Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Are you a fabric hoarder too?


Remember how I said I'd be keeping it real over here?  Showing the not-so-perfect side of crafting? Well, settle in because today's all about the less than glamorous situation over here: Fabric Hoarding.

Every so often (ok, every time I go in my basement) I look at my fabric stash overflow and say that I'm not going to buy any more fabric until I thin things out.  Until I make a bunch of stuff with what I have. Heaven knows there's enough of it accumulated over the past few years.  You may have seen this pic from my craft room tour with a neatly stacked, reasonable amount of fabric.  Don't let it fool you - it's just the tip of the iceberg.


I tell myself it's crazy to buy more when I have so much just sitting around.  And...about a week after that I will find myself perusing new fabrics online or impulse buying a few yards in the store while I'm there to buy something basic like thread or interfacing.  It's not like I've got a specific project in mind and nothing I have will work either.  Yes Friends, I'm a fabric hoarder
   

- You could make a project every day for two months and still have enough fabric left to slipcover your house inside AND out.

- You have more than 10 fabrics you can't bring yourself to use because "they're too special" or you're waiting for "the right project" to come along.

- Your fabric stash weighs more than the combined weight of you, your children and husband.

- If you won the lottery you'd build an addition or buy a separate house to properly organize your fabric stash.

Ok, maybe a few of those are a bit over the top, but you get the idea.  If you've got a lot of fabric + continue to buy fabric + don't have the time/can't bear to use it all, then you're probably fabric hoarder.


It didn't start out that way for me.  I used to only buy what I needed for projects I was working on. Then friends & relations started to give me some of their never-got-around-to-use fabric.  I learned how to sew with knits, home decor & other fabric types so I accumulated those.  I won fabrics in giveaways & competitions and got some complimentary yards from working with fabric manufacturers and shops.  I also got the 15% teacher discount card at Jo-Ann Stores (yes homeschooling qualifies, and yes it's a discount on top of sale prices), which made fabric buying even cheaper.  When I was doing my custom hat making I had to start buying several yards at a time of a multitude of fleece colors for making things on demand.  And making a little money from that gave me - you guessed it - more pocket money for buying fabric.  It snowballed fast.

Fleece I bought because there was a huge sale.  I already had loads. 

I've kept most of my quilting cottons on a shelf in my craft room nook - the theory was I'd always see them so it would remind me of what I have and get me to use them more. Yeah, some of those have been up there for years, so that hasn't worked.  The trouble is I'm so used to seeing them that they blend into the background and the only time I really look at them when I'm trying to shoehorn another yard up there.  FAIL.



And before you are fooled into thinking "That's her out-of-control stash? Puh-lease, what's she going on about?", the rest is all in my dungeon basement.  All my knits, minky, 1+yard cuts, faux furs, felts, fleeces & the like are down there.  As well as my scrap bin that's big enough for all 3 kids could fit in. (hoarders can't bear to throw anything out you know).  It's fabric bin central.  My camera lens won't zoom out enough to get the lower row of bins or the loose stacks on top:


In the summer I told myself the issue was I couldn't see them since they were in cardboard boxes.  I'd forget I even had some things until I was rooting around looking for something else & stumbled upon some long lost fabrics.   I spent ages neatly folding and sorting them by fabric type.  I swapped the boxes for clear plastic bins and labeled them all.  I even carved out a section of the cedar closet we have down there to stack them all together so they'd be easy pull out.  It's sort of helped - I've pulled out a number of fabrics to make things since then, but I've probably added more new stuff that I've used.  It's better organized, but still a SEMI-FAIL.



Part of my problem is that I sometimes create things around a particular fabric.  The fabric itself inspires me to design something new, so when I see something that really captures my attention I get it.  Then the time I was going to spend drafting a project plan for it gets back-burnered because the kids need me, or the dryer burns out, or I get some stupid illness for the umpteenth time (I've already gotten both my first flu and sinus infection of 2015 and we're just 2 wks into the year).  Real life stuff getting in the way of craft fantasy time.  The momentum gets lost and the fabric goes into the bin for later.  Or years later.


So many yards, so little time.

Another issue is what I call the Fear of Fabric Scarcity.  Fabric manufacturers churn out collections at a breakneck pace these days - a print you see today may be discontinued and impossible to find in 6 months, so there's pressure to grab it now or lose it forever if you see something you like.  Of course, like with electronics (when there's always a newer, better version out just after you buy yours), there will be even more cute & charming fabric prints out in no time, so the cycle is never ending.

