How I Organize My Fabric Stash
I have been a professional quilter (sewing for the camera) for 30 years. From my 14 years as an editor with Quilt Magazine, we had partnerships with all the major fabric companies. That meant that I have been showered with free fabric over that time.
|Bundle of fat quarters from Windham. The Foundation Collection|
I dug into these and made some EPP hearts.
I used to save all my scraps and cut them into usable pieces (ie, 5” charm squares, 2-1/2” jelly roll strips, etc) but now I don’t save anything smaller than a fat quarter. I share all my leftovers with my local quilt guild. I do have a large tub of Kaffe Fasset strips and scraps for string piecing.
|Big plastic tub of Kaffe Fassett scraps|
Here's one scrap buster quilt I made from my KF scraps:
|String Pieced Scrap Buster: 49" x 59"|
I used to arrange my fabrics by color. Once I sewed with a coordinated collection and had the quilt published, I split up the leftover parts and put them on bookcase shelves according to color. (This bookcase did not survive my move in 2018, but it was a super place for all my fabric).
Reds here, blues here, etc. It worked for a time, but I found that I was always looking for a particular piece from a particular collection that I was convinced would be perfect for my next project. Time to reorder! I had to put them back with their collection buddies!
|Backyard Blooms by Windham. Ready for me when I want to make a chicken quilt!|
Now I store my fabrics by vendor and collection. Many of them are secured with a rubber band (because 90% of what I have are fat quarters or half-yard cuts) and the name of the collection is attached with a piece of paper. It’s very easy for me to find what I’m looking for and the coordinating fabrics will work together for another project.
When I get a new collection, I spread it out and take a few photos. I always feature a new collection on my blog and seeing all the fabrics like that is something my blog followers seem to like! This Diamond Dust Collection is a wonderful set of blenders that I can see on my shelf. I know that I can find almost any color to go with any other set of prints.
I have been a classroom teacher for 18 years. I teach my own patterns (I have developed hundreds) and create at least a half-dozen new workshops each year. I have retired some, but I still have workshop samples for at least 3 dozen classes! I began using the large yogurt boxes from Costco when I ate a Chobani yogurt every day.
|How I store my workshop samples|
Each box contained 12-15 cups. I have had as many as 4 dozen (that’s 48) boxes for my samples! It took a few years for me to eat all that yogurt, btw. The beauty of this is that the boxes stack nicely with each other up in my closets and I put labels on the outside so I know exactly what’s inside. When they're empty, I put a new label on and fill them again.
Books? I used to own hundreds but gave 90% away when we moved into a much smaller house. I can always check a special book out of my local library! And if I find a book on the giveaway table at my guild, I take it home, read it and then give it away again!
When I make a quilt top and have no plans to finish it immediately, I put it on a hangar and up in my studio closets. I have almost 4 dozen tops there right now. I will pull several out and take them to my guild to be finished for charity quilts. Here's one closet pic from 2013.
|Quilts in the closet|
I have boxes with orphan blocks. I have boxes with small quilt tops. I have boxes just for random hexagon blocks. I find that if I label these things, I'm more likely to find them without tearing my hair out! Lest you think I sew in a pristine space, think again. This photo is from 2013 and while it's my former sewing room, my current room is still this jumbled.
|Me sewing in my sewing space in 2013|
I like to think I work in organized chaos. I do clean it up from time to time, especially when my grandkids come for a visit. They sleep on the floor on twin mattresses and I have to make sure there are NO pins looming there.
I'm weeding things out. Stay tuned - I may have some giveaways in the coming weeks!
How do YOU like to arrange your own fabric stash?