Folding Fabric-A Quick Tip

Quilt Room Organization

Nancy Zieman Fabrics

Good Morning, Quilters!

It’s taken me awhile, but I think I have found all of the fabric I had stashed throughout my house…

It’s sorted and neatly folded in my fabulous new sewing room!  Hurray!!!



Not long!

Quilt Room Organization

But I found this YouTube video by SewVeryEasy...on how to fold fabric.

It’s Brilliant!  (Wish I’d seen it before I filled the cupboards!)

Quilt Room Organization

As much as I promise myself to keep this clean…

I know my creative style…



Mess.  Clean.  Mess. Organize.  Mess.

What about YOU?

Are you more creative when your studio is clean?

Do you keep your sewing room clean?

We’d LOVE to hear!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

67 thoughts on “Folding Fabric-A Quick Tip

  1. Hah! I can’t stand messes anywhere except in my sewing room. Like you, I go through a cycle of mess then clean. I’m usually good for about 3 projects before I have to stop and clean the mess. There are just too many projects that need doing!

  2. Oh my, thank you for sharing this! My sewing space is temporarily very small… VERY small… so I need all the space I can get. This will help me store my fabric so I can actually see it and find it. 🙂

  3. My sewing room is also small, but being able to see things helps me remember what I have and where it is. So, periodic cleaning and replacing is the order of the day. I’m wishing some day to have a reorganized customized sewing room, but until that time I’m making do with several different mismatched storage options. Labels would be a big help and would cut down on the recurrent searching in the storage spots that are not see-through. Until then, it is still my favorite place!

  4. I love it. I have deep cabinets, so I need to see if they would hold 40″. I fold my fabric, but not using the ruler. Great idea. I love a neat sewing space, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.

  5. While I love having a cleaned-up cutting table and sewing space, it only lasts for a little while. Then I tell myself I’ll clean it up again in a little while but I’m a mess for months at a time. No help for me, forever in disarray!

  6. Just watched the video — GENIUS!! Wonder if she does this with fat quarters and fabric pieces too??!!

  7. I laughed reading this post! I LOVE organizing and sometimes do too much of it and don’t get to sewing! But, I fold my fabric all the same size, but don’t use a ruler…I fold selvage edges to the fold and fold one more time and then fold in three for even yard pieces. That fits my shelf depth and I can get four stacks beside each other on my shelves…perfect! I also sort fabric by colour stacks, novelty prints, sripes, polka dots, batiks, etc. Love my organized shelves and they make it easy to find things fairly quickly. Of course, I usually get sidetracked by ideas when I am rooting through the stack ROFLOL.

  8. This is especially helpful and provides a method I can easily follow. I even have some empty cardboard bolts from a local quilt shop, so my bundles will either stay on the cardboard bolt, if a piece is long enough, or folded as she folds them in the video. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve saved it.

  9. I go absolutely nuts if my sewing room is messy or cluttered. It seriously impedes my creativity because my mind keeps drifting to the things that are “out of place”. Most days you will find my office/sewing room very neat and organized, but occasionally life intervenes and non-sewing “stuff” makes its way in here to be “handled”. I would like to say I can continue sewing with non-sewing “stuff” in the room, but that type of mess usually leads to stagnation!

  10. Oh my! I found this folding method in a magazine several years ago and TRY to keep all my stash that way (key word being TRY). After folding, I sort by color and this makes finding what I need for a project fairly easy.

    My sewing room is VERY messy when I am working on a big project. I also have several other projects stacked on the floor or corner of my work bench laying around. But, after completing a big project, I TRY (operative word again) to re-organize and put things away.

    I believe my intent is not as important as my quilting, so I try to be easy on myself and enjoy the journey.

  11. Loved the folding idea! I tend to be messy, too, and have to take time occasionally to straighten out. My fabrics are in bins 6″ high by 15″ long and 10″ wide, sorted by color, standing up on a folded side. I will try to wind on a 6″ ruler and fit into the box to look neater. I did the bins storage method so that I could take a whole bin out when working on a project.

