fashion revolution

Sustainably Destash Your Fabric

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

I love going through my home after the holidays and cleaning up and clearing out. It’s a good time to go through areas of the house that feel overwhelming. It’s also a great time to go through your fabric stash and get rid of fabrics you won’t use! I mentioned previously that I did a fabric destash and was able to give away the fabric this past year. Getting rid of 15 years worth of fabrics that I knew I wouldn’t use was amazing, and my space (and mind) feels clearer knowing it’s out of my home and now with someone who can use and appreciate it all.

I was able to donate my fabric locally, and wanted to share some resources for sustainably destashing fabrics you may no longer want in your collection. While some of the options on this list may take a bit more time and effort, the goal with a sustainable destash is ensuring the fabric gets to a better home. While it can be convenient to drop fabrics off at any donation place, there may be a chance they don’t sell fabric, or they already have an excess amount. When I reached out locally, one shop told me they had plenty of fabric and it just wasn’t selling. I hope this list gives you some ideas, and helps you destash your fabric!

Sell Your Stash:

There are a few options if you are looking to sell your stash

  • Destash on Instagram: If you have an audience on Instagram, and want to sell through the app, setting up a destash account is a great option! Jordan (from Resliced by Jordan) has a great blog post of tips for setting up an Instagram destash.
  • Facebook Groups for Destashing: There are groups built around selling your fabric stash! I am part of a few, and have purchased a couple times through Facebook and the process has been successful. When selling through a Facebook group, there may be specific group rules you have to follow. Also keep in mind most groups require payment go through Paypal, so you will need an account to partake. A few of my favorite groups:
  • Other online sites:
    • Etsy: If you have a lot to sell, and have some more time to sell it, etsy may be a great place to start. Fabrics are typically listed as supplies, making them ok to sell on etsy, and if your materials are vintage, they are very welcome on the site! Etsy is great if you want to set up more of an online shop, or if you will continually have a stash to sell through. This is the way I’ve been selling my extra fabric swatches.
    • Poshmark, Mercari, and Depop: all similar sites for selling secondhand items.

A few tips before donating:

  • If you have a lot of fabric to donate, separate fabric by type. Place cotton, denim, vinyl, apparel fabrics and upholstery fabrics in seperate bags and label properly. (This works well with large quantities, that may already require multiple bags.)
  • Do you know specific fabric content for your donation? Consider pinning a little note with each fabric cut with the content. This isn’t necessary, but it will be very helpful to the receiver. (I recommend doing this with apparel/specialty fabrics)
  • Is the fabric in good condition for donation? If it’s been stored for years, does it need to be washed? Again, not a necessary step, but donating items in the best condition will ensure they will be used and/or sold.

Check with local spots to donate. When reaching out to people, I found it helpful to mention the types of fabrics I had, how many bags I would donate, and that it came from a smoke and pet free home. If there was interest, I made sure to have some quick photos of the fabrics, and specified there were yardage pieces, and larger usable scraps.

  • Reach out to local thrift stores/resell shops. Some chain thrift stores will take fabric, but I love seeking out smaller shops to support.
  • Ask Church Thrift Shops. If your local church has a thrift store, email them to see if they sell fabric, or if they can use the material for projects. They may know church members who are sewers, or have a connection.
  • Ask local schools that may have home economic classes or theatre programs. Preschools may be looking for arts and crafts supplies. Have a local College or University? They may have a sewing, fashion or costume program where the students can benefit from working with free fabrics. It may take some clicking around websites to find the right contact, but it’s an option to keep the fabric local.
  • Ask local sewing guilds. Google sewing guilds in your area and see if anyone is interested – especially if you have quilting cottons, Quilting Guilds could benefit!
  • Local Facebook Swap Groups. Does your town have a local “curb alert” or swap group? That may be a great spot to see if anyone local can use your materials. You can do a porch pick up, or set up a local drop off location. Check out your local Freecycle as well!

So many sustainable fabric shops run on destashed fabrics. Check below for a local spot! (These resources are US based)

  • Ragfinery (WA, USA) : Fabric greater than 1ft. x 1ft. – limit 3 bags/boxes per donation
  • A Thrifty Notion (KS, USA) : Accepts drop offs and shipped stashes. (Read more here.)
  • The Scrappy Elephant (VA, USA) : Only accepts fabric larger than a fat quarter – in store drop offs.
  • Scrap It Up (Ohio, USA) : Fabric donations: 40lbs or less, minimum size 1/4 yard, minimum 1 yard for upholstery & home dec fabric. Must make appointment.
  • Scraps KC (MO, USA) : Fabric donations: no small scraps, home dec samples or pieces under ½ yard.
  • Seattle Recreative (WA, USA) : Fabric Donations: fabric larger than 1/4 yard or fat quarter (no scraps, no clothing, no curtains / linens). Appointments required.
  • Swanson’s Fabrics (MA, USA): Fabric donations: “We cannot accept fabrics with strong odors, or clothing. Curtains are cool.”
  • Paper City Fabrics (MA, USA)
  • Our Fabric Stash (WA, USA): Takes fabrics on consignment. Appointments necessary.
  • Scrap Creative Reuse Locations (MI, MD, OR, VA, USA): Please check individual locations for donation policies!

There are a few sewing related organizations that look for fabric to make their donations.

  • Project Linus: Providing handmade blankets to children in need. Donate fabrics, or donate handmade blankets. (Contact your local chapter to see what is needed.)
  • Quilts of Valor: Handmade quilts for Service Members and Veterans touched by war. Accepts fabric donations- red/white/blue fabrics are most requested.

Sew Through Your Stash for a Good Cause

Did you get the itch to sew while destashing? There are several organizations that rely on handmade donations to give back to their communities, and communities abroad. Below are some wonderful organizations you can sew for with the extra fabrics in your stash.

  • Enchanted Makeovers: Sew specific items part of shelter transformations. Enchanted Makeovers has several projects and programs to get involved in.
  • Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation: Sew items for families on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Navajo Nation, the Havasupai Reservation and the Yurok Reservation.
  • Sew Powerful: Sew crossbody purses to keep girls in school all month long.
  • Ryan’s Case for Smiles: Sew pillowcases for children experiencing time in hospitals.
  • Dress a Girl Around the World: Their message, “every girl deserves at least one dress”
  • Dolls of Hope: Sew a doll or teddy bear for children around the world.
  • Newborns in Need: Make booties, toys, blankets, etc for newborn babies. Also accepts crochet and knit pieces!

As always, if you know another resource to add to the list, let me know! I will do my best to keep this post updated.

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