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Thread: In your opinion!!!

  1. #1
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    In your opinion!!!

    WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO ORGANIZE YOUR FABRIC STASH. BY COLOR, BY DESIGNER, BY DESIGN (FLORAL, POLKA DOT, GRAPHIC, SOLID, PLAID, ETC.)?
    WE JUST MOVED & I AM TRYING TO SET UP MY SEWING ROOM. I WANT TO DO IT RIGHT THE 1st. TIME & NOT HAVE TO REDO IT AGAIN IN 6 MONTHS. ALTHOUGH IT WOULD GIVE ME AN EXCUSE TO PLAY IN MY STASH.
    I KEEP CHANGING MY MIND. SO I KNEW THAT IF I ASKED THE GREAT PEOPLE ON THIS BOARD THAT I WOULD GET GREAT ADVICE & HELP.
    HAVE I BUTTERED YA'LL UP ENOUGH? hee hee!

    HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Vonda-Texas MiMi of 4 Beautiful Grandbabies

  2. #2
    Junior Member germanquilter's Avatar
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    We just moved last year and I have two bookcases for my stash. I have organized them several ways by folding them According to color: black, black &white, white/ cream, gold, brown, green, blues, red, pink, purple, yellow, orange. I also have a stack of large florals, novelty, striped fabric for striped tablerunners, Christmas, Fall/Halloween, Asian, over 6yd cuts (stack and whack and backing). I also keep fabrics for certain projects together with the pattern. All my fabric in my bookcases are 1 yd or above. I keep fat quarters and 1 yd and below in drawers. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    I do it by color, but if you have florals I put them in another place. I guess its whatever works for you. LOL
    Love to quilt and play with the great grandkids

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    First of all ... you need to do what works for you!

    Your stash may be totally different than what others have, and your quilting interests in a different way too.



    I have my stash sorted by colour.
    Then I also have bins sorted with florals, Christmas, Seasonal, and Novelty.
    Not done, but I would like to sort the Novelties into sub groups (eg. cats, cows, wheels, food, etc.)

    If I'm saving fabric for a specific project or starting a grouping, they go into a separate bin.

    I have considered starting separate sorts of just batiks and all metallics.
    For now they are colour sorted.
    Unless of course they fit one of the other special groups.

    Then I have bins with not-quilting fabric, flannelette, and battings.


    My fabrics are all washed as they come into my home.
    Anything over a metre is measured and labelled with painter's tape.
    Over a metre are folded one way. Under a different way.
    So a quick glance gives me a first read on the length awaiting when I am stash shopping.
    Last edited by QuiltE; 09-12-2012 at 12:23 PM.
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    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  5. #5
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    Mine is sorted by color. I do have all my specialty (matalic, lace,ect,), oriental , baby, and kids sorted seperatly.

  6. #6
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    I do theme first - Christmas, fall/halloween, and floral. Then I do the colors. So my Christmas greens are altogether, Christmas red, etc. Same with kids fabric.

    You will have a pretty good idea what is in your stash - and you start out with some theme in mind - so might as well start there. My favorites are Christmas, Kids and Halloween - so figure out where do you start?

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Well, here is what I have gleaned from my experience of doing it over several times.

    If you are going to use plastic containers, don't get the biggest ones! They get too heavy to move around easily. My favorites for fabric stash are about 8"x12"x6" high, plus some that are the same size but only 3" high. The smaller ones are great for single project UFOs (big enough to hold the magazine with the pattern for the UFO) and for smaller categories of fabric or scrappy cuts (such as 3" squares). All of the containers should stack on each other, and preferably all should be see-thru including the tops. I like to use notecards for labeling, and I tape the notecard *inside* the box. This makes it easy to change labels if I decide to re-arrange my stash. (Gummed labels on the outside can become difficult to remove.)

