Stash Beyond Life Expectancy

Conversation with a (sewing) friend today: I’m considering that I have reached SBLE – Stash Beyond Life Expectancy.

That is, my fabric (pattern) stash is maybe more than I can make. I am pretty sure NOT on the fabric side, but the pattern side… looking pretty close. I ‘inherited’ over the years, several friends’ aunts or mom’s stashes of patterns – some of these I’ve passed on, some I still have. Some I won’t really ever sew.

Yesterday, I stumbled across someone’s internet post about a quilted coat they’re making. It was because of the pattern. I owned the vintage coat pattern (1980s) that she used in the tutorial. And I’ve never sewn it.

My goals this year are pretty simple. Besides all the have to dos (you know, be a mom, take care of my house, my businesses), the want to do is spend more time IN PERSON with friends, and pursue health and hobbies.

That means I’m carving out every miniscule amount of time I can find for them. Five minutes to sew a seam? Go for it! Go for a daytime coffee with a friend? You betcha!

I turn 54 in a couple of weeks, and even in the BEST case scenario, there are at least 4 LESS years in front of me, than behind me (and it’s likely not that good, could be even less – up to 10-20 years less.) I’m not being morbid, I’m cool with being 54, and I feel that the best years are ahead (albeit a little chubbier and wrinklier years.) SBLE indeed.

I’m a maximalist in my life

I believe in being prepared, and for my life – my health issues – being prepared is the way I can succeed. As an alopecian (I have no hair! It fell out 12 years ago), for me to go anywhere or do anything, I need to think through the day’s activities and have the right head gear to manage them. If I’m doing sports, am I going somewhere afterwards? With whom? Do they know I wear hair? Do I need to bring the wig in the wig bag, with wet wipes? If I wear a hat, is this a hat that fits OVER a wig? It’s logistics. But I run my whole life like that – what do I need for this event, activity, pack accordingly. To that end, I’m a maximalist! I have full closets, garage, basement. I’m prepared in every way. If someone asked me to attend something, I could whip up an outfit in a day. I have everything I need. But I’m not a prepper from a food standpoint – that is, I just have the food we eat, I’m not stockpiling canned goods in the event of a disaster. I did used to have a higher level of food because of living in Florida (hurricanes, went through Andrew in 1992). But I’m prepared.

I like to think of my sewing stash as prepared. Prepared for any activity, event, just pull it out and sew it. I’ve long sewed mini skirts at 10pm to go out to the bar at 11pm in college (not kidding!) I sewed a column dress, ruched knit, for a semi-formal the day before.

Organization is key for SBLE – I have patterns organized in large D ring binders, with the patterns in plastic protective sleeves and organized by type: tops, jackets, bottoms, separates, vintage, indie, by designer. I have an entire lateral file cabinet drawer devoted to three designers’ lines of patterns.

My fabric is in two large cube bookcases anchored to the basement wall. I organize them in short folded rolls, by color, not fabric type. This helps me see what I have, and I can more easily say “let’s find something cream that’s bottom weight.”

What changes are you making in managing your fabric and pattern stashes? Are you actively slowing down? Giving things to friends who will use them?