Tag Archive | piles

Buttoning It All Together

I need a bigger button box! cz4mwl6uy_m

 

Or do I?

My button box is currently full, right to the top. I can hardly close the lid on the darn thing!

So, it must be time to get a bigger box to store my buttons in right?

Or maybe it is just time to stop being lazy and sort and organize my current button box so that I have an easier time using what I already have.

While staring at all of the buttons that were just randomly and haphazardly tossed in my button box, I decided that a bigger button box was not the answer. What I needed was to take the time to sort and organize what was in my current button box.

DSCN4316Looking in my button box, I noticed right away that a lot of the space in the box was being taken up by the buttons packaging, mostly the cardboard cards the buttons were purchased on. So, my first step was to remove all of the buttons from the cards.

As I pulled the first buttons off a card, I thought to myself “This will take no time at all!” Boy was I wrong!

As I pulled more buttons off the cards, the staples holding the buttons to the card were staying attached to the buttons, not the cards. I did not want to store the staples attached to the buttons, and I did not want the staples to scratch the buttons while in the box. So, I started the long and tedious task of removing the staples from each of the buttons.

With the use of pliers, scissors and a staple remover, I slowly worked at removing the staples from the buttons. The husband was even given some buttons to remove the staples from. (That will teach him to walk into the sewing room and inquire what I was up to.) After a couple of hours and some sore fingers, I had all of the buttons removed from their cards and the packaging and all the staples and threads were removed.

DSCN4308Now that I had piles and piles of buttons all over the cutting table, it was time to sort and package them up more efficiently. I started by sorting my miscellaneous buttons from my button can. I matched the buttons from the can with the piles of buttons I had on the table. I was surprised how many single buttons from the can matched with one of the piles of buttons. Next, I retrieved my small jewelry zip lock baggies from the closet. I love these baggies. I use them all the time in my crafting and sewing so I keep them handy in a couple of different sizes. I placed each sorted pile of buttons in its own little zip lock baggie. Any single buttons without mates went back into the button can.

DSCN4317Now that I had several piles of buttons all stored in little baggies all over the cutting table, I started sorting the buttons by color. I was pretty liberal on what color the buttons were as I sorted, and soon I had just a few larger piles of buttons in little baggies of like colors sitting on the cutting table. These piles where then placed in larger quart or gallon ziplock bags to keep them further organized.

DSCN4320Looking at the large ziplock bags of buttons, I was pleased with the cleaning and sorting of my buttons. The large bags easily fit back into my current button box with some room to spare. I was very excited. I really like my current button box and I did not really want to replace it with a bigger one so this worked out great!

I have looked for buttons for a project a few times now since sorting my buttons into the bags and the new organization system has worked great. I merely pulled out the bag of buttons in the color I was looking for, then I quickly sorted through the little baggie inside to pick the exact buttons that I needed for my project. Through the clear bags I can easily see the buttons I have and how many of each of them I have, and since they are not attached to a card, the buttons can easily be placed on top of a project while still in the bags to see how they will look and match. Plus, this baggie system has been easy to keep organized as I add new buttons to my button box.

DSCN4315With the buttons finally sorted and back in the button box, I was ready for my next sewing room adventure!

Until then, sew forth and button on!

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Stash Busting

P1020833Since it is too early in the year to break my New Year’s Resolutions just yet, I decided to get started on my great stash cleanup of 2013. I knew that my goal was to get control over the stash and I had outlined a few broad steps to achieve this goal, but actually getting started and getting it done had started to become an issue for me.

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Where should I start?
What should I do first?

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I tried to come up with a plan of action to get the task completed, but in the end I was failing to get a working plan outlined. And I noticed that all my time was being spent trying to come up with a plan instead of actually doing something, so I finally just started opening up boxes to see what I had. As my husband always tells me: “Stop over thinking it! Just do it!”

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P1020839Seeing what surprises were discovered in each box worked great for about half a dozen boxes, until I noticed that I had fabric laying out everywhere in no particular order.

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I was becoming discouraged quickly. I needed some order.
Isn’t that was this goal was all about in the first place?

