Fabric stash disarray is an epidemic. Every seamstress I know has piles of folded fabric that inevitably fall over, yardage they lose of forget about and random bags, boxes and drawers of notions and pieces they have to dig through every time they start a project.
With all of the sewing I have been doing lately, I was going crazy! Folding all of my fabric into bags, forgetting what I have and digging through like a dog looking for a bone every step of the way and ending up at the fabric store when I can’t find what I know I already have some where.
I started my solution search on Pinterest, as one does, and came across this.
The problem for me was that I don’t have extra closet or floor space in my 650 square foot flat for a filing cabinet, but what I do have are nine foot ceilings and shelves. I also wanted something clear so that I could easily see what I had stored, especially if it was going to live nine feet high – I want to know what I’m grabbing without opening every drawer. So, I went to my local office supply store and picked up several clear vertical filing boxes, 100% recycled file folders (why not? They are the same price), an accordion folder and a stiff file folder with pockets.
My original intent was to use the accordion folder for my patterns, but I found that the hanging folders worked better for that. I ended up using it to sort my notions, mostly ribbing, bias tape and elastic and I used the zip envelope for zippers and closures. I kept my sewing box to takes care of all my pins, scissors, needles, thread etc.
I think deciding how to file your patterns and notions is going to be very personal depending on how big your collection and if most patters are for you or children or whomever. Some ideas are to file by sex, or size or garment type. Most of my patters are for me so I went with the latter.
The next step was just following along with the original tutorial. In the tutorial they suggest you cut the folders so you get two-for-one as it were, but I left mine intact in case I have smaller pieces I want to file with the large piece or a project I want to keep together. I tend to have several projects going at once, (and by that I mean I have bought the notions and patters for them but not started) so I filed the zipper and patters in the hanging folders before draping the fabric over the top. I was able to fit a surprising amount of fabric in each box (the picture below is before the box was full). You can also iron your fabric before filing it, but I did not because I end up ironing before I cut anyway.
I don’t have a ton of fabric right now, so I organized by project type: a box for clothing, a box for quilting, patterns and notions, and a box for costumes and upholstery fabric. The division worked out perfect. You can fuss and organized depending on the composition of your stash. The good news is the files are so easy to pull out and move, changing your mind after you start is no big deal!
Now I just have to set up more shelves so I don’t have to stake them 😉