Monday, May 23, 2011

Fabric Avalanche

Vogue 1244 ,by Koos van den Akker

It's time I used some of the stash that has taken over my basement. While Koos van den Akker and an anonymous designer for McCall have stash busting ideas, I can't say I'm inclined to use them.

There was an avalanche in my basement last month. A mid-April thunderstorm that caused flooding in many parts of Ohio also caused a terrified cat to leap at the nearest shelf. The flimsy gray metal shelving toppled, spilling its sewing notions and handmade doll clothing over 1/4 of the basement.  

Picking it up, I faced something I've known for years: I must sort, prune, and whittle away the stash. For fifteen years, I have acquired more fabric than I can sew. Friends who collected fabric died and left me their stashes. Other friends pruned their stashes and although I resisted mightily, I came away with fabric. I have quilt pieces deceased grandmothers cut out, of fabrics too delightful to ignore.

 Even though I sorted through and only kept things that I would use or things that answered some visual need, I've got  the monster of all stashes. It might be known as the stash that ate Ohio. I have given to young seamsters, to quilt groups, to service organizations, and in desperation, to Goodwill. I threw away some polyester double knit as being too ugly to exist on the same planet with me,  but I know it will be in a landfill long after I am worm food.

Fabric bought for humanscale projects sits neatly and obediently in boxes labeled pants lengths, dress rayons, wool, silk, linen. Everything else is in silky/sleazoid and quilty.

Quilty is a misnomer. Some of the stuff in those boxes could be used for quilts,  but most of it is just fabric bits too small to be folded neatly. I'm thinking seriously of cutting it into 3 inch wide strips and making tiered skirts until I run out of scraps, or in 2013, whichever comes first. I'd like to make one of Kay Whitt's 5-fabric A-line skirts, too. This means that I will have to start wearing something other than pants. 

Some if it is ditsy country-ish prints and silky sleazoid fabrics I'd never in this blue-eyed world wear, but is  the right scale for dolls 12 inches and smaller. At one point I sewed for charity dolls, creating wardrobes for 2nd hand Barbie and other fashion dolls that were given to an assortment of charities. I've got leftover dolls too, and no interest at the moment in doing anything about them.

McCall 6322
My box for red cotton prints is still red cotton prints, but blues have scattered, and the silky filmy things I hate to sew? They infest every box. Children and some adults adore fancy dresses for dolls. I used to try to get people to take their scraps, but they regard that as part of my pay. I am really not thrilled to be the repository for all fabric scraps in Ohio.