Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stash Exploration

Playing with fabric is a very messy occupation. When I'm planning a project, I drag out every bit of fabric I think I might want to use, then winnow my choices down to about seven. I fold the rest and put it in a bag to be returned to the basement, where it stays in a bag awaiting the day of the next sorting. Sometimes the entire bag gets tossed into a box. There are many partial boxes, relics of previous sorting expeditions.

I do not have a neat system of storage that tells me where each item is. Nope. Fabrics are in copy paper boxes and bankers storage boxes. Patterns are in plastic crates. I happily go through the patterns , sometime sorting them by date. I can get lost in the graphics on pattern fronts.

There are too many zippers to fit in a single shoebox, so they went into a used plastic grocery bag. Periodically the bag disappears. Recently the bag disintegrated and was replaced. I have not bought new zippers in years. I suspect they propagate. What else could explain the preponderance of 7-inch zippers in colors I cannot stand?

Needles are in a plastic shoeboxes, supposedly visible. Buttons are everywhere. Some are in a shoebox, some in plastic candy jars. Odd loose metal buttons are in the plastic crate with bead supplies. Tiny doll sized buttons and buckles are in another shoebox in a cardboard drawer. All of this would be really nice if I were in the same room as my supplies, but they are in the basement. I shop the basement before each project, dragging out way too many things before making a final decision.

Lace is unruly. I only use a few inches at a time for dolls, but yards for humans. It was neatly sorted and pinned until  the basement flooded 4 years ago, and I ended up washing everything. Now 1/4 inch wide polyester lace mingles with poly/cotton eyelet, wide laces, vintage machine lace. Most of it is shades of off-white. Picture a ball of stuff the size of boxes that hold sneakers for teenage boys. Picture three of those balls. I am a little behind in my untangling.

There are years of stalled pants projects. One is obviously too small. but another needs minor tweaking and it will fit! Amazing. And I still have the fabric that will allow me to finish the project. Ah. Being a fabric hoarder is not entirely terrible.

Other pants news: the elastic-waist pants pattern produced by the PatternMaster book does almost fit without major alteration. I lowered the front waist by an inch and added an inseam pocket on the left, but otherwise sewed the pants unchanged. Their instructions for elastic waists leaves me with a too-large waist, even after 2 reductions. The book also has a pair of tailored pants. I should at least print out the pattern.

I also came across another way to copy patterns from existing clothing: cover the clothing seam to seam in masking tape, lift off the piece and put it on freezer paper, then add seams.

None of this gets me any closer to having a dress to wear to a wedding, but that is months away, and my battles were pants patterns have gone on  thirty years or more.

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