Storing Your Quilting Supplies

When you first start quilt making, you might be able to store your fabric and notions in a little box in a corner of your living room, but as you keep learning and sewing, invariably your collection of fabric, notions and thread grow as well and storage becomes an issue. Fabric needs to be protected from light and dust, your notions, rulers, mats and thread need to be organized and handy. Batting takes a lot of space once is taken out of the bag, or if you buy it by the yard.

How to Store Your Quilting Fabric

Luckily, there are relatively inexpensive solutions to storing your fabric collection. Plastic boxes and tubs, like the ones storing fabricyou can buy at a box store are durable, can be stacked up, hold yards of fabric and keep it away from dust and can be stored under beds or in closets and keep your fabric organized. If you are lucky and you have a sewing room, your plastic fabric boxes can be stored under the table and stay handy when cutting and sewing. Big box stores and home improvement stores also offer plastic chest of drawers on wheels, perfect for fabric and handy if you need to move your stash around. Everyone develops his or her own system when organizing the fabric stash. Organizing it by color, print/solid, seasonal, or by project. Find the organizing system that works best for you and stick to it. When you buy fabric, wash it, dry it, give it a press and store it straight away if you aren’t going to use it at the moment, that way whenever you are ready to start a project, it will be ready to cut and sew. Fabric needs to breathe, so every so often, open the boxes and air out the fabric if you haven’t used it in a while.
Cardboard boxes can also be a storage solution if you line them with acid free paper. Cardboard is not acid-free and can damage fabric if you place your fabric inside it for long term storage. If you use cardboard or other non-see through material, cut a piece of the fabrics stored inside and tape it to the outside of the box, so you will remember what’s inside at a glance.

How to Store Your Quilting Thread

Thread spools can be stored in plastic boxes with dividers. There are also thread racks available at quilt and fabric storesthread storage that can be hung on the wall and hold a large number of spools on pegs. Once again, keep the thread away from direct sunlight to prevent fading. You might need a cover for it, since the thread will get dusty. Serger thread cones or basting thread cones can be stored in plastic shoe bags (the kind that hangs inside a closet door). Pencil drawer inserts, if you have drawer space will also keep your thread organized and away from light and dust. Sewing machine bobbins can be kept together by just inserting them in a binder ring. Once again, plastic boxes with dividers are ideal to store your full bobbins. To keep them from unwinding and having thread tails, wrap them with a piece of clear plastic tubing cut open. Plastic tubing is available at home improvement stores and it’s very inexpensive. You can also wrap the smallest ponytail band you can find around them.

How to Store Your Quilting Batting

Many quilters buy batting when on sale or when stores offer discount coupons. Batting can take quite a bit of space to space bagsstore in your sewing room, but by storing it in space-saving bags (the kind of bag that zips shut, then the air can be let out with a vacuum cleaner hose), it can be kept in a small space. Not all space-saving bags are alike, and some will eventually let air in, making the batting expand and break the seal. A little extra investment in better bags is worth it in the long run. However, space-saver bags are not a good storage solution for finished quilts. Quilts need to breathe and they are better stored in fabric bags or rolled on lengths of PVC covered in muslin, and covered with a fabric bag. If folded and stored in pillowcases, they need to be aired out and refolded every six months to a year to prevent creasing and fabric damage.

How to Store Your Quilting Notions

When it comes to storing rulers, scissors and other notions there are many options available and the choice is mainly up divided boxto the quilter and the space they have available. Once again, notions can be stored in plastic boxes, drawers, or baskets. Rulers can be hung from pegboard mounted to the wall or stored vertically in plate or lid holders. A piece of wood with routed lines wide enough to fit the rulers vertically can sit on top of your sewing table, keeping all your rulers handy. Cutting boards need to stay flat at all times, so if you don’t have a sewing room, store it flat under a bed. If you take your cutting board to quilting classes, never leave the board in the car for long periods of time unless it is perfectly flat or it will warp and crease. It is not easy to get the board to lay flat again, so it is best to avoid the problem altogether by bringing it back to the house as soon as the class is over.

How to Store Your Finished Quilt Blocks

Empty pizza boxes are great for storing finished quilt blocks. Just line them with a sheet of acid free paper. Ask your local pizza place to see if they will sell you a few. If you have quilting friends, you could buy them in bulk at a warehouse and split the cost and the boxes.


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