Ever get tired of wasting your whole sewing session trying to find fabric? And what about all of those scraps? I’ll show you how I have kept my collection neat and tidy for more than 10 years!
When I first started my fabric organizing project, I'll have to admit I'm going to be real here, I had a very messy sewing room. I wish I had known this technique years ago when I was sewing a ton of skating outfits. I used a lot of Lycra and similar slinky, slippery fabrics that you can fold until the cows come home, as the saying goes, but nothing worked to keep the piles tidy. As soon as I put them on the shelf, they would not stay put. I had to figure out a method that worked on the most difficult fabrics and get things under control. I found this method (along with my little trick) even works with those problem slippery fabrics.
The idea is to take the yardage you purchased
and roll it around a ruler.
When you get to the end, fold the raw edge of the fabric under so you have a nice, clean edge.
Then take a large bobby pin (my secret weapon), and slide it to secure each edge to the rest of the “bolt.” I opted for bobby pins over straight pins so I wouldn't get poked. I also chose bobby pins because they're inexpensive and I had a large collection of fabrics I needed to tame.
Fold it in half and then it's ready for storage.
My bobby pins came from Sally Beauty Supply. They are about three inches long and are rust resistant. I have found that smaller bobby pins work as well. I live in a humid climate in Dallas, Texas, and I have not had any problems, whatsoever, with rust.
I have use this method for up to eight yards of fabric and it works great. If I have bolts, then I keep it on a bolt and store it that way. If you're a pre-shrinker, I recommend that you wash your fabric first.
How do you figure out what size you need to roll the fabric?
I measured the inside width of my cabinet. It was 22.5” so I had both a six-inch-wide ruler and a five-inch-wide ruler. I wanted to stuff as much of my collection in these cabinets as possible. If I used the six-inch ruler, I would have only been able to have three rows across (6 x 3 = 18). I found that if I used the five-inch ruler, that gave me four rows with a little bit of play (5 x 4 = 20).
So measure the area that you're going to store your fabric in and decide what size ruler will give you the most rows with the least amount of waste.
What if I don’t have a ruler that is wide enough?
If you don't have a ruler, you can cut cardboard to the size that you need. Just make sure you cut it nice and straight and that will be an inexpensive substitute for a ruler.
What about fabrics less than one yard?
For fabric amounts under a yard, I use Sterilite plastic drawer units. I used to store my fabric in the drawers flat. I was consequently digging through fabric to see what I had. Now, I use the same method that I do on shelves except that I always put the folded finished edge facing up in the drawer so that I can see what I have at a glance.
I use a little toilet tissue holder as a spacer to keep the folded fabric upright. I mark each drawer with a vinyl label and washable Bistro chalk marker (found at Hobby Lobby).
My sewing room is always evolving as I find new or better ways to store and organize things. Vinyl labels with Bistro washable chalk markers give me the flexibility to do just that. If I need to make changes, I simply wipe clean with a wet cloth, let dry, and write the new contents on the vinyl label.
How do you sort fabric?
Standard fabrics are sorted by color. Specific holiday fabrics are sorted by holiday and then by color. Some collections are sorted by designer with coordinates kept together.
What do you do with the scraps?
Perfect for applique, bits and pieces are sorted by color. I lay them flat to minimize wrinkles and keep similar colors together in plastic zip bags. These are easily stored in plastic drawers or totes.
I've been able to keep my collection tidy and I can pretty much go and find fabric that I purchased several years ago. Modify the technique based on the size of the container or space you have. Give it a try and see how it works for you. This is just a springboard to get you thinking about how you might want to organize your space so that it is more functional.
May your day be blessed with perfect stitches and GlitterFlex!