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As is often the case, I was struggling for a topic to write about. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of ideas in my head, but discard most of them, usually because I think they will be uninteresting to anybody but me.

Today I turned to other sewing blogs for inspiration, and landed on Hand Made by Carolyn. I have read Carolyn’s blog quite often in the past, and been stunned by the clothes she makes, not least by how she finds time to do so much sewing. I have great admiration for a fellow West Australian.

Her most recent post was what got me thinking. She wrote about ‘thoughtful sewing’, using less, using locally sourced materials, and taking time to make fewer more labour intensive garments.

So, I have decided that this year I am going to concentrate on using up some of the stuff I already have. Like most sewists, I have a fairly comprehensive stash of fabric. I had planned last year to re-vamp my sewing space, and get some organisation into the storage, but so far that hasn’t really happened, at least not as much as I would have liked. I have started to go through the stash, with the result that I now know where most things are, but I haven’t started on the workspace yet. That always seems to get put off until I have finished my current project, but I am determined that once I have finished this current project (a quilt for a recently moved out of home daughter), the workspace comes next.

The sewing is bound to continue though, and I will really focus on using up the stuff I have. Fabric, patterns, notions. I have patterns I have never sewn (some with good reason – those 80’s dresses, what was I thinking!). Probably unlike most sewists though, although my stash contains a good number of uncut, garment size pieces, it also contains a lot of scraps. When I cut out a garment, I don’t throw away the odd-shaped bits that are left over. I gather them up, wrap them in whatever large bit of fabric is left over at the end of the piece, and stash them. I’ve been doing this for well over 30 years, so there are a lot of left over bits, varying in size from quite large to hardly useable.

One point in my favour is that I am rather keen on clothes made out of more than one fabric. I like contrasting trim, or toning trim, and garments made out of updated patchwork. I’ve made a couple of things in this vein in the past, a vest made out of about 6 different black fabrics, another made out of various scraps in lime green, white and grey.

Green, white and grey scrappy vest

There are a couple of things I’m not happy with here. First is the fact that when I made this I couldn’t get the overlocker to work properly, so in the interests of getting it finished I just overcast all the inside seams with a zig zag. It looks fine when I’m wearing it, but not so good for a photo shoot! I thought I would just do up the buttons to conceal most of the inside, but then I found that I couldn’t. I used quite large buttons, and because I hate the look of really large buttonholes, I made these smaller, so the buttons don’t actually go through them. Again, not a problem when I’m wearing it, since I would never wear it buttoned up. Here are some closer up shots. In order to blend the plain grey a bit with the other fabrics I did some machine embroidery – at the time I had just bought my new Bernina and was trying out some of the stitches.

Machine embroidery panel

Buttons and too small buttonholes

Now is the time to really focus on this sort of garment sewing, and see if I can make a dent of some sort in the pile of scraps which is my stash. Obviously there are going to be some things made out of the uncut lengths (which of course will give rise to more scraps!). And I’m not entirely ruling out buying the occasional piece of new fabric, but I am going to try hard not to. This is also going to give me ready made subjects for blogging, since I will try about once a month to write about what I have been doing for this self administered challenge.