Fabric Stash: Ridiculous

So. In our old place, all of my fabric and yarn was in large Rubbermaid (and Rubbermaid knock-off) tubs.

But we decided to turn the living room into a sewing room, so now I have room for fabric, thanks to Ivar. (The yarn, however, can wait.)

So over the course of several days, I slowly dragged the fabric upstairs. I put it on the shelves in whatever order it came out of the bin.

This was the first time I saw my fabric out in one place at one time and…wow.

Shelf One

Shelf Two

These shelves are large. They are 33″ wide and 20″ deep. The books on the lower two shelves in the first picture? They are double stacked. The patterns are in the boxes on the top (now in plastic hanging file folders).

In the second picture, the top shelf is already starting to buckle (maximum weight 99 lbs). The cabinet is filled with remnants and smaller pieces of fabric, as well as pressing hams, my iron, and the like.

There is a wire cabinet to the left that is stuffed with smaller remnants used for quilting.

When I finally unpacked everything , I looked over all of this fabric.

I have so much nice fabric. I have beautiful wools. I have amazing silks. I have a lot of “travel fabric” that I bought in Korea, or that Good Man picked up in Japan. I have gifted fabric. And silks! Did I mention the silks?

I am so afraid to cut into the “good” fabric because my sewing isn’t good enough.

But if I never sew with the silks, I’ll never learn to sew the silks! And all of the money will have been wasted.

One of the last things I unpacked was this little bit of fabric. It’s sixteen inches of fabric I bought from Joann’s remnants bin for $2.88 minus my employee discount when I worked there. It is gold or purple depending on how the light hits it.

Sixteen Inches

And then I saw the date.


I have been carrying this around for eleven years. That has been three moves in Atlanta, a broken engagement, a whole expat experience in South Korea, a lasting engagement, a wedding, and a new house ago.

I have been carrying sixteen inches of fabric around through all of that? For what??

So I decided a few things.

First, my next six garments will be sewn from stash fabric. I can buy lining, interfacing, and notions if needed, but it’s preferable to pull from the stash if possible.

Second, I *will* cut into that silk before the end of year!

Mile-a-Minute Baby Blanket

Another coworker is pregnant, so I made her a baby blanket. This one was much simpler than the chenille one that I made.

I cut alternating fabric into strips and sewed it up ABAB, etc. Then I cut the fabric into vertical strips and turned every other strip upside down. I sewed those together and bound the blanket using bias tape.

Good Man chose the fabric. “Cats and dogs! Together! It is perfect!” I originally had red backing fabric, to match the bow in the cat’s collar, but it went pink when I prewashed it, so I used blue instead. I used one layer of cotton batting and then sewed just a few vertical lines in the quilt to keep the batting from shifting.

Mile-a-Minute Blanket

Front and Back

The blanket is a little long, but my coworker really liked it. One nice thing about making blankets is that they can be a whole lot of different sizes!

Baby Blanket

One of my friends is pregnant, so I made this baby blanket for her. It turned out so, so pretty!

She’s having a boy, and the nursery is sort of a jungle theme, so I went with this dinosaur fabric. Dinosaurs, jungle, that works. For the flannel backing, I used pale brown, green, dark brown, and blue.

Cutting it was hard. At one point, the chenille cutter slipped and I took out a crescent shaped piece of the blanket along the edge.


I ended up zig-zagging over the cut, and then went and bought a wider bias tape. I was planning on using brown bias tape, but I had to go with black because they didn’t have wide, brown bias tape. In the end, I’m happy with how the black bias tape frames the quilt.

This is how it looked before I washed it.


Dinosaur Detail

I made the blanket a little over a yard wide. I figured this was a good size for tummy time and that baby cage people use when they’re traveling. Yes, that “baby cage.”

Pre-Washed Size

I preshrank everything, but when I washed the blanket, the hand of it changed. It was really thick, but after being cut it turned softer and looser (which isn’t a surprise).

The strange thing, to me, is that the fabric started rippling. I wonder if I sewed it with a bit of tension? I am not sure. But that’s OK. It sort of reminds me of water.

Rippling Blanket

I don’t know what the random green worm is in the middle of the blanket. You can also see where the flannel doubled over on itself.

