One of the projects I have been eager to get done in our new home is creating some shelving in my sewing room/office (or to give it an important acronym, SRO). For the last few years, out of necessity I have been keeping my fabric in plastic tubs, folding and storing it as it was purchased. I maintained a system of swatch cards so that I could keep track, or find things when I needed them. This system worked pretty well, but it was labor intensive to maintain. From what I have seen with my friends, and from cruising around online, most fabric curators like myself tend to organize their stash by color. I can see the logic in this, especially for those of us who make quilts, as we are most often designing by color. Time for some new shelving!
I have two small closets in my SRO, so I decided which one would work best for fabric and did some measuring and thinking. I decided to create a “C” shaped configuration of shelves, going along the back wall and the two sides on each level, ten inches deep all around, which would fit the fabric collection as it is currently folded (refolding would add an extra scary dimension to the project, which I wanted to avoid).
Time to get Him Indoors on board. I would love to say I completed this project all by myself, but no, my Mister stepped up. I haven’t done that many projects on this scale, so I was very happy to have him on board. We went to the home improvement emporium together (they all know us by name in there, it’s scary) and we decided to use a cabinet grade plywood. Not the most expensive ply available, but very good quality. We were trying to keep the budget down on this project, and since they are going to be inside a closet, and mostly covered in piles of fabric, they didn’t need to be heirloom quality. I did decide to stain the ply with an antique white stain to improve the looks of the plywood. I’m really happy that I did that, they have a kind of birch quality to them. Once they were sanded and stained, it was time to put them in the closet! I should say that we had to do quite a bit of prep work inside the closet first - our house is 33 years old and there were some ugly wire shelves in the closet that were put up with those ridiculous anchors that are almost impossible to get out without creating big holes in your drywall. And the walls in this house are pretty pockmarked in general, so once we had filled the holes, I had to make myself a coffin of plastic sheeting and lock myself in there with a sander and the shop vac and smooth out the walls. I was determined not to get dust all over the house (again), and I did a great job. However it was akin to being inside a dust sauna for an hour or so. A dust sauna built inside a coffin. Not fun.
Him Indoors did most of the drilling and mounting stuff. He’s good at that. I’m good at wonky quilts, you can imagine that these skills are not of much value when creating shelving. Of course once you get in there you also discover that your old walls are not completely even, so the shelves had to been trimmed a little here and there to fit. I have to say, Mister did a really fantastic job.
Of course, the best part was the hours I spent unpacking my fabric from the tubs and sorting it into color order on the shelves. A revealing process, I must say. I have A LOT of grey fabric. Grey, and blue. Hardly any orange, and not much red. What does this say about my personality, I wonder?
Everything fit - with not much room to spare! More quilts required! I feel much better about being able to use my fabric now. Having it sorted by color is so much more conducive to the creative process. I just want to sew now, and use it all up!