Fabric Stash Organization and Tutorial

I am busy working on my studio makeover at the moment. I have most of the large storage furniture installed that I purchased from Ikea, and now it is time to fill it with my fabric stash. How best to do this step and still have it look good? By using comic book archival acid-free boards found on this website.

All you need are some boards (I ordered 3 packs of 300 to start), some fabric, and some corsage pins (I found these heavy duty pins at WalMart for a few dollars.) My method works best on fabric, sized 1/3rd of a yard or greater. Here is the tutorial:

Fabric Wrapped Comic Book Boards:

Here is how I do this to look nice and neat (click on thumbnails for larger images):

step1 Step 1

step2 Step 2

step3 Step 3

steppin Step Pin

step4 Step 4

step-last Last Step: organize the fabric in your bookcase.

cabinetwfabric

There! It doesn’t get easier than this! It looks good, and I can re-arrange it by color or collection, anything really.  Smaller pieces of fabric can be organized by color into readily accessible bins, and large pieces of fabric (3 yards or above) may simply be folded and neatly stacked on the shelf.

Of course, the above fabric is only a small percentage of my total fabric stash- like maybe 1%. It may take me weeks to complete this part of the remodel with my complete fabric stash.

Hugs, Carla

carlafreetutorials

PS: See my main Tutorial Page for more projects.  Here are some finished studio pics:

studiocarla1

My quilting machine:

carlastudio2

And the reason why my studio is pet-free:

baddayinstudiocopyright

In case you missed it, here are some other posts related to my studio makeover:

Studio Makeover,

Studio Makeover and other stuff,

Studio Progress Pictures, and

Life and Other Happenings in my studio.

39 thoughts on “Fabric Stash Organization and Tutorial

  1. Hi Carla! Studio Makeover is looking great!

    And YES, I’m one of those gals from Texas that you met that was hanging out with Sharon D. & Linda at MQS 2006. We missed you at 2007! Sharon and Linda keep us updated

    hugs,
    Betty

  2. The studio is looking great! I may have to borrow the comic book boards idea…..I have a fairly small space (if you don’t count the other 3 rooms I spill over to) and that would help alot.

  3. okay, I like this fabric organization thing. How big does the fabric need to be to fit on the board? And where does one get the boards from?
    Like I might have the ability to organize my stash like this….
    want to come help me?

    Lori

  4. Hi Carla,

    Love the boards! Do you measure how much of the fabric you have before you roll up it so neatly? I have 2 – four shelf bookcases (with lots of overflow into the rest of the room) and this does look like a very nice way to see the fabric without everything falling over!

    Karen A.

  5. Looks great, Carla. Most of my stash is very small pieces, up to fat quarter size, used in my art quilts. What have you come up for that kind of thing? I’m sure you have thought about it!!

  6. Lori and Karen… I just eyeball it using the board as a visual guide. Anything 1/2 yard and larger work. Pieces I have purchased for backing (over 3-4 yards or greater) I simply fold and stack on the shelf.

    Any inexpensive pins work to hold it in place. I used the corsage pins, but found that smaller, sleeker pins work better.

    I really like this system! It satisfies the anal side of my personality!

  7. Yes, Jan, how did you guess that I have? LOL! You can cut the comic book boards in half, or quarters, then just wrap it on a smaller scale.

    I decided to fold and roll them up neatly, pinning in place. Then I have organized them by color in a large bin that fits out of sight under my longarm.

    Good luck!!

  8. I’m a little late reading this post. (smile) been with my new granddaughter. Looks like you won the race. Just wanted to say thank you for posting about the comic book boards. I had been looking for this type boards for awhile without luck. I’m ordering mine today.

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  12. FYI–There are several sizes of backer boards out there for those of you who may want something larger. I searched and found boards made specifically for Life Magazine that are approx. 15″ tall–perfect for a tri fold of 45″ fabric. Search “Life backer board”

  13. I saw the boards at quilt festival this year, but boy they are not cheap – Like your idea of the comic book boards. I had some cardboard so I did a preliminary test using that just to see if I would like it before I expend too much money or energy on this endevour. It seams like I am loosing space as the boards don’t use up the entire shelf space – and I have sooooo much fabric – lot that are fat quarter size – may that is the problem as I am using smaller size boards for them. I have spent the entire afternoon and have yet to get through my reds . . Still on the fence with this idea – it sure does look so organized – and like you it that really feeds my anal personality. And now my room looks worse than before I started – I need to take a sick day tomorrow to continue workin on this

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  17. Wow, Carla!! Thank you for taking the time to direct me to your blog for fabric help. I worked at Nordstrom’s for 8 years. I spent 2 of the 8 years in the Women’s Clothing. We had a piece of paper that we folded shirts around, then slipped the paper out. You have such a great idea. I am going to give it a try. I would need about several hundred of the boards. I am going to start cutting up all the cardboard boxes we recycle here at home.

