Fabrics – Sorted!

Confession: My favourite fabrics have spent the last year untidily heaped in an old box near my sewing machine, otherwise known as The Pile:

It was great to have my favourites on hand for random moments of inspiration, to sort through, dream, and plan my sewing queue – and just have them visible so I wouldn’t forget about them!

But it was unsightly, embarrassing, and for some mysterious reason it was growing bigger and bigger.  Getting to the bottom of The Pile had become a mission.  Things were getting out of hand – The Pile had to go!

I bought three plastic bins from the Warehouse – they are about as ugly as you can get, but they will fit tidily under the bed:

When I got them home, I realised I had the wrong lids and we had to brave the horror of the Warehouse once again to exchange them!

So, I have a container for SUMMER fabrics that I hope to sew in the next year or so:

A container for WINTER fabrics that I hope to sew in the next year or so:

And I have a container for NOW fabrics – things in my immediate queue, ie there is a distinct possibility that you may spot them on this blog one day:

And if I am going to be totally honest, there is still a lot of fabric stashed under the bed…..

And more in a jumbo box out in the garden shed…..

Not to mention what I bought yesterday at Global’s 30% off sale…..

Huh-hum…moving right along…

How do you store your fabrics – are they hastily stashed in boxes like the old me, or neatly stacked in ugly plastic containers like the new me?  Or do you have a more stylish solution to share?

OK, gotta go – it appears I have some sewing to do 🙂

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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

37 thoughts on “Fabrics – Sorted!

  1. Those clear containers look like such a good idea – you can actually see what's in there.
    My “system” is a tad more complicated, but essentially all “in season” fabrics are in an old jam cupboard – open door and “get inspired”. The rest is hidden in various plastic tubs. Twice a year things get moved around.

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  2. I am so pleased to know that there are other fabric hoarders out there too! I honestly started well enough and now I have fabric coming out of my ears! We have a big bookcase on our spare room (the sewing room) which is stacked high with fabric…but I'm now overspilling onto the floor…fabric piles everywhere! I like your plastic container idea as you can actually see what's inside and it's all very neat! Whilst I have a big bookcase to utilise, I need to actually have a massive sort out this weekend!

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  3. I don't just have one pile….I have several. It's a mess. But I feel a visit to Ikea coming on because this is genius! Thank you for sharing.

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  4. I have a set of wire baskets across one wall for quilting fabric. Sewing fabric is on open shelving on one side of the “walk in” closet in my sewing room. I need to be able to see what I have. Current projects are in a rolling laundry basket bought at the container store. It fits perfectly behind my cutting table but is readily available. I used to store under the bed in plastic but forgot what I had.

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  5. My fabric is shoved on the top shelf of a closet, and then in some cabinets in the dining room that really should be housing china, ooops! I like your three box system. It's elegant and efficient and doesn't over engineer the solution!

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  6. I have my fabric sorted in an IKEA shelf, I think it's called EXPEDIT – I wanted to store it away, but my husband insisted it looks nice in the shelf. I think he wants me to be constantly reminded of the stash I am slowly accumulating. Is there an Anonymous Fabric Hoarders group anywhere? HELP!!!

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  7. My stash lives in plastic containers and a few dresser drawers, sorted into knits, wovens and “special” fabrics (those ones that are almost to great to cut into). I also have a container of lining and interfacing.

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  8. I do own a lot of fabric so I bought floor to ceiling shelving units and stored it so that each shelf has a different color. With curtains over it to protect it from the dust, I can move the curtains aside and view it all by color. It's pretty inspiring when the curtains are all pulled back!

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  9. I have one box of fabric, which is in a cardboard box in my bedroom. (It's actually the box my serger came in!) I also have a small amount of quilting cotton, which I store sorted by color in a shelf that's designed for shoes, so it has lots of small sections.

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  10. I recently took over the guest room closet for my stash. I figure that guests only come for a week or two a year they don't need a whole closet to themselves, right? I find that I “lose” fabric if it is in boxes, so mine is mostly on hangers, but some on shelves. When I am going to actually use some of it (!!!), I let it rest on the cutting table for a day or two.