Cute knits I was afraid I'd miss....that I still haven't used.
Don't get me wrong - I'm very grateful to have so much and it is a lot of fun "collecting" fabric, but it does make me feel wasteful having lovely things sitting around unused for so long.  Plus, I don't want to hold onto things I don't really need or will use in a reasonable amount of time.  



Sell, Giveaway & Donate: To thin things out, I've open a section in my Etsy shop for selling my large assortment of boy prints that are now too juvenile for my guys, smaller cuts I don't think I'll use and the ridiculous amount (an entire bolt) of My Little Pony fleece I bought last year that I'm sure I won't use up by myself.


Cottons, Flannels, Knits & Fleeces - ready to find a new home.

I also plan to do some giveaways for other stuff - maybe include some themed scrap bundles of smaller pieces if there's interest in those.  Other random, not so great, but still usable fabrics will get donated so they are of use to someone, not just sitting in a pile here.

"1 In, 2 Out" Rule.  If a new fabric is really beckoning, then I need to immediately remove two other fabrics I already have in that type before I buy it.  Whether it's make something with them or selling/giving them away, more has to go out than is coming in.

Use Self Restraint.  New emails & status updates on the latest fabrics from fabric shops. Circulars & coupons offering crazy deals and discounts.  Other blogs showing adorable projects in new prints.  They all encourage us to keep coveting new fabrics instead of focusing on what we've already got.  I'm going to Canada next month and always find great things there, so I've told myself no buying anything before that and anything I buy there needs to have an immediate project plan or it has to stay in the store.  To limit buying after that, I'm telling myself I need to have a certain amount earned from my pattern sales before I buy anything else AND impose a week-long "think it over" waiting period to make sure any new additions will really be something I want and will use, not just an impulse buy.

I'm not sure if these will really work to get things under control, but I'm willing to give 'em a try so my family doesn't have to carve a path around my fabric stacks in the future.  Are you a fabric hoarder?  Reformed hoarder?  What do you do to keep your fabric/craft supplies under control?

UPDATE -  Want to find out what worked and if I'm still hoarding?  Check out my next post in this series HERE:




65 comments:

  1. Makes me feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one! So how much are you asking for that cute little boy dinosaur print, LOL. I have 3 grandsons under 3 that that fabric would make an adorable quilt for!

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    1. Same here;) The dragon print can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/217554306/happy-dragon-print-cotton-flannel-fabric?ref=shop_home_active_7 and I also have another dinosaur print here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/217565231/dinosaur-quilting-cotton-fabric-12-yd?ref=listing-shop-header-2

      I know, I'm being an enabler. LOL.

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  2. I am definitely in the same boat! Back at Thanksgiving when I had some time off, I went through and organized, and put a bunch in a bag to donate to a friend that runs an etsy business. Then, I put myself on a fabric buying freeze. It was very hard at first, but it got easier. I have a very small etsy shop as well, so I've been trying to work through my stash and make a little money with it as well. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that hoards fabric!

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    1. That's encouraging to hear Ruby. I'm hoping doing those same things will whittle down my stash and get more projects done...and maybe save money for really great fabric later;)

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  3. Wow, that is a huge stash. Before I even got half way of what you have I decided too much is enough already and commited to start sewing from what I already had or refashioning clothes. My commitment was to try that for a year, but I got used to it, I only buy new fabric when I really need it. And it feels great to make room for new future fabrics. i've been doing it for like 2 years and I am running out of a lot of types or prints, I am allowed to get a few every now and then.

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    1. Great to hear Magda - I'm hoping to get to that point this year too.

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  4. Ha! I used to totally be like that! How did I recover? We moved to an area where the closest fabric store is 1.5 hours away. It's been 2 years, and though I still buy fabric when I'm "in town" I use way more fabric then I buy. I like to start a project as soon as I see it, and without a way to get fabric any faster, it has to be from my stash. My husband would still tell you my stash is too big, but it's way less than 1/2 of what it was when we first moved, and he doesn't complain when e needs something last minute and I can find something in our basement.

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    1. That's too funny Beth. Heaven help me a Hobby Lobby is opening up near my local Jo-Ann's in a few weeks, but the weather here has been so frigid it's keeping me from leaving the house. I may be stuck inside and just have to use what I've got too!

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  5. Yarn and paper hoarder here. I guess the only good thing about not having a fabric store near here is that I don't have a good opportunity for hoarding fabric too.

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    1. I also hoard my craft supplies - I've got paints I bought years ago still unopened. At least we both diversify a bit in our hoarding;)

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  6. Truer words were never spoken! You gave some good ideas for handling the fabric stashes.

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    1. Now let's see if I can make them work!

