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Clearing older fabrics to start a New Year of Sewing

 Happy New Year Everyone!

This is my first blog post for 2017 -- and it is appropriately dealing with fabric and sewing room organization.

After the holidays are over, my focus shifts to organizing and preparing for the next year and in my case sewing or more accurately my quilting year. 

I try to time block my travel and pattern writing activities and get prepared for all the fun and also challenges the new year will bring.

The first thing I noticed this year that my level of distraction was super high.
I am starting to realize that it is getting harder and harder for me to focus over the "low murmur" of my sewing clutter, usually left overs from previous projects.  - OK sometimes it sounds more like a scream :)
Yes, these left over fabrics and tools from past projects seem to produce some type of noise that keeps me from focusing on what I would like to or should be doing.

To get rid of some of this "visual noise" I started bagging my leftover bits and pieces of last years projects in clear bags.  This makes it easy to find things, if I need to make step-outs and blocks for upcoming classes or Quilt Market. 

Here are some examples on how I deal with my left over project fabrics.

1.  First, if the fabrics in question are about half a yard or less, you might consider saving everything together in one group. 

This works especially well if you might need to access some of this fabric to make another piece in a series, or a matching accessory to your project or quilt.

2. Fabric can also be sorted by color.  I have some clear drawers, actually there are sixteen, to organize leftover fabric by color.  The drawers come in handy, since they slide open and I don't have to move boxes or bins out from the bottom of the stack to look at everything. 

As an added bonus, the boxes provide the base for my home-made, rectangular ironing surface.  It is great to have a larger area to press fabrics.  Just be careful not to pile it full of fabrics or projects. 
The large, flat surface is begging to have stuff piled on top. 

 (below right) Plastic baskets with CLEAR project baggies on top of one of my fabric shelves.

(left) This shelf has folded yardage inside and small fabrics on top. 
Left of the shelf are  large plastic drawers with extra blocks, either of existing quilts, or try-outs that never made it beyond one block.  That may be a blog post for another day.

3.  Fat quarters to half yards, folded and stacked in bins against the little piece of straight wall before the slanted ceiling takes over.  A few months ago I kept them all sorted in wire drawers, then noticed that my collection of smaller folded fabrics never got any smaller.  I finally realized that if I don't see the fabric it will never get used.  So I keep them out and try to make them look as nice as possible.

4.  Fabric can also be cut into popular scrap sizes:  squares in a variety of sizes can be stored together to make scrap quilting extra easy.  Since my focus is not specifically on scrap quilts, I haven't cut my fabric down, but with my color drawers filled to the rim, this is becoming an attractive option. 

Just don't organize away all your time.  I am trying to achieve some sort of BALANCE between taking care of old project pieces, starting new projects and designs and quilting all of them as desired. 


  1. Hi Annette Your organization is wonderful, I know what you mean about the murmur turning into a scream. I sometimes find it hard to work on a project
    because of all the bits and pieces talking. I really love your idea of drawers as the base of the ironing surface. I use an ironing board and now that I see yours I have a lot of space that could hold fabric.! Your patterns are gorgeous.


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