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  11. Oh, I've got to do this too. The growing collection is now housed in a wooden trunk (also serves as a table), a cardboard box, and in a basket stashed under my machine table. It's not too horrible, but it is hard to find things. I like the idea of sorting by season and I think that would help me organize my project planning too. Thanks for the idea!
    ~Jen (NY)

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  12. When we moved into our new condo, my husband said I could have the whole linen closet for my fabric, if I agreed to clean up my sewing area every night. Deal!!

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  13. Sadly to say, my stash is stored all over the place. Similar to yours. It's totally out of control. But one day in the near future, I will sort through it and decide what stays and what goes. I hope to move soon and have a dedicated sewing room.

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  14. I am so incredibly glad to know that I'm not the only one with a The Pile teetering near my sewing machine! Mine is balanced precariously on a stool, and unfortunately it is right next to the window, so Walnut is always jumping up there. Most of my fabric is contained in four large (and I mean large!) plastic storage bins under the bed, but there is definitely a significant amount scattered around the sewing room that needs to be organized…

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  15. I am so jealous of your fabric collection! hahaha My stash is very small, so i don't have much trouble organizing it. I neatly fold every fabric over a piece of thick paper and keep them side by side in a big paper bag. But my dream fabric storage is like yours “Now”. No dust, no moisture. And protected from the cats! This is my first comment here so I wanna say how great your blog is! Wonderful tutorials!

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  16. I have a very small stash compared to most. My 8 to 10 pieces of fabric fit into two plastic baskets. The baskets fit into a book case that is kept in the sewing room closet. Since there is so little, I usually know what i have.

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  17. I have confiscated half the our lounge cabinet for my fabric. My sewing corner is there too. As I don't have a lot of time to sew, I am not allowing myself more than fits into there. The useable scraps I have in boxes like you have in the laundry room. And then there are two or three large pieces that would clog up my cabinet too much and are stored somewhere else.
    My interfacing, trims and other little things live in a small special cabinet next to my sewing machine.

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  18. Since two years my stash is folded neatly in the very same type of containers you use. It's the same trouble to buy them. So I asked them for a birthdaypresent. Ik have a selection on colour because it's not always certain when you 'll want to use them. But believe me, it will still be necessary to scatter the materials around. Just to see unexpected combinations and forgotten treasures. In the end I think there is less untidy mess though………………………
    Marieke

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  19. I was going to start feeling very badly if those three perfectly organized containers were all you had of stash. I'm glad you shared there's still more. My favorite fabrics are not in a pile but all over the house as I take them with me from room to room, looking at them in different light and brainstorming. Today most of them are going back in the bins, while I finish my current project.

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  20. Isn't it great to organize one's fabrics? =) I store mine in an old linen closet/cupboard, effectivley keeping them out of sight and out of the sun. Have to admit though; I'm a bit of a fabric hoarder… So I also have at least two big boxes of fabric in the cellar (it's dry and warm there, so it's ok for storing fabrics). Current projects lives in the sewing room, in smaller, cute boxes from Ikea. I actually re-organized my entire sewing area a few months ago. Check it out, if you're curious and have the moment to spare =) http://swinginvintage.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-sewing-space.html

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  21. Sherry, I never woulda guessed! I use neatly stacked clear plastic bins, like the new you. But let's be honest here: there is a mend pile stacked on top of the top bin, and a closet hiding home dec & some bottom weight fabric, along with trims, etc. I dream of having a house & thus more permanent organization!

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  22. I like the three seasonal clear bin idea really well. My guest bedroom are stuffed with someday projects but I do enjoy the sewing most. I've not been well so my mchines became buried under mending projects..Feeling well enough to do alterations for those who don't sew and catch up my mending on favorite clothes. I'm happy I found this website.

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  23. I've got all my nice stuff in a massive suitcase and everything else in a massive paper bag (from Global Fabrics-known as The Fabric Store here (yea all the fabric shops in Melbourne have awesome names.. The Cloth Store is another cool one..)

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  24. My piles are in cardboard boxes at the top of the spare room closet, in large The Warehouse plastic boxes on the floor of the sewing room and, um, in large plastic bags on the floor of the spare room closet. Hmmm

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  25. I just did this, too! A month or so ago I bought some clear plastic bins and went through a weekend task of labeling each fabric with amount, width, content and putting all woolens in one bin, etc, silks and fancies in another, etc. I don't feel so overwhelmed by my fabric anymore. Feels so good, doesn't it?

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