Storing my fabric stash and other sewing gear

Fabric storage - Ikea Kassett 1A couple of days ago I wrote about organising the fabric stash and today I’ll show my way of storing them. My angle is the small space, because I live in a small flat (37.5 sqm or 404 sqf) and sewing isn’t a very good hobby to have, unless one keeps all the stuff fairly organised as well as easy to move between working area and storage area.

I have a walk-in closet with wall-mounted shelving and while it used to be a space for clothing and other textiles mainly, I’m currently doing a bit of a puzzle with the aim to get all clothing out, then corral other objects there, sewing-related items included.

The Kassett boxes made by Ikea are excellent in my opinion, since they come in various sizes with uniform looks (calms the visual part down a bit) and they don’t break the bank. The reason for my pushing this line is simple; we don’t have many options here in Finland, but it’s sort of take it or leave it in many cases. I also don’t happen to appreciate plastic all over the place, so good labelling is key when you miss the see-through aspect.

Two stacks of fabric fit into the Kassett box pictured below. There is space between them still for easy lifting in and out.

Fabric storage - Ikea Kassett 2

Kassett size 27x35x18 cm, one step larger than the dvd box

Fabric storage - Ikea Kassett 3

From above – Folded fabric is the size of a three times folded quarter yard, about 9”x6”

That little space between the two stacks is really important to have! In theory, the folded quarter yard could just fit into the cd-sized Kassett, but your hands would have to squeeze in to lift the stack and you don’t have any chance to quickly scan the pile. On the other hand, if you fold like this and place the pile in the dvd-sized box, you pay for storage of thin air. So the one step larger box is perfect and this is what will fit into it when the stacks go up to an inch below the lid:

Fabric storage - Ikea Kassett 4

These will fit into the second-largest Kassett

As for weight, I wouldn’t want to handle boxes larger than the ones above, because fabric is heavy. I don’t stop at sewing stuff, but store lots of other things in the Kassett boxes, and my philosophy is “like with like, customize box size according to amount of contents (more and smaller boxes over fewer and larger)”. My handwriting isn’t too bad, but after having tried to read with ease texts on the uppermost shelves, I’ve concluded that computer-generated text is preferable.

While the labels are easy enough to rewrite, I prefer the thought of a dynamic stash, which has produced the following labels for quilt-weight fabrics so far: Coloured background 1, Coloured background 2, Black-and-white background 1, and Black-and-white background 2. They live in the box size pictured above, as do Solids.

I don’t have many solid fabrics yet, but I’m thinking the amount could increase whereas some of the other categories could shrink or at least not expand much, so the solids got their own larger box too. In dvd-sized Kassett boxes I keep the following: Canvas, Linen and blends, and Other fibres (double-gauze etc.). A couple of cd-sized Kassetts house these: Scraps, and Scraps for projects (currently Tokyo and Slices scraps). I like storing my scraps flat, because I don’t want to press them again nor do I like the space that the fluffy shapes demand.

To be honest, I won’t mention a couple of boxes of fabrics inherited from my grandmother, because I still haven’t truly dealt with them other than refold after having chucked out some really odd leftover pieces produced when cutting clothing etc. Let’s pretend they don’t exist for now.

What’s left to mention are the two large under-bed-sized boxes of another brand. They look almost like the Kassett boxes (which pleases me greatly… *rolls her eyes at herself*) and due to their larger footprint they are the perfect home for works in progress.

Buttons, bias tape, threads, you name it; it all has been sorted according to context and put in the dvd-sized boxes. It is super helpful not to stack the contents vertically, but once a small box is full, you create another one. In a small home, it also means that you bring out only a couple of small boxes rather than some very difficult to maneuvre storage solutions.

And the labels themselves? I’ve found the Apli labels, which come in 20 labels per A5-sized sheet (two columns) to be perfect here, because they cover the area of the label cardstock completely in vertical direction. All I have to do after printing is to cut off the overhang in the horizontal direction. The method of sticking the label onto the cardstock is very high-tech; hardcore eyeballing.

The typeface I use is League Gothic and here most labels are written in size 20 with 2% wider tracking (not kerning but you can read about both here). If there is lots of text, I resize to 19 and/or decrease tracking to 1 or 0. Normally League Gothic reads well but on the higher shelves it’s easier to have a bit of space between the letters. I prefer all caps for higher readibility, as well. If you want to download it, go to FontSquirrel where they have a fantastic selection of free typefaces that come with commercial-use licences. If you don’t have the appropriate software, my favourite is Scribus.

The Apli labels are really good everywhere in the household, by the way, and I print return-to-sender stickers, handwrite on kitchen jars (they come off again like a charm when washing!), and all sorts of things.

If you have questions on any of these topics, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!

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The Organise Your Sewing Room series consist of these articles so far:


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