Spring cleaning

Do you ever look at your sewing space with despair? When we moved to Seattle, I started with really good intentions of a) keeping everything neat and tidy, and b) keeping my stash under control. Well, reader, I failed. I am not a neat freak at all, but my flat is too small to be messy all the time. So, in the spirit of new year, new start, I’m getting organised.

I’m taking a three-pronged approach to sorting out my mess:

The stash

My stash is still quite small by many standards, but I made a rule that I wasn’t allowed more fabric than could fit in my stash box. There’s a lot of overspill. This afternoon’s task is to wash everything that needs it and reorganise the shelf. I’ll also earmark any big pieces of fabric I no longer love for the next Seattle Sews fabric swap.

The current state of my stash. I haven’t counted how many pieces I have, but I do know they don’t fit neatly on the shelf where they’re supposed to live.


When I first heard that H&M will take your fabric scraps and recycle them, I thought ‘Great! Now I don’t need to feel guilty about the amount of waste I produce!’ Did I ever take my scraps to H&M? No! Do I have two huge bin liners sitting in my living room waiting to be taken downtown? Yes! I know what I’m like, and they’re never going to leave the house in their current state, so I need a different plan.

My scrap bags. The shame!

Scraps of usable size will be funneled into new projects:

  • Baby clothes: between Chris and I, we have a lot of friends who are pregnant at the moment. I have a lot of jersey scraps that can be made into tiny clothes. Bonus – they’re fast projects and can be done assembly-line style.
  • Homeware: I have been meaning to replace the crappy covers my sewing machine and overlocker came with. They’re cheap, white plastic and they have that plasticky smell that you can’t get rid of. Time for something more pleasing to the eye and the nostril. I’d also like to make a pouf for our living room – I like the look of the one Closet Case Patterns released before Christmas, and I think it would look good with my feet up on it at the end of the day.

Which brings me neatly to scraps that are too small to be used for larger projects. They’re going in the pouf. Hey, if you can’t use ‘em, hide ‘em! I did wonder about making a scrap quilt, but again, I know what I’m like. I’ll start with good intentions, but it’ll just end up in the UFO pile. Better to deal with the problem head on, I think.


I used to be pretty good about dealing with my UFOs, but lately I’ve been getting distracted by new patterns and fabrics. I have a total of eight unfinished projects at various stages of completion waiting to be done – I just need to get my rear in gear and finish them up. So, my new plan is that I complete one UFO before starting on something new. Some of them are really quick fixes (like, topstitching or attaching snaps), so I should be able to clear several in one fell swoop.

My UFO pile includes sewing, crochet and needlepoint projects. Bonsai tree included in the background to represent the zen-like state I will reach when they’re all done.

So, that’s the plan. I’d like to hold myself accountable for doing all this, so I’m going to try and blog about my progress. Watch this space for more (fingers crossed. Regular blogging hasn’t exactly been a strong point of mine recently)!

4 thoughts on “Spring cleaning

  1. Colesworth says:

    I feel the same at the moment. Managed to make quite a few baby and toddler items out of jersey scraps for xmas presents last month though! I took one bag of scraps to H&M and they told me I should make sure the bag/s are not too big and I can get more 15% off coupons (it’s one coupon per bag and that is for one item at purchase, not one coupon covering your whole purchase). I have another bag waiting to go into town too. As I moved twice in the last year I had all my stuff and stash in storage tubs in a cupboard which meant it was a bit out of sight out of mind. I bought storage cubes to go in the wardrobe and pulled everything out. Can’t get to my machine at the moment but I hope to fix it all up on the next weekend!!

    • Jo says:

      I don’t know about you, but I hate cleaning and tidying up while I’m doing it, but I get such a sense of satisfaction and achievement when it’s all done! I hope this means you can get to your machine sooner rather than later! I’m with you on jersey scraps too – I feel like you get so much more mileage out of the fabric when you’re sewing baby clothes.

  2. PoundCake says:

    I too thought I would sew baby clothes when the baby wave begun, but I just can’t get that worked up about dressing a person who can’t stay the same size for a month together, the bum. That being said handmade baby clothes are the cutest ever? It’s a complicated world we live in.

    I love local fabric swaps! Less even because of grabbing good finds, more about guiltlessly rehoming fabric! Though my main storage issue is patterns, I’m not sure if you find that too.

    • Jo says:

      Babies do grow too quickly and they won’t be in the clothes long, but on a purely selfish level, they’re kinda satisfying to make and it helps me use up scraps. I always seem to over-estimate fabric by about half a yard/metre, so it’s a good way to feel less guilty about my hoarderly ways. They’re also good to sew in batches, which is useful when they’re multiplying like rabbits…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s