Tips for Quilting/Sewing Room Organization-Part 4b Organization of Fabric Stash!

As quilters we all have a fabric stash whether it is just a small amount of fabric or piles you could get lost in, not that I see any problem with that!  Trying to keep your fabric organized is very important and increases your abilities to not only find things but also to be more efficient. There are many schools of thought when it comes to this topic; I have a few suggestions that may help you get going on the organization of your cherished fabric stashes.

Fabrics in my studio will fall into one of two categories; Projects and the Fabric Stash.  Projects are everything that I have obtained or collecting for a specific quilt pattern.  Each project is put in a separate container so they don’t get mixed up.  This includes everything purchased or pulled from my stash including threads, embellishments, the pattern and most importantly a piece of paper noting which fabric went for which part of the quilt!  If you are anything like me you will have many projects at various stages of completeness and this helps keep you from having to guess what you were thinking 2 weeks, 2 months or even two years ago. There is nothing I hate more than finally having everything ready to go and I can’t for the life of me remember which fabric goes with what!?  Do I see some of you nodding you heads in agreement, good, I’m not the only one then.

The other set of fabrics is the Fabric Stash.  I try to keep the stash fabrics separated out by colors.  It makes it easier when you are trying to find just the right color later down the road, you could take that one step further if you’re feeling ambitious and separate each color into lights, medium and dark.  If you are a lover of all types of fabric like I am, I will sometimes separate my stash further by type, such as batiks by color and 30’s reproductions by color, etc. There is nothing wrong with keeping them all together; it just helps me find things easier.  Take some time now to organize your fabric, it can actually be fun to look at all your fabrics, remembering where they came from, was it handed down to you, purchased at your favorite quilt shop, maybe on a bus trip with a group of friend  or on a vacation, a little trip down memory lane.

There is one more step I take before my fabric ever reaches either the Project box or the Stash.  Quilters tend to be either a prewasher or non-prewasher when it comes to fabric.  I am a prewasher, with a few exceptions.  I prefer to wash and iron all of my fabric when I get it home, that way I know everything I have has been washed.  If I can’t get it washed right away I will keep it in the bag from the shop so I know its not washed yet.  If you have ever washed a quilt and had the colors run, you understand why I do this and it was not just red fabrics that have done it, I have had black do it as well.  My exception to this rule is if I am using precut yardage like charm squares.  Obviously this would be difficult and the potentially to lose some of the 5” square size.  In this case I don’t wash any of the fabrics that will be used so that when it is washed and dried it will hopefully all shrinks evenly.  They do make color catchers now that you put in with the wash that catches extra dye, Shout® has one that can be found at most big box stores like Target® or Wal-Mart®.  I personally have not used it yet so I cannot attest to its effectiveness.

I will continue our quest for organization in the next blog.  Until then, Happy Quilting to all and to all a good night.

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