Fabric Stash Organisation & How Much is Too Much?

When I posted last month about sewing, ethics and consumption, there were lots of well-considered and interesting responses and I really enjoyed reading them all. I mentioned my own fabric stash in the post and thought you might be interested to see how it is currently organised, as that organisation process partly inspired the post. It would be a lie to say that I'm organised in all areas of my life. But I do love a good organisation project. Taking the time to bring a bit of harmony to one area of life can be really satisfying every time you encounter it.
 
My scrap fabrics are in a shallow container under the bed and in a larger container in the cupboard. They are organised as:
  • Heavy fabrics (denim, cord, wool etc)
  • Jersey
  • Cottons by colour - Blue/ green, Reds & Pinks, Pale Patterned/Whites
Blue and green fabrics (and one that's obviously white, for some reason!)

Fabrics are folded and are all pieces up to a metre in length. Any really small scrappy pieces I gave to my daughter's nursery to use for craft projects. I managed to gather a whole black bin bag full and still have plenty left.

To organise my dressmaking fabrics, I measured the length and width of each piece and rolled them all up. Using rubber bands to secure them, I also added a card label with the measurements and whether it was washed on one side, and on the other I put the source and price - if I remembered.
 
I have organised the fabric by type, with lighter weight fabrics for tops and dresses in a wicker picnic basket, and jersey and heavier weights in the drawers below. This way it is easier to see the fabric I have available and I think it also looks more tempting too. Plus I hope it will be a reminder to use stash where I can, instead of giving in to the temptation of buying new fabric.
Having the fabric out like this makes it a less attractive place for moths to live, rather than being crammed in a drawer (although some of my stash still is!). I found moth holes in my scrap wool fabric a couple of months ago and went to town with the moth repellers and sticky pheromone traps. As long as I keep a good eye on my fabric, I'm hoping it will be safe from pesky critters. Moths love dark, undisturbed places with a good supply of tasty natural fibres to eat so the best way to combat them is to make sure that you don't provide their favoured habitat. So regularly checking your fabric stash can help to combat them. Also, putting fabric in the freezer kills eggs too.

Having done this, I can now tell you that I have 72 metres of lighter weight fabric for tops and dresses. Doesn't that sound like a lot to fit in this basket? I feel like it's a fairly well-honed selection of fabrics. I have a good idea what I would do with most pieces, it's just a matter of getting the opportunity. I haven't yet added up the total length of my jersey and heavyweight fabrics, although they are all labelled.
Bringing the post back to stash size, and with reference to the comments left previously, stash size is such a subjective issue. What feels overwhelming to one person might not feel like enough to someone else, who likes a range of fabrics at their disposal. Stashes tend to expand to fit the space available, or to reflect how you sew. If you are a 'fabric first' kind of sewer, it makes sense to have a selection from which to pick.

As my stash is at the minute, I'm really at maximum storage capacity and adding much more would make me feel a bit anxious and overwhelmed. I haven't bought fabric from a fabric shop since April - I did buy some denim from a charity shop, but that was too good to miss, plus it's such a useful basic.

How do you organise your fabric? Any more tips for moth control?!

K x

22 comments:

  1. It's so interesting to read about other people's stashes. I must have a nosey streak! Also to pick up tips. I have realised from what you've written, that my stash is currently in a very appealing place for moths. I am putting it up my priority list to reorganise it. I will also sell off the pieces I won't sew with. Just lately the styles I want to make and the colours seem to have coalesced in my mind and I think it's time to pass on some fabric that I won't use. Thanks for the post!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Happy stash re-arranging

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  2. well done! This is something that I find near impossible to manage - my stashes (knitting wool and fabrics). I , too, found moths flying and little holes here and there. I have bought a lot of large-ish ziplock bags (which I squash near vacuum-like state before zipping them up - they take up less space this way. I keep more precious bits of my stash in the ziplocks...you wouldn't want cashmere jersey or cashmerino yarn eaten by the little hungry b*****s. BTW - giving away bags and bags of scraps was very liberating! :)))

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    1. Ziplocks are great for yarn, I have most of my yarn in individual bags.Someone on Instagram advised me that Ikea is good for buying really big ziplock bags too

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  3. I have a set of plastic storage drawers which house zips, lining, interfacing and suchlike. A sewing box for thread and one of those Ikea trolleys which is where I keep my fabric stush (in the bottom two trays) and all of my sewing patterns in the top. I think this could be arranged more tidily but it's one of those jobs I've not yet got around to. I am trying really hard with my spending ban this year and had resolved not to purchase any more fabric until I've used (or gotten rid of) what's already in my stash and so far I do seem to be sticking to that on the most part, although I was lucky to receive some fabric as birthday gifts so that meant my stash has grown somewhat.

