Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Inside My Stash

Recently, there's been a lot of talk on my Facebook feed from my reenacting friends regarding organization - and it's timely, because I just recently did a bit of an overhaul on my fabric stash. One of my constant struggles as a sewer is how to keep my sewing area tidy. I live in a fairly small one bedroom apartment - there’s plenty of space for me, but as any sewer knows, fabric stashes and supplies seem to just multiply and take over. I only have two closets, one being the small coat closet (and the vacuum cleaner, ironing board, and brooms live there...oh yeah, along with the coats). There is a decent-sized walk-in closet in the bedroom, the back part of which has become Fabric Narnia. The biggest challenge for any fabric stasher, however, is less about how much space you have, and more about how you effectively utilize it to keep things neat and organized and make the most of what space you have.

This is a pictorial about what I’ve done with my space.

It is bigger than it looks. Trust me.
The upper shelf, with labels.

The bottom, with labels, and some proof that I do wear modern clothes sometimes

I’m not here to tell you how to organize your sewing space, because I’m not an expert. My dining room is a mess most of the time and I’m still figuring out for myself how to keep things organized. Each person is unique and has unique situations, so it would be rather presumptuous of me to prescribe a fix for everyone. However, there is one tip I want to share with you that, in recent conversations, has seemed to be an “ah ha!” moment for several sewing friends. So I share it here, in good health:

Save the bolt.

When you buy fabric, if you’re buying the whole bolt (as many costumers do), ask the cutter if you can keep the bolt. Most of them are happy to give it away, because they usually just throw them away once the fabric is gone. Some of the smaller chains or independent stores will actually let you take home extra bolts, so you can have some for any online fabric purchases. Just be careful that you’re getting the right size bolt - 23” for 44”-wide fabric (shirtings, calicos, some cottons), and 30” bolts or cardboard tubes for apparel yardgoods (silks, wools, some cottons) that are usually 55” or 60” wide.

I tend to mark the end of the bolt with information about the fabric - where I bought it, when I bought it, how much I purchased it for, and how many yards. If you have the original bolt, you can then also see the fiber content and care instructions, otherwise you may want to mark this on the replacement bolt. Then, it can be stored in the method most convenient for you - on a shelf, in a bin, stacked in the closet, etc. I keep these lined up vertically on the wire shelf in my closet.

I do the same thing with the cardboard tubes used for silks - and you can still get these at fabric stores as well. That way, the silk can be stored upright, unfolded, crease free. They sit in the corner of my closet, waiting to be turned into something beautiful, but I could see them situated on a shelf somewhere if floor space were at a premium…

Anyway, I hope that's been helpful, or at least interesting! Don't forget that I'm doing a giveaway here - you should all go enter it! Even if you haven't commented before! Even if we don't know each other! I love making new friends!

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