Sunday, June 29, 2008

TIF Challenge for June.

The theme for June at the TIF Challenge was a no-brainer for me. Stash stories! You want my stash stories? As Sharon often says, make a cuppa and pull up a chair!

Some of my very earliest memories of my mother are of her sitting at the kitchen table at our home making clothing for my brothers and me on the Singer machine. I was taught to machine sew on that Singer portable machine which had a knee press for the throttle. This proved VERY interesting many years later when I first sat at an industrial machine at College, only to find that the knee press was to lift the presser foot, NOT make the machine go!

Mum used to save scraps of fabric and trims, which I dutifully turned into doll's clothes. I'm somewhat amused to read a designer's biography where they say they made doll's clothes from scrap fabrics in their childhood, as though it was something rare and wonderful. Well, in my days, it was the norm, rather than the exception. We didn't have Ipods or Wii games (or TV for that matter) to amuse us, so we used whatever was to hand. Gosh that makes me sound so OLD, but the point is, we recyled and re-used everything out of necessity, not because we were "stash busting" as we say these days. I'm not knocking that most excellent idea, just that I believe in building it first!

I've had many opportunities to build my stash over the years. I saved scraps from sewing jobs, bought remnants at sales "just in case" including some real horrors which I look at now and think "why did I ever think I'd use that hideous colour/ design/ texture?"
Then there are the purpose bought fabrics and trims for projects that just never happened due to time and more urgent things coming up. I have boxes and boxes of those! I have wonderful remnants from the professional theatrical shows I've worked on - Grease, Sound of Music, Annie, The Producers - and some smaller Club shows I've designed and made. You never know when a piece of white fur, a purple net ruffle or flashy sequined fabric may be exactly what you need for your current project. Often my stash of theatre fabrics has come in handy when I needed just a little of something and the shops were closed. Or my current textile class needs a touch of glitz and I have just the thing under the cutting table in box no. 4! Of course, I'm just kidding about box 4, I'm not THAT organised!! You ought to know me better than that!

I have been known to turn the sewing room upside down (quite literally) to find a piece I remember seeing last week, when doing exactly the same thing for another project! It would be heaven to have the time to organise, catalogue and label all the boxes, and one day it might happen. It's quite fun though to "rediscover" the secrets of the stash from time to time, and each box holds so many memories.

I can tell you the history of each little piece of fabric. Some are neatly rolled and tied, others are just stuffed into bags within the boxes to keep all the scraps from one particular job together. This can be very helpful. This past week I've remodelled a lion's head for the dancing studio I contract for. I needed some orangey beige fur to supplement the mane, and I knew I had some. Finally found it, but not large enough. Did find a piece of the Zebra suit I made about 4 years ago though, enough to make a hood to go on the unitard and this gave the Studio an extra animal to put into the production number. Oh, and the Studio found some long haired fur vests used 5 years ago in a 60's number, which I cannibalised to make the mane. Problems solved, thanks to a substantial stash. I guess you could call the Studio costume store room a stash too!

This month I've not been able to complete a piece of work for the Challenge. I have 2 major projects underway. The deadline for the Women Transported Exhibition is looming, and work is piling up on me. My dear SIL has been responding well to treatment for her Leukemia and they are looking at sending her home for 2 weeks later this week. I've a secret project underway for her, can't say too much in case she subscribes to this blog, VBG. The photo proves I was hard at work at the recent Craft and QUilt Fair, and guess what? in August there's another one coming up closer to home. I see some serious stash building activity on the horizon!! Did I mention I'm a founding member of "Stash Builders Anonymous?" The photo shows what I bought over 3 days of "working" at the Fair. There are some great sequins for the kids' classes, some patchwork fat quarters for my WISP quilts, some push molds for little dolls faces. Also my latest wonder product Misty Fuse for hand applique without the tears, some laser cut wooden charms (so cute and so cheap at $1 each) and a few other bits and bobs. Not shown is the walking foot for my new Bernina sewing machine and a couple of fat quarters for making ATC's (which were already cut up by the time this photo was taken.)


Anonymous said...

I am always jealous of people who say they grew up maikng dolls clothes from scraps. We didnt have ipods etc either (but we did have a TV!) but we also didnt have a mother who sewed. no sewing, no scraps. even if i didnt sew i think id collect scraps of fabric for my kids now.
Its always fun to build the stash, inst it

Pam Kellogg said...

Hi Christine,

Saw your message on my blog about my Fashion Ladies ATC's! I would love to trade one with you. Yes, these are addiciting!

Please let me know which one you want and what you address is so I can send it to you. Here is my email:


Judi S said...

I popped over and am enjoying reading your blog. As a costumer you have a stash I'm sure I envy. One never knows when a person needs some sequined finery or feather boas or ???. I rarely throw anything out and when I do I almost always find myself weeks or months later regretting it as I search for that essential something that I just know I have and then my memory clicks in and I realize I've given it away of worse yet, tossed it!