Stash Star Fabric app: a review

Could you tell me what's in your stash? How about how much of each piece? Nope, me neither. 

Organisation of all sewing related items has been a persistent problem for me and only gets worse as my fabric (and pattern) stash grows. Is this a familiar problem?

I needed to find a solution to recording my fabric stash and as I was browsing the Apple App Store, I came across a free app called Stash Star Fabric. I've included a number of photos so you can get a feel for the app. 

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The app is rather basic and consists of two pages. The home page details your stash in photos. The other pages are for each individual piece of fabric. The fabric specific page allows you to record the name, colour, pattern size, fabric measurements in metric and imperial, fiber content, the details of where you purchased it, designer and manufacturer details, where it is stored and any notes you want to include. 

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You can add a photo at the top which is displayed in the home page. If you find that the fiber, type of fabric, or measurement, is missing from the list provided, you can add it. You can choose your favourite or most regularly used fabric widths and fiber on the menus. 

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Adding the details in the fabric pages allows you to group your fabrics. This is useful if you want to know only the cottons in your collection, or those that are 140cm wide. The location box is especially useful as my stash is split across a couple of wooden storage boxes and I can never remember which one to look in. The layout is pretty clean and uncluttered with the information in two columns. 

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There's a small number of issues with this app though. It has constant adverts at the bottom - this is annoying but to be expected with a free app. I can generally ignore them and haven't yet accidentally clicked on them. It also doesn't remember what measurement type you use to record the length of the fabric. I've listed my fabric in metric and have to choose this option every time I add a fabric but still, it isn't too bad and doesn't take much time to hit 'm' instead of 'yds'! It is also only available on Apple. 

My entire stash has been added and it is so much easier to plan projects now. I will no longer be found pulling out fabric only to find that I can't fit all the pattern pieces on it! While it is a very basic app, it has everything I need. I now add new fabrics as they arrive and before they go into washing basket with a note that it hasn't yet been pre washed. I can see myself continuing to use this for some time. 

I'm always interested in new options for staying organised so please do share your preferred way of keeping track of your stash. 

Notionally Speaking: Stash

It's time again for Notionally Speaking where a blogger selects a sewing related word and writes about that word. 

This month's post come from Lynne of Ozzy Blackbeard. Lynne randomly selected "stash" and has some wise words on how to handle the fabric that enters your home. I wish I was this organised with my fabric! How about you - are you as organised as Lynne? 

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I was delighted when Claire asked me to take part in Notionally Speaking. I picked number 14, and my word is “stash”.

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If we craft, we have stash, it’s that simple. Where it gets complicated is the amount. I like to think that I have a relatively small fabric stash, for the simple reason that there aren’t many fabric shops where I live, so temptation doesn’t fall in my way too often; although the internet sales are hard to resist! I can appreciate how overwhelming it must be to have bags and bags of fabric. The pressure to use it must be awful.

But is stash just fabric? I don’t think so. What about all the other stuff that sewing requires – buttons, thread, zips, interfacing, bias tape, ribbons, patterns, books etc? All stash my friends!

The secret to stash control is organisation. I know that’s really boring, and takes up valuable crafting time, but it’s worth it. Then there’s no more time wasted searching for that elusive zip that you know you have, and is just the perfect colour for the garment that you’re making.

Here’s how I do it. As soon as a piece of fabric comes into my house, it gets washed, and then put in the fabric bag. By that time I will probably have an idea of what I want to make with it (if I haven’t bought it for a specific pattern), so I pin a piece of paper to it with the fabric length and width and what I want to make.

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I got this bag on Amazon, and try to operate a strict “one piece of fabric in, one piece of fabric out” policy. It doesn’t work, and I consider it a win if I can get the zip closed. This bag lives under a bed. There are also two bags in the roof space, but in fairness what’s in them mostly came from my Granny.

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I also have a notebook which is my stash organising saviour. I cut a little bit of fabric from the corner, staple it into the book, and note where I bought it, the price, length and width, and ideas about what I want to make.

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This has proved to be invaluable. I can make notes about what else I need, thread, zip etc – I sometimes even include really bad drawings! It’s so handy just to lift the book to take to the shops for colour matching thread. Also it serves as a fabric guide, as I have different types of fabric in there, so now I know what they are like if I want to buy more.

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I keep all my other stash items in various tins and boxes. For example, my zips and bias tape are in these Marks and Spencer biscuit tins, which were far too nice to throw out once I had eaten the delicious shortbread that was in them.

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The boxes that washing liquid capsules come in are very handy too, but sadly are not so glamorous. I have found that they are the perfect size for four overlocker cones – no more hunting around for the last cone in the colour I want!

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I am lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing table with drawers and shelves, so most of these things can be stored there.

All my patterns are stored in a big box under a bed. The coloured plastic folders came from the pound shop. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get any of the A3 size for a while.

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But what if you’re not just a sewist? I also knit and crochet so then there’s the yarn, needles and hooks stash. There was a time, before I started sewing, when there was so much yarn in my house. Again, in fairness, most of it came from my Granny. I used some of it, and sold the rest to fund my overlocker, but I thought I’d leave you with a photo of my Granny's yarn on the day I sorted it all out.

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Feel free to show this to members of your household if they say your stash is out of control.

Bringing a bit of order: part 2

I've been telling everyone recently that I don't have a large fabric stash. However, if you ask my boyfriend he would probably tell you differently (I don't know for sure, I haven't asked!). Fabric seems to be everywhere in the flat. I can be a little (lazy) short of time once I have completed a project and the call of the next one is more overwhelming than the need to tidy. However, with the flat "purge" going on, of which I said nothing is safe, it was time to tackle how I store my fabric. Armed with a cup of coffee and The Apprentice on BBC iPlayer I brought everything together:

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I then divided it all up into different piles: "stash fabric" which is anything that is big enough to make some from whether an item of clothing or a bag of some sort, scraps, UFOs (unfinished objects) and toile making material. 

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I was surprised by the "stash fabric". There is more there then I realised although a lot of it is left over fabric from other projects. None of these sprang to mind before when I thought about how much I owned. I came to realise how much was there when I decided to catalogue it. Call me a geek but if you're going to get organised then you might as well do it properly. A simple table will now help me make decisions on what fabric to use with which pattern. I listed the type of fabric, colour, amount (I measured every piece but not the scraps obviously) and any pre-treatment including temperature washed at if applicable. I can only access this from home which is a little annoying. Anyone know of any apps that could help here? 

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I wasn't so surprised to see the pile of scraps growing and growing. I'm not one to keep every little piece, if I can't see what use it will be in the future I throw it out. I have a few thoughts on what to do with this lot. 

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My UFO pile is pretty big. I need to decide whether to carry on with them or try to use them for something else. I have changed shape since cutting a lot of these out so I'm not sure they will fit. 

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I also have a growing pile of items that should be refashioned. Most of them are Adam's old work shirts. I can see more feminine shirts from some of them, probably not skirts as the grey ones are made from a lightweight cotton. I can probably rework the white ones for him as I can remove the company name by taking away the pocket but not the grey ones - they are definitely mine! 

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Two hours later and everything was put away neatly. I've decided to make a few bags to keep the items in as I'd rather look at pretty bags instead of plastics ones. Luckily, I have a lot of the purple fabric with embroidered squares which would work perfectly! I just need to find the time to make them... I don't have a sewing room but this process definitely makes me want one even more. I have to store all of my fabric under my bed, like a young child stores their toys. At least I have managed to find a dedicated storage space, even if it is awkward to get to - I had to stand in the wardrobe to get this shot!

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What storage systems or solutions do you have?