo, I picked up some mid-1990s Sew News magazines. I was reminded of how unfortunate some early 90s fashion was, and also learned that spring 1995 was the first time that Burda envelope patterns had seam allowances in North America. Perhaps I’ll win Jeopardy with that knowledge someday. Amusingly, there was an article in a 1994 issue about organic fabrics and how everyone was interested in ‘going green’.

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