There's a fine line between stash and hoard

I've been upcycling for a few years now. I've honed my skills and narrowed my focus. I've also amassed piles of fabric --  dozens of pairs of gently used jeans, assorted dress shirts, retro-looking designer skirts. I use them in making tablet bags and sleeves, purses, and lining for tablet cases

I store all this fabric in clear plastic boxes. The XXL ones. Last week I stacked these boxes one on top of another, just to see what I had. The result was horrifying.

Or should I say "hoard-i-fying"?
tower of plastic containers storing fabric
Ok, I'm lying. This is only some of my fabric. There are a few more boxes still in my storage closet. OMG, am I a hoarder?

I've watched every episode of the A&E show Hoarders (except for the ones about animal hoarders -- too awful). I'm fascinated by people's obsession with stuff. Watching, I felt smug because I was different, immune to collecting salt shakers and saving scraps of paper. Or so I thought. 

Now I look at my tower of fabric and wonder what happened. I blame human nature. Our caveman ancestors loved the thrill of the hunt -- they weren't as crazy about pulling leftover meat from day-old bones lying around the cave. That's why I'd rather look for new finds at the thrift store than dig through my stash. Makes sense, right? Been there, done that so to speak.

But my stash is bigger than the tower of bins. Let's take a look.

Belt it out

A sample of the belts I've collected. I bought the leather ones to make wrist cuffs for a craft festival last summer. Cool idea, I thought. Unfortunately, they didn't sell. Not one. I use the thinner belts as straps for my shoulder bags. But I haven't made those for awhile.

Hot pockets

I pull the pocket of every pair of pants I get. In fact, sometimes I buy them just for the pockets. Here's my current inventory.
Not that many, it turns out. I add them to the outside of shoulder bags and the inside of tablet cases. I'm saving that butterfly for a very special bag!

Waste not, want not

Waistbands are a different story. Except for the bands from blue jeans, I still haven't found a good way to repurpose them. But that doesn't stop me from keeping them long after the rest of the pants they were attached to have been turned into something useful.
This is just a sample of the waistbands I have. Many are still attached to pants and skirts in those large plastic tubs. 

Colorful collars

Just like the waistbands, these collars have nowhere to go. But for some reason, they seem more promising. Maybe it's the pointy corners. They look like colorful birds spreading their wings, ready to take flight for the first time!

Cuff 'em Dano

Long-time readers of my blog will know that I have found one use for shirt cuffs -- as soft cell phone cases. But I only need one of those. What do I do with the 2 dozen cuffs I have left?
wrist cuffs
Those striped cuffs with shiny black rivet snaps deserve a second life, don't you think?

Just zip it

Zippers are a no-brainer to repurpose, right? The problem is that most of my creations don't require closures with teeth. (Another problem is that I'm not the most confident zipper installer.) So that leaves me with lots of leftovers.

Removing the zippers from the original garment takes patience and a steady hand. So I store some of zippers still stitched to the fabric. My favorites have metal teeth and a charm dangling from the top. 

Remains of the day

Here's where my story gets a little creepy. I also save all the teeny tiny bits of fabric left over from my projects. I stuff them into paper bags tucked in the dark corner of my sewing room. 
fabric remnants
I generate a few pounds of scraps a month, at least. I've used them to stuff pillows for my cats and dolls for me. But I only have 3 cats.

At least I'm an organized hoarder. I store these smaller items in plastic shoe-box sized bins, neatly lined up on the shelves of my sewing room. Each wears a label describing what's inside --"Collars" or "Pockets" or "Waistbands" or "Zippers." 

But soon the shelves will be full. What then? I better find a way to re-purpose these fabric pieces, pronto! No more trips to Value Village for me.


  1. Haha, I think it's good to have a stash, the trick is to give away what dosen't inspire you anymore and use the good bits! Good luck Using what you already own!

    1. Yes, you're right, I need to give some of it away -- and not keep thinking, "but I could make something fantastic out of this!" I thought about following your lead and doing one project a week (a month?) using items from my stash. But I think I may chicken out!


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