Organising your stash, how to keep it neat

More ideas for how to fold and store your fabric stash so you can enjoy looking at it even more :-)

I did an article a little while back now about the new smart and tidy way I was storing my modest fabric stash.  I shared it in the group and got so many new ideas to try that I wanted to do a follow up with some extra bits and pieces.  Especially about securing the end of the fabric once it was on it's new mini bolt.

I don't know about you, but for me, a lot of the pleasure from sewing actually comes from just looking at fabric, dreaming about fabric, stroking fabric, and browsing through fabrics online, even if I don't buy many of them.  So having my fabric neatly displayed gives me a lot of satisfaction, makes me enjoy sewing even more, and also saves me time because I can find and match what I need faster.

Fabric envy! How to fold and organise your fabric stash. Makes things so much easier to find and match. I'm doing it!

I enjoyed looking at my neat fabric so much that I even splashed out on some more fabric, another plastic storage bin and another pack of those magazine boards.   You can buy these ‘magazine boards’ from Amazon.  They are basically designed for people who collect comics and things like that and are ‘archival quality, acid free'.  It’s a thin but stiff cardboard board, glossy and the ideal size for folding and storing fabric.

(Amazon US link and Amazon UK link)

how to fold and organise fabric

I'd been using some cheap pins but know in my salty and humid environment that's not a long term solution because I'm sure I'll end up with rust spots on my fabric.  As usual the lovely ladies in the chat group came up with so many ideas, and here are just a few.

Fabric  Storage Ideas

Subscribe to the YouTube channel:
 

With thanks to Amelia for showing us how to fold using the fabric envelope method, Shamra for suggesting the plastic covered paperclips, Cherie for suggesting cheap elastic made into bands, and Mandy for telling us how you can use rings cut from pantyhose (that's tights if you are in the UK).

Now I know my fabric not only looks good, but is stored safer too.  Thanks ladies.

Want a big roll of cheap elastic to secure your mini fabric bolts?  Check out these ideas on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Organising your stash, how to keep it neat

  1. pj says:

    I use my Ikea shelving with the boxes that fit each square. I fold and roll the fabric so that is stands up in the box, they fit snugly in there so they don’t come undone. I can just pull out a box and can see all the different pieces I have. I try to keep the heavier fabrics in one box and lighter ones in another. I’ts amazing how much you can squeeze into each box 🙂

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Great Idea!

    • Margaret Hill says:

      I already have my fabric “standing” in boxes. My best tip is to stand your box on its end side, and then lay the folded or rolled fabrics in the box at the bottom. This way, when the box is full and you turn it to stand the right way up, all the fabrics are now “standing” too and are easily seen. My boxes all have lids – keeps the dust and light out – so I colour code them and label them on the outside in a visible spot. It’s quite wonderful when looking for, say, a yellow and I open the box to find some gorgeous fabrics which I’d forgotten I had. I put all different types of fabric together according to colour (as above) otherwise I would need dozens of boxes which would only be half full.

  2. Gail Behnke says:

    i have a lot of fleece material and lucky to have an extra closet. i hang the material over hangings. works great and can easiiy see what I have. also works for longer yardage materials..

  3. looweez1948 says:

    Ohhhh my fabric stash fills 12 feet wide by 6ft high Ikea shelves. Sorted into cottons, flannels, upholstery weights, and fleece which I use for backing cuddle quilts. It’s so hard to keep the stacks neat because I’m constantly in there “shopping” I need to do a purge but I think I’m a hoarder lol, and I can’t bear to get rid of anything! I’ve been sewing for 50 years and and will have to mention my stash in my will lol.

  4. Glynda Meyerholtz says:

    I use rust-proof dressmaker pins to secure my fabric on boards. I order them online, as I don’t find them in fabric stores.

  5. Susan Chinouth says:

    I saw a new post about storing our fabric across the top of hanging file folders and still using the folders in a file cabinet! What a great idea. The fabric stays out of the sun and when the drawer is opened, the fabric is displayed as it drapes across the file folder. The folders are also cut in half so you get 2 hangers out of each one!

  6. Pingback: Quilting Hacks Every Beginner Should Learn - So Sew Easy

  7. Elaine Chapman says:

    I plan (:?) someday to organize storage boxes of fabric scraps that I am told to keep. So far, I have made one quilt. This is such a nifty idea but I don’t know how to store small scraps on cardboard. Most are not 11″ wide. Would you offer some advice on keeping these scraps, most of which are from sewing clothes? Should I trash them? Would they probably be too small to be of any value? Just a beginner quilter.

    • Margaret Hill (England) says:

      In my group we keep all the small pieces which are either too small to use or pieces we don’t want to keep. These all go into a large bag – an old pillow case is perfect. We include ALL offcuts, selvedges, tags and even bits of thread.
      When thge cushion is reasonably full we machine stitch the end closed and then it’s taken to the local sanctuary for stray cats. It’s washable (cotton) and the sanctuary is always so grateful for any free donations which help to provide comfort for their animals.

    • Karen Little says:

      Oh, Elaine, please don’t trash them!!!!!! There are so many ways to use scraps — especially good quilting cotton. You can make scrap quilt tops, crumb quilts (so much fun!) and placemats, table runners, cute little appliqués for clothing (especially useful on children’s clothes that get a “hole” in the knee or other area but are still very wearable — a heart appliqué on knees is so cute! If you would like more suggestions just ask or have a look on you tube — so many wonderful ideas on there! And if you just don’t think you will use them, pass them along to a quilting/sewing friend or group, schools and day cares welcome pieces of fabric — there are so many exciting/creative things to do with fabric scraps. Depending on where you live, I would pay the postage for you to send them to me 🙂 I am down to a few scraps of knit fabric — so sad 🙁 Not really, now I can begin using some of the big pieces out of my stash 🙂

  8. Pattie Capers says:

    Just came across your website.love the many suggestions for stash folding.i just recently got married and moved ,but my new sewing building is a hectic mess .Will get to folding fabric while enjoying my new life

  9. Terry Collins says:

    Forgot to mention that I use a hanging shoe organizer to store my fat quarters in my sewing room closet. Works out very well.

