(Image from Sewing Studio)

Do you dream of a space that is both inspiring and functional? This dreamy studio is in the dining room of a home!  Be honest, when was the last time you truly enjoyed working in YOUR studio? Help is on the way! This year TQS is going to be YOUR Marathon coach!  We aren't talking about the one with the running shoes and a loud whistle. We are going to help you get that disaster of a space back in shape so you can get back to the fun of quilting.  As with any exercise program, it will take work on your part, but we will be here to cheer you on with ideas, suggestions, creative projects and inspiring studios.  Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  We are going to take it slowly, one step at a time.  So, are you ready for your first workout assignment?

Purging Fabric:  Part A

This week we are starting with your fabric stash.  You know what we are talking about.  Those bags of purchases, found treasures, gifts from other quilters you have stowed away in the back of the closet, under the guest room bed, or in cubbies in any spare space around the house.  That's the stuff we want to bring out into the light of day.  But, to keep a bit of order during this workout we suggest:

(Image from Old Square Inn)

  1. Find a place outside of the studio that will serve as base of operation, that is fairly close to your studio.  This can be the dining room table (if the family doesn't protest too much), folding tables, or a hallway.
  2. Put on some fun music and get down to business.  Depending on the amount of stash you have to go through, it might be best to do this over the course of several days, so that you are not overwhelmed.
  3. Arrange assorted large laundry baskets, cardboard boxes or paper grocery bags.  These will serve as your sorting containers.
  4. Label the containers by type (i.e.Keep, Donate, Gift, Consign). 
  5. As you go through the fabrics, be honest with yourself.  Does it still appeal to you?  Will it fit with your current style? Is it a look you still work with?  If you answer no to most of these, the fabric should not go in the Keep pile.  You can always change your mind later, but the idea is to get a handle on what you have.  If you haven't set eyes on a piece of fabric for five years, chances are you are not going to miss it, so it should go into the Donate, Gift, or Consign area.

By the end of this workout, your baskets should look like this.  Good for you! You deserve a little break.

Next week?  We break down these sorted baskets into more manageable groups
and give you suggestions for what to do with the Donate, Gift and Consign piles.




#27 zazmau 2016-06-20 15:52
After watching Kathy MCNeil and her crayon technique how can you get rid of any of your fabrics lol!
Just color over it!
I recently bought a house and I'm unpacking my fabric from storage. I plan to retire in a year and a half and I'm ready for my life to begin. Lots of people are downsizing and closing down their life. Not me! I can't wait to have more time to accomplish so many things I've dreamed about creating and never had the time to focus on. I might purge fabrics later but for now I'm organizing and getting ready to enjoy my life!
#26 Joane 2016-02-06 11:12
The dormer has been untouched for years and I plan to haul one bin at a time down and sort. It got away from me.
#25 khowardquilts 2016-01-29 14:24
The only non cotton that I kept were some pieces suitable for clothing that I thought we might use.
I don't have a budget for fabric so the donations have been great. Now, I only buy when I can't find what I need in my stash. Lately I have started scrap quilts which don't need addition fabric purchases. Even those ugly fabrics can find a place in those. I do need to go through and refold my stash as it isn't very neat and some pieces have slid out of sight in the bottom of the boxes. I want my stash out of the light and dust and away from the cat. I use paper boxes with lids and label a piece of white paper on the end of the cover. Another sheet of paper covers the printing on the end of the box and I have added quilt pictures from catalogs to them; you could add a photo of the box contents instead. I tried covering a box with wallpaper to match the room, but it is rather fragile and the cat liked it too much, but it did help the box to blend in in my very small room.
#24 khowardquilts 2016-01-29 14:23
A while ago I did go through our fabric (my daughter's and mine) and remove all the larger pieces that weren't all cotton and took these to the local thrift store. I sometime have found good cotton fabric at the thrift store, too. I don't feel the need to go through it again at this time. She had had a number of people give her their scraps and extra fabric when they no longer were going to use it.
#23 Becky Ezra 2016-01-18 12:55
I try to be clear here, I just did what you suggested and didnt finish, tomorrow is another day to bring all those fabric that I will never use (not cotton that I got from ...knows from whom), any way, my biggest problem of organize my fabrics is the small pieces - any suggestions, please.
#22 Claire31 2016-01-18 03:24
Might reorganise stash but you never know when you might want the fabric. I have just used a beautiful piece of silk bought in 1980 just perfect for a (dressmaking ) project today. Haven't sewn silk before so will be a challenge - probably why I have it in my stash so long!!
#21 Rosemary Bolton 2016-01-15 15:16
Okay. I will try 8)
I do think it is good to give fabric to friends
#20 cindy 2016-01-15 14:17
Get rid of fabric, you've got to be kidding! Come on, get real. Why do we have a stash in the first place? To USE from. I don't care how long a piece of fabric has been sitting around, there is always a use for it. It doesn't matter if it's no longer in style, it will still get used in a quilt, especially a scrap quilt. I try to find the largest variety of different fabrics possible. Purge my stash, NOT A CHANCE!
#19 SusanEdwards 2016-01-13 13:52
Purge? No way! I just used a fabric that I bought in 1994. For many years, I thought that I would never use that fabric, but it was perfect for yesterday's project.
What I do like to do is to rearrange my fabric collection every so often. Organizing my collection in different ways offers new insights into how to use each and every piece including all "ugly" fabric. You need an ugly piece to make the others pop.
#18 kenfaw 2016-01-12 10:36
Quoting Brendaintheboro:
please will someone explain what you in the US mean by consign please. Is it donating charity?

IN case no one has answered you 'to consign" is to take your fabric in this case to a shop that sells your 'stuff'' for you and you share in the profits. Usually minimal amount goes to shop 10 to 25 percent of what the item sells for. Each consignment shop has their own rules.

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