Show us Your Stash….. Pia

Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Mercury – Handmade Fashion both egged me on to reveal my stash. Having thoroughly enjoyed peeping into their stashes, how can I refuse. So here goes.

1. How long have you been sewing and stashing? How big is your stash?

I started sewing probably in Junior High School. That’s like almost 3 decades ago! But there were some big gaps in my sewing history – if not in stashing.

As for size of my stash, now here are some scary stats: Current count – 264 pieces of fabrics, 753 yards (including linings, excluding interfacings).

2. Where do you keep your stash? How do you store it?

Most are in my bedroom now.
My sewing room isn’t big enough for stashing & sewing.

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One trunk has escaped into the living room.

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A few boxes remain in the sewing room with a few more pieces hanging in the closet. New arrivals hang about anywhere while awaiting processing.

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As you can see I box up most of my fabric. That’s because I have a moth problem.

I started out with opaque boxes and swatch cards to keep track of the fabrics.

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But given how easy it is to forget what I have – out of sight out of mind & all, I’ve started swapping to clear plastic boxes.

I do try to group similar types of fabrics together, sometimes even similar colors when I have multiples – easily done when you don’t remember what you already have when you go fabric shopping yet again!

3. What is the oldest piece in your stash? What was your original plan for this piece and why hasn’t it happened?

floral printOldest might be this lovely silky floral print I inherited from my Mom. It’s gorgeous. But there is only 1-3/8 yards of this 38″ fabric. So I’ve been quite indecisive about what to make with it.

Of the fabrics I bought myself, I have absolutely no idea! I don’t think I have any left from Junior High, but I’m pretty sure there are a few from High School.

stash-fabric-hl-1 Like this seersucker, which I tried to dye a long time ago and end up with a slightly hippie tie-dye effect. Like most fabrics I buy, I didn’t have a specific plan for it. I get many ideas along the way, but again commitment phobia kicks in time and again.

4. What’s your favorite piece in your stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?

OMG – you can’t make me choose! I love them all! Well, almost all. Each one is full of possibilities…until you sew it up!

5. Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding or do you wash it first?

They first incubate and collect dust while I find them a hiding place. As you can see my main stashing area is bursting at the seams. It takes a while to find a home for new-comers.

I do try to wash them ASAP. But…I hate doing laundry, so you can imagine how long my good intention last. Especially the fancy silk and wools (and any specialty fiber). P.I.M.A.

So I’ve resorted to a spreadsheet to keep track of what I have and what’s ready to rock-n-roll.

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6. How do you add to your stash? Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?

LUST. Period. Especially off-line. NYC fabric stores are especially lethal for me. I can pawn my Other Half’s apartment to spend it all in them damn stores.

OK, there might be a few pieces bought to copy some lovelies from clippings. But once they’re in the stash I start having other ideas.

7. Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into? Why?

Almost all of them? If I must choose, then maybe these silkies.

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I mean, that says it all. Heavenly. Expensive. Limited quantity. Slippery.

Will my design, fitting & sewing skills ever do them justice? Note how I’ve even bought a pair of shoes just to match one of these fabrics. I guess those shoes will never be worn either.

8. Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?

My other main addiction is clippings. And it’s a good thing I ditch the rest of the magazines. Otherwise they’d never fit into this neat little photo:

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Patterns again look rather contained, partly due to clipping and increasingly more magazines than traditional Big 4 patterns. Oh, and some digital ones. But I only discovered the magazines not so long ago, so I’m sure this pile will grow over time.

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So far so tame. But lurking in every corners are actually mini-stashes of all sorts. None enough by themselves to warrant notice. But add them all up and you got the Other Half complaining you’re taking up the whole apartment!

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Salvaged bits for making bags and hats. I gave up on the ideas of making my own shoes.

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Jewelry making stuff

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Chinese knots paraphernalia.

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Couture flourish finishing school – aka embroidery kits & bobs.

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Knitting for Dummies.

Let’s not forget UFOs & RTW awaiting upcycling (2+ boxes in my main stash area).

Or the scraps that my Plastic Daughters have laid claim to – having had their big heads filled with fanciful ideas from doll mooks (magazine-books) I foolishly bought them. Even retired lace undies & stockings with runs have not escaped their greedy little hands.

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9. Have you decided to do a “stash-busting” resolution this year? If so, what have you decided to do?

I dare not. That’d be tempting Fate. Especially as the Other Half had already suggested going to NYC for holiday this year. That’s any resolution busted already.

I just need to keep my head down, tackle one project at a time. And get a handful of TNT patterns sorted. Yeap, I think TNTs will be my stash-busting super-heroines!

What about you? Are you going to…

Show Us Your Stash

Here are the questions if you want to follow the same Q&A format:

  1. How long have you been sewing and stashing? How big is your stash?
  2. Where do you keep your stash? How do you store it?
  3. What is the oldest piece in your stash? What was your original plan for this piece and why hasn’t it happened?
  4. What’s your favourite piece in your stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?
  5. Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding or do you wash it first?
  6. How do you add to your stash? Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?
  7. Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into? Why?
  8. Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?
  9. Have you decided to do a “stash-busting” resolution this year? If so, what have you decided to do?

