Fabric Stash…when is it too much?


Bonnie of Quiltville.com wrote an awesome article – Paralyzed by the Stash.

And it got me thinking…

When I originally started sewing about 6 years ago, I would buy a yard of this and a yard of that.  I even had a plan for each piece I purchased.

That soon changed when I realized a yard was always too short for any project I wanted to do.  So then I moved up to a minimum of 3 yards per fabric.  And then 5 yard minimums…

Then came the wholesale fabric ordering…everything in bolts (usually 15 yards per bolt).

Now as I go into the wholesale clothing market, I’m hoping I will need rolls (I believe there is 60 yards per roll) as many of the cutting contractors prefer them over bolts.  If I’m ordering rolls, we know I’m doing good with my new boys’ clothing line as I’ll only be ordering fabric based on actual sales orders (except for a few yards needed for sample sewing).

How much yardage to you buy?  Do you have a project in mind for the fabric you purchase?  Or do you just buy the fabric because you love it with no idea what you will do with it?

I’m off this morning to attend Liza D.’s Production in NYC workshop.  I’ve got all my clothing samples, cost inputs and other lists.  And of course, I’ll be bringing my favorite book.




  1. Have fun! Wish I was in NYC today! I’m still at the “1 yard” at a time buying phase unless it’s something I really love–like polka dots–can’t get enough of them. But I mostly sew stuff other than clothing so 1 yd is usually sufficient. Typically when I buy I do have a project in mind–I make a lot of baby stuff–but I don’t like typical baby colors and fabric so most of the stuff I buy can be used for other projects. I always have a lot of ideas–but my “idea file” is usually much larger than my “got done file”, LOL!

  2. My projects are usually relatively small, so I most often buy in half yards. Like Ann, I do a lot of baby stuff (grandchildren and friends of my daughters with young children) so typically my yardage purchases are small…but frequent. I have a LOT of 1/2 yards!

  3. I hope the workshop is incredibly educational! Good luck!

    I buy by the bolt for Sweet Funky Vintage (http://www.sweetfunkyvintage.com), but for sewing for my girls, I buy 3-5 yards at a time. I have really been working on using the “stash” though. It has gotten out of hand.


  4. I usually have a goal in mind when I go fabric shopping. When I first started quilting I was in Germany so ordered everything online in the exact amounts I needed to keep costs down. Now when I’m out if I see a pretty fat quarter I like I’ll usually pick it up and add it to the stash, but try to keep the overall stash to a minimum since we move so much.

  5. I usually buy fabric that catches my eye – in small 1-2 yard quantities, then my ADD kicks in and I start planning all the different designs I want to use it for! And my stash is TOTALLY out of hand!!! I have a hoarding issue….with paper too!!

  6. I hope the workshop is everything that you want/need it to be as you continue down the road of wholesale boys clothing.

  7. I generally buy fabric that Ilike. And I generall get 2 yrds. I don’t do much sewing, but when I do it’s usually smaller projects where 2 yrds are more than enough.

    Now, yarn….that’s a completely different story all together. 🙂

  8. I generally buy in 1 yard increments, or if I know that I will use it for a toddler dress two yards. I generally have an idea what I want to do with the fabric when I buy it, but sometimes it takes so long to use it that I forget or come up with something better.

  9. I try to buy only fabric for which I have a plan and typically limit myself to one or two yards, depending on my needs. Right now, I think my stash is a little too big for my comfort level, so I’m trying not to add to it.

  10. I love combining stuff on fabrics so I’m a 1/2-yard-of-3-prints kind of gal.

    Are you having your clothing manufactured in the US or overseas? Just curious. :o)

  11. I never buy less than 3 meters, and usually it is 5 meters all the way up to 10 or 12.

    I rarely have a project in mind when I purchase the fabric, I just know if I don’t get lots of it I will regret it later. I was overtaken by my stash months ago, even more now since I haven’t sewing anything in about 8 months yet I am still buying fabric. Uh Oh.

    Good luck, hope the workshop was fantastic.

  12. I usually have a specific project in mind when I buy fabric. Because I mostly sew children’s clothing, I usually buy 3-4 yards, depending on the project. If I really like the fabric and think that I might make several projects with it, then I’ll buy 3-5 or 6 yards. I like having enough fabric left over to sew another garment.

    I hope you had lots of fun at the workshop. 🙂

  13. After reading your post, I realilze I’m following in your footsteps…At first I started just buying fat quarters, then half a yard, now I’m on to yards-yikes!!! When I was buying fabric yesterday, I was talking to the sales rep about stashes and how my husband won’t be impressed with me coming home with more fabric. She mentioned that she just tells her hubby that any new fabric she comes home with, she always had. Apparently, now he doesn’t ask anymore! 😉

  14. Hey Girls! Looks like you’re all a bunch of fabriholics not matter what you say…LOL

    Lucky are you girls who are content with fat quarters. Only after sewing 5 years did I finally buy a few fat quarters…and that was only because that was all the fabric store had left…haha!

    With friendship,

  15. my stash was getting out of control too, so now i will ONLY buy fabric for projects that i intend to do. and sometimes i splurge on cool vintage sheets.

    at least your craft area looks organized, right?

  16. I love reading all of the blogs by you right brainers. Your question on how much fabric to buy for your business whipped my brain back to its natural home, the left side. As I thought about your question, I found myself developing a spreadsheet to analyze scenarios of various purchase quantities, impact on lead time and costs, and potential revenue if you don’t use the fabric and end up selling it. Hopefully you got ideas on purchase decision making at the workshop.

    P. S. I never over think things……

    Good luck. Thanks for posting so frequently and wasting lots of my time!

  17. Linda…I’ll be producing here in the US. Too much lead time for my small business if I go overseas.

    Sue…you’re thinking too much…LOL. Only kidding! Actually, most of my fabric purchases are for smaller runs (by the dozen), so there isn’t a whole lot of fabric waste. Anyway, when I go into production, I will only be ordering the fabric I need BASED ON ACTUAL SALES plus 10% (for overruns, fabric waste, and reorders).

    With friendship,

  18. Funny, I organized my sewing stuff last week-end (inspired by your blog!). I was ironing every last bit of scrap fabric like a maniac!
    Having everything neatly put away and pretty-looking, I thought i should actually make something. I have a couple of simple tops that i thought i could duplicate, but nothing in my stash was right (not the right weight, not the right yardage, etc) , so I felt defeated and gave up. =( Back to knitting for now!

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