Organize Your Fabric Stash with Lilo Bowman of The Quilt Show | Spoonflower Blog

Your fabric closet has grown to be a headquarters for great ideas becoming reality, the epicenter of completed projects—and dare I say, messy after the latest masterpiece. Help is on the way with tips from our friend Lilo Bowman, editor-in-chief of The Quilt Show. Her book, Love Your Creative Space: A Visual Guide to Creating an Inspiring and Organized Studio without Breaking the Bank, has all the hacks and more! Keep reading and discover her inspiring tips about different ways you can organize your fabric stash.

Lilo: Does your current method of storage look something like the photo below? If the answer is yes, don’t worry, help is just a scroll away. And, since we’re being brutally honest, this was the storage closet in my studio office.

Organize Your Fabric Stash with Lilo Bowman of The Quilt Show | Spoonflower Blog
Lilo’s fabric stash before her brilliant organization took over
All images by David Fitzgerald unless otherwise stated

If you have the supplies, but can’t put your hands on them when you need them, do you actually have them?

As makers, the tools of our creative trade (fabric yardage, fat quarters, scraps, stabilizers, interfacing, etc.) can really become a beast to deal with or find, if left on their own. You know what I’m talking about; bags of fabric purchases, found treasures, remnant scraps from finished projects stowed away in the back of a closet, under the worktable or in cubbies in any spare space around the house.

Once packed away, it’s hard to remember what you have on hand much less what it looks like or where you put it. I’m here to help with my tips for organizing your stash so you can get straight to the fun part of creating.

Buying fabric, starting and then working on a project can be such a joy. Then comes the reality of how to store the wide assortment of yardage, scraps and bits you want to keep for down the road.”

Budget-Friendly Storage Options

When it comes to storage there are a variety of readily available options on the market (Ikea Kallax, Elfa Wire Baskets, ArtBin Super Satchel Cubes, etc.) to organize your stash, but if funds are limited—or you want to save the money for other items—there are easy and creative workarounds.

Organize Your Fabric Stash with Lilo Bowman of The Quilt Show | Spoonflower Blog
See three ways you can organize your fabrics in this one image!
Photo by Lilo Bowman

Find upcycled furniture for storage solutions

Think outside of the box with upcycled furniture such as bookcases, a chest of drawers or wardrobes. Maybe you have something already around the house that you can use. If not, check out garage sales or thrift stores as they are a great option and often, with a bit of elbow grease, paint and decorative shelf paper, can do wonders. And don’t overlook what’s already in your workspace; closets and doors (both inside and out) offer lots of area for vertical storage.

Storing Yardage, Smaller Cuts and Scraps

Those bookcases, wardrobes and drawers you found can hold both flat-fold yardage and smaller cuts (i.e. less than 1 yard). Organizing by fabric content (cotton, silk, knits, etc.) and color, style, etc., keeps items easily accessible.

Try using rectangular baskets or fabric storage boxes on shelves to allow for easy access. Label the outside of each container with a hang tag or scraps of fabric.

Hanging clothing organizers such as those for sweaters or shoes come in a variety of colors, materials and size options and offer a wealth of storage in a very small amount of space.

Organize Your Fabric Stash with Lilo Bowman of The Quilt Show | Spoonflower Blog
Storing yardage in clothing organizers
Organize Your Fabric Stash with Lilo Bowman of The Quilt Show | Spoonflower Blog
Smaller scraps can go into a shoe holder

Tips for using clothing organizers for storage:

  • This is a great option for yardage and not-so-small, small cuts
  • Reinforce hanging loops with several lines of machine stitching to avoid tearing due to fabric weight
  • Make removal and replacement of fabric easier by inserting a piece foam core (about 1/4” smaller than the opening) inside each opening on the shoe organizer
  • Bonus: Keeping fabric in a closet helps to keep dust and light away from the fabric, while still being easily accessible
Stacks of green printed fabric are folded in a clothing organizer with a piece of foam beneath the last fabric piece. Other colored fabrics are in other surrounding organizers.
A close look at Lilo’s technique for creating a sliding “drawer” using foam board

How to maximize over-the-door shoe holders for often-unused vertical storage:

  • Fill each opening with a different color. When the time comes for a bit of orange, it’s just a matter of “grab and dump”
  • Place a shoe holder on the back of an open door to keep out light, or if the look is visually distracting to you
  • Bonus: No one likes craft cleanup, but with this method, it’s easy to put leftovers back in the compartment when you’re finished

Use small containers for smaller scraps:

Finding containers for your small scraps can be as easy as a stroll through your local grocery store. Did you realize that lidded containers that hold tomatoes, seeds, lettuce or nuts you’re already buying can also hold small scraps of fabric?

Clear containers on a table hold fabric, tomatoes, and seeds individually.

Things to consider when reusing food containers for storage:

  • Use clear containers so you can see what’s inside
  • Consider square or rectangular packaging as they take up less room
  • Choose lidded containers that stack so they can sit nicely on a shelf

Store even smaller pre-cut bits in jewelry gift boxes

If your work often involves numerous small precisely cut pieces of fabric (1” strips, 2 ½” strips, small squares, etc.), flat, white-lidded gift boxes are an easy and space-saving way to stack and store your collection.

Small labeled white jewelry boxes rest on a white table. One box is open exposing small blue fabric squares. Different colored spools of thread are in the distance on a holder.

Keep in mind:

  • Flat-lidded gift boxes are available in most craft (jewelry section) or home-organizing stores
  • Look for boxes with sturdy bottoms and lids
  • Label one side of each box for easy access
  • Organize the collection by color, size, type, etc.

This is just a sampling of creative and inexpensive ideas for fabric storage that can help you keep things under control, save you money (for other fun items) and let you get back to the adventure of playing in your space!

Spoonflower team member Theresa got the organizational bug when she gave her sewing studio a fresh makeover. See how she did it over on Spoonflower’s IGTV!

Organize Your Fabric Stash with Lilo Bowman of The Quilt Show | Spoonflower Blog

Does your creative studio leave you feeling overwhelmed or uninspired? With over one hundred photos, Lilo Bowman’s lookbook, Love Your Creative Space: A Visual Guide to Creating an Inspiring and Organized Studio without Breaking the Bank, offers an endless visual parade of ideas for your craft room. Visit The Quilt Show or C&T Publishing to get yours, or request a signed copy from Lilo herself at

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I organize my fabric stash?
Use containers and furniture that best store your fabric based on its yardage. Consider household storage solutions (like clothing organizers and upcycled furniture).
Is it expensive to organize a fabric closet?
You can organize your fabric closet on a budget using household storage solutions, gift jewelry boxes, and even food containers.
What is the best container to store fabric in?
We suggest using clear containers so you can see exactly what you are looking for. If you use opaque containers (or even clear ones) consider labeling the container.
How should I declutter my fabric closet?
Consider working in one area at a time. This allows you to focus on discarding items you no longer need, and organizing those you want to keep. Along the way, you might also discover your own organizing hacks!

Want to Learn More Organizing Tips?

Spoonflower artist Katie Hayes shares how she organized her studio to be effective for her business. See her space and tips you can use.
See Her Set-Up

About the Guest Author

Lilo Bowman has worked as a floral designer, translator, tour guide, wedding planner,
and is now editor-in-chief of Food, travel (both as a military wife and tourist), and curiosity about other cultures have also played a large role in shaping Lilo’s sense of taste and design and her understanding of how others prioritize the items they choose to have in their homes. When not working, she travels, gardens, and spends time with an extended, loud, noisy family. Lilo lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Find Lilo on Instagram and on Facebook.