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May 2015
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How To Organize Your Fabric Stash

My fabric cabinet(s) are filled to the top of most shelves with fabric of all sizes and yardages.  I just can’t seem to walk by those fabrics in the stores that are “calling out for me!”  I love fabric sales and it never fails – I also find regular priced stuff I just can’t live without.  We’ve had a number of people who’ve emailed us about this same “problem” — what to do with the cabinets, drawers and stacks of fabric.

OK, I’m going to try to offer a few suggestions and one thing that I do a couple times a year, and hopefully the suggestions will help you out.

** Take a day (or two) and go through ALL the fabric that you have.  There may be some at the bottom of the stack that has been hidden for months or years that needs to come out.

** Refold all the fabric and put into stacks of “similar colors”, “similar yardages” or some other method whereby you will at least know what you have.

** Twice a year (spring and fall)  the sewers in my subdivision have a “fabric swap”.  We all bring fabrics that we really don’t think we’ll ever use, then trade fabric yardages with the others.  For example, if I bring 5 pieces of fabric, I’ll get to pick 5 other pieces of fabric that the others have brought.  We spend a couple hours having coffee and goodies, while exchanging the fabric.  Of course, I haven’t gotten RID of any fabric – just replaced what I really didn’t want anymore.  However, the good thing is that I now have fabric that I hopefully WILL use!

** The PatternReview website has a “fabric stash” contest a couple times a year where you have a certain amount of time to sew as many items as you can (clothing and craft items).  You use patterns you already have and fabric you already have.  The purpose is to get you into those closets and drawers and USE what you have and get back into the sewing room!   From the number of items the last winner made, I’d say she probably LIVED in the sewing room for the previous month or so!!

** Some of my sewing friends have those big clear plastic stackable boxes for their fabric.  They sort it by colors – each clear box has a certain color (blues or greens, etc), then they have them stored on shelves at the back end of their garage.  Works out great if you have a lot of fabric – and it’s all easy to see.

** If there are a number of pieces that you just don’t think you’ll be using at all, think about donating them to Good Will, or to a group that holds sewing classes – perhaps those in the sewing classes could put your extra fabric to good use.

** The very best suggestion of all is USE IT!  Go ahead and get those clothing garments made, or start working on some craft items that you’ve been wanting to make, but just haven’t gotten around to it.  Once you get the sewing machine humming, you might be surprised at how quickly the fabric stacks disappear.

If you have any other suggestions for what to do with a stash of fabric, feel free to drop us a line – I’m sure our readers would love to hear other suggestions.

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About The Author

Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


2 Responses to “How To Organize Your Fabric Stash”

  1. Rosetta J Taylor says:

    I really liked this article I have a lot of fabric stash, and also patterns . I have lots of projects unfinished and ideas not started. I Have ideas to start a business.  I’m hoping to be a sewer crafter, do craft shows, not dress making for people.

  2. Gloria Watson says:

    I appreciated your article, as I am dealing with yet another phase of fabric, patterns and accessories overload. I have overstock of buttons, pins, needles and miscellaneous accessories, collected over the years. My neighbour’s church is involved with a missionary group that works in African countries and one of their projects is teaching the women to sew. I have donated a huge bag of cotton fabric(only cotton is practical) that I know I will never use.My taste and plans have changed over the years. I have also contributed about 100 reels of thread, pins, needles, 1/2 doz scissors, measuring tapes, cards of magnets (each about the size of a quarter) and bias binding. About 10 years ago, I had donated some fabric to a community centre that taught immigrant women to sew clothes and crafts. It seems as though I have not mended my fabric shopping habits. I still have a lot of beautiful fabric of different types and still at a loss as to how I could sensibly address this situation. Exchanging will not help, for I have way too much.

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