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  7. Lol, We must be on the same wavelength. I just posted a pic of my main stash on my Instagram earlier today. I used to work in a fabric store and I mainly only buy from the bargain shelves but it's still too much. I identify with the "I'm waiting for the perfect project" line. I am making a real effort this year to do lots of scrapbusting and have already cleared out several pieces....which of course will eventually mean more room to add more fabric ;)

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    1. I had a feeling this post would strike a chord and from all the comments I can see I'm not alone! Here's to both of us clearing out the piles this year!

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  8. I'm not a hoarder. I know this because my mom is a fabric hoarder, so I've seen it in real life. Really, though, I don't have all that much fabric lying around, though I do have some that I have had for a long time that haven't figured out what to do with. I often have projects I want to make but I don't have what I need, like a raglan shirt, but I didn't have any solid color knit for the sleeves. So, yep. Not a hoarder (but I kind of wish I was). :)

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    1. I run into that problem too - despite my ridiculous stash. Lots of stuff, but never exactly what's needed.

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  9. I'm currently in the middle of trying to organize my fabric (and yarn!) stashes. I keep finding fabric that I bought with a specific project in mind, but have totally forgotten about in the meantime. I guess this means I shouldn't go sign up for the teacher discount card at Jo-Ann! ;)

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    1. I discovered that too while I was organizing. Definitely need to start pinning notes to them to remember what I planned for them!

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  10. Given a few fewer children, I'd definitely be a fabric hoarder! But they're all teens (or nearly so) and are growing out of clothes faster than I can get them done! Well, I will enjoy it while it lasts! :O) I used to have a bead stash, but when they were babies the kids got in my storage and opened all the little containers, so I had one huge gym-type bag of mixed beads.

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    1. Oh wow - I can just picture that bag LuAnn! I know I need to work through a lot of these before my kids get too big as well.

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  11. Hello,my name is Regena and I am a fabric hoarder. Trouble is, I really do not want to quit. I knew this for sure, when I scrolled thru the well thought out solutions and kept saying "not gonna happen". Guess this will just be the cross I must bear. Thanks for the post, I knew I had a problem, just did not know the name.:)

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    1. Hehe. Part of me wants to improve and then the other wants to just continue to grow it. I guess we should feel we've made progress - the first step is acknowledgement, right?

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  12. Yes, Yes, Yes!!! I am a fabric hoarder. I swore this would never happen, given my mother's penchant for hoarding fabric. However, I find myself joining the ranks. I only started my interest in quilting 2.5 years ago and fell in love with Bonnie and Camille's Marmalade line. I had NO idea that fabrics disappeared so quickly... I painted my walls and made some custom artwork with the colors in the line BEFORE purchasing ANY of the fabric. HA!! Guess what? By the time I found a pattern that I loved and was committed to, there wasn't enough fabric to be bought for anything short of insane prices. What a hard lesson to learn the hard way!! So now, like you, I pretty much panic that I'm going to miss a line that I love. I'm really picky, so I still haven't found a fabric line that I want to have in my own bedroom. :( Next time, I'll be prepared to jump on it.

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    1. Oh wow - I feel your pain at that. I had some fabrics I'd been eyeing a few months back but was waiting for a sale, then when I ordered I got an email saying "sorry, ran out & it's gone forever" and I was kicking myself I'd missed it. I guess the real solution is if you have a real plan for it and love it, just get it and hold off on the random impulse buys.

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  13. Raising hand in admission... I'm a craft supplies hoarder. It's impossible for me to walk out of a crafts store or fabric store without a few more items that I never knew I "needed". I'm also addicted to the remnant bin at the fabric store. My next house will have a dedicated craft room, but I fear that will just be more space to hoard supplies!

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    1. That's the real question - even with more room would we ever have enough?

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  14. I can so easily understand how you got there ;-) I buy fabrics without having a specific project in mind but I really have to control myself because in our country fabric is rather expensive and without that sort of variety you have in the US... I love your table (by the way...) :-)

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    1. Thanks so much Patricia - I have to say the desks have really helped me use my craft supplies more because they're front & center and organized. Now to get the fabric under control like that is the next step!

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  15. My name is Sarah, and I'm a fabric hoarder.
    And after saying that I'll justify it with, "But I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I've never used drugs!" Like *that* makes it all better!
    My new plan was to frame pieces of my favorite fabrics so I could gaze upon them with love forever. So I picked up some nifty frames at IKEA and found a different crafty project to use them for. So I got more nifty frames at IKEA. And I still have no framed fabric on my walls.
    Sigh.

