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Springtime Sewing

Spring-cleaning is the perfect time to use up scraps. Many of us hold on to small pieces of fabric from other projects for one reason or another. Some of them are too pretty to throw away; others seem big enough to use for a new project but never seem to work for a whole project. Gather up all those small pieces and see what you can create by putting them together. Quilters can do amazing things with tiny pieces of fabric by piecing them together into a very detailed quilt, resulting in a larger piece of art. Even if you aren't a quilter, there are many other ways to use up scraps. Stitch several pieces together to create pot holders, dishcloths or place mats. Use scraps to patch clothing or create cleaning cloths. Small pieces can also be used to make hair accessories or jewelry.

If you have larger pieces, you can create children's clothing or doll clothes. You could also sew bedding for pets. If you have lots of old patterns, large pieces of fabric, trims or lots of notions lying around, you could list them for sale online or donate them to charity or children's groups.

Sometimes just looking at a large stash of untouched patterns and fabrics can be overwhelming and block the creative flow. Consider taking each piece of fabric out to review it by asking yourself the following questions.

  • Did you buy it for a specific project? If so, do you still have interest in that project?
  • If you bought it without a project in mind, does it inspire a project now?
  • What condition is it in?
  • How much of the fabric do you have?
  • Do you still love it or is it out of style? (If you love it, does being "in style" matter?)
  • Do you know someone else that would put it to better use than you?

Decide to throw out pieces that are not in good condition and donate pieces you don't want rather than feeling frustrated by having them in your stash year after year. If you keep fabric because you bought it, but you don't want to use it, or you can never find a use for it, then find it a new home. If you like having a stash to work from, but the pieces you have are uninspiring, consider hosting a swap with other friends that sew.

They might find inspiration in something that you don't. Or get together with friends and have each person bring one piece of fabric that you love, but have no idea how to use, and share ideas. The best thing about having friends that are also creative is that each person has new ideas and a new perspective. If you all have different skill sets, take turns teaching each other a new sewing skill.

When you do go through your stash each spring and get rid of pieces, take the time to consider why you bought each piece you are now getting rid of; maybe it will help you buy only pieces you will love and use in the next year. If you can't remember, consider instituting a two-project rule and only buy items for two projects at a time, finishing each before buying items for the next project to avoid creating an overwhelming stash.

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