NO COST Fabric Stash Organizing Solution

By:  Amanda Mae Heintz
Did you ever wonder how you can get that sewing room organized where all your fabric is going to go so it is easy to access and view? A solution is at hand! With a little extra time, a few trips to the fabric store, and a good storage place you will have no problem with this solution.

We all have that stash which, at times, seems to grow larger rather than shrink with use. I am one of those people who, when out shopping for notions, supplies, and random sales, always seems to find the perfect material for a project or a perfect fabric which I can just not do without. The problem I am starting to have is WHERE DO I PUT IT ALL? A solution is at hand!

I was recently hired at a fabric store in my area,  a second job and just for fun, and it has opened my eyes up to the sewing world and all the possibilities. I love hearing what projects people are working hard towards finishing and getting inspired by others. It has also made me realize how many empty bolts become available and are thrown out at the end of the night. The solution is this:  do not to be afraid to ask your local fabric store if they have any extra bolts, as I can guarantee you that they do and will be more than will to let you have some or all of them. They might even be willing to run into the back and grab all they were holding to throw away at the end of the evening. This is a NO COST way to organize your fabric. Every time you are at the fabric store, which for me is quite often, collect a few empty bolts. When you get home, take a few minutes and roll your fabrics back on the bolt. If you have the time you can even take labels and write or print out  new labels and place them over the existing label.  The new label can contain the name or brand of the fabric, how much you have, yards or inches, washing directions, and the project for which you want to use this particular material. Before you know it your fabric stash will be displayed neatly on a shelve or in a bookcase where it is easy to view, accessible, and organized!

This is an easy, organized and no cost way to make your fabric stash, or as I like to call mine, collection,  visible and more like shopping right at the fabric store in the comfort of your own home! ENJOY!


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24 Responses to NO COST Fabric Stash Organizing Solution

  1. Deb Richy says:

    I had considered using the old bolts and decided it would add too much bulk to my stash so I am actually doing the ruler fold method. It makes perfectly uniform sized folds and takes up less space.

    I am currently in the process of refolding my entire stash – which will take some time but after doing just one area of a shelf I was sold. It looks like a fabric boutique now!

    Here is a link to an online tutorial of how to do it. I swear by it now – it’s just fantastic even for fat quarter sized fabrics :)
    http://turningturning.com/tutorial-folding-fabric/

  2. Ane says:

    Obviously, some of us have far more fabric than we could store on bolts — gracious, I can hardly get mine onto the shelves folded.

  3. GiGi says:

    If you have limited shelf space, cut the bolts in half so they are 11″ tall. Fold your fabric in half so it will fit on this “mini” bolt. This way, you can store many more “bolts” in a small space (like a regular book shelf or the shelf at the top of closet) yet still see what you have.

    When you want to use a fabric, you can count how many times the fabric goes around the bolt – for every two times around, you have about a 1 yard of fabric! This is a great way to quickly see if you have enough for the project you have in mind. Of course, if it is close, you’ll want to measure to be sure.

  4. Connie B-Jax Fl says:

    The article is good. It might help some with extra space between shelves. It might help some with extra space between shelves but… also presents ONE other problem…how do you keep it from getting all dusty until it’s used? I keep mine in cartons on shelves and yes, I have to go looking for items but they are clean (washed before storing)

    Any solution to that? Please email me at jitterbug57@hotmail.com

    Thanks

  5. Lynn Adams says:

    I started doing this earlier this year, & I love my sewing room’s new look. I have the inexpensive bookshelves from Walmart and they fit in them perfectly. The 60″ fabric on the top. But I had a lot of small pieces of a yard or so. I was going to order some of the new tiny bolts featured in a number of sewing catalogs. My husband said, “I can make you some of those out of the boxes we get ATCs in if cardboard works.” So he cut me a large number of 81/2 by 11 pieces of heavy cardboard and they work wonders. These take up just one normal shelf space! I secure my bolts with strips of scrap fabric and the selvage edges. I find I am inspired more when in my sewing room now and am using more of my stash!

  6. Linda E says:

    This would take up far more room than merely folding your fabric and stacking it. I have quite a few fabrics that are just 1 1/2 yds–folded up it would take less one-third the space required if it were on a fabric bolt. I cannot imagine the space that would be required to hold my hundreds of yards of fabric stash if they were on bolts.

  7. Diane says:

    Good for large pieces, but I’m adicted to fat quarters..any ideas?

