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Fabric Organisation
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Fabric Organisation

Fabric! A crafters delight. Patchwork cottons in colours, prints and sizes. Most of us who indulge in patchwork, or similar hobbies, can't get enough of it. The inevitable outcome is a lot of yardage, remnants and scraps that need some type of fabric organisation.

I'm sure there a some people who shove it all in a box and hope for the best. Lets face fact; it's nearly an unavoidable requirement for a busy crafter to have a messy sewing room. Creating makes mess... even if it's only temporary.

I'm betting, however, that the majority of people have some type of fabric organisation in place. Fabric is the basis for all creating. Colour, size, type, use, fibre, season or print. I'm sure the list isn't exhaustive on the ways fabric could be sorted, analysed and stored.

If you're struggling with keeping things organised in this regard you may like to begin with the three basic categories of Yardage, Remnants and Scraps.

Yardage is by far the easiest fabric to store. It's obviously useful and wanted. One of the determining factors in how this fabric is stored is the quantity of fabric you have and the space you have to keep it in.

  • Keep yardages folded in uniform sizes. These can be stacked on a shelf, in a cupboard or stored in a box or plastic tubs.
  • Sort by colour, use (or intent) or maybe print type.
  • Yardages can be rolled onto mini bolts and displayed on a bookcase or lined up on a cupboard shelf. This is uniform and looks nice if you have the space to do it.

One caution on displaying fabric (even if it's just stacking it for convenience) is to be aware that sunlight will fade fabric. This will lead to pale stripes throughout he fabric where the edges have been exposed over time. I have even been caught with this when buying fat quarters at a store.

Remnantsare the pieces left over from another project that are still big enough to be quite useable. From a size point of view I would call them fat quarters or larger. Not many people want to cast these pieces aside when to a crafter, patchworker or appliqué project they still have good potential.

  • Store these pieces in a box or plastic tub. If you can afford tubs it's the best way to go as they stack neatly and you can see what's in them without digging or opening them. Fabric very quickly becomes messy if you're looking for something that's at the bottom of a pile!
  • A hanging file box or cabinet can be a fun and easy way to store remnants. They're easy to see and easy to sort onto the different shelve spaces.

Scraps are one of life's biggest joys or problems for patchworkers. Those of us who love fabric and are in a perpetual state of lack (regardless of how much we have) don't like throwing the littlest pieces out.

Others believe in throwing out both scraps and remnants or, at the very least, giving them away. I've heard it said that if you don't make scrappy quilts than anything under a fat quarter is useless! Possibly and probably!

  • Scraps can be thrown into a clear plastic tub for digging through and using at a later date.
  • Consider using a clear vinyl shoe holder on the back of a door to sort different colours into.
  • Organise your scraps in an orderly manner. This is done by cutting scraps into 2.5inch strips, 5 inch squares or fat quarters. Get rid of all the extra bits and you'll have scraps ready for a quick and easy scrappy project.
  • When you have lots, sort them in the usual ways - colour, type, prints, length of strip or plain.
  • If you belong to a craft guild or group initiate a day when everyone swaps their strips. You may be delighted to find your scraps have turned into a very exciting new treasure of previously unknown (to you) fabrics.

I have some projects on the go that I keep together. It makes good sense to have the various fabrics, threads, pattern and other bits and pieces all in the one place. Many patchwork projects are worked on over many months and sometimes languish for various reasons. It helps to have everything in one place when you want to pick up where you left off.

Fabrics do need some protection from dust, light and animal fur (assuming there's a pet in the house). It's OK to pre-wash fabrics but annoying if you need to do it again because the fabric has been sitting a little too long exposed to the big wide world.

The flip side of the coin is not to hide away the very thing that inspires your creative juices and delights your senses. If you're a fabric lover, like me, you may find you have fabrics that are just too good to hide. Take the pieces you just had to have and hang them on a chair, on the wall, on a skirt hanger in the closet and draw from them motivation, inspiration and contentment.

Now that's being organised!


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