Quilting Notions,  Quilting Tools and Supplies

Let’s Get Our Fabrics Organized in 2017!

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!neat-stash-300x225

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. SARS Acid Free Box
    • 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!


  • Valerie

    My son and his son are in the process of moving out of the basement apartment, which use to be my sewing studio. I cannot wait to paint, get new carpet, and move back into the studio. I know a basement apartment sounds dark, but I do have lots of windows that face the south and lots of light. I cannot wait to organize my fabric stash again. I do like to organize my fabric by color. It is so hard to have patience right now. Right now my fabric is in a small bedroom, while my sewing machines are in the family room.

  • Maureen DeLassus

    About a year ago I visited a home goods shop that was going out of business. I got TWO wonderful things for my “studio”!
    I got a large table that is 100″ long, by 60″ wide, with a smooth top, and both sides have double decker cubbies!! I got it for $150. which to me is well worth it!!
    The other item I got was in a back hallway, and was used for employee inspirations. It had movable shelves vertically. As soon as I saw it I stopped and said I’d give him $40 for it! ( I was talking to the owner) he said you can have it for $25!!! I HATE that thing!! I tried to have him give it to me for free, but $25 was the price. I Love it!!! I just wish it was bigger, ’cause my stash doesn’t all fit in it!! So I’m going through everything, and putting them by colors except if they are for a special project, and Christmas and some themes are together, such as all the sewing material I bought from Keepsake Quilting.
    I Love your catalog and I Love your store!! We stay for two weeks each summer in Wolfeboro, NH, so I make at least 2 trips to the store!! It just calls my name!! I told a new acquaintance about your store last summer, and she thought you were a catalog only! So next summer we are making at least one trip to the store together!!
    Thank you so much for all your tips, and the wonderful service I receive when I’m at the store!!
    See you this summer!!

  • Jeanne Munson

    I took over the smallest bedroom after last daughter married, Took the door of the closet and had my husband make selves from top to 1/3 of the distance from the floor, spaced selves about 10″ apart, then stacked fabric by project with instructions. Stash was grouped in plastic box by seasonal i.e. Christmas etc. and then by batik etc. I’ve been quilting for 40yrs. so, yes I have fabric!! My cutting table is a cabinet from a home improvement store with a big enough top to take the large cutting mat, oh, he added castors to the bottom so I could move it when needed. So far its working but will admit there are times I do find myself with new fabric in—an no place to put it. Jean.

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