Fabric Inventory System

I spent a day last weekend gathering, organizing and calculating in preparation for our meeting with our tax accountant this week.  I love being self employed, but when the new year comes and I realize I have to make sense of the file I threw everything into all year, I start to wonder if I don’t need a better boss.

One of the challenges I’ve faced is keeping track of fabric I’ve purchased.  It’s not really a new problem – I’ve always thought it would be nice to know when, where and for what price I acquired a particular piece.  Now the government agrees with me. 

When I started this project, I thought about exactly what information would be helpful to know in the future.  One of the key things to keep track of is the manufacturer and the name of the line.  This information is almost always printed on the selvage edge.

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I started by cutting that off.  Some of them are quite long, but I removed all the writing that was provided.  I also included the color dots that are on some fabrics to show which colors were used in the printing.  Sometimes that comes in handy when you’re trying to coordinate prints.

On the opposite selvage, I cut a small piece to represent the color and pattern.  On the few pieces that had a white selvage with no print, I cut a small piece just above the selvage.

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I had a couple of pieces with no writing, which is the exception, so I only cut the piece for color and print from one side.

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The other things I decided I’d like to know where the price I paid per yard, whether it was on sale, how many yards I bought, the date and where I bought it.  I made up 3 by 5” cards with spaces to write in that info, along with a space for notes.

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You can download the cards here.  I cut them apart, filled in the appropriate information and stapled the two selvage edge bits of fabric at the bottom.  The pieces that were too long I just folded until they fit.  If I need the info, I can remove the staples and unfold it.

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One option for storage is a small card file.

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I wanted mine in a book.  I started by trying to order plastic inserts from a large online retailer, who shall remain nameless because they gave me a refund after they sent me a box showing a picture of what I needed on the outside, but containing something completely different on the inside.

I had a 12 by 12'” scrapbook I thought I would use instead.  I visited several stores before I found plastic inserts that were the right size for my cards and were the same size as my scrapbook.  I took apart the ridiculously complicated book to put them in and the holes didn’t match.  At all.

Take three.  I went to Office Depot, they had the perfect sized inserts for an ordinary notebook, under $5.  What I should have done in the first place.

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I grabbed one of the kids’ old school notebooks and made a cute cover page for the front.  The nice thing about it is there’s a pocket to hold the extra cards.

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The cards are easy to put in and take out as needed.

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I would suggest you try to avoid turning the book upside down though.

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If you look closely, you might notice bar codes on the back of some of these cards.  I ordered fabric online, and each piece had one of these stuck to it with info about that piece.  Since they came off easily and were still sticky, I just stuck them on the cards.  The backs could also be used to record other information like potential uses or projects that fabric has been used in.

I love my new fabric book and I wish I’d started it a long time ago.

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We’ll see how long it takes me to fill it up.  This might be force me to be honest about my little fabric addiction.