Stashbusting with Friends

My involvement in the online sewcialist community has been sporadic and less active than I would like. Nevertheless, I love the support and encouragement we give each other through tough projects and real-life milestones.

The online community is so immersive and inspiring that for a time I forgot to cultivate a local, in-person sewing and crafting community. Initially I was sewing in isolation. But as I have met more people through sewing classes and cosplaying, I am trying to deepen those connections.

I have previously mentioned my friend and former classmate, Morgan, whose blog ( originally inspired me to take up sewing as an environmentally sustainable activity. Even though we follow each others’ blogs, are friends are Facebook, are connected on Linkedin, and live in the same city, I have not interacted with Morgan in person since our college graduation in 2005. Shortly after the great Stashbusting Challenge of 2013 was announced by Cation Designs and EmSewCrazy, I reached out to Morgan about organizing a fabric swap to help our stashbusting efforts.

Last night we gathered with three other sewing friends—Cat, Jessie (, and Lauren (—for what I hope will be the first [annual] fabric swap. Cat owns Velouria, a shop in Ballard that sells independently-designed clothing and accessories (, and she graciously offered to host the swap at her store.

Piles of fabric
All this fabric (and more) was brought by 5 people.

When I first started sewing, I greedily accepted any fabric that came my way as potential costume materials. Over time my ambitious costume goals gave way to reality. If I were actively working on a theater or film production, where costume needs would be a bit more open-ended, I believe I could have found a use for most of my fabrics. Instead, the costumes I make are based on specific characters, which require specific fabric colors and textures. My stash kept growing and fabrics sat unused for years.

This group of fabric swappers brought different sewing personalities to the table. There were cotton quilting fabrics next to costume materials next to water-proof bike clothing fabric. We all left with something new and the remaining fabric was donated.

Will you permit me to show you what I adopted?

This red “Asian Print” fabric has the potential to become a costume or a formal blouse or dress.

Costume or Real-Life? Vote now.

I selected this gray wool specifically to be made into a fantasy cloak or possibly a Medieval peasant surcoat.

Sword and blessing of the Elves not included….

If I can be accused of any impulse selection, this knit fabric would be it. I like the blue, green, red-orange color combination. It has great potential as pajama pants, but I am also inspired by some of Cation Design’s knit dresses.

These colors just make me feel happy.

I made a concerted effort to find fabrics that would supplement my existing real-life wardrobe. I have pant pattern (Simplicity 2245, Lisette) I want to make with the beige wool suiting.

For the days when my Korra costume isn’t work appropriate.

The cotton/silk fabric on top came from Morgan, she had acquired the fabric from another sewist’s stash and used it to make a beautiful tank/dress/tunic. The pattern is actually very light blue in color. I may use the fabric to create this dress (pattern also acquired from Morgan), OR, I will finally create the raglan shirt from Cation Design’s pattern.


Another pair of pants will come from this gray pinstripe fabric. The maroon satin (the camera flash makes it look much redder than it should be) will likely just get used in a costume or as lining for a future dress.

Somehow this “everyday” pants fabric is taking on a steampunk feel…

Lauren had multiple yards of white chiffon. I resisted this for most of the evening, but at the last minute I realized that it might be appropriate for the Assassin’s Creed-inspired evening gown I have been doodling.


I could not resist the pretty colors. I want to hand make gifts for my many friends getting married this summer, so I know these scraps of fabric will come in handy.


Well, that is it! I feel like I have breathed new life into my stagnant fabric stash. Now that classes are done I am looking forward to the remainder of the 2013 Stashbusting Challenge.

I also have a few completed projects to show you. Check back soon.

7 thoughts on “Stashbusting with Friends

  1. I feel the same way, that my online sewing buddies outnumber my local ones by far! I’m so glad you initiated this swap, and it was great seeing you in person after, oh, eight years.

    1. I am excited to tackle the second half of the Stashbusting Challenge with adopted stash fabrics. It is not quite the original mission of the challenge, but in the end I think I will wear/use more of the things I produce this way.

    1. It is very likely that sometime down the road we will hold another fabric swap. Admittedly, the last fabric swap depleted much of our stashes. But at the rate I accept free fabric, I may be ready sooner than I realize.

      I would also recommend looking at I had found a couple of Seattle sewing groups (one of which occasionally did fabric swaps). I had to drop out of the group because my personal schedule got crazy, but it was a good community.

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