Work-in-Progress Girl

Ugly Stash


So last week I talked a little about having a stash of “uglies” that are fabrics I don’t like or want any more and so some of that was what I gave away for my Sew Mama Sew giveaway last week.

Sew Mama Sew giveaway day prize

I had a few people mention to me that the fabric wasn’t really ugly that they liked it quite a bit, which is fair enough. I didn’t even really think it was ugly, I just didn’t see myself actually using it because the colours just don’t work for me terribly well, nor the prints. It’s easier to lump them all in as Ugly though than to have a bunch of different categories for all my unwanted fabrics. Which is maybe what I should call them, just unwanted.

I have a huge collection of these things. Well, not huge, but huge enough. They sit on the window sill in my sewing room, absorbing sunlight and probably getting faded down the one side. My “uglies” pile is a collection of a bunch of different things – some of these are things that I think look fine, but that I can’t figure out how to use:

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These ships were too big for the quilt I wanted to use them in. I don’t often use this kind of novelty print, so I really don’t know what to do with it! Same with the squirrels. They’re cute, but I really don’t have the least idea in mind for them.


Sometimes I have no effing idea what I was thinking when I bought them. I mean, I know what my original idea was.. but it was a terrible idea and now I’m stuck with mass amounts of such a terrible print. (One of those I have enough for a quilt back!)

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Speaking of no idea… the manzanita print? Ugh. The couches? Fun, but… what can I possibly do with them? The owls and spiders? So not my style. Some of these aren’t horrible, exactly, but I just can’t work with them. Sometimes it’s the colour (like that yellow print) or the texture (like that gingham, which is heavier than a typical quilting cotton) or the quality (like the pink lattice).

This is a never-ending and un-fun Sunday stash because these are all things I don’t love in any way, so who wants to talk about them?

The rest of these are all things I bought before I could afford to buy nice fabrics, so I’m wary of using them because they’re not maybe the greatest quality.

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Well, there’s the quality issue, but then there’s also the faux tapestry look. I can’t imagine any scenario in which I thought that was a great print, yet I’ve got a couple metres of it in two different colours! The celtic prints… yeah. I originally had the idea of using the Celtic knot prints… in a Celtic knot pattern. That’s not too obvious an idea AT ALL. When I first started sewing, I lived in a town with only one fabric store – Fabricland – and I was working part-time at a place that paid $8.50/hr. I wasn’t ordering fabric online, I couldn’t afford to go into the city to get nice stuff. I just had to deal with what was on the racks, and this was the kind of stuff they had. Fabricland quilting cotton has definitely improved in the last ten years – they sell big brand names now (usually relabelled, but if you check the selvedge you’ll find Robert Kaufman and Riley Blake and so on), but they didn’t back when I first started.

People always tell me I should donate fabrics like these, but honestly someone would have to drive up to my house to get them or else to pay to have them shipped, because the nearest place I know of that takes donations is an hour away by transit (and also, some of this stuff I would donate, but some of it I’d rather trade for). I got rid of about this amount of fabric just before Christmas – mostly florals that my mom had bought me and some childrens prints – and then in my last stash clean-up found this many more. I wonder how much my tastes will have changed in another five years or ten? I guess I should get start using some of my stash, save myself winding up hating it all!

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles


Author: clumsykristel

I'm a 30-ish quilter, and occasional sewist and embroiderer. I mostly talk about crafty things I'm working on, or wish I were working on.

23 thoughts on “Ugly Stash

  1. Is that a Collage print I see in your fuglies? the teacup one? You should think of doing a trade, do you know Amanda at What the Bobbin? she really likes fussy cut-able fabrics.

    • It is a Collage print… that one I think would be easy to give/trade away – a lot of people really like it! I like the text parts of the print, but not the teacups bit.

  2. Some of those are great! I have some fabrics I would never usually buy, but that are great for paper piecing. And the celtic knots? THey would be great for some cushions/pillows for the couch!

    • It is interesting how different the fabrics are that I’d use for paper piecing vs patchwork piecing! I used to have more fabrics that were really only useful for pp, but I haven’t done very much of that in a while now – I find it so frustrating to work on for a long time.

  3. Lol, I think every single one of us could go through our stashes and find crap we could say “what the eff was I thinking?!”. A Strawberry Shortcake print immediately pops in to my head…. And I get what you mean about only having one store, I was the same until I moved to the states. Then it was more affordable to buy online.

    • Haha… a Strawberry Shortcake print would be been top of my To Buy list when I was eight years old, if I’d had money to spend on fabric back then 😀 Now that I’m in Calgary there are more local options (I’m originally from a smallish town in Saskatchewan), but to be honest, most of the stores here are pretty focussed on fabrics I don’t love, so it’s still easier for me to find good fabric online than to shop in person (also, they’re all really hard to get to by transit – this city is NOT built for anyone not driving everywhere).

  4. Hi Krystal! I like some of them and would be happy to trade if I have anything you might like. I don’t usually buy big quantities though.
    I have some that I am trying to get rid of as well and so I am using them in making little pouches to give for Christmas presents. The people I want to really give a super nice present I am including something inside the pouch like a gift card or a handmade scarf, rolled up. I will try to send you a picture of the pouches. I made 19 of them yesterday!
    You could make super simple baby quilts for the local children’s hospital. 30 squares, half of them four squares the other half a whole square. You can make a bunch of those in just a weekend. Our children’s hospital (Wolfson’s) is always desperate for them. I quilt them in the ditch.
    Also, you could donate some of the fabric to schools. I have a small group of girls I am teaching to sew. They are making baby quilts for the children’s hospital as well. They just squeal over some of the fabrics we have had donated. They are so funny, fifth and sixth grade girls…imagine that 🙂
    Don’t know if this is helpful.
    Mary Pat

    • The pouches are quite cute! I like to do small projects like that too – I never have time to finish the big things (or maybe I just don’t have the patience/attention span) but the little stuff I can get done in an afternoon or whatever, so I love that. To get 19 made in a day? Wowza. I definitely don’t have that kind of focus 😀

      There’s lots of good ideas here, anyway! I’ve been thinking about doing some charity quilts in just large half square triangles or something, but yeah, even basic patchwork would do. I often wind up with tops that have no backs, though, so maybe I should try to work on actually finishing some of these, since I do have a fair bit of some of these fabrics…

  5. How much of the squirrels do you have? If you.have at least a yard I might be interested

  6. I LOVE the ships and squirrels just wish had some of those over here I can get easily (UK) as be perfect for new nephew quilt. Would happily trade!

