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Slash and Burn at the Stash

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Pesky Wadders

I am engaged in a slash and burn of the fabric stash at The Stitchery.

In the early days of my online shopping I made quite a few mistakes. The major mistake was believing that I’d make all our clothes, including those needed for trekking through the woods or doing the landscaping. No, that won’t happen. Old worn out jeans will have to suffice for those activities. I’ll do fashion sewing, and work shirts to help my dear husband look presentable after a hard day at the woodworking machines, but pants? No…. Definitely not.

First let me say that no real matches are being used and no fabrics are being harmed in the this clean out of The Stitchery. Even though purge by fire is clean and quick as I demo’d here in this review in 2004 to purge the sewn stash of a ridiculous design,

they simply don’t let me have matches any more


No, my recourse today is to donate to Good Will as not even the Dog Pound will take my unsewn fabrics for dog blankets. That makes no sense to me but I’ve tried to talk them into it for years now and the answer is always “No!”. So off I go to Good Will which, after all, is much safer than starting a bonfire and I don’t have to drive as far to keep from burning down the neighborhood.

I’ve started with the cottons, then I’ll move on to the silks and knits. I don’t think I’ll be able to get rid of much of the silk stash because even that awful colored dupioni is still silk, something to be treasured.

But there are a few knits that are just the wrong color or are too cheap looking to sew up or just not what I thought I’d receive when I placed that breathless order. Oh, how many of those “breathless orders” I engaged in! Not that I’m so much wiser today…but now we have Pantone numbers, a major improvement in my online life.

So to stop opining and get on to the brutality that is taking up my days:

Here’s the heavy twills and stretch corduroys that must go. Someone with small children will love to have these! This is not all of them, just a sampling.

Stretch Corduroy and Heavy Twills

And here’s some of the cotton interlocks with manufactured matching collars (even though I have no desire for this many polo shirts, this de-stashing hurts. I loved the pre-made collars!)

Cotton Interlocks and Matching Collars

I have saved scraps from projects dating back years, all my husband’s worn out jeans, and almost every embroidery stitch out I did. I am continuously amazed at all the stuff I’ve hung on to, even things I just don’t like. I remind myself of someone who has survived the Great Depression.

No, wait, we’re in the Greater Depression of 2009! What am I doing???!!! Oh yeah, I remember now. I know I won’t sew these up. I have too much else to do. I need the space. I’ll be able to see what is on the shelf more easily. Gee, why haven’t I done this before?

Oh yeah, I was over employed, moving too fast, trying to do it all. Still, de-stashing is very difficult, isn’t it?

And as surely as the sun will rise, I’ll be wishing tomorrow that I hadn’t driven up to that Goodwill loading dock with all my past treasures. I just know it.

Bitter sweet life…

And sewing hugs to all!


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

11 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing your destashing story, I can relate to it and should do the same as you.

  2. Oh I know all about that over employed, moving too fast, trying to do it all bit. Yes destashing is difficult. Oddly, once I work up the nerves of steel it takes to do it, I rarely miss the fabric after I’ve eliminated it. The hard part is the letting go.

  3. My dear husband calls it the ‘chainsaw method of editing’.

  4. Oh how sad and all good at the same time.
    I can so relate. I just finished packing my sewing room and I went through my fabric in the same style as you did. If I won’t sew it….. I’m getting rid of it. All the pieces I put in the give away pile I can still remember who I bought the fabric for and what I wanted to sew for them.
    However it was just really no use hanging on to them. (I was second guessing the whole time I was putting pieces in the pile 😦
    It will be a fresh start in my new sewing room, which is ok too.
    De-cluttering makes room for newer and updated fabrics 🙂

  5. I know this feeling of stash gone wrong! I did a major overhaul like this the last time I moved…and since I swore that would be the last time I move EVAH again…I know I probably need to do one of these soon. But I’m sooooo dreading it!

    Good luck with the Goodwill run! Pet them all once and quickly get back in the car! Do not turn back! Don’t take anything out…they will go to a good home where someone really needs them!

  6. Have you thought about contacting the local school Home Ec department? Surely there must be students who would love the fabric to learn on?

    Or post on Craig’s List if Goodwill says enough!

  7. Saying good by to old friends is hard, even if you’ve outgrown the need for them.

  8. Well the Goodwill isn’t nearly as dramatic as a bonfire, but some sewing person will be really happy to discover these fabrics at their local Goodwill. They look like good ones for play clothes and school clothes.

    Clearing out the old only brings opportunity for the new. Your life has dramatically changed and now your goals and stash reflect that.

  9. Ahhh Mary Beth..the same thing is going on here at ~Off The Cuff~ Studio. I just tossed fabric I hadn’t even looked in years, and then donated some really nice but “not my style anymore” fabrics to a wonderful young 17 yr old sewist out west who has 8 siblings. She was thrilled to get them! ..and she’ll be getting more, LOL!

  10. Pingback: Sewing a Big Dog Bed for Patches « The Stitchery

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