Sew Organized: Fabric Storage Inspiration

When you start a new upholstery, sewing or quilting project, of course you buy exactly the right amount of fabric, always do just one project at a time, and clear out the scraps when you're done so there's no extraneous fabric, right? Yeah, I can hear you laughing from here. A wild fabric stash is an untamed beast that will eat your entire house if you let it, but don't worry, it can be tamed.

Unfortunately, taming the fabric stash does involve culling. But with a decisive eye and some good storage solutions, you can get your stash under control and ready for, you guessed it, more fabric. Check out the gallery for inspiration, follow some of these stash solution tips, and share your own ideas in the comments.

Sort by color. Whether or not your fabric is being stored out in the open, sorting by color makes it easier to find what you need. And if you do store it out in the open, a cohesive rainbow will look more put-together than a random splatter.

Invest in bins. Theater costume shops keep their excess fabric in rows of identical white bins labeled "white fabric," "blue fabric," "lining fabric," etc. Pick any kind of box you like, but a uniform series of opaque boxes will obscure any disorder that lurks inside.

Invest in bolt boards. If you're going to store your fabric in a china cabinet or on open shelving, consider wrapping it around bolt boards. They take up less space than full-size fabric tubes, and they're nice and stackable, like books.

Don't fall in love with your scraps. Even if you make clothes for Barbie, that 3"scraggle of leftover selvedge is not going to come in handy one day. When you're done with yardage, cut the ends off straight for cleaner storage. Then throw the scraps away.

Keep a swatch Rolodex. Just because that silver crocodile-embossed vinyl is the coolest thing you've ever seen doesn't mean you have to buy it right now. That's how clutter happens. I know a fashion designer who keeps a "swatch Rolodex" of sourcing information so she can go back and get the right fabric when she needs it, instead of trying to cram all the fabric in the world into her apartment.

Keep only what you'll actually use. Why did you buy that silver crocodile-embossed vinyl, anyway? You're never going to use it; it's hideous. The impulse buy is the bane of the fabric stash. At least twice a year, take a long, hard look at your fabric and cull anything you probably won't ever use. That great gear-print cotton with clocks on may have been a must-have six months ago, but now you're over steampunk? Out it goes.

(Images: 1. Needle Book, 2. Olabelhe, 3. Crafty Intentions, 4. Sew Many Ways, 5. The Scientific Seamstress)