How to store your fabric?

How to store your fabric?

Sewing is a hobby that tends to take quite a lot of space. You have your machine(s), your patterns and magazines, your notions and haberdashery. As you get deeper and deeper into the craft you accumulate ribbons, zippers, buttons, scraps and tools that need their space. However, the fabric is usually what takes the most space. So how to store your fabric?

Storing options – pros and cons

There are different options and I use all of them since they are each suitable for different purposes.

1. Folded on a shelf

How to store your fabric? Folding... does it work?

This works if you have to store your fabric quickly or if your stash is small. With bigger stashes, you will end up having fabric avalanches! It is hard to keep track of what you have and access the bottommost fabrics.

This method works best when it is used temporarily and for small amounts of fabric.

2. Storing inside bins and baskets

How to store your fabric? Bins, boxes and baskets.

This has been my main method of storing my stash over the years. I have sorted different types of fabrics into transparent plastic storage boxes.

The first problem was to find the boxes that fitted to my cupboards perfectly. However, the bigger problem was that the filled boxes were heavy to move around and often I found it hard to put them back into their proper places after digging through them for fabric. This resulted in piles of fabric everywhere and me tripping over bins.

It was easy to put the fabric into the bins but despite my boxes being transparent, I still found it hard to keep track of what I had.

However, this is the best method for storing scraps of fabric and things that you’ll need to get your hands into quite often, such as interfacing. I’ll also have my quilting cottons in a big bin since I don’t use them very often.

3. wrapped into Bolts

This is the method that I use today. There is a reason why most of the fabric shops have their fabrics on bolts or rolls. My bolts fit into my cupboard three stacks side-by-side and it is easy to slide out any fabric I need. Opening my storage cupboard is like stepping into a miniature fabric shop where I can see everything and get inspired by it!

Unfortunately, this method is only suitable for bigger pieces of fabric. I still have to have bins for scraps. The biggest drawback of this method is the starting threshold. It takes some time to wrap your existing stash. After that, you’ll get into a habit of wrapping your fabric right after purchasing and prewashing it.

How do you wrap your fabric into bolts? First, go and buy some big cardboard boxes. Those meant for moving work nicely. Pay some attention to the box dimensions to get boxes that are easy to cut into suitable rectangles. I use these boxes that are  48 x 32 x 33 cm in size. One single box gave me 12 boards that were about 17 x 48 cm and thus fitted perfectly into my cupboards that were approximately 60 cm deep and wide. I also got 2 smaller ones that I used for wrapping kids’ jersey fabrics. Use a cutting mat, a steel ruler and a carpet knife to cut the boards.

I found out that mostly it was unnecessary to iron the fabric before wrapping. Only some super creasy viscose needed it. I folded the fabrics lengthwise in three and wrapped them around the boards.


4. Buy only what you currently need

How to store your fabric? Buying only what you need.

I respect people that can do this! I have found that buying fabric for a pattern I’m planning to make doesn’t work for me. Usually, I am unable to find the perfect fabric and end up buying something that is the best of the bad lot. It is better for me to buy beautiful fabric when I see it even if I do not have a pattern in mind.

I estimate the amount I need from experience. 1,5 m makes a pair of trousers, a skirt or a blouse, 2 m makes a narrow dress or a tunic and 3 m is enough for most of the dress patterns.

Protect your fabric from damage!

I just came back from my parents’ summer cottage where my old dear teddy bear lives. It wears a woollen vest my mother knitted for me when I was about 2 years old. During the last year or so moths have gotten into it and it was full of little holes. This serves as a good warning for me that my precious wools need protection. A good and natural way of keeping moths away is to use red cedar wood that releases oils that repel moths. If you plan to store your wools for longer periods of time, I recommend air-tight plastic bins.

As nice as it may be to look at your fabrics beware that sun may be bad for the colours. A little while ago I took a piece of chambray that I was planning to make a skirt out of and noticed that the sun had whitened the areas of the fabric that had been facing out. (And this in spite the fact that the fabric was in a cupboard, inside a bedroom, on the north side of the house and in Finland!) The whole piece had a large white stripe going all the way across it and I couldn’t use it. So keep your fabric away from the light!

Wash and care plus free printable tags

How to store your fabric? Fabric tags.

After you have wrapped and stored your fabric, do you remember how to properly care for it? Luckily the bolts (if you end up following my example) have handy folds that you can use to slide a handy little tag into. This way you can remember not only what you have and how much but also how to care for it.

To help you to keep your stash in order, I have made you a free printable page of fabric stash tags. Just click the link or the image to open the pdf file and save it to your computer.

Fabric tags

Keep a stack of these near your fabrics and fill them up as you buy more fabric!

This is all I have for you today! I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I thank all the lovely people that have subscribed to my blog and/or my Instagram! Happy sewing!





I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


  • PsychicSewerKathleen

    I enjoyed your post! I think all sewists who do as you and buy fabric when we see just what we like and figure out how to store it later but it is problematic! I don’t want to leave mine out (not a lot of it anyway) because exposed to the air it will pick up pollutants and possibly fade but tucked away in bins I forget what I have (being 63 I’m especially vulnerable to this 🙂 ) so it is a conundrum! I have decided not to buy anymore fabric (or patterns) before Jan 2020 to see what I can get through and then figure out what I’m going to do at that point. I would love to get to the point where I decided on a pattern/style and shop for the fabric I want for it. I think now with all the options for online shopping it’s much easier to find the exact fabric I want for the project. Let someone else store the fabric until I need it 🙂

    • kk

      I just don’t have a patience to wait for the fabric to arrive, when I’m in a mood to do some sewing! But forgetting what I already have is a problem for me too. I tried taking photos and storing them in an app called Cora, but I wasn’t able to keep the database updated. And really the small images on my phone were a bit too small to identify the fabrics if they didn’t have a distinctive pattern.

  • lauriebrown54

    I have a slight problem with… fabric hoarding. I have several big Rubbermaid tubs, which, obviously, is impossible to find things in without dumping everything out. I’ve been sorting and freeing some fabrics, and what has been going back into the tubs I’ve entered into an Access database. Which sounds ridiculous, but I can sort it by color, by fabric content, by size… if it’s a print, I have a comment box for describing it. Yes, I know, I’m a nerd.

    • kk

      I tried using an iPhone app called Cora to do something very similar. The problem was that I couldn’t keep my database up to date. And it was too difficult to recognize the fabrics by the small pictures. I sort of need to _see_ my fabric. And say hello to another nerd in here!

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