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Fabric Storage Dilemma

February 9, 2012

I’ve been feeling a lot of fabric lately. That sounds a little strange but let me explain…I bought some new shelves to hold my fabric stash and in the process of moving the fabric into to its new home I’ve been doing a lot of folding! This is the third system I’ve tried to store all of my fabric and I think it may be just what I’ve been looking for.

For many years my fabric was folded in stacks and placed on a shelving unit. The problem with this system was that there were no dividers between the stacks and when I’d pull out the fabrics I needed for a project, I usually ended up with a mess of leaning towers of fabric. A few years ago I read an article in Quilting Arts Studios magazine about using square wire baskets to store the fabric. This would still allow you to see your fabric,  keep it more contained and avoid the mess of fabric falling over in the process of pulling and grabbing it from the shelf. I found wire baskets and plopped the folded fabrics into them, keeping them separated by color.

After trying this method for a couple of years I finally had to admit that it didn’t work for me either. If I needed a particular red fabric I had to pull down the red fabric basket, dig through to find the fabric, pull it out dislodging others in the process, and then cram the basket back on the shelves. Since the baskets were wedged so tightly into the shelves this usually carried the risk of having the whole shelving unit fall forward with all the pushing and pulling.

I decided it was time to try something new and found the Expedit shelves by searching the Ikea website.

 These seemed like the perfect solution because I could display all my fabrics stacked by color on shelves again, but these shelves were like cubes so they offered the extra dividing system I needed to keep the towers of fabric from leaning and falling over in the grabbing and pulling process!  Unfortunately, the closest Ikea is 3 hours from here and the cost to order online and have them shipped was outrageous so a daytrip was in order. DH and I made the trip a couple of weeks ago and purchased the 5 x 5 cube unit as well as a single tower unit. We then spent a Sunday afternoon putting them together. As with all things Ikea, the directions were easy to follow, no words, just pictures and we didn’t even end up with extra pieces of hardware in the end! One thing we did, that wasn’t in the instructions though, was to add wood glue to each of the little wooden “dowels” to make sure everything held together well. We also attached the units to the wall so that there won’t be a chance of the shelves toppling.

Once the shelves were assembled, it was very tempting just to load them up with my stash just by transferring the fabrics from the baskets to the shelves. However, I knew there was fabric buried in those baskets that hadn’t seen the light of day in many years. Some of the fabrics were bought years ago when I first decided to try my hand at quilting and just weren’t the quality fabrics that I wanted to keep. You may have some of these in your stash as well. You know the ones I mean. They are a little stiffer or just don’t have the feel of the better quality fabrics. I decided this was my opportunity to weed out those fabrics that I knew no longer met my standards or were not the style I am currently using. So my days of refolding and weeding out have begun. I’m spending long hours watching old reruns of Project Runway and stroking fabric.  I’ll keep you posted…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharyn Cole permalink
    February 9, 2012 5:17 pm

    Hi Sandy – I found a similar system at Home Depot years ago. The shelves between the vertical pieces are adjustable so I can accommodate collections that have a larger number of folded fabrics than others. Blue, for instance, is a color I like to buy but rarely use in my quilting so it needs a taller space than other colors. It really is easy to find specific fabrics too. You’re going to love it,

  2. Inas Harrison permalink
    February 11, 2012 9:14 pm

    If you want, I’ll forward a cool pattern for shoe bags (traveling in mind) or hair appliances. The fabric doesn’t have to be soft to put shoes in. I have made one that I embroidered shoe-la-la on it. I also helped Lily make one with her name on it. It is just a little drawstring bag. I am making Carole and shoe bag and a hair appliance bag for her birthday. Your Sister, Inas

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