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Thread: Overwhelmed with Fabric

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Overwhelmed with Fabric

    Hi Everyone,

    I must preface this with I am not a very good organizer of material. I have quite a bit and I tried to color code it and was not successful. I went to Home Depot and bought these shelves that are just too large because you cannot see all of the material on the self. I need to know two things:
    I would like to know a good storage system to buy for fabric and also how to best color code the fabric.

    I am giving away a lot of fabric that I have cut off to the GoodWill. I know someone will enjoy the scaps and make a wonderful quit. I have started another barrel of scrapes that I will use myself. I do not want my fabric to dry rot so I need to use it. But I just cannot do any sewing with my room looking as it does. I have a very large den and when my family visits, we are in the den and kitchen. So, I made my living room which sits off to itself my sewing room for now. I have a sun room that I would really like to use as my sewing room but I need to get the heat going down there. So what happened is I got overwhelmed by the material and the unorganization. So right now I have begun placing all the fabric in plastic containers until I can get a way to store it so I can use it. I hope I have not confuse you all. I just need help and I know from reading many of your posts, someone can help.

    Shirley

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    I bought two cheap bookcases at Walmart and just put everything in them according to color in the first one and novelties and "themes" in the second, also my large stash of orange/autumn/Halloween fabrics. Christmas fabrics are stored in an antique dresser that has a chifferobe - spelled incorrectly I'm sure - on one side. The previous owner put shelves in. Batiks, strips and selveges are stored in large but not deep plastic boxes. Not ideal but it works for me. My fantasy is to buy another apartment, a studio, on our floor and put every bit of quilting equipment and fabric there. Not gonna happen.

  3. #3
    Super Member Chicca's Avatar
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    Recently we moved to Oregon. In Texas, I had my own "bedroom" for my quilting room. Everything was organized and it was fabulous. In our new home, there is a built on room that was going to be my sewing room, but we found out quickly it was extremely cold and gathered moisture easily. So my sewing machines have been moved into a corner of the living room. My quilting tools and materials are in various sections of the house. It is really rather depressing, but I am getting used to it. I emptied some cheap shelves and have began to refold my fabrics to fit the space. Trying to keep to a color coding system; plus using drawers in dressers and the bathroom closet. It is frustrating, but I also realize that it will all work out in the long run. Just taking time to get used to it. So you are not alone, but each one of us has to decide what works best for us. Remember to not get overwhelmed and have fun while sorting and figuring out storage. It will make this effort so worth it in the long run.
    Brenda

  4. #4
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    You might consider posting this on the Mission: Organization board; I've seen some amazing setups over there!

  5. #5
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I also store mine on book shelves. Works well for me. I store by colors. Let me take a few pictures, in case they help. You can tell that I prefer blue and purple. My scraps are in the garage in an old dresser. So far I have just been putting my scraps there, to be used later. I have only been quilting 3 years, so I don't have too many scraps.

    Dina
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  6. #6
    Super Member Sierra's Avatar
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    You know that you don't want deep shelves, but since you already have some you might want to use them for you larger fabric pieces that, when folded, will still show from the front. I strongly suggest you put a curtain or some covering over the front to make sure they don't get damaged by dust or sunlight. You can do this by thumb tacking or by using a metal curtain rod (I'd put the place for the rod down a bit and thumb tack the top extra fabric down on the very top of the shelves to keep out dust; you can still use the very top for small boxes of your different tools, etc.

    A lot of stores sell series of plastic boxes, with about 4 or 5 shelves each, that have wheels which you can remove if you want to store one on top of another. I use two of these for very small pieces (less than fat quarters) and still had to resort to "very very small pieces" boxes! (I do a lot of applique.) You also can get little storage bins for your labels, clamps, paints, marking pens and pencils (and regular pencils), store bought bindings, etc. Before I bought clamps I used one for clothes pins for holding the sandwich together until it was stabilized.

    I still use large plastic bins for different kinds of batting; in my case I have a lot of smaller batting pieces for my appliques. The large pieces are wrapped in giant rolls or in plastic bags if they were pre-sized, and they go in "that part" of my sewing area so they are all together, smaller ones in a box.

    One thing that I do a bit different from most quilters is that I have a lot of cardboard boxes, about 12"W x 18"L x 8"Deep with labels on both ends (one is upside down) with shipping taped tops that I can repeatedly open and reseal (by putting tape down below where the movable tape flap (with a folded over end of about 3") will adhere); I can put these boxes upside down to help keep them closed and safe because the labels can be read both ways (of course you have to put the side out that is "right side up"). If I start putting aside fabric for a future quilt I can put it in one of these. Also, fabric to be used only for applique goes into these boxes by subject (large baby prints; small baby prints; animals; cars & trucks; butterflys & bugs... you get the idea.

    Fat quarters are an in between for me. All of my bigger fabrics are in a 4'w x 8'h x 18"deep cupboard and since it isn't "full" I have reserved a section for fat quarters. I'm (mentally) part of the challenge to use what I have, not buy new, which in reality means I only buy smaller pieces because sometimes you really need a certain color or design to fit into a quilt on which you are working.

    I have 4 of those Joann fold down white tables but you have to put idustrial size 1" square patches where the pull out leg will sit and on the top of the leg itself or they can dislodge with the movement of your machine. Also, you must put your machine in the center over the permanent 4 supports... if you put it out near a corner w/o any support, that area will start to warp down over the years (duh....). This gives me a 10 ft x 6 ft working area, or any arrangement I need. I've had these table over 10 years now and love them. They fold up and can be stored to the side with ease.

    Hope this is the sort of ideas you were looking for.
    Last edited by Sierra; 01-24-2013 at 08:47 AM.

  7. #7
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    I have a lot of the inexpensive walmart book cases for fabric storage.I keep a thick curtain closed all the time-unless I am up there and want the light.if you have deeper shelves just fold so you can still see what you have and fill it up.I sometimes sort by color,sometimes by manufacturer ,my grand daughter helps me re organize all the time.good luck making it how you want it.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  8. #8
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Mine are in cabinets on the wall in my sewing room. I ruler fold them and stack them in the cabinets according to color. They are like pretty much stored lke Dina's except I have doors.

  9. #9
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    I bought 3 white bookshelves at Target. There is 5 adjustable shelves. I also folded my fabric onto acid free foam core board that I bought at the Dollar Tree. Excuse this picture as I took this when I was still organizing my room. It's really not that messy now!!
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    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
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  10. #10
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    Thanks so much Mrs. Fitz. I think that would be a great idea. Thanks for your ideas

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