In recent months I've noticed the trend for cult, limited edition dressmaking fabric collections - Cotton & Steel is the perfect example. It seems that companies who traditionally made quilting cotton have suddenly become aware of garment sewers and are branching out to other types of fabrics like voile, rayon (viscose) or knits, but with the same 'limited edition' aspect. Of course, this is exciting for sewers who want to sew with prints but don't want to sew with quilting cotton. Fabric collections with limited runs are the norm for quilters but increasingly, dressmakers are being seen as a target market for special fabric collections.
Have you bought any fabric from a limited edition collection of dressmaking fabric? Do you think these limited edition collections encourage sewists to buy what we don't need? Or maybe these collections are actually a better investment because they hold their value if stashed away?
It feels like with the increased popularity of dressmaking there is more and more fabric around. Many fabric shops are active on social media, providing easy access to their latest wares. An invaluable tool for them, but things became almost too easy for the consumer - with a few clicks on a smartphone, fabric can be purchased. And there are always more and more patterns to buy - the inspiration can be overwhelming.
It seems more and more accepted that we sewers amass large stashes of fabric. Of course, it's an idea that has spawned many humorous memes.
Image from hereBut this makes me uneasy. Is home sewing adopting some of the undesirable traits of fast fashion? If we don't have to worry about the labour being used to produce our clothes, we still need to be concerned about environmental and etchical issues.
Having seen photos of sewers with shelves of fabric, I would not have said I have a massive stash. But I have begun to measure and label it and can tell you that I have around 70 metres of dress and top fabric in my stash. That is a lot. A lot. The rolled up pieces fit neatly into a wicker hamper so it doesn't look as much as it sounds, but it's more than I can sew in a year, that's for sure. (I also have jerseys and thicker fabrics like wool, but much less of that.)
Personally, I've found that decreasing time to sew has led to an increase in my stash. Online shopping takes much less time than sewing and provides some of the same excitement, allowing you to make a connection with sewing and with your creative side, planning projects and talking to fellow sewers on Instagram.
I'm focussing on sewing with fabrics in my stash at the minute, and it's really nice to have a selection of potential projects at hand. I'm not suggesting 'less sewing' or 'no stash', just that I need to be aware of what I have and not keep buying more. It's the same with patterns. I've written about my sewing pattern collection here and goodness knows, with nearly 200 patterns already, it's hard to justify any more.
So there you have it - some thoughts on sewing, etchics and consumption. What do you think? How do you feel about your consumption of fabric and acquisition of patterns?