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I feel like I talk about Miriam from Mad Mim a lot. I’m just blown away by everything she makes. I mean, just yesterday she wowed me with her tribal fold over pouch. She’s always got amazing tutorials like the ruched sleeve tutorial and basic pattern blocking tutorial.

Stash-Busting with Miriam from Mad Mim

Fabric. It’s the stuff we sewist dream of. We love the colors, we’re drawn to the touch, the feel, the drape…*sigh* It’s our weakness, our indulgence, our vice. We can’t get enough of it, so we get and we get and we get.

Am I right?

I talked recently about budget sewing, and in addition to thrifting a good portion of my fabric, I’ve been the very grateful receiver of many a glorious fabric dump. So little by little my fabric has piled up, and all though I don’t have any trouble using it, it’s evolved into a pretty mean stash, I’ll tell you what. I’ve gone through several fabric storage solutions, and am currently using an old shoe cubby I snagged at a school sale last year (works great!). Its an important part of stash busting because I think the most helpful aspect about using what you have, is knowing what you have. It’s so easy to pile and stuff, and before you know it, it’s all just a hot mess. Hard to get at, hard to see, hard to use. I’m ashamed to admit how many times I’ve run to the store to pick up a bit of something I needed only to find out later that I had what I needed already. That’s just silly and wasteful.

Before aka Hot Mess
Before aka Hot Mess

For my stash busting project I decided to take on the monumental task of organizing and cataloging my fabric. No small feat (!!), but something I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time, and it also fit right into my current undertaking of taking the month of April to declutter my life.
This was how I decided to eat the elephant: I went through each cut of fabric and measured it, folded it uniformly, and then recorded it’s length, width, category, and brief description. Then I put it away organized by type and color (in a spectrum), so that I could see at glance what I had. Just organizing it by type was SO helpful, and worth my precious time. My final step is entering it all into a fabric inventory google spreadsheet I created so that I can access my stash when I’m at the store and wondering what I have. Still working on this, but it’s going quickly. I’m sure there’s got to be a sweet app out there for this purpose, but I couldn’t find anything, and really all I needed was to be able to access what I have.

This may be overkill and more than slightly OCD of me, but it was really helpful for a number of reasons. Just going through my fabric gave me the desire to use what I have and have so much more ease in doing so. It helped me to pair down and toss what I wasn’t going to use. And it helped me to envision specific ways I could use specific cuts. I have a bajillion projects at the top of my list at any given time, but this helped me to prioritize and be realistic about what’s next on my cutting table (which is the top of my shoe cubby).
mad mim_organizing and cataloging fabric_02
mad mim_organizing and cataloging fabric_03
mad mim_organizing and cataloging fabric_04

I had a really positive experience busting my stash in this way, and am excited, like always, to start sewing.

What a huge, cleansing, and inspiring project! I’m oohing and aahing over all her fabric. I LOVE the idea of having access to what you have from the store! I always buy stuff that I realize I have. Thanks so much, Miriam!

Author: Heather