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Declutter Challenge 2024 - Day 19 - Backing & Yardage

Welcome back for day 19. We have three more days to go. The finish line is in sight. I know we can do it.

Today we are dealing with our widebacks and yardage. This is the fabric that we purchase in quantity. And because of its size, it can take up a huge amount of space. It might be on a bolt, it might be in a plastic bag, or hiding in a rubbermaid container somewhere.

There are also different types of backing. Cotton, sateen, flannel, fleece, minky and more. Because of their size they can be very awkward to fold and handle. And some are so slippery, they can also be hard to store.

So like all the challenges in the series, we need to decide on how much space we want the fabric to take up. We also need to balance that with how many quilts we make in a year. 

Next look at your current projects. Can you pair up any backing with what you’ll need in the next year? 

I now have a mantra: if I have it, I use it. I don’t care how much it cost me, I don’t care what designer made it, or how valuable or collectable it might be. If the yardage, colour and pattern work, I’m using it right now. 

So you have defined your space and you’ve matched backing with current projects. 

Now with the remainder stash choose what fabrics will earn a spot in your sewing space. Think about how much you have. Will you ever use it all? Will it even look good on the back of a quilt? 

Now, his week is about decluttering, not organizing. But before you dig into this challenge let's be mindful of the future when you’ll have need of backing for a new project. 

Here’s a few tips. If you have some fabric on bolts and some in drawers, some in cupboards, see if you can eliminate one type and store them in a consistent manner? 

And as you sort and fold your backing, do yourself a favour and write down how much you have. Trust me, your future self will thank you.

Lastly, more than any other cut of fabric, this is most likely to be stored in rubbermaid containers, in another room or both. Which might mean out of sight out of mind. So now is the time to make a swatch library with the size of the fabric cut to refer to.

I have moved most of my yardage and all my widebacks to my studio. As I was decluttering today, I folded them to be a consistent size. Some fabrics were a surprise and other than the 3 yard prepacks, I really didn’t know how much I had. I am still working through a pile of scrap quilts from last fall and now I can easily find what I’ll need.

The amount of yardage we have can be overwhelming. If you know your capacity, use your timer and take it in categories you will make it to the finish line. 

Take care. See you tomorrow for the penultimate day,  Day 20.

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Edward Smith
Edward Smith
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I use fabric labels on much of my fabric so I'll quickly know if it's enough to use in a project, what project I thought of using it for and whether I've washed it. It's very quick to add the label and it helps me a lot.

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