I dream of a wonderfully organized sewing space where I can lay my hands on just what I need when I need it. Something like this:

Fabric Stash

Look at all the fabric sorted so nicely by color.

Instead I have a room that looks like this:

Messy Sewing room

Oh snap!! There is so much “on display”, I can’t bear to show how it looks right now!! Suffice it to say, that it is definitely not wonderfully organized!!

So, this morning, I decided to do some investigating into how to tame the monster. Trouble is, I’m more confused than ever!!

The first thing that I see is that fabric gets sorted by color. Seems straightforward enough – all the blues together, all the reds together, etc. But then there is the blue fabric with red and yellow flowers. It’s a blue background, but the flowers really take up a lot of the print. Is it blue, is it red? From a distance it might “read” as purple, so should it go in the purple pile!?! And what about the white with multi colored polka dots? I’ve stretched the concept of a neutral fabric with help from Bonnie Hunter, but with all the colors, it’s not really a white fabric anymore.

Well, then there is sorting by type. Notice in the lower right hand corner of the example above and you’ll see that there are solid (or at least what reads as solid) separate from the other fabrics.

I have semi-sorted my fabrics by type. I have tried to keep all the batiks in one spot, all the Civil War repros in another, all the 30s repros in another, and all the Christmas fabrics in another.

But then I want to do a quilt that is in reds and neutrals. So I pull the red batiks, the red Civil War, the red 30s and the red Christmas along with all the other reds I can find. Do you think they get put back just where they came from when I’m done cutting – NO, they all get put back on the shelf wherever they will fit for the moment, because I’m too busy sewing all the reds and neutrals together!!!

So another option is to keep fabrics for certain projects together. That’s a great idea until this happens:

I was pressing some fabrics that are in the mint and aqua colors. I’ve been keeping them grouped together because I’d like to make a quilt in that color scheme sometime. So far they are all staying together on the shelf. But I noticed that a lot of them have polka dots or small circles on them. I saw a quilt once that was done with all dotted fabrics – every color in the rainbow, but only fabric with dots. I want to make one like it. Some day I’m going to go through the stash and pull out all the fabrics with dots and then my mint and aqua fabrics won’t be together on the shelf anymore! Do I group the fabrics for the mint and aqua quilt or for the polka dot quilt!?!

See what I mean!?! I have not got a good system.

I did run across an older blog post about organizing on Fabric Therapy (click HERE to see how she sorts her fabrics.)

While her system works for her, I’m afraid that I would spend so much time organizing, that I’d never have time to sew!!

I guess, for now, I’ll just try to keep things off the floor as much as possible and not worry too much about how it is sorted. Kind of like I’ve been doing all along.


move on