How to Organize Fabric and Sewing Supplies

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  July 25, 2011 — 8 Comments

Getting ready for this garage sale has brought all sorts of unintended benefits. As I’m emptying space in my house I’m seeing more ways to make the best use of what I’ve got. Yesterday, I noted the irony of several empty spaces in my cube storage (liberated by a major book purge) and wads of fabric piled on top. Why not store the fabric in the cubes?

I measured my cubes to be 11″ tall, wide, and deep, so I cut a piece of cardboard to 5″ by 11″. My idea was to use the cardboard as a template for folding the fabric so that two piles could fit neatly side by side in each cube.

I folded my fabric lengthwise so that it was around 9″-11″ deep, then laid the cardboard on top and rolled it over until I reached the end. I just tucked in any weird, jutting-out pieces, like I had on the piece of fabric below.

Then I slid the cardboard out and was left with a neatly folded little package.

I repeated this with each piece of fabric, just folding it however I had to so that it was about the right depth and then rolling it up using the cardboard template. I folded the green gingham fabric pictured below lengthwise into thirds. Note that I completely neglected to iron. I figure I’ll probably iron out the creases when I use the fabric anyway, so why add an extra barrier to keeping myself organized by requiring that everything be ironed in advance?

See how it ends up looking pretty smooth despite the wrinkles?

I got tired of battling various animals so I moved my folding station to the glass-top coffee table in the living room.

If the last little bit of fabric was too short to fold over I simply tucked it into the last fold.

I had some oddly shaped pieces, like this dress that I cut up for the gathered flower pillow and wanted to hang onto for more such projects. I just folded it like you see below and then rolled it up like the rest of the fabric.

Pretty soon I’d sorted through my whole fabric stash and had several neatly folded piles of what I wanted to keep. I sorted out a significant amount to sell at the garage sale. One girl can only use so much white fabric and I think I’ve got enough to last me quite a while.

I made a slight miscalculation when planning this project. The folded pieces were significantly wider than the cardboard template thanks to the thickness of the fabric, meaning that two pieces could not fit side by side in each cubby. Total bummer until I realized that I could make use of the extra space by sorting my sewing supplies into small plastic bins.

That mason jar holds the beginning of my mother of pearl button collection. I hope to someday have a whole jar full.

I even used one bin to hold scraps that were too small for the cubbies but that I wasn’t yet ready to part with.

Sorting my supplies into those little bins freed up this set of plastic drawers to be sold at the garage sale! It used to hang out underneath the sewing machine holding scissors and needles and whatnot.

I no longer have to pull that set of drawers out from under the desk and open it up every time I needed scissors or more thread. Now, my most oft-used sewing supplies are all in one little bin that I can just bring with me over to the machine whenever I’m whipping up another little wonder of crafty goodness.

I was inspired by this project to sort through my yarn stash, as well. I took a good hard look at all the yarn I’ve accrued in the midst of various Hobby Lobby shopping sprees (fueled by those beguiling 50% off sales). I sorted most of it out to sell at the garage sale.

I put what was left into this little fabric bin I already had, using a mason jar to organize all my circular needles.

The bin now lives in one of the lower cubes.

It’s much easier to see what I have now and, as long as I can bring myself to fold each piece of fabric before storing, it should be pretty simple to maintain. If you squint real hard here you can see that I slid the cardboard template alongside one of the small plastic bins. Keeping it handy will hopefully make it easier for me to remember to use it.

I had all these bins already, they were just full of crap I never used. Now I’ve got all my stuff neatly organized and do you know how much I spent? Zero dollars. That’s the power of decluttering, my friends. Use what you have, only have what you use. That’s my new motto.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


8 responses to How to Organize Fabric and Sewing Supplies

  1. Great idea! And I totally have that checked green fabric too! I’ve got all of my fabric in totes right now. Where did you get that cube organizer? I love it!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap July 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      I’ve had it for years. My mom got it for me for Christmas circa 2006. I love its versatility! I remember asking for it because I’d seen something similar at, so you might check there.

  2. Charlotte is the MacGayver of Thrift

  3. fantastic idea and so simple! i have a very similar shelf that i was excited to store my fabric in, but i found it difficult to fold the fabric the same. this will be the answer!
    thank you!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Ch-ch-ch-changes | Living Well on the Cheap - September 30, 2011

    [...] Some fabric organization in the office… [...]

  2. A Thing of Beauty | Living Well on the Cheap - March 6, 2012

    [...] the middle shelf I’ve got more stuff for the shop plus my fabric stash (I’m still using this method to neatly fold and stack my fabric). And the bottom shelf, which is admittedly more about function [...]

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