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Thread: Need help sorting fabric.

  1. #26
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Lynn Haven Florida
    This is a problem I think we all have. We all have different solutions as you can see. A lot depends on space as well of fabric theme or color. Now that I have a whole room, although a small one it is easier for me now. I have a lot of furniture in my quilt room that is recycled. I have two tall book cases with adjustable shelves. On those I have fabric and two shelves of quilting books. If you ask at Joanns of your local quilt shop they will probably be happy to give you the empty cardboards that the bolts are wrapped on. I cut them with an exacto knife so I have one thickness of width by 11 1/2 inches. You can get at least four from one board. I wrap yardage on them and stand them up on the shelves by color. Fat quarters and scraps are in clear shoe box size bins from dollar tree by color. I do keep my holiday, civil war, and 1930s fabrics seperate, but using the same system. I have another book case that I keep the totes on. My machine is on a used desk with some drawers I keep small notions in, all that stuff you had to have that you don't really need at all. The best thing was wrapping the fabric on the cardboards, the stacking always ended up in an untidy mess.

  2. #27
    Member colleenancel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Spokane, WA.
    I have 8 of those 32-gallon clear storage bins and 6 smaller bins plus 6 of the decorative oversized hatbox type containers, on a couple of chrome storage racks from Home Depot. They slide out easily, heavier ones toward the bottom. I sort by flannel, children's flannel, terrycloth, chenille, novelty, 30's, holiday, batik, cotton, and project. I have two large bins of gallon-size plastic bags containing leftover fabric by project. That doesn't work too well, but I've yet to figure out a better way. So I inevitably pull out a bin and sort it on a cutting table to get ideas. I also try to buy all or most of the fabric for a project at one time, especially when it's a specific line, and those go in bins and boxes by themselves. Overall it works well enough, since I don't need to rummage too much. I am collecting chenille for a baby quilt (with minkee on the back! So soft!) snd am a fat quarter-fanatic, so i wind up with ;ots of uncategorizable stuf. Have tried putting all the blue, green, etc. in their own bags, but then I come to the jelly rolls, and they pretty much have to stay together by roll. Then I sometimes have larger amounts (like a yard or more) left after a quilt, but there aren't enough of those to really categorize, so I keep the projects together, in case I want to make a two-patch for a pillow sham (haven't yet, but I might!) I think there is more heart/soul than brain involved in my sorting. I believe that, as long as you can find what you need in under a minute, you're organized enough, no matter what it looks like. And quilting is a very artistic, creative pastime, so I get lots of ideas from random bits of fabric that appear next to something unrelated.
    Always have a good attitude, don't cut corners, and go with your instincts.

  3. #28
    Super Member Country1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Bowling Green, KY
    Quote Originally Posted by luvTooQuilt View Post
    Step back- squint- what color do you see?? then sort in that pile..
    Sounds like a great way to me!
    Country 1

  4. #29
    Super Member Quilty-Louise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Blog Entries
    I sometimes struggle with the sorting of fabrics.

    What I found that works best for ME is to look at the background
    color, is it predominate over any other color? if yes then I put it into
    that pile (predominately black background goes into the black pile etc.).

    If there is a variety of colors in equal or close to equal amounts then
    I put it with a "multi-color" pile, you would be surprised at how much
    fabric I have in this pile.

    Of course this might end up changing as I get going more with sorting
    fabrics to share with my daughter who is beginning quilting. She doesn't
    need to go to a fabric store to buy. All she has to do is go shopping at
    "moms" place.

    Louise - Ya-ya to Zachary April 13 2015. I collect mugs from the U.S. and around the world. Also collect handmade pincushions, sewing/quilting themed fabrics, and fabric in general.

  5. #30
    Super Member kathymarie's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Southeastern West Virginia, USA
    I sort calicoes and "regular" quilting fabrics by color with a few exceptions. I keep blacks/white; red/white; blue/white together. I keep my Thimbleberries separate (but haven't sub-sorted them by line). Other categories are Civil War fabrics, 30's fabrics, juvenile prints, panels, patriotic, seasonal/holidays, border prints, homespuns, neutrals. backings and shirtings (which are my newest "thing"). I'm still trying to come up with better organization with scraps. I keep fat quarters in a cd tower and scraps (depending on size) in drawers of an old bureau but really like things out where I can see them.

    A mind is like a parachute...it works best when open....

  6. #31
    Senior Member pippi65's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Central, Illinois
    That is a problem. I have all my polka dots together, my stripes together, my hand dyed fabric together. You really need to figure out the easiest way to find what you need when you want to make something. Do what you think will work for you or so what I did and called my friend over for two days she sorted it all out while I folded and fed her!!
    Be kinder than necessary,everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

  7. #32
    Senior Member craftygal63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Deer Park, TX
    That's a "which came first, the chicken or the egg" kind of question. I resort frequently when my brain is on overload! Sometimes by fabric line, then by color, then by theme, then by pattern requirements...then it starts all over again depending on the time of day, season, holiday.

  8. #33
    Super Member sandyl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Delaware, Ohio
    I have recently re-done my sewing room and found that when sorting fabric if I put an off white with red and pink flowers in my red pile.....it looks out of place. So I moved it to the white background pile....still not right so it is now with the pinks. Apparently I see pink when I look at that piece. Funny how different colors scream at you if they are placed in the wrong pile.

