Over the last year or so, I seem to have accumulated rather a lot of fabric from a variety of sources: Ebay, car boot sales, charity shops and the occasional splurge of nice new fabric from shops on the web. Often, especially in the case of vintage fabric, I don’t really buy with a purpose in mind but once I’ve spotted a particular pattern or design that I love, I buy, all the while convincing myself I will make something out of it.
And to be fair, my sewing machine output has been rather prolific of late. In the evenings once the kids are fast asleep I’ll often get the sewing machine out, stick it on the kitchen table and just sew and sew. Projects have included zip purses made from Marimekko linen offcuts, a teepee, an entire sofa and a child’s armchair.
I had actually forgotten just how much I’ve done: there’s also been some quick upcycles made mostly from charity shop fabric, plus a miniature version of a baby carrier.
And then there’s the toys: sea-themed keyrings for party bags (the whales were the most fun to do), stuffed mermaids for a singing game at the same party, a little bag of fabric letters and a whale made from a pair of jeans (the whale pattern is here if you fancy trying it)
Up until recently, the fabric has been stashed into little piles all over my house: some of it lay in the bottom of a basket in the kitchen, some was in a shopping bag hanging on a door, yet more was in a box in the spare room and every few days a grey plastic mail bag would be stuffed through the letterbox meaning that yet another Ebay fabric purchase had made its way into the house.
It was time for some reorganising: I also needed storage for the sewing machine itself, plus the associated thread, scissors, pins, haberdashery and all the other bits and bobs that get used on a regular basis. The loft room is set up as an Airbnb guest room, but due to having small, shouty, messy children our hosting is on hold for a little while. There just so happened to be a couple of empty Ikea Billy bookcases up there already, and because they have glazed doors covered in Cole & Son wallpaper, they’re a little more attractive than the average flat-pack bookcase. But the internal shelves were the wrong shape for sewing stuff and textiles so I slightly reluctantly sold them and looked for something more useful to fill the space.
Luckily, I soon found a vintage teak bureau/cupboard which was listed locally. It was the ideal size for the under eaves space and there was enough shelf height to accommodate the sewing machine. It’s in fairly good nick (maker unknown), but the adjustable shelf which should reside in the open part is missing and the glazed doors are absent too (no great loss there as I have a bit of an aversion to glass doors!)
It’s been in situ a few weeks now and to celebrate the sewing machine’s new home, I made it a cover from one of my vintage fabrics. It’s a lovely yellow and brown barkcloth, a little faded but the colours are still bright and cheery.
Today I had a bit of time to spare so I rounded up my entire fabric collection and carried it up to the loft. I’m still a bit shocked at how much I have, especially given I’m not that serious a collector (or at least I didn’t think I was). Here’s some highlights, photographed before they disappeared into the storage box:
And finally, here’s the last fabric to enter the cupboard today: it only landed on the doormat this morning and is a fairly typical purchase of mine. It’s not in pristine condition but it will find new life soon in the form of soft furnishings or wall art.
So that’s everything tidied away now in the new cupboard. There isn’t much room in there, so I’ll have to keep on making things in order to free up some space for the inevitable new fabric arrivals. Anyway for some cushion covers, or a teepee perhaps?