Fabric Folding Tutorial

Well, here it is…as promised. Here is my new method for fabric folding. I decided to be all fancy this time and actually labeled the photographs so that you know what is going on in the random pictures of fabric. lol.

I’m going to talk about three different ways to fold fabric, though two of them are pretty darn similar.

First, I want to talk about how to fold a piece of fabric that is approximately a half yard or larger. Here is the look we are going for, just so you have a vision of what your stash could look like:

The fabric stash

Notice the less than tidy stack of fabrics on the left…this is what would inevitably happen to all of my fabrics when I stacked them on top of each other. For me, personally, stacking the fabrics on top of each other is generally not the best method to keep my fabric organized. I find that I can not see the fabrics as well and I can’t access them as easily. So I began my search for a method that would allow me to organize my fabric vertically. In essence, I wanted to feel like I have my own fabric bolts on the shelf.

And then in the world of flickr and blogland (because I in no way claim intellectual property over this method!), I found a method that looked both tidy, quick and was economical. The solution? Comic Book Backer Boards. Don’t know what they are? Well neither did I…and I certainly never thought I would be buying literally hundreds of them, but I believe that they are a fairly heavy weight card stock that comic book owners use to help store the comic books in a flat, straight, non bendy kind of way. So we are essentially going to use them to do the same thing for fabric.

This is the brand that I have used and the size that I am happy using. But there are some varieties out there so feel free to experiment with what works for you best. *ETA: I meant to mention in the post originally, but this really is the most economical method for wrapping fabric around a board. A pack of 100 cost me approximately $9.00 in the store. I think it can be a bit more expensive but perhaps more easy to order them online. I personally did not have any problems finding a local comic book store though.*

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Funny Note: I first purchased these at a local comic book store that happened, by coincidence, to be located right next door to a quilt shop. I cautiously entered the store, a place I have never frequented before and inquired about the boards. The man behind the counter told me where they were and I felt the need to tell him why I was looking for them. I personally expected him to be surprised at the ingenuity and new use of his product. But he just nodded and smiled and said he sells a lot more of these to quilters than he does to comic book owners. LOL. So much for thinking it was a fairly unheard of concept. He even told me which type the quilters normally purchased. (I ended up with another one, but that’s because I don’t like to follow the pack)

But back to fabric folding…

Start with a piece of fabric a half yard or larger, approximately 44″ wide (a standard cotton width). Fold the fabric in half from selvage to selvage.

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Smooth the fabric from end to end and then fold in half again, matching the mid fold to the selvage edges.

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Now place one piece of the comic book backer board on the fabric and fold a couple of inches over the board on one end. There will most likely be a bit of extra fabric overhanging the top of the board. This is fine…we want one end of the board to be flush with the selvage edge of the fabric.

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Continue to fold the fabric over the board until you reach the end and then use a small pin to hold the last fold in place.

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Easy as pie! (what an odd phrase…pie is NOT easy! But ooohh…my husband makes the BEST cherry pie. Come and visit and I promise I’ll sweet talk him into making it!)

So that’s great…but we don’t always have a half of a yard or more of fabric…or we’ve done a funny cut on our piece of fabric. Here is how I fold my fabric if I have cut away from the fabric along the selvage edge and the fabric is no longer 44″ wide. I’ll let pictures do the work here…

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So now you have a long piece of fabric with the selvage edge folded over to meet the cut edge.
Next fold the fabric so that the fabric matches the total height of the board.

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If your fabric is still intact from selvage to selvage but is less than a 1/2 yard, you can wrap the fabric around board, but you will need to wrap it along the length of the fabric rather than the folded width.

Now folding fat quarters is a matter of preference. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have recently decided to separate all of my fat quarters and put them together in one place. I like the following method for fat quarter folding because of the tidy small square you have in the end. And, as a bonus, this is often the way fabric stores fold fat quarters. So no refolding may be required.

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Clear? Not clear? Let me know! I hope that you all soon have beautifully lined shelves of mini bolts of fabric. It makes the fabric feel more like a luxury and less like a mess! Embrace your organized side!

