I’ve talked to many quilters in my teaching travels and the opinions on keeping a fabric stash vary from “I only buy what I need” to “I stock more fabric in my basement that any fabric store I’ve been in”. Quite a range! I think I fall somewhere in between since I love scrap quilting but I also do not have a lot of storage space. This week, I will talk about creating a stash so you can have a wide variety of fabrics to choose from when you are ready to start a project. Does this keep me from buying more? Of course not!
Building the Fabric Stash
Since I am a scrap quilter, I like to have different sizes of fabric available. Sometimes I need a fat quarter and sometimes I only need a strip. If I really like a certain fabric, I will build it into my stash in all of the sizes I use. Here’s how I do this:
First – If I really like a fabric, like I said above, I will buy at least 1 yard of that fabric. These are generally color prints. I will then cut it in half for two half yard pieces.
As you can see above, I folded up one of the half yards. This will be stashed away in my half yard bins.
Next – With the other half yard, I cut it along the fold as shown in the photo below to create two fat quarters (18 x 22″). I fold up one of those fat quarters and store it in a fat quarter bin.
Finally – I take that remaining fat quarter and cut that into two 9 x 22″ pieces. Then I roll them up as shown in the photo on the right for easy storage.
If there is any bit of fabric left because the fabric was a bit longer than a yard, I will then cut strips. Either a 1 1/2 or a 2 1/2″ strip, whatever I can get. I’ve done past blog posts on quilting with strips so it is always a great idea to have a lot of strips on hand, especially for scrap quilting.
Here is a video I did on this fabric cutting process which may show it to you better:
Storing the Fabric
So how do I store my fabric? I used to just stack everything up on shelves or in baskets. I had no rhyme or reason to it. If I wanted to find a piece of fabric, I would soon have a mess on my hands because I didn’t even have it sorted by size or color. That’s why I came up with my storage system. I was wasting so much time looking for fabric or I was actually going to the store and buying the same piece of fabric I already had at home!
For Fat Quarters & Half Yards – My solution? Tubs! I use these for the half yards and the fat quarters. I sort the fabrics by size and then sort them by color and I end up with a tub that looks like this:
I also take photos of the insides of my tubs before I go shopping so I don’t duplicate a fabric I already have…. unless I really like it!
Fat Eights – So you have been wondering why I roll my fat eights? I started to do this because when I folded them like the fat quarters and stored them in the tubs like above, they were so thin that they would not stand up like the fat quarters and half yards and the tub just turned into a jumbled mess. So my solution was to roll them and store them like this:
Storing them this way, I am able to keep them more organized and visible so I know what I have in my stash. Plus rifling through them does not make them unravel or fray while I am looking for a particular fabric.
Strips – Strip storage was a whole other challenge. Like other fabric scraps, I used to just toss them into a large basket. Well after pawing through that basket looking for strips for project after project, I ended up with a jumbled, frayed mess. The more the strips were handled, the more tangled and frayed they got. And of course when you fray a 1 1/2″ or a 2 1/2″ strip… it quickly no longer measure that size and they are useless in your project
My solution was to take the tubs that I use for the fabric cuts above and create a divided container. Now if you can find a ready made divided container, great! But if you can’t, take some acid free cardboard and make dividers out of those for the tub. Now you have separate compartments for each color family of strips!
So that’s how I get a color print I like in all the different sizes I use in scrap quilting. However, I do not cut down all my fabrics like this because I often need larger cuts for backgrounds and backing. But, following this cutting and storage routine with the rest of my fabrics has made my fabric stash more organized and easier to work with.
Although …. I have still managed to find an excuse to make a run to the quilt shop and I have still come home with a duplicate piece of fabric! LOL!
Share your tips and tricks for taming your fabric stash. Or let me know why you don’t like having a stash. I’m interested in your thoughts! Win this nice little stack of fat quarters for commenting.
Good Luck! The drawing will be on Wednesday, November 3rd.