After unpacking dozens of boxes in my new sewing space, I think the title of this post is the motto of my creative life. I knew I had a lot of “stuff”, even after I purged a great deal before moving but when it’s all laid out before you, it starts to look a little scary.
More Than Enough
I also knew I had a few duplicates of notions and tools, but when I put numbers to them, all I can think of is “Why?!” The photo below shows just one example of having too many of one tool. In this case, scissors and shears. I know that there are different types of scissors made for different cutting and trimming purposes but even so, who needs 23 pairs of scissors? And I know of at least 4-5 more that didn’t show up for the photo shoot. I mean, I have 3 pairs of applique scissors! How much applique can one person do?
Here’s what I tell myself (in no particular order) to explain why I have an overabundance of sewing tools, notions, supplies, and fabrics.
There Are Always Leftovers
In sewing, it is hard to purchase the exact amount of anything when creating a project. You buy the amount of fabric shown on the pattern envelope. But, of course, once you cut it out, there are extra pieces left – some small, some large (hello, scraps!). If you need three buttons, you find the perfect ones, but they come four on a card. When you estimate the amount of trim you need, you always need a fudge factor in case your calculations are off. So, again, leftovers.
I’ve Been Sewing a Long Time.
I started sewing as a child, but it really took off when I was in high school. My sister and I would shop for fabric after school so I could make us something new to wear to school the next day. We didn’t do it every day, but it was enough to start my habit of “stashing.”
I’ve Worked in the Sewing Industry for Many Years
Many of the tools and notions I have were part of my job for almost 30 years. I taught classes with them, wrote books about them, and promoted their use to sewists so they could learn to sew better, sew faster, and be more creative. I’m grateful that I was exposed to these (mostly) useful tools, and I still use the majority of them on a regular basis.
Kits for Classes
Over the years, I have taught sewing classes where I provided the kits. I ordered fabric and supplies, making sure to get a little extra in case I had more students than expected. I always made a few more complete kits than I needed for the class, just so I wouldn’t get caught short. Then I ended up keeping the extras, thinking I would use them. Occasionally I did, but mostly but I stored them.
I am a Midnight Sewer
As a night person, I often come up with the best ideas right about the time most people are going to bed. I’ve always had a fear of not having what I need in the middle of a project in the middle of the night. Maybe it’s a red zipper or a specific shade of blue fabric I need to complete my project but when I didn’t have them, my creative process would come to a halt. And more often not, I would find it hard to pick up a project at a later time with the same enthusiasm.
I Love All Things Sewing
I am emotionally attached to many of the items in my sewing space. The things I buy for sewing, especially fabric, are things that speak to me and touch my soul. The beautiful raw silk, the perfect shade of teal quilting cotton, the luscious home dec trim. I love to look at all of them, touching them, and dreaming of the possibilities of what they will become. In truth, I do a lot more sewing in my head than in my sewing room. This emotional attachment makes it hard for me to part with my tools, fabrics, and supplies, and before you know it, my sewing space is full.
What to Do
Even though these reasons explain why I have so much, they don’t justify having too much. So, I will continue the ongoing process of decluttering, organizing, and controlling what comes into my space. Even though my new space is large, I don’t want it to be overwhelmed by more than I need.
How about you? Can you relate to any of these reason for over stashing? Why do you keep (or not) far more sewing tools, patterns, and fabrics than you can ever possibly use? I’d love to know!