Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog: Stash-Busting with Pam from Threading My Way


Stash-Busting with Pam from Threading My Way

Today I welcome Pam from Threading My Way. She has amazing and detailed basic sewing tutorials that I love looking through. Just check out this little girl's shirt dress from two shirts. She also has ongoing sewing link parties for every garment and accessory imaginable. The inspiration is great!
Hi, I'm Pam from Threading My Way. I've been reading Feather's Flights, ever since I came across Heather's Baby Shortall tutorial, so  I was very pleased when Heather asked if I'd like to contribute to her Stash-Busting Series. I buy fabric because I like it, not necessarily because I have a project in mind. Consequently, I have a rather large fabric stash.
This is just a small portion of my stash. There's two more sections to the IKEA bookcase. Not all shelves contain fabric, but a fair proportion of them do. 
So, why all the fabric, you may ask...
  • In the year before I gave up work, I stocked up on fabric... just in case.
  • When I buy online from overseas, the fabric is cheaper, but the postage adds to the price. To make it cost effective, I buy 6 - 7 yards at a time. Even including postage, it is still substantially cheaper than here in Australia.
  • I'm a sucker for a sale!!!
On top of all that fabric, I also have a pre-loved clothing stash, which is growing at a rate far faster than I can hope to sew with it.
Having all this fabric means that I usually shop from my stash when deciding on fabric for the next project. I'd much prefer to play with fabric combinations on the floor of my sewing room, than to have to dash out to the shops and make quick decisions. Some fabrics are harder to give up than others, though.... fabrics that I probably couldn't get again or that I simply adore. So, let's get stash busting with two such fabrics.
I just adore this denim heart fabric. It's a non-stretch denim I bought at Spotlight some time ago. Again, I bought it because I liked it. I had no idea what I'd do with it. Typically, denim is made into jeans, pinafores (jumpers), overalls or skirts. I just couldn't see the all over heart pattern on any of these garments, unless it was broken with another fabric.
I needed a pattern that would work with the heart denim. So, my next step in using special fabric, is finding a pattern that is just perfect for the fabric. 
When working with special (to me) fabric, I almost always go with a commercial pattern and usually a PDF pattern from a designer whose patterns I have used before. I have found PDF patterns fit better than the big paper pattern companies (McCalls, Butterick etc). In other words, I need to have confidence in the pattern.
And this is the pattern I've decided upon: the All Day Skirt by Lily Bird Studio. It's a very simple skirt, designed for heavier fabrics like denim or corduroy. Now I know I could quite easily draft a pattern, similar to this one, myself. It's just a rectangle with a ruffle. I've written three tutorials on girls' skirts:
However, if I'm going to give up my heart denim, I want the measurements to be accurate and as I don't have ready access to the child who will be wearing this skirt, I'll use a pattern that I know will give the results I want. With the pattern already purchased, I won't have any excuse to procrastinate. The third step in giving up my fabric, is finding a co-ordinating fabric and with the heart denim this was easy, a polka dot from my stash. The second special fabric was much harder to give up. I've had it for much longer, it was expensive, it's not manufactured any more and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. However, the perfect pattern for this fabric came along recently.
As soon as I saw the Ruffle Top, by Heidi, from Elegance & Elephants, I knew it would work. I'm actually making an exception here, as I haven't previously used one of Heidi's patterns, but I have seen enough reviews by people I respect, so I've purchased the PDF.
This gorgeous print, Magical Lands, by Australian designer Saffron Craig, will be the centre panel, with the blue polka dot as the outside panels. It wasn't too hard to co-ordinate the print and the polka dot, but I haven't yet made up my mind about the ruffle. I'm still deciding between the mauve and the pink. I'd love your opinion to stop me from procrastinating any more... Do you prefer the mauve or the pink? 
Now that I've decided what I'll do with these fabrics, I've bagged them and put them on my desk. They've joined the queue, ready to be sewn. You can see the bagged fabric sitting on my desk. Once it reaches here, it only goes back to my shelves as scraps or left over fabric.
So that's how I stash bust favourite fabrics... match them with a pattern that is the perfect fit for the fabric and then co-ordinate with other fabrics from my stash. It's certainly not a fast process, but it works for me.
If you are looking for PDF patterns to help with your stash busting, I've been VERY happy with the following designers:
Just in case you were wondering, I'm not being sponsored in any way by the PDF designers. 
... Pam

Thanks so much for sharing, Pam! I am one to buy fabric because I like it, and then I don't know what to do with it! It's such a great idea to have the fabric inspire the pattern!


  1. I loved this post Pam (and Heather!). I too often buy the fabric just because I like it, and then it sits there until something finally hits me. =)

  2. What a great idea to bag it up so it is ready to be used. I need to remember that. Once I clean out my sewing room. :)

  3. I'm buried in the middle of a sewing room redo at the moment so this was a timely post - thanks. A lot of the time when I bundle a future project I've fallen out of love with the idea once it gets to be time in the queue, does that happen to you? Love the Saffron Craig panel and cast a vote for the second choice of solid.

  4. Great idea bagging them up. Mine are just piles lol and they get mixed up.

  5. I am with you all the way,I have been building a stash for the past year and intend to continue for another before I retire. I buy mostly from the US both for the massive choice and the price. I was in WA 3 years ago and filled a case with fabric from Spotlight, I stayed with family in Perth, so did not take a load of clothes with me and posted them home.

  6. I vote pink for the ruffle. Heidi's patterns great. You would love the shirt.

  7. Great tips Pam, I love the sneak peek into your sewing room.

  8. Thanks for the series Heather, and Pam, I have bagged up my next few projects with the pattern in the bag too! So organised, now for the time.........


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