De-stashing on a Deadline


I got back from our New York trip to find an e-mail from my local little independent fabric store. Sew to Speak, in Worthington, Ohio, was announcing an event it was calling “De-stash on the Lawn”–a yard sale especially for sewers September 9.  What a brilliant idea.

For a small fee sewers could rent space on the tables on the lawn in front of the store to sell stash fabrics and notions not only to Sew to Speak customers but also to passersby on their way to pick up some basil and tomatoes at the nearby farmers’ market.  Presumably, with our yard-sale earnings we vendors would then be primed to browse Sew to Speak’s beautiful fabric selections for fall to restock our sewing room shelves.

I read Sew to Speak’s announcement first as a customer, and since I’d hadn’t even unpacked my purchases from the Garment District I thought, no, I’ll pass up this event.

Then I thought, hey–I need to be part of this–as a seller.

I slept on the idea but the next morning I was so concerned that table space would sell out fast that I registered to secure my place.

Of course, I saw the De-stash on the Lawn as a convenient solution to the pesky problem of disposing fabrics and scraps, buttons, and sewing gadgets that no charity or consignment store would accept. If all I did was lightly edit my fabrics and notions, spend a pleasant Saturday morning in some good-natured haggling with other sewers, and earn back the $12 I’d spent on table space, I wouldn’t consider the time ill-spent.

But then I wondered how I might leverage the opportunity further, to yield a bigger benefit.  After all, I’ve been mulling over Sewing Room 2.0 for months.

Yes, the sewing room is due for an overhaul.  In the first round, three years ago when we moved into this mid-century fixer-upper, I was happy just to have a biggish room with natural light and good heating (unlike my Minneapolis basement sewing domain).

Now I want more.

No, not more space–more function.  A 17-foot by 13-foot room should work fine, but I’ve got to get a lot smarter about supporting the whole getting-things-sewn process, start to finish.

I sewed for years in a space that just–existed. It performed moderately well and I got moderately good results.  I never even thought about designing my sewing space until I began blogging.

The big lesson I learned from designing my Minneapolis basement sewing domain was:

Space not otherwise assigned a function tends to get filled with stuff.

I’ve found this becomes a serious problem when stuff interferes with doing activities.

Obviously, fabrics (and patterns, books, equipment, etc.) are physical objects and need cubic feet of storage space. That’s a fact.

But designing garments–outfits–even a seasonal collection for a wardrobe–what space does that activity require? Isn’t that important, too?

I had never considered that question until recently. In Sewing Room 2.0 I want to shift the default.

In Sewing Room 2.0, supporting activities will take precedence over storing stuff.

Readers, I am stating this without completely knowing what a Sewing Room 2.0 will look like. But now, I’m eager to find out.

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4 thoughts on “De-stashing on a Deadline

  1. I am enjoying reading your blog immensely! I need to do a de-stash as well with regard to fabric, yarn, patterns, notions… everything really. But, I don’t want to do anything yet until I have ventured further into the 7 Steps process. I am anxiously waiting for my color cards to arrive, but I still could at least be sorting through my buttons like you!

    • Thank you, Lyneisa! Like you, I don’t want to edit my fashion fabrics–or sew anything–till I’ve had my coloring analyzed and get my palette. I am making myself a little crazy over this waiting, which I know is kind of dumb and a waste of time. If I want to make sewing progress I can keep myself plenty busy for days–weeks–fitting and sewing pants muslins. Or I could design and sew any number of home dec projects. Maybe I’ll regain my sanity and do something productive while I’m waiting for the verdict on my coloring.

      • Oh, but muslin sewing isn’t fun!! I agree that there’s always plenty of productive but less interesting things to do. I am keeping myself busy right now knitting on a poncho that I actually started 2 years ago while still living as a Bright Winter. I still love the yarn and don’t have that much left to finish it. I’m hoping I can find a way to make it work with whatever palette I end up with. I did receive my first set of cards but haven’t had a chance to get Joe to photograph me using Imogen’s guidelines.

        • Over the course of a decade or so I’ve come to accept muslin-sewing as part of the process. I got better about muslins when I stopped having the expectation that they were supposed to be fun. And the funny thing is, then they got to be sort of fun to do!
          I hope you can get your photographs posted soon!

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