Neat way to fold and organise fabric

Fabric envy!  How to fold and organise your fabric stash.  Makes things so much easier to find and match.  I'm doing it!I'm lucky or unlucky depending on what way you look at it.  My local fabric store only has about a dozen bolts of quilting cotton, and many of those feature vegetables, so I'm never tempted to buy too much.  That means compared to many, I have quite a modest stash of fabric.  Still, it is easy for it to get out of hand, as I rummage about in the crate, make a mess, and the fabrics get creased and just well, messy.

An example of what I mean.  Hmm, messy.

how to fold and organise fabric

That annoys me a lot so I sought advice in our sewing chat group and found the perfect solution.  You can buy these ‘magazine boards' from Amazon.  They are basically designed for people who collect comics and things like that I think.  It's a thin but stiff cardboard board, glossy and the ideal size for folding and storing fabric.

(Amazon US and Amazon UK link)

how to fold and organise fabric

Each board is 8.5 by 11 inches, the same as a regular piece of US size letter paper.  And what do you get if you multiply 11 inches by 4?  Well you get 44 inches which just perfectly fits a piece of 44 inch wide quilting cotton.

How to fold and organise fabric

Open out your fabric and then fold it selvage to selvage edge to make it 22 inches wide.  Then fold in half again to make it 11 inches wide, by however long your fabric is.  Most of mine are 1 or 1.5 yards, although I did have a few that were 3 or 4 yards long.

how to fold and organise fabric

Lay out the fabric and place one of the boards across it, around 4 or 5 inches from one of the ends.  Fold that end over the board, then flip the board end over end to wrap the fabric around it until you get to the end.

how to fold and organise fabric

How to secure the end of the fabric?

I'm open to suggestions on this.  I had heard painters tape, but then one member mentioned that over long term storage, the glue had come away from the tape and stuck to the fabric, and she hadn't been able to remove it without leaving a mark.  So I used a couple of pins in mine to hold that loose end, but hmm, over time I wonder if they might rust or leave marks too.

Maybe I should just make sure to use all my fabric quickly and replace it with some more  🙂

how to fold and organise fabric

What do you think?

Then store and enjoy!

It didn't take long to fold up all the fabric and actually it was very enjoyable.  Nice to see some fabrics that have been in the bottom of my crate and ‘lost' for a while.  What was most enjoyable was stacking it all back in the crate afterwards – fabric joy!  Look how neat and pretty that is.  Now, finding and matching fabrics will be so much easier.

I should really get it all out again and sort it into color groups.

how to fold and organise fabric

Whenever  I want a fabric ‘fix' I can just lift the lid and gaze in with a big smile.  I really should get some more  (fabric, boards and crates!).  Look, there's still a little room to add some more on top.

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108 Responses to Neat way to fold and organise fabric

  1. Sue ingall says:

    I have used brass pins in my stash brass doesn’t rust

  2. Lynn Stellaccio says:

    Fantastic idea to try! Thank you!

    I’ve acquired many many totes of fabric that would be great to store in this way. Would you wash and iron all of them prior to storing them this way?

    Thank you – God Bless!

    Lynn S.

  3. Traci King says:

    I use comic book boards and have a book case I keep them in. Works great with plastic clips.

  4. Debbie Dover says:

    Before wrapping the fabric on the comic book board, measure it’s total length. After folding it around the board, tie it with a piece of selvedge strip saved from previous projects. This is a great way to use those selvedge pieces that you kept on hand. Choose a selvedge strip that is white or very light color to write on the measurement with ink near the end of the strip. Some of my labels might say something like “36” + scraps”. Keep it simple. Next time you cut from that piece, snip off the old measurement from the selvedge tie & write on the new measurement.

  5. Mary Beth Lang Frank says:

    I use this method and love it. I use metal bolt end clips to secure the fabric. I got tired of the pins.

  6. Robin says:

    I have just ordered the magazine boards from Amazon. My plan is to display them on a tall shelve unit. I have a almost transparent curtain (pink sheer with sequins, my daughter out grew but I didn’t) hanging on the shelf by a tension rod.

