Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fabric-o, Fabric-o, What Do I Do With Thee?

Did you think I was trying to decide my next project? If only. Well, that thought is there, but that's for another post. This one is on fabric organization, or lack thereof.

Despite the fact that my house seems rather disorganized and at times cluttered, and a box or two, maybe three or more, can be found stacked in a hallway, or in the middle of a room, I really, really do prefer organization and my fabric stash has been a little chaotic for awhile...and not because I've been so busy piecing and quilting with it that I've left pieces laying around. You see, for the last year or so I've probably done more collecting than sewing. And that fabric has been stuffed here, and there, and even elsewhere. Throw in this year's medical issues, and it's least in MY mind. I'm working towards changing that in 2012. I have 2.5 months to get my act together - self-imposed structuring! I'm determined to not buy any new fabric, unless it's an absolute requirement for a specific project (when I get back to sewing!) and I just can't find anything acceptable in my stash.

So...for a few days I've been working on pulling out all my fabric and re-folding and trying to decide how to best store it. Most pieces have been in locking plastic tubs stacked in a closet. Fine, but hard to work with. The shelf above (not in photo) has bags of batting pieces. I have a huge bundle of batting (Warm & Natural) in a large bag to the left of these stacks. Initially I tried to organize by color but one color runs into another which then runs into another and my brain started getting confused as to which tub it belonged in, oy!, and with a few things by 'collections', i.e. repros, western. The photo below shows my ca 1930s collection. I have a couple 1 yd pieces that my mom gave to me, not necessarily 1930s, but vintage early 1950s which she had used to make dresses for my sister and I. I think of those is that vertical piece between the two rows on the left.I'm still not entirely sure how I want to organize, and I need to finish my re-construction of my real fabric storage closet. That closet measures 56" wide by 45.5" deep, a small walk-in closet. This is a photo of the closet. The two tubs in the back right corner are fabrics I acquired as the result of a precious lady who was instrumental in starting our missionary quilts classes many years ago and before my time, who ended up with Alzheimer's and her daughter passed the fabric on to someone else, who in turn passed some of it on to me. I'm sure a lot of it will still be used either for missionary quilt's or other community service projects. The tub on the left has some strips for log cabins in military red, white and blue in addition to some yardage from when a group of us worked on some military quilts. and there's a pile of quilt magazines, too, and still the paint stuff that managed to get cluttered with miscellaneous stuff. Back to the closet; to date, I've painted the walls and nailed cedar down for floor covering. The closet has a ceiling light fixture. Originally, I was thinking I'd put in deep wire shelving and stack the tubs of fabric on the shelves. But the last few days, I'm thinking I may just put in laminated board shelving, adjustable, and with about a 12" height in between. Then on the side, put in a rod section where I can hang those fabric lengths of over 3 yards (I may change that to 4 yds). I currently hang those on the hangers with cardboard tubes. I may leave the hanging fabrics in the guest closet. There are two closets in that room. The one you see below and a shorter one on a wall to the left and behind the room's entry door. I could then likely utilize a rolling cart or two for the smaller pieces.

I had read somewhere the idea of using comic book cardboards for wrapping your fabric around like bolts of fabric at a store, but rather than the height of the fabric's half-width, fold it again so that it measures approximately 11" high (1/4 fold of width). I was thinking of doing that but wasn't inclined to buy online and wait for delivery so decided I could achieve the same effect by using a 6" ruler, or in this case, a 6" cutting mat which I could use as the guide while 'rolling' the fabric and then easily slip it out. I decided this would work fine and have been doing so with all yardage measuring from one to three yards in length. I now have a whole lotta cute little fabric 'bolts' which I can stand alongside each other or lay atop each other on a shelf...if I only had the shelves! I had also read about folding fat quarters so that they fit into empty tissue boxes (which I just happened to have three empty & flattened waiting to go into the recycle cardboard trash). I pulled them out, taped them back together and cut the bottom off them. My FQs were already pretty much folded the same way, so that one was easy.

Now my real dilemma, the decision as to how to fold those fabrics that measure full width by whatever length up to a yard, and then all those other odd pieces that don't measure the full width but could be of any length, and all those other odd pieces that I haven't already cut into specific size squares or strips for future not-yet-selected projects, sigh! And what about those pieces of whatever size that match a bigger piece of yardage, do I keep them together, or pretend they're just 'scraps' and separate them and cut them down more? Oh, what to do, what to do! And then do I still keep 'collections' separate? I know I will on the '30s repros because I've only ever bought FQs of those, and they fit snugly in that drawer.

Note to self: buy appropriate shelves and install (or get Marty to install).


  1. Wow! What a wonderful stash you have. And you're doing such a great job on organizing it!! I could spend hours looking through your fabrics -- especially the 30's prints! :)

  2. You are doing a great job on getting your stash organized. I have mine in plastic bins all over the place. Anywhere a bin will fit, you will find one. LOL Some day I hope to have all of my stash organized in the same area, but not till we have a bigger place.


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