12 April 2011

Stash Amnesty! featuring Rhinestones and Telephones

It's Stash Amnesty! time again, and this month I interview Sarah from Rhinestones and Telephones. I can't remember when I first discovered Sarah's blog, but her lovely line is floral handmade dresses, her scrummy recipes and her inventive schemes keep me coming back for more. Ooh and she's also a compulsive list maker - a woman of my own heart!

How long have you been sewing? How did you learn?

Sarah: "I have been sewing since I was nine years old. As a child, I spent summers with my grandparents in Worcester (UK) and it was then that my granma taught me to sew on her hand-cranked Singer. Luckily my mum had a sewing machine at home, as I was instantly hooked! Granma taught me to be proud of my abilities and to make things with care and attention.

I started out hemming simple napkins and then moved onto doll blankets and doll clothes. Sewing in my family is something of an expectation, rather than a hobby. My granma grew up in West Ham and was one of five girls. By necessity, sewing, knitting, crochet, and other domestic abilities were taught at a young age. She passed those onto me and I am now teaching my daughter."

Talk us through some of your favourite things in your sewing stash...

Sarah: "I have lots of favourite things when it comes to my sewing stash! I love my big metal pinking shears that were my husband's grandmother's. They are sharp and cut like a dream. My rotary cutter makes cutting out fabric so much easier and more accurate. Cutting out is my least favourite step in the sewing process. By far, my most favourite thing is my 1946 Singer Featherweight. I inherited it from my husband's grandmother last year. It sewed beautifully even after not being used for over 25 years."


Some of my favourite vintage patterns are: Simplicity 3427, Butterick 7762, and Butterick 2235. I've used Butterick 7762 several times and made my favourite flannel top with it. Butterick 2235 is my go-to skirt pattern and I used it to make my scissors skirt."

How long has your fabric stash been accumulating? Do you buy fabric with projects in mind or do you hoard?

Sarah: "Oh, dear! LOL! My fabric stash has been accumulating steadily for the last several years. It became so large that I ended up having a big fabric sale on my blog. I was delighted to be able to pass on fabric that had been sitting unused and unloved in my stash to other stitchers.

Since taking my Thrifty365 Pledge, followed by my fabric sale, I have been working on changing my mindset to per project fabric purchases and I am trying not to stash nor hoard anymore."

How is your sewing stash organised?

Sarah: "My stash is organized by colour in clear Rubbermaid bins. I have one bin for yardage and another for smaller pieces. My last bin is for fabric scraps that I use as facings or make into patchwork bias tape."

What are your favourite places for sourcing fabric?

Sarah: "While I do have a good fabric district where I live, the prices are hideously inflated. I find I can get a much better bargain, even with the exchange and shipping, online. Some of my very favourite sources are Hawthorne Threads, Fabrics from the Heart, and Treasure Bay Fabrics."

What projects are you planning to work on next?

Sarah: "I am working on finishing up my Hepburn Hepburn Project. I have Simplicity 3427 in a beautiful yellow pin dot on the cutting table that I can't wait to dive into. After that, I have an awesome cherry print wrap dress to sew for my dear friend Vanity Boom, and then I plan to sew some new designs for Crash Landing. Sue and Crash are lovely and it's wonderful to have the opportunity to sell my designs locally."

Thanks, Sarah, we look forward to following your progress!