    With the smaller plastic boxes you can afford to divide your stash into more individualized categories. For example, I have a box for black prints, Asian fabrics, Walmart sparkles, Christmas reds, etc. I don't tend to buy fabric lines by designer but, if I did, I would have a box for each designer line too. I have a box of flannels, a box of plaids. Still have some too-huge boxes that need to be divided up. I would probably have a box of florals (because I want to make a floral log cabin one day). I have a box of sky fabrics, boxes for light/medium/dark batiks, a box for blues. I have a box of large scraps and another of small scraps. I have a box of "trees" -- small amounts of green and brown fabrics. If I had solids, I would have a box of just solids.

    In other words, I don't use just one way to categorize fabrics. I tend to organize them by how they might be used in a quilt.

    I use larger boxes only for batting (which is light in weight).

    Edit: Oh, and I have just recently started to put together boxes of coordinating fabric for future projects. For example, I have some snowmen panels and their coordinating fabric together in a project box for Christmas.
    Last edited by Prism99; 09-12-2012 at 12:20 PM.

  8. #8
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    I think I have a larger stash than what is being described. I have several large drawers each of red, blue, green, white and purple, one each of black , brown and one of yellow and orange. I have drawers of batiks, of "kid fabrics", backings, corderoy, Japanese prints, prints on white and 'naturals' (scenic, rocks, fall leaves, foods etc) I also have way too many drawers of scrap. I have a friend whose scraps are organized by color AND width. A couple of years ago, when snowed in, I took 6 large boxes of scraps and sliced them into 'trash', 2.5, 3.5, 4, 5, 6.5" squares, and 'long skinny'. I found that my friends and I used almost all of those scraps within the next 6 months. BTW, 'trash' turned out to be the largest category, to my DH's delight. Next winter, I plan to do that again.

  9. #9
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    PS I also have a drawer of "current" projects, a couple of UFOs and a stack of flimsies on a bookcase. My threads live in 3 drawers, regular, variagated and other and a small drawer of threads I need to return to another room.

  10. #10
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    By category and by color and by length of the piece.

    Cat prints are more or less together, the cat print 30 repros are together, black and white are together

    Where I get hung up at times is when a particular print is appropriate for several categories - such as a black and white cat print!

  11. #11
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I seperate by color, but batiks have their own shelves also seperated by color. I have the individual shelves then sorted by value .... darkest to lightest.

  12. #12
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    YES--- i organize my fabrics by color, theme, design, manufacturer, type, ...every way you mentioned.
    novelties, 30's, batiks, florals, colors....they all have their place - i tend to keep them together- but at the same time will organize the individual shelves by predominent color too...organize in a way that works for you- when you go to get fabric out for a project-how do you (search)? by color? by theme? by cut sizes? ( my fq's and 1/2 yards are with my yardages- unless the yardage is backing or a border print- those have their own area too...it is necessary to organize according to how you locate stuff- just like a filing system- what works for me may not make any sense to you- it's all relative
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  13. #13
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Like many shops, I shelve my folded fabrics by color, in horizontal stacks about 12"-15 high: Red (and any hue thereof)/Purple (etc.)/Pink/Orange-Yellow/Green/Blue/Black/Neutral, and so forth.
    Only the reproduction fabrics (1930s, mid-1800s) and collectible Mary Ellen Hopkins fabrics are shelved separately.

    I do also have a large bin of multiple-yardage pieces (over 4 yds) that I use for backings. These are generally too thickly folded and unwieldy to go on the stacks-by-color shelves.

    The shelves (behind doors to limit light exposure) hold fabrics that are fat quarter, 1/3 yard, or larger. I can open the armoire doors and see half my stash in one glance - the rest is behind the first, they are stored 2 stacks deep.

    Most anything else is stored in clear plastic 8x12x14" boxes on wire shelves, labeled by size:
    8 separate boxes for cut strips sized from 1" up to 3.5"
    A box for usable pieces of fabric (from which I can cut a few strips or several squares, etc.),
    Boxes of 4" squares (hundreds and hundreds!) by color (leftover from a project years ago in my shop, but incredibly valuable to use!)
    Boxes of triangles (usually leftovers from another project or flying geese trades)
    4-patches boxes
    9-patches boxes (many from trades)
    Box of strips sewn together (from other projects and which can be taken apart should I need that color)
    Box of leftover pieced blocks
    Boxes of random pieces (oddly shaped cuts, leftover rectangles, miscuts from previous projects)
    Box of leftover pieces of binding
    And a few boxes of "pulls" for projects to be

    I've stored this way for so long I'd be lost in any other setting. But the benefit is that I literally 'know' every fabric I own even though there are probably 5000+ different prints/fabrics in some amount in my stash. If I need a pink, or a green, or a certain blue, I know whether there is such in the stash and can nearly put my hand on it with my eyes closed.

