The Hoard Metamorphoses

On the plus side, the fabric-shopping limitation I proposed in The Hoard lo these many years past has achieved its first goal: the fabric stash fits in the one closet, with a few manageable exceptions.

On the down side, rather than achieving this by buying less fabric, I’ve mostly just sewn faster, transferring the Hoard problem from the floor to my bedroom closet.

Which is now very full of things I like and enjoy wearing … and is also totally excessive. No one needs that many clothes. And rather than focusing on the items that will actually fill holes in the wardrobe, I end up focusing on the things I can make up quickly so that the stash can fit in the spare closet. Unintended consequences, Dear Readers.

I don’t feel badly about it–except for the part where I do feel badly about how many lovely pieces of fabric I have that I would like to wear only I haven’t made them up because they’re fussy and I need to sew down the stash quickly so it can fit in the spare closet. So I don’t feel *very* badly about it. Sewing is my therapy, and the past few years have been enormously challenging, what with job worries and my dad getting sick and passing away and the family unpleasantness that went along with that and Frances’s medical issues and eventual diagnosis and just working in a sector that has a fair bit of stress built in. And yes, buying fabric creates environmental impacts and waste–but in comparison to many other things I could have been doing to deal with all that stress, it’s not so bad.

It’s funny–to me–because Frances and I were talking/mocking me about this just the other day.

Andrea: Frances, Goodreads says I have read 50 books so far this year. [ed: it’s 58 as I write this]
Frances: That’s a lot of books.
Andrea: It is. It made me think that I need another hobby. But then … I already sew, and frankly more than I can wear, and I sew for you …
Frances: True.
Andrea: And then I thought, maybe I need another another hobby? But then, I go out dancing basically whenever I can and take classes ….
Frances: [laughs at me]
Andrea: So then I thought, maybe I need another another another hobby? But really? Isn’t that enough hobbies? So maybe what I need to do is spend some time underneath a tree this summer, staring at clouds.
Frances: That sounds like a good plan to me.
Andrea: I think this summer I am going to work on my unproductivity.

Sadly, this productivity problem has not translated into a house in a perfect state of tidiness, because that’s work, and work is not stress relief or therapy of any kind.

First efforts in unproductivity were promising: I spent an afternoon on a boat with a friend accomplishing absolutely nothing. Second efforts were fun, but less in line with goals: I spent a day making an enormous mess with acrylic inks and stamps and ended up with a mass of bookmarks. (Anyone want a bookmark?)

At any rate, I’ve been thinking about the amount of money, effort and time I spend on sewing. It’s telling to me that I can’t actually say how many pieces of clothing I’ve sewn up in the past month or so, but I know it includes multiple dresses and shirts, and shorts and pants, and pajamas and clothing for Frances, and a few things for friends, and that with just what I’ve already sewn up and not yet blogged, I could keep posting one project per week for a few months at least. And while sewing has had a good and useful and very helpful role now for a few years, it may be time to take another approach both to Hoard Management and Life Goals.

I mean obviously I’m not going to stop sewing, as there’s very likely nothing that will ever get me to stop sewing. But it would be nice to sew more intentionally, and see what takes the space in my life when it’s been freed up a bit.

So here’s my idea:

Limit myself to two sewn garments for me in any month.

Gasp!

Notice the loopholes:

  • I can sew things other than garments.
  • I can sew garments for other people, like Frances.
  • And I think I’m going to say it’s ok to finish up things I’ve already cut out without counting them.

But only two new garments for me in any given month.

It’s not a rule. More of an experiment–does this work better than not buying new fabric if it won’t fit in the spare closet?

I guess we’ll see.

6 thoughts on “The Hoard Metamorphoses”

  1. I think it’s really important to understand that sewing = several things. 1) it’s an (amazing) hobby and I think EVERYONE should have a hobby! 2) you get something from it (clothes!) that you need anyway 3) it’s FUN! Including the fabric collecting part 🙂

    I have alot of fabric. I sew a lot. I have a lot of clothes! I also live in a city with clear seasons so that helps. I rotate things out making it less overwhelming (I rotate stash too…e.g., wool is in a bin during summer). But also, I have a freestanding wardrobe in addition to my closet because, I have a lot of clothes! I’d like a pretty IKEA one but for now I have one that was like, $20 on Amazon. It works.

    I think you should sew the fabrics and patterns and garments that you WANT and that MAKE YOU HAPPY vs just trying to reduce the stash. If the size of the stash is bothering you right now, put some off-season pieces away or put some of the basics away (e.g., I stash ponte, shirting and denim like a crazyperson but can just keep it in tubs because I know it’s there. The more OOAK pieces and seasonal pieces are out.

    Of course you can also sew other things and for other people…maybe. 🙂

  2. I have too many hobbies. I have a room in the basement that is supposed to be my laundry and hobby room, but the painting stuff is sneaking into the spare bedroom, the sewing machine is at present buried in the mending stack, and the wrapping paper, etc, is bulging out of its very large drawer.
    I am with your commenter above. Do what makes you happy. I gave some of my stash away to the summer program at the library (no more beaded angels are needed by anyone) but … no guarantee that I will not come home with something else tomorrow.
    I have not mentioned my office storage either. Oh dear.

    1. I’m planning this because I think it might make me happier. 🙂 There’s nothing happiness-inducing for me in an overflowing closet, either of clothes or fabric. It just makes me stressed out.

      Anyway, I’ll see how it goes. It’s an experiment, after all.

  3. I have thought about this too. Having too many clothes and not having sewing taking over life. My other hobbies include riding ( bicycle ) and in a book group and of course there is housework😬. I have written down a small list of clothes to make for the rest of the year ( so small I don’t know why I made a list ! ) and then I might sew another handbag ( really needed ) and finish a table runner. Then I will see where life will take me – perhaps a quilt or painting. I love sewing but there are a lot of other things in life. PS I hope you do blog what you have sewn though.

    1. I definitely plan to! And you never know … I might start blogging about things other than sewing again.

      And yes, that’s a pretty good summary of where I am too. I love sewing, but I don’t love having a closet that’s too full, or having clothes that I like and still don’t wear because they never make it to the top of a long rotation. Then it adds stress, instead of reducing it.

      …I somehow doubt housework is going to see the benefit of my extra time, though. 😉

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