How do you store your fabric?



A few months ago, I started on the daunting task of purging my fabric stash. I had the dream of creating a fabric library for myself that would be neat in display and showcase my fabrics in a way that would inspire me to create.

So, I purchased an extra-large shelving unit from IKEA, and swore to myself that anything that wouldn't fit into the unit would be passed on to someone else. I actually did it (with the exception of my faux furs that still live in a closet.)

I gained an entire closet in the process, and feel less likely to end up on the TV show Hoarders. However, the unit still looks a little messy. Thus began the also daunting task of making mini bolts for myself. 

For bolts, I settled on magazine archival cardboards that I found on a comic book website. They were the perfect size for the cubbies in my unit and are acid free so they won't damage my materials. I assembled the IKEA unit with the help of a friend and loaded it up with my pieces. The folding is taking quite a long time, but it will be worth it in the end.

It turned out that once the fabric was folded around the mini bolt, it took up considerably less room than it did in a wad or folded pile. They're also stackable and won't cause an avalanche when I want something from the bottom.

Here's how I folded my bolts:

First, I folded the fabric in half right sides together with the selvages aligned. Then I took out a magazine archival cardboard. For thicker fabrics, I used more than one cardboard (up to 3 for upholstery and velvet).

Next, I centered the cardboard a few inches from the fabric's raw edge and smoothed the fabric out as best I could.


Then I folded the fabric around the cardboard along each long fabric edge and smoothed out the fabric again.


Next, I simply rolled the cardboard and fabric together along the fabric's length to create the mini bolt, smoothing as I went along.


When i got to the end, I simply tucked under the fabric's raw edge and held the fold in place with a few pins. If you try this, make sure to use nice, sharp pins to prevent snagging or damaging your fabric. 

The cubbies look much neater with the mini bolts, and it makes me feel much more accomplished when I look at it for some reason, too. So far I have only finished 4 cubbies worth (21 to go!), but I'm hopeful that I will finish the rest soon.

How do you store your fabric? Have you discovered any tricks to help you keep your stash organized and accessible? 

Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Sewing Fabric & Fabric Basics
Nicole Smith

About Nicole Smith


My name is Nicole and I am a contributing editor for Stitch Magazine. I'm originally from Texas but now live in Brooklyn, NY where I try to squeeze my fabric collection and my six sewing machines into a Flatbush apartment.

Previously I was the Lead Editor of SewStylish magazine and Associate Editor of Threads magazine. I was also the Crafts & Decorating editor of Adorn Magazine and worked in the fashion and beauty departments of Teen People and Seventeen Magazine.

My second book, Dorm Decor (Chronicle Books) with Theresa Gonzalez, is available now. My first book entitled Fashion DIY (Sixth & Spring Books), which I co-authored with Carrie Blaydes, is also available now. I'm currently working on my third title to be published by Lark Books in 2012.

2 thoughts on “How do you store your fabric?

  1. I have enjoyed reading all the information from different sewers and wanted to add my thoughts. After sharing space in the basement with my husband on one side and my sewing space on the opposite end led us to separate our spaces for what they really are for. I have a great supply of nice fabrics that I love, and my hardest thing to do is walk away from buying more. My comment has always been, “not how much I have, but how much more is out there”. Wrong thing to do, but fortunately I am one who prepares new fabric immediately brought home by washing, ironing, and storing until needed. After recently changing my room into a space workable for me with new white storage cabinets to keep my fabric clean, folded and readily available, I know I can go pick something creative for that next project plus I love using antique furniture and bought a nice cabinet with double glass doors on top and 2 doors at the bottom with a slender middle drawer for what-nots. I now store my glass jars of buttons behind glass doors on one shelf, and other shelf some vintage fabrics with vintage feed sacks washed, ironed, and folded to show them off. I like finding vintage glass jars for buttons and they look nice behind the glass. My seven year old granddaughter is growing up learning how to sew and loves my button collection and told me “look grandma, I can reach the button jars myself now”, and she will take one down to my cutting table where I put a stool for her to sit on to browse through the buttons and ask for some I am willing to share with her. Also enjoy searching out those old looking storage boxes to hold many things with a decorative style of vintage from the craft stores and have put these to use for rick-rack, bindings, elastics, etc and they are easy to see and find what is needed at fingertip levels, and look pretty sitting out. By separating my items helps keep me on track knowing exactly where to look and less search times. I set up a little white wicker desk with 2 drawers for my granddaughter to have her own space within my space and this has helped her feel more involved to now sit in her own area near mine stocked with basic supplies of her own. I taught her to sew as soon as she showed interest and let her learn how to sew on my fancy stitch machine to let her know feel of power sewing and choose her own stitch and now knows how to use this machine on her own, with my supervision of course. When teaching any child how to sew is helpful to learn on a good machine rather than the toy versions that often are not the best plus it takes more time to keep them running on batteries. I have drawn different fun things onto a piece of fabric for her to learn hand sewing and showed her how to knot her threads along with how to thread her needle. She has advanced far beyond the toy machines and moved on to cutting up her old socks to design little clothes for her favorite small stuffed kitties. She was taught to crochet and already moved forward with her own designs using beads into her projects, and just recently accomplished knit and purl stitches with pride and a supply of knitting, crochet needles. Next step is to teach her how to use a pattern to make a project for herself or whatever she would like to do.
    My whole concept to teach children is to offer them the idea, make simple designs to sew, safety scissors to learn how to cut fabric, and the chance to feel a real sewing machine power by knowing proper use with total safety and it has proved to be the best for all ages that I have had the experience of teaching the older girls applying the same approach with my machines. Amazing how timid they are at first with power sewing, but with talking them through the process and explaining they cannot break the machines if they learn how to respect what the machine does for them. Two young girls I gave a one day lesson on how to design a project for sewing from beginning to end in one day was a great success for them to take their projects home knowing they did it all themselves absolutely made my day complete.

    My granddaughte now assist her mom with crocheting and has also learned how to finger knit from one of her friends. So my place in her life will continue with one of the oldest traditions known about sewing, and knowing how to make use of thoses scraps from my “Biz-Bag” that she loves to rummage through on her own for her many creative designs. She now has these memories to one day pass on to her children hopefully.
    Thank you for offering space to add my comments.
    Proud Grandma-Sews