I’ve been doing a lot of general life organizing lately. After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing I’ve been going through my house bit by bit doing my best to toss out unessentials and learn to live with less. Sometimes it can be tricky getting rid of things but I hate clutter and I love organization so its usually worth it to have less stuff. Fabric, on the other hand is a different story.
After going to fashion design school and then working at several different internships in the NYC garment district, I managed to acquire a decent amount of very nice… and very free fabric. Not to mention my sporadic purchases at either craft stores or flea markets. So its safe to say that my stash has gotten a little
excessive extensive. This is not a complaint, I love my fabric stash. However it has gotten quite difficult to keep track of it all. I often am unsure where a particular piece is located in my studio, or want to know how much yardage I have of a certain bit but don’t feel like digging it out to check. Frustrating stuff for a seamstress.
Enter Cora. Cora is a free app (with in-app purchases) that helps you categorize and organize your fabric stash. Y’all this app is SO HANDY for anyone who has a decent sized fabric stash. Before I get into all the awesome details of Cora, let me share with you my old method.
THE OLD METHOD:
I did have some sort of organizational method before Cora came along. It consisted of 3×5 index cards on a loop. Each card had a fabric swatch stapled to it on one side. The other side listed the type/content of fabric, the amount of yardage on hand, and any potential ideas for usage. I had a different ring for wovens & knits, and each ring was divided into prints & solids. This method has suited me for quite a while. I like that with the swatch on hand I can feel the fabric when I’m flipping through it trying to decide what to use for my project.
However, this method has failed me in many ways. I often forget to go back to the card after I’ve used some of the fabric and update the amounts. Also, I failed to have the foresight to write on the card the location of each piece. Searching was also a struggle, as I had to flip through each card to find what I was looking for.
THE NEW METHOD:
Cora solves all of those problems. With Cora, I can take a photo of the fabric, and record any and every detail I could possibly use when searching for fabric for a project. My favorite categorizations are: marking if it’s been prewashed, the location of the fabric, the specific pattern/print, and of course width & length available. These are just a few of the ways you can categorize your fabric in Cora. While I do miss being able to feel my fabric as I flip through it, Cora is always with me. If I see something I love and want to make sure I don’t have anything similar but I’m not at home, I can check Cora. If I see a new pattern has been released that I just HAVE to have and want to see what fabrics I have on hand to make it with.. I check Cora.
Cora lets me filter by yardage, washed status, weight and more. Its also easy to update once I’ve used up some, but not all of a particular fabric. Plus I can use the search tool to type in any identifying factors (i.e. gingham, tops, blue) and it will show me any fabrics I’ve labeled with these keywords.
Cora is free to get started, but if your stash is anything like mine you will want to take the upgrade to add more fabrics. I’ve never felt more in touch with what I have in my stash since using Cora. I used to see my stash as this mass of mystery fabric that I had no idea what to do with. Now I think of my stash as my personal little fabric shop (where everything is free!!!). If you really want to
scare yourself feel proud of yourself, Cora will tell you the exact number of yardage you have available for your sewing pleasure. Confession: I have 148 yards of fabric listed in Cora .. and I’m only about halfway done categorizing. (Why did I feel a little dirty sharing that!?)
Also – as I’m going through my stash I am doing a bit of de-stashing. If you are interested in checking out what I’m getting rid of you can see it all in my Etsy shop here. I will update that often so be sure to check back!
Now… what are you waiting for!? Go download Cora now and give your stash some love!
*** This post contains affiliate links, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Ashley Maxwell says
I love your idea to make recipe cards out of fabric swatch cards! That’s so creative. I like how you also gave a great DIY for how to staple and bind all the cards. My sister and I are considering buying fabric swatch cards to be able to make them later.
amy Powell says
Thank you so much!
I forget where I got the idea but I loved being able to flip through them and feel the fabric in my hands when deciding on a project.
which online stores do you recommend to buy fabric? i’m new to sewing and want to use linen, canvas/cotton, wool. ty,
amy Powell says
My favorite online stores are: Mood Fabrics, Fabric.com (for just about everything), Style Maker Fabrics, IndieSew, and Blackbird Fabrics (the last three are great for a curated selection of apparel fabrics)
Debbie Keeble says
I am at the quilting stage of my life and my stash has gotten quite large. Can I take a picture of the intended pattern to go with a certain fabric, so I won’t double purchase? (yes, I have done that)
amy Powell says
Hi Debbie, You cannot add any additional pictures other than the one of the fabric. You could I guess include the pattern in the photo with the fabric. Alternatively, there is a place for notes in each listing where you could write a note for your intended pattern. For pattern stash sanity I recommend Helen’s Closet’s method using Trello! (just search on her blog for an example!)