Have you heard of the Whole 30 Fabric Challenge? This sewing challenge is being hosted by Jacinta Green of @pinkmimosajacinta on Instagram. (Check out her stories for more details.) The idea is to commit to sewing 30 yards of your fabric stash before buying more fabric. The parameters say that the fabric must be from your stash, unless gifted. And, here’s the kicker: “If I purchase fabric, I will start the 30 yards over.” Gasp. I admit that sentence gave me pause.
I wondered, “Can I sew 30 yards before break down and buy more fabric?” But then I also realized that during the beginning of the pandemic last year I didn’t buy any fabric for about four months. Then starting at the end of June 2020, I made my first online purchase at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. I live about a 15-minute walk away from the store so I used to shop in person. That day I got 3.5 yards of cotton fabric to make The Assembly Line’s V-Neck Jumpsuit, which I have yet to make. (I mentioned the pattern in this October blog post on my sewing queue.) Unlike so many other sewists, I have not made a jumpsuit yet. I do like jumpsuits but part of my reluctance was the clothing management aspect when you go to the restroom. 😉
Since then, I’ve bought several fabrics from Stonemountain and do curbside pickup, saving me the cost of shipping. I often shop when there’s a Bay Area Sewists meetup because members often get a 20 percent discount at the store on our meetup days. (We’re meeting virtually so you don’t need to be in the Bay Area to attend our meetups.) Stonemountain will be open to the public in August!
Whole 30 Fabric Challenge fabrics
The challenge started on July 5 so I’m counting my Adrienne Blouse as part of my challenge — 1.375 yards.
Last year I bought 2.5 yards of coral Nevada linen intended for a pair of Sew House Seven Free Range Slacks but when I saw it, the color just seemed a tad too bright for pants. That’s the challenge of buying fabric online, which I really didn’t do very much of before the pandemic. (I really prefer to buy fabric in person.) However, I do think the linen would make a lovely skirt. I won a Papercut Patterns design during Me Made May and I picked the Aura Dress/Skirt. To enter, you just had to tag Papercut on a post showing a Papercut Patterns make during the month of May. I was delighted that they picked me for the last week of May! This is the post, my Array Dress:
View this post on Instagram
The Aura Skirt uses 2.4 yards of fabric. I can use any leftover to color block something else or maybe to add more fabric for coverage. I’m not sure how much the fabric overlaps in the front. I like the waist tie, which goes through belt loops in the back.
When the paper pattern arrived, I saw that the company had completely redesigned its packaging. Gone was the familiar square brown cardboard case with the lasercut lettering. Now the patterns are packaged in a white cardstock case the has an instruction booklet (printed in color!) on one side and the pattern on the other side. I’m sure this is a more manageable size for stores that stock their patterns.
Dresses use yardage
Earlier this month I also made my first Cris Wood Parasol Dress using some Akara fabric gifted to me from a work colleague. I made an Elastic Tie Sweater with the fabric last year and I still had more than 3 yards leftover! I used about 3.25 yards to make it into a maxi dress because I wanted to use the entire width of the fabric and show off the border print. Once I take photos, I will blog about it. Meanwhile you can see the Reel I made of it on IG.
I intend to sew another Parasol Dress with fabris from my stash, making a color-blocked version using about 1.7 yards of a seersucker print I got years ago at a Bay Area Sewists fabric swap (skirt) , .75 yards of a blue plaid remnant (bodice, ruffle), and .25 yards of solid blue cotton (sleeves, ties). This a sketch I made using a custom fashion template from My Body Model — and playing around with Procreate on my iPad.
I used my finger so it’s not the most accurate. And my experience with finger drawing finally made me decide to get a stylus for my iPad (won in a raffle after donating to a nonprofit). I thought about getting the Apple pencil, but it’s rather pricey. So I did a little research and decided to get the Zagg Pro Stylus (affiliate link here), which the New York Times Wirecutter said “stands above them all with the best combination of accuracy, features, and price.” You can also buy it on Zagg’s website. If you sign up for their newsletter, you get a 20 percent discount. And they occasionally have other promotions.
Dresses are a great way to tackle this fabric challenge because they use 2 to 5 yards of fabric. I’ve had the Liesl + Co. Cinema Dress pattern in my stash forever. It does use a lot of fabric—so I was a bit reluctant to spend the money. But I got some yard-dyed Essex linen/cotton from Stonemountain to make this dress (4.5 yards). I have been wanting to make more everyday dresses.
So that takes me to about 17 yards. I think I should be able to sew 30 yards over the next few months to meet the Whole 30 Fabric Challenge, don’t you?
Update: I forgot to mention that Jacinta also provides a spreadsheet template so you can track your yardage. I spent some time last night entering yardage and potential projects for the fabric. This is my first time using a spreadsheet to track my fabric and it was a good reminder of what I’ve got in my collection. I focused on entering fabric that I purchased for specific patterns. Here’s a partial screenshot what I’ve entered. There’s more below the total, which made me realize I’ve got more fabric than I thought! I had more than 50 yards by the time I finished entering some of my stash. I focused on my more recent purchases—the ones I could easily look up the yardage from receipts.
And here are the fabrics from the spreadsheet! This stack is 30+ yards of fabric, which also makes me realize that I have many, many yards of fabric in my collection. Frankly, I’m a little reluctant to enter more. But I do see the value of entering fabric in a spreadsheet. So thank you, Jacinta, for making a spreadsheet and launching this challenge!