July 1, 2019

Last week I talked on instagram stories about my stash and my unsuccessful attempt at organizing it. For years I have been folding and storing all of my stash fabric (which I embarassingly have way too much of) in bins tucked under my cutting table. The problem is that although it was nice and safe in there, I never remembered what I had so I would buy more and more. I also couldn’t easily locate fabric when I needed it. Enough was enough so I decided to take everything out of my bins, organize it, donate the fabric I was never going to sew, (I was able to donate it to my local library for their creative space) and get all of the stash fabric organized onto shelves. I started using the rolling method because I had heard it was easier to see your fabric, but as I kept going I realized it was way too messy for my liking.

They I shared it on instagram and a bunch of you replied that you used the comic board method. I had never heard of this method before so I went to youtube where I found this great instructional video from Sew Sweetness. I was immediately hooked and decided to change my methods. The only issue I anticipated was that all of the tutorials I found were geared towards quilting and therefore 44 inch wide stable cotton fabrics. Most of my stash consists of 54-60 inch wide apparel fabrics. Some of them are super thick, others are slippery, and most are in 2-5 yard cuts. So I wanted bigger boards right off the bat.

Instead of the smaller comic book boards, I went with these 8.5 x 11 inch magazine boards. This little bit of extra size gives just enough extra room to help with my wider fabric. They also happened to fit the height of my Ikea shelves better. This is definitely something I would consider when choosing the size of the boards you use. Magazine boards are kinda like a thick cardstock, pretty inexpensive, and most importantly are acid free. This is something I would highly recommend thinking about because you do not want the cardboard you are using to damage your fabric if it stays on there for a long time.

I also ordered these clear plastic alligator clips which come in a big package and are pretty cheap. I do wish that they had bigger ones for the thicker fabrics in my stash and I am still on the lookout for those. So far I have only found metal ones that are bigger and I don’t feel comfortable using metal on my fabric in case it rusts. I know a lot of shops also use T pins which are a great option if you are not worried about rust or the pin damaging your fabric. I decided to stick with the clear plastic ones and make them work.

Now that you know what I am using, here is the step by step of how I folded my fabric. Keep in mind that I am no perfectionist when it comes to folding these. I always wash and dry my fabric right after buying it so I am left with some wrinkly fabric and frayed ends. This doesn’t bother me at all. You could certainly go the extra mile and iron your fabric before folding but personally I think this makes the whole process too long and more of a hassle. That’s just me though.

For this demo I am using 2 yards of denim that is 60 inches wide. For each cut of fabric you need one board and two alligator clips.

Start by folding your fabric lengthwise with selvages touching. I choose to have the right side of the fabric out so that it’s easier to see the fabric for what it is on the shelf, but that is up to you.

Take your magazine board and place it in the middle of the fabric between the selvages and the fold and about 5 inches in from the cut edge.

Fold down the top selvage edges over the magazine board. Make sure to continue the fold all of the way down the length of the fabric (2 yards in my case). This can get a little tricky if you have more yardage. On my rayons when I had 4 yards I folded the whole thing in half widthwise so it was like I was dealing with 2 yards wide.

Fold up the bottom folded edge over the magazine board. Make sure to continue the fold all of the way down the length of the fabric (2 yards in my case).

Fold in the 5 inches to the left of the magazine board.

Flip the magazine board with the fabric over and over until you get close to the end of your yardage. Keep it nice and tight.

Fold in the cut edges at the end of your yardage so that they are not hanging out.

Now fold this last fold in so that everything is nice and neat.

Take your alligator clips and slide them into the second two layers of fabric up against the last fold you made. This will hold your fabric tight on the roll without having to expand the small alligator clip too much.

That is it! I am so excited about how nice and neat it looks.

They stack perfectly on my shelf and keep it looking tidy, while still allowing me to see all of my fabric. I love it so much.

Folding all of my stash only took a few hours, cost about $30 US and was weirdly relaxing. I am hooked. It is how I plan to organize my fabric stash from here on out. I hope this was helpful for you as well.

Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. All opinions are honest and my own.

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  • Reply Lisa G July 1, 2019 at 9:44 AM

    Oh. My. Gosh!! This is the missing info I need! I have the comic boards and have used pins on the fabric I’ve folded on them, but they are generally too small and those alligator clips are perfect! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m moving my sewing room into a bigger bedroom when summer’s over, so I will plan on folding everything then!

  • Reply Alex July 1, 2019 at 10:04 AM

    Your stash looks lovely! I discovered this method a in 2015 and never looked back! I even wrote a blog post back in the day I was so excited about it! I use comic book card, but I have to usually double up or even triple up for thicker fabric. And I just use a pin or two if needed to beep it together at the end. The problem is that after a while when the novelty wears off, I started going back to the old ways. Especially when I take a piece off the card to check if it will be suitable for a project, then can’t be asked to put it back nicely.

  • Reply Hillary July 1, 2019 at 10:34 AM

    Love it!!! I will be using this technique very soon.

  • Reply Carol in Denver July 1, 2019 at 12:22 PM

    Your organized fabric looks impressive! I like to tuck a piece of paper into the last fold, the paper showing at the very least the width and length of the fabric. Nice to include where and when purchased, price paid, and fiber content.

