Organizing fabric, simplified (+ free printable!)

Stockpile. Hoard. Huge teetering piles of unsorted fabric. Whatever you call your stash, there’s one thing every quilter needs: fabric organization ideas.

We understand—we’re charter members of “Stashaholics Anonymous” ourselves!

Organizing fabric is so much easier when you’ve got a system to help you keep track of all your treasures, whether neatly folded in your sewing room or crammed in boxes in one of your closets (but which boxes? And which closet?). That’s why we created these handy printable stash labels. They’re just what you need to bring order out of your cloth chaos.

Free printable fabric-stash labels
Download your free printable stash labels now

Print the labels on adhesive-backed sheets and press them onto shelves and containers (they’re compatible with the Avery 8161 label template). Or simply print, cut apart, and tape to your fabric bins.

What will you find as you dive into the task of sorting your stash? A bevy of batiks? Loads of Layer Cakes? Scads of solids? A lone half-yard of reindeer novelty print just right for that Christmas quilt you’ve been aching to stitch?

We’ve got labels for them all, along with Civil War and 1930s reproduction fabric, dots and spots, flannel and wool, all the colors of the rainbow, and of course the all-important backing fabric. There are also plenty of blank labels you can customize for those mystery fabrics that just don’t fit a predefined category. (I’m looking at you, strange black-and-white newsprint fabric featuring fairy tale characters!)

Download your free printable stash labels and get organized!

Once your stash is under control, deploy it to create these fantastic stash-busting quilts:

Quilts from Scrap-Basket Sensations
“Summer Daze,” “Scrap-Basket Paddle Wheel,” and “Tipsy Baskets” from Scrap-Basket Sensations

Quilts from Vintage Vibe
“Scrap Jars,” “Rainy Day Table Runner,” and “Big Baby” from Vintage Vibe

From Easy Weekend Quilts
“Four-Patch Shift,” “Knotted Squares,” and “Modern V” from Easy Weekend Quilts

Your beloved stash: neat and tidy or beautiful chaos? Tell us in the comments! And if you dare, “flash your stash” by posting a photo of it on Pinterest or Facebook.

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19 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Beautifully chaotic. Love it.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on August 13, 2015
  • This spring during all the rainy weather I did start to organize my stash. I even went so far as to measure every piece and pin a label to it, then but in a plastic tub. But as the weather got nicer I stopped to work in the yard, so there is still more to do. My goal is to use these "free" (your so nice to give for free) labels to mark each tub as to what is in it. With the fires causing so much smoke in our area I will stay indoors and try to finish my sorting and labeling. Thanks again!

    —Karen DH on August 13, 2015
  • My goal is to have it neat and tidy and I am getting there slowly but surely. My problem is I keep adding to it because I grab from the free table at the guild meeting or someone else passes stuff on to me because I am a scrap quilter. I’ve gone through boxes and bags, pressed, measured and folded a ton of fabric. I have 9 three drawer wide storage units full of fabric organized by fabric lengths, also nine drawers of civil war fabrics and a cabinet full of backing fabrics. My daughter has helped herself to my fabrics and has made 4 quilts — and I didn’t even know she had pulled from my stash (totally shocked me). I continue to make scrap quilts to use up some stash. Besides scrap quilts are true lovies!!

    —Sue Fender on August 13, 2015
  • Thank you for the labels download. Going to keep me busy for a few days. Enjoy your blog.

    Chris Ackford on August 13, 2015
  • I just HATE to throw away any scrap. My beloved scrap pile is just that 2 or 3 big piles. But can’t get rid of of it. Give me those scrapy ieas!

    —Arliene Zeigler on August 13, 2015
  • Thank you so much for the free stash labels. You folks never fail to amaze me with your generosity and creativity. Now when would be a good time for your person to come by and help me sort my stash so I can use the labels? Mornings are good and I’ll make coffee.

    —Betty Grove on August 13, 2015
  • When I first started quilting 15 years ago I thought I would never have what the other quilters called their "stash". I took my first class and my stash amounted to a few inches worth of each fabric for the beginning sampler quilt. I did not have a sewing room at the time, because I always just threw my scraps away.(Parish the thought!) I attended a few more classes and found my stash to be growing a little every time I visited a quilt shop, which became more and more often…because now it was a habit…hence the name "stash". I was really beginning to understand the terminology. Addictive, coveted,I could spend hours just touching the fabrics and mixing them around until I found the perfect combination. This was way more fun than anyone should have in a quiet afternoon, or a bright morning.Now my stash has outgrown my sewing room, which my husband insists that I have from now on(probably to keep it from creeping into his garage). I do have a goal to keep it neat and tidy and it is in tubs marked by color..just not labeled (until now, thanks for the labels). As I cut fabric I toss the remains in a big red bucket under my table and there it piles up until I have time to sort and cut it into squares, strips, etc. for future quilts. I also have big tubs that are just full of fabric I have purchased all over and fabrics dear hubby brings from far destinations. And he moved our dining room hutch up to my sewing room to fill years ago. I also have fabrics in the walk-in closet that were given by friends wanting costumes made for their kids for high school musicals. I think I’ll run to the store and get some more tubs to put those labels on and be more organized.

