Monday, January 30, 2012

How to properly store your fabric stash

Whether you are new or avid sewer, it is important you know how to properly store your fabric to maintain color, texture, and quality. I recently set up my crafting space and was astounded at the amount of fabric I had collected.  I knew I needed a better system. My husbands been calling me "squirrel" because I had stuff stashed everywhere, much like a squirrel stores acorns in the winter. Before I decided what method to use for my fabric storage, I did a little research. Later on in this post I'll talk about how I store my fabric, but for now I'll give you storage basics.

  • You'll always want to pre-wash your fabric, that way, it's ready to go when you are. If you're washing a cotton or any other material that frays, be sure to use a zig-zag or overlock stitch on any raw edges to prevent fraying while washing
  • Keep fabric out of direct sunlight to prevent fading
  • If you choose to store fabric in a plastic container, its best to be see through so you can see what fabric is in each tub. Be sure to drill holes into the top to allow the fabric to breath. Fabric that is unable to breath can become musty or mildewy smelling.
  • If you are working with fabric you want to keep perfect, place a sheet or two of acid free tissue paper on both sides of fabric to avoid color bleeding. 
  • If your fabric is hanging in the store (like velvet), its hanging for a reason and should be kept hanging. Folding could crush any nap, ruining your fabric.
  • If you choose to wrap your fabric on a bolt, be 100% certain it is acid free. Cardboard containing acid could discolor your pretty fabric.
Of course there is no right or wrong way to fold your fabric, but there are a few ways to make everything neater, cleaner, and more organized. In general, the neater your fabric is, the more you can store less space it takes up. There are a few methods to fold and store your stash. 

If you plan on folding your fabric, using something that is the same size is very helpful.
It's best to fold fabric right out of the dryer. Grab a household item that is about the width you want to stack your fabric at. Book, small cutting board, cutting mat, etc. I used my husbands masters degree from Virginia Tech :)

Fold fabric selvedge to selvedge (The edge of the fabric that comes finished from the manufacturer. It is often marked with information such as color code and other identifying data ) with the printed side up and closest to you

Now fold fabric in half again, folding from top to bottom. Your fabric should be  about 1/4 the length of its width (if your fabric is 43" wide, it should be about 10.5" high")
Fold your fabric around the household item until it is folded all the way up.
If you'd like,  use a paper clip or pin to secure the end of your fabric.
Now slide your book, cutting board, diploma, or whatever you are using out.
Repeat Annnddd stack.

If you want to use bolts, like I do, start by purchasing comic board backing boards. You can get these boards which come in packs of 100 for less than $10 from Amazon .Great deal. I bought 1 pack and thought it was plenty. I was wrong, I ran out. I had NO clue I had over 100 different fabrics! These boards are certified acid free so your fabric will be safe. They were a little thinner than I expected, but are perfect for the job. Folding on bolts is similar to how to fold fabric.

With your fabric fresh out of the dryer (or if you choose not to wash start by unfolding your fabric however the cutting counter staff had it folded)

Fold selvedge to selvedge, with the printed side up and closest you

and in half one more time

If you are working in a small space you can do this as you go

 Fold all your fabric up around the bolt and fold over the last few inches

Using a paper clip or pin, take the last layer of the bolt and secure the folded edge.

Now put away all your fabric and admire how nice and organized it is!


  1. Ordered these comic boards for myself and gifts (early Christmas shopping, yay!) Thanks for the great tips.

  2. Paper clips and pins can rust. You could you coated paper clips.