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  16. Ditto to all of it! I have boxes upon boxes of fabric in closets, on shelves, in bins, and then I even have a storage shed half-full from THAT overflow. *hangs head in shame*

    I self-imposed a 2-year No-Fabric-Buying fast, and I stuck to bit. I really did! But the problem is... I had a baby and didn't sew anything. Then when the fabric ban was over, I started buying more fabric again. And had another baby. And I'm still not sewing. I need help....

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    1. Oh Connie - so close to success there! Sounds like someone needs to give you a bit of babysitting so you can start working through it and make some things for those little ones.

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  17. I'm a hoarder too - although these days, it's in control. at one point, I had close to 400 metres of fabric. All bought because I loved them and had projects in mind. I inventoried it (a few times) because I figured if I knew what I had, I wouldn't buy more (I was wrong). ;)

    I gave away a few hundred on a recycling message board but as it accumulated again, I purged another 100 or so to my "just-learned-to-sew" step mom. Now it's all neatly washed, folded & hung in a closet in my studio. Avoiding the fabric store helps me a ton, further to that, I have a fabric ban too - I don't buy unless there is a specific project in mind for the fabric.

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    1. I'm impressed with your inventory & organized closet hanging - those sound like things I need to do. I also agree avoiding the fabric store helps...am a little nervous for the day when I have to go in to buy thread or elastic and am really tested.

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    2. Hehehe... That's my other 'dirty' secret... I used to work for a sewing supply wholesaler and between thread, elastic, buttons & zippers, I could likely go until 2025 without need to go (although, in my defense, I did give away 1/2 my button stash and 90% of my zippers a couple yrs ago) and I can only sew 'across Canada' one more time before I'll run out of thread.

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  18. Yes, guilty! I store mine in plastic tubs under out bed. All of the tubs are packed, yet I was trying to squeeze a little more in the other day. My husband remarked, "Maybe you need more tubs or better yet...less fabric." LOL! I can really relate to this post.

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    1. At least his first comment was needing more tubs!

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  19. You might be a fabric hoarder if you're reading someone's blog and you say, "She's got Ooga Booga in 4 different colorways?! I didn't even know it CAME in 4 colorways!" and feel a twinge of envy. Even though you have an entire roomful of your own fabric.

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    1. You made me LOL when I read this - I am the same way. At least we can support one another;)

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  20. Hello, my name is Robyn. I am a paper, yarn AND fabric horder. We have two rooms plus a family room on the lower level of our home where 3 of my daughters had their space when they lived at home. As they left home one by one, I stated taking over their space. I too have acquired lots of fabric from family. And neighbors. Once my husband said he wanted a shirt made out of chilli pepper fabric (as I had showed it to him when I came from the store with it) I couldn't find it in my stash. Yep, you got it, I went and bought more just so I could make him the shirt. Geez. Then I got the bright idea to go work in a fabric store. Oh yes I did! So, I have to change my ways. I have several plans but am inspired by some of the ideas you all have offered up here. Wish me luck.

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    1. I'd love to have you try these with me and see how we do. Here's to stash whittling for all of us fabric hoarders this year!!

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  21. Trying my best to be a hoarder but mostly my daughters are buying me huge boxes of smelly older fabrics, don't get me wrong the fabrics are great but they have that old smell to them & I don't have the heart to tell them how many washings and overnight soakings it takes to get the old smell out. I have quite a bit of new fabric that I'm cutting into but it's a slow process. So anyone looking to give away or sell newer fabric at a very decent price I'm all ears! I sure need all I can get. Thanks for listening to my rambling on as I'm sure you've all been in my predicament in your beginning years too. Thank You all
    Jeri Niksich oldtisme@aol.com

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    1. YES! That's what really got things escalating quickly - people hear that you're sewing and soon you're handed cast-offs left & right and some of those are cast-offs for a reason. You shouldn't have to work hard just to get them useable! I'm trying to add more new/like new, but just not needed right now fabrics to my Etsy shop, thegreenhedgehog.com, on a regular basis. I'd also recommend checking sites like Freecycle or Craig's List & ask about the condition before accepting it so you don't get stuck with any literal stinkers.

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  22. I think any person that crafts can relate to the challenge to use what we have already....but what I have never seems perfect for the card that I want to make so what to do, buy more!! LOL!! Am glad to know that I'm among a good many in the same situation. Thanks for making me realize that I'm not alone.

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    1. I think that's one of the biggest misconceptions about impulse craft supply buying. We justify it it by saying it's good to have something "on hand", but without a specific purpose in mind it can end up unused and then when a specific need comes up we everything but the thing we could use.

