Storing Your Fabric

Storing Your Fabric

As I wind down in the steps for making my quilt, I’m finding that I have fabric scraps left over from the endeavor that I really don’t want to toss. One of the problems though is that I have a very lacking fabric storage setup. In fact, it consists of stuffing fabric into a remarkably unprofessional Hello Kitty pail (Note: I don’t even like Hello Kitty). Once that happens, I put the pail into my closet. Since said closet kind of overflows at times, the method is even more lacking than it would otherwise be.

I want to keep this fabric, but I’d like to have a better strategy of doing so. That idea had me browsing some possibilities online, and some of the options I saw were pretty basic.

Simple Solutions

For instance, clear storage bins or canvas bins.

For instance, clear storage bins or canvas bins.

For instance, clear storage bins or canvas bins. While these are simple and efficient ideas for keeping my fabric in order, the truth of the matter is that they’re also, at the moment, things that would probably end up getting stashed away in my closet. As one of the qualms is that my fabric is stored in my closet, neither option fixes that detail.

At least, not alone. If I had a method of storing those bins out in the open, they’d work fine. In any event, the insufficiency could certainly lead to more searching in regard to the best (complete) fabric storage option.

The most fitting right now is the notion of keeping excess fabric pieces in a jar.

The most fitting right now is the notion of keeping excess fabric pieces in a jar.

So during my search, did I have find the perfect one? That might be a complex question since I’m not sure there is a perfect one, but I did find some that are worth mentioning. The most fitting right now is the notion of keeping excess fabric pieces in a jar. I’m not sure I’d ever considered using my extra fabric in a way that actually makes it decorative even before I use it for a sewing project, but I like this concept. Most of the fabric that I have remaining is block-ish, and that smallness of leftovers seems spot-on for the store-in-a-jar method. All I’d have to do is get a jar, fold up my scraps nicely, and let the storage add accent to a room before the pieces potentially add accent to a future project. A similar idea is to store those scraps in kitchen bowls or strainers, like you can find here, or maybe a flower vase.

A similar idea is to store those scraps in kitchen bowls or strainers, like you can find here, or maybe a flower vase.

A similar idea is to store those scraps in kitchen bowls or strainers, like you can find here, or maybe a flower vase.

One is to take the drawers out of a dresser, and once the furniture has been treated so that it looks finished and ready, fabric can be stashed where the drawers used to be.

One is to take the drawers out of a dresser, & once the furniture has been treated so that it looks finished and ready, fabric can be stashed where the drawers used to be.

Two of the more intriguing fabric storage options I found might be more suitable for a time when/if I have more room and/or extra cash. One is to take the drawers out of a dresser, and once the furniture has been treated so that it looks finished and ready, fabric can be stashed where the drawers used to be. I adore this idea, but it’s a project itself! Be aware though that if you don’t want to go through all the sanding and painting to prepare the furniture, you could still use a dresser, drawers intact.

Be aware though that if you don’t want to go through all the sanding and painting to prepare the furniture, you could still use a dresser, drawers intact.

Be aware though that if you don’t want to go through all the sanding and painting to prepare the furniture, you could still use a dresser, drawers intact.

Another option is this square shelf idea that hangs on the wall. This one is particularly of interest if, like me, your bedroom, sewing room, etc. is already pretty full of furniture. When that’s the case, going upward seems like a reasonable option, and that’s exactly what this shelf would do! Being the nerd I am, this square setup appeals to me more than a different shelf idea might because it’s comic-book-ish, but that’s not to say that squares are the only possibility for this method. In fact, you might find that you have some kind of old furniture around your house that can be repurposed for this prospect — like a headboard. There might be plenty of possibilities if you spread your imagination to find them!

Another option is this square shelf idea that hangs on the wall.

Another option is this square shelf idea that hangs on the wall.

Another option is a lot simpler, but might cost more — and that’s to buy a piece of furniture that’s specifically for this purpose. This hutch, for instance, makes a wonderful and aesthetically pleasing storage area for fabric, and other than price and space, I wouldn’t hesitate to have one of these in my home.

This hutch makes a wonderful storage area for fabric, and other than price & space, I wouldn’t hesitate to have one of these in my home.

This hutch makes a wonderful storage area for fabric, and other than price & space, I wouldn’t hesitate to have one of these in my home.

