Let's Get Together and Organize

April 06, 2020

Organizing fat quarters

There are so many fun, new fabrics and so little time. Some of us treat ourselves to fabric to cheer ourselves up. Others only purchase what they need for a project and of course there is always the "just because", "some day," "oooh.....I love that fabric" purchase. I am guilty of all of the above and then some.  However, the fabric came to be adopted and rescued to our sewing rooms, many of us could use a little help organizing our carefully procured fabric collection.

The trick to organizing anything is to create neat, modular items. Imagine the beautiful kitchen cabinets pictured in magazines with all the same type and shape of container.  It looks neat and tidy and aesthetically pleasing because visually it all fits well in the cabinet and not like a jenga puzzle ready to topple.  I am not advocating you go out shopping for new storage containers. You have everything you need right in your sewing room.

What you need are piles of fabric and I bet you have a quilting ruler or two.  For organizing smaller pieces of fabrics like fat quarters, I like to use a ruler that is 4" x 14". If you don't happen to have one this size, find something that is close or make your self a cardboard jig. With size ruler, my fabric fits beautifully in a standard size dresser drawer. (My favorite place for folded fabric).The first step is to fold your fabric so that it is 11" wide. I use the ruler as a template. However, you could also use the lines that are on your cutting mat.

The fabric that is stacked on my mat are 1/4 yard cuts of fabric that are the whole width of the fabric.Next, lay your ruler on top of the fabric. You are going to roll the fabric around the ruler. The ruler keeps the fabric a uniform height.Since my fabric is only 9" long, it just wraps around the ruler and barely overlaps in the middle. That is ok....the goal is fabric that is about 11" wide by 4" tall. Slide your ruler out either direction leaving the fabric folded in front of you.Lay your ruler on top. It should hit at the 5.5" mark and fold the left side over the top creating a neatly folded fabric bundle.Slide the ruler out and stack your folded bundle in front of you. Go ahead and start in on the next piece of fabric. When I sit down to fold a bunch of fabric, I make color piles in front of me. You can sort them however you like.

So what if you have a piece of fabric that has been used and it's a "scrap" waiting for it's new life in the next project? No worries. Remember the goal is same size folded bundles of beauty.As you can see, there is not much fabric to the left of my ruler edge. This is a leftover. The ruler is sitting on the fabric at the 11" mark ( that is the magic number).Simply fold over whatever amount you have to make the width 11".Next, roll it up around the ruler just like you did before. Slide the ruler out and set it on top on the 5.5" mark and fold the bundle over.

Fat Quarters....you purchased some and every shop folds them differently. However, to fit in with all the other fabric friends, they may need to be refolded.Fat Quarters are 18"ish by 21"ish in size. Same principle. Start by making an 11" width column of fabric.Roll the fabric around the ruler.Slide the ruler out and fold it in half.

I find drawer organizers make the perfect helpmate while I am folding and stacking my fabrics. 

Three different shapes of fabrics all folded to the same size and shape.

For me, the goal was to organize my fabric so that I could see my choices at a glance without having to reorganize or sift through layers and layers of fabric scraps. I find I use what I have and I know what I need to purchase to complete my project.

This size fits well in a standard dresser drawer, drawer organizer, shoe box, photo box and many different plastic bins. If this size doesn't meet your needs, find the size that works for you.  They are easy to pull out and put back in.

Grab your favorite beverage, put on your favorite program, movie, audio book or open a window and listen to the birds and start folding. There is no need to do them all at once. Some of us have larger collections than others and the task may be overwhelming.

Post your progress on the Pine Cone Peeps Facebook page. If your are not a member, now is the time to get connected.

Cheers to you!  Next time, larger cuts of fabric.


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