  7. Sharon Tinsley says:

    I inherited a china cabinet from my Mom , who is responsible for my addiction. Therefore I store my boards upright in the cabinet

    • Melody W Thomas says:

      I use rubber bands, but over time they dry out and break. What a mess to clean of the fabric. I’ve been using those boards for a long time.

  8. Ellen says:

    I have my fabric done like this. After 54 years of sewing, this has been the best way I have ever stored my fabric. As far as knowing how much fabric is there, all you have to do is count the folds on both sides of the board and multiply by 11 inches and you will have the length of the fabric that is on the board. For smaller (scrap) pieces, I wrapped the fabric the other way, so I multiply the folds by 8 1/2 inches.

  9. Toni says:

    Very cool – nice pics, thanks! To secure, why not just baste a few stitches? Knot at one end, 2-3 stitches and a back-stitch, that’s it. That won’t add to the bulk in storage like clips do, and won’t rust. It’s also free – no need to buy extra widgets to hold the fabric.
    Just a thought 🙂
    Have a great day !

  10. Michele Middleton says:

    what size plastic crates do you use when storing the fabric on the comic boards? Also, how many boards are you able to put in the crate? Thanks for all the wonderful tips.

  11. monda holleger says:

    i bought some of those carboard pieces from Amazon and love them… i put a paper tag on the end to say how much yardage is in the wrap. I have used pins and then put in plastic bins until i can get some shelving – my sewing room is not set up and needed a good storage technique.. hoping no rust but have not had rust on other items in past

  12. Deinya says:

    The folding is great but using pins,even coated ones, have potential for rust I humid environments such as Florida. Plain untreated string used for closing a stuffed turkey works well with a quick wrap around and is usable as each roll is reduced with use. Do not use ribbon of any type due to bleeding. If it’s ok for cooking, it’s ok for fabric.

  13. Becky C says:

    I ise these and use platic shirt clips you can buy in bulk from ebay

  14. Susan says:

    I too thought about using bookcases for my fabric but I’m in a small room and floor and wall space is premium real estate. I have more than one sewing buddy that has folded they’re fabric around boards or specifically made boards especially made for storing and organizing fabric. Wall shelves allows you to use your vertical space which is what I’m thinking of doing although I like the idea of storing them away from the light and especially sunlight so the fabric doesn’t fade. We need the tall library shelves with a ladder that moves along the shelves so you can easily get what you need. Ahhh ….. nice dream.

  15. Eva says:

    What is your recommendation for storing elastic fabric?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Same as woven, I use a piece of cardboard 24″ X 10″ and roll the fabric on it. It keeps it from over stretching and I can see what it looks like without having to unfold it.

  16. Cheryl says:

    I find this works with ‘small’ amounts of fabric, but what do you with the ‘yard’ of fabric, versus small amount? Or 2 yards that has fussy cuts out of it? I can’t find a good way to do this. And probably 50% of my fabric is yardage between 1/2 and 1 1/2 yards!

    • Natasha Morris says:

      I use this method for sewing fabric and have wrapped lengths up to 5m on one board. At most, the thickest board was about 1″ when wrapped.

  17. Bonnie Lanham says:

    You could fold the material over and tuck under like the fabric stores do !!!!

  18. Angela says:

    Does anyone enjoy the sorting and organising process so much that it sort of replaces the actual sewing? I do love sorting out mine, although I get overwhelmed as I have so little space so I do a regular purge. I enjoy sorting out the buttons and beads and needles etc. I find it very therapeutic.

    • Maryellen says:

      I find the organizing and re-organizing of fabric, paper or inks are the most therapeutic things I do. These are my 3 hobbies. When life seems out of control, this helps me to gain control and I can see the results quickly. Also when I lose my mojo, seeing my neat, color coordinated supplies, helps me get back into my creative mood.

    • Carla Chance says:

      Im the same way. I spend as much time organizing as I spend sewing.

  19. Renee says:

    It cost a little, but I made loops of inexpensive elastic to slip over the bolts, they hold perfectly.

