Three Suspicious Women and a Trunk Full of Fabric

Here's the final chapter of my fabric destashing adventure.

So earlier in the year I started my " Kon Mari " decluttering. It was not for the faint hearted, and you can read it over HERE .

Then when it comes to my fabric stash, I wanted them to go to worthy causes (such as this place). So I made a call-out for help, because the mission needed to remain a secret.

While that was in progress, I went to sort the fabric that I've decided to keep.

Let me give you some visuals....


The whole thing was surprisingly challenging.

And truth be told - there were moments where I felt positively ill. Parting with stuff that you've lovingly collected (and stubbornly held on to) is hard, especially when it had to be a secret mission !

But I did it - with the helps of this lady...

Amrit sent me this when responding to my  Secret Mission ...

Dearest Shelley
I would love to be able to use this fabric for three things I am passionate about...

Aussie Hero Quilts for soldiers, Days for Girls where we make reusable pads for girls in countries all over the world where having your period is a stigma and lastly using some of the fabric to support the Southern Cross Kids Camps through a craft retreat I attend every year in Marysville. 

All of these can easily be googled so I shan’t bore you with the details.  I am a few minutes away and am happy to collect any fabric donated – big or small.  I will need to distribute some fabric to others to help me with these plans.
It’s a wonderful gesture by you and I hope to honour your legacy. 
Best regards
Amrit Kleingeld

So we made a time and she brought a friend to help.

The day began with an empty vehicle and *lots* of big bags... though we didn't stay stealth - because who can remain calm with this much fabric around - even if our mission is meant to be a secret, right?

But we almost gave the secret away...

Our excited chatters brought out the next door neighbour.

He peeked over the fence to find three suspicious women swimming in boxes - robbing the place blind!!!

So I had to own up and explain why we had to do this in secret.

He nodded and winked knowingly (because his wife accumulates stuff too).

I'd say our secret was safe after all...

It turned out Mr. Neighbour didn't blab, because my parents have been home for a few days, and I'm yet to hear anything :-)

What did I do with the evidence?

Well, the fabric were kept behind curtains in the first place, so no one can see that they are no longer there anyway.

As for the empty tubs - I stacked them up in the now-empty wardrobe (after I've donated all the clothes that were previously there).

Mission accomplished. Phew!


My old stash now have a new life...

Amrit plans to use my pretty florals for Aussie Hero Quilts . Apparently there are requests for pretty quilts too (not just the manly ones). This way the girl soldiers don't miss out :-)

Imagine what we could achieve....

The darker / brighter colour fabrics are going to be used at her daughter's school.

The kids are making useful things for Day for Girls . So cool to have kids helping kids. I'm so thrilled to be part of this!

As for the fun, country designs - kids at Southern Cross Kids Camps can go wild - and have heaps of fun while creating some happy memories. So worthwhile.

Just before leaving, Amrit held my hand tightly and said:

"How can I ever repay you for such generosity?"

Hearing that, I suddenly began to choked up and went a little misty in the eyes. I blamed the dust.

"Just make others happy."

Those were the only four words that managed to escape my lips.

Frankly, I'm still pinching myself...

It brings me so much joy to discover just how much good can be done in the world - sewing can indeed change lives. One tiny stitch at a time :-)

What's the most uplifting thing you've experienced in sewing?

Simply Email Me  to tell me all about it - so that I can share the love with everyone :-)

With Gratitude, Happy Sewing!



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What a beautiful blog. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

- Angela


Hi Shelley,

I became a bit misty myself reading about the great use that Amrit will be putting her new stash to.

Love the pic of our soldiers with their boy quilts and agree that the florals will be wonderful for our girls in uniform. What an excellent program ‘Day for Girls’ is! - and the Southern Cross Camp kids will have a great time with their fabric.

I am inclined to get emotional when I am making something for someone special, but I know that I have put a lot of love into every stitch.

At the moment I am working on a Tree of Life wall hanging for my little sister’s 70th birthday.

For her 60th I made a memory quilt with photos of our parents, and the dog we grew up with, and the little rental house where we spent Christmas holidays - she cried when she unwrapped it, so we were both basket cases.

When I make pillow cases for the oncology kids I always think healthy, happy thoughts and hope that my contribution puts a smile on their faces.

