Friday, September 28, 2012

Week 1: Organizing Friday - Your Fabrics!

Insert cardboard sized for the area you want to fit, ex: shelf
Fold fabric matching selvages and then into thirds
Lay cardboard template and fold one side over it as shown.
My plan is to discuss the sewing room on Fridays giving everyone an opportunity to either take the tip and try it, or offer their suggestions on each topic.

Today's topic is FABRIC!

The hardest part of organizing fabrics is deciding on how you plan to classify your fabrics.  Once decided, you then have to actually sort them into piles according to the classifications you have chosen.

Roll the fabric around the board
How many books have you read that have told you this and yet it isn't done?  Or maybe you did it, but the tedious folding and classifying wore you out and you simply didn't want to mess up your shelves.  If it is easier for you to shop for new fabric than to pull one out of your fabric collection in your room, then perhaps your system is not right for you?

Whatever system you choose,pick one you can actually use easily!  I have tried so many from all the books I read that I truly understand the value of keeping it simple.

No matter what system you decide I would suggest folding the fabrics uniformly.  This is a trick used in a retail store I worked at, years ago, when stacking shirts. It is quick to do and you can use a heavy cardboard to make your template.

Slide the board out from the top

What size template?  If you are storing it on a shelf then be sure the depth of the shelf is part of the calculation, and how many you want across will determine the other.

Even if you prefer to roll your fabrics, having a template to size them uniformly will really speed things up. And make all the rolls more visible.

Fabric stacks neatly on a shelf when it is the same
uniform sizeI go one extra step
So what system do I use? I simply organize by color, thanks to Michelle Cooper who showed me that in other areas of my world that this was the method I was actually using.  I no longer put fabric groups together.  But believe me, I have friends who successfully put plaids together, paisley together, and have sub categories.  More power to them.  If it's a print, I pick the dominant strongest color to file it by.  It it's a plaid, I put it with the matching fabric I intend to use it with. Nothing gets filed until it pre-washed.  I head to the washer with any new fabric purchases.  It keeps things simple.

You can see that by folding fabrics uniformly, it's quicker to sort through and easier to see them.

Fabrics are folded again in half and placed in a basket
shelving system from the Container Store.  This way each
holds 4 stacks per drawer.
I am usually sewing at all different hours  throughout the day (and night) therefore labels stating the obvious are perfect for me.

When I designed my in the hoop Machine Embroidery Sewing Room Tags, I realized that others will want to use cutesy fabrics, with variations in borders and lettering, etc. So I left color breaks in them to allow for creativity.

A Glimpse at my Fabric Corner
Want to embroider your own tags?

Simple embroidered tags keeps confusion out
 when in a hurry sorting and grabbing fabrics.
I also realized that some sewers do want to put their plaids, paisleys, etc., together so I added those labels as well.  The important thing is that they stitch quick and work on baskets as well.  Plus, if I have a drawer that is holding orange and yellow then it is easy for me to add 2 tags. My labels are plain because that is how I want them to be. When I am tired, having the heart embellishment and wording in the applicable color saves my brain!

Originally, I had adorable paper tags and even though I used my label maker  on them, I found the detail distracting and the paper wore out and simply was not as functional as fabric reinforced tags.

I have added the pictures for you to see the bins I use, but there are many different organizers on the market.  Keep it simple!

Can you see those stacks of fabrics?  All made with my 11 x 8.5 template.  I make the rectangles and then fold them in half again and it's a perfect fit.

See the tags stitched in fun fabric dressed up with ribbons so you can what else is possible with them.  The chain I used to hang the tags were purchased at Home Depot's lighting department.  But scrap stores also sell chains.  I used gold thread to edge my plain tags as it matched the walls.  My projects are always colorful so sometimes simple makes things stand out in my world.

The captioned steps in the photos show how I fold the fabric. If you are overwhelmed or short of time for the task of overhauling the sewing room, I recommend a professional organizer. I can't speak highly enough of Michelle Cooper of and the time she has saved me is priceless!

Good news for ASG friends in Atlanta, Michelle will now be the guest speaker at the upcoming Common Threads meeting on October 20. Learn more about this meeting you shouldn't miss...


Sandy said...

Great ideas! That is pretty much how mine are organized. I kept all the flannels together, and Christmas, but other than that they are organized by color.
Sandy Lai

Cookie Gaynor said...

Hi Sandy, I just don't have your discipline. Once I let one sub group in, there is no end in sight! LOL! Thanks for sharing.

Sew Quilt Embroider said...

I have the smallest fabric stash of everyone I know! Mine are folded by color or Christmas/Asian prints/flannel in the drawers of an antique chest. I would love to have them visible on shelving. This may be the shove I need! Love the tags.