My fabric stash has reached critical mass. It’s on the verge of exploding and filling the few remaining spaces in my little flat. It has stretched beyond its home in the airing cupboard (where it found solace after a bad time in a disappointingly damp cupboard), formed a small colony in the living room, plus a mini mountain at the foot of my bed, which has grown to such proportions that I can no longer access the drawers of my dressing table. (If you’ve ever seen the film The Quatermass Experiment, you’ll have some idea of how something can grow and invade like this without explanation.)
While an abundance of fabrics could never be distressing, the dust and disorder of such a sprawling mass has become a source of stress. It’s also far from practical if my earlier 20-mimute hunt for my felt selection is anything to go by.
So what to do in an already packed home? Storage is at such a premium that I’ve gone so far as to install overhead bookshelves. I’d had a vision for several months of a tall, skinny cupboard that could stand in my narrow hallway without obstructing passers by. I’d taken the search to Ikea and far beyond only to come to the conclusion that such a piece of furniture did not exist. But then the answer presented itself to me in the basement of an antique shop. I was poking about, mentally furnishing a fantasy room with some of the weird and wonderful items in the shop, when I had to stop in my tracks and squeal: “That’s my cupboard! Look, look, this is it!” My accompanying friend was a little bemused but humoured me as I rooted around madly in my handbag for a tape measure to confirm that I really had discovered my Price Charming of cupboards.
After a frustrating two-day wait for delivery, the skinny glass-fronted bookcase arrived at my abode and took up temporary residence in the middle of the living room where I could lovingly sand, prime and paint it. I even discovered treasure under the old wallpaper in the back of the cupboard; a copy of the Bath Chronicle dated 1969 was there to tell me when it was last renovated. I fully intend to keep up this tradition and conceal a piece of a current publication for the next owner to find. A cover from Mollie Makes would be appropriate if only I could bring myself to cut it up.
So here it is, three coats of Farrow & Ball’s finest later, my brand new fabric storage cupboard. Now for the best bit. I intend to spend a very indulgent few hours sorting my fabric stash, folding and filing as appropriate. I love the idea of having piles and rows of material, each showing a hint of its repeat lined up like the spines of books my cupboard was designed to house. Already I’m feeling slightly anxious about the best approach. Should I file by colour, pattern or keep collections together? Indecision never felt so good!