Step 1: Make sure your cloth is laundered. Nothing is worse than going to sew and discovering that your fabric is gross.
Cloth to be folded that is LARGER than 6”x6”
6”x13” (or longer) ruler. I use Sharon Hultgren’s Easy Rule. You could just as easily use a piece of thick cardboard, plastic, or even a thin piece of wood or metal that has smooth edges (so not to pick the fabric) and is reasonably stiff.
A flat surface. I usually use my ironing board.
Used Flat Rate Box. 11”x8”x5” size.
Step 2: Find the grain of your fabric. It doesn’t really matter what size it started out as long as you fold it in half if it was MORE than 20” in one direction. This makes it more manageable.
Step 3: Fold the fabric in half its longest way (or selvedge to selvedge if it has selvedges) on your flat surface. I don’t stress about wrinkles TOO much, as I’m going to have to iron it before I use it anyway. That’s me. You might be more… particular… than I am and want to iron it. That’s all you
Step 4: Place your ruler so that you have about an inch hanging off your selvedge edge.
Step 5: Fold your fabric over your ruler.
Step 6: Continue to roll your fabric around your ruler until you have it entirely rolled up that direction.
Step 7: Carefully pull your ruler out.
Step 8: Place your ruler so that it is perpendicular to how you were rolling before.
Step 9: Begin rolling your fabric around your ruler again until you have it entirely rolled up into a 6” square.
Step 10: Set your fabric aside.
Step 11: Take your USED Flat Rate Box (FRB) and fold in all the flaps from the top.
Step 12: Sit your FRB on its side.
Step 13: Put your fabric in the FRB so that you can see the edge of your fabric.
Okay. So there are a FEW things I should point out.
First, you can only use FRBs that have been PREVIOUSLY used for a shipment, per the federal requirements. So you will want to clean your boxes out really good, or else you’ll get ick.
Second, FRBs are NOT acid-free. So if you are really particular about how your fabric is stored, then you should devise a DIFFERENT method than used FRBs. I cycle through my fabric at a reasonably high rate, so I don’t worry about long term exposure. My fabric is lucky to sit unused for a month. And my piece come out and go back so often that I don’t worry about dust, either. If you do, I would suggest hanging something like lining or sheers in front of your fabric. I like to use the vacuum, so when I do, I often use the wand attachment to brush the fronts of my shelves, just in case. But I LIKE to vacuum. :)
Third, this method works GREAT for anything over 6”x6”. I keep everything UNDER that size in large zip top bags divided into fabric categories. I have used this method on everything, including silk, voile, flannel, faux fur, cuddle, fleece, even gnaugahyde. I have a REALLY diverse stash. The largest piece I’ve used this method on so far was a duck cloth (heavy weight woven) that was 11’ by 60”. That was DIFFICULT. I wouldn’t suggest it, as it gets to be a real workout! But I try not to have bolts around. My twins climb them. That ISN’T helpful.
Last, this method works BEST if you have shelves to put your fabric on. You could always use this if you keep your fabric in drawers to make separate areas to lift out. You could always start with a different size ruler and end up with a different size square. But this is what I have found works best for me. The box gives just enough resistance and structure to the fabric that it doesn’t all go everywhere when you pull a piece out.
I’m hoping someone out there finds this useful. I know when I was trying to get organized, I searched EVERYWHERE and couldn’t find much that actually helped with my diverse and odd sized stash, since I don’t typically have the same fat quarters as all the other quilters out there. :)
And please check out my other entries this month for my giveaway! Chances are really good that you’ll get a used flat rate box out of the deal to try this method on! :)