Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Secret Stash-Busting Weapon

Before I was a quilter, I was a bag maker. One of my favorite bag patterns is super easy and practical to boot: It’s the Jane Market Bag (JMB), by Alicia Paulson.

I’ve made many of these bags—like, over 40. (A few have been blogged about here, here, and here.) The way I make the pattern, it requires half-yards of two different fabrics and a three-quarter-yard cut of a third. Since I most often buy half-yard cuts, the JMB is perfect for stash busting.

Ideally, I would have no need for a secret stash-busting weapon like the JMB. I would buy fabric for a particular project and then make that project. The net fabric gain would be negligible—just some scraps. The truth is, my stash grows in not-so-predictable ways. Can you relate to these predicaments?

I buy it and then my plans change.

I can’t buy for too many projects on the horizon. Sometimes I change my mind after already having purchased fabric. I had a lot of this fabulous mustard net design from Dear Stella, originally slated for another project, and it works well on the pockets here.

I buy it because it’s cute and on sale.

These bees from Creative Tuesday were less than five dollars a yard. I couldn’t find a spot for them in a quilt, but paired with some subtle dots from Jen Kingwell’s Behind the Scenes collection, they’re irresistible.

I buy because I might need it.

I thought I would need more pink for this quilt and figured it was easier to pick some up when I was at the fabric store instead of making a second trip. As it turns out, I didn’t need it, and then it didn’t really work with anything else from my stash. Into a bag it went!

I buy it because it may go out of production.

I love me some Amy Butler fabric and intend to embark on an AB quilt of epic proportions someday. That day is not today, though. I thought it best to give these beauties life as a bag instead of waiting for that quilt project to happen.

I buy it because it did go out of production.

Pop quiz: Who designed the pocket fabric below? Rashida Coleman-Hale, when she was designing for Timeless Treasures, well before her current gig with Cotton and Steel. I had to buy some when I came across it about a year ago. But then I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I made it into a bag.

I buy it and then it doesn’t play well with others.

I bought half-yard cuts of Rae Hoestra’s first fabric line, Lotus Pond. I love the fabric, but it didn’t work well with my stash—the greens and blues, in particular, weren’t what I usually sew with. (My greens and blues trend more teal and aqua of late.) It’s beautiful fabric, though, and this green selection makes a cute and spring-y JMB.

How about you? There are many ways to chip away at an unruly stash. Do you whip up some pillowcases, destash on Instagram, or something else? The rest of us are dying to know!

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  1. That's quite the stash of bags. They are awesome. Great prints.

  2. I love the way you purchase fabrics! I often use those fabrics in quilt backings, pillow cover linings or backs and bags!

  3. Love this bag style! I can't believe how many you've made! I also find bags are the perfect way to use up 1/2 yard cuts.

  4. "I only make smart purchases." No really, usually I decided a project and pull colors to build around the fabric I need to use. Although those bags are super cute.

  5. I make baby quilts for our Church's Works of Mercy project. Like your reasons - all good, and that's a neat bag!

  6. My stash is pretty small, but I still have fabrics I've purchased for a project and then that project doesn't happen. I also like to make bags - right now I'm on the zipper pouch road, my friends can't get enough of them so I'm happy to do my part in aiding their addiction!

  7. What a great way to use up your stash -- cute bags!

  8. Such a great use of those fabrics that don't play well with others! I used up a bunch in one crazy round of lined drawstring bag makings... I think I made 6 or 7 bags using things that worked together, but not with anything else (um, thanks mardens- totally where a bunch of that was from!) I haven't been as productive quilting recently, but I have been able to pull together some piles for scrappy baby quilts that will get donated, and will use up some of that stuff that I am ready to part with. Maybe I need to investigate the Jane Market Bag.... :)


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