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92 thoughts on “Fabric Folding Tutorial

  1. Thanks for the tutorial!! I found this really, really useful! I wonder if you could cut poster board to that size and use that? I think buying the board from the comic book shop could get expensive if you had to buy much of it.

    1. my son gets alot of mail in the large envelopes. I cut them to size, they aren't as firm as the
      comic boards which he has from yrs past, but they do well enuff. I also will fan small amts on one 'board', so they are together. but the price works well, other wise they go to the re-cycle box,

  2. Mama Spark, thank you for the reminder. I meant to mention this earlier. I really do think that this is the most cost effective and time efficient way to do this method. A pack of 100 boards cost me approximately $9.00. This can be more or less depending on where you buy them…I've found them to be cheaper at a local store than online. But it's always more convenient to order them online. So it probably depends on how many of these you need.

  3. I just did this last weekend and it makes my fabric so much easier to access and play with. I put all my fat quarters onto mini bolts, too, because it just makes it easier to see everything all together … for mixing and matching.

  4. okay. maybe i'm being dense, but based on your pics, the blue fabric bolt ends up being taller than the tufted tweets chairs, right? because one pice extends higher than the board, and the TT piece is folded to fit the height of the board? doesn't this look weird on your shelf, or am i just being OCD? i got a new shelf this weekend, which a friend helped me fill with my fabric, but i don't like stacks, and this way would be awesome.

    1. I'm jumping in very late in the conversation, but I see the problem here. I read about this comic book folding business and then I Googled a tutorial with pics. Cut To Pieces looked so clear, I picked this one. I folded about 6 pieces of fabric and then I realized it would be better just to make the fabric fit to the board however you can. In other words, folding 2 selvages toward the center or selvage to selvage and then again yields irregular results.

      Now I just wrap the start of the fabric around the top, keeping the edges perpendicular, and then fold, fold, fold. All my bolts are the exact same size and much more secure. I can even fold five yards with the same results.

  5. In response to Amy's question of comment 7:

    no you are not being dense. lol they do end up slightly heights, but only by about a half an inch. When you have them all stacked together it really doesn't make too much of a difference that things are different heights. It's all dependent on how the manufacturer makes the fabric and the true width…so there is variance regardless even if all the pieces you fold are from selvage to selvage.

  6. I'm out of control and inspired by you! It just sucks that I live in the Middle East and don't have access to comic book boards right NOW! I have a friend coming over to check out my home and my one year old sewing studio and she will be eyeballing my stash! So, I want to do it this weekend! (Thursday and Friday is our weekend). I wonder if that poster board will work???

  7. yes, poster board would work I think…but I would try a heavy card stock and trim that if necessary first…it will be a lot more economical I think and less time consuming. And you may find that you don't need to trim the card stock.

  8. Lovely tutorial Angela – thank you !

    I use a really similar method but without the boards – I use the width of my cutting ruler and wrap … they're not as stiff, obviously (!) but they still stack vertically pretty well … The bonus is that you can use a wide ruler for your larger pieces and a small ruler for your FQs!

    the tutorial I found for it is here

    (but shows them stacked horizontally)

  9. Oh sweet mercy but that's a spectacular stash!! I love, love that they look like tiny bolts on your shelf 🙂 May have to make a trip to the comic book store …

  10. I officially am suffering from stash envy now. 🙂 I have mine sorted by size and color in fabric cube bins to protect them from dust and light, but they sure get messy when I'm rooting around in them for a project! Maybe I can combine the two methods….

  11. This is great (yes, over a month after you posted…LOL!). My stash is all over the place and I've been struggling with how to get it organized. This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  12. I just found this tutorial! This is SO great, Angela! It's like you have a little fabric store in your crafty space! I have get the boards now from Joann. Of course, with a 40% off coupon!

  13. Totally late to this game, but I just wanted to say I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Found a pack of 100 on Ebay for $9 (includes shipping). Can't wait to get all my fabric organized and pretty! 🙂

  14. i love this idea. i bet there are no comic book stores in this town. we only have one starbucks. it is pitiful. maybe i can just cut cardboard or card stock. i really need to do this. thanks for the tute.

