The Free Motion Quilting Project: How to Organize Your Fabric

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How to Organize Your Fabric

Question of the day: how do you organize your fabric?

Well, first off, I've tried every organization method in the book:
  • Fabric folded on shelves.
  • Fabric folded in boxes
  • Fabric not folded in a chest.
  • Fabric in a big pile on the floor.
And none of these methods have worked. I want to be able to SEE my fabrics, browse through them, and feel kind of like I've walked into a fabric store every time I enter my sewing room.

So here's the deal:

Of course, this method really works best for yardage. It still works for me very, very well for me due to one secret reason:

I admit it - I DON'T USE SCRAPS!

There, I said it. I'm ready to be stabbed with multiple pairs of scissors for my utter blasphemy and heretical fabric waste.

The fact is my quilting style really doesn't have space for scraps. I work in wholecloth, which means I need one giant chunk of fabric, not little bits and pieces.

So this method of fabric organization works great for me. Anything bigger than a fat eighth gets hung up and everything else goes in a big plastic bin where it never sees the light of day again.

Now if you WANTED to use scraps and your life depends on that pile of odd assorted sizes and shapes, you can easily organize them into a over-the-door plastic shoe rack.

This is one of those plastic thingys that allow you to see your fabric clearly through each of the pockets.

That way you can organize your scraps by color, size, or quantity within each of the pockets as you like.

So that's my method of fabric organization!

Now let's go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. I love your blog and your quilting designs! And if you want to rid yourself of scraps...send them to me! I only dream of being organized.

  2. You don't use scraps-blasphemer!!!! No, seriously, that's ok. You do what works best for you.
    I'm really enjoying your filler designs. I am getting ready to watch your leaf one. It looks great.

  3. What a great idea!! Love the organization!

  4. I'm with Debbie: Have a give-away of *your* scraps! I'll bet you'll have more requests than you know what to do with!
    And if you want to get "creative" (or simply to have, say, Five winners), give the scraps away as five different color combos, or according to size of scraps, or...
    Well, you get the idea.
    p.s. Did I mention I'm jealous of your organizational skills?

  5. i love that idea. I would love your scraps too. I love your blog

  6. Hi Leah,

    I love your tips and generosity with your teachings.

    Hey...scraps and bits... if you want to get rid of them... send them my way... I use them up. I know not everyone is interested in working with bits and pieces....


  7. I'm sorry, but I had to laugh at the though of trying to organie my stash like this! While I can see advantages, I would need miles of dowell and literally thousands of hangers. The clear plastic tubs work for me, though I do want to get the tubs into shelves, so I don't have to move a stack to get to the right box. You say you don't do housework - do you manage to get your husband to dust your stash? I think mine would draw the line there, though he does pretty much everything else!

  8. Ha ha, I know your game....if you don't use scraps you have to go shopping for fabric more often!! Good plan.

  9. Leah, I bet you will get more and more requests for forwarding your scraps - oh to have the room to organise the fabrics like you do - my workroom is just a tiny spare room where my stock of supplies is currenly heaped on the stair bulkhead, while I figure out the best way to sort / store everything

  10. See, you have brought all of us scrap quilters out of the woodwork. We're not envious of your stash, just your scraps, lol.

  11. Another comment of, Can I haz your scraps please??

    I will say that is original.

  12. LOL we are all vulchers for your scraps! But seriously... you DO use up your scraps... I know you do... in each video you have a small 4x4 piece that you do the demo on!! Tell me those aren't scraps!

    I made a video of how I store my fabrics, but then I tend to have half yards. -- but it doesn't include my smaller scraps. And I LOVELOVELOVE small scraps, I even do something called "crumb quilting" which is using even the smallest of scraps. If I can get two quarter inch seams out of it, I'll use it. They are in small drawers that seem to work for me at the moment.

  13. Love the idea! However, I think that if I organized my fabric like that, I'm sort of picturing something like the dry-cleaners, where the hangars snake all around the building on a motorized system of some sort.... hmmm.... maybe that would work! :-) Nice job on the blog!

  14. Thats a great Idea and with clothes pins you could add scrappy pieces to the same colour sections - and for those of out there who are paper piecers and for whom no piece of fabric is too small - we could add ziploc baggies to the hangers as well!!
    Thanks again for all your great tips!

  15. Great suggestion, Leah! I just have two problems: 1) I LOVE scraps (seriously, I'll join the ranks of those asking for scrap handouts - in fact, I think you could start to sell them in your store. I for one would buy them!) and 2) I just don't have the space in my craft space for all those hangers. But LOVE all the inspiration this site has given me. Keep up the good work!

  16. I agree with your selling the scraps, lol, a lot of people go for it.

    I thought it was a funny thing to suddenly come across this old video and post when I just started hanging my yardage the same way in December. I first cut off the salvages (I take a picture if I need the info later) because I want the fabric to be ready to sew with. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Emma, I went to plastic boxes that I got at Home Depot. They come in three sizes and you can stack them - just lift the lip on the front side and the side opens so you don't have to lift and restack. I LOVE, LOVE IT!.

  18. It have had my fabric hanging for some time now and definitely agree it is the best way to see what you have. I only hang 1/2 yrds and up though. The rest gets wrapped around foam board pieces and sits in a book shelf, where I can see all of them. This looks more like a fabric store. My scraps go in zippered bags (I save every sheet and pillow case bag I get) and those sit on the bottom shelf of the book case. If I'm not organized, I just don't work well.


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