    I have my 2 little grandson’s Oliver who just turned 4 and baby brother who just turned 2 for about 90 hours a week!! I am not kidding either. They have changed my life so much, I have to do most all my art, sewing at night when they go home. They are darling and smart, but touch and mess up every thing. I can sit and fold up fabric as they play, etc. It will probably take me months to complete this project. I bought plastic crates and big tubs from home depoit years ago, but they get over stuffed. I wanted to keep my fabrics clean and as dust free as possible. I also use the big plastic zip bed spread packages. I love them!!

    Thank you again and I will let you know when finish, eek!!
    Lynnette April.

    • Hi Lynette, Glad I could help you out! Be sure to post photos so I may see the finished results.

      That reminds me, I need to post pics of the finished studio, too. Of course, it isn’t so clean anymore! LOL

      Thanks for stopping by and I will see you on facebook. Happy creating, Carla

    • Hi Cindy, I bought the “silver” package of archival comic book boards (http://www.bcwsupplies.com/products/Comic-Boards/), but any of these sizes will work. Be sure to measure your storage space so that the size you select fits. I wanted mine to store in the bookcase as shown above. Some people like to store their wrapped fabric in file boxes, too.

      Thanks for stopping by, let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks , Carla

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  21. Hey Carla I Just wanted to Let U Know GREAT Idea For My Fabric And I Have Been Using Them For Patterns The Comic Broads Are AWSOME Your Friend In Sewing Cindy Schnapf

    You are very welcome!! I would love to share a picture of your studio showing how you used this tutorial. Just drop me a comment and I will contact you. Regards, Carla

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    • hi Terry, I purchased standard comic book sized boards. I would say that the board size would need to be sized to fit where you plan to store the wrapped fabric boards. Good luck! Carla

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  25. Hi Carla,
    I love your fabric organization ideas. Just thought I would comment on what I’ve been using instead of the comic book boards which are a bit pricey for my stash. I go to the dollar store and pick up several foam boards which are 20″ x 30″. I mark every 7″ across the board then using my exacto knife I score a line on each mark. Turn the board over and score (lightly) to separate them. Next I cut those in half which gives me 8 boards at 7″ x 10″. I get 8 boards from each foam board. The foam boards are sturdy, white and only cost a $1.00 each. This way I can also use the foam boards to cut to size for my larger fabric when needed.
    Thanks again for sharing your ideas,
    Jacqui

    • Hi Jacqui, thanks for writing! You must have more patience than I do- the thought of cutting all those foam boards down would sure deter me. Good for you for doing things your own way!

      A couple of thoughts to think about- are the foam boards archival if you are thinking of long term storage? Also, when I figured out the cost per board between cutting down foam boards vs comic book boards, taking into consideration the added cost of exacto knife and blades, labor, I would personally still stick with the convenience of the comic book boards. Thus said, if we all did things alike, life would be too boring, no? Congrats on thinking outside the box!

      • Hi Carla,

        I had to LOL when I read your comment. I don’t know that I have more patience than you. It took about 3 weeks for my comic book boards to arrive and being “impatient” I thought why not use the foamboard from the Dollar Tree Store. It really is very fast cutting them down. I have the exacto knife for other projects and can use one blade for about 30 boards so it’s cost efficient for me and it only takes about 20 minutes once you get used to it. Also, the boards are 100% acid free paper. I also love the sturdiness of the foamboards. I had to get started organizing my sewing room before starting another project and just couldn’t wait. Thanks again for being an inspiration.
        Jacqui

      • If you are concerned enough to use archival boards in the middle, be sure to use rust proof pins to pin it on the outside. I have retrieved UFOs with the intention of finishing them and have found rusted pins discoloring the fabric. It pays to be careful. Thanks for sharing. Love the look of it. I’m facing the task of reorganizing my stash. I need to keep mine in boxes to keep it clean and transportable. I wish I could keep it out so I could enjoy the colors. But that’s not an option.

      • Good point, Gina, for people living in humid climates. Never had a pin rust, and some of my pins are decades old. Then again, I live in a low humidity location.

        When I built my house, I paid extra for special UV windows so any quilts or fabric would not fade over time. We also placed special spot lighting on different walls, with again, special UV bulbs that would not damage artwork or textiles. These are similar to ones used in galleries and museums. Helps to think ahead… LOL!

        I have heard from a few people who store their fabric on the boards and then in boxes- similar to a file system. Haven’t tried that, but sounds like a good way.

        Thanks for your thoughtful comment, too!

  26. Jacqui, so glad to hear the foam boards are acid free. Also, good for you for coming up with a faster solution, too! I hope you will share a photo of your newly organized fabric stash!! Happy Sewing, Carla

  27. Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same
    outcome.

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