This past weekend I started slimming down my bloated collections of sewing supplies, taking advantage of a “De-Stash on the Lawn” event at Sew to Speak, a local fabric store, this Saturday.
Not only did I discover buttons I’d bought several presidential administrations ago–
–I also had some “aha” moments–of such glaring brightness I had to put on those cheap sunglass things I get from the ophthalmologist when I have my pupils dilated–such as:
Out of sight, out of mind. I need visual reminders!
I can get all excited about buying online classes when there’s a sale, and then forget about those resources when I tackle an actual project months later.
A folder labeled “Fun with Fitting Pants” is now parked with my fitting books in my sewing library. It reminds me that I have Sarah Veblen’s online class (PatternReview.com) as a resource. When the need arises, I’ll print out her downloads to accompany her videos and pop them into the folder.
Sewing is an activity that generates leftovers. Unfortunately, they can’t be turned into a pot of soup for dinner or compost for the garden.
No matter how economical and clever we sewers try to be, we always end up with remnants, scraps, and extras. I’m hoping this de-stash event will help redistribute our resources and become a regular occurrence.
Editing my sewing collections is a cinch if I have criteria. Uh–what are those criteria?
I don’t mean “I’ve had that for so long, I have to get rid of it!”
And I don’t mean “I’ve had that for so long, I can‘t get rid of it!”
I do mean criteria based on a solid foundation of current information about my
- figure type
- degree of contrast
- tastes and preferences
I realized that my biggest obstacle to getting things sewn was being unclear about all of the above.
As long as I was agonizing over–
“Should I sew this print into a top, or a skirt? Which would be better?
“Is this a flattering color?”
“If I sew that, what should I wear with it?”
–my fabrics, patterns, and buttons would languish, unused, which was equal parts horrible and ridiculous.
So I took the plunge to seriously, completely, answer all my fashion and wardrobe questions, which would greatly help me get things sewn. A couple of weeks ago I registered for a program called 7 Steps to Style, created by Australian image consultant Imogen Lamport, and I’m liking it a lot.
If retrieving an object is difficult, it discourages use.
Several years ago I had puzzled over how to store my vast button collection. I moved all the loose buttons into cellophane bags. That was a good idea.
Storing the bags vertically in plastic shoeboxes? Terrible!
I could hardly see my beautiful buttons, and I despise filing.
And the rustling of all that cellophane when I pulled or put back any bags was like the sound of dozens of people noisily opening candy wrappers in a theater. I hated that!
I dreamed of having big, shallow drawers as in a map library or archive where my buttons could be all easily visible.
Then I realized I could achieve my goal almost as well–in minutes, using what I already had.
I roughly sorted my buttons into colors–multi-colored ones got their own category–and spread them out on sheet pans of my baker’s rack.
In two seconds I can pull a pan from the rack. In two more seconds I can be scanning for buttons to scatter on a fabric unfurled on a work table. And returning items to their homes is just as easy. Problem solved.
I had started my de-stash project as a way to open up my physical space, but I’m ending by opening up mental space.
I can vouch for the truth of the statement I read recently in that little book, 101 Things to Learn in Art School: “Your studio is more than a place to work. It is a state of mind.”
It’s not just my sewing room that’s getting more spacious–it’s my mind. And they’re both getting ready to welcome some fresh, new thinking.