Disclaimer: I use standard features within Excel, pretty basic ones actually, but if you're not familiar with Excel, I won't be your teacher! You'll have to learn it by some other means; I had a few computer classes for my job back in the day, and that's been close to 25 years ago! Just clearing that up here at the beginning.
I'm not directly addressing Vireya's question/comments, and I would not expect anyone to utilize my system but if it is of interest to anyone and you think it would be helpful, please feel free to use and link back to this post. I also would not expect anyone who has been collecting fabric (like me) to go back into their stash and log in every fabric...unless you're one of those who likes to count beans along with me. It would be a lot of work, not to mention most people don't keep receipts like I do. But if you're just starting out, and find this appealing, go for it. Adjust it to what works for you, as simple or as complex as you like.
If like Vireya, you just want to track a year, I can see that creating a blank sheet with any or all desired columns, and logging in as you use a fabric could work. I write about this just to show how I've been tracking my fabric for nearly 20 years. Feel free to ask questions if I'm confusing anywhere (I'm sure I can be!).
Column A: "#" I assign numbers to all my fabric. I allow four spaces plus I can use a decimal point. In Excel, you can add a comment within any cell. I add a comment in the primary cell for any given fabric notating which project I used that fabric in. Some have been used in many different quilts as the remaining pieces become strips, squares or other scraps.
|comment within a cell, designated by the red triangle. Hovering over will make the cell pop up or you can right-click and select 'edit comment'.|
Columns D through G: "D" is the purchased length, before washing (I'm a fabric washer). This is not the place for short-cut or over-cut by the provider for length of fabric, or for shrinkage after washing.
"E" is the width, selvedge/selvage (you decide how you spell it - I had old-school teachers who seem to have had British spelling habits) to selvedge/selvage. I can be lazy, so I haven't always measured this on yardage, and often use what I've found to be fairly typical with 42" as the norm.
"F" is the square area of the fabric. In this cell I've placed a formula. This is a function within Excel that can be used if you know how to do it. Re-read my disclaimer. The basic math is D x E = F. Once a formula is in this cell (doesn't show except in the space where you might see a URL on a webpage - see, I don't even know all the terminology so how could I teach Excel?) you can drag the formula through every cell in that column and you don't actually type into it. Entering the length and width, Excel now does the calculation which shows up near-miraculously.
"G" is the approximate yardage equivalent. This column has a formula built into it which is the F ÷ by the number of square inches in a yard** = G. OK, a note here. The number of square inches in a yard is the length of one yard (36") x the width of one yard (42") which is 1512 square inches. Another disclaimer...I don't do metric - that's on you to figure out if you do. I also say 'approximate' because I don't measure perfectly all the time, and because my settings extend to two beyond the decimal which anything beyond that is rounded up or down by the formula & settings. And also, I don't change the 1512 square inch in the formula even if my yardage is actually a 36" x 36" or 36" x 58" piece. My yardage equivalent is based on if the fabric were the fairly typical 42" width. I can't be bothered with changing it for a single cell here and there. The amounts in D through G are never changed - they stay the same forever.
You will probably notice that there are some zeros in some of the D - G columns. In some cases these were fabrics which I obtained early on before I started my tracking sheets. Though I had kept most of my receipts from my purchases, I was not able to ascertain which fabric matched which purchase and my memory did little to assist.
Others are because, and you'll note that there are the same numbers with a .1 or .2 after them, I may have made one purchase of several yards of fabric. It is a single line item. From that yardage and after using some of it, perhaps some full width piece remains along with smaller pieces, maybe a fat quarter, or a pieces that aren't full width. I don't again add it to the original amount because it's already included. Instead, I create a separate line, with the .1, .2, etc. placing zeros in the original columns and the dimensions of the piece(s) in the remaining columns, adding as many lines as needed to account for all pieces. Some of these will eventually be cut down to strips or squares for scrap quilts.
Columns H through K: These columns are handled exactly the same as D - G, except they do change as I use my fabric. Here also is where I'll put the actual size of fabric that was cut over/under or after shrinkage because the totals in columns J & K will let me know how much of that fabric I actually have. Helps when I'm following a pattern that calls for a yard of fabric and I only have a 35" length...could be a close call if I decide to use it.
Column L - N: "L" is straight-forward. The cost per yard paid.
But, you can decide what you want to track (whether actual costs before or after any applied discounts) and if you have trouble remembering your decision, add a comment in the column header explaining your 'cost' as a reminder. I typically use what I actually paid for a fabric before taxes (we have state sales tax added to all purchases - it changes year to year thanks to voters and government). I'm more interested in what my hobby/craft is costing me, but some may care to have the higher value for insurance purposes, or some other reason only you might know. It also helps with knowing the truer value of what the materials cost for a given project.
