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Thread: Organization question

  1. #1
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    Organization question

    I'm a newbie to quilting. Unfortunately, I'm not a newbie to overdoing things. I've stumbled onto some great deals on fabrics at estate sales. In about a year, I've accumulated five or six large totes of fabric. I don't have a clue as to what I have, though. The large portion of what I have is in the 2 to 5 yard range. But then, I have lots of 1/2 yard or so pieces of my "I spy" fabric (3 small totes). Then, I have my I spy squares (1 overflowing small tote). Then, I have fabric for specific projects that are in large ziplocks.

    For now, I'm happy with the state of my I spy fabric. I know where it is and kind of know what I have. Most all of that I purchased one piece at a time. I can live with the projects in ziplocks, too. The main things that I can't figure out how to organize is the big totes of big pieces. Those are the fabrics I bought at the estate sales by the box. (I filled my own box every time, so I bought stuff I liked, but I forget quickly what I've bought.)

    I thought about doing the thing with the comic book boards, but how much fabric can you wind on a board that size? How do they do that thing of folding where they use the cutting board? Do they stack it? I have some shelves that I've been meaning to clean off that I could use, but they are pretty deep (16").

    I bought the fabric to use when I retire, as I rarely have much time now. However, retirement is coming soon and these totes are getting out of hand in a small house.

    Any ideas?
    bkay

  2. #2
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    I have a similar problem but with more fabric. I am having success folding my fabric on a 6 inch ruler, then slipping the ruler out. This way, I can count the number of folds and divide by 2 to get a rough idea of the yardage. First you have to fold the fabric in half again so that it is about 11 inches wide. Then I place it on a shelf with like colors together, or with fabrics that are a part of a set together. I decided that the comic book boards would add too much bulk. FYI...I fold with the selvedge on the outside so that I can see the label information. It is slow going with all the fabric I have. I haven't figured out what to do with all the smaller pieces....yet.
    Sew a Little, Love a Lot & Live like you were dying!

  3. #3
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    For the larger pieces, you can go to your local fabric store and see if they have any fabric bolt boards that they are throwing away. If you can't get any ( or enough), then what I did was got some cardboard cut it down to 8 x 24 inch pieces, and taped two pieces together so it would be sturdy. I used painters tape, and made sure to cover all cut edges of the cardboard. Then wrap the fabric onto the bolts just like they do at the store.

    For 1/2 & 1/4 yards & fat quarters, I bought @ joanns a couple of "Artbin super satchel double deep" containers. These can be pricey, so watch for sales or coupons. I got lucky last week & got them for $13 each.

  4. #4
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    Whether you store on comic boards; fabric bolts; etc. as suggested previously, I would suggest sorting by color. For economy's sake I would probably ruler fold and either re-store in your totes or put on your shelves if you can. If you put in the totes - I would suggest labeling the totes with general color themes - greens; blues; reds; whatever. When you do your ruler fold or whichever method - label as close as possible to piece size and put a note on the piece. Might use up more pins/pieces of paper but would probably be valuable in the future. Re-mark that piece of paper as the fabric is used.

    All of the above from someone who has no stash. But if I did, that's how I'd do it.

  5. #5
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    I use the ruler fold method, too.

  6. #6
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    Husband made me a cabinet that's 6' high, 3' wide and 2' deep. the shelf space is between 13" and 14". I use the comic boards and the bolts most stores are happy to let you keep. I cut a couple of those board down to size, stapled together and taped the divide and staples. Most of my containers are see through. I bought, from Michaels, 14"x14" scrapbook containers (clear/clear). Those are labeled with projects for each of my boys and their girls. Each container holds the fabric that will be used for that particular project and the pattern. Watch for these when they are on sale. Others use unused pizza boxes. I've not been lucky enough to get them for reasonable price. That's OK because I prefer to see what I've got. A side tip for your smaller fabric containers. When you come across any OTC bottles that have the little silicone packets left from the empties save them for your smaller containers. Helps with keeping any moisture from accumulating. They really do work. Label as you go or when you go through your stash at different intervals. I store mine inside the container since mine are clear, I can scratch through if I transfer and add to another container. I have also made my own bolts by using cardboard from boxes about to be recycled. A packet of comic book boards is only abut 1 1/2", so they won't take up any more space than that. They're sturdy but not that thick.

