How to Organize Your Yardage

Make your stash more efficient by creating a simple, manageable system that keeps all your yardage neat and tidy.

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How to Organize Your Yardage with HollyAnne Knight from String & Story- Summer Stash Busting Challenge

If we are going to sew our stashes, we have to know what we HAVE. As someone with a small stash, my strategy up to this point has been to simply find a spot and "push and shove, everyone" (Any Brian Regan fans in the house?). I've been realizing, though, that:

1) I have stuff that I don't know that I have
2) I have stuff that I will never, ever use
3) I have stuff with weird bits cut out that may or may not actually be usable

Any of that sound familiar? (hands up, y'all-- no shame here!)

It's time for a reorganization. You may remember from last week's post that I talked about deciding how you want to sort your fabric and also how you will store it. 

Sort It

Use color, designer/line , and / or length to sort your stash. 

Color: There is no denying the mouthwatering attraction of a rainbow sorted stash. Sorting by color makes pulling fabrics easy because you can see at a glance how much of each color and in what variety of shades you have. Also, if you know you use a lot of navy fabrics (hand raised over here), or any other color, you'll be able to see when you've just about busted that color out of your stash. If it's a favorite, you'll want to buy more, and you'll know that you will USE it. On the other hand, if you hardly ever use green fabrics, but have a tendency to buy them, you may want to challenge yourself to use up your greens and a color sorted stash will give you a visual indication your progress

Line/Designer: This probably won't make sense for your entire stash, but it might make sense for bolts, fat quarter bundles, and your favorite designers If you buy a collection on bolts, it seems obvious that you'll be likely to keep those together. But if you buy some precuts AND some yardage of a collection, you may want to keep those together as well. It may take a little more space on your shelves, but it is a visual cue: "Hey, I basically have a quilt ready to go right there!" And, of course, if you have a designer of whom you are a super-fan, you'll likely want to keep their fabrics in their own special pedestal, I mean area, so they don't mix with the "commoners" (LOL), er, rest of your stash. 

Length: Again, this goes back to that "at a glance" principle that we've been talking about. Create sections of your stash that make it easy to tell the difference between fat quarters and substantial yardage. 

Store It

Fold vs Wrap

Folding- The beauty of folding is that it doesn't require anything "extra." You can create neat, beautiful fabric with just a few minutes of time. Personally, I love how MeeshQuilts folds her fabric, and this is how I've chosen to organize my stash. The downside to folding is that those stacks can get wobbly after awhile, and they aren't always perfectly even. Plus, really long cuts of fabric (think several yards) get bulky to fold down.

Wrapping- Another popular method is to create "mini bolts" of fabric using comic book backing boards. Fabric is more compactly and uniformly stored this way, but it does require So Sew Easy has a lovely video (above) about how to wrap the boards. 


Shelves- This is classic, of course, and allows your stash to be visible. This makes it double as part of you room decorating and makes it easy to see what you have. If your sewing area gets a lot of direct sunlight, though, or if you live in a dusty environment, keep in mind that fabric can fade and collect dust. The latter at least, can be aided by choosing shelves with glass doors.

How to Organize Your Yardage with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story - Summer Stash Busting Challenge

Drawers- Another cool thing about wrapping fabric on comic board backings is that it makes them easy to drop down in filing cabinets. Just get those handy hanging folders, and organize away! Drawers work well if your space is limited or if your workspace is shared with other functions in your home and you need to keep your pretty fabric away from sticky fingers, bright light, or just general disturbance. The downside of "out of sight, out of mind," though, is that it's easy to lose track of just how much fabric you have and think you need to buy more when you really just need to dig a bit. 

Boxes/Bins/Baskets- Boxes, bins, and baskets are the most portable way to store your stash. If you move a lot or if you enjoy being able to tote your sewing from room to room, this might be the solution for you. Plus, with the plethora of closet organization options available, you can keep your fabric neatly tucked away and ready to move at a moment's notice. As with drawers, be mindful about what you have and don't let the "out of sight, out of mind" principle trick you into buying more fabric than you really need (unless a really big stash is your jam-- again, no judgement here). PRO TIP: Kristin Esser told me that when switching to bins, to buy more than you think you need because you want to avoid trying to match bins/baskets/etc later only to find them discontinued. ackkk

Use It

While I love keeping special cuts of fabric on my shelves for awhile before I use them, I don't consider myself to be a fabric collector. Sometimes my fabric has the temporary job of keeping me company in my sewing room, but it's ultimate destiny is to become a quilt (For a really insightful article on this topic, visit Jenny Kae Quilts' post here) To this end, I published a lengthy list of my favorite books and patterns last week. I encourage you to check it out and find your next fun, yardage busting make!

How to Organize Your Yardage with HollyAnne Knight from String & Story- Summer Stash Busting Challenge

PS Don't forget to pin this post so you can find it later!