Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hoard-ganizing the Fabric Stash

Long time no blog.

Going through my collection of photos, I realize I have made lots of things in the last year, I just didn’t blog about them, though I have posted many of them on Facebook.  I have been trying to re-create a life for myself and hit a lot of dead ends. Something has to turn around soon, right?

In the meantime, I have been trying to get my space organized.  I have a fabric stash that has its origins in my days after college when I worked for So-Fro fabrics.  Thanks to input from Pinterest, I managed to develop a system to get control over my fabric stash and am really happy with the process I put together.  The origins of this system can be found on my Pinterest board, hoard-ganizing , but I haven’t seen anyone put these elements together in quite this way.

I have had my beloved 4 x 4 EXPEDIT shelving unit for a number of years. This picture will give you an idea of the “before” way I had been using it. 

Much as I love looking at all the craft and sewing stuff, I found that there was something cluttered about this display, not to mention the exposure to light and dust. 

I decided I needed to re-think this chaos and went out to find containers that would fit both the EXPEDIT and my budget.  


I bought a few hot pink DRÖNA boxes from IKEA. They fit the cubbies of the EXPEDIT perfectly and were just 5 bucks each. (Though they are up to $6 now)  By the time I decided to get some more DRÖNAs, they were no longer carrying the pink ones, so I got a couple of green ones along with a pair of matching inserts with doors  that were on clearance.  Of course when I went back to get more green ones, they were discontinued, so I picked up the blue boxes.  These colors are all part of my personal palette, and I actually like the variety of colors in the white unit. 

Now IKEA has brought out a high-gloss 2 x 4 hot pink EXPEDIT.  I want to line every wall of my house with them. (Either that or the teal one.) But I settled for another door insert and a set of drawers in the pink.  (The DRÖNAs are very useful for storing the fabric stash, but some of my crafting materials and reference books are better stored in drawers and behind doors.)

Of course anyone can fill the EXPEDIT with DRÖNAs, but my breakthrough was developing a system to organize, inventory and label the contents of the boxes. 


Binder clip, 1' binder ring holding swatches of contents

As you can see, I attached  a binder clip to the top of the DRÖNA to hold a small binder ring  which holds a set of punched cards with swatches of the contents.  Already this process thrills me because it makes use of office supplies. 

What is it about school supplies and office supplies that bring me to the edge of ecstasy?

With these rings indicating the contents of each box, it is so much easier to find a particular piece of fabric by checking the cards rather than pawing through the boxes to find it.  

Fabric details
I initially made these tags from the leftover business cards I had from my last job.  Eventually I ran out of those.  I tried to buy blank business cards from my local Staples, but found a much better deal getting them from Vistaprint.  I had them made up with a list of content details so I can just cut a swatch and glue it to one side of the card and fill out the card with pertinent information like yardage, where and when I bought it and fiber content.  

Yes, it took a lot of time to cut a swatch, glue it (with either a glue stick or glue runner) measure the fabric, fold it neatly and document it.  But it has saved so much time and money to be able to find out what I already have before going on a fabric store bender. I have been able to combine fabrics from the stash that were bought 20 years apart, but meant to be together.  It was a great project to work on while catching up on Doctor Who.

Swatches ready for a shopping trip
The beauty of this system is that as I use up fabrics, I can just discard or file the associated card.  I can update the yardage if I only use part of it.  I can use the swatches to figure out what combination of fabrics will work for a project.  And most helpful of all, I can clip a group of swatches to a binder ring and take it with me to shop for coordinating fabrics, and notions.  I have brought my swatch ring with me to the fabric store and been asked about it by fellow shoppers as well as the sales people. 

After I made these up, I came across this Swatch Buddy system on line. If you are in no mood to DIY a set, they might be a good solution, but I figure if you are DIYing in fabric, you are probably a dyed-in-the-wool DIYer who wants to make her own individualized swatch cards anyhow. (Especially if you have old business cards lying around which brings the cost down significantly while keeping the cards out of the landfill)
Swatches make contents easy to find.
The other difference between the Swatch Buddy system and mine is that I am using them as a way to label the boxes of my collection, in addition to just having a portable set of swatches.

So just what is in those DRÖNA boxes?  Mostly fabric. One box contains my crafting toaster oven along with polymer clay, clay tools and shrinky dink paper.  One box contains my scrapbooking stuff. Another holds patterns.  I have to get a few more hot pink binder clips and binder rings to finish labeling the blue boxes that don’t have fabric in them. 

Fat Quarters and 1 or 2 yard pieces folded and filed.

Here is what it looks like inside a couple of the fabric boxes.  I am especially pleased with this large collection of fat quarters and one-yard pieces that I have collected to make patchwork.  I used this tutorial as inspiration for how to get all of these odd pieces of fabric folded uniformly.   Using a 6” wide quilting ruler to fold the fabric makes it exactly the right width to make two stacks of fabrics that fit the DRÖNA.  

I got so many fabrics into this box, I had too many cards to fit the 1” binder ring and needed a big 2” one to hold them all.  

Rolled 2-4 yard pieces
 With yardages over a yard or two, I found that rolling the fabric allowed me to tip out the box and get a quick view of the contents. 

Bulky fabrics filed
Bulkier fabrics like flannel and corduroy are folded and stacked in the DRÖNA.  It looks so orderly to me that I just want to start into a new project. 

6-yard dress-length  cottons


Of course that EXPEDIT is nowhere near big enough to hold my entire stash.  Here’s the 2" binder ring of swatches for the fabrics stored in this dresser. :)

I hope this inspires you to get some control over a stash gone wild at your place. J

1 comment :

  1. This looks great!!! So well thought out and aesthetically pleasing!