Successful Ideas for Storing Fabric

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Being able to see how others successfully store fabric can be very helpful when you’re on a journey to get your own fabric stash in order.

stacked fabric
Image from Claudette P. from Alberta, Canada

As I struggled with finding the best way to store my own fabric stash, I reached out to The Ruffled Purse® email community and asked them to share their fabric storage systems that are working.

The people who responded have many different sewing interests and sewing spaces of varying sizes.

Fabric storage systems are definitely not one-size-fits-all.

However, a commonality among the fabric storage you’ll see here is that each one makes the most of the space that is available.

When you see successful fabric storage systems of real people, it makes it easier to evaluate what you like and what you would change to fit your own situation.

Get ready to be inspired!

Note: If you’re struggling with fabric storage, too, make sure to take a look at Storing Fabric to Maximize Space and Reduce Hassle to learn how you can create your own successful fabric storage system.

Limited Storage

“I’ve almost always had very limited storage and am reduced to buying fabrics that I’ll need for specific projects.  

As far as ideas for you,  I like hanging the various materials on hangers and organizing them as people with huge wardrobes have theirs–by color. 

I think, too,  that they could be numbered and cross-referenced so that color,  fabric type and amount are listed,  perhaps on a computer.  Of course, this may not be worth the time, but it made my brain happy.”

~Pam P. from Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Precut and Coordinated Fabrics

“I’m delighted with this way to store fat quarter collections and layer cakes.”

~Suzanne S. from Indian Trail, North Carolina, USA
Storing fat quarters and layer cakes

Baskets and Bins

“I am currently using baskets and bins to store my fabric and quilting kits.

I like the idea of organizing fabrics or scraps by colors.”

~Christine L. from Pearland, Texas, USA

Color and Size

storing large fabric pieces and fat quarters
Large pieces and fat quarters

“I have organised all my fabric by colour and size.

Larger pieces are wrapped around A4 cards and stored vertically in a cupboard so that I can see my fabric and retrieve it easily.

Fat quarters are wrapped around smaller cardboard (A4 cut into quarters) and filed in under bed sized boxes in shelves my husband built for me. 

Small scraps are put in plastic lunch bags and put in colour coded tubs.

Easy to find and easy to keep tidy.”

~Dagmar P. from Angaston, South Australia
storing fabric in color-coded tubs
Color-coded tubs
storing jelly rolls in labeled drawers
Patterned jelly rolls in labeled drawers

Enlist Help

“Well, what you do is get the bestest daughter-in-law to come over and get her to organize your stash.

She took my bins and scraps big and small and organized them by colour by folding them all to fit in my bins. 

Wonderful results.”

~Claudette P. from British Columbia, Canada

Small Space and a Lot of Yards

“I do garment and home dec sewing so I always buy 3 or more yards of fabric.

If it’s the end of the bolt, my fabric people let me keep the cardboard it came on. Otherwise, I just sandwich 2 cuts of cardboard together for the thickness and make my own. I have a dedicated closet for them.

For less than a yard, interfacing that’s off the bolt and scraps, I use little plastic drawers.

Space is a premium in my caravan so my living room is my sewing area and it has space and size limits.

It makes me purchase only what I’m going to use that season. I thrift for fabric as well so I unpick it asap and put it on a bolt.

I will wrap several types I plan to use together for a project on one bolt.

I’m making a few chiffon gathered hippie gypsy skirts, and they are fabric hungry, so all the layers are simply put together.

I can’t hoard. Thankfully. Because I absolutely would.

I have found that these soft zip up storage bags that can be stuffed anywhere are very handy however. There are a few under my bed.”

~Veronica E. from Yuma, Arizona, USA
Store fabric in zip-up storage bags and boxes
Soft, zip-up storage bag and box of chiffon.

A Solution to Heavy Containers

“Here are some organization tips among the story of my quilting / sewing journey—-

 It was after I accumulated over ten huge plastic storage containers with fabrics which were purchased over 5-6 years that I knew I had to work on some other form of storage.

I could no longer haul all those heavy containers around every time I wanted to do a fabric pull for a new project. 

I started quilting in 2009 and now have a huge stash that will outlast my life. I’m also 68 years old now and am so happy those fabrics have been reorganized into one large china hutch (purchased at an estate sale) and 4 floor to ceiling Ikea bookshelves with glass doors.

My sewing studio is in the basement which doesn’t receive much natural light, so the glass doors are not a problem here. Displaying all of those colorful fabrics have turned my studio into a joyful place.

 All fabrics are stored on comic book boards available at Amazon and they are inventoried with a sample and indication of source, maker, amount and placed on the shelves in groups.

