Even if you’ve got your fabric storage system all planned out and set up, you still have to figure out how to get your fabric organized within it. We had so many great comments on my previous fabric storage blog post about how different quilters organize their fabrics. People are pretty passionate about this topic! There are lots of inspiring ideas and clever solutions, and it just shows the ingenuity of quilters and how different methods work best for different people.
You can’t just throw a pile of fabric into your shelf, drawer or cabinet, at least not if you want to be able to find anything. The individual pieces of fabric have got to be organized neatly so you can see everything, or you might as well stick with cardboard boxes and plastic bags.
So when I figured out how to improve my fabric storage setup, that was only half of the challenge. I also had to decide the best way to fit all my fabric into the new setup, and then, well, actually do it. I mentioned that I have lots and lots of small pieces of fabric, as opposed to yardage. It takes a long time to fold and organize all those little pieces! I wish I could tell you I just spent a whole day at it, but it was more than that. And I’m still not done.
Under that stack of header cards is a pile of washed but not yet pressed fabric of various longer lengths. Easily 20 different pieces. I don’t always wash my fabric, but I got pretty lucky at a nearby thrift store recently and got a bunch of cool fabrics, all sorts. I do always wash everything I get at the thrift store, so now I have to press it and fold it up one of these days. For some reason I keep putting it off.
Folding yardage is pretty straightforward. It’s usually folded once along the length. That makes it the width of a fat quarter, so those are easy too. I fold it along the length again, then once more. It ends up a little over 6″ wide. Then it can be folded up into a roughly square shape and those fit perfectly into my drawers. I can fit three rows of squares in each drawer.
Some fat quarters are folded in smaller sizes, it just depends on the manufacturer. You can see those above. Rather than press out the existing fold lines and refold them, I just leave them as they are. It doesn’t look as tidy, but oh well.
But what about the oddly sized pieces? They need to fit too. There are handy products, like the Fold-it-EZ, that are great for helping with this, but I don’t have those at home and I didn’t want to wait to get started. So I had to improvise to come up with a simple, effective and hopefully quick way to fold pieces into uniformly sized squares. Header cards helped with that. The size of the information card things that hold header cards together happened to be the perfect size. I stapled two of them together.
Any size or shape the fabric is, I can wrap it around my folding template, and the width is the same as the folded yardage.The corrugated surface actually grips the fabric and keeps it from slipping while I fold. Really useful.
I also realized that if the fabric is around the same length as the template, I can fold it into thirds to get the right size square. It all sounds a bit simple and not worth discussing, but it was actually really helpful to have a sort of assembly line system to get so many small pieces folded up into the same size.
It was around this same time that I was finally discovering what the Downton Abbey fuss was all about. A coworker was kind enough to lend me the DVDs of the first couple of seasons, so I plonked down in front of the TV with my fabrics and template and folded away. It made the hours of folding a lot less boring, and now I totally get why everyone loves the show. And I got a lot of tiny pieces folded into uniform shapes.
If you are itching to fold some fabric to put into your fabric storage space, our Downton Abbey Fabric giveaway is just the thing for you. Go enter to win! Make sure to check your email in case you do win! And as always, if you don’t already, please do follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and our website. Happy Friday!