Let’s get started!
DAY 1 – 2
You will need to set aside 4 to 5 days depending on the amount of fabric you own. If it takes longer, you certainly know you have more fabric than you can use in two lifetimes! Let’s start going through the tons of fabric we’ve “collected” to make those “special” projects (which we never completed).
Here’s a glimpse at my fabric cabinet prior to organizing (note: fabrics overflowing…that’s why were organizing):
Make some little cardboard signs as follows (choose the option which will work best for you):
OPTION “A” FOR THOSE WHO USE ALL TYPES OF FABRIC REGULARLY
- Cotton SOLIDS
- Cottons PRINTS (all your Michael Millers, Amy Butlers, etc. and those that would be used for quilting)
- Knits (the stretchy stuff and other “blends”)
- Flannels/fleece (cottons used to loungewear, and other kid things)
- Specialty (sequins, lames, lycras, anything embellished, etc.)
- Sheers (chiffons, organza, etc.)
- Chenille (including bedspreads)
- Home decor (upholstery weight)
OPTION “B” FOR QUILTERS WHO MAINLY USE COTTONS
Separate into colors
- Black & Gray
- Off-White, Beige, Ivory
- Orange, Rust
- Yellow, Gold
- Any other colors I’ve missed
- Other fabrics not used for quilting can be grouped using OPTION “A”
Start SORTING your fabric into the above categories. Depending on the amount of fabric you own, this step can take 1 to 2 days.
If you come across fabric you haven’t used in two years, get rid of it! If you haven’t used it by now, you probably won’t! Sell it on E-Bay, donate it to your local senior citizen friendship club or simply THROW IT OUT!
Use your sewing table or other large CLEANED surface (which should be done by now) to refold everything into thirds.
I learned a new TRICK from the shop owners in the NYC fabric district for folding large yardage of fabric. Take a YARD STICK or a BROOM HANDLE and wrap the yardage AROUND IT. Then lay the fabric down, pull out the yard stick and fold in thirds.
When you’ve finished sorting, you will need to acquire baskets or containers (plastic, wicker or cardboard).
Here’s a photo of the baskets I’ve purchased in the past. They measure 12 inches by 16 inches and 5 inches high. Anything close is good. I purchased these for $1 each at a discount odd lot store. I’ve also found awesome fabric covered baskets at both Home Goods and Linens n Things for $3 to $5 each. Look how easy it is to see the fabric?
Now when you take one basket out of your fabric cabinet or shelf, it all stays neat. I also purchased some that were 8 inches high for my bulkier fabric such as chenille and fleece.
Now would be a good time to measure the depth of your shelving as you should not purchase baskets longer than that measurement. Most shelving measures between 16” and 24” deep. Purchase as many as you need to hold all your fabric. Shoe boxes are too small for this purpose. Putting the fabric in baskets enables you to pull out the baskets and remove only the fabric you need (no more digging for a particular fabric). If you’ve had your fabric stacked one on top of another, you know how frustrating it is to pull out one piece of fabric and have the entire stack fall. Also, stacking fabric does not give you a clear view of what you have.
FAT QUARTERS AND FABRIC SCRAPS
The basket system works great for fat quarters. However, you might also want to consider:
Then use these to store your Art Bin Satchels:
For those of you who purchase bolts of fabric, you will need to acquire large plastic or aluminum garbage cans if you want to store them standing up. You can also stack them on the shelves.
FABRIC ROLL STORAGE
Put your sorted fabric (which is now folded neatly) in the baskets one behind the other (so you can easily see what is in each basket).
LABEL each basket and put them on your shelves or whatever other storage system you have. A label maker is a great tool to have. You can buy one for under $30 at your local office supply store. Otherwise, type and print up some labels on your computer.
It may be impossible for some of you to do this in consecutive days…however, there is no reason you cannot finish this within a week.
For those of you (like myself) who like to serge and wash all fabric when purchased, add TWO DAYS to your organization project. NOTE: it is best to serge raw ends of all your fabric as you bring into the house and then wash it, so you’re ready to sew when inspiration strikes.
Here’s the AFTER photo!!!
YOU CAN DO IT!!!