Last Saturday I joined fifteen other sewers in Sew to Speak’s first annual De-Stash on the Lawn yard sale of fabrics and notions.
The weather was gorgeous, and the nearby bustling farmers’ market brought inquisitive browsers and buyers.
As I suspected, my buttons attracted the most attention, and at 25 cents a bag they were priced to go. They went.
The banana buttons I’d had for 30 years (!) went to a woman who has a banana-themed running joke with a friend and who was thrilled to find them. I think I made her day.
My best customers, however, were the other sellers, who browsed tables between sales. One of them joked, “De-stash and re-stash!”
I left my post briefly, too. to look at the other sewers’ wares, but since most of those were quilting fabrics and books I wasn’t tempted. Besides, my purpose in clearing out the sewing room was to make space for new activities, not new supplies.
- Most of my buttons
- A bolt of fusible hair canvas
- A thread rack
- An upholstery stapler that was almost impossible for me to use with my smaller hands
- Some cheery yellow and blue quilted placemats I bought in France 20 years ago.
- A tube turner
- A neon-orange measuring tape
- A yard of felt used in tailored jacket undercollars
- A gadget for evenly marking the placement of buttonholes or pleats
- A darling table runner dating from the 1940s or ’50s
- Some upholstery tacks
- A book on making fabric flowers
- A remnant of perky blue and white checked cotton for tablecloths
I made $28.50 from the sale, but subtract the $12 for the table rental and I actually cleared $16.50.
And then there were the things that came back home.
What will I do with them?
The buttons, gadgets, notions, and yardage would be perfect to donate to The World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale, an annual fundraising event of the Textile Center of Minnesota, in Minneapolis next April. The donation would need to be personally delivered two days before the sale, and I can’t think of anyone better qualified to do the job (–or to attend the sale, of course!).
Then there is every sewer’s dilemma: fabric scraps too small to donate but too good to toss. They deserve to be used somehow. I checked my library system for books on using fabric scraps, and requested Wise Craft by blogger and Craftsy designer Blair Stocker for inspiration.
We have a footstool begging for a new cover, and one of my remnants fits both the footstool and the decor. Put on the shopping list: a better upholstery stapler.
I’ll keep an eye open to dispersing my sewing leftovers wisely, but I’m also going to be more careful about what I let in, in the first place.
Now, a great big tailor’s ham did get past the velvet rope. Tailors’ hams must be my weakness because when my sister pulled this beauty from her stash I whined for it. She has visiting privileges, however.
The De-Stash on the Lawn may be over, but Sewing Room 2.0 continues.
What I gained was much more than a little pocket money. What else?
- Shelf space. The sewing and home dec book collections are slimmer and better.
- Floor space. Worktables can be moved around more easily for big drapery, shade, or lined coat projects
- Better access to my beautiful vintage buttons. They were in bags, in boxes, on sheet pans on the baker’s rack. That was one step too many. Eliminating the boxes and spreading the buttons on easy-to-pull sheet pans–basically shallow drawers–vastly improved accessibility.
What did I lose?
- Some supplies I wasn’t using and had no ambitions to use.
- Dust bunnies.
- A lot of visual clutter.
Admittedly, some of that clutter was moved, temporarily, to the guest room, to be dealt with later. Over the next few days I’ll bring back the stacks of pattern folders, unsold fabrics and notions, and a box of clippings to triage.
Sewing Room 2.0 is about creating a space to support the whole range of activities required to create clothing and furnishings that serve Jack and me. When I evaluate those fabrics, patterns, notions, and clippings piled in the guest room they’ll have to make it worth my while to manage them.
And if they can’t serve my purposes, there probably is somebody else, like the lady who bought the banana buttons, who would be delighted to give them a good home.