How To Fold, Store, and Organize Your Fabric

organize your fabric cover

When it comes to how to fold, store and organize your fabric, there are many ways you can do it. It just depends on your personal needs and what you have available to work with. Some of you may have a big, spacious room to sew and store your fabrics, and others may only have a small closet.

In this post I am going to go over several different tips and ideas on how you can efficiently fold, store and organize your fabric pieces.


Why Organize Your Fabric?

  • You can see what you have.

When your fabric is organized it is so much easier to know what you have available. When you categorize your fabrics into sizes and colors you can tell if a particular piece of fabric is going to be the right size or color.

  • Reduces multiple inventory

What I mean by this is, let’s say you need a piece of green fabric for a particular project and go looking for that color. You can’t find it because the green piece of fabric (you swore you had) it stuffed in the bottom of a box in the bottom of your closet. SO YOU PURCHASE ANOTHER YARD OF GREEN FABRIC. This goes for other sewing materials and supplies.


If you’re like me, you save every scrap of fabric that is leftover from your sewing projects. I don’t save all the little tiny pieces, but anything that is 5 inches and up, and is a favorite!


You can’t fold these little pieces, so what do you do with them? I used to just throw them in a big bin, but that was so messy and hard to see what colors I had.


I get gallon size ZIP BAGS and sort the fabric pieces into colors. Each bag is a different color. If you have a lot of one color you can break it down into shades of colors. Then I place all the bags into a big bin with a lid. This works really well because I can see at a glance what I have available. It’s helpful when finding pieces for my HEXIES AND OTHER QUILT BLOCKS.

How to fold, store and organize FAT QUARTERS and other SMALL FABRIC PIECES

When shopping for fabric or looking at sewing projects and patterns, it’s common to see fat quarters. But what are these pieces of fabric and what do you use them for? Fat quarters are pre-cut fabric, frequently seen in the quilting section of fabric shops. Fat quarters vary slightly in size, based on the width of the fabric, but typically they measure 18 by 22 inches when the fabric is cut by yards or 50 by 55 centimeters when cut by meters.

This method I’m going to show you works for other small pieces of fabric that are too small to fold onto boards.

I like to use these COMIC BOOK BOARDS, but you can also just cut pieces of thin cardboard from cereal boxes or other boxes. The comic book boards I buy are 10 ½ x 6 7/8 inches.

I cut them in half to measure 5 ¼ x 6 7/8.


Folding Fat Quarters

organize your fabric fat quarters

  1. Place the fabric so the selvage edge is at the top. Fold the bottom edge up to the selvage edge, flatten it out. Then fold it in half again.organize your fabric fat quarters 2
  2. Place the board on top of the fabric about 4 inches from the edge of the fabric. Start folding the fabric onto the board, keeping it centered on the board as you fold.organize your fabric fat quarters folded
  3. Tuck the short end under and place a fabric clip or pin onto the fabric to hold it in place.

To pin, clip or do nothing at all?

Let’s talk about whether to pin, clip or do nothing at all to hold the fabric in place. I used to pin them, but after poking myself with the pin too many times, I have switched over to using these handy alligator clips.

organize your fabric alligator clipsThese clips are inexpensive and I feel worth every penny. I tried to find them at the store, but couldn’t find them. You can get them HERE. I got a package of 500 for a very reasonable price.

Pinning works well, but just be careful not to poke yourself. You can also just do nothing and stuff them in a box. It’s totally your preference.

How to store your small fabric bolts

Box or small bin

Any small box that fits the dimensions of the bolts will work. I have found these nice plastic, open-top bins.

organize your fabric fat quarter boxThey are actually meant for storing items in the fridge or pantry but work PERFECT for my fat quarter bolts. What I love about them is you can see the beautiful colors and prints of the fabric.

organize your fabric mini bolts shelf I place them on my IKEA BILLY CABINET SHELF.

Put them in a drawer

Another option is to place them neatly, side facing in a drawer.

How to store mid-size pieces of fabric/ ½ yard to 3 yards

This method works great for pieces of fabric that are anywhere from ½ yard to 3 yards of fabric. You can fold longer pieces, but it does get kinda bulky.

organize your fabric comic board TIP: Place two of the comic boards at the end of a table about eight inches apart. Line them up so they are even and straight with the edge of the table. Tape them in place. These taped boards will serve as a guide when folding the fabric.organize your fabric fodling

  1. Take the fabric piece and bring the selvage edges together. Most likely your fabric will already be folded like this, especially if you just bought it.organize your fabric mini bolts folding
  2. Place the selvage edges at the top with the long edges of the fabric draping over the edge of the table. Fold the bottom edge up about 1/3 of the way. Using the boards underneath the fabric as a guide, even out the fabric and then fold the selvage edge down so there is about ½ inch of the boards showing at the top and bottom. Center the fabric so it is even. Flatten the fabric out and start folding the fabric onto the bolt.

  3. Adjust as needed and keep folding.organize your fabric clipping

  4. Fold the short end under and clip in place.

  5. Store these neatly folded mini bolts of fabric on a shelf, in a deep drawer, or in a plastic bin. Some people even use file cabinets to store their fabric.organize your fabric mini bolts shelf
  6. I love my Ikea Billy cabinet, it’s the perfect size for my mini bolts and displays them so beautifully in my sewing room.
  7. If you do store them on a shelf, I recommend putting them in a cabinet that has a door of some kind to prevent dust from settling on the fabric. You don’t want to have to dust your fabric!

What to do with odd shapes of fabric pieces

There will be times when you have leftover pieces of fabric from projects that are too big for the other methods of folding. You can still fold them on boards.

  1. Cut off any small wonky pieces, and just start folding to get that size to fit the boards as shown before.

How to organize your fabric that is 4 yards and up

If you’re like me and buy fabric in bulk at times, you have to store it somewhere. I have been known to even buy bolts of fabric if it is on sale and something I think I will use.

organize your fabric big binYou can fold some on boards, and some just need to be folded nicely and put in bins like in the photo above. I have a bin that I put midsize large pieces in and a really big bin that I store bolts, the few that I have.

I hope that was helpful! Having your sewing room in order and your fabric organized will make your sewing experience all the better!

So, turn on a good podcast, play some tunes and organize your fabric. You’ll be so glad you took the time to do so.


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Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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