  10. Terry Collins says:

    I use rubberbands. I buy the assorted size and it works out great, since the amount of fabric on the “bolts” differs.

  11. Elmira Worth says:

    Since i’m recovering from heart issues I’m just gathering all these wonderful ideas. Love them!

  12. lyrichert says:

    I simply folded mine, without any boards, saved heaps of money, like they do in the quilt shops with the sides folded in, the ends of the yards folded together , thus making a lovely rectangle. I then placed one rectangle on top of the other on my book shelves. Easy to see,easy to find. I also placed them in color groups. The small pieces I placed in drawers, folded the same way, folds up. Lovely to look at, easy to easy to find.

  13. Marlette Louisin says:

    I purchased the plastic fabric boards online through a website called Sew Its For Sale. I paid $50.00 for 75 boards. The notions website sells them 50 for $64.00 so I did buy at a considerable savings.
    Since I have a fairly large stash of quilting cottons AND garment fabrics, the boards have helped get the quilting cottons in order, tho I still have more pieces to arrange. I think I’ll try the magazine boards.
    I store my fat quarters by color (a cut 18″x22″) folded in plastic shoe boxes.

  14. While I have seen many people do this with their stash, I’ve never contemplated tackling mine until I read your post. Three day weekend, nothing better to do than binge watch Craftsy, why not organize while I watch. OMG…I had stacks of fabric everywhere. One package later and the majority are now on one shelf of my bookcase looking ridiculously neat. I even managed to wrap up some of my fashion fabric(the thinner stuff). Now to figure out what to do with the larger, bulkier fabric….suggestions…seriously… thanks. 🙂

    • I know! Isn’t it lovely having your own little fabric store you can browse through when you want to make something. I found things at the bottom of my crates I forgot I owned.

    • looweez1948 says:

      did you ever find a solution for your bulky fabrics? I have a lot of fleece and roll the pieces neatly and secure the rolls with elastics. The length of the rolls are the width of my shelves. You can see the pieces, they stay neat, and when you pull them out, if you find the piece doesn’t suit, it’s easy to roll and secure again.

    • Karen Little says:

      I have an IKEA Kallax (2 X 4) that I fold up my larger pieces (anything over 1.5 m). I then stack them in various cubicles; quilting cotton (3 cubbies), flannelette (2 cubbies), clothing fabric 2 cubbies), miscellaneous – fleece, sweater fabric, satin, rayon, etc. (it needs more then 1 cubby). I have another Kallax unit to be put together and then I will move all the “miscellaneous” fabric into separate cubbys). My small pieces (less then 1.5 m) is folded on cosmic book cards and stands upright on the shelves of a bookcase. I need to get a wooden shelf support to strengthen the 3 shelves in the centre — the weight is making them sag a bit. Fortunately, I live in a home where a cabinet maker also resides 😀 He will cut me some supports — I just need to remind him (again). Hope that gives you some more ideas. Oh, and my scraps go into a basket as I sew. When I get tired of sewing or am just looking for a “mindless” task, I separate the pieces into large ziplock bags — quilting cotton in one, apparel cotton in another, and so on. Some people sort their scraps by colour as well — that’s a bit too organized for this disorganize individual!

  15. Carmen says:

    I did this last year with my fabric. A yard or more went on a “comic book board”. Less than a yard, I folded like a triangle. (If you’ve ever folded a flag, that’s how I did it) I stood up the fabric on the boards and the triangles in front of them. It’s like having my own fabric store! I can see what I have and not have to dig for anything.
    I bought a used dresser and have used the drawers for my fat quarters. All sorted by colors. Love it!!!
    I like the suggestion of the coated paper clips. Pins are coming out.

  16. Anke says:

    I still did not organize my fabric, but on my long and windy road to be an organized sewist I have managed to create a dustfree and organized way to store my thread! Thought you might be interested 🙂
    https://aenq.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/a-new-home-for-my-little-thread-spool-friends/

  17. Helen Barclay says:

    It’s ok mentioning Amazon but for me the postage would be over $US 130 which makes it ridiculous. I have been looking a long for something to keep my smaller fabric in/on and they look great. Do you know of anywhere else I could buy them. They are not advertised here in Australia

    • You could try looking in sci-fi and collector shops, or where they sell collectible comics. They would have these sort of boards I’m sure.

    • Eileen says:

      I am a cross stitcher and very interested in this article. I am thinking about the acid free mounting board that is available to mount my creations onto. In the UK it can come in sheets up to A1 from art shops. I know that yuo would have to cut the boards but it is something worth considering. Hope this helps

    • Leah Eitzen says:

      Agreed, there are so many cool things available in the US and UK that we can’t get here in Australia and Amazon wont post so many things out here even if you CAN afford the postage. Nice place to live, but sometimes it really sucks!!!!

  18. Karen white says:

    I love the large plastic coated paper clips. Have been using these since I been using the comic book boards – about two years.

  19. Ann Turner says:

    Hi,
    I purchased some fabric clips which fit over about 3 folds of fabric. They are made like a little less than 1/2″ PIECE of aluminum folded over leaving the folded end wider than the opposite end. The opposite end raises up for you to easily put it on or take it off.
    Companies who make the pre-cut, acid free plastic fabric holder boards sell them. Look in the back of quilt magazines for these. I am switching to your boards though. Less expensive, and more practical I think.

What do you think?