The china cabinet contains red, white, and blue fabrics and those with a patriotic theme—as I have made many quilts of valor and patriotic quilts and blocks for charity.

I also knit and crochet, so the bottom of the hutch is filled with yarn.  The other 4 bookshelves contain fabrics in the following categories: polka dots, plaids and men’s fabrics, quilting cottons stored according to color, novelty fabrics, shirtings, reproduction fabrics, solids, Easter fabrics, St. Patrick’s Day fabrics, Valentine fabrics, stripes, 30’s fabrics, 5 DMC thread organizers filled with almost every color of embroidery thread they make – each skein organized by number on cards, Christmas fabrics, baby fabrics, batiks, blenders, Asian fabrics, precuts, fabrics for current projects, autumn fabrics, felt, flannel and batting. In the categories of patriotic, polka dots, quilting cottons, blenders and batiks—these are all arranged by color.

I follow Bonnie Hunter’s scrap user system for storing fabric strips and orphan blocks.

My current projects which have already been started are stored in two 5-drawer carts on wheels.”

~Shirleyann G. from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Repurpose Storage

“Here’s part of my fabric organisation system. I got these DVD boxes from a discount store and use them to organise small/medium pieces of fabric.

I fold them into long narrow strips then wrap them around pieces of cardboard (cut up beer cases haha) and stand them in there. Then each box has a different type of fabric.”

~Melanie B. from ACT, Australia
store fabric in dvd containers

Room to Grow and Scraps

“This is a work in progress.  I definitely would use more cubes. 

I put a color altogether,  flannels altogether, stuff with themes altogether, Christmas stuff altogether, etc.

I also made fabric bins that I put scraps in. 

When I need a smaller piece or something for applique, I grab the color I want and go through the bin.”

~Claudette P. from Alberta, Canada
store fabric by color on shelves and fabric baskets
Fabric can be easily seen in the cubes. See the color-coded fabric bins on the top right?

Use Technology

“Have you heard of the iOS app called Stash Star Fabric?

It lets you take a picture of your fabric, type in the type, where it’s stored, cost, main colors, prints, and quantity.

It’s been a lifesaver to me!

I can now see at a glance where each of my fabrics are stored and what I have so I don’t buy unneeded duplicates at the store.” 

~Amanda B. from Middleburg, Florida USA

Filing Cabinets

“I store my fabric in metal filing cabinets.

You can find them online for $20 or less (or more, but FOMO is not your friend in this case, just wait and they’ll turn up in droves!) and I’ve even been given some for free.

I bought some mini magnetic whiteboards on Amazon to write the contents of each drawer. I’ve erased the boards after weeks of being up and they’ve erased easily with no residue, so I’m very happy with the quality. 

For safety, I pack from the bottom up, so the cabinet is weighted, also choosing to put heavier fabrics at the bottom.

I don’t fold in any special way or use cardboard or anything, I just eyeball the desired width and pop them in. At first, they topple, but once you have a few lengths in there, they stand up pretty well.

Best of all, being steel, they’re pretty much bug and water resistant, and you can use magnetic holders to put things on the sides not against a wall.

The top can hold bins or whole bolts, or even those plastic Sterilite carts with the drawers.”

~Toni G. from Hill Country, Texas, USA
store fabric in filing cabinets

Related Idea: How to Zhuzh Up Filing Cabinets for Stylish Storage

A Large Stash

“Fabric storage is an issue with a large stash.

I have 2 cabinets where I keep my fabric on shelves- one is for quilt fabric, the other for clothing.

I organize the quilt fabric by color.

Fabric for clothing is organized by the type of clothing,  IE: tropical prints for shirts. 

Fat quarters are stored in plastic food containers in a dresser drawer where I have quilt supplies/tools.

Unfortunately, I have collected more fabric than I have storage space and I have a sewing studio which looks like a hoarder occupies the space.

It is my goal to finish the many UFOs in my sewing studio, sort out and get rid of fabric that I will never use, and to not buy or bring home any fabric until I actually need something.”

~Mary-Beth S. from Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, USA

Next Steps

Now that you are inspired, are you ready to make the most of your fabric storing space?

Head over to the post Storing Fabric to Maximize Space and Reduce Hassle and learn how you can create your own successful fabric storage system.

Let’s Connect

My main goals are to support, empower, and inspire you to discover the joy of sewing.

Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at nicki@theruffledpurse.com and we can work together to get it figured out!

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you! It’s really nice to see other people’s storage spaces. Ideas for more possibilities abound. I have since added a serger to my sewing space so I have a new table with attached baskets underneath for more storage and cutting space.

    1. I agree…seeing everyone’s storage ideas is definitely helpful. Congratulations on your serger and additional storage!

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