Monday, February 9, 2015

Cataloging My Stash

I have known for a while that I had a stash accumulation problem.  Over the years, my stash had grown from one box, to two, to three...and then I moved across the country and started accumulating fabric again.  I was up to three 2' x 2' x 3' boxes of fabric in my apartment, plus another three at my parents' house.  And yet, I would keep buying more fabric, because fabric is awesome!

Around the time the third box filled up, I finished my Ph.D., took the summer off from working, and spent most of my time sewing.  I sewed a lot of projects, but it seemed like I hardly made a dent in the stash.  Hmmm, problem. 

This weekend, I went through my boxes of fashion fabric and cataloged it all into a spreadsheet.  I hoped that the spreadsheet would shame me into not buying more fabric, but even if it didn't, playing with data is fun! 



The spreadsheet lists the color/print, fiber, weave, length, and width of each of the cuts, along with notes, like whether or not the fabric has been preshrunk.

All told, my stash contains 223.25 yards of fabric.  In 91 cuts. 

That's a lot of fabric, folks.  Assuming I paid an average of $10/yard, which is probably an underestimate, that's over $2,000 in stuff that I am not currently using and am not likely to use in the near future. 

Gulp.

Yeah, I won't be buying any more fabric any time soon.

On a lighter note, graphs are fun.  I produced some graphs to better visualize the makeup of my stash.

Length of Cuts of Fabric
I can't even tell you how much time it will save me to have the length of different cuts in my handy spreadsheet.  Pattern calls for 4 yards of fabric?  Easy to see what options I have. 

The average length of cuts in my stash is about 2.5 yards.  A bar graph, on the other hand, tells a more nuanced story:


I don't tend to buy cuts that are longer than 4 yards.  This makes sense, because the only reason to buy longer cuts is if you want to make an evening dress, or if you find a wardrobe staple fabric on really deep discount.  It feels as though most cuts I buy are three yards, and the bar graph bears this out-- even many of the cuts in the two to three yard bin are 2.75 yards long, or three-yard cuts that shrank when I pre-washed them.

Fiber Types
It always felt as though I mostly bought cotton and silk, and this pie chart of fiber types in my stash bears that out:



I thought that I bought more linen and linen/cotton blends than wool, though.  One explanation could be that I tend to sew linen preferentially, and so it doesn't sit around accumulating in my stash.


Weave Types
Plain weave is unsurprisingly the big winner here, with voile, crepe, dupioni, charmeuse, and chiffon the runners-up:


Conclusion:
If you have a stash accumulation problem, making a spreadsheet is a fantastic idea.  It makes you confront, head-on, the sheer volume of fabric you have-- it took me an entire day to measure and catalog all my fabric-- but then it also makes it easy to determine what you have, and whether any of your existing fabric would be suitable for a project.  Have any of you made a spreadsheet like this, or done anything else to catalog or document your stash?

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