  12. I fold my fabric on thin cardboards that are used for keeping things like comic books from bending (you can buy them on line or cut your own out of oaktag). But I don’t stack them. I keep them in plastic boxes used for storing sweaters – they fit perfectly. I put them in the box so that edge of every fabric is standing up. Then sorted by color solids and by print color. But THE best gift I got to keep my area neat was from my dear husband who could not stand the trail of thread that follow me everywhere. He got me a lightweight vacuum – takes two seconds to run it over the floor! instantly looks better no matter how messing the sewing table is.

    • I just recently folded all of my fabrics on the comic book boards and now I can see everything i have at a glance, it’s great. I get mine at a comic book store. Two boards fit end to end in my cabinet.

  13. I am also a messy crafter, often having several projects going, not just quilting. I have solved some of my problems by having cleaners come once a month. They always give me at least a 5 day notice and that means I have to straighten up and put away materials I have pulled out but are not using. It keeps the chaos from overtaking me and my house gets a cleaning. Sometimes, I even get inspired to reorganize!

    • Thank you for bringing me along on this journey! Oh, how desperately I miss my cleaning girl, who left over 2 yrs ago!! She was so good at seasonal cleaning, folding things the right size (closets & elsewhere) & about every 5-6 months we would work on the sewing room (it’s just too small). Lately, I’ve been avoiding going into the sewing room — just too much disorder! So this morning (encouraged by you), I put together a 9-bin cubby unit (I may need to stack 2 units to maximize storage!) — I have to get myself back on track — too many projects backing up & running out of time for some on a deadline!!

      • Forgot to mention . . . . my book arrived a couple of days ago — so excited! Right now, I’m reading thru it, slowly, to absorb it all & hopefully once I get the sewing room back in order, I can get projects out of the way & start my FMQ adventure! (Further impetus to get things going!)

  14. My sewing room is a mess…..even hours after I tidy it……even so I seem to get plenty done and always promise myself I will clean after every sewing session. Hasn’t happened yet but I do have a new way of folding and hope to get it together. Seeing beautiful sewing rooms is certainly an inspiration. Happy Sewing

  15. Oh neat and tidy. One day. I hope to be a little more organized.
    Just think, “it could be worse” right?
    yeah….. yes, I have nightmares at night searching for fabric – NOT. ever.
    more like buying and hiding more fabric 😀 ?

  16. I enjoyed Laura’s video very much. I’ve been using a similar method for years, however, my ruler is 7×14. Since my fabric storage open shelves are 8-inches deep, I pull the ruler out and lay it crosswise over the middle first folded area and fold It in over the ruler. This gives me a squarish 7-inch package that just fits my shelves. I, too, leave the very neat folded edge out. For backing fabric, which I generally purchase in 9-yard lengths, I do the first part only. This leaves me a 7×21 package that fits sideways on my shelves, again leaving the neatest folded edge to the outside. Currently, I am working in chaos due to a quilt in the hoop BOM pattern. I have two design walls going. Since I press my fabrics at the beginning of a project, I do not fold them up again during the middle of a project, so I have had lengths of pressed fabric draped over the balcony of my sewing loft. Luckily, my kids are grown, currently have no pets and I live alone. The only people that visit me know I’m a quilt addict, so if they see the fabric draped over the rail, they generally just want to know what the latest project is! In between working on that BOM, there have been several quilting and Embroidery projects. I am itching to finish putting these blocks together so I can “clear the decks” and reorganize! I often clear my sewing table and cutting table and vacuum the floor. I do NOT allow cleaning lady upstairs anywhere near my sewing! There are often little things that have fallen to the floor and she wouldn’t know how important they are to me and just suck them up in the vacuum! BTW, she’s a doll and the most thorough and excellent cleaner I’ve ever had!

  17. Sooo… Define clean?. Mine can go from clean to Holy crap what happened here once I start getting lost in a project… But I love scrappy quilting and I need all the colors to come out and play.

  18. I laughed when I read your post, having just gone through this process (again). The beauty of organizing your fabric “collection” is, 1) the horrific realization that you have ALL of this fabric and what were you thinking?, 2) Wow! I have all this great fabric, I should make something!, and 3) I don’t need to buy any fabric ever again (until I see something else I can’t live without.)

    Luckily I have a quilt guild who is always receptive of fabric donations, I did purge what I convinced myself I would never use!

    • To funny we are all the same, especially when you find a very ugly piece and say “what was I thinking”.

