Thursday, September 9, 2010

Elfa drawers for fabric stash? Need advice.

I'm thinking about using some of these units to hold my fabric stash and selvages. They're from elfa. I saw them in person at the Container Store. They feel sturdy and they look pretty nice. You can get a wood top to put on them (like a counter top.) Lowe's also has some similar wire baskets.



This arrangement would allow me to see my fabrics, and to remove a drawer and bring it to my cutting table. Each drawer is 11" deep and 20" wide. The 3" deep drawer on top would be good for tools, etc. They have liners so little things won't fall through the holes.



So what do you think? Would dust be a problem? Can they handle heavy loads of fabric? I fold my fabric, but I'm not the "fold around a cardboard template" type. Any ideas? What works for you?

36 comments:

One Little Thread said...

I would say no. I put one inside a wardrobe and filled it with mainly folded up Fat 1/4s and 1/2 yards. It now has a serious lean and the baskets are too heavy to pull in and out easily. I am now contemplating paying for shelves to be built in to the cupboard

lisa said...

I used to have some drawers like that in my closet as a "dresser" and I liked it, but I had a problem overloading them and the metal rails would bend/warp under the weight so the drawers would not slide or would fall down. As long as you don't do that you should be good.

Jeanne said...

These seem rather large to be pulling out and moving to your work table. I have similar drawers from Ikea that I've used, happily, for the past 7 years, but they are more shallow. I have larger pieces (but my larger pieces are no bigger than FQs) in the bottom baskets, and stacks of scraps in the top bins, and they work well. I don't pull them out of the rack, though -- I just pull them open and grab the stack of fabric I want to work with.

Poppyprint said...

I use ones like this from IKEA for my sweaters in the closet and like it a lot. I think they would be great for sorting coloured scraps but I like to see my folded stash on shallow shelving.

synnove75 said...

I use similar drawers from IKEA, but they are smaller I think. I like them a lot, but be careful not to let the sun shine where it stays. In my old apartment I had it standing close to the window, and some of my darker fabric got faded... Not fun!
My drawers are heavily loaded, but I don't have a problem using them.
All in all I would say that it's a good storage for fabric.

badlandsquilts said...

I have had two of the very tall Elfa drawer units loaded up with scrapbook paper, stamps, etc for over 10 years and the only weight issue I had was the casters, they couldn't take the weight. The unit and drawers were sturdy. I have the adjustable elfa shelving in the closet of my guest room sewing room and I love that.

Jovita said...

I also tried the similar system from Ikea. In the end I wasn't happy. The drawers were to heavy and made lifting them out quite hard - which you need to do to get things at the back. A few times I didn't pay attention, pulled out too far and had quite the mess to clean up as it crashed heavily to the floor. Dust and light were also a huge problem and after 6 months I scrapped the system.

Jovita said...

I also tried the similar system from Ikea. In the end I wasn't happy. The drawers were to heavy and made lifting them out quite hard - which you need to do to get things at the back. A few times I didn't pay attention, pulled out too far and had quite the mess to clean up as it crashed heavily to the floor. Dust and light were also a huge problem and after 6 months I scrapped the system.

Linda said...

I have had similar to elfa baskets before and was disappointed, but i now have real elfa like the ones you have pictured and they are FANTASTIC!
I have them filled with cleaning, laundry and dog supplies.No leaning, bending or buckling after many years of daily use. If I could afford them for my fabric I would buy them in a heart beat.

Linda

Debby said...

I have the real ELFA and they are fabulous. You can customize the depth and width of the shelves and are extremely sturdy. No problem at all with the unit leaning. I can only imagine someone having a leaning issue might have a knock off brand. Mine are about 8 years old and we even moved them from one house to another. Would be very easy to carry a basket of fabric to your cutting table. Worth the investment!!

Kathie said...

I have bins like this I have had for over 10 years with fabrics in them and they work wonderfully. They were made for quilters. If these are higher quality bins I say go for it. The cheap ones at big box stores are not made for weight. mine have special clips on them will send you pictures if you want. I actually bought them from the same company as Nancy Martin when I saw them in her books I knew thats what I wanted.
Kathie

Sue said...

