I was over to Geta’s Quilting Studio and saw that they were looking for tips from quilters. Here are my tips on fabric organization.
There were lots of different topic choices. I have been getting a few questions about my fabric and scrap organization so I thought I would write about that. A couple weekends ago, Kelli was home and helped me get some of my Goodwill scraps and blog reader scraps organized. I had enough scraps that didn’t have a home and were paralyzing my sewing progress that it was just time to stop and get a home for each and every piece of fabric.
Some of the best advice I have gotten about scrap storage came from Bonnie Hunter. You can read about her Scrap Users System here. Being most of the quilts that I sew use either 1 1/2″, 2″, 2 1/2″, and
3 1/2″ pieces. It makes perfect sense to cut my scraps into that size of strips. The big containers on the left show those totes. I like clear plastic totes so I can see what I have. Open on the floor to my left is my 2″ tote.
All jewel toned or Civil War Reproduction type fabrics go in these totes. When it’s time to make a quilt, I read the measurements and pull the tote I need. I take from these totes first, then I check out my fat quarter selection after that. Once I have made a couple cuts off my fat quarters, I cut the rest up and throw the pieces into the precut strip totes.
The totes on the right are mislabeled. They are left over totes from other projects and I haven’t relabeled them. Those are all the bright fabrics. Some time ago, on the blog I lamented that I didn’t have any bright colored fabrics and was hoping to make a quilt. Well…many on you sent on your scraps and I hit a couple great Goodwill days and look! I have so much fabric that each color needs it own tote. Again you are probably asking why these totes are sorted by color rather than cut into sizes and and sorted like the other fabric. Well….I looked at designers whose patterns I like that sew in brights and their suggestion is to sort by color. If you have read Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics co-written with Crazy Mom, Amanda Jean Nyberg then you know that this is what she recommends. If you look at Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s book 15 minutes of Play — Improvisational Quilts: Made-Fabric Piecing Traditional Blocks Scrap Challenges you can tell that her quilts are designed by color too. So, for now, the bright scraps are sorted by color. That may change someday but for now, that’s what I am going with.
My fat quarters are organized by color.
Reds and pinks are home to this drawer. If I need more than a fat quarter’s worth of fabric, I don’t have that in stock and go purchase it.
This is not the first system that I have tried. I am constantly tweaking and adjusting trying to find the perfect storage solution. This is the system that I have used the longest and has been the most beneficial for me. My best advice is to keep trying if you don’t like the system you are currently using…and if you just plain don’t like scraps and don’t want to sew with them, give them away. There are people like me out there that LOVE-LOVE-LOVE scraps and will gladly take them off your hands…scraps just aren’t for everyone and that is completely and perfectly okay.
I also have a bin for strips or strings that are narrower than 1 1/2″. I also have a bin for small odd pieces of tiny scraps….If you haven’t seen my crumb quilts made with the tiny scraps, you can see them here. These quilts are truly my favorite.
My quilting style is scrappy. I can’t remember the last quilt that I made that didn’t have at least 20 different fabric in it. Typically my quilts have way more than that. That is why for me, organizing my scraps to make them usable is a must!
Before you go, I have a give away going on here.
HI I popped over from Geta’s – absolutely agree about colour sorting – and mainly I have only fat quarters or less – though I don’t cut them up as I go – I will cut squares from small bits left over.
I’ve been working on getting my scraps organized for almost a year using Bonnie’s recommendations. It sure makes it easier (and more fun) when I can go to a pre-cut box of squares and pull out what I need!
Thank you for sharing your tips, Jo; great way to organize fabrics.
Thanks for the tips! I also sort all my fabric by color, unless I want to keep certain lines together for a specific project…