When I first started quilting, I was not a new hobbyist. I had already been through another major craft cycle – scrap-booking – and all that is entails. That means I thought about scrap-booking, I shopped for it, I attended classes, and conferences and accumulated a stash like you wouldn’t believe.

I remember sitting at a common table, eating lunch, during a ‘sewing expo’ in San Mateo, CA, and having a nice lady ask me if I had a big fabric stash.

My response went something like this:

“Oh no, I only buy fabric for a particular project.  I have enough stuff from scrap-booking and I have learned my lesson – don’t buy unless you know what you are using it for!’

I know at least a half dozen people spitting coffee out of their nose right now because that is not exactly what happened…

It started quite innocently. I would buy several charm packs and think ‘such a good price, and they are small‘. Or the Fat Quarter sale at the LQS ‘ these are pretty small, too….’

And so to organize it in an already bulging craft room.

I had (and still have, because they are fantastic boxes) clear 12*12 boxes from the scrapbook store that I stored the fabric in by color and they fit neatly on some shelves. Need pink? Grab the pink box. {note: I will find out where to get the boxes if anyone requests!)

Need Black? Blue? Wow 2 boxes of browns!

Then I heard about Japanese Fabric. The adorable, cute (but not cutesy), and even nostalgic fabric that I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT. (I am currently resisting the urge to see if sonatine is still an ebay seller – so I will not provide a link – and if they are – I don’t need to know!)

So we need an additional organization system because they simply could not be ‘mixed in with the colors!’ and I had to SEE THEM. (this need of seeing will continue as the stash evolves…)

I heard about (read about) these fabulous mini bolts that you wrap your fabric around. Awesome! The answer!

And so I wrapped. I wrapped the Japanese Fabric. And the Denyse Schmidt Fabric. And the Joel Dewberry. And the Heather Bailey. And the Amy Butler.

I added the cutest little hang tags with each collection and designer labelled on them! So cute!

Do you see what is happening here? I already know designers names. And the names of their collections. I am in big trouble now. Well on my way to the stash.

Now I do like the idea of wrapping fabric (I really do) but the problem with this idea is that I always need the fabric IN THE MIDDLE of the mini bolt. I would have to unwrap the whole thing – pull out the fabric I needed. Re-wrap it. And then open it up again to put the fabric away.

When I was disciplined and cleaned up after myself – it was just time-consuming. When I was not disciplined – it was a mess – fast!

Then we moved!

Bye Bye tiny craft room in the Bay – Hello Studio in Ohio!

By now – you can see that I am no longer pretending that I do not stash fabric.  I am a certified stasher and I have some fuglies to prove it!

It a long time to get from this pile of fabric

To this.

I used a lot of kitchen ware to add extra shelving for the precisely folded, glorious piles a reds, blues, yellow, greens (who knew I had so many greens?), and all of their color-wheel friends.

I had smaller pieces, just as precisely folded, tucked inside drawers absconded from Ikea organizing bits and bobs.

I used the ‘tried and true’ ruler-folding method for all of this fabric. But with a twist. Instead of using just the 6.5″ width of the ruler, I made plastic templates for the smaller sizes, such as these drawers, so that everything would be uniform.

Not sure what the ruler method is? I have a tutorial post on it. {edited to add – the link works now}

And then…

We moved again. Bye Bye custom built studio in Ohio and hello 800 square foot basement in North Carolina.

I have a whole slew of the ‘before’ pictures if you care to see them.

And now the available storage has changed again.

I no longer have built ins. I have pre-fab shelves from ‘insert big box x’ store.

{{side note: the built-ins in Ohio, while custom built – were not the right size. I had them built thinking about the 12*12 inch clear boxes that I had been using in the Bay. That is – 12 inches deep and 25 inches wide – and tall enough to fit 5 boxes….

I didn’t think about how I would store the fabric ‘currently’ which is always a consideration. }}

Pre-fab shelves can be hacked, though. I will show you how I added many more shelves than came with the unit in a future post.

But now – instead of using a ruler, a template, and a lot of time spent getting it smooth, and fitting it to the ‘T’ – I am using the comic book board method instead.

Of course, I still have the lovely Japanese fabrics set aside.

And the solids, as seen above.

But mostly I am sorting my color. It’s how my mind works. I realized long ago that I don’t always want to use a collection all together. I am digging the color matching or mis-matching, if you will between designers, collections, and even manufacturers.

Lest you think I am all finished with the comic book board re-fold empire – take note of the pile below. This is a spit in the proverbial stash.

I have already used 1,800 comic book boards at the time this post is written.

I wonder how many I will need!

I will link you to the original post where I learned of this myself as well as a few other crafters that have taken the plunge!

Smashed Peas and Carrots

The Ornament Girl

Feathered Fibers

That Girl That Quilt.

But I will be back with the details on my latest organizing fabric frenzy. I have been working with what is already folded and so I have a little insight into the ‘working’ side of the organizing equation. I mean, pretty and organized is great, but can it stay that way if you actually sew?

I will also be back on what to do with the scraps…. This picture below is a bit anal,  even for me!

And so I say ‘go forth and fold’.

Get your fabric out where you can see it, if that’s possible. I will add that my shelves are on the far back wall of the room – as far from direct sunlight as possible.

And the boards are acid-free and archival so they won’t eat my fabric. (heaven forbid!).

You can find comic book boards on Amazon – but I highly recommend googling your own town for comic book stores. The prices are much better!