I have a rather large fabric stash (580 yds when I counted at the beginning of the year). I’m not ashamed. It makes me happy and inspires me. I love having a whole wall of fabric to pick from any time I want to sew. The vast majority of the fabric has been gifted to me or came from the thrift store for $2/yd so it also helps me to sew frugally. However, I also like to be organized and a stash like this certainly needs an system if it’s going to stay organized!
I’ve toyed around with various organizational systems, both physical and digital, and have finally settled on a pretty dang simple method that works well for me. I really wanted to find a digital solution that I loved, but there were always flaws. If it was a digital system without photos (like an Excel spreadsheet) then my descriptions got ridiculous trying to define the individual fabrics. If it was a digital system with photos (like an Evernote document) it got cumbersome to try to find what I was looking for amid all the photos. I thought about the way I interact with my fabric and realized that the vast majority of the time I’m going to it with a specific fabric type in mind and I want to easily glance through all the fabrics of that type. Once I pick a few candidates, I want to easily know how much of them I have without having to pull them off the shelf.
So for each piece of fabric that I have, I cut a small swatch, staple it to half an index card, and write the yardage and width. My fabrics are organized into piles by type (generally sorted by fiber and weight) and the cards are clipped together in the order of the fabrics so I can quickly get to the information I want.
My top shelf is essentially all cottons, with stacks for quilting weight cotton, lawn/gauze/sateen, midweight, denim/chambray, and bottomweight.
I have stacks for wool (not further defined since they’re mostly coat weight)…
and knits sorted by jersey/interlock, sweatshirt/sweater, and ITY/swimsuit/specialty…
and stacks for Thai cotton, flannel, rayon challis, upholstery, fleece/velvet, and silk/lining/blouseweight.
Above my wall-o-fabric is (most of) my organized sewing patterns and below is bins for yarn, scraps, batting, WIPs/mending (which I have got to work my way through!), quilting cottons (too small for garments), muslin, and samples.
What do you think about my lo-fi system? Do you do something similar? Have you gotten past the digital stumbling blocks that hung me up?