How To Store & Organize Your Cross Stitch Fabric

In the past we’ve covered how to store cross stitch threads and how to store cross stitch needles, but what about the last of the tools of the trade; fabric? Today we go through just what it takes to properly store and organize your stash.

Why Is It Important?

Everyone has a stash of cross stitch stuff, and its tempting to keep on buying fabric with the intention of stitching that particular pattern, but it ends up in a pile somewhere, and you really don’t know what’s in it. Not only that but it’s getting dirty, it’s getting sun-bleached and it’s getting a bit of a menace. This isn’t to mention that fact that you simply can’t face sorting through it for that bit of fabric that might be in there, but might not, especially when yo can just get a new bit on your favorite online cross stitch store.

Zweigart aida (Source: backstitch.co.uk)
Zweigart aida (Source: backstitch.co.uk)

What Do You Need To Consider?

If it’s important then, what do you need to consider when looking at storage options?

Sun

Sun is the death of all things cross stitch. I’ve mentioned it many times before, particularly when I rounded up how to store finished cross stitch. Sunlight damages things by breaking down the color particles. If you have colored fabrics, this means it’ll break down the color where ever sun hits regularly. If you check your curtains, it’s likely that one edge will be sun-bleached. Don’t let that happen to your fabric.

Dust/Staining/Bugs

The second big concern for fabric is damage through the dirt. We’ve also included dust, staining, and bugs into this category, as so long as you fix one of these issues, they all get solved together. Like many homes, dust is an issue, and fabric, particularly ones you don’t use often, makes a great place for bugs of all types. Let’s face it, when did you last dust your cross stitch stash? This is made even more of a problem if you keep your fabric in longer-term storage in a place like your garage or loft.
Moths in particular love fabric, but just regular dirt can stain fabric over time, and no amount of cross stitch washing will get that out.

Folds

The biggest issue for fabric may be sun damage, and bugs are never something you want to think about, however, one of the biggest problems with fabric storage is actually folds. For most fabrics this isn’t a great deal, you can iron them out without an issue, however, cross stitch fabrics like aida are starch heavy, meaning ironing out folds can be hard. I’ve seen many ways of storing fabric in the past, however, I always wonder what they’re going to do about the folds one they need to use the fabric.

How To Store Them

So with that in mind, what are the best ways to store fabric? Well, there are hundreds of ideas out there, from storing them on shelves to binders and even filing cabinets. However, there are two main ways we’d suggest (but we’d love to hear your ideas too!):

Storage tubes

The simple storage tube. This idea actually came from a sewing school I worked with once; they stored all of their fabric in storage tubes. Whilst I don’t expect you to have this many, they have enough to fill a whole wall stacked on top of each other. But storage tubes are our preferred way to store fabric.

Cheap, easy to store and crease-free, cardboard tubes can be a super idea for cross stitch storage (source: Google images)
Cheap, easy to store and crease-free, cardboard tubes can be a super idea for cross stitch storage (source: Google images)

Unlike many other ways of storage, tubes allow you to roll the fabric instead of the fold, they’re enclosed in a dust-free area, they avoid the sun, and they’re cheap. They can also be stored somewhere long term (think garage or loft) without concern that something might get to them. Finally, if you get the cardboard type, you can write on them to say what’s inside.

Plastic Storage Boxes

This is the way we stored our fabric for a long time, before moving onto storage tubes. That said, there isn’t a lot of issues with storage boxes, so long as you don’t start drowning in fabric like we were.

Flat Storage Boxes (Source: Pinterest)
Flat Storage Boxes (Source: Pinterest)

  • They’re mostly flat.
  • They protect the fabric so no threats of bugs.
  • They’re waterproof.
  • They’re naturally sun bleach proof.
  • They’re cheap.
  • They’re easy to store (so long as you don’t have too many).

In short, so long as you can cope with the sheer size of storage boxes, and you keep track of how much fabric your amassing (more on that below) then they’re a great way to store stuff. You can slip them under a bed, or put them in a loft or garage, or just place the storage box in a draw (we prefer the flatter ones for this reason). You can even roll your fabric in them instead of folding and stacking to avoid folds!
 
There is one concern though; don’t overfill them. If you need to push the lid down, there are too many in the box, and you’re going to be forcing fold lines into the aida.

Keeping Track

Finally, and arguably the most important thing you need to do is keeping track of what you have. More times than I can recall I’ve brought another bit of aida before realizing I already have three meters of the stuff. That is why keeping track is important.

Do It Digitally

We shouted about the benefits of digital tracking when we looked at how to organize cross stitch patterns, but when you don’t have online patterns but real-life fabric, is it as good? Well, yes. You can track your stash with a list on your phone, an excel sheet like our DMC thread tracker, a fancy cross stitch app or any other way you want.

Just Make A Good Old Fashioned List

Sometimes, regardless of how fancy you want to do, a good old fashioned list is just the best choice. Keep it brief, but include important bits of info like brand, color, count and size. Once you’ve broken your stash up into a simple way to store them, you can start making a code too. Box 3 has 14 count, tube 2 has linen, etc.
 
We hope this helps you keep track of your stash and avoid you having to buy more and more cross stitch fabric that you need. If you have a special way to store and track your fabric, we’d love to hear it! Drop us a comment on here or our social accounts!

 

 

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