Organizing my fabric stash

This whole week I’ve been puttering around my sewing projects.  I’ve made minimal progress on them but in an effort to remain productive, since I’m only happy when I’m doing things, I resorted to organizing.

Monday, April 30th I decided it was high time to organize my closet and make way for MMM.  I went through and folded all of my stray tops, put back the shoes, and I moved all of the me-made items towards the front of my closet.  I was buried in my closet for at least 1.5 hours. 

It’s now been three days since I organized my closet and I’m still breathing a sigh of relief when I have to go in and get dressed in the morning; it’s so clean and tidy I can find everything I need within a few seconds.

On a whim, I decided to count how many pieces I had made that were in my closet.  I found I had made 5 sewn blouses (with 6 knitted tops), 18 skirts, and some 5-8 dresses.  I knew I was lacking in blouses but the ratio of blouses to skirts is crazy!!!  I have to get on that major wardrobe gap!  I’ve never participated in Zoe’s challenges since I didn’t think I had enough garments to wear.  Truthfully I had no idea I would have enough for May.  Now that I’ve counted, I’m debating trying to push myself to never wear the same thing twice all month, while still wearing 1 me-made piece a day. 

When I resurfaced from my bedroom closet I had intended on starting up the next SW sewing challenge, but I was feeling *mehh*.  What did I do instead you may ask…. I did some more organizing.

My fabric closet has been sadly needing an overhaul and I got down to it.

This closet is technically my our coat closet.  There are coats in there, but the majority of the space is fabric.  I had fabric oozing out of my our closet and I know it’s because things are disorganized. 

Do you guys see those two knit fabrics at the front (the red and the navy blue)?!  I’m slowly gearing up to use these. 

I don’t have handy bins to store things, I have everything on hangers.  I find it keeps the wrinkles at bay and I can even put multiple fabrics of similar types on the same hangar to be more efficient with my space.

Another hour or so later I emerged from this closet, happy as a clam.

This is my fabric stash, in its entirety.

On the far left I have some coats, unfinished items along with my special vintage fabrics that I’ve had professionally cleaned and staying dust free in their garment bags.

There is no rhyme or reason to the fabrics on the top vs the bottom racks.  There’s a small shelf in between the clothing racks that I have some fabrics folded (my 2 knits) along with all of my interfacing and organza.

Besides the fact that my closet was disorganized and needed some attention, I find that I’m unable to work on anything (sewing, blogging, knitting, etc.) if my space gets too overwhelmed with stuff and clutter.  I can work for a little while but eventually there’s an invisible tipping point where I have to stop and take charge to put things back in their proper place.

Do you guys have this to or is it just me?  I know the topic has been talked about before, but how do you all organize your fabrics?  Hangers, bins, grocery bag?

In: Miscellaneous Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (22)

  1. Aww you have a closet for it all… Mine is just piled in boxes allover the lounge, part of it is in/infront of the bookshelves and the rest is in boxes besides the sofa!
    God help us when we decide to start using the lounge as a proper lounge again!

    1. Liz May 3, 2012 — 11:29 AM

      Have you thought about the flat, clear plastic containers? You could stash them underneath your sofa. :)

  2. Tasha May 3, 2012 — 11:07 AM

    Yay for organizing! You’re inspiring me. It looks great!

    Before moving, I had my fabric mostly in a large square cubby-hole type thing from Target. It definitely wasn’t ideal for fabric storage, as it was hard to fold things to keep them in the square cubbies. Right now, all my fabric is still in plastic storage bins from the move. When I am finally able to devote more time to my future basement craft area, I expect most of my fabric will be stored in a dresser (yet to be purchased). I like the idea of it in drawers, but wide enough that it works for larger pieces of fabric. My fabric stash is nowhere near my yarn stash, so that will probably be enough to keep it under control. (I say this now… lol) However your hanging idea is really neat. Perhaps I’ll try and figure out a way I can use that for some of my more precious fabrics, though it won’t be in a closet as I don’t have one down there. I need IKEA to the rescue. ;)

    1. Liz May 3, 2012 — 11:28 AM

      I have my yarn in the open bins that are on my bookshelves. For yarn it’s handy having them out in the open in the cubbies, but I hate digging for fabric. It’s flat so it’s hard to see one piece under another. I like your dresser idea though. Sounds like it could work very well, with minimal digging, and would keep your fabrics protected from the light.

  3. Emma May 3, 2012 — 11:20 AM

    Your stash looks very neat and organised! Hanging the fabrics seems like a brilliant idea – you get to see everything, and some fabrics just shouldn’t be folded anyway.

    My fabrics are just stacked on top of each other in an antique dowry chest, next to boxes of notions, my ring-binders of patterns, crafting tools and yarn. I don’t have much, though, since I don’t buy anything I don’t intend to make something of pretty much straight away… so it’s really my queue and left-overs.

    I can’t believe how many self-made items of clothing you have – your me-made-closet is bigger than, well, my whole closet!

    1. Liz May 3, 2012 — 11:25 AM

      I hate digging through piles to try and see things, having my fabric on hangers allows me to see everything at once.

      I used to have my yarn & fabric in those clear plastic storage containers that go under beds/couches but I got a new bed 2 years ago and I can’t store things under it anymore. Storing left-overs is another deal… I still have my small and large scraps in a clear storage bin that is on the floor of my linen closet.

      I really had no idea I had so many self-made items, especially skirts. They were always amongst my other clothes so I never had a clear count.

