Taming the Stash ~ Fabric Organization My Way


I love to sew and with that love comes a love of fabric!  Fabric seems to come into my home on a regular basis, whether it’s invited or not (it’s always invited!).  This fabric needs to be managed or it will take over my work space!  Over the years I’ve come up with some “systems” to sort & organize my fabric stash.  Y’all just be prepared, because I keep everything!  It’s also not going to be one of those drool worthy Pinterest craft rooms.  There’s some things that are working & some things that need improvement.  Maybe you’ll find some ideas for taming your stash among my fabric organization!

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The Main Fabric Shelf

This post came about because I noticed my fabric scrap bin needed to be cleaned out.  I talked about what this bin is for in my creative process post.

Sometime last year I bought a fabulous shelf to store fabric.  Before that, all my fabric was in plastic bins.  The bins were all stacked up on each other and it was quite the workout to find what I needed.  I’ve rearranged, refolded, & re-stacked the shelf since then.  It works much better this way!  This shelf is mostly for larger yardages of fabric.

Let’s take a look shelf by shelf!  The top shelf is all cotton quilting fabrics.  It’s divided by color which makes it easier to see what I have.

The second shelf is still a work in progress!  There’s some scraps, charm packs, mini charm packs, & fat quarters.  The end row is the beginning of my knit fabrics.

The 3rd row is knits and lightweight apparel fabrics.  I don’t sort these by color but by type of fabric.  When sewing quilts I’m usually looking for a certain color or color combination and it’s mostly cotton.  When sewing apparel I’m usually looking for a specific type of fabric first.

The 4th row is bottom weights & shirtings & flannels.  A bottom weight is like denim, twill, & corduroy.

The 5th row (seen in top & bottom pics) has interior fabrics on the left and fleece, minky, & terry cloth on the right.  The very bottom row contains interfacing, muslin material, felt, old jeans, & vinyl.

That big pile on the floor is burlap.  As you can see, I love all types of fabric!  I’m also overflowing my shelf already!  There’s some more fabric to the left on bolts.

The right side of the shelf holds all my fabric samples.  Hey, if I order fabric and it says I get free samples, I’m getting the free samples!  Sometimes I get them to make sure the fabric is going to work for what I’m doing.

Large Scraps

The fabric shelf houses mostly larger cuts of fabric.  The pieces that are big enough to fold, but not a full width or length go into my large scrap bin.  This sits under my batting & stuffing bin and both sit under my drafting table.  That’s my dog’s bed in front.  He doesn’t like it too much when he has to move because I need to get in the bins!

In the bin, fabric is sorted into smaller bins by color.  All scraps, no matter if they’re quilting, apparel, or interior, go into this bin.

The smaller bins are just fabric drawer sorters I bought at the Dollar Tree.  There is one small cardboard box as well.

These scraps could be used for anything from quilts, to stuffed toys, to trim for a garment.  This is why I sorted them by color & not fabric type.  Although the bins make it easier to find things, this is an area that needs improvement.  I’m thinking of rearranging the 2nd shelf for these scraps.  To be determined!

Small & Itty Bitty Scraps

I have 3 more categories that scraps can fall into because I’m crazy like that!  These two bins sit on the top of my other shelf system on the opposite wall.  The scraps in these bins are not divided by color or fabric type.  They are divided by size.

The tall skinny one used to hold ornaments.  Now it holds long, skinny pieces of fabric.  Sometimes it’s good for binding but I intend to make a strip quilt one day.

The short, round bin used to hold cheese puffs (my son’s) and now it holds small scraps.  This bin holds HST corners, squares, & other leftovers.  One day I intend to cut everything into squares or triangles and use it for a scrap quilt.  Today is not that day!   : )

Last, but not least, are the bits & pieces most sewists throw away.  I keep these in sandwich baggies on my fabric shelf.

Most of this is too small to sew a seam and I did separate it out a bit.  There’s a bag with just knit trims, that’s to make yarn with…

There’s also a bag that’s just batting scraps.  This is good for stuffing!

Mostly the bags are just a mixture of whatever was being sewn at the time.  When it’s full, I close it up and get another bag.

Why am I saving all this?  I plan to make some fabric art with it!  I’ve long admired fabric artists like Sophie Standing.  I hope to explore this further in the coming year.  Here are some great places I’ve found to start:

I think all things made with fabric are a form of art!  At QuiltCon one of the speakers had made a scarf out of her thread ends.  It was awesome!  Sorry, I don’t remember who it was because I was too busy drooling over the sewing machine she was talking about!  : )

If you want some more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board Organize the Craft Room.  Maybe one day I’ll have fabric tags for all my fabrics!  Y’all have a great day!


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  1. Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl says:

    I am always curious to see how others store their stash. I really like that your storage solution has room for bolts of fabric. Right now my storage is still in bins and is better suited for smaller cuts of fabric. As I continue to grow, I find myself working with more and more yardage and will need to evolve my storage. Thanks for sharing and linking up!

    • Kristie Cook says:

      It is an ever changing thing for me! I’ll think I have it just right and realize something is just not working. 🙂 That shelf was an awesome find for me – $25 at a thrift shop! I just had to paint it. Thank you for stopping by! I really enjoy doing the link ups.

  2. Leanna says:

    Wow you must sew lots. The large pieces of fabric are not the issue, its always about storing the little bits left over and storing them so they are with coordinating fabric. Those storage bins look good for that purpose.

    • Kristie Cook says:

      I do sew a lot but it’s never as much as I want to! I’m working on cutting my scraps into useful pieces & I’ll post more about that soon!

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