But as breathtaking as these furniture options are, the truth of the matter is that I’ll probably have to start with something easier and more money-friendly. Given that the majority of my current fabric collection is scraps and/or block-ish pieces, my best bet for advancement might be the jar or strainer method, which I’m okay with!

Still, someday, that hutch, that shelf, or that dresser would be a wonderful addition to my sewing life!

How to Store Your Fabric Stash

How to Store Your Fabric Stash

This is post one of a three part series on storing your fabric. Post two (how to store your works in progress) and post three (how to store your fabric scraps) are coming soon.

This is post one of a three part series on storing your fabric. Post two (how to store your works in progress) and post three (how to store your fabric scraps) are coming soon.

I keep my deep-storage and heirloom fabrics stored in a bin. Fabrics I'll use soon are simply folded neatly awaiting their use.

I keep my deep-storage and heirloom fabrics stored in a bin. Fabrics I’ll use soon are simply folded neatly awaiting their use.

How do you store your fabric stash? I have seen some of the most creative ways while perusing through Pinterest, everything from tucked in the drawers of a dresser, folded neatly on the top of a bunk bed, or deftly displayed in KITCHEN, yes kitchen, cabinets. Who needs to eat when you have beautiful fabric to sustain your soul anyway?

No matter which way you decide to organize your fabric, you will need to keep several things in mind.

My works in progress are kept in a tall bin and labeled so I know where to easily find them.

My works in progress are kept in a tall bin and labeled so I know where to easily find them.

Store Covered

  1. If you decide to store your fabric in bins, consider using plastic instead of paper, or file boxes, or baskets. Keeping your fabric covered will better protect it but consider using a plastic container with tiny holes (or creating tiny holes) to allow the fabric to breathe and to prevent synthetics from yellowing.
  2. Tape a cedar block inside the container to help prevent moths and other insects from taking up residence.
  3. Store away from sunlight to prevent fabric from fading.

    My lovely stash. I do take the time to dust off the fabric about twice a month.

    My lovely stash. I do take the time to dust off the fabric about twice a month.

Display It

  1. I love the quick access that openly displayed fabric offers. However make sure to keep fabric away from direct sunlight.
  2. Dust! Your fabric will accumulate dust if displayed or left in the open. Keep it tidy with a frequent dusting or airing out.
  3. Keep it clean – little children love to touch and play with fabric and even some adults can’t help but reach up and touch gorgeous fabric. Be aware of where you display your fabric and how frequently it may be handled by people whose fingers could leave it soiled.
Fabric on display via MuyMolon.com.

Fabric on display via MuyMolon.com.

Additional Methods

  1. Color coded – perhaps the most method of organizing is a stash is by color. This is how I do it!
  2. By Designer or Project – some people also keep their stashes stored by Designer or even projects in progress.
  3. By Size – big, medium, little, tiny. Sometimes storing or displaying by size is also helpful.

    Fabric organized and wrapped around Polar Notion's organizers.

    Fabric organized and wrapped around Polar Notion’s organizers.

Standout Idea: Acid-Free Fabric Organizers

I just discovered these puppies and as soon as we move to our new home and I start working on my sewing room, I plan on ordering some to start wrapping and displaying my stash. Unlike fabric-store pieces of cardboard, these organizers are sturdy and acid-free. Storing fabric wrapped around cardboard will eventually discolor your fabric since cardboard is not acid-free.

The sad result of what happens when you use regular cardboard to organize your fabric.

The sad result of what happens when you use regular cardboard to organize your fabric.

I’ve found two brands that offer this acid-free option. Polar Notion’s boards are made from plastic and The Fabric Organizer’s boards are made from an acid-free corrugated cardboard. Both look fantastic.

Think about which product would suit your needs and your stash better.

Think about which product would suit your needs and your stash better.

The larger Polar Notion holds up to 15 yards of wrapped fabric and the smaller one is perfect for fat quarters and smaller pieces of fabric.  The Fabric Organizer’s large size holds up to 10 yards. It is also cheaper than Polar Notions. Think about which product would suit your needs and your stash better.

Do you have a favorite method of storing your fabric? Let us know how you do it in the comments below.

Charlotte Kaufman is a writer and sewist in San Diego, California. She specializes in marine and home interiors and continues to fall more and more in love with quilting. You can follow her at charlottekaufman.com.