So you wanted an Online Fabric Stash


Sewers need to have their own Ravelry like site and believe me if this blogger had any coding knowledge I'd be working on that right now. There are sites like and where sewers can post pictures and comments about finished projects. I'm glad those resources are out there but something was still missing for me... a web application to catalog my fabric stash.

A ball of yarn will readily tell me it's fiber content, care instructions and yardage through a label. But since cut lengths of fabric don't come with a premade label the details quickly fall out of my sieve like brain. Telling a silk from a wool is no problem, but remembering if it came with special laundry instructions? Good Luck with allllll that. I can't even remember how many yards of black twill were purchased at the beginning of this month (the ruler tells me 3).

Today through a serendipitous web search all my prayers were answered with a little site called dabbledb. The 8 min demo presents the product working like stereotypical database full of client information, but don't be fooled, you can customize all the columns and input what you like. In fact this product has compelled me share the magic with you through a little demo. If you're curious of how I turned this into a Fabric Stash DB read on. If not I'll be back soon with pictures of fabric and yarn and we can sniff them together.

So right up front, Do I have to pay to use this product? The answer is No, if you don't mind your DB being public. If you want your stuff kept private then it's 8 bucks a month per user. You'll get 30 days to try it before having to decide which plan you'll go with. I didn't see any harm in the public getting to see the fabric stash, so it's free for me.

I'll be showing the "Start from Scratch" method. If you are a far more organize person than me you can take a premade spread sheet and import all the information into the product. Are you ready? Cause awayyyy we go!

We've signed up to create a database and choosen the Start from scratch radio button. The application then will give us screen that looks like this:
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This is why this application rocks, the field labels will be our column headers and they can be what ever we want. Some examples of what column headers are in my DB are, Yardage, Care Instructions, Fiber Content, Place of Purchase. This view only gives you 8 columns but we can add more later.
So here we are typing in our column headers:
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The "Entry Cells" in our example are the fabrics in our stash. Each fabric will have it's own record which can be edited. We can type some of our fabrics in the entry cells now or add them later. Right now we're going to skip adding them here.

Now that we are done entering column headers/fabrics we click continue. The application takes us to new screen where the columns can be configured.
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The configurations will change how the info is displayed in the fabric records. I'll be showing you some of the options in a little bit. All columns can be configured at any time so don't sweat it. I used the choices auto selected by the program and changed a few later.

After click "Finish" we'll have the regular database view. (But without pictures)
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New fabrics can be added by clicking the new entry text on the left.
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If we need more columns (Boy do we ever!) go to the right corner, click columns and select new field from the list.
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All columns are searchable so once we've got a couple fabric recorded created we might want to make a few columns that will help us separate out our stash. If we have a pattern for a knit top we don't want to see any wovens, right? If we make a "Fabric Construction" column then each record will have a field where we can type in woven or knit. If we want to see all the knit fabrics in the stash, we'll go to the text entry area next to "Search" type in Knit and click the button. The DB will then show us only the knit fabrics in the stash.

Maybe this is a search we'll want to do often. If so it can be saved as a View. If we still have our knit results on the screen then above the column headers will be the words "Save, Revert, Save As."
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These are our View edition options. To make a new view click Save As and type in a Name. We'll call it "All Knits." Then we'll return to viewing all the records by clicking on the category name on the right. If we want to see the "All Knits" view again, we'll go to the top left hand corner and click on the catagory name here to see a drop down menu.
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If we click "All Knits" then the filtered view will return.

Let's talk about those column configurations now because with them we can change columns like "Fabric Construction" into Pop-up menus. Who needs to type the same thing over and over again when we can just select it from a list. Much easier, right? For this example we'll be making a column called "Fabric Type" that has a pop-up menu with different fiber choices.

Make a new column and name it "Fabric Type." In the main spreadsheet view click the column header and choose configure.
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We'll get all these options.
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Choose XYZ Choice. Then you'll see this.
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Under enter new choices type in our pop up selections, Wool, Silk, and so on. Click "Add Choices" and they pop over to the right where they can be reordered or removed. Save all this to exit and return to the spreadsheet view. The pop-up won't show on the main spreadsheet page, but if we click on a record..... ehh ehhh, nice.
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Now the real icing on the cake, a picture of the fabric in your db. I know we all have a flickr account cause we're on Ravelry, right? Let's say that we've uploaded some fabrics to our flicker account as well. Now we're going to hook flickr to the db too.
To start we'll make a new column and name it Fabric Pic. Then choose configure like we did earlier, but this time choose weblink from main configure field. When the Weblink options open here is what we'll pick.
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Check "Links are to images," then choose "User specified text for each link" radio button. Save those settings and then click on one of our fabric records to open the edit view.
There will be a URL entry area like this.
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We'll need to get the URL from Flicker and paste it in there.

Just in case we don't know where that is in Flicker:
1. Open up the Flickr photostream and click on the fabric picture.
2. Click on All Sizes above the pic.
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3. Choose Thumbnail size and then select the path under "Grab the photo's URL".
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Now we can copy and paste that URL into our DB entry area. Save and close the record.
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Back to our main Db page and automagically, one picture in our stash record. It's like Buttua.
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That's about it folks. There are other things we can do with dabbledb but this blog entry is already crazy long. But at least you got to see some cute frog fabric, right rightttt? Yeahh :)

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