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So I gave some thought about how I had organized the stash in the past. Previously, I had boxed my fabric according to what I planned to sew with it. There was a box of fabric to make myself shirts, a box of fabric to make the husband shirts, a box of baby prints for sleepers and such, a box of scraps, and so on. This worked out for me for many years, but I noticed that this type of organization system failed when there became more than one box with the same label. Now that there are 5 boxes of fabric all labeled as shirts for the husband, I could no longer remember what was in each box. Plus as the stash grew a number of boxes P1020836were labeled mixed fabric. This was really of no help and I had no clue at all as to what was in these boxes. I also had knits in with rayons in with cottons which was fine when there were only two to three pieces of each, but now that there is, well, let’s just say much more of everything, this had become problem too. Another problem was the yardage or size of each piece of fabric. The stash is just an accumulation of yardage I have bought, fabric Mom has given me, pieces of odd sizes purchased from discount bins and at thrift stores, and scraps, some that are more usable than others. So, in the box marked ‘Husband Shirts’ there might be a 3 yard piece of knit I purchased, a 1.5 yard piece of cotton that Mom gave me (not enough for a shirt for the husbands size, but it could be pieced together with something else for say a bowling shirt), and a 5 yard piece of rayon Hawaiian print purchased on sale for that fantastic vacation shirt I am going to make him some day, plus smaller scraps to piece together with the smaller pieces. Previous to this reorganization, when I wanted to make the husband a new shirt and I would open one of his boxes, and then I would end up spending way too much time sorting through the fabric to find what I wanted. It use to be I just saw two or three options, could pick one and get the sewing process started.

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P1020834With these thoughts in mind and seeing an vast array of fabric pieces before me, the plan to organize my fabric started to fall into place in my mind. I have come up with 30 categories to sort and box my fabric into. For example, 2 yards or more knit solid colors, 2 yards or less knit solid colors, 2 yards or more cotton prints, 2 yards or less cotton prints and so on. This way when I want to make something like the little neighbor girl a dress, I will know to look in the box labeled 2 yards or less cotton prints. I think this will work and since I will not be adding anymore fabric to the stash in the near future, nod nod wink wink, there should not be anymore mixed fabric boxes or boxes I have no idea what is in to slow me down. And say on the off chance that I do add a new piece to the stash (over the husband’s dead body), I can then put it in the appropriate box to find it easily later.

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Now that I had a workable organization plan in place, I began to sort the fabric from the boxes I had already opened. And I am now ready to open more of my boxes to see all the gorgeous fabric that I have, and then get it all sorted into its appropriate piles for later placement into the appropriate boxes.

At The Closing of the Year

P1020758As much as I hate to see the year end, I am also excited by the renewal that the new year brings. It is a fresh start. A time of hope. A time of empowerment. My ambitions are high. And I feel like I can do anything I want at this point.

And, with all of this excitement coursing through my veins, I have set only one sewing goal for this new year.

TO GET CONTROL OVER MY FABRIC STASH.

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Sure. It sounds simple you say, but you have to understand just how out of control the stash is. Because of where I live and the fact that I must travel great distances to get to any sort of real fabric store, I must have a stash of fabric on hand. When I want to start my next project, I can’t just run down to the local fabric store and pick out some fabric and notions for that project. There is no local fabric store to run to. My stash is my local fabric store. So, when I make it to a fabric store, and see a piece of fabric that I might want to use to make something at some point in the future, and especially if it is a good price, I must pick it up. NOW! And this is why I have such a large stash of fabric. Well at least this is my justification for the stash.

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P1020761Seriously though, I like every other fabriholic love to get a great deal on some nice new fabric. And I just love to make a shirt with $2 dollar a yard fabric and then brag about how the buttons cost more than the fabric used in the shirt. I just love to touch and feel all of the wonderful pieces of fabric I see at the store, and then to purchase and own them. I wonder sometimes if my hobby is not sewing but instead the practice of collecting fabric, patterns, and notions. I love to add a new piece of fabric to the stash. It enters the stash with such possibilities of someday becoming a great sewn up master piece of art. And I love to buy patterns for just $0.99 a piece. They fill me with hope that someday I will make a fabulous item from them.

