My tendency toward fabric hoarding is well documented…and I’m mostly okay with it. I set limits for myself and try to stick to plans to sew my stash…and sometimes succeed.
As I sew more and more garments, my stash of scraps is growing. And there’s some special stuff in there! Recently I embarked on a mission to use some of those scraps as I gear up for spring and summer sewing…and learned a few things along the way.
Use your scraps to create muslin samples. I’ve been auditioning a few woven tanks for summer sewing and wanted to test the fit of the Willow Tank by Grainline Studio. I had a good cut of thrifted black linen left from another make and some precious ikat (on an ikat bender, folks!). I simply cut the pattern pieces apart and added the strip at the front and back…and I think I want to do it again.
Use your scraps to color block. Also in the pursuit of summer tank awesomeness, I made a sample of the Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts to test the fit. Using some leftover stripe jersey and some repurposed olive bamboo jersey (from a dress I wasn’t wearing), I created a color-block front and back bodice. And I love the result. It’s a basic, yes, but it has a special, custom feel to it.
Use your scraps as lining or facings. AND rework things you aren’t wearing. A few times in the last year, I’ve made garments that I loved but weren’t getting the amount of wear they deserved. The tank above was made from the skirt of a dress I cut off to create a peplum tank. This tank, the Ella Tank by Liola Patterns, was created from scraps and a circle skirt I made last fall. The linen is scrumptious (Essex linen – I highly recommend the stuff!) but the skirt was not drapey enough or just didn’t suit my body type…or some other issue that kept me from wearing it. I had to get creative with the cuts I had to work with. For the tank, I inserted a triangular center front panel, added a seam to the lower back bodice and, for bonus points, used a bit more of my ikat scraps as the upper back bodice facing.
Now that I’ve started thinking about my fabric and makes in this way….no project is safe! But it also signals a change in my approach to sewing, I think. I started wanting to sew special occasion garments only, then moved to all basics all the time…read kinda, sorta boring. Now I’m still on basics, but looking to add custom details for one-of-a-kind flavor. I think I’m a much more confident sewer now too – so I’m willing to take risks, try some hacks and customizations but the end result is still something that I will actually wear. Practical to a fault, maybe, but it keeps me sewing!