    • OMG, it’s like your in my head Diane. Those three points you phrased exactly as I would have. I’m currently at stage 3, however we will soon embark on our annual pilgrimage to Oregon, and it’s wonderful quilt shops. Will I be able to resist purchasing fabric ….. Ooooooooo, I just don’t know. ??

  19. I have a very small sewing room, so I do try to keep it cleaned up. But, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I received my book today that you wrote on free motion quilting. I just love it!! I am so happy it is spiral bound, it’ll so much easier to use next to my sewing machine. Now, I am off to practice, practice, practice…. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  20. I suppose I am the odd ball here..I have seen videos on folding which works when you have shelves, drawers, etc…My fabric is on hangers on a rod my husband put up for me. It is like an open closet. I can see anything at a glance. I fold large yardage into the width needed to fit over hangers.But I do draw the line at pieces smaller than half a fat quarter. They lie flat in large plastic tubs. Tubs are sorted by various categories.. Spring, Autumn, Christmas, children, solids, odd prints. The tubs stack on each other easily. I employ the ones I can see thru. There is only one shelf, over the rod where fabrics hang. It has clear plastic “shoe”boxes of rickrack, zippers, bias tapes, etc. My work area had become such a disaster that when I cleaned it up in Jan, I promised myself that I would never let that happen again. So far I have conducted mini clean ups every few days. That old adage of “messing in my own nest” had become too real. The secret turned out to be realizing my project was not going to disappear if I took a few moments to keep things in order and to realize I needed to give myself the peace that an organized work area brought me while working on the project. It so happened that I mentally compared it with cooking
    habits.. I never got out ingredients for say, 5 meals at a meal at a time, prepared, eaten and enjoyed, cleaned up kitchen and ready for next meal. I seriously hope I can maintain this new way of life !!

    • Amen – was wondering if I was the only one who actually hung up fabric! I am lucky enough to have taken over a guest bedroom – who needs quests? Had my hubby put in a top rack and middle rack. I am only 5-4 so I need a step ladder. Bought one at home depot and it stays in the closet. I LOVE to go fabric shopping in my closet!! And I group fabrics if I plan on sewing them together. I am also apparel seamstress and sew most of my own clothes. So one side is apparel fabric and the other side is quilting. And there are plastic chest of drawers from Joanns that holds fabric less than a yard on the floor in between. I inherited BOXES and BOXES of fabric and could not store these in bins or totes. There would be no room for sewing! However, in process projects do go into project totes to keep the room tidy. I say that loosely. Because I have multiple projects going on at the same time. Loved the video though! V-

    • Very true Marta! I think you are right about giving yourself the peace of having a neat space to work in!

  21. As far as storing fabric goes, I’m loosely following Bonnie Hunter’s scrap user system. A recent trick I have been using with great success is to get one of those rolling carts with little vertical drawers. I am using each drawer for a separate project. For some reason, when I am done working on something, I have found it easy to put the project back in its drawer. (This is certainly not the case in my home office.) I am even keeping a little piece of paper with “next step” in the drawer so that it’s easy to see right away what needs to happen next.

  22. Lori, thanks for the link to the great tip. I have another question for you. I have been having a horrendous time using Kona solids they ravell unmercifully. Is this just my experience, and I am doing something wrong? I’s to the point that I don’t even want to use the fabric, but everybody keeps talking about how great they are….Help!

    • Really?! I have never had that problem–but I dont prewash for the tutorials. Anyone else???

      • I don’t prewash either and I’ve never had a problem with them. I lov Kona for FMQ thanks to Lori introducing them to me.

    • Cheri, Are you cutting a snip off of the corners (it’s supposed to stop fraying)? One of our quilters runs a machine basting stitch to close up the raw edges (turns the fabric into a tube) & that prevents raveling in the wash. I rarely ever pre-wash fabric (unless it’s not color-fast, may be old/ dusty/ smells of smoke or from someone I don’t know) & have never had an issue.

  23. It amazes me how fast I can mess when I am sewing – it amazes me even more how LONG it takes me to clean it up. Says something about organization, I think.

  24. I’ve been folding like that since I saw it on either the Quilting or one of the quilting blogs. It makes it so neat but usually gets messy fast as I’m rummaging for fabric for a project!

  25. Love the video. I work like you describe. I’ve just reached the total chaos level that requires major cleaning. The good news is I finished three projects and I’m ready to quilt the baby quilt that needs to be mailed off!