  15. Thank you, thank you! My husband looks at my overflowing boxes & gumbled up closet of fabrics and thinks it's an overwhelming mess. I can't wait to surprise him! I have a lot of decorator-weight remnants in odd sizes. Folding them & putting them on the board is a miracle for organizing them. Sometimes I attach a note with measurements since most pieces are non-standard or they have been cut for another project.

  16. Thank you so much for this idea! I ordered mine online, and if you buy them in bulk, was able to get them for a little over $5.00 each. Of course there is the shipping, but I think it worked out pretty well. I'm LOVING the way this looks and is so much easier finding what I have. Once I finish getting mine finished, I will be linking back to you blog to give you credit for the idea. I hope that's okay! Thanks again for a wonderful suggestion!

  17. Thanks for the GREAT instructions on using the boards! My stash is looking tidier by the moment. You are a miracle worker! Thanks again.

  18. thanks for this great idea. You can check my blog to see the progress I have made so far. I ordered one pack of 100 backerboards and used them all..so I have ordered two more packs.
    hugs
    beebee

  19. Thank you so much!! I am trying to re-organize my sewing room and this tutorial will be so helpful!! I am off to find some backerboards or cardstock and hope to get all my fabric out of my big blue bins soon, so I can see them!!!

  20. I've done this in my studio apartment and now my sewing stash makes for a beautifully decorated bookshelf. The real test is to see if I can get my students to help me mini-bolt about 20 bins of fabric at the after school art center where I teach. The bins just collect dust – hopefully the fabric will be used much more once it is on display and organized! Thanks!!

  21. Wow! LOVE IT!!! I will be looking for those comic boards this week! How wonderful! And I love how inexpensive too….some of the other storage ideas just take way too much money that I'd rather spend on the fabric itself! 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

  22. I love this. I have mine fabric in banker boxes. I try to keep them organized by type (100% cotton, knits) but my method does not allow me to see my fabric without opening boxes. Nor is it conducive to keeping my stash organized. I started converting my stash to this method. It is much simpler and is much easier to work with when bringing new fabric into the fold.

  23. I have not heard anyone mention the acid-free factor. Some of my fabric stays around for a long time and I wonder if it would effect the fabric in any way. The new plastic boards are great, but too expensive. I buy acid-free plastic at Home Depot and cut it myself. It still costs more than backer board and is a pain to cut. I am just worried about the fabric, but am loving how it looks and how convenient it is!

  24. It works great. I do the same only using mat board from a frame shop. They have alot of scrap. They were giving it to schools for art and they had too much. I cut it to size (any size I need for the container or shelf.) It's acis free. Check your local frame shop.
    Vicky

  25. So I went to my local comic book store, and he was amazed with what I wanted the boards for, he had ordered one thousand boards that weren't selling. I told him to go into the quilt store down the block, and let the quilters know what he had. So he gifted me 100 boards and I just finished "boarding" my stash. Thanks to you it looks amazing, even hubby was impressed! Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

  26. Thank you so much for your ideas on how to keep quilting fabrics neat! I hope to get my fabric stash tamed down now so I can find what I need when I am quilting.

  27. I wish I had read this 2 months ago. I have nice cupboards in my sewing room, whith closing doors. I just paid a fortune for clear plastic bins that would fit in closets from the Container Store, and still have to go through and properly fold and sort. Would have much prefered your set-up. Now, do I start over, and if so, what do I do with all those bins?

  28. Guess what I bought yesterday?? Comic book thingys!!

    My question for you is, with our new found stash building with fabric.com coupons ;), how do you store your yardage? Like say 6.5 yards of coal or 7 yards of white or …;)

    1. Krista with large yardage I store those folded neatly to fit in a large open bin that I have on the shelves along with the fabrics. It just makes more sense to know what you have major yardage of. I also store amounts like on real bolts from the fabric store. Joanns always has left over bolts that they will give you for free. So I have a bunch stored that way too.