If I was gifted or otherwise given the fabric, I usually don't put a cost in, or I might use $1 per yard, just to show it has value. The fabric I purchased at the Fain Yard Sale (see sample page)...I bought a huge box of scraps & yardage of mixed fabrics for a set price...I've no idea what it broke down to so entered as zero cost. I may have added a split-value elsewhere for a bigger piece of yardage from that purchase.
The formula in "M" simply multiplies the original yardage equivalent times the cost, whereas "N" uses the remaining yardage equivalent times the cost. To help me keep them straight, I color-coded them and their respective columns.
Column O: Here is my designation for how the fabric was originally purchased, whether yardage (Y) i.e full-width by whatever length, fat quarters (FQ) ~18"x~22" purchased/received as such, or scraps (S) which typically were given to me rather than purchased. I don't purchase pre-cuts aside from FQs so I have no designations for those things - do what fits best for you.
Column P: I mostly use shelves and bins. I try to group my yardage on the shelves with a specific way of folding keeping color families close together. Shelves usually house full-width yardage regardless of length up to but under 4 yards. Four-yards up to but under 5 yards are folded slightly differently but still shelved. Five yards and over are folded along the length and placed on hangers (just those with the cardboard tubing to prevent a crease) so that the selvedges then meet. Generally, anything that isn't a full width is folded and placed in bins. I will say, that sometimes things don't get done according to 'my own rules' and are out of place. Scraps are cut and cleaned up and placed in color-family small shoe box size bins. I wrote under the heading "Well, Looky Here" (with pictures) how I do this, though I don't use the open bins for the FQs now, and now all the yardage has been folded the same way. Going for consistency here for my system to work, but it seems there's may still be some minimal tweaking to do.
In this column, I've also started placing an indicator for when I have designated that fabric for a specific project though it may still be on the shelf. I make the same note on the form I pin to that fabric so I don't accidentally use it. Why keep it on the shelf at all as opposed to a project box? Because I may have bought considerably more than the amount for the project. My notes will tell me how much I might be able to use otherwise.
Column Q: Here's the fabric description, often taken from the selvedge, or if from JoAnn's the number from the receipt too. More recently I've started taking a photo of the bolt ends - much easier than writing them down since sometimes the cut is shorter and doesn't get the selvedge's description. I'm not really good at describing colors, like what's the difference between mustard, straw, dark cream, beige, tan, ecru - they all start jumbling, so I also keep a fabric swatch book with correlating fabric number and a 1 3/8" x 1 1/8" swatch glued in. I used Excel to make that sheet too, but use printed copies to put in a notebook.
Column R: I don't consistently use this; it usually extends beyond my screen size and I forget it's there. It's also a more recent addition, and a single word can be used in the front of the description in the same way. Such as: Solid: XYZ Fabrics, deep purple. Other descriptors: T-o-T, W-o-W, Batik, Christmas, Novelty, Children's, you get the idea.
You might also notice a couple lines where the print is grayed. This indicates there is no longer any of that fabric in my stash, except maybe the smallest of a scrap not worth logging. If you're wondering why my spreadsheet is high-lighted in all blue it's because a few years ago, I wanted to combine several sheets I had with different numbering designations. I had kept yardage, pieces, scraps and a couple other listings separately even if of the same fabric, but found that annoying and cumbersome, so began a revamp and clean-up of my stash closet, shelves, bins, drawers and the lists. I had to have two work-sheets open on my screen to compare, and used the high-light to designate which was done. I still have a few stragglers that I need to finish and the blue is easy on the eyes, so I've left it.
Initially, my numbering system was xxxx.x for yardage and FQ, and Pxxx.x for pieces, etc. I'm no longer using the P, but will not be converting the existing P #s to straight numbers. I also am still using Sxxx.xx for scraps, but am seriously reconsidering the smaller pieces of scraps and may give that portion over to non-OCD behaviour, living free of numbers. My current numbers are at 1336.0, E64.2, J127.0, P293, and S649 indicating the number of different fabrics for each numbering code. The E and J numbers designated specific individuals/purposes of fabric and are no longer used but will not be changed to my standard numbering convention.
You may say "Why spend so much time doing this, and for what purpose; I'd rather sew." And that's fine, as I said, this is my system; it helps me and calms me knowing what I have and where. It's a tracking method. We all create and work differently. Some are willy-nilly and others are more anal and both work great for that individual. So, if it, or any variation of it work for you for any purpose, whether for just a year, or for a lifetime, go for it...or don't :)