Back in the spring, as part of the One Room Challenge, I re-decorated my home office / craft room. And I love it! (You can click here to see it if you missed the makeover.)
However with the big rush to get the challenge done, I didn’t get to finish all of the organizational things that I wanted to put in the space. So now I’m finally getting around to doing that!
The first thing I want to tackle is the pile of fabric that is usually in my sewing area…and is currently hanging out on the settee in my guest room…good thing my guests are understanding 🙂
I wanted to find some way to store and organize fabric that would make it easy to find and get to (as opposed to searching through a pile), and also look good.
And storing the fabric in a pile doesn’t work so well in my house…it immediately gets turned into a cat bed 🙂
After sorting through the pile, I decided that I have 3 different sizes of fabric that would each benefit from a different storage tactic…so my one fabric organization project has turned into three (which I’ll be working on over the next couple of weeks):
- This week I’ll be tackling all of the leftover scraps from previous projects. These are mostly partial widths that vary in length, and usually have more than one piece that needs to be stored together.
- Next week I will be storing my larger pieces of folded fabric. These are usually fabrics I bought for some project that never happened (or I haven’t go to yet)…so they’re full width pieces of fabric that are a few yards in length. You can find that project here.
- Finally, I’ll be dealing with the rolls of fabric I have hanging around. Some of these are actual bolts of fabric from the store (sometimes those sales are to good to pass up!), and some of them are party decor fabric that is just easier to store on a roll. Click here to see the post.
Read on to find out ways to store and organize fabric scraps.
Wrap Larger Scraps On Cards
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This is the solution I used for almost all of my scrap fabric. I cut some 10″ x 10″ cards out of foam board, and wrapped the fabric around it. Then I put them on a bookshelf like a book.
It works great for odd shaped pieces and sizes because they all end up being about the same height and depth so you know they’re going to fit on the shelf. And you don’t have to spend a bunch of time making sure that they are all folded to the same size.
There are a few things you need to know to make this work:
1. The cards need to fit onto the shelf with some room for the fabric to wrap around. In my case, the bookshelf is 12″ deep and 12″ high…so I took 2″ off each side and came up with 10″ x 10″ as the size for the cards. That worked out pretty well since I was using 30″ x 40″ foam board…I could get 12 cards out of the board without any waste.
2. At least one piece of the fabric that you are wrapping needs to be longer and wider than the card you are wrapping. Otherwise, it won’t hold very well on the card, and you won’t be able to see the color and pattern of the fabric from the side edge.
3. If you are adding multiple pieces of fabric on the same card, the widest piece should be the last one you add. This will keep all of the other pieces in place when it is pinned.
4. When all of the fabric is wrapped on the card, it cannot be so thick that a pin cannot go through to the card (otherwise, the fabric won’t stay wrapped).
What You Need
- Utility Knife
- Straight Edge Ruler
How to Make The Cards
1. Cutting the foam board is relatively easy. Use a utility knife to score one side where you want to cut it.
2. Then bend the foam board on those lines and it will break. (I always have a helper).
3. Finally cut the paper on the other side of the board with scissors or the utility knife.
4. Now you’re ready to wrap the fabric around the card.
How To Wrap The Fabric
1. To make the cards fit evenly in the shelf, you want to pick one side that all of your fabric edges will line up against. This will be the back edge of the card.
2. Position the card on the fabric so that about 2″ of fabric can fold over the top.
3. Turn the card end over end to wrap the rest of the fabric around it.
4. If you have additional pieces of fabric, repeat the same process with each additional piece. Remember to put the widest piece of fabric on last. This will help keep the rest of the pieces in line.
5. Keep folding until all of the fabric has been wrapped on to the card.
6. Pin the last edge to the card using an upholstery T pin. If the pin won’t stay, you have too much fabric and you should probably try one of the other storage options.
7. Fold over the side edge and pin it with an upholstery T pin as well. If there is a lot of fabric to fold over, you may need to use 2 pins…one at each corner.
8. Add your new fabric “book” to the bookshelf and on to the next one!
Hang Smaller Scraps From Hooks
For the pieces of fabric that are not wide enough to fit on the cards, kitchen hooks work really well.
Of course you need somewhere to hang them from (the bar under my drafting / sewing table works for me!).
To use them you just need to clamp the fabric together, and then hang where you have room. It’s easy to tell when the fabric is too big for the hook…when you go to hang it, it will fall off…
If you have a thin line (like a clothes line or a piece of string), you could also use clothespins for this. This office space from muymolon.com has the clothespins attached to boards and almost looks like artwork.
Baskets Work Well For Lining
A fairly large basket that fits on the shelf works well for all of the “utility” type fabrics like lining and interfacing (I just need to make sure the cats can’t jump in there). Generally, aren’t that pretty to look at, and are relatively thin…so you can fit quite a bit into one basket.
It’s really easy just to pull out the basket to find what you need…or find out that you don’t have enough to do what you need 🙂
Those are the 3 solutions that I used for organizing my fabric, but I did find a couple more good options while I was looking…and I thought I would pass them on, too, just in case they might be useful.
This idea from prodigalpieces.com is quite similar to the “wrap on a card” idea, but wraps the fabric on file hangers and puts them in a filing cabinet.
I would have done this except I didn’t have enough drawer space. Otherwise, I think it’s a great way to keep the fabric organized and clean. And if your room happens to get a lot of sunlight, this would also keep your fabric from fading.
Store Small Scraps In Clear Storage Boxes
If you’re a quilter and need to save really small pieces of fabric, clear storage boxes seem to be the way to go! You can organize by color like this picture from withinaquarterinch.com and can easily tell which box to grab. Adding labels makes sure that you will remember where things go.
If you don’t mind searching through the box, this could also work for larger pieces of fabric.
That’s it for my list of storage and organization options for fabric scraps. Click here to see how to store those larger pieces of fabric.
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This post was originally published on September 12, 2016 but was updated with new content on July 7, 2023.