    —Pamela Zajicek on August 13, 2015
  • I too have "started" to organize on the 7 x 10 cardboard folders, and stored into clear totes. These labels are just what I need to take it to the next level, sort by color and finish the project, to all those "opps, oh I remember that trip", and new pieces that have come home with me… THANKS!

    —Ellen K on August 13, 2015
  • which stash are we talking about–the one in my attic or the one overflowing in the closet? I can’t seem to stop buying fabric. Tried all last year to limit myself and this year I seem to be going crazy to make up for last year. My mom would laugh with me.

    —DJ Weston on August 13, 2015
  • My stash is a delightful combination of neat & tidy and beautiful chaos!

    I’ve begun the (slow and steady) process of organising, but there are areas around the house that are resistant to my urge to neaten them 🙂

    Still, it gives me something to do on a rainy day…..

    —Kayt Deans on August 13, 2015
  • When I started packing to move homes I realized i needed more control so I bought plastic bins for all the large pieces arranged by colour I already had a dresser for smaller pieces collected at church/garage sales and small storage drawers for scraps They are all labeled but the hardest part is placing multi coloured prints and deciding where to draw the line ie: greens that are almost blue.

    —ELIZAJANE on August 13, 2015
  • My stash is in chaos. For a few years, I didn’t really need to organize. My stash was small and I could almost always remember where in my cupboards I put the scraps from various projects as well as my new fabrics and kits. Fifteen years later, my stash has grown until I can barely find space to squeeze in a new fat quarter until I take some fabric out for a project. (That’s not to say I have a huge stash. I just don’t have a lot of storage space for it.) To get to what I need, I sometimes have to take out fabric from multiple shelves and it never goes back in exactly like it was before. The next time I need something, things get moved around again. Since I’m usually a very organized person,it has begun to drive me a little crazy. I welcome the colorful labels. They have actually made me excited about digging in and organizing. Thanks.

    —Theresa on August 13, 2015
  • Thank you for the great labels – I like your categories! I am on my way to having a "neat and tidy" stash among my beautiful chaotic fabric which I store by color in baskets on Ikea bookshelves. My husband and I just cleaned our garage however…and I found four more tubs of fabric I forgot I had! So I begin the process again 🙂 Those comic book boards are so nice to put fabric on – I have a shelf that looks like a little mini quilt shop in my sewing room!

    —Carole on August 14, 2015
  • Mine is somewhere between chaos and organized, more like a work in progress.

    —Kathy Hancock on August 14, 2015
  • I try to make my stash neat and tidy, but it really is chaos. I would rather be sewing than folding and grouping.

    —Linda Christianson on August 14, 2015
  • My stash is arranged by color and type of fabric; that is the civil war is separate from the thirties, etc. However, I have so many tubs that when I am looking for something I create chaos.

    —Maureen on August 15, 2015
  • I’m afraid I’m obsessively tidy. As I always buy at least 1 metre of fabric (sometimes pre-cuts) I generally have some left to put away for another project sometime. I don’t sort by colour but by the size of the piece. I do further sort into baby, juvenile, general, panels, particular themes etc. I also have, at any one time, about a dozen projects in large zip lock bags containing all the fabrics to make a particular quilt. All fabric is marked with the amount by writing on acid free green painters’ tape so I don’t have to measure every piece every time I’m looking for a specific length. The divisions are – under 80cm, 80-150cm, 150cm (lots of those), over 150cm, widebackings etc. I’ve found it is also helpful to write on the tape if I’ve found a flaw or if the colour/dye is inconsistent which reminds me to look for it before deciding if I have enough after cutting around the problem for the job I want to use it for.

    Deborah on August 16, 2015
  • the word ‘small’ sums up my stash as i tend to buy fabric for the project i am working on. so i have a box of scraps & a box of larger pieces but bagged into colours….. so maybe tidy is the other option to describe it! i am about to use up a load of my stash by making a birthday banner for my friend’s party in 10 days time! then i can start collecting again!

    —Suzanne Keal on August 16, 2015
  • I started preparing for my hubby’s retirement about 15 years ago by buying fabric and FQs. Not knowing that we would be downsizing, I felt pretty confident that I could have everything organized…Well, I received mother’s fabric when she died, which wasn’t too much that I would actually use…mostly double knits…and I got rid of them pretty quickly. Then , a dear friend from my church passed on, and left me the contents of her sewing/crafting room…and then we downsized…I am still unpacking after 2 years, and even though I have my own sewing room, I don’t have room for everything. So, I am s l o w l y paring down and organizing…best of all…QUILTING! to get some more space (although I could probably make 50+ quilts with my stash, so I try not to shop unless I have to!)
    The labels are a good idea…thanks for the AVERY # to match…that makes it even easier to take advantage of this good ides!

    —Cindy on March 19, 2016

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