The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

OSB: Obsessive Sewing Behavior

I finally bought the Ikea shelving I've been saving up for to help organize my fabric stash.  I like having all that fabric out and visible - all that beauty is inspiring to me and I've found fabric to be a great sales tool with clients.  And, since I'm now a bit embarrassed by the sheer amount of fabric I have, I think having it out will stop me ordering any new fabric anytime soon.

Home Dec & Quilting Cottons

Apparel Fabric - wovens on left, knit/jersey on right

Getting the shelves sparked a sewing room reorganization, specifically all my fabric scraps and bags of to-be-refashioned clothing.  Organizing my scraps seemed perfectly practical to me, but my husband thought I'd gone down a rabbit hole of OCD behavior.  It took about four episodes of Damages (crime shows are my trash TV of choice), but I managed to divide the scraps into five categories: jersey/woven scraps for scarves (which includes t-shirts that aren't good enough to be refashioned for wear), jersey scraps for flowers, woven scraps for facings, woven scraps for flowers and zippered pouches, and good-for-nothing scraps that needed to be thrown away.  And here's what I ended up with:

Jersey Scraps

Woven scraps

Everything all tucked away (don't ask about those other tubs)

Good-for-nothing scraps

I use the scraps in my own projects and also in camps/classes, so this all seemed perfectly normal to me.  But earlier in the week I got a call from my friend Nancy who had several large bags of cut out patterns that she needed to give away.  And not just the patterns, but fabric cut to go with the patterns.  Nancy had already pulled the ones that she wanted and there were still three large bags/boxes for me to go through.  Nancy's first job as a costume designer was with a one-woman shop in a small town in Illinois.  Nancy recently heard from the woman she worked for there, because she was clearing out her sewing room.  The woman is sick and doesn't want her husband to have to go through her sewing room after she's gone.

Nancy and I just didn't know what to make of the cut fabric/patterns.  Just to give you a sense of scale, here's what I brought home:


Oh yes, I also got some serger thread and a bag of odds n' ends.

That's 11 patterns with fabric already cut out all tucked into baggies (and some baggies had multiple sets of fabric in them).  And there were at least two large bags of these baggies left at Nancy's. 

Cutting out fabric is my least favorite part of the process, so I will sometimes spend a day cutting out a bunch of stuff so that I don't have to do it again for a while.  But the amount of work that went into cutting about all of these patterns just boggles my mind.  Nancy and I couldn't fathom why she did all of this work - there was at least a year's worth of sewing in the bags that Nancy brought home.  One of Nancy's friends suggested that maybe she wasn't well enough to do the actual sewing, but cutting out the fabric was comforting in some way.  Maybe.

So I have this new treasure, thanks to another woman's illness and obsessive cutting.  And I now feel responsible for finishing what she started.  It will make for some poignant sewing.

6 comments on "OSB: Obsessive Sewing Behavior"
  1. Very nice organization! I struggle with what to do with scraps, and I've organized mine much the same as you did. Even so, I have a hard time throwing away those tiny scraps that aren't useful for anything! Now that's obsessive behavior!

    1. p.s. just noticed your new header! Nice!

    2. Thanks, Gail! Yes, I trying to pull back from all-out obsessiveness as I no longer had room for those tiny scraps! I had to throw them away or send the girls to boarding school in order to take over their room . . ..

  2. If you want to feel better about how much fabric you have, come see mine!
    I love getting pieces that someone else has started. For some reason I feel like I've done something wonderful when I finish a piece. Enjoy those little treasures.

  3. Please tell Devon that every sewer has to organize their fabric stash or they will go crazy looking for that piece you just know you have but can't find! I love your new cabinet! It looks lovely with all the colors of fabric showing through the glass.

  4. I love your blog redo! Looks great. I like the idea of finishing what she started. And I love those shelves!