Collecting Fabric… how much is too much and how to store it?

Quite obviously, my passion for quilting stems from my love of fabrics. There is such satisfaction in walking into a fabric store and touching different textures and enjoying the color play of stacked bolts of fabric. And they do call to us, you know… (“take me home, take me home!”).

That’s what got me started on my current project of reorganizing/maintaining my sewing studio. I stopped by a fabric store last Friday for one fabric, and bought several more… just because. Of course. You never know when you are going to need it!

Now, I should clarify something. There is only one store in town (where I teach) where we are able to purchase 100% cotton fabrics. It is small, so this limits our choices. There are a couple of other stores where we can find other suitable fabrics, mainly imported from Brazil or Colombia. Like these, which I had to have because of the yummy colors that are not easy to find:

Or these, which will make good backings and/or shopping bags!

I don’t view the lack of fabric stores as a handicap. Rather, I think it poses an opportunity to challenge our creativity. So what if it isn’t 100% cotton… how can I use what is otherwise a stunning piece of fabric? Are there other ways to combine fabrics than with all the color coordinated fabrics put out by manufacturers?

I digress. Coming back to the task at hand, as I was putting these particular fabrics away, I realized that I needed to do something about my fabric storage system, before it gets out of hand. Now, I have heard many other quilters talk about their fabric collections, and next to theirs, mine is indeed paltry. But I’ll share this little secret with you about how I am able to indulge in my love of fabric without breaking the bank… I have two large bookcases and another smaller one where I store fabric. And that’s it. I don’t allow myself to “grow” beyond that. I find this allows me enough choices and only shop for fabrics when there are holes in my stacks. After this last purchase, I’ll be staying away from the fabric stores for a while.

So as I put these fabrics away, I realized things have gotten somewhat disorderly. I like to keep my fabrics stacked neatly so that I am able to see exactly what my choices are. When they start to spill over, it’s hard to see what’s underneath. So this is where I have started to work in my studio…. organizing fabric! Check out my “before” picture! I know, it’s not too bad, but fabrics are starting to spill over. I need things neater!

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