Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

My sewing room became so disorganized and chaotic during the holidays and afterwards, attempts at getting it back to something reasonable always seemed to fall short.  With chaos I just couldn't get motivated to start or finish projects.  One night, after another evening of frustration looking for something I couldn't find, I had a flash of brilliance just as I was dropping off to sleep.  I'm surprised it didn't keep me awake.

My idea was to file my fabrics, anything that was 1-1/2 to 1/4 yard pieces, including my many fat quarters.   I had a small fillling cabinet in my room that I stored craft supplies in, things were mostly just dropped in the drawers or maybe put in a basket first.  I had to put that cabinet to better use.  I searched Craigs LIst to find a source for hanging folders, after begging a sister who had some to send me some of hers.  I was going to need a bunch.  I was able to get slightly used folders for five cents each.  Each hanging folder has two metal hangers that rest on the drawer edges and move easily back and forth to locate what's inside.  However, I wasn't going to use them as folders, just hangers.  Using a rotary cutting mat and a utility knife I cut the hangers free from the folder, just below the folded over edge.  Each hanger now has about an inch of folder left on it and it helps stabilize the hanger.  My fabric pieces are folded over the hangers and I've sorted them by color, can easily pull out colors for projects.  Note of caution, put one whole folder at the back of each drawer.  This will keep the fabrics at the back of the drawer from falling through the space into the drawer below.

Once I got started, I was so excited and it really got me motivated to get everything organized.  I purchased storage bins for my craft supplies and used my bookcase for storing my larger pieces for quilting.  My dressmaking yardage will be stored on bolts in the closet, that's another project, that yardage is still residing in storage bins that are totally inconvenient and take up too much space.  Take a look at the photos of my new fabric files.  I'm very pleased with the result and wanted to share.  All 3 of my sisters are implementing a fabric file.  Hope you can use this idea for your sewing area.

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Replies to This Post

I LOVE THIS IDEA, but I was just thinking that you could have just cut the folders apert at the bottoms and used the side of the folder to wrap the fabric around. (like a mini bolt) It might stabilize the fabric in the drawer.
Oh, my.  I'm so going to do this.  I have a lateral file cabinet that is being misused and abused, and a closet full of bins that will be so much easier to utilize, when I can see them all at once. Thank you for this great tip.

I'm glad you all like the idea.  The reason I cut the folders so short is because it takes up room that I'd rather use for fabric.  And most of the pieces are fat quarters or a yard or less, a few maybe a bit more.  The longer pieces I just got creative with my folding so that they weren't too long to fit in the drawer. 

I love being able to just open the drawers and see what I have at a glance.  Found out my sister posted this idea earlier, she gave me full credit, and she's painted an old file cabinet and added pictures to identify color families.

Do check around for used folders, boxes of new ones are costly.

What a great idea! I don't have a file cabinet, but will use the plastic file bins I saw in office Depot the other day. Thanks for sharing?
This is great!! When I move I will keep this in mind for organizing my fabrics. Thanks for sharing!1
I like this idea.  I'm going to look at flea markets and yard sales for a used file cabinet.
Love it, I just out of floor space.
Love it, Love it, Love it.  I have a cabinet.  Thank you so much for sharing.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea.  thanks for sharing!
What a great idea!  I have a filing cabinet that is full of papers, have lots of hanging files.  Right now, I have two freestanding hanging file racks that I file my patterns in.  My mind is buzzing with ideas!

What a great idea!  I'm going to try this too!


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