OK, quilters, let’s be honest with ourselves: no matter the size, we all have a bit of a fabric stash laying around the house. If you’re anything like me, it isn’t just laying around the house: I have fabric and rulers in the trunk of my car! When meeting up with a friend recently, she mentioned how she was looking for a vintage fabric for a quilt she was making. I told her to meet me at my car. She gave me a weird look but when I opened my trunk, she understood! While storing fabric in the car might make for funny stories, it doesn’t make for effective quilting. If you asked me if I had this fabric line or that one or how much yardage of a fabric I know I have in my stash, I couldn’t tell you. No wonder I don’t quilt as much as I’d like to – I have no idea where my fabrics are at any given time!
Resolution #3: Steps To Organize Your Fabric Stash
I’m sure you love your fabric stash. Every fabric tells a story. From that souvenir fabric purchased on vacation to that fabric you bought so that it wasn’t lonely on the bolt, each piece of fabric we’ve acquired tells a tale. But all too often our storage tells another story: that of a messy quilter who doesn’t treat their fabrics with the respect they deserve! For our third quilting resolution of 2017, let’s turn our fabric stash from piles of fabrics hidden in the corner or tucked into plastic bags into an organized stash that helps us quilt more!
While it doesn’t sound like fun, the first step to organizing your stash is getting it all out! That means any stash you’re hiding from your husband, any yardage folded up and hidden in the linen closet, all those scraps you’ve been hoarding – all of it.
Once you’ve located all of your fabric, take some time to go through it. Do you still want that minky fabric you never used for a quilt for your baby nephew? Does that neon fabric still appeal to you? Sort all of the stash that just doesn’t fit anymore so that you can get rid of it – either by donating to a local Goodwill, quilt guild or friends and family.
When you’re down to the fabrics you want to keep, now comes the hard part? How do you want to organize your stash? Here are some popular solutions quilters have used:
- For Pokey Bolton, former host of Quiting Arts TV, she found that organizing her stash by color helped her. She says: “I really like this method of storing my stash, because I can see the colors when I enter my studio, and that inspires me. I also like the fact that the bins can be taken off the shelves for use while still containing the fabrics. When I’m finished, I enjoy folding my fabrics again and putting them away for the next use.” Pokey’s method of sorting by color includes using bins and attractive labels to organize her stash.
- Former McCall’s Quilting editor Kathy Patterson began using fat storage lockers after a move forced her into re-evaluating her stash and now it works better for her. Her comments: “I’m simplifying for dramatic effect, of course…not all my stash arrived in my new home as a jumbled mess. But lots of it did, and it’s messy no more! I can’t begin to tell you how much more pleasure, function, and inspiration I’m getting from my fabric collection now”
- For me, I don’t have a large enough stash to organize by color as I tend to work on a project-by-project basis. Something that’s done wonders for organizing my stash are SAR Acid-Free Storage Boxes. They come in four different sizes and work great for organizing all of my fabric for a single project in one place. The medium size box is pictured above and is my favorite size for UFO’s. Before these boxes, I used zip top bags but I would always overstuff them or critters and mold would get into the bags. Yuck! With these boxes, nothing gets in and my precious fabrics are safe – just the way I like them!
How do you plan to organize your stash this year? Is it as much of a mess as mine or do you at least know where all of your fabrics are? Let us know in the comments!