Green Worm

Doubled Fabric

I actually had the mother over for dinner Saturday night, and I finished this after she left. The baby shower was today, so I cut it very close! Luckily, the blanket was a hit!

This blanket was very time-consuming to make, but I’m glad I learned this technique. It made such a pretty project!

Burda Draped Dress from December 2012 Issue

So I wanted to dress up a bit for Good Man’s (work) holiday party. I ran across the Burda Draped Dress pattern from the December 2012 issue and knew it would be perfect!

Burda Draped Dress

I managed to trace and adjust the pattern, make a muslin and readjust it, and sew the whole thing up in under two weeks. That’s a record for me, and I am really happy with how it turned out!

I bought some wool gabardine to use, but ended up using “aged” stash fabric. I used brown micosuede that I bought at Joann’s a million years ago. I didn’t have enough, so I used olive green for the facings and shortened the sleeve. I also made some fitting adjustments.

I really like this dress! I felt really comfortable in it when I wore it to Good Man’s holiday party, and I got a lot of compliments on it at Mark and his Lover’s party this weekend.

I highly recommend this dress pattern!

Japanese Fabric

I haven’t written about Good Man recently because he’s been on a business trip in Japan. He finally came home (after a very…eventful trip) tonight and he brought this beautiful fabric with him.

The blue brocade is 23% rayon, but beyond that, I don’t know what it is. I suspect the purple one is rayon, too. The purple fabric is very light, filmy. I have three meters of each, but they’re narrower than I’m used to. I’m not sure what I’ll make with them yet!

Beautiful Fabric from Japan

Simplicity 1896/0347, Vintage Dinner Roll Holder


This is Simplicity 1896 (also known as 0347) done up in some polyester fabric with golden thread running through it that I picked up at Joann’s last year.

I decided which size to make based on the finished size, and am happy with how loose it is.

This came together fairly quickly, and as I expected, the V is very deep. I knew I’d need to wear something else under this since the V was so deep, so I didn’t bother to line the super sheer fabric.

The fabric was a bit of a pain to sew, because it didn’t hold a pressing and if I did crank up the iron hot enough to keep a fold, the Lurex thread got wonky.

I used French seams for all of the seams because the fabric was so ravelrific, and I used the French seam combining the bodice and the lower portion as the elastic/drawstring casing. I also didn’t use narrow hems to finish it off, because the idea of doing narrow hems when I couldn’t really press it gave me nightmares.

I think this pattern could be very easily lengthened to make a dress.

My students told me I look like “painted, crinkled tape,” which I took as a compliment.

Fabric Closeup


I also recently finished a Vintage Inspired Dinner Roll holder, which is available as a free pattern.

Dinner Roll Holder

I made it using some muslin and some ladybug quilting fabric I bought as a remnant at Joann’s.

Sister Sews Some More

After completing her first apron, Sister went on to make some clothes during her visit.

First up, she did Simplicity 2224, a cute little pull-on skirt with pockets. She learned how to cut up the pattern, do pleats, attach a patch-style pocket, and make a casing. She also learned how to line up “friends,” which is what I called the notches since I have no idea what they’re called in Korean!

She used some quilting cotton. Some people think quilting cotton should only be used for quilting, but once we washed out the sizing, this fabric had a really nice hand and worked out very well for this skirt!

The skirt was huge! We took slightly deeper seams because it was soooo big. But it looks great on her, and she finished it Friday morning, so she could wear it in Williamsburg. It was a quick project, and very appropriate for a new sewer.


When we got back from Williamsburg, Sister made a shirt, Simplicity 1969.

This is a part of their Sew Simple line, which are repackaged, simplified patterns, offered in a limited range of sizes. This pattern appears to be one view of 2594 (view E without the lace trim). The patterns are inexpensive because of how much cheaper they are to produce.

Sister learned how to sew a facing and gathers (which sort of ended up more like pleats), and we both learned how to do a yoke. She also learned how to do top-stitching and got a lot of practice.

I think this shirt would look pattern in a fabric with more drape. The armholes are really low, and you need to wear a cami if you don’t want to show your bra. But it looks great!

S1969, Front

S1969, Back

Finally, Sister made Butterick 6625, an out-of-print skirt with a drawstring in the back that makes the back bustle up. I actually sewed this pattern ten years ago for myself. With this pattern, Sister learned how to make buttonholes.