  7. #7
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I fold mine & stack on shelves. I don't think your shelves are too deep. Mine are only about 11.5 inches and I could use another inch or two because I have glass doors that don't quite close completely. I like being able to look at my stash as I sew other projects. It gives me future ideas.

  8. #8
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    That is good advice. I, too, cut out cardboard to fold fabric on and I sorted by color. It really helps find what you think you have. Otherwise, I have been known to buy the same thing twice.

  9. #9
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    Since you have many large pieces of yardage and deep shelves, you might consider buying several clear totes that are about 10" high, 15" deep and 8-10" wide .That way you could fold your fabric and "file' it front to back with the folds up so that you can see it and be able to pull out 1 without rooting through a pile. Small enough to be manageable to pull off the shelf without hurting yourself, but large enough to hold a fair amount of yardage. I sort by color and label everything because --even with "clear" bins--I can't quickly see the difference between pinks and reds, blues and blacks, etc. I'm sort of a label-holic!

  10. #10
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    You are smart to pay attention to how you store and organize your fabric while you are still in the "tote" stage. I try to get as much of my miscellaneous fabric on cardboard as I can. I have a file cabinet (one with a strong bottom in the drawers). I fold my bigger fabric on cardboards and file them. My fat quarters and other small pieces are on smaller cardboards and filed in transparent shoe boxes from Walmart for .96. I can stack those shoe boxes in columns in a corner or use very inexpensive Closet Maid shoe shelves to store them ( use both methods). My big stuff- more than 2 yards goes in a cabinet. Open shelves can disappoint you because of fading and dirt. By the way I preshrink when I get new fabric, so I can go in and select my fabrics and start cutting without delay.
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all your help. I spent a while last night watching youtube videos on organizing your fabric. It all started with looking up folding fabric on a 6" ruler. Of course I have a 6" quilting ruler, but my mind went to a ruler like you use in elementary school. It never occurred to me fold fabric that way.

    I went to walmart today and while there, looked at all the smaller totes that might fit on shelves.

    Thanks, innov8r for the tip on the small stuff. I have bunches of those shoe boxes.

    bkay

  12. #12
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    I starch, steam press and fold my fabric in half with selvages together then fold it in half again. I trim the first end with my rotary cutter so it is even, then I fold it around a rotary cutting ruler that is 8 inches wide by 14 inches long. When the fabric is folded around the ruler, I slide the ruler out, trim the end of the fabric evenly with my rotary cutter and use a water soluble marker to mark in the selvage area how much fabric is in the piece. Then I straight pin it so that it will stay neat. I store my fabric in color marked plastic bins on its side so that I can see what I have. These pieces can then be pulled out for a project - I know exactly how much is there and the fabric is already folded and ready for rotary cutting.

  13. #13
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    i didn't read anybody's responses...not much patience pre-meds and low fluids,
    but here's my organizing reccommendation: if you can't stack ruler-folded fabrics,
    then figure out your preferred size, cut some cardboard, I use poster board -
    cover with TIN FOIL...it does not hurt your fabrics....got it from a quilting book
    a few years ago,...then stack or file.
    I used to use boxes, bins, etc. too hard for me to move bins now and bend over
    and dig through them.
    Hope this helps.
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  14. #14
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    I have shelving that is 22" deep. I ruler fold over my 6" ruler and stack by colour. I do have the comic book boards as well and use those selectively for larger pieces of solids - things I'd use for multiple quilts. The basics as it were.
    GrannyLady - Having too much fun dressing my grandaughters.

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