A Thing of Beauty to Behold...

OK, what can I say?  I’m extremely pleased with the results of my fabric reorganization project.  I mean look at these shelves.  Are they not a thing of beauty?

I started this project with the objective to get my fabric out of the storage bags and boxes I’ve been using for years.  I wanted to actually SEE what I had without doing the ‘dumpster dive’ into multiple storage places.  After having conversations with many quilters I’ve come to the conclusion that using fabric from their stash is always a challenge simply because they forget the great stuff they have already bought because it’s out of sight.  And when they do remember some wonderful print that would be just perfect to use, they spend an unbelievable amount of time hunting in their stash for it.  Sometimes with luck they find it and other times out of shier frustration, they just forget it altogether.  Having experienced the ‘forget it’ just recently, I was determined to fix this problem once and for all.

What quilter doesn’t love browsing the quilt store shelves?  Running your hands over the fabrics, picking a few bolts out and matching them with other bolts on other shelves….  That’s just what I wanted from my fabric stash.  I wanted a quilt shop in my house.  So that’s what I strove for – visibility and accessibility.  Using the bolt system just like quilt shops do really is the solution.

Of course I can’t take credit for this idea.  Creating your own bolts and shelving them has been talked about plenty on quilter’s blogs.  Everyone comes up with solutions for themselves that fits their needs just as I did.  As I wanted to complete this project without spending a fortune, I wanted to find a ‘bolt’ solution that was cost effective and not too troublesome to do.  All I can say is thank God for my husband.  He is my ‘go to’ guy for technical problems.  If I can explain what my objective is well enough to him, he almost always comes up with a solution.  In this case I needed for him to suggest a material to be used as bolts that met these requirements:

·      Light weight
·      Adaptable in size
·      Acid free

Acid free is very important when thinking of what to use for your bolts.  I discovered the hard way years ago that storing your fabric in cardboard boxes that are not acid free, leads to the eventual destruction of your fabric.  I had scraps from a quilt project stored in a box for years and when I decided to use them in another project, I was dismayed to find that though looking perfectly sound, once you picked them up they literally fell to pieces in your hands.  The acid from the box ate away at the integrity of the fabric and they were useless.  So acid free above all else was paramount in my concerns for the bolts.

Right away my husband suggested MDF.  His reasoning was that it was cost effective and easy to size.  I researched this on the net and found that unless specifically indicated, MDF is treated with an acid process.  I told him this wouldn’t work because of the acid problem.  He came back with the suggestion of using a barrier between the fabric and the MDF.  Brilliant I thought!  And I knew just what I was going to use.  Years ago a quilting method was making the run of the web using a plastic wrap material called Press and Seal.  I found Press and Seal for less than $2 at the Reject Shop once and bought 20 rolls of it.  Needless to say I never used the stuff and it’s been stored in boxes in my sewing room every since.  Here was the perfect time to use it up.

What’s really amusing is that written across the top of the box is the statement ‘thousands of uses’.  I bet the makers never thought of this.

So, I spent days covering all the MDF boards my husband cut for me with Press and Seal.  I then spent days pulling out all my fabric and folding them onto the boards.  I found that anything less than 80cm of fabric wouldn’t work well on boards as there’s just too little of it to wrap well.  So only 80cm + fabric went onto the boards to be put on shelves.  Anything smaller would go with the billions of fat quarters and scraps I’ve yet to come up with an acceptable storage solution for.  That will be for another post.

One more thing I decided to do was utilize a three shelved rolling trolley to hold my bags of scraps and fat quarters.  This is perfect as I can roll the trolley out of the closet to get a good look at everything on the shelves.  Easy.

The next step is to organize the fabric on the shelves in some kind of order by color,  style and other categories.  But right now after working on this project for almost two weeks – I’m going to drink some wine and just sit back and admire my new in-house quilt shop.  I can’t wait to go shopping for my next quilt project!


  1. Beautiful! Oh how I would love this!

  2. You have far too much time on your hands. You could have used all that time sewing!


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