Tell me I’m not the only one that has too much fabric! A few years ago it was such a mess that I had a hard time finding what I needed. So I came up with a new system to help me decide how to organize fabric. It has worked so well for me that I thought I’d share it with you today. Along with some of my favorite tips to organize fabric! If you like this post then you may also like this tour of my sewing room.
Like many of you, I’ve got quite a large stash of fabrics. I love to “collect” them in little bits. A yard here, a half a yard there. I’ve been “collecting” fabric for about 8 years now and realized a couple of years ago that my organization system was NOT working.
I could never find what I needed when I needed it. Also, I ended up forgetting about certain prints until they were found months later under a pile of stuff. Previously, I kept my fabric sorted by designer/line on my IKEA bookshelf. I just haphazardly folded the yardage and piled it up.
How to Organize Fabric
As my blog grew, so did the number of projects I was completing on an annual basis. Not only was I collecting fabric, but I was also using it almost as quickly (which is good right??). I soon realized that I needed a better system. A friend of mine told me how she used quilt rulers to fold her fabric so that it was all the same size. She also mentioned that she organized it by color, not the designer.
I spent an entire week refolding and organizing ALL of my fabric. I got a big folding table out and went to work. After I was done, I was so happy with the results that I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier.
I’ve had my fabric organized that way for about 5 years now and I love the system.
5 of my favorite tips for folding and organizing fabric by color
One: Don’t keep it all by color
I have separate areas for large scale novelty prints, stripes, and basics. For example, I keep all my gingham and pin dots together.
Two: How to Organize Holiday Fabric
I keep my Christmas and Halloween fabric separate from the rest of my stash. I love to sew for holidays and think it’s easiest to keep all of that fabric together. Also, I keep my scraps in Ziploc bags with the fabrics. (They are the only scraps that I store WITH my stash).
Three: How I organize Fat Quarters of Fabric
For the most part, I store my fat quarters with my yardage. I just unfold them so they are the same size as the folded yardage. I keep my bundles together though. After I use them I sort the extras in with my stash.
A fat quarter of fabric: Is a pre-cut piece of fabric that measures 18″ x 22″. It is called a fat quarter because it is a ¼ yard of fabric that is cut to yield a larger piece of fabric. It is a piece of fabric, commonly used in quilting. Fat Quarters are usually sold in a package with several fat quarters of fabric in different yet coordinating prints.
Four: Fold and Sort New Fabric ASAP
I am not a naturally organized person, but I make myself fold my new fabric and sort it as soon as I get it. I also try to refold what I don’t use after each project. Since I spend many hours a week sewing (for this blog, and for fun), it’s important for me to try to stay on top of the mess. It does get out of control at times, but I try to keep those times few and far between.
How to Fold your fabric so that it stacks and is all the same size
One: Decide on the width of the fold.
You need to decide whether you want your piles to be 5″ wide or 6″ wide. For me, the 5″ width fits perfectly inside of my IKEA bookcase. I have the Expedit, I believe they have changed the name since I bought mine.
Two: Fold the Fabric Selvage Edges Together
Begin by making sure that your fabric is folded with the selvage edges even and is as flat as possible. If the selvage edges are off (for example if the fabric was folded at an off-angle previously) I take the time to refold it the right way.
Three: Fold the Fabric around the Ruler
Lay your ruler on top of the fabric, with about 3″ of fabric over the top of the ruler.
Fold the fabric over the top of the ruler.
Then using the ruler as a guide, fold the fabric again, making sure to hold onto the part of the fabric that you folded over the first time. Keep folding until you get to the end.
When you get to the end, pull the ruler out and fold the fabric in half.
Four: Stack and Organize the Fabric
You now have a perfectly folded fabric, that will look great stacked up on your shelf. The best part is when you want to use it, you just unfold it and cut the part off that you want, then refold it and it keeps its shape.
The stack of fabric above was folded with a 6″ wide quilt ruler, just so you can get a feel for the difference in size from 5″ to 6″.
Do you guys have a favorite way you keep your fabric organized? What about your scraps? I’m terrible with scraps!