As part of my Movember stash-busting efforts – and my desire to really get a handle on my stash and those scraps I can’t (bear to) give away* – I downloaded the most favourably reviewed fabric organizing app on the iTunes app store, Fabric Stash (I use it on my iPod Touch). I’ve just spent several hours over the last 4 days or so sorting scraps into keep or give away piles, measuring and recording the keepers’ size, bagging them each into ziplocs, and packing them into a few boxes. I then catalogued all of the data into Fabric stash (I did the same with my stash), so that I can easily find scraps and pieces when I’m working on a project. Because on the few occasions that I get into organizing, I get.into.organizing, I’ve also used the “non-fabric items” area to catalogue my zippers and threads. Don’t you hate going to the fabric store and not remembering exactly which size zip you already have, or the Gutermann thread number you need to replace?
My overall feeling is that Fabric Stash is good, but not great. It seems to have been designed with quilters in mind and is just being appropriated by garment sewers. I feel this way because the app has fields for “manufacturer” (giving Robert Kaufmann as an option) and “line” (as in, which quilting cotton line did the fabric come from), but not fiber content. Were this app produced for garment sewers, the type of fabric (knit/woven/other), fiber content, and style of weave would all be core fields. My solution is to include them in the name of the fabric (“knit jersey bamboo”; “knit interlock cotton”), but this can get a little unwieldy. This is especially the case because the search feature isn’t as powerful as I would like. For instance, I have several pieces of both “lining acetate” and “lining bemberg” in my stash. I would think that searching “lining” would bring all of them up, but alas no. (I discovered through trial and error that putting the type of fabric (i.e. lining) first, as opposed to acetate or bemberg means that they’ll all be listed in the same place; that’s my solution for the weak search feature).
One of the really nice features is that you can include photos of your fabrics right into the database. If I had an iPhone, it would be particularly easy as I could just take the photos on the phone. Since I’m using the app on an iPod Touch (no camera), I have to take the photos on my digital camera, transfer them to my computer, then my iPod, and then into the app. It’s a couple of extra steps (that I haven’t done yet), but with 75 fabrics catalogued so far, it’ll definitely be worth it!
*I’ve learned – you can always give fabric scraps away! Within minutes of my “take my scraps” posting on Freecycle, I had two people respond, asking for all of the scraps I can give! I’m really happy that someone has a use for them, and they’re being saved from the trash!