Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sewing Essential: STASH! (building it on a budget!)

I would have to say that one of the greatest essentials for my sewing room is my stash! Personally, I'm one of those people that likes to "get with it" whenever the inspiration, need or unexpected free time presents itself, so having materials on hand allows me to do this. Not to mention the materials often provide the inspiration. If I had to stop and go to the store every time I was in the mood to create.....well, nothing would get done!

When I shared about my stash a while back I had some interest and questions about how one begins building a stash. Now, let me preface with the fact that I have been building my stash gradually over the past 5 years. I sew for my small business, my large family and charity projects regularly, so it really is more than a hobby for me...though it certainly is that too! Being quite the penny pincher, I'd like to share some tried and true ways to build a stash without blowing the budget, since that's not only important, but it CAN be done!

ARE YOU READY??? Here ya go!

Sale stuff you don't use for "Stash Cash" - This is seriously how it started for me! Other than a few basics I had on hand from some specific projects I had previously made and my sewing machine which had been a gift, I didn't have "a stash". But, what I did have was a basement full of outgrown clothing, toys and housewares that I frankly needed out of my way. Rather than loading it all to Goodwill as I would normally do on one of my cleaning binges, I took the time to sale it. Yes, it was work, but it gave me cash in hand to purchase the things I needed and wanted to begin my stash and without infringing on the family budget. It was amazing how quickly it added up and soon even my girls were referencing $$ by fabric yardage.... "Mom, that's like 3 yards of fabric!" :)  Yes, this also made me one proud mama! ;)

Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!!! - They work and they are easy to get your hands on! Whether you are purchasing locally from stores like JoAnn or Hobby Lobby or from your favorite on-line shop it always pays to search out a coupon or coupon code. Many times you can get what you need for 50% off this way!

Discount/Frequent Shopper Cards - Some stores offer discount cards for educator's, students, seniors and businesses, if you fall into one of these categories it can be very worthwhile to sign up for one of these cards, especially if it's a store you frequently visit. Additionally, my local quilt shop and some of the on-line stores I purchase from, offer incentives for recurring orders by providing a special discount or free product when I reach certain points of purchase. I always watch for and take advantage of these bonuses!

Clearance & Remnants - AAAAHHHHHH!!! These words are like music to my ears! Seriously, my mom thinks I have some kind of inner radar that sniffs these kind of deals out, but I'm telling you, there are some GREAT products to be found this way! I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check the sale flyer and remnant bin when shopping at my JoAnn! Remnants aren't always scrap cuts and when the fabric is already on sale, PLUS the 50% off for being a remnant, it's insane how much you can get for little $$$! This is hands down how I have built the majority of my fleece stash, and some of the cuts are well over a yard each! (pssst....this is the time of year to catch fleece at really great prices too!)
Tax Exempt - If you own your own business and are purchasing items to use for your business, take the time to fill out a tax exempt form. It may make your time at check out take a little longer, but that money will add up fast! It's truly like getting a discount on every purchase.

FOLLOW the shops you like to purchase from! - Yes, I know we all have very busy blog rolls and facebook pages, but businesses like to offer specials and discounts to their loyal fans. For example, Fat Quarter Shop posts regularly on their facebook page the fabric collections they have on sale....and often it's only for a limited time. Then others like Buttons Galore will offer random giveaways just for leaving a comment on their blog. If you like their products enough to purchase them, it's worth following them and it may just hold some rewards for you!

This leads to my next suggestion...

Giveaways! - I enjoy hosting regular giveaways here on my blog, but I also enjoy entering them! :) I have won some amazing goodies this past year via giveaways that have helped to build my stash nicely and FREE! Get to know some other bloggers, enter a few giveaways, who could be the next to win!

One of my favorite places to check out current giveaways is the Giveaway Roundup at Craft Buds!

From Others Stashes -  No really! I'm not sayin' go rob your crafty mama, but building your stash from the stash of others is one I strongly believe in! How many folks decide to jump into a craft knee deep and then realize it's really not for them? How many buy more for their project than it required? How many have a basement full of "stuff" that belonged to a grandmother/aunt/neighbor and was given to them but they don't sew or craft? LOTS!!! And usually you can purchase from these sweet folks for a great price! Places to watch....local quilting/sewing groups, thrift stores, estate sales, ebay, the newspaper or join one of the many popular online sewing groups where there are always stash sell-offs. This is also a way to get your hands on some unusual and vintage materials. Later this month I'll be picking up a delightful, vintage Treadle Singer I recently purchased this way! (Super Excited!!!)

Wait - If it's not a fabric collection that you are completely smitten with, be patient. Don't buy it right out of the door, but wait a few months. Unless it's so popular it goes for re-print, chances are you'll be able to get your hands on at least some of the collection at discounted or even close-out pricing soon enough. Many shops will drastically reduce the remaining prints of a collection when the rest of the collection has sold and they are ready to replace it with something new. This will also allow you the freedom to buy those lines you are head over heels for as soon as they release...or at least it helps with my justification! ;)

So, there you have it! My way of building a stash!
I hope some of you find my suggestions helpful. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions, and I'm ALWAYS open to new ideas for stash building on a budget, so please share if you have some I've not included!

Happy Stash Building!


Jeanine The Crafting Fiend said...

great tips on stash building. lately my sewing has been ahead of my fabric buying and my stash has been suffering! I put a call out on facebook for large T's in peoples donate pile to add to my knit stash since a large T can make a child's dress

Melissa said...

Great blog post! I have been building my stash steadily for years! I definitely take advantage of the JoAnns coupons - the make getting your basics so much cheaper - Kona Solids with a 50% off coupon - can't beat that! :)

Lindsay Conner said...

That is one mighty fine stash! Thanks for the shout out. :)

Tisha said...

I love how you have your stash organized. I always love bringing home new fabric. I shop for remnants too. Thanks for all the other helpful tips.

baukje said...

Great post, thanks. have a good sunday!

Carolyn said...

I am all over that remnant bin when I go to Joanns, so many great finds in there. I buy a lot of minky from the bin, too. I have also found becoming friendly with the lqs staff makes it more likely they will randomly give you 10% off or overcut your fabric for you. One store near me will also give me an extra quarter to a half yard when I finish up bolts for them. Being a loyal customer really pays off. :)

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