You are obviously enjoying the contribution you are making to less fortunate people - long may we continue to be able to help others

In Friendship - Jan.


Hi Shelley

I am so glad that some will be used for Aussie Hero Quilts. I messaged the conveyor to make her aware of your predicament and she was aware.

Love the two other projects too. Amrit must be a very special person to be stitching for three different causes.

Take care.


Hi Shelley,

Some of that dust from your garage got into my eyes too. What a beautiful story.

I loved the photos of the military personnel holding their quilts - and how lucky is that bloke with the hexagon quilt just to the right of centre in the second photo?

Best wishes,



Hi Shelley,

How wonderful for this lovely lady to have all your fabric.

I sew for Aussie Hero Quilts as well so I know your fabric will be turned into fabulous quilts for our deployed service men and women.

Such a wonderful and kind gesture on your part, well done.

Best wishes,
Linda Lauriola


The most uplifting sewing experience for me is the support of my husband and his learning and wanting to sew his own clothes.

He has also brought an overlocker and I see him reading the manual as time will allow . We are also seen together shopping for material.

Kind Regards


HI Shelley,

I personally have made 8 quilts for Aussie Hero Quilts. I still have fabric left over here.

I do hope some of our services got some use out of my donation, considering I'm an aged pensioner.

Linda Pratt


Very cool! Goodonya!



Recently I gave my neighbour a shopping tote that I had made and it was just hanging around, she was so overcome that she hugged and kissed me, I was taken aback as it was just a bag to me.

She holds it up and kisses it when she goes shopping, so sweet.

Simple things in life can bring joy.



[The most uplifting sewing experience for me was] Making a coat for a small girl in velvet .... this 3 year old was in the middle of a dreadful family situation & had nothing.

The smile she gave then the whizz around was worth all the money in the world



A lovely email, thank you Shelley.

My is such a small project compared with other ladies. A sew heat bags for my dear neighbour who is 82. I have been making them for her for a couple of years. She quite often leaves them in the microwave a tad too long and scorches them.

It gives me a fuzzy feeling to be able to help her out.



Thanks for a great day!

Having a great time sorting the fabrics. Will take me a while!!

I will be sending some off the Aussie heroes and the southern cross ladies but doing the days for girls by myself next year.

Going to make and sell the Xmas cushion panels at church bazaar.

Thanks again!!!




I was so happy to read this message today and so happy your fabric found a home. I too sew for Aussie Hero Quilts and was so happy that some of the stash will go to them. It seems the right person turned up and will spread the joy.

Sewing for Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry bags is very uplifting. I am so proud of our deployed boys and girls. Occasionally, but not always, we get a message from some far flung corner of the world, a thank you from one who has received a quilt or laundry bag and those messages are more than uplifting.

A while ago I saw an article on the need for possum pouches for orphaned native animals. Often the mother is killed crossing a road but the baby in her pouch survives and pouches are needed to keep the little ones warm. Making those pouches was a very uplifting job. I've been saving fabrics and cutting and I am now ready to stitch up another batch.

What a lot of joy we can bring through our sewing machines.

best wishes to you,
Janine in Qld


I love what you are doing with your fabric.

Aussie Hero Quilts has a request list and I can honestly say that the girls do not miss out on fabrics of their choice. The quilt list comes out every Monday and the choice is theirs, The recipients choose how they want their quilts made.

Sue Niven


This sounds like a great solution to your stash problem.

I had goose bumps reading the story. I also feel inspired to destash and have purchased a copy of the book you recommended.



As a member of a craft group that (alongside the stuff we make for ourselves) makes various things for those who can't, I'm delighted that your stash went to such fabulous causes. Thanks for the feel-good story. :)


Laetitia Bailey-Mortimer


Congratulations what an uplifting story, well done all of you xxxxx



Dear Shelley,

I know JUST how you felt, having to part with lovingly chosen fabrics!!

We are moving interstate next year to be near our children (who, happily, live in the same city!) and I just HAD to downsize my stash - for the SECOND time. (The first time, a lot of my cottons went to 2 charity groups sewing for missions in Australia and the Pacific. That was about 8 big Garbags full....) This time, I too felt tearful and depressed, having to choose which fabrics I'd bought (with such great plans for them) to give away. I could only do it for a few hours at one time each day. I was grieving, badly. I am a passionate sewer- I LOVE FABRIC & COLOUR!! Some of my fabric is high end (silk especially) that I'd saved and saved for. I also had to donate gorgeous but heavier fabrics, as we are moving to a hotter climate.

