Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tips on storing fabrics

I love fabric and like to be able to see all the colors and textures, but this is the down fall. Light is your enemy when it comes to exposing it.

Think about how curtains fade in the sunlight over time. Not only is sunlight a hazard, but artificial lighting can be an enemy also. I worked and managed several fabric shops. We were constantly moving fabric out of direct light and artificial lighting also.

When you go to purchase fabric look at the folded crease. Do you see a difference in shades of the fabric? Usually that means the fabric has been there a long time. If you are cutting the fabric up into small pieces then ask for a discount. If you are using larger pieces make sure you purchase enough to work around the flaw.

Now to storing it when you get home. I wash my fabrics so I try and fold it a different way after washing. Helps get the folded crease out of the fabrics and I need to fold it to fit on my shelves. Bolt fabrics I buy I take off the cardboard center because of the tanic acid in the cardboard. That is what causes brown spots on vintage fabrics. It is a chemical that is natural in wood products and cardboard is made from wood.   Now storage issues can be hard. Not everyone has archival storage boxes to put your fabric into.

Plastic containers might be the answer for dust and light issues, but if stored in a damp environment it can produce mold and mildew. Open air storage on shelves can cause the fading of colors and dust and mold and mildew. Especially if stored in a damp basement.

Is there a perfect area to sew and store fabrics? Well not in my world there isn't. We have damp and humid summers. I like light when sewing whether it is the sunlight coming in the window or artificial light. I have dust and odors because my husband smokes and we have a fireplace. Also my storage is limited because of the size of the house we live in and I have to much to store it properly. Do I get enough used up fast enough, NO!!!!!

Working with fabric is a joy to many of us  and your storage  methods can be hard to chose. I don't think any of us have a perfect solution to the issues that are at hand. Use what you have or can afford. Remember you tried and did the best you can with this problem. Chris  


Katie M. said...

some good info, thanks for sharing. I am fortunate (I guess) to live in a very dry climate (the AZ desert) and I am able to store in plastic containers. I wonder if, putting a pouch of silica (or other such media) in with fabric that is stored in plastic containers would help with the mildew issues.... Also, for odor prolems a box of baking soda with holes poked in the box.... just wondering because I really don't know....

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

I did not know that about the cardboard cores! Great to know....