Good Uses for a Lifetime of Fabric

Good Uses for a Lifetime of Fabric

Posted by Jen Lopez on Mar 8th 2023


I currently have more fabric than I could ever use in my lifetime, yet I’m still buying more. This causes me to wonder more than a little, “What is going to happen to all of this fabric after I’m gone?”. When a quilter passes on, her well-meaning relatives are left to deal with her stash. Sadly, most times their carefully curated years’ worth of fabric ends up in the trash due to the lack of knowledge of what to do with it. This is a sad state of affairs for a number of reasons. The quilter had hopes and dreams for that fabric. Now those dreams are gone and just clogging up a landfill. Don’t let this happen. If you become the caretaker of some other quilter’s stash, make a real effort to do something good with it. There are now such things as fabric thrift stores. Here in New England, we have Swanson Fabrics. From their website, “Swanson’s is a community fabric and fiber craft store stocked with the unused items of other sewers”. The shelves are stocked with donations, often times from individuals who have inherited boxes of goodies from loved ones.

A few weekends back, I went to a “yard sale” (pun intended!) of vintage fabrics left behind by a couture garment maker and drapery designer. I was delighted to acquire uncut yards of real bark cloth, which used to be in great supply in the 40’s through 60’s and was very popular for upholstery and curtains. I’ll be upholstering a mudroom bench seat with this beauty, a perfect addition to my midcentury modern home. You can also find antique shops that will be happy to rehome a fabric stash, especially if it contains vintage elements.

You can always find a new beginning for an old stash by donating it to a charitable sewing organization. These groups sew quilts for cancer patients, children’s hospitals, shelters for persons experiencing homelessness and other good causes. They are of course happy to take donations of good quality fabrics, especially quilting fabrics. You can find these organizations through local churches and quilt guilds.

Finally, I have had great success donating good quality, unused fabric to local public schools. After experiencing a downturn for a number of years, Home Economics classes are now coming back into fashion and they need fabric to help educate the next generation of sewing enthusiasts.


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