    I like to roll my fabric but the key is to be very neat about it, just as neat as your comic book board technique. When a shelf has these rolls tucked into it, with the folded edge (not selvage edge) toward the room, it looks like a wall of roses. Very pretty.

  • Reply Nikki July 1, 2019 at 5:34 PM

    Thank you for posting about this. I’m going to try it! I found a larger size, about 11 x 14, on Amazon. Where did you buy the large bag of plastic clips? I couldn’t get the links to work.

  • Reply Emily July 1, 2019 at 9:43 PM

    Alligator clips are what I’ve been missing! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Diane July 1, 2019 at 9:50 PM

    I have been collecting fabric for decades. One day I noticed at the fabric store a stack of the long cardboard used in the displays. I discovered they did not recycle these and they gave them to me free. I have them stored in shelving so I can see them. I learned over time it is useful to label the fabric with yards, type of fabric and if I had pre-washed it. My son constructed these special shelves for me. He added , above them, a simple way to store big heavy fabrics. These fabrics are rolled on pvc pipe and a metal pipe goes through the pvc and fits into larger holes drilled into 2×6 inch boards that are attached to the walls. It is similar to how stores display heavy fabric. It has served well for more than 30 years. I love how pretty your storage solution looks and will adopt that method for smaller amounts of yardage

  • Reply Nola July 1, 2019 at 9:51 PM

    I have my fabric folded similarly to this on IKEA shelves. My sewing room has a north facing window and no direct sunlight, but several of my linens have still discoloured terribly along the fold. So heartbreaking. I now keep precious fabric folded in a dark closet. I can still see it when the closet is opened, but am hoping it will stop the fading. Something to consider.

    • Reply Ellen July 6, 2019 at 4:26 PM

      Have you tried hanging a light blocking panel,over the fabrics using tension rods? It might work.

  • Reply Fabric Tragic July 2, 2019 at 5:30 AM

    So satisfying!

  • Reply Wednesday Weekly #179 – Helen's Closet July 3, 2019 at 12:32 PM

    […] Bias shared this genius way of organizing your fabric stash with magazine boards. I think I will need to get on this […]

  • Reply Ellen July 6, 2019 at 4:25 PM

    Just got my order of supplies yesterday and began tackling the bins of fabric today. This is brilliant and I cannot wait until it is all folded and stored. Thank you, I truly believe I will use more of my stash since I can actually see it all.

  • Reply Claire July 18, 2019 at 7:47 AM

    I’m ordering magazine boards & clips right now!!!

  • Reply Heather August 8, 2019 at 10:38 PM

    I use this method but have never seen the alligator clips. I use pieces of pantyhose, cut about every 4 inches down each leg them put around my boards like a band. Works great!

  • Reply MaskItorCasket August 9, 2020 at 11:46 AM

    You should serge the raw edges of your fabrics before laundering them the first time. Many fabrics can lose a significant amount during fraying, and frayed threads can twist around other items while being laundered. Plus it’s just not a good look. 🙂 If you don’t have a serger, then use a zigzag or overcast stitch on your regular machine.
    Folding some slippery and delicate fabrics like silk can ruin them; the fold lines can become permanent. You should roll silks or just use them as soon as possible after purchasing.

    I agree that most organizing advice is geared to quilters, fat quarters, and smaller than 2-5 yard cuts. I’m also a garment maker, I don’t do quilting, and I had so much in my stash that I ended up donating most of it and used up the rest. Now I only buy for 1-2 garments at a time, and I get everything I need before starting. There’s not much I keep here anymore, I have some interfacings and silk organza for underlining but otherwise I donate or compost scraps these days. And now I buy everything as I need it. It wasn’t easy during the onset of COVID, but China’s productivity increased in Q2 so they’re back to producing fabrics and notions in large quantities again, and hoarding and shortages seem to be over. Great video!

  • Reply Jamie September 21, 2020 at 7:49 PM

    This is amazing and definitely the solution I was looking for to keep my growing fabric collection under control! Which IKEA shelves do you have and/or what are the measurements I would need in terms of height and depth accommodate these??

    • Reply Nikki Turner September 26, 2020 at 7:36 AM

      I have the same question as Jamie. Which IKEA shelves did you use?? I ordered the magazine board and alligator clips. Putting my new sewing room together and was already considering getting a cabinet or shelf from IKEA.

  • Reply Nora December 16, 2020 at 8:40 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your folding method! I have boards but I’ve been overwhelmed with how to make them work with my fabrics since I had primarily seen tutorials for quilting fabrics.

  • Reply Laura Sensmeier December 23, 2020 at 12:25 PM

    I just stumbled upon this post and I am over the moon excited. My daughter is organizing all my craft supplies and this is perfect for my material. Thank you for sharing this information. I am looking forward to seeing my fabric on a shelf and not have to go through a box. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  • Reply Penny Dudley January 1, 2021 at 4:46 PM

    Does this method take up more shelf space when compared to neatly folding and stacking material sorted by colors? I am considering this but have to get the best storage to hold the most in my case instead of the prettiest finished products. Can somebody tell me if their material took up less room when they were done or did they have to get rid of a lot in order to use this method. Thanks

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