  20. Helen Zenz says:

    Nice idea, I use filing cabinets with hanging file folders, I drape the fabric over the hanging folders, and close the cabinet drawer. Dust free and easy to see a glance.The two draw cabinets slide under my sewing table.

  21. Cheryle says:

    Does this method take up less space than storing in plastic totes? My stash has grown out of control so I’m looking for a way to shrink without parting with my friends. Lol

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      This method is better for stacking which saves space in your sewing room.

    • Helen Zenz says:

      I have a small sewing room so the cabinets works much better for me than the tubs, and I don’t have to rearrange tubs to find what I’m looking for. Just open the drawer and select the fabric. I used the 2 drawer, because it fit under my table, but if you have the room the 4 drawer would be great . The drawers are 20inches deep and you can use both sides of the hanging folder. I can hang about 60+ pieces of fabric in one drawer. Most of my fabric is 1-2 yards.

    • Bonnie Lanham says:

      My stash was getting out of control also so—-I donated some to Linus blankets or someone who makes pillowcases for Ronald McDonald houses(in our area it is the HCE)I went thru and (gasp)got rid of some !!!! It hurt for a sec. but was for a good cause so—-.

  22. Linda Christopher says:

    I use these & they really make your fabric easier to store on a shelf or in a bin .

  23. MaryAnn says:

    Anxiously awaiting the boards from Amazon! I am a beginner quilter and haven’t accumulated anything like the pics posted but looking forward to shop!!

  24. Carol says:

    We are full-time travelers and I converted the back of our toy hauler into my quilting room, so I needed a way to store my fabric. I bought clear plastic file containers with locking lids. (Keeps moisture out) I wrapped my fabric around the comic book boards and file them according to color, prints, etc. Works beautifully!

    • Janice says:

      What a great use of the “toy” room! Next time I become a full time RVer I will look at these RVs with a new perspective.

  25. Kaylene Clark says:

    I used the boards but I measured my fabric first. After wrapping my boards I then pinned the measurement to my fabric. Now I know exactly how much I have if that fabric and is it enough for the project I’m working on.

    • Nancy Rubin says:

      Oh my goodness gracious and honey bee! Brilliant idea since you have to open up the fabric to put it on the boards anyway!

  26. Suzanne Reynolds says:

    Alligator clips will hold your fabric in place without concern for the condition of your fabric. They are plastic so they can’t rest on your fabric and they are not pins to make holes.

  27. Bonnie Spielman says:

    I use coated bobby pins and hair clips to fasten the ends on mine. You can get cards of them at the Dollar Tree to make them less expensive. It took me a while to get all of mine wrapped and I didn’t know you could get these magazine boards and I had to cut cardboard. I will be getting some in the future. It makes it so much easier to find the fabric you need in your stash.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Wow. That’s super impressive. Thanks for sharing the pic. I’m going to have to have another go at organizing my space now. You’ve inspired me!

    • Claudia W says:

      Great picture of your stash! I will be moving my sewing room sometime in the near future, and the room I am moving it to has wall-ceilings like yours. You have solved a mystery for me on the placement of bookshelves for my fabric! Thank you!!!

  28. Sherree says:

    I have started using the boards and have used 600 and just got in 200 more. I am a quilter and found that when they were in a plastic bin, I would forget what I had and buy some duplicates. I have a room off my quilt room like a big walk in and I have bookcases lining the walls and ihqve them done my color. I was so excited to start this but it is taking so much time. I guess people call me OCD for a reason. I did not realize that I had so much and that is not even the fat quarters, jelly rolls and charm packs.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I am impressed with your store, at least that is what looks for me. It pays to be OCD, at least you can coordinate your quilts so much easier and enjoy the space much more. Anyone would be happy to be surrounded by such colors, I know I would be.

  29. Carla Garlotta says:

    I have been storing my fabric on magazine boards too, and i use plastic-coated paperclips to keep the end secured.

  30. Lynne LePore says:

    I saw this post when we were in the process of moving and I was planning my new sewing space. This was perfect and I have since folded all my fabric! First, it is just perfect and I feel like I have my own little mini store. Second, this has made me realize I have a fabric addiction! Omg! Thanks for the tip!

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