  29. Super tutorial. Just wanted to add something that was questioned, don't remember who exactly mentioned it, but it had to do with the Acid Free factor of these comic book boards. The person mentioned they used a rather expensive method in order to get the acid free benefit.
    I wanted to assure that poster as well as everyone else that these comic book boards ARE ACID FREE. Comic books are very collectable and thus need to be protected in many of the same way our fabrics do, thus these are very very good for both comics and fabrics. So shop away and put those fabrics SAFELY onto these comic book boards 🙂 Your fabric will thank you

  30. Thank You !! When we build the new house I'll have the room, sadly my sewing room became my "hospital" room so everything had to find a new home in a bin here at the house or at the storage room. talk about infuriating….my 16 yr old son & my husband packed everything up, still trying to figure out where some embroidered & appliqued blocks ended up. So glad most things are avaiable online, and I find great site & blogs, ya'll keep me sane most days.

  31. Seeing your fabric in your beautiful new sewing room reminded me how much I love your folding tutorial. So, out I went and purchased my supply of comic book boards, and now I have to get busy. They are a little more expensive up here in Canada, but still very reasonable. Thanks Angela!

  32. Great tutorial! Thanks so much! I just began a brand new blog about all my many interests and I am going to post about my own sewing room overhaul/fabric re-organization using your tutorial with a link back to this page for others to do the same! 🙂 I had bought the comic boards months ago after researching how to organize my fabric, but have yet to actually do it. Thanks so much for sharing! I'll try to remember to repost when it's done, but the website is http://fancifulsojourns.blogspot.com. I'm actually going to start working on it tonight. 🙂 Happiness with my fabric.

    Sarah

  33. FYI, if you don't have a comic book store but have a Hastings Entertainment store, ours had a whole comic book section and I found the cardboard there; 100 for $8.00 I think? I also cut some of them in half for my fat quarters and smaller pieces; works great!

    1. For thise if you who live in rural areas and don't g Ave close access to these types of stores: You can also purchase them on Amazon, with free shipping for Prime members.

  34. Thank you for the tip! I'm gonna look up where we have comic book store in Uppsala, Sweden…. Do you Think this would work for jersey/knitted fabrics too?

  35. I LOVE this idea! Gotta go find some boards. Once I've got mine I can do a demo at my quilt guild and be everyone's favorite person!! I promise to link it to your blog page. Yippee, I'm excited; 2 years after the orig. post!!

  36. This is the exact tutorial I was looking for. My fabric is usually stacked like yours. The problem is that I am hardly consistent in the way I fold so when it is in stacks I can see some of the fabrics very clearly but I can't see others. I have just finished sorting my fabrics by yardage and now I am ready to fold them consistently and get them put into the cabinet where they can be better seen and more easily used when needed.

    1. great idea.
      But, if you don't want to make labels,abd c replace them each time, you can get a good guessiment buy counting the layers on one side of the board, knowing it should be approx the width of the board. 🙂

  37. As Muriel suggested, I would add the yardage of the fabric. To do this, use drawing paper that is acid-free, archival, etc. to protect your fabrics. I would use my computer to print the amount of fabric contained in each mini-bolt on the paper. Cut after printing. A slip of paper (about 3/4 inch high by about 2 inches wide) would be plenty of space for this information.

  38. I've been using this method for several years now. Love it.

    My folds are determined by the length of the piece. If it works out selvage to selvage that's great but if not….. And if the fabric has been cut irregularly, I will square it up (angle cuts are fine) and make pre-cuts with the remainder of the fabric.

    I generally try to wrap new fabric as soon as I get a couple of pieces, or since my stash is rather large, I wrap them when I use from my stash instead of trying to wrap all that I have at one time. I, also, wrap my FQs, or less than 1/2 yd pieces on the comic board cut in half width wise (5 3/4 x 6 1/4") that way I can stand them with the rest of my stash instead of needing to search another area. I hold the fabrics in place with giant paper clips instead of pins.

    I love being able to walk through my mini bolts to find a fabric.

