17 April 2024

The Great Fabric Reorganization, Part 1

Prepare for a lengthy ramble about fabric. Or skip it and just look at the pictures, whichever you prefer.

I learned to stitch from my mother when I was about five (yep, you can teach a five-year-old to stitch), but didn't really take it up as a hobby until I was about 15. Back in those days, pretty much everyone stitched on Aida and your neutral choices were limited to white, ecru (or off white, or antique white), an oatmeal color with little flecks in it called Fiddler's Light, and a few colors like light and navy blue, red, green, and black. It was the dark ages, in terms of fabric. At some point I learned about this new thing called hand-dyed fabric, but I was more focused on building my chart stash and fabric wasn't a priority. I don't remember exactly when that changed, but I do remember--and still have--my very first piece of hand-dyed fabric, a piece of crystal Da Vinci linen by PTP. I even kept it in the bag I brought it home in. It's more of a keepsake than anything, a reminder of a happy time, and an LNS I loved with an owner who was wonderful.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, I began to really focus on fabric over charts. I think it was because the American designers seemed to be really locked in on primitives, samplers, and quakers, and have been for many, many years. I don't have anything against these styles per se, and have stitched a few myself, but the overwhelming number of them just makes my eyes glaze over. My discovery of Etsy years ago definitely rekindled my chart buying, as I was able to find designers from all over the world with a wide variety of styles. But I still buy more fabric than charts.

So. I have a lot of fabric. Mind you, it's a collection about 20 years in the making (she says, in an attempt to justify how much fabric she has). And I also lived through the heady days of the annual PTP Christmas in July sale, and the days when you could find gorgeous hand-dyed fabric on clearance if you knew where to look. Sadly, those days are gone. But the stash remains.

When I decided to stitch a bunch of birds for summer, I decided instead of stitching them on neutrals (always a safe bet) or blues (like the sky!), I would really lean heavily into my hand-dyed stash and make my summer display as colorful as possible. I started thinking about choosing fabric colors, and digging through my stash trying to find the perfect one, and something dawned on me. To my great bewilderment, I had never bothered to sort my fabric by color, only dividing it by colors and neutrals. 


I don't know why I've never done this. I think it's because that's how I had it organized in the beginning when my stash wasn't very big, and I just stuck with it. But probably more so because I usually just dive in looking for a fabric for one project at a time, and I always have a good idea of what I'm looking for. The idea of digging around trying to choose fabric for a lot of projects at a time made me realize I needed to update my organization. And off I went.

It took me quite a lot of browsing on Amazon and measuring and thinking to decide on my containers. I had fairly strict size requirements so they would fit on my cubby shelves, and I wanted the most storage in the smallest space possible. I went with some Rubbermaid 7.2 qt. containers (14"L x 10.5"W x 4"H). They come in a 6-pack. I always keep a supply of acid free tissue paper and silica gel packets on hand as I use them in all my stitching storage, so I lined the containers with paper and threw some packets in them.

I divided my fabric into six groupings:

Pink, Rose, Red
Orange, Yellow
Lavender, Purple 
Grey, Brown, Black

I made the labels using a large round craft punch and card stock from my craft stash.

Remember all those times I told y'all I wasn't really a fan of blue? Yeah.

Somehow, Miss I'm Not Really a Fan of Blue managed to acquire *a lot* of blue fabric. As much as green, which is my favorite, and no, I don't know how that happened. I also have more orange than I would have guessed, which is also weird. Anyway, here's my fabric all organized by color, lighter shades on top, darker down the stack.

These containers hold quite a lot of fabric.

And that's all my colors organized! I can't believe it's taken me so long to do this, but I guess my stash has just slowly arrived at the size it needed doing. Neutrals are next, at some point. 

Next on the Stitchy Week to-do list is some finishing, and maybe a couple of framing projects. Back soon!


  1. You have been very busy organizing your lovely fabrics. You have found the perfect containers as well. Thank you for sharing how you store your fabrics. Hugs.

  2. Oh you are so good , I am very bad my material Is in a big box all over the place .
    Every now and again I do try to sort it , the new fabric is nice and tidy .
    Enjoy your day Hugs June.

  3. Great idea!
    I love seeing all of those colors, so pretty.

  4. This is a lovely way of organizing your fabric. I use the colorful drawers I have from Hobby Lobby to store my linen. My biggest stash is pink. ;) I was surprised how much blue I have also, as I am not a blue girl either.

  5. The containers look perfect for your needs, Honeybee. Well done on your organization of your colored fabrics! And yes, I am chuckling over the amount of blue fabric in your stash. I remember Ginger's. What a blast from the past!

    1. Ginger's got me through college! I graduated from Texas.

  6. Neat! My stitching fabric (i.e., quilting fabric, but I don't use it for quilting, I use it for stitching pillows, banners, and hangings I add my xstitch to) is organized in a sliding-drawer dresser in virtually the same way! I don't have enough xstitch fabric stash to divide it that way, but maybe someday.

  7. Great idea on the organizing! I have mostly neutral colors as that is what I prefer, but I do have some gorgeous hand dyed and over dyed fabrics.

  8. I'm pondering re-sorting by count then size. Currently they are by count then color. I bought so many little remnants from the left-overs baskets when we had a local needlework shop (still miss Village Needlework!) in the town I get to fairly often. It gets frustrating pulling out a piece and...Ooops! too small. OTOH, I'm not stitching so much that I get frustrated often.
    Nice work on sorting your linens, love the color dots instead of written labels.

  9. I have a quilt fabric stash, but I don't currently have a cross-stitch fabric stash. That is probably a good thing for me. There is now LNS near me to drool over colors and buy more. Also a good thing. I love how you organized all those pretty fabrics. I love all the shades of blue. I'm tempted to buy some now, but I have to keep myself in check.

  10. You have lots of fabric! I'm trying to just buy fabric more than charts. In fact, I'm starting to ask myself if I have wall space for a big piece when I get it framed, how long is it going to sit in my stash. But I also hate to pass by a chart that may go OOP later! Ugh! Next year will be a no new starts year. My Mama and Momo say hi to the werewolves🤗

  11. I really enjoyed this post and hearing about how you've organized all your beautiful colored fabrics. I did have to laugh when I saw how many blue fabrics you have since I remember you mentioning how you're not particularly a fan of blue! Those are some lovely shades. I like your idea of stitching birds in all different colors this summer- I'm looking forward to seeing them! Hope you're having a happy week!