  8. Lisa Heizenrader says:

    I was told that the bolts are not acid free so if they were on for a long period of time that they would discolor
    Lisa
    PS I just threw mine all away :(

  9. Marianne says:

    Those big empty bolts are great if you have a lot of fabric. I have found that the cardboard in paper boxes (8×11 boxes of computer paper) work for smaller amounts of fabric, like a yard or less. They even fit in magazine storage cases, or between bookends. Good luck…hope we will see more ideas (too bad there isn’t a contest to win a wonderful prize for these ideas :-)
    Marianne

  10. Susan says:

    I do this!!!! I asked at my local fabric store what they do with their empty cardboard bolts and since they throw them away I snatched up half a dozen of them and brought them home. I took each one and cut them in four equal pieces (8″ x 11″). Then I took my quilting cottons and folded them selvedge to selvedge then folding them again, fold to selvedge. then I “rolled” each one onto a piece of cardboard, anchoring the end with a straight pin and a piece of paper indicating how much yardage there was. These “custom bolts” fit perfectly on my bookcase and gave me the pleasure of my own “LQS”, keeping my fabrics neat and tidy, in order and handy to use!

  11. Doris says:

    Also those empty bolts are a wonderful thing for pressing your inseams in your pants. Just put the bolt inside the leg (wrong side out) of the pants. I like you idea to stash my extra fabric around the bolts. Thanks, Doris

  12. Patti says:

    What a great idea! I am moving very soon and this idea will be perfect for my new sewing room! Thanks.

  13. Annie says:

    Amanda has a good idea & I collected & used bolts for awhile. I realized since I didn’t have enough large yardage pieces of fabric, the bolts were taking up more room than they were saving. The bolts are great if you have the yardage to corral.

  14. marilyn onshus says:

    I found using the empty bolts from the fabric dtore-they’re kind of thick-take up a lot of unnessary space. I also have a lot of fabric. I went to a lumber store and bought an 4×8 piece of pressed particle board (much thinner and sturdier) I had the 4 ft side cut in 1 foot sections (2 in wide) and the 8 ft side cut in half (48 in high).12 pieces from 1 board. then put my material on each and stood them on end using a large tote to hold them

  15. Christine says:

    Yes this is a very good ideal. I do this myself. Next problem is finding a place to put it now, on the bolts. I need more space for them. But what I have got done, looks so good, just like in a fabric store.
    On smaller pieces, that I have, I have been making thing from it. Then, the scraps I have, I cut into, whatever, size quilt piece it will make. 2×2, 4×4,etc. then I put them in zip lock sandwich bags. Bag for each size. Then someday we can make quilts out of, what was scraps. Smaller pieces left that want make a block. I put them in a box or bag for a scrappy quilt block.(I KEEP All)
    I know you are enjoying working at the fabric store. I know for sure, YOU will be getting lots of pretty fabric. ENJOY !!!

  16. Gail says:

    I have been doing this for several months now and JoAnn’s is very happy to let me have them.

  17. Trudy says:

    I also get the bolt cardboards. cut them into 11 or 12 in lengths. I then fold my material. that is already folden salvage to salvage in half again. Wrap this around the cardboard pieces. It not only organizes but when I am ready to sew I can just start to unroll and cut.

  18. Christine says:

    Great ideal I do this also.

  19. Jolene says:

    Yes that is excellent way to store fabric. I worked at Hobby Lobby for 4 years and mostly in fabric dept. we save bolt boards for several customers, even the long rolls the home dec fabric came on. I have two cabinets from walmart that I store mine in and have one about to be emptied of craft stuff I really dont use anymore so I can put more fabric in there. I still have a couple totes of stuff like fleece that is better off stored in a tote. It takes up room no matter where it is. Or should I announce to all of you a big sale on a certain fabric stash.. I think about that often.. LOL…sigh

  20. Linda says:

    I done this a few years ago with my stabilizers. I wrap it around bolt and my husband cut the whole thing in half on his saw. They fit nicely in a drawer in the desk, my embroidery machine sits on top of the desk (student desk). And you don’t usually use the whole width of the stabilizer, so this saves a lot of waste and time.

  21. Claudia says:

    Our quilting group had this problem and we used this bolt idea too but for all our fat quarters, we use clear shoe boxes and fold them into neat little packages and then you can see colors, prints, etc. The shoe boxes stack very well and since I can see my fabric, I too can now shop in my quilting room at home.

  22. Marie says:

    This is a great idea, and a green one at that. It makes me want to start cleaning up my stash. Thanks.

  23. Ludy says:

    All of the comments here are helpful in organizing the sewing room. I TRY to clean up the scraps afer each project. I read a quote once that helps me to keep motivated in keeping my sewing room somewhat organized.
    “If all you see is clutter, all you feel is frustration.”

  24. Janice says:

    In a spare bedroom that is now my hobby room, I store my stash of fabrics in the closet. By using hangers from cleaners, I fold and hang fabrics. My husband put two shelves in bottom of closet that I use for stacking clear shoebox size plastic boxes of various craft projects.

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