13 January 2012

Keeping Track of My Fabric

Last time we spoke, I shared how I organize my fabric shelves by folding my fabric neatly.  Today, we discuss how I organize it all electronically.

Keeping Track 
At last count, I had one and a quarter kilometers of fabric (that's about three-quarters of a mile for my metric challenged friends).  That's a lot of fabric to track and manage.  Although, I probably could list out a good portion of my fabric off the top of my head, I figured I'd go a bit more high tech with the actual cataloging.  I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of it all.

Here is a screen capture of a section of my actual spreadsheet:

The headings for each column (from left to right) read Fashion Fabric - Shannon, Content, W("), L(m), O(m), R(m), Use, Pattern, Fr, Cost, Cost, Cost, Date.

Let me explain the headings:

Fashion Fabric - Shannon
This is a list of all the fabrics in my stash that can be used for me (I have another spreadsheet for fabrics that I use for my hubby).  It is a visual description of the fabric (colour, pattern, etc).

I have often thought of adding photos of the fabric (which I keep in a separate folder on my hard drive) to the spreadsheet, but I have never actually needed more that just the written description to trigger my memory of a fabric.  So, to date, I haven't bothered with this extra step.

I list fiber content here (silk, cotton, linen, wool, etc) if I know what it is.  If I am unsure of fiber content, I either leave it blank or take a guess (all my guesses are followed by "?" so in the future I remember that I was unsure).

Fabric width in inches.

Fabric length in metres. This serves as an indicator of how much fabric is brought into my stash.

Fabric out is how much of a certain piece of fabric gets used.  

Fabric Remaining.  If I use the whole piece of fabric, the description of that fabric gets grayed out.  Also the font used to list the fabric remaining turns from black to red in colour when the value falls to zero.

This tells me what type of garment was made from the fabric (pants, dress, skirt, etc).

This tells me what pattern(s) I used for a certain fabric.  I find this invaluable for future reference.  Often, when a favourite garment gets worn out and I want to recreate it, I can't remember what pattern was used.  This column allows me to go back in time and find out.

From whom did I purchase this fabric (Fabric Mart, Fabricland, Fabric.com)?

Cost, Cost, Cost
Cost of the fabric per length.  (for example, $16.99/m)
Cost of fabric per piece.  (two metres @ $16.99/m = $33.98)
Cost of fabric piece with taxes and shipping worked in.  (include Ontario HST of 13% = $38.40)

The date the fabric was purchased (listed as month-date, so 3-11 would be march 2011).  I just started including this information last year.  I wish I had done this right from the start, as sometimes it's fun to see how long it a piece of fabric has mellowed in the stash.

I love this spreadsheet.  It is so helpful when I need to find 2.0 m of a 45" fabric for a project.  I can sort the info by both these criteria and narrow down my choices.  Then, it's just a matter of pulling the fabric off the shelf and sewing.

Ahh, organization...my precious...


Fran said...

I'm always challenged with what to do with the 'leftover' pieces that mess up the looks of nicely folded fabric. If they're small enough I can live with getting rid of them, but there's always that piece that you think might be useful somehwere! What do you do with them?

shams said...

Impressive organization, Shannon!

alethia said...

Fabric organization no matter what method you use is a lot of work. Awesome

Linda T said...


Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Okay, I'm sooooooo copying this! Especially since I have to go through and touch each piece of my fabric to put it on my new fabric shelves...using the folding method that you talked about in an earlier post! So thanks for both of these posts, I truly appreciate you sharing your experiences with us!

Jennilee Cookman said...

This is an amazing idea! I love spreadsheets so I don't know why I haven't thought of this myself! I totally need to do this my next free weekend. :)

Sangerin said...

Thanks for your postings, I've learned much from them. I have a similar spreadsheet and add one more column: color. I use the "text background color" function to give me a visual reminder of each fabric and it helps me know quickly what colors I've been stashing or neglecting.

Trinity said...

I have a similar method, though I use separate sheets for fabric in/fabric out. It's amazing to see all the entries on the fabric in list (I didn't realize I bought so much wool last year), and really encouraging to see all the entries on the fabric out list :o)

Audrey said...

I have a very similar excel file that goes back to 1995. I sum the cost by month. Theoretically to keep myself within a monthly fabric spending budget. Ha Ha Ha. It is interesting to compare the price of silks, cottons, and wools over the years. They really have not changed much until recently, at least from the sources I buy from.

fiberchick said...

Your organization skills are blowing my puny little mind!

T. Sedai said...

I really like this! I have a similar spreadsheet, but I also include care instructions and if I have posted a photo to my blog (so I can go look the picture instead of fabric bin diving). I also don't do as much with the fabric cost (sort of afraid to look), but probably I should. I am pretty good about recording fabric in, but not as good about recording fabric out. I think this post has inspired me to try harder in my organization though!

marysews said...

I also have a fabric spreadsheet, but the most notable difference is that I have not included cost. Most of my fabric is so old that I could never figure it in.

patsijean said...

Impressive. This is a much neater system than mine, which is printing out each fabric order and stuffing it into a shop ticket holder.

ReaderRita said...

This is such a great post! You really thought out the categories quite well. The columns "Pattern" and "Use" are sheer genius. I'm just developing a stash, and this info is invaluable to me as it will allow me to start something properly (and elegantly) for once in my life. Organization is the ultimate foundation! Thank you.

Jodi Wade said...

1.25 km!!! OH my! It makes me feel a little better about my out of control fabric stash:)

Tia Dia said...

I SO need to do this.