Alphabet News

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Recently I purchased some great Japanese alphabet fabric.  It’s a very nice black & white print, and I will be using it as an option for adding a pet’s name to the surface of my pet beds.  This was my first request for a custom pet name using this fabric, and I think it turned out very nice.  It has a kind of Anthropologie look to it, don’t you think?

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Fabric Storage

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In honor of September’s National Sewing Month, I thought I would share my favorite methods of fabric storage.

To store my lovely fabric stash of quilt cottons, I recently purchased some white glass front shelves from Ikea. The glass doors help protect the fabric from dust and my kitties. But the best part is that you can easily see just what you need, without digging through a stack of fabric. And to be honest, I just love looking at them all neatly folded and color sorted. It’s like a nicely organized bookshelf, except there is fabric instead of books!

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I have all of my scrap or small yardage quilt cottons, that I typically use for my quilt block beds, stored in small canvas bins on Elfa shelving from the Container Store. These little canvas bins are available in different sizes, and are nicely accommodated on different shelf depths. They also come with a clear plastic label area. Again I have them color sorted, but rather than type out what colors are in what bins, I just used the fabrics themselves for the label fronts, so that I know which bin to grab on my next project.

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For bulky fabrics, like my minky fabrics, I have found that nothing works better than these large canvas pop-up laundry bags I found at the Container Store. They are wide enough, and deep enough, to hold quite a few yards of the fabric. Since I stock 37 colors, I purchased several bags for color sorting.  And, in my case, the bags fit beautifully underneath my large sewing table. An extra bonus!!

My utility fabrics (canvas/muslin/batting) are stored in large clear plastic tubs with lids that I got at my local Target store. I do have some unwashed bolts in the room, but like to transfer the fabric to these tubs once washed. Choosing clear containers lets me quickly keep track of my inventory of fabrics washed and ready for cutting.

Thanks to Lucy for assisting with the photography.

How do you store your fabrics? I would love to know!

Sew Colorful

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There’s just something about color in thread and fabric that really gets me drooling.  Those of you who sew will totally know what I am talking about!  When I saw this new line of Aurifil cotton thread that the Hawthorne Threads website started carrying this past week, I got pretty excited.

252 colors.

252 glorious colors! 

And all viewable online.  And then of course there is the chart you can purchase.

Thread Card

Oh my.  I think the Kona cotton color chart I currently have is in need of a colorful thread chart for a friend.  And if you are trying to match specific thread colors to your fabrics, this is the way to do it.  Yes it may be a little more money up front  (this thread chart sells for $29.50), but it’s the only way to go if you are going to order products online.  And it certainly beats standing in long lines at your local brick-and-mortar store, your sample fabrics in hand, to purchase your thread.

In my shop I had a need to match all of the 37 minky colors I carry to a same color Kona cotton.  To start with I ordered many swatches of minky fabrics from several different online companies.  I did this both to check the quality of the fabrics and their color. Then I purchased my Kona color chart online through Purl Soho.  Here is a photo of that chart.  Yum!

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I then matched up my minky fabrics to the closest shade of Kona cottons, and created an Excel spreadsheet showing my color names (used in my own shop), and the product number/color listed for the corresponding fabric in several online shops.  A somewhat exhausting task but worthwhile once complete, as it saves me time when I need to place a new fabric order online.

Here is an example from that chart.

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I do a lot of my online ordering for both my Kona cottons and minky fabrics through Fabric.com.  So far I’ve experienced great customer service from them, and if your order is over $35 – which mine almost always is – shipping is free.  The chart above only shows nine of the 37 colors I carry.  As you can see, this chart allows me to quickly determine the correct product to purchase from each specific company.  The Kona cottons always carry the same name/number, even if purchased through someone other than Fabric.com.  In fact the highlighted rows above quickly indicate the colors that Fabric.com does not carry, and those products I purchase elsewhere.

For others who sew, or have a sewing business, I hope the process by which I select my products/colors is of some help.  I would also love to hear how you make your fabric color choices!