Clever Ideas and Handy Hacks to Store Leftover Fabric for Crafts and Creativity

Okay, you’ve gone to town on a few sewing projects. Your curtains are hung, and your drapes are draped. Perhaps you’ve been extra bold, and your sofa has a bright and sunny new upholstery. After all that work, you’ve likely got a large collection of leftover fabrics, trim, and bits and pieces left for your next project. But how do you store it, so it’s easily accessible? 

After all, it’s such a drag when you want to start crafting, but you have to first plan and organize your crafty collection. Keeping everything neat is so much better, and here are a few great ideas to inspire and motivate you.

What to Consider When Storing Leftover Fabrics

Before you rush out and buy some storage containers, it’s essential to know what you want your containers to achieve, what your budget is, and how much fabric you want to store. Whether you sew by hand or machine or don’t sew at all, keeping your fabrics neat and user-friendly is essential. 

Storage Container Function

There are as many different types of storage containers on the market. Before you get carried away by colors and prettiness, consider what you want to store. 

If it’s large pieces of fabric, you may be better off with a rail system where you can hang the fabric or a shelving unit where the fabric can be folded and stored. However, if you mostly keep trimmings such as gimp, tassels, and ribbons, then separate containers or a series of packets with hooks may be best. 

The size and bulk will also influence what storage units you can use. For heavier trim, paper packets won’t do, but wicker baskets may work well. 


Next, consider your budget. If you have loads to blow on expensive storage units, go for it. However, if you’re budget conscious, finding ways to stretch your last few pennies is an important consideration. 

You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a few good containers when your collection of odds and ends requires far more storage units. Rather, opt for a creative way to store fabric, saving your money for new upholstery or drapery to play with. 

Volume of Fabrics and Leftovers to Store

For a large amount of fabric, you will need a large container or several containers. Remember that neatly folding your fabrics will help you maximize space. Using leftover cardboard rolls can also help you roll fabric, prevent creasing, and optimize how much fabric you can get into a small area. Just think of a basket with several rolls of fabric packed in it. 

Clever Ideas and Hacks for Fabric Storage

Here are a few great ideas for unusual storage containers and ideas that can help declutter your crafting life. 

A Plastic Shoe Bag Holder

Most of us have a plastic behind-the-door shoe bag lying around at home. While these often don’t accommodate some size shoes, they are ideal for storing leftover fabrics. The benefit is that you can hang it inside a closet door or behind the craft room door, and with the clear pockets, you can easily see what fabrics are where. 

For smaller sections of leftover fabrics, roll these individually and then pack a few into each plastic pocket. Finding the fabric you want is then easy peasy. 

Tie and Pants Hangers

Ties have their own unique hanger systems, where the ties are either pinched or slipped over a few thin rods. These hangers are ideal for leftover gimp, upholstery trimmings, and thinner sections of drapery and curtain fabric. 

For larger sections, fold the leftover fabric neatly and fold over the extra arms of the pants hanger to keep things neat and tidy. 

Media Storage Bags

Media bags store DVDs, books, and games, but they can also be used for fabric storage. Clear PVC bags allow for a sturdy carry and storage system that lets you see what’s in each bag. 

Use PVC filing envelopes for smaller bits of fabric and trimmings, then file each neatly inside the media storage bag. Use a color coding system, such as keeping all the blue scraps together in one envelope. 

Shelved T-Shirt Folders

T-shirt folders are made with hardened PVC, where the t-shirt is wrapped around it. You can easily use the hardened board to wind the fabric around like a miniature bolt of fabric. These mini bolts can easily be filed in a cabinet or stacked in a large Tupperware container. 

Rod Hanging System

Fabrics can be beautifully set out by folding each like a miniature curtain, then pinning each fabric section with a curtain ring and snapper hook. Add these rings to a curtain rod, creating a lovely display where the leftover fabrics are beautifully arranged. 

For ease of use, choose a curtain ring that is open on one end to allow unhooking of each ring individually, instead of removing all the rings to get to the fabric you want. 

Alternatively, glue the ends of 10-12 dowels into a sleeve of broad ribbon, then hang by a thicker rod with a central cup hook from the back of your cupboard door or back of your craft room’s door. Fold fabrics over the rods, or you can also hook a series of plastic jugs, folding the fabric bits into the jugs. 

Fabric Filing Cabinets 

Filing cabinets get new life with a fresh coat of paint, some neatly folded bolts or reams of fabric, and a bit of color coordinating. When you layer each drawer according to a color spectrum, filing each folded section of fabric like a mini file, you will never be looking for the fabric you want. 

Old Ladder Fabric Unit

Create your own ladder system with a few dowel sticks and two 2 x 4s to make a unique hanging system for fabrics. Much like a towel rail system, you can fold each fabric section, then hang it in its own place over the dowels. 

Travel Closet Systems

Foldable closets are ideal when camping or if you like to do the #RVLife. These soft drop-down units are ideal to keep your wardrobe organized when you don’t have a closet, but they are also great for when you need to file some fabric folds. 

Chest of Drawers Repurposed

If you have an old chest of drawers, slather on some funky paint, fold your leftover fabrics into mini bolts, then store them neatly according to color. Be sure to turn the fabric onto its sides, so you are faced with neat rows of fabric, not stacks where you won’t see all the fabric. 

Should you have soft fabrics that don’t fold as well, you can easily use the cardboard roll of paper towels and make your own mini fabric rolls that you can place in the drawers. 

What About Those Little Bits of Fabric? 

Most of the above hacks and tips are for larger sections of fabric, but smaller bits that can be used to make beautiful cards, crafts, quilts, etc., will require a different approach. Here are a few great hacks for those little chopped-up bits:

  • Plastic bins can be used to store leftover bits. Be sure to store the same color or tone of fabric in each bin to keep things organized. 
  • Boxes can also work well, but keep it neat and inspirational by upholstering the sides of the boxes with a fabric that matches the bits of fabric stored in each. 
  • Large cookie jars, baskets, and plastic sleeves can also be used to neatly keep your odds and ends organized and ready for some crafting magic. 
  • Tote bags, large coffee tins, cute kids’ suitcases, and shopper bags can also help keep your stash of fabric tidbits neatly organized. 

The Final Tip

When you start organizing your fabric collection, you may be surprised by just how much fabric you have accumulated and what amazing colors, patterns, and textures your collection possesses. Organizing fabrics for crafts and creative projects should be about making it easy to find the different fabrics and keeping them neat and “fray-free” while making your crafting an inspirational process that you can’t wait to get cracking at. 

Find out more about why you should be recycling your fabrics instead of throwing them out. 

With the fabulous selection of fabrics, samples, and end-of-range fabrics at Kovi Fabrics, it’s the site to be, people to talk to, and inspiration to enjoy.

Leave a Comment