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How do you keep your fabric organized? I have rubbermaid tubs, bags, shelves, piles. Once I started a database of all my fabric (amount, type, colour, possible useds) but quickly gave up.

I'm looking for creative (and easy) ideas!

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Ah, yes, fabric stash -- loveliest activity -- touching feeling, folding, draping the stuff -- a wide selection is absolutely necessary for creative survival! For 58 years I have collected, cut and stitched and loved just about every minute of it!

Big problem though, left our retirement homes sturdy iron pipe shelving and moved into a cottage with my first experience of the wire racks and shelves. No problem, have the huge closet in the master bedroom which we are using as a "common room" (having given up my Fibre Arts Studio in our PA home. I unloaded wardrobe after wardrobe of fabrics my ASG friends had packed for me. No particular order, they'd used every bit of space inthose babies for any kind or size piece!

That night a tunderstorm rolled in and we heard a distant crackel of thunder and went to sleep. In the morning, my dear husband trotted off to the master bath and came back giggling heartily. "You've really got a job to do in there" was all he said. I went to see what he was talking about and found that the load of fabric and completely pulled the shelving off the wall and laid out on the carpet like dominoes! The cleaning lady was coming that day, so I decided I'd better call the Facility Manager and tell him what happened that have her tell him. He couldn't believe it and came down himself to see.

So, the whole unit was replaced and the new one re-inforced as no expense to me and this time I have sorted and put the cahsmeres, wool plaid, and solids at one end and have the silk linens, silks etc in the
middle and the denim & corduroys at the other end.

My DD gave me 3 hotel racks to use and they are in the middle of my area with lunderpinning fabrics on one, summer chiffons etd on another and cottons on another and the fleece stacked up on the bottoms!
Makes a great divider to keep DH and his stuff on the other side of the room!
Just joined the group...! We are replacing the windows in our house, so I've had to pack up my sewing room for a month or so. This gives me a great excuse to re organize. This post is LOONG... but at least I can tell you what I'm doing, or what I've found to work for me.

I had 4 seven foot bookcases stacked with fabric, plus project bins on top, plus large clear rubbermaid tubs stacked in the closet. I used to do costuming, home dec and now into doll clothing, dressmaking and quilting. So my stash is higly eclectic. I also had/have a truck load of vintage fabrics from the 40's and 50's and 60's (from my mom). All of this stuffed into a 10' x 12' room.

What I ended up doing... was culling my stash as I packed it. My local sew store has a charity quilt group that makes quilts, wheelchair buddies, head gear for cancer patients, teddy bears for kids, etc. I took over TWO CAR LOADS of fabrics to them. (No, I am NOT kidding!). I know that the fabrics will find a good use, and in turn I got a great discount off of a new Horn sewing/cutting table combo. The sew shop owner is a really nice lady, and has always done well for me. We help each other out.

My new sew room will have this new Horn table (5580) that is both sew center and cutting center, instead of the space hogging system I used before: a large cutting table (dining table up on risers) and a sewing desk (which is too small for large projects). By culling my stash that much, I will be able to use my closet for actual finished costumes, hung quilts and the like. I will still have my bookcases, which get fabrics folded onto them by catagory and by color (for cottons). The bottom two shelves I 'skirt' with a plain muslin and a spring loaded curtain rod. The top shelves have my quilting cottons.

Another 'new' addition will be a large dresser, painted white. I will redo the top as a 'big board' ironing center. The top drawer will have irons, hams, pressing supplies, template plastics, etc. The two lower drawers I think I'll remove. I plan on redoing that part as shelves. So I'll have places for my 6 plastic project bins (each stores 2 to 3 projects/quilts) plus the large drawer. And a 20" x 60" press board on top.

I don't need a design wall all the time, so I tend not to have it up. But when I need it... I use my four bookcases (which are all placed together, side by side down a long wall). I hang a white, King size flannel sheet from a large pole/really 1x2. Which is velcro'd to the top of the bookcases. I roll it down over the front of the bookcases... and presto! My design wall is facing my sewing area, so I can sew, look up at it, make changes, etc. When I am finished with it, or need to access the stash, I simply roll up sheet around the 1x2 and set it on top of the bookcases out of the way - quilt pieces and all roll up nicely. I have considered hanging it from the ceiling using large hooks to suspend the 'pole'. But for now, it works fine.

I like the lady's suggestion that we should organize how we work. I so agree. I dislike clutter. With so little space to work in, usually I need my stash and cutting/ironing areas at one time. Then after working through fabric choices, washing, ironing and such... I need the sewing area, ironing and the Wall. I keep those things together to minimize the frustration of not having things readily accessible when needed.

I also had the good fortune to snag up a metal McCalls pattern chest from the local Rag Shop when it went out of business. So I have a huge, steel pattern chest that holds my huge collection of patterns along with ribbons, trims, stabalizers, etc. Very cool! Very heavy! lol.

I keep the fabric folded evenly and placed fold side out on the bookcases. (miniblinds are always closed, diffuse light). I looked into the PolarNotions boards. They sound/look wonderful, but I would need $500 worth of boards! I'd rather spend that on my fabrics. I did check with a local plastics/acrylic manufacturer to see what it would cost for them to cut up an 8 x 4 foot sheets of thin plastic to size. It was a bit cheaper, and no shipping. (only tax). I might go that route eventually. But what I do seems to work for me now.

To those who use cardboard to wrap fabrics around... please note that cardboard and also regular fabric bolts from the stores will degrade over time and the acid in them will bleach streaks into your fabrics. I would suggest that you not use cardboard/bolts at all. I saw on the web that someone recommends the acid free, archival comic book boards - there's even a tutorial showing how to fold your stash onto such a board. That sounds like another good option.

When I get finished with the 'new' sewing room, I'll post some pictures!
And will continue to read others' inspiring methods of organization.


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