Busy Not Buying Fabric

Hey there,

It’s been a great Summer, hope yours has been the same, and though I’ve been busy enjoying life, not much sewing has gone on recently as I’ve made the most of the better weather and moved my life more outdoors over the last few months.

However, some of you might remember that way back in January I made myself a promise, when I realised I needed to tackle the every growing piles of fabric that were sprouting up in my Sewing room. I don’t like an untidy room and I realised my fabric hoarding problem was becoming more serious when :

  • I’d filled up ALL the shelves in my fabric storage area
  • New piles of fabric were sprouting up all over my room
  • I was finding fabric that I’d completely forgotten I had
  • The projects I wanted to make I didn’t have fabric to match
  • I was loathe to cut into my “good” fabric


One of the piles of fabric that had sprouted up in a corner of my room.

I am the sort of fabric buyer who

  • Can’t resist bargain fabric, especially if it’s fine quality
  • Buys special prints, with no particular project in mind
  • Loves certain colours and can’t resist them
  • Convinces themselves that they have to have it now or it will sell out
  • Often changes their mind, when they receive a fabric, about it’s suitability

So, the promise I made was NOT to buy/accept any more fabric until July this year. So, how did I do?

The first thing I did was to make myself a visual reminder of what I was trying to achieve and my progress too, so I sectioned off a part of my kitchen whiteboard to log both my fabric purchases (hopefully none!) and fabric usage.


I’m still keeping it going, even though I’m now allowing myself to buy fabric

I was quite productive in my sewing, up to the Summer months, and managed to use up over 50 metres of fabric in that time, which sounds a lot, but includes

  • Using fabric I disliked or would never use for toiles
  • Donating some fabric at Sewing Meet-Ups
  • Sewing for family
  • Sewing for myself

I don’t usually keep scraps (unless they are substantial or I can use them for pocket linings) so I don’t have a problem with those, but my main reason for the reduction was just making stuff!

I did falter, once, when I discovered some hammered silk satin at a reasonable price, but apart from that I was pretty good.


I’ve seen other people on fabric diets, and maybe your buying habits are better than mine, but the main learning points for me were

  • Be more imaginative in using fabric. I had a few cotton jerseys prints I didn’t know what to do with so made myself some PJ’s with them.
  • Don’t hang onto fabric you don’t really like or won’t use. I used some of this to make toiles instead.
  • If the fabric is not your colour can you make something for someone else who will suit it better?
  • Be ruthless, get rid of it, someone else will always appreciate it better!

I still have a good fabric collection, despite the reduction, but as I like to start my projects with the fabric in hand that will always be the way. My shelves do look a bit emptier now though, and there are no extra piles of stuff in my sewing room.


Looking at this there’s still more work to do. Some of those jerseys I know I’ll never get to (wrong colour/poor quality) and my collection of fine cottons and silks are proving stubborn to move, probably because they fall into the “dressy/special event” category. Ah, well, always a work in project, eh?

And since July I haven’t really felt the need to buy much more fabric, possibly because I’ve not got many sewing plans in place yet, but it does feel like my habits have possibly changed for the better.

So, how do you keep your fabric buying under control? Do you need to? Please share your tips.




5 thoughts on “Busy Not Buying Fabric

  1. Well done. I found it hard too and failed immediately when we met in Dewsbury but I did sew that straight away (brushed cotton pj’s). My hubby took early retirement this year and I am now more cost conscious. I have also moved to more project appropriate fabric as cheap bargains can be a nightmare to sew and never get worn. It’s been an interesting year. Happy sewing K xXx

  2. I have just finished reading “Organized Enough” and have been inspired to part with over two large trash bags full of fabric that I realized would not be worn even if I did use it. I kept some for muslins and hope I can “destash” some more online. It was a learning experience. I realize that even though I am attracted visually to bright, trendy prints, I don’t like wearing them. I like quality fabrics and mostly solids. Hopefully I will do better going forward, but it’s great to thin the stash and see all the gorgeous stuff I already have! I would have fallen off the wagon for that silk, though. Yum!

  3. I’ve been ‘trying’ to de-stash this year too. I have bought new fabric from time to time, but I’ve made myself sew it all up before buying further new stuff. I’ve also been buying patterns {gotta buy something, LOL} with specific stash fabrics in mind. It’s working. It’s really working!

  4. You’ve done really well. I’m just trying to focus on use more than I buy, and also on the issue of “do I really want that fabric as a made up item of clothing in my wardrobe? ”
    Just a thought, your beautiful cottons and silks, what about making shirts for yourself? I think you can wear a shirt made from a beautiful fabric with jeans successfully for everyday wear.

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