How to Create a Quilting Fabric Stash
Having fabrics on hand is important for any quilter. Whether you sew for fun as a hobby or professionally, having a fabric stash helps you stay organized and keeps the creative juices flowing. There is, however, a fine line between having enough and having way too much. When we move into the “too much” category, it can become overwhelming and stressful to find the fabric or the inspiration you need for your sewing projects. We have put together a list of fabrics to have at your fingertips to help you navigate your fabric stock-up.
What are the best fabrics for a quilting stash?
Basic Quilting Cotton Fabric in Solid Colors
Quilting Cotton is the most popular fabric for quilting. This fabric is 100% cotton and has a very simple weave. It is also the easiest to manufacture. This fabric is typically medium weight, though it can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Quilting cotton hold its shape before and after washing excellently and therefore is used the most often for quilting.
The four best solid color fabrics to have on hand are white, ivory, gray, navy and black. These neutral colors work with almost every color print. The next solid colors to stock up on are the ones you use most often. If you hate pink and never sew with it, then do not stash it. It will sit on your shelf and collect dust. Stock the colors that you are drawn to and love. We carry all 100 Century Solids from Andover Fabrics. They are perfect solids for your stash.
Blender Fabrics for Quilting
Blender fabrics typically have simple designs and tone-on-tone colors printed on them. From a distance, these fabrics will usually look like a solid fabric. They are a great addition to add extra visual texture and complement more ornate fabric prints. They also work beautifully on their own.
The Alison Glass Sun Print 2020 fabric collection is great blender fabric. There are a lot of details and bits to notice. It makes a great background and would also be fun to embroider.
Cotton + Steel Basics is also one of our favorite blender fabric collections. They coordinate with any fabric print. The beauty and simplicity of these print collections - Freckles, Stitch & Repeat, Mish Mesh, Square Up, and Clover - are wonderful blender fabrics and stash builders.
Cotton Woven Fabrics
Yarn dyed woven fabric has each thread dyed and then woven to create the fabric rather than a color or pattern being printed directly on top of the fabric. Different colors and patterns are created through the weaving process to create the fabric color which allows for rich and vibrant fabrics. These fabrics make for wonderful quilt backs and a visual dimension that quilting cotton is not able to capture.
We carry a quite a number of these fabrics in our shop. Cirrus Solids is a yarn-dyed cotton broadcloth solid color fabric line from Cloud 9 Fabrics. This crossweave fabric is created by weaving two threads together to create a stunning color palette and rich in texture. This medium weight fabric line (slightly lighter than quilters cotton) allows for many projects such as quilting, garment making, home décor and bag-making. And to top it all off - this fabric line is 100% certified organic cotton and eco-responsible low impact dyes.
Peppered Cottons are a timeless classic and a favorite for quilters. These are yarn-dyed shot cottons, meaning the weft and warp are two different colors, giving each color a unique look. These shot cottons are a heavier weight that others on the market and thus have earned their standing as a 'favorite'.
The Kaleidoscope Stripes and Plaids collection is a new addition to the Kaleidoscope color book. It has the same fantastic hand and drape of the solid Kaleidoscope fabrics with the added design elements of multiple-colored stripes or a plaid. They look amazing and are a great substrate for garments, quilts, and bags.
Fat Quarter Bundles
Fat Quarter Bundles make selecting fabric for quilts easy. The fabrics in these bundles are either from a single fabric collection or created from many different fabric collections but are designed to coordinate with each other. The fat quarter size is 18” x 22”. This allows for greater size options when cutting fabric. Also, pattern designers love to create patterns specifically for these types of bundles. The Meadowland quilt from Then Came June is a “fat quarter friendly” quilt pattern.
Previous Quilt Project Scraps
Save your scraps! The unused and leftover fabrics from previous projects are perfect fabric for your stash. It is such a gift to be able to re-visit your fabric from old quilts and incorporate them into new ones. There are so many “scrap-busting” quilt patterns! The Lucky Quilt pattern from Pen + Paper Patterns is the perfect quilt pattern for your saved scraps.
We recommend storing scraps by color. Plastic bins or wood crates works great for storage. You can also make fabric bins to keep your scraps safe. Check-out the How to Sew a Fabric Basket with Handles tutorial for a fun and easy pattern.
Managing your Fabric Stash
Fabric stashes are so important to your creative work. They should inspire and move your projects forward. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed with the amount of fabric you have, it is important to let them go. Keep the fabric you love and lose the fabric that is holding you back.
Donating fabric is great way to downsize. Many groups and organizations would love your fabric for mask-making or other community projects. Holding a “De-stash” event is another great option to reduce your fabric. Having an Instagram sale or even a garage sale will allow you to free up the fabric clutter and create space and energy for new projects.
Quilting should be a fun and joyful experience. Having the right fabric on hand helps you stay organized and keeps the creative juices flowing. We wish you “Happy Sewing!” as you take on your next quilting adventure!