    The owls and brown flowery print are really lovely too 🙂

  7. Try and post the on IG and sell them with #thegreatfabricdestash. I know I would pick up the one with the bird on the sofa and the teal print with the cup (collage line).

  8. if you are will to sell the dachshund prints let me know, my friend is a huge lover and just had a double mastectomy and I have been raking my brain thinking about what to do for her and these would be perfect for many of my ideas. What is the saying one persons trash is anothers treasure?

  9. Love many of the fabrics you think are ugly, but remember “One mans trash is another mans treasure”. Wonder what it would take to set up an “ugly fabric swap” of some sort. I love the fabrics you put in the giveaway. Many of the others you posted here I can see use for and other people will too. Swaps!!

  10. I am doing an out to sea quilt with that ship print…the trick is fussy cutting. It is too wide to use otherwise but seems like it was meant for fussy cutting with the large spaces between ships. I’m doing a disappearing 9 patch with it. The rest: destash or cut them really small. Ive gotten rid of some fuglys in 1″ or 2″ squares where you dont notice the individual prints as much.

  11. First off, I’d pay you to ship a box to me. Second, I think you should look at some of them a bit differently. For example, your squirrel print: until you said squirrel, I didn’t see them — I saw a wonderful graphic pattern in fun colors. Imagine a 1 inch inner border out of that fabric. Interesting texture, closely patterned enough not to look choppy, and at that size, unrecognizable as squirrels, probably. Great colors, tho. Look at them all with your glasses off or somebody else’s glasses on or squinting and see past the surface design to the underlying texture and color. Your ships could be fussy cut to be block centers; don’t worry if you chop part of the ship off, it’ll still read ship. Or make strippy quilts, one to three or whatever strips of fabric sewn together. Or make 9 patches, choosing fabrics while squinting for value and contrast 9 (forget about color) and cut the strips for fast piecing in a size (2″, 2 1/2″) that disguises or de-emphasizes the pattern. Look at tiny pieces or narrow strips (cover up the rest) and see how they look. I once had a friend I trusted go through my fabrics (a lot of them like yours) and sort them into two piles for me to make a queen sized log cabin quilt with 3/4″ logs (cut 1 1/4″), and the fabrics she added to each stack appalled me at first but she “forced” me to use them. It’s my favorite top (not quilted yet) and would have been really boring without those ugly fabrics. Layer several of them and make a chenille throw. And if you want more ideas, let me know. Or, as I said, ship them to me. I’m sure I could find things you’d like also in return.

  12. So so funny!!! Some you could definitely fussy cut. Maybe the rest cut really small or use as linings for stuff!

  13. i forget where i read it but in an article about using your stash, the author said ‘if you are unsure about a print, cut it up smaller’, sometimes looking at it as a big piece you can’t see how to use it, but if its smaller all you are really seeing is the color it shows and not all the distracting stuff. i first tried it when working with Kaffe fabrics, they can be overwhelming at first but soon all you are seeing is the colors of the square or triangle and the ‘ugly’ is blended away. when you look at your fabric stop seeing the print and just see the color. ps some of those prints are pretty, but i do totally get what you said about Fabricland, that’s where i bought my fabric before i discovered online. i have my fair share of uglies too, not my style anymore, though i try to slide some in when i can but they mostly just sit on the shelf. sometimes i think about destashing it but i might need it one day lolol

  14. I got the biggest kick out of reading your post. I can so relate!! When I first started down the quilting road, I was hesitant to spend a lot of money. And like you, there weren’t choices as to where I could get quality, designer fabric. I spotted the Collage print, too! But when I stop liking a fabric, it’s over. There are plenty of times I wonder what on earth I was thinking. We are all works in progress, right?!

  15. I also would pay to have some shipped to me. I live in Mexico now so my choices are 1) order online and pay the usual $20.00+ for shipping which is usually more than what I spend on material or 2) buy here but everything I have tried here that they say is 100% cotton is, when I test it at home is a cotton/poly blend and either melts under a medium iron or melts/goes up in flames when a match is applied. So if anyone has any unwanted material for a good price or free, keep me in mind.
    thelady at

  16. LOL maybe I should post my uglies just to see how many people actually like/want them 😉 when i started quilting I bought my fabric from bigbox stores too so it’s pretty blah. I knew of a couple of LQS but I’ve always found them intimidating (still do) because they’re run by older ladies who all know each other and I feel like the stupid young kid who doesn’t know what she’s doing when I go in there :S plus they’re expensive. I’m so thankful I ventured into the land of online fabric shopping!!

    I have all of my uglies in a box and tend to use them every now and then for test blocks (though sometimes I don’t even want to touch them to do that LOL). Occasionally I think about chopping them up for practice FMQ sandwiches . I have used some for the back of cushions as a lining too.

  17. You would be surprised, I bet if you offered them for free on craigslist people would drive on by and get them, but then you have the crazies on craigslist! LOL

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