Thursday Tip # 15

{Thursday Tip: A regular weekly feature sharing my quilting tips. There are no rules in quilting, these are just the things that work for me and might help you. There are no quilt police, so use them as a guide; no ones watching :) There is no wrong way to do anything......just relax, experiment, learn, create and have fun. }
You can spend a lot more time being creative in your sewing space, if your projects and fabrics are well organised and stored for easy access. I refrain from buying large quantities of fabric, instead buying only what I need, when I need it. I try really hard to achieve the most of every fabric and I love that sense of satisfaction you get, from using a piece to the very end, scraps and all :)
I also limit the number of projects or UFO's I have lying around as its so easy to let this get out of control; I stick to this project limit, most of the time :)
I have a system that works well for me, so here are a few of my tips to store your fabrics and projects:
  • I have six plastic containers (with lids) allocated for long term projects and two smaller containers allocated to small, quick projects. That's my limit; if there isn't an empty container, I can't start anything new until one of the projects is finished :)
  • I label each container with the project name and they contain the fabrics, pattern sheets, notes, embroidery threads etc. that I'm using for that project. I can quickly and easily, grab one and work and then it all packs away again, just as easily. It also stops me from using fabrics ear marked for that particular project, in other things, as its not in my stash.
  • When I cut the pieces for each project, I store them in clear zip lock bags, the ones with the labeling strip, and I write the size and the letter each piece corresponds with on the pattern and these are all stored in the container until I'm ready to sew.
  • Once the project is complete, the container gets cleared out and sorted. Large pieces of fabric are pressed and stored in my fabric cupboard and scraps go into my scrap bags.
  • In my fabric cupboard I have a basket for each of the basic colours, and these hold my larger pieces of fabric. When I'm looking for a particular colour, its just a matter of grabbing the basket and sorting through until I find the perfect one. 
  • I also store my fabric bolts and backing fabrics on the bottom shelf of my cupboard, away from direct sunlight and dust.
  • I have two large zippered scrap bags and these are definitely my nemesis. I always grab these bags first when I'm looking for fabric and I manage to use up heaps, only to fill them back up again just as quickly :) Although its a constant cycle, its amazing what treasures you find in the scrap bags; fabrics long forgotten and just the right size/colour for the job! 
  • With small precuts, such as Jelly Rolls, I open them and I store them in something pretty, like the little garbage tin in the photo. This keeps the whole fabric collection together and after I've used as much as I can, the leftovers are moved to one of the scrap bags to use for applique, small blocks or future scrap quilts and the tin is empty and ready for a new precut.
  • Sometimes I have a few complete Jelly Roll strips left over, usually the plain or my least favorite ones, so I keep these in a separate storage box, as they are perfect for binding small projects. 
  • I also have a pretty basket on my cutting table and this is for my white homespun scraps. I buy white homespun by the bolt and cut manageable lengths and every scrap goes in this basket. I sift through it often, looking for a piece to cut, until the pieces are no longer viable and then they are discarded.
  • I also have a plastic bag, hooked to my cutting table, to collect all of those unusable fabric scraps. When the bag is full, I donate these to my kids former primary school, and the children use them in art and gift making etc.
So that's my system for storing fabrics and projects. Everyone has their own way but this is what works for me and keeps me organised. It also allows me to achieve the most from the fabrics I buy, making way for new fabrics with new projects in mind :)

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