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How to organise your fabric stash

How to organise your fabric stash

Tips to overcome fabric overwhelm

These tips were contributed by Yvette, the co-founder of the sewing organiser app Stash Hub.

Know what you have

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you don’t even know what’s in your stash. This is your invitation to go through your fabric – you’re likely to discover some gems you’ve forgotten about! Knowing what you already have helps you shop your stash and can reduce the temptation to add more to it. Creating a record of your fabrics makes it much easier to keep on top of your collection. One option is the sewing organiser app Stash Hub which allows you to save a digital record for each fabric with photos and information, which you can access on the go. If you’re a more tactile person, you could try creating a swatch book – Patterntrace have a great one.

Stash Hub app UK
Stash Hub Fabrics

Remember, there’s always more fabric!

Deadstock fabric, limited edition collections, fabric sales – it can often feel like the pressure is on to buy that fabric, and buy it now! Take a moment to consider whether this sense of urgency is thanks to skilful marketing or because you’ve found a fabric that you genuinely love and can imagine as part of your handmade wardrobe (let’s be real, there’s no point buying a rainbow floral when you only wear plain neutrals). Do you have a project in mind for this fabric? If not, that might be a sign to leave it in the cart. There will always be more beautiful fabric out there, ready for when you’ve got the perfect plan in mind.

Stick to a budget
This is something I personally find very helpful! Set a sewing budget that is within your means and try to stick to it each month. This can really help motivate mindful shopping, which has a number of benefits including saving money, reducing impulse purchases and creating a more curated stash of items you genuinely love. As the budget restricts the amount you can buy each month, every purchase has to be carefully considered, especially early in the month – you don’t want to spend your entire budget in the first week then not be able to buy notions for a project you’re working on right now.

Fabric storage ideas
Pax Wardrobe

Create a designated space

Tried the budget and still have fabric in every corner of your home? Maybe your limiting factor is physical space rather than finances. There are loads of options for fabric storage – the Ikea Kallax unit with its square compartments is very popular in the sewing community, or the Ikea Pax wardrobes are great as they are very customisable. If you like to have all your fabric out on display, you could create fabric bolts using comic boards (these are acid free so won’t damage your fabric) and arrange them on shelves like your very own fabric shop!

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If you’re not able to have designated fabric furniture in your home, clear plastic tubs can help protect fabric stored in lofts or basements or you could even try vacuum packing fabric you know you won’t work on for at least a season.

If you have fabric stored in multiple containers or locations, it’s handy to record where you’ve kept them for easy access. Whatever fabric storage solution you choose, use that as a guide for your maximum stash – if you run out of storage space it may be time to take a break from shopping or consider destashing some pieces.

Keep it joyful
Marie Kondo that stash! With each piece of fabric consider whether it brings you joy. If some pieces aren’t your style anymore, you could consider destashing, swapping or donating them. Facebook groups and Instagram are popular options for destashing, or check for fabric swap events in your area – you could even set one up yourself! I attended a fabric swap in London earlier this year and it was great fun – all my unwanted fabric was successfully rehomed and I picked up some awesome new fabric too. Local schools and children’s clubs are often grateful for fabric scraps they can use for art projects. For sewists in the UK looking to donate fabric to a good cause, Mel’s Refugee Sewing Project provides free sewing sessions every week for refugees housed in Guildford. Email hugetoothstudios@gmail.com for details on how to donate.

London fabric swap

Everyone is different
The most important thing about managing your sewing stash is making sure that it works for YOU! Comparing the number of fabrics you have to other sewists isn’t a helpful way to judge your own stash. Instead, think about how your stash makes you feel – do you feel inspired to look through your fabrics? Can you see yourself sewing them into amazing projects? If the answer is ‘yes’ sounds like your stash is perfect. If you’re feeling like you can’t face your fabric collection and it’s making you feel overwhelmed, it might be time to make a change.

There’s no pressure!
Hey, there’s no rules! You don’t have to sew all your fabric. You don’t have to have a small neat stash. You don’t even have to listen to any of my tips (although top effort for reading all the way to the bottom if none of them seemed good!) Collecting fabric is a hobby and should bring you joy, so don’t let anyone judge the gorgeous fabric den you’ve created.

How to organise your fabric collection

About the author: Yvette has been an avid garment sewist since January 2020 and enjoys creating a colourful and comfortable handmade wardrobe, sharing makes on Instagram as @blossomsandwich. Yvette and her husband Doug have worked together to create the sewing organiser app Stash Hub, which is available to download on iOS and Android. Follow @stash_hub on Instagram and visit https://stashhubapp.com/ to learn more.

You may also be interested in our guide to sorting your sewing space. 

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