What To Do With Fabrics You Love But Just Can’t Wear


My Fabric Collection

Four months ago I counted all my fabric and realized I had a ridiculous amount of it. I started a year long ban on buying fabric in order to use what I have and reduce the size of the stash. However, I recently discovered an unforeseen drawback to using up my fabric stash; I own fabric I wouldn’t want to wear.

My rule when I bought the fabric was to only buy fabric I liked. I figured, unlike food shopping, there are no super good for you fabrics that you have to have whether or not you like them. Fabric is all dessert and if I’m going to eat ice cream it’s only going to be flavors I like. I don’t even sample the blueberry kale ice cream (yes, that’s a flavor here). My rule worked until it was time to sew clothing for myself.

Apparel sewing is what I enjoy best and I’m a slow (but detail oriented) sewer so I want what I make to actually be worn; to fulfill a need in my wardrobe (and I have a needs since all the things I have sewn go with nothing else I have -except store bought jeans and solid t-shirts)

Eric Carle's Animals

Eric Carle’s Animals

Currently, during my fabric shopping ban, I pick a sewing pattern for a garment I need. I go through my fabric stash; what am I going to make this tunic, skirt, shirt, out of (I’m usually thinking linen) and then I notice my mountain of fabric is almost entirely bright prints – which I love – but they don’t necessarily work for the style I want or they don’t flatter my coloring or they aren’t appropriate for my age. As cool as the fabric is, I don’t think I should wear a dress printed with Eric Carle’s animals. If I was five I would be adorable but I’m a lot older and “little girl” is not the look I’m going for.

Love this but I only have a yard of it.

Love this but I only have a yard of it.

What am I going to do with all the fabric that I do not want to sew into clothing for myself, or cannot because I don’t have enough yardage? Here’s the funnel:

The “Why did I ever buy this?” Fabric

  • can be used for making a muslin if the drape is similar to the final garment
  • pass it on to friends that sew or charity.

The Not Suitable for My Wardrobe but Larger Pieces of Fabrics

  • Pajamas! (I really need some)
  • Pajamas for my kids (They are adults, who am I kidding? They just still live at home)
  • Linings for other garments when possible.
  • Quilt backings
  • Charity sewing. Like walker caddies and wheel chair totes (here’s a list)

The Too Small to Make Adult Garments From Fabrics

  • Facings for yokes, cuffs, collar bands, pockets, waistbands, etc.
  • Bias binding
  • tote bags (for gifts)
  • Place mats, napkins, table runners other home crafts
  • pillowcases
  • Quilts – strictly functional since fabric choice is limited to what I own.

What do you do with fabric in your stash that is not quite right or is too small for sewing clothing?

My next pair of pjs

My next pair of pjs


4 Comments on What To Do With Fabrics You Love But Just Can’t Wear

    • Mary Earle-Sigler
      February 3, 2016 at 10:07 am (2 years ago)

      That’s great. I want to make fidget blankets for Alzheimer patients and donate them but I haven’t followed through yet. It’s one of my goals for 2016.

  1. redpajamamama
    February 3, 2016 at 10:06 pm (2 years ago)

    Make aprons, placemats, bibs (for kids or the elderly) or pillow cases. Also good for handbag or tote bag linings.

    • Mary Earle-Sigler
      February 4, 2016 at 7:54 am (2 years ago)

      Pillow cases are a great idea and you could use two smaller pieces of fabric; a different one for each side. Oh, I like this idea for me. What an easy way to make the bedroom a little brighter.


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