the perfect way to store yardage by geeky bobbin

The Perfect Fabric and Scrap Storage System Does Not Exist

I tend to suffer from Analysis Paralysis. I’ll stand in the cereal aisle for exactly 27 minutes, mentally plotting graphs of cost-per-gram versus packaging-to-product-ratio to optimize my raisin bran purchase.

So I’m sure it’s no surprise that finding The Perfect System was a huge hurdle to tackling my fabric storage problem.

I had seen some storage systems that involved cutting scraps down to specific sizes, DIY charm squares and other ready-to-sew pieces. But of course I want everything sorted by colour, right? So in my head, I’m picturing a glorious matrix of perfectly sized bins (made from a sustainable material, easy to open, and stackable, ideally) to sort scraps by both size and colour!

But I just couldn’t bear to cut my fabrics into “standard sizes.” What if my pattern calls for 6″ squares and I had a bin of 5″ squares? When is the last time I even used these so-called “standard” sizes? Once I realized that my scrap storage had to work for the quilts that I make, it was easy to get sorting.

I sort my fabric scraps by color. My fabric storage system works for the way I work on quilts.

I decided that my definition of “scrap” was anything smaller than a fat 8th. I repurposed some colourful formerly-toy-bins for scraps, and sorted by colour. I have another one of these bins that holds “tiny scraps” that are too small for anything but foundation piecing.

Two rows in a drawer – one for fat quarters and one for anything that was between 1/8 yard and 3/8 yard, but not fat quarter shaped. I chose to keep these separate, in case I’m doing something that needs a full fat quarter. (Crappy picture because I can’t pull the drawer out far enough to show both rows.)

Fat Quarters (back row) and not-quite-fat-quarters (front row) are sorted by hue, folded, and arranged vertically in a drawer, so I can easily see each fabric.
Fat Quarters (back row) and not-quite-fat-quarters (front row) are sorted by hue, folded, and arranged vertically in a drawer, so I can easily see each fabric.

Bins for yardage, hung on file folders. I’ll have to do a video on the way I fold these and why. It’s life changing! I’ll have to schedule that for my next procrastination session. UPDATE! Here’s a video of how and why I fold my yardage this way!

The perfect way to store fabric yardage - geeky bobbin

You won’t believe how amazing it feels to have that done! The next day, I came across yet another bin of scraps, and it was NO BIG DEAL! I was able to pop each one into the corresponding bin in 2 seconds.

How do you sort and store your scraps? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to know what works for you.

10 thoughts on “The Perfect Fabric and Scrap Storage System Does Not Exist

  1. You seem to have come up with a great system for the way you work. I tried the “cut down scraps” system you rejected, and have yet to use most of the pieces I cut down. Now I separate by color into bins. I have also recently accepted that I’ll probably never use the really small scraps and need to pass them on to someone who will.

  2. I love your idea of using file folders to hand your yardage. I would love to know how you fold them. I also want to figure out how to mark them so I know how big each piece is without unfolding it!

    1. Great question! I write down the yardage on a scrap of paper, and staple it to the selvedge. I still need to show the folding! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I have a handsewn fabric storage bin for fat quarters and ‘almost fat quarters’, and 2 handsewn fabric bins for scraps – darks and lights. The only cutting I do to scraps i cutting off spindly, stick-out narrow wedges. And anything smaller than 2 inches are in the trash because I don’t know anyone in my area that sews (although I been looking).

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