Nuts and Bolts

So you've made your list. Let's call it your Studio Goals. My guess is that first on your list, or nearly first, is fabric storage.

I don't like the term "fabric stash." I like to think about my stacks and piles of fabric as a carefully, lovingly amassed collection. I separate my collection by fabric type: canvas goes in a cupboard, holiday fabric goes in a big bin, cork fabric, vintage fabric and other yard goods that should not be folded are rolled. I have dozens, if not hundreds, of yards of quilting cottons, and that's where my storage challenge is. Yours probably is, too.

There are several really good ways to store fabrics. Keep the following in mind: sunlight is the natural enemy of most fabrics. Ultra-violet light breaks down fabric fibers, making them brittle. So choose a storage method that helps cut the light. Many of us use big storage bins for fabric, but they're bulky and difficult to store. I use a few for longer pieces of yardage, and label the bins with masking tape labels so that I know what lurks within. You may prefer open shelving, cupboard shelves, or an old chest of drawers or two for your collection. If you do, let me pass on a great tip that's really helped me stay organized, fabric-wise: Use comic book backing cardboards as mini-bolt boards, and bolt your yardage for storage. You can store the mini bolts on end, like books, or flat. They're of uniform size, so they work well on open shelving or in cupboards or drawers. They're acid free, to protect your vintage fabrics. They help keep your fabrics wrinkle-free. And they're cheap--as low as $6 for 100 boards.

 Bolting up your fabric is easy. Fold it lengthwise twice, so that it's about 10 or 11 inches wide. Neatly wrap it around the comic book cardboard, then slip it on a shelf, stand it on edge in a drawer, or stack the mini bolts on a cupboard shelf. Fabric bolted this way makes you feel like you have your own little fabric store.

Bolting up your fabric is easy. Fold it lengthwise twice, so that it's about 10 or 11 inches wide. Neatly wrap it around the comic book cardboard, then slip it on a shelf, stand it on edge in a drawer, or stack the mini bolts on a cupboard shelf. Fabric bolted this way makes you feel like you have your own little fabric store.

Keep interfacing and quilt backings on full-sized bolts. Most fabric stores are happy to give you empty ones if you ask. And if you have cork fabric, vinyl, PUL, laminated fabric or oilcloth in your collection, store that on cardboard tubes, unfolded.

Joan Radell