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Thread: I am buying fabric, but never seem to have what I need for projects. HELP!

  1. #1
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    I need some advice on how to keep up with the fabric I have in my stash so that I know what to buy for a project. My thought was to sort all the fabrics... blues, reds, stripes, etc, then get a zippered binder & tape a small sample or picture in the notebook along with how yardage I have of each fabric. I would have different sections by color or theme. I could get quite a few fabrics on 1 piece of paper in the binder. Perhaps they need to be on a notecard, so that when I move them to a project, the yardage & fabric stay together. Maybe post-its?

    I was thinking that fabrics I could designate for a project would be moved to that project page so I would know what else I needed to buy. The zippered notebook could go with me to the store. Forgot to mention...got quite a lot of stash. About half of it is in 4 or 5 yard increments. The rest is fat quarters, 1 yarders & all kind of in betweens.

    Does anyone have a way that is working for them that they would care to share? I did buy the iPhone FabricStash program, but don't think it will do what I need.

  2. #2
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb in Louisiana
    I need some advice on how to keep up with the fabric I have in my stash so that I know what to buy for a project. My thought was to sort all the fabrics... blues, reds, stripes, etc, then get a zippered binder & tape a small sample or picture in the notebook along with how yardage I have of each fabric. I would have different sections by color or theme. I could get quite a few fabrics on 1 piece of paper in the binder. Perhaps they need to be on a notecard, so that when I move them to a project, the yardage & fabric stay together. Maybe post-its?

    I was thinking that fabrics I could designate for a project would be moved to that project page so I would know what else I needed to buy. The zippered notebook could go with me to the store. Forgot to mention...got quite a lot of stash. About half of it is in 4 or 5 yard increments. The rest is fat quarters, 1 yarders & all kind of in betweens.

    Does anyone have a way that is working for them that they would care to share? I did buy the iPhone FabricStash program, but don't think it will do what I need.
    Your idea sounds like a good one. But I know me; I would never be able to keep up with it. That would take too much time. When I get an idea and a focus fabric, I just go through my stash according to what colors I think may work, take snips of those and go to the store to get what will go with that. I have so much fabric that I usually have most of what I need. But sometimes I get an idea that I have none of the right fabric.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    When I want to start a project, I just go through my unorganized stash and pull out any fabrics I think might work. Once I have that pile, I go though and eliminate fabrics. That smaller pile of fabrics becomes my project pile, at which point I could take swatches with me to the store if I think I need something else. However, usually what I end up needing to buy is just border fabric and/or backing fabric and/or binding fabric -- all of which do not need to be purchased until the top is basically finished; I can take the top to the store with me to get exactly the right fabric for the borders, etc.

    I have a large stash and the hours I would need to organize it perfectly, and then the additional hours I would need to keep it organized after project "pulls" just isn't worth it to me. I just roughly box my fabrics according to style (batiks together) or color or light fabrics or dark fabrics or long lengths suitable for backings or fat quarters or Oriental fabrics, and leave it at that.

  4. #4
    Super Member Grama Lehr's Avatar
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    After all that............................I would be too pooped to quilt!! :oops:

  5. #5
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Here's a way to make sure you fill in color gaps in your stash. Do a "stash inventory" by making a 12 step color wheel with three concentric rings. The rings will be for value; light, medium, and dark. On the outside of the largest circle, put the colors (or abreviations) red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet, and red-violet.

    Now go through your stash and put a hash mark for each yard (or FQ or whatever measurement you decide on) in the wedge and ring that represents the color and value of that piece of fabric. If you decide to count half yards and you have a two yard piece of dark red, put four marks in the outer ring of the red wedge, one for each half yard of it. Use the dominant color and don't worry about what someone else would call it. As long as you are consistent, this will work.

    When you are all done, not only will all your fabric feel loved because of the attention it got, but you will have a chart that shows exactly what you have on hand, and more importantly, you will be able to see where the gaps are in your color palette. And we all know what that means...time to go shopping!!! :D

  6. #6
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    You have some really nice ideas, but I would never keep up with it. I just know me so well. LOL

  7. #7
    Super Member candi's Avatar
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    OK, people, your stash must be huge!!I can remember almost every piece in my stash,lol.

  8. #8
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I have too much to do that.
    I do have most of it stored by color/type etc. I just have to open the cabinet doors and take a look. Ok, well I may have to get into the rubbermaid in the garage, or in the drawer, or on top of the drawers.....
    But most of it is very organized

  9. #9
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider
    Here's a way to make sure you fill in color gaps in your stash. Do a "stash inventory" by making a 12 step color wheel with three concentric rings. The rings will be for value; light, medium, and dark. On the outside of the largest circle, put the colors (or abreviations) red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet, and red-violet.