    Sure helps the design process for me!!

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  14. #14
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    It has been fun to read everyone's posts and their methods of sorting fabric so I will get kind of detailed on my storage.

    As everyone said, fabric sorting must be done according to how you search for your fabrics. I make baby quilts, reproduction quilts, and "normal" fabric quilts. My fabric storage method fits the types of quilts I make.

    I use copy paper boxes that are 11WX17DX10H to store the fabrics. I have shelves in a closet so that I can leave the tops off the boxes for easy viewing and then I close the closet door to keep out light. Fabrics are folded into 4ths on the selvage length and then ruler folded to about 10" squares. This way they sit nicely in the boxes with all of their "spines" showing so I can see what I have without doing any digging. I don't indicate yardage for anything but I can sort of tell by the size of the spine whether it is a couple of yards (good for borders) or not.

    I guess I have 6 main categories of fabrics which then I sub-sort as desired. (1) batiks are in no particular order (2) baby flannels are in boxes in no particular order other they are grouped by boy, girl, and general. (3) civil war fabrics are boxed together in no particular order (4) cuddle backings are grouped together (5) garment fabrics are grouped together in boxes (6) and finally, by far the largest stash (24 copy boxes) are my general cottons for quilting. Those I sort by color but I also separately box the florals and other prints that have too many colors in them to really fit into any color group. I also separated out the Holiday themed fabrics into their own box. I don't have many novelty fabrics, 30's prints, or non-flannel juvenile but if I did I would probably have separate boxes for them too. The large pieces appropriate for backings are stacked on a shelf. I also have small stacks of oriental and metallics since I don't want those mixed in with the "sorted by color" boxes.

    I keep all fabrics in these boxes unless they are truly worthless for anything and then they get tossed into scrap drawers. For smaller pieces that will not fold into a 10X10" square, I just fold it smaller and drape it over another "spine" so that I can see both fabrics. For the way I shop my stash it would not be useful to have separate areas for fabrics less than a yard; I like to see all of the fabrics within a color group or category regardless of their size since I prefer my quilts to have 50 or more fabrics in them.

    Let us know how you decide to sort your fabics to meet your shopping style!

  15. #15
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    By color, is by far what works best for me. I do it by the good old color wheel. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, violets, purples, B&W.

    Each stack is then sorted from lightest on top to darkest on bottom, like -

    pinks
    reds
    burgundys in one stack or two depending on how much you have and the space to put it in.

    it is easy to see all the colors and go to just what I want. I do keep cheaters , panels and baby prints seperate.

    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  16. #16
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    Whatever way you choose it will not stay that way! I try to do color and just recently made a row of 1/2 yard pieces

  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Judy, I just want to mention that cardboard boxes contain acid that will eventually discolor and eat into fabric. Since you are protecting your fabrics from light, you may also want to protect them from the acid. Spraying the inside of the boxes with polyurethane would probably work, or lining the boxes with muslin so that the other fabrics are not in direct contact with the cardboard.

    This is true of cedar chests and everything made out of wood, including tissue paper. Archival quality boxes and paper used for storage of photographs has had the acid removed, but this makes them relatively expensive.

  18. #18
    Super Member KarenK's Avatar
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    I predominantly work and store by color. I have the plastic coated wire cubes in a closet and one color is in each cube. The largest pieces are on the bottom and the smaller on top (approximately ). Fabrics that are hand dyed, hand painted, 30's, batiks or Asian are stacked separately on a shelf. Fabric selected for specific projects are kept together. I've tried many different sorting systems and this is the best one so far. It's been the same way for 10 years now.