And then every once in awhile, the reality of it all sets in…

Somedays I wish there was really such a thing as Fabriholics Anonymous…

I have been collecting fabric to add to the stash for over 25 years now. And yes, I really do still have some of the original pieces that started in the stash back then. I remember the first move the husband and I made together after we had graduated from college. The stash was at that time just 12 apple boxes in total, and that included the notions and sewing machines.

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Wow!

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P1020763The stash now encompasses several large closets and over the last few years has leaked out from those, piling itself against walls and into every empty corner I can find. The stash is so disorganized now that the throw it and run method has been my way of managing it over the last couple of years. Recently, when I have purchased a new piece of fabric, it stays in its bag and is just tossed onto one of the piles. There is no organizing it with other matching fabrics so it can be retrieved easily later when needed. And my latest love of crocheting amigurumi creatures, has not helped the issues with the stash either. The fabric stash has now just taken on yarn too, and this is only adding to the current problem. And so this is why I have to say, the time has come to finally do something about the stash.

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Back when the stash was only at 12 boxes, it was completely under control and organized. I knew what I had and where to find it. The boxes were carefully curated and labeled. It was easy to look over the boxes and know just where what I would need was at. As the years have progressed I had always been able to keep up the organization of the stash, but in the last few years, I have totally lost control of it. I now have to spend huge amounts of time to hunt for every piece of fabric that I think I have and that I think would work for every new project I start.

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This is not working for me anymore. I need to get control of the stash and fast!

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So, how am I going to complete this goal, and get the stash under control? I have decided it will take 3 steps.

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1. Part with what I’m not ever going to sew something with and then organize the rest. I have finally found a local charity that would just love to have all the fabric and notions that I am not going to use. They will take it and put it to good use. This will be the divide and conquer part of the goal, to go through all the boxes and piles and have an open mind as to what to keep and what to give away. The organizing will occur during this stage too. I will then re-box all of the fabric in the stash so I know what I have and where it is at. I am not going to spend my time making spread sheets on my computer of what fabric I own to help me organize the stash. I think doing that would take a lot of time and not really help me out that much in the end. I think just having similar fabric and similar colors in their own boxes with proper labeling on the boxes will do more to help me find just the right piece of fabric to sew next. The husband has offered to build customized modular shelving to help this step if needed. I am unsure yet if I do but I all let you know later how it turned out.

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2. Sew up what I’m keeping. Stop letting all the wonderful pieces of fabric that I have in my possession just set in the stash. Get them out and sew them up and make them into wonderful things. I started doing this last year and I had a lot of fun with it as I made sleepers, and kid’s shirts from patterns that I forgot I even owned. The local charity will also take my finished items and give them to people who really need them and can use them. That way I don’t have to limit what I make to just things for me and the husband to wear.

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3. Stop adding to the stash. This will be the toughest step of all. This is not going to be fun or easy. I know I am going to hate it, and do the “Oh but its just one piece” or “Oh but it’s such a nice piece of fabric at such a great price” and “Oh but I can make …” but I will have to find the strength and willpower to turn and run away from it. With that, I have decided that it will be easier to just not see it in the first place. So, no more perusing Fabric Mart’s web site, no more stopping in at M&L fabric just to see what’s in the $2 a yard bins, and no more slipping over to Walmart’s fabric department to browse while the husband is in electronics. No more. (Except for interfacing, I will allow myself to go to a fabric store and buy interfacing. For some reason I can’t seem to keep the right type or amount in stock in the stash.)

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So, there is the New Year’s goal and the plan. I am excited to get started on it even though I think it will take a few months to finish it. And yes, I know it will take away from the precious little free time I have available that I could be sewing, but having the stash under control will enhance my sewing experiences in the future. So I am ready to dive in head first on the hope of a brighter future!

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Have a Happy New Year everyone! I hope you and yours have a great one!