Swap Your StashAnd if you’re seriously busting your stash this year, don’t forget to check out Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Mercury – Handmade Fashion‘s February Stash Swapping Party

In the meanwhile, more guilty pleasures for all you fellow Peeping Toms! 😉

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Catching the Kimono Train

I was reading about Chanel No. 6’s blue cut velvet kimono the other day, and thought I’d share my 2 cents from my clipping stash (and past obsession with many things Japanese, though mostly pop / modern).

So here’s the lovely kimono she made, with her step-by-step instruction inspired by an authentic kimono she got from a friend.

And here’s how to wear it
if you really must do housework in it…

Keeping Your Sleeves out of the Soup (and Laundry)

I’m glad I found this, for I thought my mind was going. I vaguely recall seeing something like this, but can’t find any evidence in my clipping stash. Must have been some girl’s manga I was into way back when.

I wished I had found it earlier though. I had made this kimono robe a few years ago. But it got little wear because…well, the sleeves was sharing my soup and much more.

It also doesn’t help that it’s a bit immodest in the back – thanks to not enough yardage as it was just another fabric from the stash. And as Channel No. 6 mentioned, you really do need a very soft, drapy fabric. Mine was a bit spongy – soft, but not limp enough. So it feels a bit too boxy for a shorty like me.

Construction-wise…

Mine is a little bit different from the version Channel No. 6 detailed. It also has the open underarm and inner edge of the sleeve flaps, but without the rectangular insert mentioned in her step 6.

I made mine unlined and reversible as I find the peach side more flattering for my skin tone than the lovely iridescent blue side.

Mine was based on a Threads article on kimono from Jan 1991. Unlike the recent Burda 7/2011-124, it’s all rectangular pieces of fabric…

It seems relatively authentic – if you can trust Japanese Jenny doll kimono pattern and instruction to be faithful to the real thing…

Variations & Styling…

I love the extra long sleeves of girl’s / single women’s formal kimono. So decadent! There are some styles that don’t seem to be as well known in the west. Like the middle picture below, which is a Meiji period school girl uniform.

Kimonos from different periods

Interestingly the Japanese versions don’t seem to be drapy. Yet the way they wear it still makes them look slim and elegant. I guess what looks like a padded middle and the resultant high-waisted effect create a vertical column that’s slimming…Unlike my unpadded attempt which by betraying a narrower middle paradoxically ended up exaggerating the width above and below the obi belt (actually a wide scarf ).

And the long sleeves of course further emphasize the graceful vertical lines. Love to catch a breeze in those!

Also note how the collar hangs away from the back of the neck in the most deliciously seductive way. As they say, less is more – just a tiny peak of a graceful long neck is way more enticing than acres of skin.

But can one pull off a Japanese styling if one’s not Japanese? I think I’d feel foolish. Costumy is not an issue, but I’d wouldn’t know how to move in it with conviction. And that, I think, is a key ingredient of style.

My all time favourite western styling of a kimono has to be this one from John Galliano’s Autumn/Winter 1994 collection…

John Galliano Autumn/Winter 1994

Supposedly he was so broke he had to resort to cheaper lining fabrics for this collection. Yet the result is stunning.

A real shame then about his recent disgraceful behaviour. But I’ve never been one to put talented people on pedestal. So the fall in no way affects my appreciation of his designs.

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Blast from the past: back-burner CdG top

Hurrah! La Chemise is done!

And for once I’m quite pleased with the result. There were hiccups for sure. But not bad enough to make me want to feed to the TBA pile. More about La Chemise soon. London weather has turned all Spring-y and changeable. So it’s too dark to take pictures. And a blog post is no fun without the pictures.

In the meanwhile here’s a blast from the past. Another back burner project. Another attempt to raise the glorious dead! 🙂

The sketch is from a long time ago, in a notebook I hardly use anymore.

Like most of my attempts back then, it was an attempt to copy designer clothing I couldn’t afford as a student – I was much more fearless back then. The inspiration for this one was…as the sketch indicates…Comme des Garcons’ Spring / Summer 1987 collection. I adored CdG at the time. It was my first designer love. This collection was quite feminine – a bit unusual for the avant-garde brand better known for weird baggy stuff. Actually there were a few seasons back then that were quite feminine / wearable.

My copies were mostly guesswork. Occasionally I got to examine the real deal in store and make a few sneaky notes. Sometimes the guesswork paid off. But mostly there were no cigars – like my various attempts to recreate Romeo Gigli Autumn / Winter 1989-90 coats…more about that epic attempt another time!

I made this top once back in the days and it was relatively successful. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the result from that incarnation.

I’m now hoping to create it again. This time with a thinner, flimsier jersey. I’m hoping for a slightly more fluid, drapy  effect, like the variation in the collection that was the same sort of bias-tape-lace effect, but on what looks like chiffon or voile.

I’m a bit worried that this fabric is going to stretch out of shape while I sew the bias tape on. Hence the procrastination. Maybe a bit of dissolvable stabilizer like those used for machine embroidery?

In the meanwhile, here are some more luscious CdG SS 87 clippings for you to oggle!

Comme des Garcons Spring / Summer 1987


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