Tips for Storing Fabrics for Handmade Baby Quilts

Quilters who make handmade baby quilts for sale do so in their own unique way, but they all share the same guilty pleasure: Buying huge amounts of fabric for future projects.

Stockpiling goes with the territory.

 It’s not just a frivolous habit.  First, there’s the economic factor. No one is going to pass up potentially useful fabrics when there’s a good sale going on. Then there’s the surprise of discovering just the right print to anchor a new design, or just the right complementary fabrics to support the anchor print.

Makers of baby boutique quilts are always formulating homemade baby keepsake quilt patterns, so gathering materials to create them is always on their minds. And let’s face it: Some fabrics are simply irresistible.

Proper Storage Prevents Problems

cabinet for baby quilt fabric

As the quilter’s stash increases, so does the need to keep it in a way that preserves it in the best possible way. Improper storage could cause wrinkles and folds that must be ironed out before the work begins, or fading, or, perish the thought, mold.

And then there’s the time-wasting hunt for a certain piece when there is no organized arrangement.

How to Safeguard the Stash

It’s a good idea to arrange the fabrics not only by color, but by shades.  Being able to go to just the right stack needed for a particular design can avoid shifting pieces and will reduce the chance of creating wrinkles that will require ironing.

Another option is to group all the fabrics meant for one particular project.   Textured fabrics, like those used in minky baby quilts, might have their own stack.

Fabrics that are stacked on open shelves that get light need to be shielded with a cloth barrier. Perhaps an unused drapery panel or an old sheet can be pressed into service, or pillow cases can be used to provide protection.

Plastic tubs might be convenient receptacles to store fabrics, but over time, the lack of air circulation could result in a moisture problem. If plastic containers are used, it’s a good idea to drill a few holes in the sides and top so that air can circulate.

In the case of cardboard boxes, air holes are also needed, as is an aluminum foil lining to keep the fabrics from contact with the acidity in the cardboard.

Good Ideas Come Out of the Closet

handmade quilt fabric

Quilters creative enough to come up with unique baby quilt ideas can also be creative in adapting other devices for storing fabrics. For instance, some  people who make hand made baby quilts from flannel find that those see-through plastic bags that hang in the closet  for sweaters or purses are handy places to accommodate and compartmentalize fabrics.

Plastic shoe bags that hang over the door are another way to store small amounts of material and scraps. And skirt racks and trouser racks work well, too.

Roll the Bolts

Large yardage is best stored as bolts. Home-made tubes made of  PVC pipe are inexpensive and available in home improvement centers. Hampers and wicker baskets will keep a cluster of bolts compact, aired, and easily visible for selection. Perhaps a new trash barrel with wheels could serve as a commodious and mobile container.

An Inventory Helps

 No matter how appealing that baby blue stripe is in the store, it makes little sense to buy more if a large supply already exists at home. By the same token, it’s frustrating to return from shopping and discover that you’re out of fabric for the minky baby quilts you were about to begin. Try logging in new purchases as they are made, on file cards or in the computer, so that you’ll know exactly what you need. If you list the manufacturer also, this comes in handy should you need to reorder.

Some quilters use a basting gun to attach notes to their fabrics listing date purchased and whether the piece has been washed and ironed. Knowledge is power!

Efficiency Pays Off

Whether the project is a pink baby quilt for a newborn keepsake, or a unisex design for a baby shower gift, organized storage will help reduce the challenges of the job and boost the pleasure of making something wonderful.

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