Sewing Space Shuffle Part 2: Taming the Fabric Stash

The majority of any sewing space organisation is always: what on earth do I do with all that fabric! I sew with much more knit fabric, than with woven, but in the early days, I acquired quite a lot of woven fabric, including much that is completely unsuited to what I will sew (er, silks, I’m wondering why I bought you…)

I haven’t decided if I’ll swap/ give it away, because I do love it and maybe one day I’ll sew it up? Maybe? Also, I bought some silks in outrageous yellow and orange hues, which may not suit very many people at all.

Also, the awesomeness of prints in wovens is greater by a factor of 23.75 bajillion than in knits (in Australia, anyway). Given that most of my sewing is for my everyday wear, I found it a wee bit difficult to work out how to incorporate hedgehog & fox fabric into a work appropriate outfit… and though I love florals because I love flowers, I don’t often wear them.

However, I have got better over time.  I’ve slowly learned to not buy fabric that I cannot work out what to make with it when I’m at the fabric shop. I’m slowly learning to avoid stripes in knits, because though I adore stripes and would wear them, I hate having to stripe match and I’m not good at it.

My stash is not an outrageous size, but there’s plenty there, and more than I’ll get through in a few years of sewing. I am a bit of a sucker for remnants, and a sucker for bulk buys, but the first part to fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem, yes?

I want all of my sizeable fabric to be stored in the cubic shelves inside the wardrobe. Sizeable to me means more than a metre in length, as I’m likely to be able to get at least a top from that amount.

Previously, I had my fabric folded to novel sized and shelved vertically. While I loved this, it would not work in the cubes, because that’s simply too large for the fabric to stand up, so they are back to being horizontal.

This is how I folded my fabric to fit the size of the cubes.

How to fold fabric 1

  1. I cut some cardboard to the width of the shelves, as my folding template.
  2. I then folded each piece of fabric selvedge to selvedge and laid it out across the floor. I used our camping Thermarests to spare my poor pregnant lady knees, as well as to stop the fabric picking up gunk from the carpet (vacuuming beforehand was not an option, nope).
  3. Using the template, I then folded the halved fabric into thirds (usually for 150cm wide fabric), or into the middle (usually for 110 wide fabric).
  4. I then turned the template, and began wrapping the fabric template, smoothing fabric out as I went.
  5. At the end of the fabric, I folded the cut edge in, so it was all nice and tidy.
  6. To finish, I secured with paper clips, the more clashing the colour of paper clip to fabric, the better.
Ta da!

Ta da!

And then I repeated this a zillion and 26 times for each piece of fabric.

I treated my knit fabrics in exactly the same way. I’m considering rolling my knits, because I’m not averse to a bit of pulling fabric out and refolding (fun times!) but I keep worrying about whether rolling will distort knit fabrics? Anyone want to throw in their two cents on this?

The next difficult bit is how to group the fabric. Wovens and knits are kept separate, but how to group them otherwise? I toyed with the idea of making a rainbow, but half my stash is in dark, dull hues (fabric still allocated to trousers…), so I was back to my trusty ‘light and brights’ and ‘dark and dulls’ system. Plus, when you have prints with all colours of the rainbow on them … It’s hard to work out which is the dominant hue to fit into the ROYGBIV spectrum. But you can still sing Rainbow Connection, while stacking.

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7 Comments

  1. My stash has exactly the same problem – glutted with wovens I don’t want to sew but can’t quite give away! I’ve rolled my knits for a couple years now, and not noticed any issues. 🙂

    Reply

    1. I don’t even really know why I cannot get rid of mine .. I like them but I’m not really attached to them or anything. It just seems a bit wasteful!

      Good to know about the rolled knits! I might give one cube a try to see if I like it that way.

      Reply

  2. Oh you’re way more kind to your fabrics than I LOL. I have a few different boxes (and my overflow is in shopping bags LOL). For grouping (if it helps at all), I separate knits and wovens of course, as you mentioned, and then I group by weight. Lightweights, medium-heavy weights, and coating. Most of it gets rolled, tied with some twine or a bit of ribbon and then filed into the appropriate bin – I love the idea of displaying my stash where I can ogle it daily, but I’m concerned it will fade with exposure, particularly since it’s often a LOOOOONG time before I get around to using it! LOL

    Reply

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