I have similar IKEA ones and the corners & loose threads poke through. Liners might help but next time round I'm going for bookshelves with doors. Not too deep and all on display once the doors are opened, all out of sight once closed.

Sue said...

I also have the Ikea ones but have the solid plastic ones. They work a treat particularly for fat quarters and small bits. I have actually just moved my metreage(sorry yardage)into a cupboard easier to look at than tucked away in a drawer. Down under (here in the land of oz) so I assume elsewhere Ikea have changed from the silver colour that they used to be to white they have also rectified some of the design flaws of older units - I know because I now own both types and the newer ones are MUCH better.
Have fun deciding

Anita in Florida said...

I have the ones from Lowe's and I love them. They are more than 10 years old and I have them filled to the brim...the really deep ones I keep Christmas fabric, batiks and plaids together. I also use them in my closet for my clothes. I have never had an issue with weight...they are wonderful in my sewing room as I have counter tops on the top so I'm utilizing all my available space!

Mimi said...

Elfa drawers are fine for fabric storage BUT I would not use 11" in drawers, you can get more 3" drawers instead. Never had a problem with weight... my frames are very solid and I have used them for various projects for over 20 years.

Karen said...

I have these drawers and have successfully loaded them with fabric. I do not have wheels, so they are in tucked into the corner of my closet. I used the top three shallow bins for my fat quarters and the larger bottom bin for my folded yardage. Hopefully, they won't warp and collapse as others have mentioned. Mine were free from a friend so if it doesn't work out in the long run, I'm not out anything. Good Luck!

Maria said...

Hi Karen, I met you at Jackie's earlier this summer. I bought some shelves similar to these at Home Depot and got casters so I could wheel them around. They are in my sewing room closet with UFO's and kits that I haven't made yet. Quite full :) Haven't had them too long yet but I love how they look! They hold a lot.
mariaegerard@gmail.com

Linda said...

I'm a plastic bin person myself, but that's because my sewing room is in my unfinished basement. No water (ever) or excessive bugs; I just feel more comfortable knowing fabric I've prewashed stays clean. That said, only you can say how dusty your sewing space gets. They certainly look servicable enough.

mascanlon said...

I have the elfa version and love it! And if you get the shorter basket they aren't too heavy. And if you lay the folded fabric on end you can see it all. I say go for the real thing!

Mickierae said...

I have had the Home Depot version of these for five years. I have no sag or lean problem and they are stuffed with fabric. The top shelf is full of completed quilts (each in its own bag because my 19 pound cat considers it a perfect place to nap).

jaybird said...

i vote no.... i have 6 sets and over the years they have begun to sag.. some have even broke due to the weight of fabric... i'm forced now to have each one that still works only half full... if i could go back i never would have bought them!

patchouli moon studio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patchouli moon studio said...

Hi Karen,
I don't have this brand of basket shelving, but I store my fabrics in the same thing. I've had them stored for over 8 years this way in my sewing room, but not in the closet. They aren't in direct light and nothing has ever faded. I fold my large fabric pieces like they come off the bolt and then fold them once more lengthwise (selvage-to-selvage direction). I then place my 6" X 12" ruler on one end of the fabric and continually wrap the fabric around the ruler and then pull the ruler out. Now it is a nice size and when you want to cut some of the fabric you can unfold a section and cut without unfolding the entire piece. I stack my fabric in the basket so that when you pull out the basket and look into the basket you only see the top of each color sort of like how you only see a small portion of a bolt of fabric, or how you would place papers in a file cabinet. That way at-a-glance you can see all the fabrics in the basket. If you stacked them on top of each other you would have to take it all out to see what you had in the middle and bottom. My husband painted a large piece of wood to set on top of the basket units which gives me a place for pincushions, a lamp, and some baskets of things. It is not sturdy enough on the wood to use for anything like cutting because the wood is just sitting on top and not anchored to the unit. I first began using the basket unit after I saw a few well-known quilt teachers/authors using them. I have one or 2 colors families in each basket. Like I have one basket for blues, one basket for pinks and purples, etc. I wouldn't use any other system as it is so easy to see and use.

