Stash Organization Ideas

As a staff, we’ve been taking a hard look at how we manage our stashes. We’d like to share our ideas with you. So let’s talk about it a bit.

Lori – Acquisitions editor and editor of McCall’s Quilting:

Here is how I store my fabrics. They are sorted by color in 60-quart plastic containers. We’ve built shelves in the closet in the studio that are just the right size for those plastic tubs. We’ve removed the door from the closet for easy access. There are two more tubs that I keep under the longarm. They would fit on the very top shelf in the closet but they are heavy enough that they are hard to access when they are up that high.

Lori’s Fabric Storage.

Vivika – Editorial director of Quilting Arts and Quilting Arts TV

Every year or two, I revisit how I organize my fabric. Twenty years ago I organized by project, keeping all the fabrics for each quilt together. Then I got serious about expanding my stash, and my fabric collection expanded exponentially! Now I have a few types I separate: vintage scraps in one box, batiks in another, and all special hand dyes arranged by color. The rest are folded and stacked in my studio storage cabinet for easy access.

Vivika’s Fabric Storage

Denise – Interim art and editorial director

I keep a pretty small stash of fabric sorted by color and stacked in crates in the closet in my sewing room. I love being able to see all of the bright colors on display. I also have a couple a small plastic tubs stacked under my ironing table that hold novelty prints, some batiks and my solids. Everything is easy to access and pull from when I’m selecting fabrics for my next quilt.

Denise’s Fabric Storage

Vanessa – Special projects editor

When it comes to fabric organization, I serve as a “horrible warning” rather than a “good example.” I have a tiny space, and must make do. For those fellow quilters with a tiny space, I DO have a couple of tips. If your kitchen table does double duty as your cutting table, hide your larger cutting mats under a tablecloth for easier access, rather then storing them under the bed or a couch. Also, if you can find a new or vintage sewing caddy, grab it! The accordion-style caddy a friend gifted me has been an amazing way to contain the chaos of sewing notions—small footprint, great storage. The vintage buttons she left inside were a bonus.

Vanessa’s Sewing Caddy Hides Chaos
Vanessa’s Cutting Mat Hiding Under the Tablecloth

Eileen – Associate editor

I store my fabric collection in our basement and space is somewhat limited. For many years, I have been able to contain most of my hoard within three bookcases: one for batiks, the other two for printed cottons. Within those two categories, I sort and fold fabrics of 1/2 yard or more–winding each around my 6″ x 24″ ruler–before I arrange them on the shelves by color. I keep special collections together (like my Asian prints) and pre-cuts. For smaller cuts of 1/8 to 1/2 yard, fabrics are sorted by color or collections and stored in CD drawers and bins. Fabrics for a couple of future projects are in boxes with the patterns—a convenience when packing for retreats. Unfortunately, my out-of-control scrap stash needs a little help. Again, I separate batiks and printed cottons and store them in stackable drawers. Some are even cut and organized into strips and squares. But I’m having problems closing the drawers. Perhaps more scrappy quilts are in my future?

Eileen’s Fabric Storage

Anissa – Managing editor:

I have a lot of fabric, so I like to organize it by type, theme, and color.  I also take into consideration how big each cut of fabric is and how often I will want to use it. I have 5 different places in which I store my various types of fabric, making it oh-so-easy to find any fabric that I’m searching for.

My main stash is living in two cabinets from Ikea. These cabinets house my most used fabric and everything here is a 1-yard cut or smaller – mostly fat quarters.

Main Stash

This shelving unit is in my guest bedroom (LOL). I keep all my smaller cuts of lesser-used fabrics here – Halloween and Christmas fabrics, dog fabrics, solids, wools, flannels, and traditional fabrics.

Fabric Used Less Often

This cabinet is where I keep my larger cuts of fabrics – anything 1 yard or larger.

Large Cuts of Fabric

A bookshelf serves as storage for books, patterns, and two collections of fabrics – Tula Pink and Grunge fabrics.

Books, Patterns, and Tula and Grunge Collections

Fabrics that are in use or are set aside for certain project are stored in plastic boxes, so they don’t accidentally get used elsewhere.

Project boxes

Can’t forget about scraps! Those are sorted by color and stored in small plastic boxes.

Scrap Storage

Here is a fabric storage blog from a couple of years ago that tells how some of our former staff members stored their fabrics. And there is a web seminar by Laura Roberts Stash Management 101 that has some good ideas.

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It seems that how we store our fabrics varies a whole lot. Have any of you got any clever storage solutions you’d like to share with us?? We’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting,


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