Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Money Saving Tips for the Frugal Stitcher (4/7) - Manage your stash

Hey guys!

How are we all doing?

Today we're going to talk about stash management! What is this? I guess it's a way of looking at your store-cupboard for cooking up something crafty. There's stuff you need all the time, there are ingredients you need once in a blue moon and there's only so much you can actually deal with in the pantry. If you take care here, you'll save money, reduce waste and have everything you need within easy reach.

Do it right and you won't end  like me, with unusable Octopodae (octopuses)
See? Unusable octopus...

Let's break it down into a few stages

I'm not talking about discounts, coupons and freebies here (oh no, that comes later!), but more the questions and points you need to be thinking about when you're buying/inheriting/stealing fabric.

Here are some good ones to think about:
+ How does this fit in with the rest of my stash and projects? - Okay, so if your stash is all identical, you've got a problem. If your stash is all totally unrelated, clashing and mismatched, you've got an equally bad issue. If the bulk of your stash coordinates in terms of colour, hue, print, texture, weight etc, there's a much higher chance you'll find a way to use more of it, avoid duplicates and buy less.
+ Can I use this? - Are you grabbing it simply because it's beautiful? Can you think of anything to do with it? I've already said that a cash-strapped stitcher shouldn't be buying fabric heading straight to the stash. If you have nothing planned immediately, it's probably going straight to the back of the that packet of reindeer meat...
+ Do I need this now? - Pick an arbitrary deadline. One year is good. Let's call that your stash turnover. Think about your other projects, plans, obligations and your skill level. Can you feasibly use this fabric within that time? Can you manage a bouclé cocoon coat when you already bought the fabric for that twill trench?
+ How much do I need? - Don't bring home a bolt if you can't use a bolt, don't buy a metre when you know ideally need two, don't buy enough of a fabric for 4 projects when you know you'll only be able to make one. At the same time, it pays to know roughly how much fabric it'll take for you to make certain garments. If you're petite and slim, you'll obviously take less fabric than a tall, plus-size. Bear this in mind because those tiny pennies and half-metres will add up.

Going back to the idea of a stash turnover. I'd say the bulk of your fabric should be used within the turnover time. Yes, there are a few pieces that'll go back to the 1970s and you'll have no idea how you got them, or what you were drinking when you did, but the majority of fabric should be used before the deadline. Storage costs money, maintenance costs money, unused fabric costs money.

If you aim for something like this, you will think more critically about what/when you buy but also if you buy at all. You'll also probably be more focused and more versatile when making things too. 
This is my stash...

Of course, a lot of your stash should be going towards finished, usable objects and finished projects. When you're making things  and trying to save money there are two important things you need to consider: is this essential to the project? (Do I need to do this?) How can I do this using what I already have?

Once again, this is likely to get you thinking a little more creatively about what you're making. Here are a few options that could help:
Make your own shoulder pads
Swap out one fastening for another
Stabilise facings with scraps, finish facings with scraps, make facings with scraps!
Salvage failed projects for yardage and notions
Make your own stay tape and tie interfacing
Substitute chest pieces and thermal interlinings
Create your own rope bridge / escape cord
Piecing and design details
Built-in bra, anyone?

Getting rid of it
I probably should have said first, but the term "use" could probably do with being a bit broader. It's not just about the finished object. Think of it in terms of these options: stuffing, muslin, experiment, lining, swap, giveaway, gifting, shred/burn (for the anarchists), repurpose, recycle, sell (useful if you've got big yardage), teaching know, use as in "get rid of"...

Keep this in mind, any of these options are possible and will definitely help you manage your turnover time and the cost of your stash.

That's it today. Do you have any nifty ideas for stash management? 

Ciao for now,

1 comment:

  1. Mr Octopus will be perfect for a bag lining, when you want something fun and funky there- or actually for the outer of a great tote, or something like that.
    How much of it do you have? I can see it as a summer dress, or skirt, too! Why not?