THEN, I told my husband I was also starting to feel that I'd been very greedy in accumulating so much fabric over decades (and not using it). He is a wonderfully thoughtful man, telling me that everyone has to have something that makes them happy, and mine is fabric (and sewing clothes.My other main "vice" is buying books about clothes!) He was very reassuring, which allowed me to continue my task....and it took 2 weeks!!!!

I'd decided, once again, to be specific about who was to receive my treasure, and I emailed several councils in suburbs that have a lot of migrants and refugees. I also contacted a church organisation which has close contacts with refugees. All were very very interested in what I had to offer!! Overall, I gave them 12 Garbags of fabric, and 2 of yarn. One of the organisations told me that "their" refugees included women who had been tailors in their home country, so they also got 2 bags of specific "work clothing" type fabrics that I had bought to make up when I was working, decades ago!!! I like to think of them making new clothes, of good quality, for their families.

It is such a rewarding thing to donate to specific charity groups. I was keen not to just send my specially curated fabrics to op shops, as I know that many people ( but not all,I know ) who shop there can actually afford to buy retail fabric. I love knowing that Trauma teddies & baby hats will be knitted from my yarn, special quilts for the children's hospital & aged care homes made from my quilting fabric, and loved clothes made from my various special fabrics.

I REALLY loved the story you told of Amrit. Much love to her in what she is doing. I have a niece in the Navy and a nephew in the RAAF. I never even thought about the women in the Forces missing out on the 'goody bags' the men get!!! Wonderful story and photos. Thanks for bringing that to our attention.

Don't worry about my not having anything left to sew with! We decided roughly how much I can take to our new home (not bought yet!!)- the plastic boxes are in 2 large-ish stacks, so I'm not going to be left with nothing!!Emoji My biggest concern there is whether we can afford a house with a room big enough for my new sewing room. The one I have now is a converted double bedroom- bliss!!

My last task is the magazine sorting, and finding people to take them. I DON"T want them to go to recycling if it can be avoided. Unfortunately, there seem to be less and less people interested in sewing/quilting/crafts in our state, as I am finding it hard to find new owners who would love to read these magazines. However, I am nothing if not determined to find them new homes!!

My best wishes, Shelley,


That is beautiful! What a wonderful way to use your stash.

I learnt to do patchwork quilts when my marriage ended. A lovely lady who owned a quilting studio taught me. She opened her studio to pay for her quilts, as she donated many to charity. Quilting Mouse is the business name, which you can look up at Facebook.

The most touching donation was a lady at the local post office. We had gone there to pack up a quilt I'd made, to post it to a friend from school days who had been battling breast cancer. The lady who served us was all teary after she asked who the quilt was for and we explained. She said that she had gone through treatment for breast cancer some years ago and nobody did anything lovely like that for her. A few days later, Di and I went back there with another quilt I had made and gave it to her. All three of us were in tears! It was beautiful being able to give something I created to someone who so obviously treasured it.

Kind regards,


An awesome solution to your huge dilemma, knowing it will make someone else smile, or ease another’s burden must be of great comfort to you.

May God bless you for your generosity

Lorraine xo


Dear Shelley,

So glad to hear that your lovely stash will be put to such great use. I personally have been sewing for Days for Girls all this year with Sunshine Coast Queensland.

It is heartwarming to hear the feedback from the girls in third world countries that benefit. Not the least being able to go to school every day.

Keep up the good work



Hi Shelley,

my favourite thing is making baby quilts for all the pregnant ladies at work. Some examples attached.

Makes me feel really great when bugs is born and I get photos of babies in these quilts.

Happy to share, Johanna


What a fabulous story.

Enjoy being inspired by you.

Amrit is a gem, bringing so much joy to people.

Julie Small


Dear Shelley,

This would be one of the most beautiful and generous acts of kindness; thank you, to Amrit and all those involved - this brought a tear to my eye and filled my heart with love & inspiration.


Kylie Turner