Monday, December 1, 2014

My Free Fabulous Fabric Organization System

Hello Sewing Friends,
  I found a blog post intended for June but never published so here you go! Enjoy! I'm so excited to share this fabulousness with you!

Oh Fabric! How we love to pet and look at you. The problem is we can’t always find the exact piece we’re looking for, as we wade in the depths of the piles and totes or poke into the nooks and crannies we’ve stashed our preciousessss in. 

I don’t know about you but if I can’t see it, I forget it’s there and it languishes deep within the pile collecting who knows what as it lays on the floor. I wanted a better way to organize my fabric than folding and refolding on my shelves or scooting piles along the floor. I believe fabric is meant to be used as more than dust collectors and bug nests.

I read lots and lots of articles and spent hours on Pinterest looking for storage solutions but for everything I saw I had to buy something else so the piles stayed. Until I was reading Miss P’s blog one day and her method clicked! Here’s why I like it 

  • Utilizes shelving you already have
  • Uses cardboard you can get for free
  • Able to see the fabric from all four sides of the board
  • Makes every piece of fabric the “same” size
  • Allows you to store more fabric in the same amount of space ;)
  • Doesn’t cause an avalanche when you pull a piece of fabric out 

Two points I want to hammer home are by contrast are: this is superior to the bolt at the fabric store because the cardboard is thinner and the fabric is wrapped around ALL four sides so it is VISIBLE however you stack it! 
 While this is similar to using comic book boards this method uses free cardboard you cut for YOUR shelving, allowing you to maximize what YOU already have!

This was not something I did all at once, in fact I’ve been working on it for about a year. As boxes come available I cut them up which makes it very manageable and less overwhelming. It has been glorious! Everything stays neat and it is so easy to grab things in and out of the stack. It has also been frustrating because I seemed to keep pulling pieces I’d already rolled out to use. I guess that means the visibility thing is working! 
If I was really organized I’d have written the yardage and attached it to the piece but when do I ever pay attention to my yardage requirements? :)
Grandparents helping for the first big cut and sort.
Getting Dad in on the cardboard cutting.

This worked wonderfully for all but my smallest pieces of fabric which were overflowing the smalls tub. My mother couldn’t sleep one night and discover pinterest for herself. :) The next  day she offered two file tubs that were stored away unused. This works just like the file cabinet system only these fit on my existing shelving and didn’t cost me anything but cleaning time. It’s easy for me to pop the lids off and see all the pretties crammed in a row because you can bet I was cramming as much as I could in them. :)

I’ve finally found a storage solution that works with what I have; and once it is set up, requires no maintenance to keep up. It’s always ready to go and is easy to add new pieces to. (Bonus: it was super easy to pack up in the move, slotted them into garbage sacks and filled in the cracks.)

I never expect to use up all my fabric nor do I want to. I just want it to be in a manageable form and not take up all my space. This is what works for me.

Odds and ends I rolled and stuffed into a box.
How about you? What are your feelings about your stash of fabric? How do you organize it? Do you have a favorite method?


Heather Bee said...

This looks great Emily. I also love the pictures of the family pitching in to help. Get them working! :)

Carolyn said...

Wow. Your stash is positively mind-blowing!

Mrs. Smith said...

LOVE your new method!

RIght now my fabric is in the basement (which is partially finished) so they are folded in tubs and I *hate* it! I am counting down though because we will be empty nesters in the next 5(?) years :) and I will take a bedroom as my sewing room!!!

Becky W said...

Looks great! My method is pretty similar, except I did get the comic book boards and buy some shelving because I didn't have shelves already, they were on sale at Target, and I needed to do something. I actually do have most of my bolts held closed via a binder clip with a scrap of paper underneath, both to protect the fabric from the clip and so I can write the yardage and width on there. (I also have an excel spreadsheet set up so it'll do all the math for me on yardage in vs out, but I'm not always the best at updating it when I get new fabric!)

EmSewCrazy said...

Very cool. Getting to buy from scratch had to be fun. Part of me wishes I had taken the time to write yardage but since most of it is grandma fabric I didn't know how much was there in the first place.
The binder clips is a FABULOUS idea. Much better than getting stabbed by my pins as I pull bolts out.

EmSewCrazy said...

OOh! We just moved and I'm getting a kind of dedicated sewing space. I'm so excited. I'm going through withdrawals because all of mine is in our storage container. Can't wait to see all the pretties again.
Hope your bedroom takeover plans go superbly!

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks, I think... there is a reason I started the Stashbusting Sewalong. :) Most of it came from a Grandma basement I helped clean out. I got paid in fabric.

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks Heather! It was fun to get the grandparents involved. My grandma can't believe all the fabric I have and keeps reminding me I can only wear so many clothes. On my birthday she tells me I better not buy fabric with their gift! I tell her I bought a pattern instead. :)

losangeleshijabi said...

That's such an awesome idea!! I think I may do this...

EmSewCrazy said...

Glad you like it! Hope it helps you as much as it did me!