Selvage Quilter said...

Wow, so many good comments! Thanks for all the input. The baskets that are not so deep sound better. The 11" deep ones would be pretty heavy. This really helps.

Trudi said...

I have similar baskets from Ikea slightly larger I think, and have been using them for the last 10 years. No problems to report, they hold loads and I love them!

Dianne said...

I have the same sort of thing from Ikea. They are stacked at least 9 high (no casters on those stacks!) and have never had an issue with sagging/leaning/too heavy etc. I like the visibility that they give and recently saw a picture of a sewing studio (some big name quilter whose name escapes me)where these shelves were used along one wall and topped with a solid surface giving her tons of work space. I think if you spend the $ up front for good quality you will be happier in the long run. Good luck!

quiltytherapy said...

I'm using them for my fabric right now and they work really well. It's nice to be able to see what's in the drawers without having to pull them out too much.

Rubyd said...

I have 10 of these basket sets-I bought mine at Lowe's. They are set in a back to back arrangement (5x2)-there is a plastic top on each unit and there is a 4'x8' piece of plywood over the top for a work table. The casters make it very easy to move a rack out for cleaning. Each of the drawers are full to the top with fabric-I have had them now for at least four years and there is no sagging or dragging of drawers when I pull them from the rack. I love being able to see and access the fabric easily...I don't think you can go wrong with a set up like this for fabric storage...

RustyBird said...

I don't have ELFA baskets, but I do have a genuine ELFA shelf, and it is very strong and sturdy. I've had it for about 20 years, and moved it from house to house, and it is still going strong. I would definitely get the ELFA brand if it fits in your budget.

JoAnne said...

I've been using the Elfa system for a few years, the drawers are stuffed with fabric and I have had no problems. I think I have 24 drawers, the eleven inch ones. I didn't buy the drawers like you pictured, I bought the ones you can't see through, I had to label them. Alex Anderson uses Elfa so I checked them out. I like them very much.

One thing though, Elfa goes on sale once a year (I think it's only once) at the Container Store. I think the sale is in January. Elfa is 20% or 30% off then, a very nice discount.

Daisy Julz said...

I have 2 of these units stacked on top of each other and have all my fabrics grouped into colours. Makes it really easy to see what I have! But also allows male folk to see how much fabric you have too!!!

Debbie Littlejohn said...

The Elfa units are the best; do not confuse them with the cheap imitations from other places. Totally different quality. I've had them for YEARS and love them. Also, if you decide to go with them and you'd like to consider buying them used, I have TONS of extras here that I'll sell for a really reduced amount. I'm at organza@optonline.net. (moved my studio to different space so didn't need as many)

Gillian said...

I use these boxes: http://www.reallyusefulproducts.co.uk/uk/html/onlineshop/rub/tTower1x4l_3x9l.php
They also stack up well without the supporting tower and are great for separating projects and fabrics.

Dana KBS said...

I can't speak for weight concerns, but I keep my yarn in drawers like this and I really like it. No problems with moisture or dust (so far). Unless there is an air current that is blowing dust from the side, having a solid top should keep most dust out, I'd think.

I wonder if it would be an issue for small scraps of fabric to fall out the bottom of the drawers?

The Calico Cat said...

I use & have used the Ikea version with the wood on top for about 10 years as a dresser. I have moved them 3 times & with all of that weight, those locations, the moves, etc. no problems. I have always planned to use them for fabric, but I have yet to pony up to a closet remodel that includes a dresser...

margot said...

There are no worthy imitations of the elfa brand. I have had fabric in a system of elfa drawers for years and they have held up wonderfully. I use the plastic liners on the bottoms (it reduces the lines from the weight of the fabric pushing it into the wire of the basket).