On budgets and fabric stashes: how to sew more with less

Some musings on my fabric stash today … feel free to scroll ahead for pictures of some fun projects if that’s more your thing ..

Hope this post finds you well wherever you are. I’m in a wintry part of the world and it’s been a bit of a wild one. I heard someone say a few days ago that it was “the last cold day”, which sounds too good to be true! I actually love snow and cold weather, we’re just due for some change.

And speaking of change: I’m doing a few things differently these days with respect to my fabric stash. Do you have rules for yourself around how and why you acquire fabric, or is it more of a free for all? I have to admit, I’ve been more or less in the ‘free for all’ category since I started sewing. My stash isn’t out of control, but the money going out the door last year was enough to give me pause. I needed a strategy, so I chose a reasonable upper cap for my monthly spending and dove in. The amount has to cover all of my extras – clothing, books (arguably not an extra but I’m trying to build a habit here), fabric, notions, everything – so trust me when I say that I’m thinking very carefully before every purchase!

Once I started down this path, something interesting happened. Rather than feeling limited or deprived by these constraints, I felt … free! Suddenly there is no need to justify (if only to myself) starting a new quilt, because every pattern I choose now is picked specifically because I’ve determined ahead of time that it will eat up a nice chunk of my fabric stash.

Case in point: the Shimmer block-along. This pattern by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew has been on my to-do list for ever. I chose my colour scheme based on “what I have the most of” and the queen size because it will eat up a whopping 49 fat quarters and then some. Here’s my sample block.

Shimmer Quilt Pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew

I also had the great fun of testing the Woven Diamonds pattern by Claire at Peony and Fern. The pattern will be released this week! My version uses some painterly florals by Kelly Ventura, and I love the way they look with the modern minimalist design of Claire’s pattern. (Plus I used up a bunch of Kona yardage!)

Woven Diamonds pattern by Peony and Fern

Next on my to-do list is the Chamomile quilt by Allison of Woodberry Way. Yes I’m joining another quilt along, and I don’t feel bad about it at all! This is the perfect way to use up your low volume fabric stash as well as some solid yardage. This one starts April 1, so there’s plenty of time to join in and do the same. Here is my initial pull:low volume fabric pull

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August at Patch and Dot

So much to share with you this month, including some cool new work and initiatives from the craft community at large. Hopefully some of these projects tickle your fancy and you’re inspired to try them out/get involved!

Craft

This has been a summer for trying new things, experimenting, and generally just pushing myself forward when it comes to quilting.

kingfisher quilt stitchalong

My Kingfisher Quilt is coming along (I spoke a little about this last month). After much gazing-with-longing at so many beautiful English Paper Piecing projects on Instagram, I had decided it was time to finally give it a try, and I’m so glad I did. The Kingfisher Stitch Along started up in May, and it’s been the perfect project for a beginner. The way Jodi and Rachel have structured everything has made it very easy to learn the individual steps, starting with how to piece hexie flowers. I’ve been going at my own pace but because the finished quilt is only partially pieced (the flowers are appliqued to patchwork diamonds) I feel pretty confident I’ll have a finished quilt before the end of the year.

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Newsletter news

How do you guys find out about all the various swaps and quilt-alongs that are happening? I seem to catch word of these through Instagram (and, due to Instagram’s algorithm, very randomly at that). So very often I find I’m out of the loop, only discovering fun exchanges well after they’ve already started.

With this in mind I’ve added a new feature to the newsletter to try and gather this kind of information and act as a resource for those of you also on the lookout for your next project. Introducing …

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