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Fabric Storage and Organization

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If you love sewing then you probably have a fabric stash and tons of fabric scraps. Keeping them organized can be a huge challenge for most sewists.

Fabric Storage & Organization Pin

Fabric Storage and Organization

Fabric DISorganization

Fabric disorganization can cause you to unnecessarily purchase a fabric because you have no idea what’s lurking in your stash. Pre-cuts like fat quarter bundles end up tossed onto shelves or tucked away in drawers, eventually forgotten. When you do remember what you have, you end up wasting a ton of time trying to find it.

I know this because for a brief moment in time I had a handle on my fabric. All of my scraps were (and for the most part, still are) in color-coded plastic boxes.

storage cabinet

Then I fell in love with quilting and overbought purchased more fabric for my projects. And, I started buying the occasional pre-cut collection. Before I knew it my storage was overwhelmed by my fabric obsession. (no photo because it’s such an unholy mess that I can’t bring myself to take a picture)


A Girl Can Dream

In an ideal world all sewists would have their very own fabric store with all of their favorites lined up perfectly and arranged in color order. We could cut off what we want and then put the bolt back until we needed a little more fabric.

Really, who wouldn’t love this at one end of a sewing room.

fabric store

A Simple Solution

I have some great news for you. There is a way to achieve something fairly close to this. By folding your fabrics onto inexpensive magazine boards you can have a small-scale version of a sewing store!

This techniques allows you to organize your fabrics in a way that allows easy access. No more rummaging through boxes and bins looking for that fat quarter that you bought last year at a quilt festival. This method puts your fabrics within reach.

What I love about this storage technique is its versatility. You can line your fabrics up on a bookcase; or they will fit nicely in storage bins.

Below is a short video by Melanie Ham showing you how to fold and organize your fabric stash using this method. It works great for all sorts of storage situations and I love how you are able see your fabrics at a glance.

In the video, Melanie mentions two types of storage boards. One is pretty pricey and is a little hard to find. The other is available on Amazon and costs around $10. I’ve added affiliate links for your convenience and included two different sizes.

This site contains affiliate links which won't change your price. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Small Fabric Storage Boards

Large Fabric Storage Boards


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17 Comments

  1. Check out Joy at joyful-expressions(at)blogspot(dot)com. She is in the process of organizing her HUGE collection of fabric.
    June 10, 13, and 17, 2016 are her posts on her project. Joy is a quilter and apparel seamstress. She has the same concept, just bigger pieces of fabric!

  2. Hello, I do not have much of a small fabric stash…I use alot of recycled fabric. And spending money on something I pick up for free is hard for me to do. As I like to recycle I use the large dog food bags that we get for our little rescues. I then take them apart and clean them up really well,,,and sew them up into bags… I put all my jean material in them..different ways I finish the bags tell me what is in them. Legs, back pockets, front pockets. waistbands. That way I know what I have on hand. I even made a “laundry tote” style for my winter sweaters. These bags really come in handy. A gentleman down lane came over and asked if I could make a few for use in his garden. He brought over the really big dog size bags and I made some of the “laundry totes” for him to put his harvest in….

  3. The plastic cat litter containers were piling up here and I hated to just throw them out. I have cut a bunch of them up and they make great organizers. I was mulling over using the comic book boards to roll my fabric on and then stacking them on end in the litter containers with the tops cut off. They can be sorted many different ways, marked on the outside, and can sit on a shelf or floor. Cost? FREE

  4. Leslie, you’ve done it once again! You have written about a subject I am currently interested in. My sewing room (which I was so proud of when I put it together three years ago) now looks like two or three bombs have hit it! Normally, I am a very neat and organized person by nature, but as I started quilting and collecting patterns, books, and fabric, it kinda took on a life all it’s own. When my July 4th company leaves, I am jumping in and taking control. I appreciate any and all advise!

    1. My suggestion is to be prepared and take your time. Before I started I had the fabric cards on hand. I put on a podcast and work for a bit. I’m thinking about getting Audible so I can listen to books while I work. I will keep working if I have something interesting to listen to.

  5. This is great! Thank you so much for posting it. My fabric is folded and stacked on shelves right now, but when we get our house built I envision something more like a fabric store. I put the boards in my “save for later” cart on Amazon so I don’t forget what they are!

  6. I am almost done reorganizing my sewing room. The last bit is my lingerie elastic. After seeing you fold all your fabric around cardboard, I’ve decided to wrap my lingerie elastic around cardboard that I have on hand and so far it’s going well. So thanks for the idea!

  7. I actually use box flaps and scrap cardboard and make my own boards. No way could I afford all those boards for my gigantic fabric stash! In fact my biggest challenge is that I’m out of shelf space and my shoe rack is full of smaller cards, and I still have no room for it all! Thank you for posting this!

  8. Finding a technique to organize your fabric stash in order to put them within reach is an excellent idea. Using a technique that allows you to be able to test the fabric’s color and texture in order to find the right one for the project you’re working on as quickly as possible seems like it would be a big time saver. I’ve also heard of people using fabric swatch cards in order to be able to see and test out your fabrics.

  9. There is a comic book store near me. They sell big and small comic book boards, which are light weight cardboard. They are perfect for folding fabric on. I use the 12″ they come in a pack of 100 for about $10.

    1. “Tim’s” (for non-Canadians) is a ubiquitous chain of coffee shops that are wildly popular across Canada. I prefer their dark roast, personally.

  10. FYI check out the Billy Bookcase 8″ deep… perfect for boarded fabrics.. I went thru this organization project a few years back and it’s the best thing i ever did.. GB

  11. You don’t have to invest in comic book boards or other fabric boards to organize your stashes. If you have animals that you feed regularly and buy boxed canned food for your rescues, there are cardboard sheets separating the layers that you can recycle into ‘fabric’ boards. When I ran out of those, I found a fantastic sale at Hobby Lobby and bought packages of 10 large poster boards at $3.99 each. I was able to get 9 large fabric boards per sheet (at 8″ x 10″) plus 3 small ones measuring about 6″ x 8″. Let’s say I used at least 2 packages of those in conjunction with many recycled cardboards and leave it at that. At least I saved enough money to buy more fabric for more crafts and quilts. Love the article, and glad to see that I was on the right track to keeping organized so that I don’t lose interest while trying to retrieve the perfect piece of fabric from a box under the guest room bed!

  12. This is the best fabric organization system ever! I did this a few years ago and it truly works. I went 1 step further when I was folding the fabric onto the boards and measured it, then wrote the measurement onto a piece of paper and pinned it to the fabric. Now when I pull it out I know exactly how much is there and if there is enough for my project. I have up to 8 yards of fabric on 1 board, and as many as 3 fat quarters on 1 board also. It all depends on how you fold them.

  13. I started using the cardboards from Amazon about a year ago – every night when I let the dogs out, I’d wrap a few fabrics. I’ve filled a 3 shelf bookcase with glass doors so I can always see what I have, and still have lots left to store. I’ve gone through one package of 100 boards and am mostly through the second package. I’m thinking I might fill another bookcase once I figure out where to put it. I’ve stacked my precuts in the wooden craft boxes from JoAnn’s – on their long sides with the openings to the front so I can always see what jelly rolls or layer cakes I’ve got. The charm packs are all in plastic bins, but they’re inventoried so I know what I have. This just takes care of my quilting fabric – Now I need to figure out a better storage system for my apparel fabrics. If I could only improve the lighting and make the room about 12′ bigger!!

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