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    1. That sounds pretty organised to me and good for you with your spending ban too, sounds like you're doing really well

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  4. A timely post for me. I'm in the process of moving and I finally got into my stash. Sadly, some of the fabric has been folded and left in a box for so long that it negatively impacted the fabric. Fabric isn't cheap in the states, and I'm kind of mad that that happened due to my negligence. I'm going to use your tips for fabric organization when I move to my new place. My yarn is going to get an organizational re-do as well.

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    1. What a shame about your fabric, that's so annoying.

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  5. Moth!!!!!!!! I've made little bags from fabric scraps filled with dried lavender and put them in a cupboard, where I store some of my fabric. In general, I store fabric in big plastic boxes, so I can see what's inside. I intentionally keep those boxes in the living room, so I feel ashamed for my 100+ metro stash. And, yes, I do feel ashamed. A lot of fabric was purchased on a whim, while travelling. During those trips, I was convinced that I'd never find anything like that any more ;) So stupid of me! Unlike you, I don't organize my fabric by type, but I do pre-wash all fabric immediately after I buy it, to avoid doing it later. I also label each piece, indicating the width and the length, the price per metre and the fibre. So far, I've been really good in de-shashing; even more during the summer-time, when the days are longer. What makes my de-shashing even easier is that many of my girlfriends have babies: baby-clothes are such a pleasure to sew and to give!

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    1. Sounds very organised and it's definitely a good idea to keep the stash in view somehow, if you want to sew it

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  6. My stash is completely out of control. I have way too much fabric. It has grown to a ridiculous size. I just can't resist a bargain/vintage fabric but have had some of it so long that it doesn't fit what I want to sew now. I will be found crushed and mouldering one day under a pile of Mandor's bags.
    The thought of destashing rarely comes to mind. It is handy having a big stash. No matter what you want to sew you have the right material to hand. I like to think that I am hoarding now to benefit my daughter in the future. :) xx

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    1. It's definitely handy to have a stash to be able to pick from. Though there are a couple of things I'm keeping for a very specific ocassion that might never arrive!

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  7. Great idea with the tags, especially the note about whether it has been washed or not. I may cobble that one!
    I hang mine in a single wardrobe, and I've limited myself to 32 hangers. Currently, there are 5 spare... Personally, I like to limit my stash because otherwise I waste material that then goes out of favour. I absolutely *love* looking at other people's stash though. Quite a harmless voyeurism, all things considered, haha

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, I love a nosey too

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  8. As heck really need to sort out my stash its folded neatly in dark drawers!!! Thought that was good- well neat! Thanks for the kick up the bum.

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    1. Ha ha, glad you enjoyed the post!

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  9. Like Phillippa, I love to see this sort of post, I must be nosey too. My stash is one drawer in the living room and a three drawer plastic little unintended the stairs. Then there's a basket and plastic box in the dining,slash, sewing,slash,everything room. This has fabric due to be used soon. This is actually much downsized from last year, I've cleared fabric from under the bed and various binbags. But just writing now, I feel slightly panicky about storage and amount!

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    1. It's hard to stop the creep of the stash isn't it? It can be deceptive when you add it all up!

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  10. This is so timely. I discovered this weekend that my infinite textile hoarders chamber had cracks in the wall behind the hanging rod. I must change my storage habits and I'm terrified.

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    1. Eek! Hope you can avoid a stash-avalanche!

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  11. I am in denial about having a "stash", I just have couple of large zip laundry bags full with projects I just haven't started!! Good tip about the moths I will be on the look out for those pesky blighters

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    1. Yes, keep your eyes open for moths! So hard to get rid of when they find their way in

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Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say