As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m well into FABLE territory — fabrics accumulated beyond life expectancy (I’ve also heard the term SABLE for those whose stashes encompass yarns as well). My large pigeonhole frame, which I acquired back in the 90s from my place of work in return for a new toaster oven, has long been overwhelmed so about six years ago I bought a white Billy bookcase from Ikea and that is now full as well.
I’ve found that the fabrics get easily disorganised on the Billy shelves, especially the solids, where I have small lengths of many colours (average 2 metres), as opposed to prints, where I tend to have larger lengths of fewer designs (5-10 metres) because the shorter lengths are in the pigeonholes. Consequently I tried folding the solids onto cards which were originally the backing cardboard for various carbonless-copy forms at the aforementioned workplace. They are A4 size (21 x 29.7 cm or 8¼ x 11¾”) which is great for fabrics that are generally 44″ wide, but unfortunately the card is not very strong and didn’t do a good job of supporting the fabric so I needed stronger, thicker card. I found some 600 gsm cardstock at Officeworks but it’s insanely expensive — $1.19 per A4 board or $10.98 per pack of 5 A3 boards ($2.20 per A4 equivalent). White mountboard (matboard) seems to be available only in A2 sheets at $8.25 each ($2.06 per A4) so that was out, too.
I had read that comic boards are very useful but on browsing various websites I found that the size is generally too small (and invariably Imperial) — either 10½” or 11″ in height, which means that the fabric would be overlapping the ends of the board and would suffer from wear. Then I came across an oversized class of boards at 13½” tall by 10¼” wide, so I bought 200 at a cost (including delivery) of 60 cents each. They have now arrived and they are definitely a good choice — stiff enough to hold the fabric up, but not so stiff that it’s a pain to cut them. I’ve spent the last couple of days trimming them to 12″ (because 13½” would waste valuable bookshelf space) and folding all my solids onto them. There were a couple of fabrics that remained on the older boards because there isn’t quite enough to pin together on the wider boards, and some even older 90 cm (36″) fabrics that I’ve had since the late 80s or early 90s that I didn’t bother to swap. I do have white, cream, navy and black solids as well, but they are on bolts and live on a different shelf.
I’m pleased with the end result — a full shelf of solids that shows every colour I have and doesn’t need re-adjusting every time I take out a fabric.