B6625, Back

In ten years, I had forgotten what made this skirt not very wearable. The back of this pattern looks great, but in order to get it to gather, you have to really yank on the drawstring, which pulls the skirt very tight against the front of the body. Sister will probably end up using it as a beach coverup.

The fabric from this pattern was a black and white striped fabric picked up at the $2.97/yard table at G Street. We dyed it this really pretty green-blue using Rit dye. We also dyed a piece of fabric I picked up a royal blue. The next day I went to school with zombie-colored fingernails…

Those were all of the sewing projects we got done together. Sister alternated from “this is fun!” to “this is hard,” which made me laugh, because I’m the same way. I’m glad I got to teach her a little bit about sewing. It gave us something to do together in the evenings, and I learned some new skills, too.

Sewing Sister

I took the day off of work today and spent it teaching Sister how to sew. I don’t know much about sewing, but I know enough to teach her the basics.

Sister Sewing

Last weekend we found this great fabric at G Street on their $2.97/yard sales table. It had a mistake in the print, so she ended up getting an entire yard for $2.23 before tax.

Kitchen Print

This was a pattern-less, torn fabric sort of thing. I pressed and told her where to sew so she could just practice making straight lines. It turned out great!

(And I want my own personal presser now.)

Sister’s apron has three pockets across the front and a drawstring waist. It used about a half a yard of the fabric, and we have enough to make bread bags.

Finished Apron

While she was sewing, I set about fixing this penguin clock. I bought origami clock kits at the paper museum Paul and I visited together. Sister and I spent an evening making clocks this summer while watching Korean pop music. I made a penguin, and she made a bear.

Unfortunately, it is still running slowly. Maybe I need a new battery?

Penguin Clock

Sewing Projects (M5974 and Car Trash Bag)

I finally started sewing again.

I sewed my first knit dress back in December and finally finished the hemming in Febraury. Unfortunately, since I cut and sewed everything before January, I can’t count the yardage toward my resolution.

McCall’s 5974

This is McCall’s 5974 in a cotton double-knit I bought at G Street on their $2.97/yard table. It was my first knit dress. I originally tried it in a black slinky fabric, which was just plain stupid.

It’s a fake wrap dress. The crossing in the front comes from wrap ties, but the dress isn’t a wrap dress. I didn’t use a zipper, shortened the sleeves (which were eight hundred feet long), and changed the shoulder gathers to an inverted box pleat.

I like the dress fairly well, but the ties are supposed to wrap around the front and I think that added too much bulk. I think my fabric choice was a little poor because it’s a bit heavy. But it was cotton, and that was my main desire since the cotton was easier to work with than polyester.

Still, the color is great, and the neckline is completely work appropriate. I like that I don’t risk falling out of it.

For my first knit dress (done on a sewing machine only, since I don’t own a serger), I think this turned out pretty well. I wore it to work today (see the industrial school floor in this photo) and got a lot of compliments on it, so I guess it wears well in public!

This dress cost about $15 all told when you count fabric, thread, and needles.


In my truck, I had an old trash bag. The original loop (if there was one?) was gone and my mom wrapped it around the stick with an old stretchy head band. Well, the bag is at least ten years old, and gross, and I don’t have a stick to wrap the trash bag around in Irene.

So I used a piece of canvas remnant fabric from Joann’s to make a bag. I lined it with…a broken umbrella! I have had this broken umbrella sitting around for about a year, and thought it would be a good trash bag lining material.

Car Trash Bag


Working Hard

This was a dead simple project, except that sewing the lining down was rough going, probably because it was just a strange, slippery fabric that wouldn’t press! You can see that the lining is less than perfect in the photos.

If I were smarter, I would have turned the whole bag inside out and sewn it with the lining on the outside (facing the needle, not the feed dogs).

Total cost came to under $3, and that’s generously overestimating the cost of the remnant.

I used ~1/3 a yard of fabric for this project.

Of course… On Sunday I bought a yard of fabric. So I’m still up for the year. Darn.

Good Man thought my whole project was odd.

“You really sewed a trash bag for your car?”


Finally, two photos from this evening’s walk.