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the no more manifesto.

Hi, my name is Jenn*, and I'm a fabriholic.


Having seen this pop up on Jess's and Rebecca's blogs, it seemed like a good idea, but not for me. I shrugged and thought, I'm not so bad. Not really. But, like most things, it clung to my brain like a burr. I thought about it a lot. And I started to really examine my craft habits.

I did not like what I saw.

So, I buy a LOT of fabric. I sew as much as I can, but I definitely buy more than I can sew. Earlier this year, I committed to culling and curating my stash life, and I do think my fabric purchases have been more mindful. It's just that there were so many.


Part of my fabric-hoarding is a genuine love of textiles: I really am the kind of person who walks into fabric shops and takes a long, deep breath in. I often buy whole collections, I haunt designer blogs, I stalk my favorite people and companies on Instagram; I am as nuts about fabric as some people are about shoes. I don't just sew with my stash; I dive in and swim around for hours/days, emerging only when the right combinations appear. Textiles are a genuine love.


But, I have to confess, part of why I hoard fabric is because I can. I like having the latest, greatest, newest. I love being able to show the girls in my guild a new half-yard bundle and have them see for themselves why I can't stop rhapsodizing. I love being a resource! But my fabric sits there. Unsewn. Insured, and named in my will, for heaven's sake, but unsewn.


This misses the point of fabric. Fabric is meant to be cut, sewn, admired in projects, not just in stashes.


Buying so much puts pressure on me, too. I feel guilty when I purchase fabric and it goes untouched. I get frustrated that I still haven't saved enough for my quilting frame. (Fabric and Grace Frame budget are in the same pile.) I even feel guilty at how often I wait for the postman, and don't take my kids outside!

Ahhh. Much better. I love a clean sewing room and a beautifully organized stash!

And, as much as I love to shop locally, since I had babies my purchasing is about 65% online. I browse/buy online during breastfeeds or naptimes, when the kids don't need me but I want my hands and brain occupied. This means I'm not supporting local business as much as I like, which is hugely frustrating for me. I am letting myself and my community down. Patchwork shops in Australia are rare, and I want to support the amazing ones.

Fat quarters ahoy!

Something has to change. I need a big shock. I need to be forced out of my comfort zone. I need to, instead of deciding I want to make something with new fabric, make the same project with the fabric I already have. I need to love and embrace using what I have, not yearn for new fabric.

Charley Harper fabric arrived! So great!!

So this is it. My commitment. From January 1 to July 1, I will not buy any more new fabric for my stash. Here are the rules, as laid out by Jess & Rebecca:

1) No fabric purchases for 6 months beginning January 1, 2014.   

2) At 6 months reevaluate status and decide whether to keep going for full year.  Evaluation July 1, 2014.

3) Create a UFO list and complete them!

4) Exceptions

  • Backing: purchasing a backing to finish a quilt top is permissible.  However, attempting to use fabric in your possession for a backing is preferable.
  • Books and Magazine purchases are allowed as they are not fabric.  Notions acceptable too.
  • Swap Mama Fabric: if hosting a swap you are permitted to by fabric to execute swap duties, but you may not join a swap simply for the sake of being able to buy fabric!
  • Quilts for Publication: if you are making a quilt for a publication and need certain fabric to execute it correctly then that is a major exception - who can blame you?

Now, I personally don't have quilts in magazines but as I am teaching this year (!!! yes, and I will talk about it later), my stash might fall short for those. Same goes for anything for the guild. But within those exceptions, I will stick to a budget, and I will stay local. I also plan to buy batting and notions as needed. (Suddenly rotary cutter blades, interfacing, and zippers seem heaps more exciting, haha.)

The point of this is to use what I have, and in a larger sense, to be happy with what I have. I might even go so far as to destash a little. (If I don't love it, why am I keeping it?) And I love the idea of stopping and evaluating at mid-year. 

I'll write out a quick WIPs list just for posterity. I'll count anything I've started by 1 January as needing to be finished by 30 June, but unstarted projects don't count, yeah? :)

Tops that need piecing:

  • Terrain challenge
  • Kat's quilt
  • O quilt
  • trade winds II
  • triangles

Tops that need quilting:

  • spool quilt (scalp and requilt)
  • picnic rug (quilt, simple lines)
  • blue Marcelle Medallion

Projects to be started:

  • hexagon quilt
  • third marcelle medallion
  • pixel quilt
  • show quilt
  • voile quilt
  • cushion covers

Plus whatever else is in my ideas bag. Gah I want to make all the things!

Okay. So that's me. I'm linking up. I'm in this thing. Let's do it. :)


*it really, totally, actually is. But you can still call me Penny.

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Reader Comments (7)

This sounds like a great idea. I don't think my stash is quite as big as yours, but I put most of it in storage for the next 6 months so it will be really hard for me not to buy anything. I did bring all my WIPs and plan on tackling all off those before I buy anything else! I also plan on selling more handmade goodies this year and whatever money I make from that goes directly in the fabric stash bank!

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChelsie

I'm in with this too. Been stocking up in anticipation, ha! Just the same as you, I buy so much fabric when I am stuck under babies. When I can sew, I sew, but it's not often enough. I have piles of fabric and also patterns and projects that I bought for and never started. Those, and my current wips, are on my 2014 list.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterhannlib

I'm actually rather excited about this! There will be moments where it will be so hard, like taking friends fabric shopping around Tokyo, but I will just remind myself that I am saving money for trips home and a new camera. And hope that this time they will be good motivators for once ;) Good luck!

December 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlyce

for me, the biggest motivation to join in was to force myself to use those fabrics that I love that I bought to be used in the first place. I could just say "ditto" to every little bit of what you said. love your thoughtfulness about the issues at hand. =) good luck! i'll be cheering you on.

yes, those notions are suddenly exciting, no?! ha, ha!

December 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterhydeeann

This is a fabulous post - I can totally resonate with a lot of your thoughts and feelings! Best of luck with your diet in 2014, I'm looking forward to the challenge myself :).

December 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJane

I'm signed up; thanks for taking the plunge, too. I feel encouraged by others with similar challenges to mine. I love your use of the word "curate" to talk about managing a fabric collection; I am borrowing that term from now on. I will be excited to read about your upcoming teaching journey, as that is a direction I have thought about but never pursued. I have new energy toward my old fabrics at this point, and I hope you feel it, too.

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlla

Don't mind me, I'm wiping the drool on my keyboard. Your stash is full of fantabulous stuff! I'd spend time playing in it too if I had all that fabulousness around me. I've joined the fabric diet too, and yes, notions are now looking mighty interesting!

Phew, I clicked on your link for Kim Bradley, luckily the tabs are fairly innocently named and nothing caught my attention enough to delve further. Although I might just save the site for later perusal...

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

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