  9. #34
    Member fleurdelisquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Evergreen LA, USA
    Let's see, I use a "Mary system" basically don't spend any time debating it....go with the gut/first reaction. If it's one of those fabrics that this won't work for, I use the background color. After that, it goes in a "who knows" pile, because really, who knows which color it is. Like most, I have special fabrics, 1930's, batiks, etc.

  10. #35
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Eastern Madera County, Ca
    I have a space designated "can't decide the color". Looking for something in a paticular color, helps define the color.

  11. #36
    Super Member Mazda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Oklahoma City
    This was a great thread for me. I am getting shelves and 12 clear containers for my fabric. I can hardly wait to get it put together! Right now I just have one huge, heavy, overflowing tub of fabric. Then small stacks around the room.

  12. #37
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Western Washington State
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    I just put an Ikea storage shelf, including side table, into my sewing room. This thread has given me much food for thought! All I was thinking was folding to fit!!!

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  13. #38
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    I have 4 big bins labeled
    "Miney" and

    Just kidding. I sort my fabrics in a ROY G BIVly way in a dresser. Blacks, white, creams and greys go at at the end.
    Works for me; my stash is not large.

  14. #39
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Rapid City, SD
    I couldn't decide where to keep a layer cake -- it was easier to just make a quilt out of it. The quilt is now in my closet waiting to go to the quilt show.

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Cotswolds, England

    I sort my designer and ranges ie all my figtree ranges together, all my 3 sisters ranges together etc, I also group my civil war together, my flannels, my geometrics or obvious moderns together. I keep all my vintage fabrics together. My liberty lawn are also separate. Anything left without a home is then separated by colour.

    .......which makes me realise I need to get sewing!

  16. #41
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by theoldgraymare View Post
    When I look at the fabric, what color strikes me? If the pink dots strike me most, it goes with the pinks. If the white background is what I first notice, it goes with whites.
    that is what I do too

  17. #42
    Member marilyn y's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Northern Nevada
    I base my sorting on the way one of my favorite quilt stores is organized. I can't handle sorting only by color, too unorganized for me. I sort by theme (civil war and 18-19th century repros), 30's, Asians, neutrals, backgrounds suitable for redwork or other embroidery, etc. Within the catagory I may sort by fabric line or color. I ruler fold and the folded fabric goes in wire closetmaid drawers on frames. I do have two drawers that are blues and whites and white and blues, they are mainly repros, also. Likewise a drawer that's reds and red and white. Batiks are folded (but not ruler folded) and stacked in the closet on wire shelves. There is never going to be enough room because stuff grows to fill the space available. This works but I would like to replace the drawer units with Ikea Besta cabinets with doors. It would give me more storage, reduce the footprint on the floor and use more vertical space. I even went so far as to figure the number of cubic inches I would gain. It will have to wait until we re carpet the house in a year or two. I'm Not willing to breakdown and move things out of the sewing room twice, even thougth it's only 10 x 11.5 feet.

  18. #43
    Power Poster lynnie's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Long Island
    Blog Entries
    if you find yourself with a lot of those types, sort it into it's own catagory
    put off till tomorrow what you can do today, and if you procrastinate long enough, you may never have to do it.

  19. #44
    Junior Member Notwendy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Milwaukee, WI from Columbia, SC
    I've been folding stash most of the day, trying to rearrange. My prior sorting was along size. Fat quarters together, half yards together, etc. Not very organized to say the least. Earlier today I started resorting into color. But I found this rather hard, as I am quite the Magpie for bright colors and bold prints.

    From reading this thread I think by designer/company might work best for the majority. Most would be considered modern and a good chunk is Alison Glass, Frances Newcombe, Momo, Carolyn Friedlander, Lotta Jansdotter, Cotton + Steel, Michael Miller house designer, etc. That and solids/blenders by color would probably take care of 75-80%.

    Or just make a big jumble called "Misc" and consider it all sorted. : )
    'Tacky' does not necessarily refer to the quality of adhesiveness.

  20. #45
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Some of my fabric is sorted by quality or anticipated projects in plastic bags or baskets. My stash covers so many years that I try to not mix the older stuff with newer fabric. Also, if I paid a lot and I like it a lot...it stays separate no matter what color it is, my system is atrocious and could not recommend it. I do keep whites, creams etc together tho. That is important to me. But mainly, I try to keep complementary fabrics together or I might wind up using that perfect matching color on a new project. Also, very important...I keep my wip quilt tops and the extra fabric together until the binding is sewn on.

  21. #46
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My dots are all together organized by background color so you white with pink dots would go with dots next to other dots with white background.

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  22. #47
    Senior Member 4dogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Asheville, NC(cool, green mountains)
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I would put white w/ other colors in them in a separate pile if I had enough of them.
    this is my way too.........if its a multicolor kind of print, I put them all together in the same background color....regardless of their multi colors, I find that if all the background color is the same (like all tan backgrounds, etc) then those will look fine together...........
    Judy, retired RN, alias 4 dogs and in the mountains of western North Carolina.

    Someday you will be a memory - try to make it a good one .

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