Fabric storage

Everyone's been talking about their fabric stashes which makes me want to talk about mine. I'm only going to talk about my quilting fabric for now since the rest of my stash is for clothing and costuming and is way out of control. So, if you're interested, read on.

When I buy new fabric, it goes directly into the washer. When it comes out of the dryer it gets a good ironing, I cut off any selvedges that have writing and fold it up according to size.

I used to store all my fabric in clear plastic bins but I never really knew what I had. It felt locked away and I’d have to rifle through the bin to find what I wanted. Then I realized I feel more inspired if I can see everything so I decided to put my fabric in stacks on my shelves. For ½ yard cuts or larger, I fold my fabric using this technique.

I measured my shelf, divided that number by four, subtracted a half inch or so and then cut a piece of foam board 5.25”x20”. This gives me four stacks per shelf without crowding or leaving too much unused space:

large folds of fabric

Anything between ½ yard and approximately ¼ yard gets folded up the same way using a smaller piece of foam board (3.5”x20”). They go on top of the larger stacks, sorted by color.

Any piece of fabric smaller than a fat quarter goes into small plastic bins. When a piece is large-ish, at least the size of my hand as a general rule (but this depends on my mood), it goes into these bins, sorted by warm and cool colors.

large fabric scraps

When a piece is smaller than that, it goes in these bins, again sorted by warm and cool colors. This is where the strips end up as well as some truly tiny pieces. I keep anything that’s at least .75” x .75”.

small fabric scraps

Selvedges go in another bin as well as triangles.

selvedges and triangle scraps

I haven’t found a good use for the triangles yet but when I do, I don’t want to have to dig around in the other scrap bins to find them.

Any fabrics that are poor quality or ugly go into another bin. If the pieces are large enough, they get cut into 3.5” squares for a quilt I’m making for myself. If they’re not large enough, I save them to make cards or bookmarks or other things that won’t need to be washed a lot.

And finally, when I trim up blocks or have pieces smaller than .75”, they go into this bin:

tiny scraps

I forgot to take a picture this morning but here’s one from last year. It’s now packed to overflowing! Instead of throwing all this away, my plan is to use it to stuff toys or pincushions. I haven’t made any toys or pincushions in all the years I’ve been quilting but if I ever do, I’ll be prepared.

So that’s it. I’ve tried lots of storage ideas in the past 3 years but this is my favorite so far. It’s simple which is the key to its success. I can see what I have at all times and I know right where to go when I’m in search of something in particular.

So, what about you? How do you store your fabric and scraps?


  1. At the moment, I'm horrid in terms of organization of my regular fabric. I had a system in my previous sewing room - based on type of fabric and colour, and it was all stacked in huge wicker baskets on a shelf. After awhile though, my stash got to such proportions that this became unweildy. Right now all of my fabrics are folded and piled on one another higgly piggly and it's really awful. I need another shelving unit is the problem (or so I tell myself).

    My scraps are much better organized - in clear bins according to size and colour, or in large clear zip lock freezer bags in a basket of simliarly sized scraps.

    I've never thought about keeping the weeniest scraps for stuffing until I saw someone else say they did that on their blog...can't remember who it was - but I thought it was a brilliant idea - I could totally stuff them in pantyhose to shape future dolls' bodies and maybe even heads. Brilliant! ;)

    When my sewing room can be seen, I'll do a post about my organziation. Although it won't be as pretty as yours! My last sewing room was very pretty, but it's now someone's bedroom (changes in our household) and I've been relegated to what was once the "storage room " in our finished basement. It's bigger and the lighting's better, so it makes up for it's not being "pretty".

    Well, mostly it does... ;)

  2. It's always a joy to look into your sewing room. <3
    You might like this for your scrap triangles. If you don't have enough to make a whole quilt you could always send a block or two to the bush fire quilt project.


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