Up-cycled Fabric Bolts

Recently I posted a picture of my organized fabric shelves in my craft room, and actually got questions about it, so here I am answering an actual question from instagram! In all honesty, I took these pictures for this post MONTHS ago, the message on instagram just kicked me in the butt to actually get them posted.


A couple of years ago I was laying in bed around 2am, unable to sleep and stumbled across a post about a local quilting store that was closing their doors, and having a liquidation sale. You best believe I hit that up and bought all the fabric. But this added to an immediate and desperate need for organization. I wanted to display my fabric so that it was easily seen but tidy, out of the way and easy to select. Essentially, stored vertically, not stacked. I schemed from how fabric is displayed at fabric stores… on bolts. I knew this was something I wanted to imitate.

So I did a little research and took into account the shelves I had in my sewing room. I came up with dimensions that would work mostly with yardage cuts and fat quarters. And then I took the number one free resource I have as a by-product of ordering everything online because rural life is the best life… cardboard boxes.


For yardage cuts, I use a bolt size of 7.5″x11.5″. I traced these dimensions out, and cut it with a craft blade/box cutter, the ruler I use for my rotary cutter and an old cutting mat. I definitely didn’t want to score up my good mat I use for fabric here, so the old one works best. Now, I will just use an existing bolt as a guide whenever I need to cut new ones.

To fold yardage around the larger bolt, I lay the fabric out, folded in half like it comes from the bolt at the store. Usually with the folded edge at the bottom, I’ll fold it again, pulling the selvedge down to the folded edge. (By starting with the folded edge at the bottom, it creates a fold at the top and the bottom of the bolt, keeping frayed ends inside and tucked away) From here, I place the board 4-5 inches from the end, and then wrap the end over the board, and the wrap the board with the fabric. Voila!


For fat quarters or cuts less than a yard I use a smaller bolt of 4″x6″. To fold fat quarters, I lay them out flat, and fold twice. You can use the same technique for the second fold here as with your yardage to keep rough edges on the inside of the folds. After  you’ve folded it twice, wrap it around the board in the same manner as before. Now you have a neatly tucked bolted fat quarter!

As a side note, if this seems like more work than you’re willing to put in, MiniBolts is a great company that sells plastic bolts pretty close to these dimensions. They sent me a couple of samples a few years ago, and they’re durable and easy to use. But personally, I would rather upcycle and use materials I have laying around and save more of my money for fabric and thread.

I hope you’ve found this tutorial useful! Also, if you have an organization method that you absolutely love, I want to see it! Do you organize by stacks? By collections? Or do you have like colors stored together creating a visually satisfying rainbow of fabric?!  Leave a comment or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram!



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