    Now go through your stash and put a hash mark for each yard (or FQ or whatever measurement you decide on) in the wedge and ring that represents the color and value of that piece of fabric. If you decide to count half yards and you have a two yard piece of dark red, put four marks in the outer ring of the red wedge, one for each half yard of it. Use the dominant color and don't worry about what someone else would call it. As long as you are consistent, this will work.

    When you are all done, not only will all your fabric feel loved because of the attention it got, but you will have a chart that shows exactly what you have on hand, and more importantly, you will be able to see where the gaps are in your color palette. And we all know what that means...time to go shopping!!! :D
    Great Idea I really like the idea of knowing what I have on hand but... OMG!!! It would take me years to get my fabrics in order like that!!!! Id never get time to quilt..

  10. #10
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    It sounds like you're really a organized person, so try it. I know that for myself I would never even begin to attempt such an endeavor, sorry I can't be of any help.

  11. #11
    tooMuchFabric's Avatar
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    My preferred way is to have my fabrics fairly - that is to say mostly - stacked by color families, or maybe by designer collections if I want to keep those prints together;
    and when I want to make something I can sort of see most of my rainbow of prints at once, and pull out what I want, auditioning them together in front of me.
    The only thing is, and this is the buggaboo of all stashes, then I have to put back all that I don't use!!
    .

  12. #12
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    I want to thank all of you who shared comments. So many different ways to do it & as usual, it depends on how much work you want to put into it. I really like the idea of the color wheel, & adding the yardages so I know what to buy as fill-ins. Second idea I liked is once I have chosen a pattern, go through the stash, snip the ones I have the right yardage for, then head to the fabric store. Sounds good, but I just can't seem to pass up fabric on sale. lol Somehow, I shall have to put a restraining order on myself!

  13. #13
    Senior Member HeatherQuilts's Avatar
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    What I have tried to do is this:
    I have a 3 ring binder, which I bought inserts for, the ones that hold baseball/football cards. You can get them pretty cheap at Wal-mart or Target. I cut a small piece off of each of my fabrics, glue them to cardstock that is cut to fit the inserts, then write any information on the cardstock, such as how many yards I have, and where and when I got the fabric (if I can remember!!) This way, if I want more, I know where to start looking. I organize them by color. If I need to add to fabric that I have for a project, I can just take the card out of the binder, and put it in my wallet, it will fit in where the pictures go! It's a bit tedious to go through an entire stash and do this, but it's worth it!
    I hope you find something that works for you!
    ~Heather

  14. #14
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i keep all this info digitally and instead of cutting up samples of the fabric to keep in a binder i just use digital photos.

    i prefer to keep things digital because i can sort it whatever way is needed at the time - by color, by type, by quantity, by manufacturer, etc.

  15. #15
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    This is what I've started doing, when I buy fabric I ask myself what is it most likely to be used for, background, borders, focus, blender, etc and then buy the length that will work for the most common size of quilt I make. I tend to make either twin or queen size so I know if it's a fabulous focus fabric I'll likely need 3 to 4 yards. Great border, 2.5 to 3. Blender 1 to 2. That way when I pull a fabric out of my stash there's probably going to be plenty of it for whatever I need. Then all the quiltovers get put in the scrap stash for wall hangings.

  16. #16
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    No system will ever work.

    You will audition some fabrics, put different fabrics together, dig for just the right shade and then fall asleep in the middle of all that wealth with your dog or cat ...

    A few hours later you will wake up with the perfect quilt in mind:

    Disorganization works!

  17. #17
    Super Member Lucky Patsy's's Avatar
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    I organize my fabric by what pieces I think I would like to use together. When I find a project that I want to make. I copy all the yardage info, as well as a drawing of the main block(s) on a 3 by 5 quarter-inch-graph card. On the back of the card I tape 1 by 1 inch squares of the fabric from my stash that I plan to use in the quilt along with yardage amounts, checking off on the front what I have and what I still need. I keep these in a small photo album in my purse, so when I come across a good sale at a shop, I know what I have and what I need.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky Patsy's "Mom"
    I organize my fabric by what pieces I think I would like to use together. When I find a project that I want to make. I copy all the yardage info, as well as a drawing of the main block(s) on a 3 by 5 quarter-inch-graph card. On the back of the card I tape 1 by 1 inch squares of the fabric from my stash that I plan to use in the quilt along with yardage amounts, checking off on the front what I have and what I still need. I keep these in a small photo album in my purse, so when I come across a good sale at a shop, I know what I have and what I need.
    I love this idea. I'll use this along with the color wheel idea to figure out how to fill in the gaps in my stash. So many good ideas. You guys & gals are the greatest.

  19. #19
    tooMuchFabric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb in Louisiana
    Second idea I liked is once I have chosen a pattern, go through the stash, snip the ones I have the right yardage for, then head to the fabric store.
    I get what I want from stash, line them up and take a picture with phone, then go shopping!
    Also take pictures while shopping and send to friends, if I see something I think they might want some of.
    .

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