Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ten Places to Store Your Fabric

Let's face it, once that second bag of fabric comes into your house you are working on a stash.
I have been working on my stash for over 25 years now.
No, it's not done's a work in progress!

But still, it has to go somewhere, sometime.

1. On the floor in the bag it came home in: (ask me how I know!) This is not the recommended place for storage, as soon you will not be able to get into your room to do any quilting. You may think you know what's in those bags, but you don't!

2. Baskets: this is the organizer/home decor way to store fabric, and it might even be possible to keep some in various rooms, if the baskets have lids. But what I am really talking about is laundry baskets! They're great for large collections...any day now I will need a second one for my Black & Whites!

3. Plastic containers: I like big ones that are only about 4--6" deep. They can hold yardage and /or fat quarters. Fold each piece and put them in with the folded edge's like a lovely file of fabric. (OK, I admit I have several that I just crack the lid open and stuff the fabric in).

A pause for a good tip: Label those containers 5 times (once on each side/end and on the top). You never know how they will get stacked or put away, so one of the labels will show. It's easiest to do this when you put the first fabric in the box. I use masking tape & a Sharpie pen. Make them long or double, so you can note anything that ever ends up in there!

4. Tote Bag by project: After a class is over, I tend to leave everything together in the bag I had for class. This may be the best way to ensure the same fabric is available when I go back to finish the project, even if it takes awhile...possibly years! This is also a good way to collect fabric for a project, as it provides a place to put fabric as it is acquired, and the pattern, notes or book can go in there, too.

5. Shelf: Yes, some people do manage to get their fabric onto a shelf! If you have the opportunity for choice, a wire-covered shelf, like all those biuld-your-closet things, is a good for allowing some air circulation. Even more important, you do not want big deep shelves (unless you want all your fabric in containers). To have it open to view, you want a narrow shelf so the folded fabric is about the same width as the shelf.

6. Closet: My friend Joan had a walk-in closet completely full of fabric. It was well protected from light and dust. It was a beautiful thing.

7. Under the bed or other furniture: Before you go this route, ask yourself how you will get it out and how heavy a box do you want to be lifting? However, once it's on the bed, you have a nice large area to spread things out and play with color!
By the way, under the bed is a great place to store a large rotary cutting mat so it stays flat and unwarped. Under an area rug is another good place!

8. Shoeboxes: This is my original favorite way to organize strips and other pieces that are left over from one project, and now are "pre-cut" for the next project! Depending on your space, you can have lots of shoeboxes labeled with 1.5" dark; 1.5" light; 2" dark; 2" light; etc! Don't forget to write the size on both ends of the box.

9. Small trash can for scraps: I have a small plastic trash can with a dome top and flap-door opening. All the scraps go in there. When I need to root through them, the top makes a nice place to put scraps as I look.

10. In your car/ attic/ friend's house/ etc etc: NO! Don't even think about this option, which constantly gets mentioned in magazines. If your fabric is hidden, you will never use it. Don't apologize for your stash. You really do need it. I often find the perfect fabric is one I have had for 10 or 13 years or's good I bought it then, as it would not be available today!

bonus! 11. Ziplock bags! The Quilter's Friend. We couldn't live without them. Just be careful about trapping any moisture. Fabric needs to breathe, so I would not store a quilt in one of those wonderful huge new bags...but I would sure use one to temporarily carry a quilt somewhere.

Do you know where your fabric is?

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