  4. fern May 3, 2012 — 11:50 AM

    Oh, I definitely become paralyzed if my space is cluttered and disorganized! I don’t consider myself a particularly “clean” person (when it comes to my living space that is, I just can’t seem to get my act together to vacuum, dust, and scrub as much as I should) but I highly value tidiness and organization.

    I recently organized my fabric stash into a large basket, with the fabrics neatly folded and lined up across the length of the basket (rather than piled on top of each other). It is a little cumbersome to access, but I can see all of the fabrics at once. I don’t have a spare closet to hang my fabrics like you’ve done, which looks like the perfect fabric stash method!

  5. I’m a little bit in love with your fabric closet. Hanging it all would make it so easy to see what you have (and remember what’s in there) at a glance! Genius.

    1. Liz May 3, 2012 — 3:39 PM

      Heh thanks Elizabeth. This is my first apartment that has ‘extra’ closets.

      I’ve actually never rented an apartment that had extra closets and my current one has a linen closet, 2 hallway closets, a pantry closet-ish space, and two other bedroom closets. Aaand I have them all filled. I’m totally spoilt with closets.

  6. Qui May 3, 2012 — 12:13 PM

    my sewing room is a disaster right now, and it needs some organizing before I can sit down in front of my machine again. I hear ya! I love that you have fabric on hangers–great idea. Mine is folded on shelves, but it’s all mixed up and haphazard–not very tidy at all. I need more shelves… or an armoire to hang fabric in!!

  7. OMG, look at all that lovely woodwork! You’re so lucky it hasn’t been painted over. That’s one of my fave things about Chicago homes. (When my bf and I bought our bungalow, we spent hundreds of hours stripping woodwork. Worth it.)

    I use an Ikea Varde cabinet to store my fabric. (There are pics on my blog, if you’re curious.) It’s pretty big, so I try to use that space as the limit to my stash, but that hasn’t worked so far. I always end up with piles of fabric somewhere else.

    1. Liz May 3, 2012 — 3:33 PM

      Thanks! Most of my prior apartments had woodwork that was painted over. My current landlady has been in the apartment-renting biz for a while and is very passionate with keeping her units historical and up to date. It’s quite refreshing since most landlords are more stand-off-ish.

      I’m hopping over to your blog now to check out your storage solution. :) I too try and limit my stash to my space… but who can pass up a vintage fabric at the flea market?!

  8. Oooh yeah, I love a good bit of organisation! Especially if you get to play around with fabric at the same time! I keep meaning to take a photo of my fabric storage – I have a large antique mahogany chest of drawers in the hallway, most of which is full of fabric, felting materials and a few clothes awaiting mending or restyling/’upcycling’.

    I know exactly what you mean about being organised and having everything put away. It makes me feel much better and more productive when everything’s in its place.

  9. Meg May 3, 2012 — 4:06 PM

    Your closet looks AMAZING! Please don’t look in mine when you come over. I am having serious shame already.

    1. Liz May 3, 2012 — 4:08 PM

      Do keep in mind this is POST organization. :)

  10. I like to have a nice clean space. I usually clean before I start sewing, which is kind of ironic because once I get going, it’s not long before my space needs cleaned again!

  11. Renae May 3, 2012 — 6:02 PM

    I definitely can’t function in a mess. Not that this makes me a tidy person… it just means I have to frequently have major cleanups if I’m to get anything done!

    I do keep my fabric stash fairly neat though, but it helps that mine isn’t too big. I roll up my fabric and keep it on a shelf of my “sewing storage unit” (aka a bookshelf). And because I’m a nerd I also have a spreadseet which lists all the details of my fabric eg cost, how much I bought, how much is left, whether or not I’ve pre-washed it etc so I can just consult that when deciding what fabric to use for a project.

  12. Jo May 3, 2012 — 9:14 PM

    My sewing is a mess times a thousand, lol. I bought a cheap bookcase and I’m planning to put my stuff in boxes on it. It’s not going to be ideal but I figured I needed to start somewhere. And on my extremely limited budget, I can’t be choosy :) Yours looks fantastic, colour me jealous!

  13. I look forward to seeing you wearing some of your creations. You don’t have to do every day in May. Some are doing it for 4 days a week. That way you can wear your usual non-made casuals at the week-end lol

  14. what a great idea to hang it all on hangers! mine is currently all shoved into some bags in a cupboard where my sewing machine is kept when we need a dining table. but looking at the hangers, i could just hang it in the spare bedroom wardrobe. would keep the cat off it too! looking forward to seeing your MMM outfits!

  15. Wanett May 4, 2012 — 2:45 PM

    I did the same thing yesterday. It took me AGES! And I purged a bag full that is easily 30 lbs and very likely more. I absolutely have to stop buying fabric and things to refashion if I don’t get cracking on what I already have. I have mine in two plastic bins, one filled with wool/off season fabrics and the other cottons/blends, I have some bulky wool coating and some fleece in an old comforter bag, and a smallish Ikea box with knits and slinky stuff, like satin. I also set aside a ton of yarn to give away and organized the rest of my room. Today, I feel like I was run over and I need a nap, lol.

  16. Mackenzie March 13, 2013 — 4:05 PM

    Wow, I’m so surprised at 18 skirts. I’ve never sewn a skirt (only dresses), and I don’t know what I’d do with that many skirts, despite wearing a skirt every day…the same skirt. It makes sense that you’d have more skirts you made than shirts though. Skirts are easier.

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