    It seems we each have to figure out the system that works best for us.

  19. #19
    Senior Member cmrenno's Avatar
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    I sort my fabric first by size. I have a drawer in an armoire that is all Fat Quarters arranged by size. Another drawer holds 1/2 yards and still another 1 yard pieces. In the top part on the shelves is larger pieces that I try to label with the size of the pieces. Each drawer is organized by color. I have another cabinet with UFO's and still another with kits. I am trying to work everying down so it all fits in the armoire. The armoire belonged to my Mom and is very special to me.
    Colleen

  20. #20
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    Thanks to each of you who have chimed in with your opinion. It has been enlightening to read each one. It seems color coordinating is the way most do it. Which was the way I had planned to do it. Sorting out the christmas, flannel, etc. I would love to see some "pictures" if anyone wants to take the time to share with me.
    For those of you who wrap your fabrics on the comic boards or foam boards, what do you use to fasten them on? I'm assuming straight pins are probably not a good thing.
    Can you tell I'm clueless? I'm needing a lot of help. Anyone want to come and give me a hand? HaHa!!
    Vonda-Texas MiMi of 4 Beautiful Grandbabies

  21. #21
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    Prism99: Thanks. Yes, I know the boxes are not good and I appreciate you mentioning it in case I did not know :-). I've decided against the comic boards due to my research on them being "acid free". I received suggestions in one of my posts to wrap the comic boards in muslin since I was concerned. But, rather than go through all that I decided to stick with my boxes (since they work for me pretty good and I already have the shelving for them) and line the boxes with muslin - LOL. Of course, I haven't gotten around to it yet :-). Thanks for the input!

  22. #22
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    II organize mine by project

  23. #23
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    After decades of trial and error my system has evolved to separate boxes for flannel, interfacing and specialty batting (Insulbrite), batiks, civil war, 1930's, two separate designers,solids, Christmas, I Spy, and backings. The sizes of these boxes vary according to importance in my collection. All fit on a shelf unit.

    Next I have three shallow boxes of fat quarters arranged by color. As someone else mentioned, some fabrics have so many colors that those are grouped separately.

    My homemade precuts are five and six inch squares; 1.5 and 2.5 inch strips; misc strips 2.0 to 4.5 inches; and a separate box of neutrals containing most of the above sizes. These precuts are in transparent blue boxes as a visual key.

    This year I added transparent green shoeboxes for scraps awaiting the final decision. This way I can quickly sort and store the scraps neatly as I cut out a quilt. When time allows, I can go back and select items for a quick project or add to the precuts.

    Miscelleous yardage is folded lenthwise fold to selvadge edge and wrapped around a 6.5 inch ruler. These folded pieces are stacked vertically in a large shallow box to I see the entire flow by color groups.

    I have been advised by the sewing machine dealer to always use a double piece of fabric on the throatplate when starting and stopping sewing. The Bonnie Hunt system of leaders and enders fills the bill. Therefore, sometimes I am sewing two odd-sized pieces together, making a four patch block, or doing half-square triangles. This afternoon I trimmed several items while quilting in our small group. It was neat to discover some items I could combine immediately for a medallion for a small quilt.

    Best wishes to you on your adventure. Many thanks to each person who contributed to this thread. Each time this topic is discussed, I learn new things which make my playroom more fun and attractive.

  24. #24
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    Mine are organized by:
    1) Project complete with pattern
    2) Color - solids
    3) Color - prints
    4) fabric stash to sell
    And those are on racks attached to the wall like you used to see at some Walmarts ( We bought some when they were remodeling a couple of years ago.
    THEN
    I have a chest of plastic drawers with smaller pieces according to color
    THEN
    I have tiny pieces in open plastic bags according to color.

    I also have projects I am working on each in their own plastic 12" x 12" box with pattern.

    Phyllis
    QuiltingGrannie
    Quilter's Pantry

  25. #25
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    My daughter visited from CA this summer and we had a great time organizing my meager stash by color. Next on my bucket list is to cut up my scraps and organize them by size.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

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