different examples of storing fabric. shelves, drawers, & containers

Ideas on How to Organize, Fold, & Store Fabric

I hope you can take away some ideas on how to organize, fold, and store fabric in your sewing room.

There are so many quotes about a quilter and her fabric! “Behind every quilter is a big stash of fabric” or “I’m a material girl. Want to see my fabric collection”? Then my favorite, “I’m not a fabric hoarder. I’m a textile collection curator”! Haha.

The Fabric

What is it about fabric, especially to a quilter? I’ve heard the fabric shop called a “candy store” for quilters. I tend to agree. I love to look at beautiful fabrics, touch them, and of course work with them. Shopping online isn’t the same. I don’t know why we have to “touch” them, but we do! Fabric makes me so happy! You too?

Storing Fabric

There are a few things that you need to think about when deciding how to store your fabric.

  • Look at what spaces and containers you already have and might be able to use before buying anything new.
  • What type of fabric will you be storing; precuts like fat quarters, jellyrolls, etc.1/2 yard cuts, yardage of three or more yards, or maybe odds and ends of different sizes (too big to be scraps & too small to fit in a category.
  • How do you want these fabrics sorted? Do you keep all the precuts together or all the designer lines together? Do you want to sort by color, children’s fabrics, batiks, fabric designs or themes? You will need to decide all of this based on your space.
  • My main advise and most important to me is that I’m able to see all the fabric. If it’s in a drawer or box, I want to be able to see all of it when it’s open. If it’s on a shelf then there is only one row with nothing behind it.
  • Most importantly, You Do You. We are all different. We think differently. What works for one person might not work for another. Think about all these questions and decide on them before you begin to organize.

My Fabric Storage Journey

I was just given a large amount of fabric. This is how I decided to organize it based on the containers and storage I already had.

  • Polka dots
  • Batiks
  • Children
  • Flannels
  • Christmas
  • Precuts
  • Color
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Novelty Prints
  • Panels
  • Designer Lines
  • Large Yardage

Folding Fabric

After I chose the containers to place the fabric in, I had to decide how I would fold each piece. I like the ruler method. For my wire baskets and drawers, where I place yardage, I use a 6″x 24″ ruler and for my fat quarters and smaller I use a 4″x 8″ ruler.

6x24 ruler& a 4x8 ruler

Next, the width of your drawers or containers determine how wide your fabric can be folded to fit in nicely. Mine works when I place them selvage to selvage and then fold the selvage up to the fold. I then place my ruler along the right, edge of the fabric and fold the fabric over the ruler until I reach the other edge. Then pull the ruler out from the fabric and you have a perfectly folded yardage of fabric!

how to start folding fabric around a ruler.
fabric folded around ruler
two perfectly folded fabrics done with rulers

The process is the same with the smaller ruler and fabric. It works so well.

Storage Ideas

I have a variety of ways I store my fabric. First, I used foam board and cut them into rectangles that fit up on my shelves. I wrapped the fabric around these and placed them up on the shelf where I can see what I have.

fabric stored on foam boards on a shelf
fabric stored in metal baskets

Above shows the basket carts I have. There are three baskets and I use these for my baby, novelty, and Christmas prints.

fabric stored in plastic drawers

I have several of these plastic drawer units and I separate the fabric by color in these, and some by type.

plastic containers that store fat quarters of fabric

The container on top is a little deeper than the others, but they are perfect for fat quarters and fabric sizes that are in between a fat quarter and scrap. I separate these by color. I try to keep the designer lines together as long as possible.

dog fabric stored in a small plastic container.

This is a “shoebox” style that works great for all the “themed” prints I have like dog, cat, and polka dot. I like using them also for designer lines if I don’t have much.

I hope this has helped you see that many styles of storage can work. Remember that you need to be able to see it to use it!

Leave a comment here or head over to the Quilting Friends of Jerianns Handmade Facebook group and show us how you store your fabric. We would love to see it!

Always find time to sew,