Sunday, 29 May 2016

Storing and organising fabric

Jumpy title!

I've been re-organising my piles and heaps of fabric that have migrated everywhere while I've been so busy on projects with deadlines* that I never seemed to have time to tidy up. Now, everything is organised - for now!

* By deadlines, I mean that we were seeing the intended recipient of the project work over the weekend, so I just had to get finished!

I wonder how other people store their fabrics. I'm sure a lot of people, like me, fall in love with some 'have to have' fabric, without having a specific idea how it will be used. Most of these do get used eventually. Sometimes I love them so much having used it, that I want to get more - and it's then out of stock world-wide! I also have pieces of fabric that are recycled. A garment can get taken apart for some later use. Probably about half of these get used - but at the outset, I don't know what will fall in which half - will be used or binned eventually.

So here's my new storage plan. Some of the see-through bags are much bigger than others, and then they all go in stackable plastic boxes.

Box 1:
  • Felt (mostly squares, but I keep quite small pieces for my finger puppets, as they can be used for eyes, noses, beaks etc).
  • Flannel. I bought various pieces of lovely soft baby flannel when we had a premature baby in the family. Some got used, but she grew so fast that I still have some waiting for another project.
  • Knits. Some of these are purchased, some are chopped up from T-shirts or other stretchy garments. There are also a number of pieces of ribbed knit, to make neckline, cuffs, waistbands etc.
  • Fleece - at the moment there's only one (plain French navy) fabric in this bag! But I've seen some gorgeous fleece fabrics at the store. I might turn my attention to using fleece again in the autumn.
Box 2:

This is my main storage of materials for new projects. At the bottom, there are three bags of pieces. The difference between them is a bit arbitrary, to be honest:
  • Scraps bag. Some of these are really quite small pieces, especially of a favourite material. Among other things, some of them lend themselves to making appliques.You can make applique letters with a two inch square! But I have to be a bit ruthless, or I would have two rooms full of sewing stuff.
  • Larger scraps. Mostly these are left over from projects and could be used to make small items, or to add some interest to a garment made out of a plainer fabric. If you've read the blog, you'll recognise some of them from projects

  • Larger pieces, but where I know there is definitely less than half a metre. Again, most of these are leftovers, although some may be fat quarters that I bought when the girls were tiny enough that I could make a whole project out of a fat quarter. These would lend themselves to making contrasting sleeves or bodices, most would be big enough for a child's sunhat, and some of them are sufficiently even in shape that they could be cut up to make further patchwork squares.
Next, two bags of larger pieces, of about half a metre or more:
  • Bright polycottons and cotton. 
  • Light / pastel polycottons and cottons.

Some of these are cheapish stuff that would be fine for quilting projects, or to make a reversible garment. Others are better quality. I don't distinguish them in the bags, Everything goes in together, organised only by whether they are pale fabrics or bright ones.

Box 3:

Sheeting, towelling, some ready quilted materials, and batting, interfacing, etc.

Box 4:

Everything else! Satins, tartan cloth, mock leather, chiffon, velvet, plasticised material (I think this has a name in the US), and half-finished alterations to, or dismantled, adult clothing. These are mostly fabrics and projects that are not likely to get used for children's clothing.

I feel good now it is all tidied away, but I'm started to feel another project coming on. Oh yes - some pyjama trousers for the youngest grandchild to go with the top I already made her - and she needs a sunhat - and once I've made her a sunhat, I'll certainly have to make one for her sister. I also promised them ponchos / sun cover ups. And the new dinosaur fabric I bought the other day - that's begging to be something for summer!

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