  39. I store my fabric like this but being an avid 're-cycler' I cut up any suitable cardboard I can find. I just hate the idea of throwing away cardboard containers and then spending money on new board.

  40. I, too, keep my stash on comic book boards and it helps so much to be able to just look over and see what works together. I went down to the local fabric store and they gave me (for free) those boards that they use to put fabric bolts on their store shelves. This was on a Monday and they had sold a lot over the weekend so they had quite a few empties. They said they were just gonna throw them away so I took a few and this is what I use to store larger pieces of fabric.

  41. I'm a little late to this party but I did just buy comic book boards and ready to start organizing. An important question however: In the second to the last photo, the folder fat quarter sits on some gorgeous text fabric. Can you tell me where that comes from? I just loved it and will start the hunt if it's still around. Thanks for the great tip.

  42. Great tutorial ! I have just received several Large ( 100 count ) boxes of backer board. As I am moving in a few weeks I figured to settle into new sewing space with a much more organized collection.
    It's going to make unpacking much more interesting.
    Thanks

  43. Thanks for your post. I went to my local comic book store and found the size you used and I also found ones for magazines. I purchased the magazine ones so I would not have the hangover! Works great! Thanks again..I actually enjoyed organizing my sewing room today..tomorrow I get stuff out of the attic!

  44. Great idea but ALL my bookcases are full of books!! LOL. I use those plastic drawers that they sell for toys etc. I have one drawer for each colour. I can what colours I am getting low on. I'd include a picture but don't know how on comments!

    1. you can still use the boards and stand them on their long edge.
      You can also cut the boards to be a bit more narrow to fit the drawer, and the "bolts" will just be a bit thicker when the fabric is rolled on the boards.

  45. This idea has transformed my stash and made my life so much easier. I culled out fabrics I no longer cared for, wrapped the good stuff and I'm one happy camper….just a wonderful idea.

  46. I found an even more cost efficient way of doing this 🙂 I went to my local fabric store and got all of there empty bolts and you can get 2 or 4 mini bolts out of each depending on if you want the flap to hold your fabric in place 🙂 thank you so much for this tutorial 🙂

  47. Thank you for explaining the need to place the fabric edge level with the board so it isn't sliding on the fabric, but the board. This is important to know – don't want to be sliding the mini bolts on the fabric.

  48. I use the same idea, but instead of the comic boards I use acid free foam core. More expensive, but I think they will last longer. Because I don't have a dedicated space for sewing or quilting yet and I have the bins, when I have boarded the fabrics I lay them on one long edge in the bin by colour family or theme eg Christmas or other holiday fabric. I am also incorporating Bonnie Hunter's scrap system.

  49. Just wanted to add that i have mine on bookcase shelves from Ikea that are 8" deep.. perfect for the comic book board.. and don't take up a lot of space in my sewing room (it is very small)… Now that i can see all my fabrics, I am pumping out quilts like crazy:))

  50. I also use mat boards from framing shops. Most of them just toss them and you can get them for free. You do need to cut them down, but for free I will do that. My daughter has actually used some of the framing mats in her room as decorations. Dual purpose. This way I can cut longer thinner ones for my drawers also.

  51. I also use mat boards from framing shops. Most of them just toss them and you can get them for free. You do need to cut them down, but for free I will do that. My daughter has actually used some of the framing mats in her room as decorations. Dual purpose. This way I can cut longer thinner ones for my drawers also.

  52. Thanks for the tutorial. Two things I’ve done, used white thread, I put two stitches instead of pins to avoid rust stains. I measured each piece and wrote it on a small card placed in the fold, so I don’t have to unwrap when deciding if there is enough fabric.

  53. So happy I found your site and folding tutorial. Have so much fabric and currently have them rolled like burritos and layered on a shelf, but have never been happy with this set up. Just ordered 300 of the comic book inserts from Amazon for 14.99/100 and I am happy to pay that to have the beautifully organized fabric area in my craft room. I quilt and sew for my grandchildren and their friends and love that I will feel like I have a beautiful store where I can shop anytime day or night. You are quite talented and thank you again for sharing.

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