How to Build a Fabric Collection You’ll Love!

Do you have fabrics that you regret purchasing?  Do you go to your fabric collection and leave uninspired?  Then you might be ready to create a fabric buying plan. Having a well thought out fabric buying plan helps you to buy with confidence and adds garments to your wardrobe that you love to wear.   I’m going to share a plan that I have developed over the years that has given me a fabric collection I love! We’ll start with organizing your collection and then make your new buying list.

You will need a few supplies:



Pen or Pencil

Drink/Snacks because, well, just because  😉

Start by taking a look at your storage system.  Are you able to easily see what you have?  The ability to see what you have keeps you from buying too many similar fabrics.  Clear containers with lids and closet shelving are items most often used. Multi level hangers and six-shelf sweater organizers (I love mine) are other storage solutions.  Take a cruise through a container store for more inspiration.  Leave a comment below and share your storage solutions.

Organizing your fabric lets you quickly see how much you have and/or how much you don’t have of any particular fabric.  You will need to go through your entire stash of fabric.  This can be a big job if you have a large stash so you may want to do this in stages. This is where the drinks/snacks come in handy. Group your fabrics by color and then by fiber (wool, silk, cotton etc..).  If you have a large fabric collection you may want to separate the weave within each color/fiber category.  For example, group  white cotton knits,  white cotton denims, white cotton lawns and so on.   Fold, roll or hang each fabric and store in a color arrangement that is pleasing to your eye.  I like to start with light colors and end with dark colors.  Pull out fabrics that don’t fit your current lifestyle and donate them to a local school or goodwill.   And you might also consider using an inventory app like “Fabric Stash” to have access to your Fabric collection at anytime.  If you have a fabric that just makes you smile even though it doesn’t fit in your current lifestyle go ahead and keep it.  Life is too short not to have a few (emphasis on a few) fabrics that make you happy just to look at.  Now that you have your fabric organized and neatly stored you can probably already see a fabric buying list forming.

Your fabric collection should reflect the life you really live.  Take your journal and write all of the roles you play in your life.  For example, are you a community volunteer, mother, student, world traveler?  Your fabric collection should reflect your life’s activities and should be proportionate to the time you spend in each activity. If 50% of your time is spent at a corporate office, then 50% of your fabric collection should be work related fabrics.  And don’t forget unexpected occasions like funerals.

Now, it’s time for you to whip out your calendar.  Take note of every event you have to attend for the next 6 months.  Things like weddings, holiday parties, a work presentation or job interviews. Repeat this step every six months.

You are now ready to make your fabric buying list for the season.  Start with the events on your calendar, because they have definite deadlines.  Using your journal write down what you want to wear.  Next, look at your life’s pie chart.  Do you need more clothes for work or do you need more comfortable garments to wear as a community volunteer?  How about a new jacket/coat for the fall or a new fashion trend to update your wardrobe?  Also, double check the basic work horse garments in your closet like a classic white shirt or a pair of black pants.  Do they need replacing?  Write down the garments that are missing from your wardrobe.  Select your patterns and write down the yardage you need.  Here is the fun part: go to your newly organized fabric collection and SHOP.  Whatever is not in your fabric collection goes on the buying list.  Also include on your list basic colors of linings, thread, zippers and interfacings.  If you follow these steps you should have a fabric collection that you not only love but will cover all of your wardrobe needs.    

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