I realize this fall I have been sewing entirely from my stash and not buying fabric.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
For a start I have been really busy and reaching into one of my fabric bins is the easiest way to shop. Also, my local fabric store just isn't inspiring at all, ordinary fabrics at inflated prices, and I just can't see paying $50 shipping for my Fabricmart "bargains" any more.
I have enough stuff. I need to work my way through some of it to see more clearly.
At what point did we sewers stop being the clever women who could make beautiful clothes from what we had on hand?
At what point did sewers become women with thousands of dollars of sewing machines, stashes that rivaled fabric stores, masses of patterns, industrial irons, fancy dressforms, pattern making software, and mail order couture buttons who produced ordinary clothes? Count me guilty of all of this.
I have hit some kind of a wall.
Maybe it was too many sewing shows watching hundreds of women in jeans and sweat shirts pulling along trolleys of newly purchased gear saying they hadn't touched what they bought at the last show? Maybe it was my own faint nausea when I hit the "submit order" button one more time, knowing in my heart that it would be a long, long time before I had the time to sew this fabric and knowing too in my heart that as a sewer I was being overtaking by greed, not by creativity.
It's the creativity I want back.
And I am getting there, trying to make the most of what I have this fall. By waiting for pattern sales rather than sending off for $20 indy patterns I am now divesting to women I have never met to just get them out of my house and off my conscience.
Great sewing, both the experience and the process, is like cooking. Not so much about elaborate ingredients but about working with good ingredients and with care - tasting the tastes, not obscuring them.
Think about Depression quilts, think about how those women used their creativity to extend their limits.
So I think my new plan is to stock up once a year when we go to the US and I get myself into some good fabric stores and spend the rest of my year making it count, living off my investments, not digging myself in deeper.
- I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon