Saturday, January 14, 2012

The fabric collection spreadsheet

Shannon of Hungry Zombie Couture is an Organizational Goddess.  Seriously!  Her last couple of blog posts have been about her fabric closet, how she organized & folded it and how she keeps track of her fabric.  Since I'm getting ready to move my fabric from the bins to fabric shelves, these posts really caught my eye.

After moving all of this fabric from the old apartment to the new townhouse, I've decided that somewhere there should be some kind of list of exactly what I own.  I have a good idea in my head but I can tell you that I definitely found pieces that I'd forgotten about as I packed up the collection.  So instead of laying out and cutting my gray pieces last night, I embarked upon making my own fabric excel spreadsheet.

I decided to start with the pieces that are laying around.  I can tell you that this is a very involved process and I applaud anyone who has maintained this type of database.  I've entered exactly 17 pieces of fabric and I'm in awe of how much work this is.  I think I'm gonna enter a few of the fabric bins before they are opened and placed on the shelves because can I say it again, this is ALOT of work!  *LOL*

However, I've learned a few things:
1.  Did you know that both Fabric Mart and keep a listing of all your fabric purchases.  
Now this can be a good and a bad thing.  Good because I was able to find a piece of fabric on Fabric Mart's site that I purchased in 2005 enabling me to get most of the specifics onto the spreadsheet.  However, they have every purchase I've made since 2005...people that's 7 years of fabric buying which is definitely the bad side.

2.  Even the coupon codes are listed on both sites.
So you not only know how much the yardage originally was but what discount you received.

3.  Thank goodness that I've been tagging my fabric as it's shown up.  It will make putting most of the entries in very easy...time-consuming but easy.

I've only got 17 pieces entered but I want to keep this up because it's not only informative but it will be very helpful.  It's just a very large task entering all of the fabric I have...guess I'll just have to take it one piece at a time.

There was a question on my "Thanks" post from Szmusil...
"Regarding wool...Once your garments are sewn, how do you care for them?  Do you dry clean?  Hand wash?  Some other method?"

Szmusil - let me tell you first that I have ALOT of clothes.  For the last few years on average I've made at least one garment a week.  So most of my clothing gets one or two wearings a season.  Pants get a little more wear but I'm trying to change that by wearing more dresses/skirts or my jeans to work and changing into a dress or a skirt. Okay so that was a huge aside but I think it's important to understand why I chose the method of cleaning that I have.  I dry clean my wool garments and not very often because I don't wear them repeatedly.  I just like how they are cleaned and how they come back pressed.  I know that drycleaning is not everyone's preferred method of cleaning but it works for me.

I think I'll get to the actual business of sewing tonight so more about the new pieces soon... always, more later!


  1. Okay.... Yes, I am in awe of folks who are this organized, but can I tell you how much I never ever want to track my fabric with spreadsheets?

  2. The spreadsheet is great and should be a great help when planning for new projects. No waiting for new fabric that you may not need. One bin at a time should make it a doable project.

  3. It looks like you've put a lot of effort into your spreadsheet, but the picture is not clear.

    Instead of taking a photograph of your computer, why don't you maximize the spreadsheet window, do an alt-PrintScr, open MS paint (or other picture software), do a ctrl-V, then Save As - file name - jpg type. See if you can replace your photo with the screen shot. Then we can see what you've done.

  4. Oh my, you're so organized! And it will be such a great tool when you're done. I knew Fabric Mart kept records, but didn't realize did also.

  5. I started my spreadsheet pretty early on into my stashing "career" so it was a lot less painful for me.

    I really enjoy maintaining my fabric data - it makes both my right brain and left brain happy at the same time!

  6. I'm with Shams on this one. I don't even want to know how much fabric I have. I have found it very handy to be able to visit to see what the fabric I bought was made of so I can add that info to my reviews.

  7. I started a spreadsheet earlier this year because I thought it would be best to start now before things got really overwhelming. I am really good about logging fabric in. I am NOT good about logging fabric out. Which isn't so much of a problem yet, but I expect I will need to be better about it in the future. And yes, it IS a lot of work. I don't have nearly as much fabric as you do (not saying that that is good or bad either way, just matter of fact), and it took me a REALLY long time to catalog it all. But I think since you have to organize it anyway, it is probably good to sort through it and have a list. It gave me a good idea of what fabrics I had a lot of, and where my stash was lacking. Once you get your main collection cataloged, tracking what comes in becomes much easier. Best of luck with your efforts!

  8. \
    I`ve made an inventory of my fabric too and find it really useful - it has helped me keep purchases to a minimum which really helps me save time too since the nearest fabric store is 30-40 mins away .

  9. Sounds like a daunting task and I'm just exhausted thinking about it!

  10. I started a similar spreadsheet when I put my fabric on shelves too - measuring the size, listing the fabric content, where and when I bought it and including a photo. It took way too long and I gave up, plus I don't think I really wanted to know exactly how much fabric I have - I have enough that makes me happy and that's all I need to know!

  11. I don't envy your task. Until there is an Android app, I'm going to stick with swatches on index cards. Have you tried any of the fabric apps from BlueShift Software?

  12. I admire your organization!
    My method is a bit simpler but I probably have less frabric than you: years ago I started a swatch book, each time I buy new fabric, I cut out a small square and staple it to a page in the notebook with description of width & yardage, but also care instructions. I find I need to actually see and feel the fabric when I am deciding what to use.

  13. I may want to do this too. Sometimes I have found things I don't even remember buying; which disconcerts me because I was sure I knew everything in my modest stash. Think DH is slipping stuff in?!
    Good luck with the catalogue.

  14. Ditto Shams and Sherril. But I can understand why you might want/need this type organization. I'm surprised you are retyping instead of downloading the information somehow.

  15. I have a spreadsheet that is about a year and a half out of date. I never, ever ran the total yardage--THAT would be TMI for me! I stopped updating it when I realized that the only time I opened it was to add new purchases. Shannon's gorgeous fabric organization did spur me to pull out and refold my collection--I refold periodically in order to prevent foldlines.

  16. Oh my goodness Carolyn. Yours sounds like an onerous(is that really a word?) task. Good luck with that!Lol.

  17. I have a spreadsheet - have maintained it for several years in a Microsoft database. However, I use a lot of different computers, including a Chromebook I got free as a Beta tester in Dec. 2010. I needed something "in the cloud" - enter Google docs.

    Did you know you can add images to a Google docs spreadsheet? I figured out how to do it and now it is like having my own little Fabric Mart to oogle! It really helps track down things in my garage (aka the fabric warehouse).

    If anyone wants more info, leave me a comment on my blog and I'll do a post about it with a view-only link to my stash.


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