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  23. I'm doing my best not to become a hoarder. I have a small stash (well, I think it's big, but it all fits in one closet). When we moved a couple years ago, I got rid of many fabrics I knew I wouldn't use. Then I imposed a few rules on myself for buying fabric. First, I never buy less than a yard and a half (I make mostly clothing). Second, I check my stash first to see if I have something close to what I have in mind and make do. Third, I buy everything I need for a project at one time (interfacing, zippers, buttons). This way I don't have to stop in the middle of a project to run to the store and buy more than just that one item.

    I do however hoard patterns. I really have a problem there.

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    1. These are great tips - definitely adding them to my list. I'm a bit better about patterns, but I do have quite a few that I bought years ago and still never used. Need to make those a to-do as well!

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  24. It's just all so pretty! Nothing like the feeling from looking through and imagining while in a stash be it yours or someone else's.

    yes.
    I may indeed be a fabric hoarder, but in my defense, I got it honest from my Mom!

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    1. I agree, it does feel good seeing so many nice fabrics and all the potential. While I hate my hoarding, I do still love having a fabric stash:)

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  25. Yes, I am a fabric hoarder but I am on the mend! I, too, am just amazed at how much fabric I have and I continued to buy. I have started a group to make quilts for the local NICU and I used a lot of in the backings. I made 12 kits for our first sew day so all of the tops came from my stash. Now people are donating and / or making tops from their own fabric so I only get the backing out of my stash. While the donations are adding to the stash, I keep them separate and sew simple tops and they all go for a good cause! I do most of the quilting on my sewing machine - no long arm. It's a great way to hone those quilting skills! I have been in the mode for 3 months now of only buying what I need to complete a quilt if nothing - and I mean nothing - in my stash will make the quilt. So far, only 3 yards for a border - lime green - definitely didn't have that kind of yardage of lime green in batiks! Other than that, if I just have to buy - so far haven't - backgrounds only (white on white or solid light colors only). That's probably all I will need for 10 years with my stash! I hope that is an exaggeration!

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    1. I am impressed Pam and this is also a great way to use up an abundance of fabric - it gives it such a wonderful purpose and feels good to keep doing. Fantastic inspiration!

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  26. Ah, the clear bins...I can relate! They look like yours and we don't have a basement. It's in our bedroom. Gah! I have out myself on a fabric diet for the past year and it has helped a little. Just a little.

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  27. Seems like the more fabric you have the more you attract from others clearing out their stashes. Yikes! I need to stop taking in orphan fabric. I wish I had a good solution to the "extra fabric" problem. I was unable to sell the pieces I listed on ebay. Any suggestions on how to sell fabric on-line?

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    1. I agree - I now say no to almost all fabric donations. When they aren't things you've chosen they tend to not get used. I'd recommend opening an Etsy shop or listing bundles on places like Craig's List or with local quilt guilds. I've also heard there are some Yahoo and Facebook groups for "de-stashing" too.

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  28. I cleaned and reorganized my sewing room a couple years ago and it has really helped me stop buying fabric because A. I found a number of fabrics that are not really in style anymore that never got used and B. I would make a mess of my sewing room. I have only bought new when I have had a custom order to make something. however, I still can't resist adding some more on to get free shipping!

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    1. Yes, free shipping is the siren song for buying more fabric! And feel proud of those improvements you've made - I'm hoping to get there soon too.

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  29. I can totally relate to that feeling that you have to grab certain prints while you still can! And have ended up with enough fabric to last me ages as a result.

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    1. I'm starting to hold myself back. So many of those "hurry and grab it" prints are still sitting around....years later and I still can't figure out the perfect project for them.

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  30. Hi, my name is Dee and I am a fabric hoarder.... and a fold over elastic hoarder, fleece hoarder and the satin blanket trim hoarder...... when ever I buy it is always minimum of 2 yards of fabrics/fleece, 2 pkg per color of FOE, and 3pkg per color of satin blanket trim...... I really could open my own store easily......

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    1. I think that when I look at my stash too. I honestly believe many of us are better stocked than some retail stores as well!

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. I need a lot of fabric for my school because we are doing a fashion show soon and we need fabric to sew with. The girls at school are soo talented but we just need fabric. so if each one of you guys that don't want their fabric please please let me know at silsty.sameer1@gmail.com I am begging a lot of people for fabric but I just don't get any answers. so PLEASE donate some fabric to my school. thank you so much

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    1. It's difficult to get fabric donations online because it can be very expensive to ship fabric. I'd recommend using Freecycle or Craig's List to find people in your area where you can pick up the fabric. Many will give away giant bags full if you're willing to come get it.

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  33. please someone reply to my comment above.

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Getting your comments brightens my day. I'd love if you left one:)

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