  26. I am a messy and a want to be organized quilter. To be organized would be easier if I just had one project at a time going. I really like the video idea for folding fabrics and I guess snippets and left overs could be added before the last turn. Maybe even include the large yardage on a label or painters tape. I like how uniform they are for stacking. Another tip I really liked was including the pattern in a stack or at least what you had in mind when you bought it. I have a few rolls, cakes and charms that I am not sure what I was going to make with that line. Could have – should have but will for sure from now on.

  27. We moved about a year ago and the movers pulled all my fabric which was sorted by color if not folded like yours and threw it in boxes, all mixed up. One guy said, “Boy, lady, you have a lot of fabric.” When unpacking my sewing room, I found the empty cupboard and boxes of scraps etc. I spent days resorting and organizing.

  28. Thanks for sharing this video.. I have been doing this technique for several years now, but I use the 6″ x 12″ ruler instead. My stash is quite small,.. but I first sort it by type.. i.e.batik, civil war, 30’s repos, tone on tone, etc.. and then by color. Since I rarely purchase fabric with a pattern in mind, this works the best for me. Especially since I gravitate towards scrappy quilts. But she is correct, by doing it this way it is easy to “shop” ones stash for any given project one wishes to do. .

  29. I’ve been folding my fabric like this for years. I like the idea of putting the pattern right in with the fabric. While I do like a neat studio, I do sometimes have to search for the pattern when I’m ready to start a new project, but no more. I should do this right now whileI’m thinking about it, but I FINALLY received Lori’s book today and reading that is my number one priority today! Hooray! Hooray!

  30. All along they said it would arrive sometime last week, but when they sent it to my son instead of me it took even longer to get here. He had pre-ordered it for me for Christmas. He thinks that he might have forgotten to change the”ship to” address. Anyway, it’s finally here and I am dropping everything (meaning everything I just bought at AQS Lancaster) and reading it cover to cover! Oh, happy day!

  31. Never thought of using a ruler for folding. What a great idea! The last time I started sorting my fabrics I thought I would store them in quilt sets with their intended pattern. I discovered that some of the fabrics just didn’t go with anything else and some I planned on creating a pattern as I sewed. Of course my sorting was interrupted by the need to make some time-critical quilts. When our remodeling is finished my dedicated studio space will be so much bigger and easier to organize (I think) and I will try the ruler folding method. Usually as soon as I get fairly well cleaned up and organized I start working on a quilt and in the process create havoc! When I print out a pattern or picture of a quilt it gets dumped on my cutting table along with whatever new fabrics I have ordered. By the time my quilt is done it looks like a tornado stirred up everything. Before starting a new project I have to at least clear off my tables. Not necessarily neatly! Like others, I work in a cycle of messy, sort of organized, totally disorganized, and mostly neat chaos. I have started using plastic quilt top size plastic boxes to store WIPs and their fabrics. Since I suffer from “quilter ADD” and start new quilts before finishing one, the boxes were a critical save! I am so happy in my retirement to be able to have my very own space where it doesn’t have to meet my mother’s neatness standards and the Hubs is supportive. Smile!

  32. I did this a few years ago and my stashed looks great. One other tip, make sure the selvage with the name is on the bottom so when you look at a piece you can see the name and manufacturer

  33. I, too, have folded my fabric like this for at least 12 years and it is great. I do like her idea of tying a project’s fabric together so you don’t “steal” any of it for some other project. I have my Fossil Ferns all in the same spot (my favorite) and my Moda Marbles and the rest is all color coordinated so it is easy to find what I need. Course there are many boxes in my sewing room and the fabric hasn’t been pre-washed but the boxes are labeled on top and one end.

    Still in the process of cleaning my sewing room in prep for a new machine and table. Getting closer each day and I can hardly wait. I want to sew!

  34. I can deal with a certain amount of creative untidiness then my head stops working and in order to get back in the game I have to tidy up. Ahhhh. All is right with the world and I carry on making a new creative mess.

  35. I use the comic book boards for my fabric but that ruler method looks like a good method too. I am a messy quilter. I love when I get everything organized and straightened out. Then I start a project… and then another…. and another. And my nice organized room is no longer. But, I’ve made some pretty things. 🙂


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