Lowering the Pedestal

Can we take a moment to talk about “pedestal fabrics”? You know the ones – you saw it in a shop, it was too gorgeous to not buy, but now it’s too gorgeous to cut into? And now that you’ve put it up on that pedestal, it just sits in your stash, making you sigh with its beauty but ashamed that you haven’t used it yet…

I don’t often have this problem, but I have recognised that I’ve done this with a particular silk in my stash, a ridiculously gorgeous silk in a silver and black chrysanthemum print. It was a gift from AllisonC when I was about to go into hospital, and I initially didn’t cut into it because I’d gained some weight from my illness and I didn’t want to waste it on something that wouldn’t fit in a few months.

But I’ve been back to my usual size for a good year now, and it continued to sit in my stash, until I finally cut into it this weekend. It took some doing, but here’s some thoughts that helped me overcome this:

  • In what form will I wear this most? In my case, this was a good 2m of silk, so I kept thinking for ages that it had to be a dress, so I’d use the whole yardage. But then it occurred to me that I don’t often wear my silk dress because it’s so formal, and it’d be a shame to sew this silk only to not wear it very much. I thought about what I wear most often in similar fabrics, and it’s definitely blouses. So even though a blouse won’t use the whole yardage, I’ll wear it much more often than a dress, and I can always make something else with the rest.
  • It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking. You’ve already got fabric you love – that’s half the battle in a successful garment, so you don’t have to do a new, experimental, or technically challenging new pattern to interest you. Use a pattern you already know you love and fits you well, and then you don’t even have to do a muslin, either. Since it’s already a tested pattern, your chances of failure are greatly diminished.
  • It’s selfish to keep this fabric out of sight. The world deserves to share in its beauty, and no one can see it if it’s hiding in your stash.
  • There will be other fabrics. There will be other fabrics in your life – this isn’t your wedding dress, it doesn’t have to be The One. In fact, I guarantee you there will be other fabrics that come along and steal your heart.

Have I missed anything? What’s blocking you from cutting into your fabric?

You will soon see the fruits of my gorgeous chrysanthemum silk, and in a form I know I’m going to wear over and over again – the Manequim blouse I used for another well-loved silk!

I wanted to write this post as much for all of you as I did for myself, because I know I’m not alone in putting fabrics up on that pedestal. So if you have a fabric like this in your stash, I urge you to make a commitment, post about it on your blog if you have one, and vow to cut into it within the next month. Instead of buying more fabrics, let’s use the gorgeous stuff we’ve already got, and show our beautiful pedestal garments to the world!

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