|Let me start by saying that I am soooo not organized! I've been TRYING to be organized, but found myself scribbling down fabric contents, washing instructions, etc. on whatever scrap paper was lurking in my purse while I waited at the cutting counter.) Not so organized. BUT, I come from a long line of engineers who's mantras were "There's got to be a better way."
I wanted to catalog my fabric swatches in a binder, but I couldn't find any that would work. They were either too big (I wanted something I could carry easily in one hand while lugging a toddler in the other), not expandable, or not thick enough to hold..um..well..more than a few swatches.
I FOUND IT!!! I found a great little cd case at Staples for a meager $10.98! It's a great compact size, you can purchase additional pages for it, and it has nice, deep binder posts to handle the extra thickness of fabrics. It zips closed and has a carrying handle on the outer edge. closed view
I put a swatch of fabric in each cd sleeve along with a 3x5 card for notes (yds, where I bought it, fiber content, pattern ideas, etc.). inside view I keep some blank cards in the case so when I get fabric cut, I ask them to cut me a sm. square and right then while they cut my yardage I write down the fabric info. (Bonus: Look busy and you might avoid the ever famous "So watcha makin' with this?" question!) I put a sample of any trim or anything else I plan to use with the fabric in the sleeve, too. I've started photocopying the front and back of pattern envelopes I'm planning to use with the fabric, so if I need trim, elastic, etc., I have the info I need right there to buy EXACTLY what I need. I am so tired of guessing wrong...can you tell?
On the pattern note, I also keep a sleeve of nothing but copies of patterns I really want to make but need the right fabric for in the back. That way, they're fresh in my mind when my car spontaneously turns into JAF (not that that ever happens!) and I don't overbuy because I don't know exact yardages.
This system is working great for me! I keep the case in the car so I'm always prepared. It's also handy for out-of-town shopping. My mom lives near a GREAT fabric shop so when I go to visit, I'll throw the 8" case in my overnight bag. Now I can shop with a plan. Hmmm, not sure if that's good or not...I might spend more money that way BUT at least I'll spend wisely!
I hope this helps someone else break thru the fabric guessing game! Now if I could find a way to conquer impulsive buys!!!