September 3, 2015

How Does Fabric Become "Too Precious" To Use?

I often wonder how fabric becomes "too precious" to use.  As Carolyn would say - I have quite a collection of fabric!  And now that I've run with her style of displaying the collection - I love it and can see it and think twice (sometimes) before adding to it.  But why is it so hard to use some of the fabric in it?  I mean that's what I bought it for, right?

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that last Saturday the lights went out.  We had a horrible wind storm in Western Washington and many people lost power all over the State.  

I had been out in the morning and stopped and picked up the dottie angel dress.  I love the idea of it.  Will I make it?  Will it suit me?  Will I wear it?  Who knows?  But I bought it.  

In the dark, with a flashlight - I headed to the fabric shelves.  I ran my fingers through the fabric looking for a couple of coordinating pieces I could pull to make this dress - you know if the power ever came back on.  But it was early in the day and my sewing space has lots of windows and I could do some pattern prep while I couldn't turn the lights or machines on, right?

The first combo I touched was this lovely pastel-y paisley with a pretty green solid that coordinates.  I bought these pieces with the idea of making a Lilly P style sheath dress.  I had a new look pattern in mind, but never bought it and it's out of print now and honestly - I don't remember what the pattern number was - only that it had raglan sleeves, into a round yoke.    

So - knowing that I don't have the pattern and will probably never acquire it - it makes sense to save this fabric combo, right?  

These next two fabric combos I bought several years ago at a quilt shop with a bonus that I got at work.  I always intended them to be The Monique Dress from Sew Serendipity.  I adore Kay's style, but I've never really been comfortable in it.  I did make 2 Monique dresses and they are both still in my closet and get worn over the summer - but not with much regularity.  And both were made with a single fabric.  

I will often say - the reason I don't quilt is because I can't match fabrics.  To my eye, they fabrics have to perfectly coordinate or they just aren't right for me.  Having taking photos of these three combos that I bought together to use together - I'm honestly not sure that I love any of them together.  I love them all - but together?  

So - I ran my fingers over them and moved on.  Finally - I touched on the beautiful lightweight pale pink cotton fabric.  I bought this at Fabric Depot in Portland the first time I met up with Mary.  This fabric told me that it wanted to be a shirt dress - but I haven't found the perfect pattern.  Do I want one with a slim skirt or a full skirt.  I've tried 3 different shirt dress patterns and don't have one I love.  

Again - another reason to save this fabric, right?  So - I'm sure it will surprise no one that I didn't cut any of these fabrics.  Am I afraid there won't be more fabric?  I recently made 2 dresses that I just didn't love the way the looked on me and I sent them home with Designed by Krystle.  Did I love the fabrics - yes.  Was I sad to not have them any more - not really.  So - what's the issue?

Tell me - what do you think of the dottie angel dress?  yes or no?  How about the fabrics I pulled (and then put back)?  And finally - what makes fabric too precious to use for you?  

And - because I'm sure you're dying to know what I did while the lights were out?  I cut up a stack of stuff to sew someday.  In that pile are 2 dresses, 2 skirts, 2 tees and a shirt for the hubby.  Hopefully I won't get twitchy before they get sown.  


  1. Are you inside my head? I have the same problems, I have A LOT of fabric There is a feeling each piece gives me. There is a hope, a life for each one. It's hard to just cut it up and use it sometimes but when it all comes out good, it's REAL GOOD and when it's not good, it's gone, it's done. I move on to the next one.
    Mixing fabric prints is something I also have a hard time with. I'm working on it though.
    Great post, now get out of my head!
    Bonnie @

  2. I want to make that Dottie Angel dress too. I like the first combo the most.

    I didn't have fabric that was "too good to cut" at first. But then I had a couple instances where I used a fabric as soon as I bought it, and then later regretted the pattern choice. And then that fabric is "gone forever" :( It simultaneously makes sense and makes no sense.

    Like you, when I purge those items, I don't have any attachment to the item.

  3. I like the first two combos...the third not so much! I think the Monique Dress would look amazing in the blue daisy/yellow combination. However, I would think twice about my advice since you still haven't finished the lace skirt I helped you start.

  4. Oh and sometimes I think about saving fabric too...but this is a recent feeling that I can trace to all of those amazing dresses made from wonderful fabrics, laces and trims that I've been donating!

  5. I do the same thing and I have no idea why. But lately I have just been diving in head first and making whatever I feel. It feels good after the garment is made but sometimes during the prep stage I have much anguish wondering if it does not turn out like I think and if I will feel bad about "wasting" fabric. I say to myself "get over it" and sew like the wind.. Who cares if it doesn't turn out as you expected maybe someone else will like it.

  6. I actually think all of the combinations you showed here are great! They go well together. They would all work well for the pattern. I also understand the need to save the fabric! I have this same problem. My solution? Quilts. I can use all the beautiful fabrics and enjoy them no matter what size or style clothes I like. That solution obviously doesn't work for everyone, though, and it really only works for quilting fabric. I also live in the desert and don't really need a lot of quilts. LOL!!
    I do love the dottie angel pattern and think I need it for my daughter, because it isn't really my style now- it was when I was a teen, though- mostly because I don't feel that I could pull off the look because I've turned into a boring almost forty year old.
    I say go for the dress. Use at least one of these combinations you've posted. If you love it then you can make more. If you don't, then you didn't use up all three combos!
    I think what makes the fabric precious is the beauty we see in it. We see its potential and we don't want to waste that. We are afraid of ruining it or using it unwisely and wasting it. I have yet to regret using fabric, even though I still have this fear. What can we do about it?

  7. I like the first combination the best. I am not one that thinks fabric is too good to use, probably the minority. I have some fabric on the shelf but not really that much. I could make less than 8 garments from my fabric. It just overwhelms me if I have too much. So I buy some and then sew up most of it.

  8. I'm just wishing I could get AT my fabric right now; then none of it would be too good to use. LOL! It's all in the garage, inaccessible, for the moment, until I have my giant yard sale in a couple of weeks and can move it to where I can finally get at it.

    Dottie Angel ... gotta say, I'm not a fan. Looks like a crafty Becky-Homecky toddler dress to me. Sorry. Too honest? lol

  9. I like the second combo best. The dress doesn't grab me but if it's calling to you, what have you got to lose ? Give it a go. Up til now, I didn't have fabric too good to cut - BUT this summer a piece of Liberty came home with me and I'm a little antsy about it. The plan is a shirtdress but I haven't picked a pattern yet - will definitely want to perfect a muslin first :-)

  10. I love the idea of the Dottie Angel dress, but I wonder if I would wear it. Can I pull off Granny chic? I think it depends on the fabric. I do like that it ties in the back and it a bit more fitting. You won't know if you don't try!

  11. Really enjoyed reading this post! I can totally understand what you're saying, but sadly have no answers!


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