Whether you’ve been sewing for decades or have only just recently joined the party, you’ll have realised that sewing and collecting fabric go hand in hand! You might have a fabric stash because you like to plan ahead or maybe because plans change and projects get put on hold. Maybe it’s because you fell in love with some fabric and haven’t quite decided what it’s perfect for yet…and sometimes all you know was there was a sale and you walked in and next minute you’re on your way home with a big bag of fabric (it happens!). The fact of the matter is, if you sew, you’re going to have a fabric stash! So how do you store your fabric stash?
Do you have a meticulously organised and categorised collection? Or do you take a more relaxed approach to all? So much depends on the space you’ve got, the amount of fabric you have, and the way you interact with your fabric – whether you need to be in and out of it all the time or only once in a blue moon.
Today on the blog we’re delving into the stashes of our team! Each of us with our own way of organising and storing. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to manage your own collection you might find some useful tips and if you’re looking for reassurance that you’re not the only one with a big stash – you’ll definitely find that too! We love sharing hacks & knowhow here at MN so don’t forget to get involved in our comments section if you’ve got any great advice to share!
Holly | Tutorial Writer
I don’t have any crazy system, it’s pretty simple – I have my fabric just folded (right side of the fabric facing out so I can see it all better) and stored in a cube shelf. Knits are separated on one side and wovens on the other side. I also try to organize by fabric type a little bit too. So on the woven side, one cube might have lightweight printed wovens, another might have solid lightweight-midweight wovens, and others will have woven bottom weights. (I don’t think I have them this sorted in the old photos, just by knit and woven. But I currently have them sorted this way). And then in one cube, I keep a bin for smaller pieces and scraps. That’s it!
Naomi | Design Assistant
So my fabric storage has been a bit of a journey and if I’m honest, it still has a way to go. Don’t be fooled by my pictures, this is from a moment in time when for a second things were organised and tidy. My stash is in constant flux between picture-worthy and what looks like the aftermath of a natural disaster. But it’s gotten better over the years!
When I was at university, trying to store my whole life in a tiny dorm room, I had my fabric in big plastic crates that fit under my bed. This usually meant that when I went looking for something in particular, I’d have to dig through (usually to the bottom, because that’s always where the thing you need seems to be!) and everything would get turned out and mixed around and scrunched up. It wasn’t a great system if you could even call it that. Then one day I bought myself a new mattress protector that came in a rather durable clear plastic bag with a zipper and a handle. As a big recycler and re-user, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away and I was struck with an idea – it would be perfect for storing my fabric stash!
So with the help of my Mum and network of wonderful Aunties, over several years I began collecting these handy bags that otherwise were going to waste. It took a while, but eventually, I had gathered enough to start sorting and storing my fabric. The bags kept the dust out while still being able to see everything, made it easier to keep things tidy and meant that every-time I’ve had to pack up and move house in the last few years, my stash has stayed organised and safe. And to top it off, they were also free!
Something else I love about this system is that I can categories things quite specifically. The bags are a decent size, but not so big that you can’t see everything in it easily & quickly. I like to roughly group my stash by things like fabric type & weight, whether they’re print or plain, composition and because I’m overly sentimental about my fabric – whether they’re my favourites or not. So some of my categories are things like textured cottons, natural fibre knits, denim & heavy pant weight fabrics, my Japanese fabrics, my favourite linen & silk…the list goes on (embarrassingly so). These categories get messed around a lot and are currently in need of regrouping, but eventually, I’ll catch the once-every-five-years organisational bug and everything will get resorted…eventually.
Nastasia | Tutorial Writer
I like to first organize my fabric by type. Then I try to do colours or if I have coordinating fabric or fabrics I plan to use together I sometimes keep those together. I fold all of my woven cottons onto a comic board. It’s the perfect size when put vertical onto my shelves. I think it’s fun and nice to have it like the fabric store does. I also use the comic boards for some knits to keep them nice when stacked. Other knits I like to keep rolled.
Meg | Founder
It’s been a while since we’ve had done a workroom tour of Megan Nielsen Patterns and I’ve realised, I’ve never really shown you all how I love to store my fabric!
I am a self-confessed neat freak and a lover of open shelving and decorative storage. I discovered quite some time ago that the key to reconciling those conflicting priorities is to store basically everything that isn’t on display in a giant cupboard! In the backroom of the MN studio, I have two large Ikea Pax wardrobes which are used to store my fabric stash and other sewing supplies. I like being able to find everything quickly and easily so we keep things visible, well-labelled, and stored by kind.
My stash is stored in six large wire drawers (three shown above), and all fabric is folded KonMari style and sorted by type – and if possible colour so I can always see what is on hand. My drawer categories include Linen, Cotton & Silk, Denims Wools & Bottom weights, Tee weight jersey knits, Sweater knits and lastly Toiling fabrics & interfacing. I’m a scrap hoarder (made worse by the fact we are working on a pattern right now that heavily uses fabric scraps) so I like to keep all of my scraps in plastic tubs sorted by kind and clearly labelled. Anything larger than a postcard is kept and anything smaller is put in our fabric recycling box.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little nosey look into how our team store our fabric!
How do you store your fabric stash?? Remember that if you’ve got any great tips and tricks that you find useful, please share them with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
The Megan Nielsen Team xo