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Helen Haughey’s Favorite Tools and Storage Solutions

Helen's spacious studio creates a serene business environment. She especially loves that light comes in through the windows on three sides of her room.

In Threads #174, business owner and couture sewer, Helen Haughey (whose article “Sew a Classic Sheath Dress” was recently featured on the cover of issue #170) let us tour her lovely sewing studio, located in her St. Louis, Missouri home. While she’s still trying to figure out the perfect place for all of her sewing supplies since her recent reorganization, her current system seems to be working just fine. Here we take a closer look at some of Helen’s favorite sewing tools and helpful organization solutions.

machinesTake a look at more sewing studios and spaces:

• More Images from Louise Cutting’s Sewing Room
• An Inside Look at Mary Ray’s Sewing Studio
• Ruth Ciemnoczolowski’s Sewing Room
• Another Look at Kenneth D. King’s Sewing Space


Below you’ll see Helen keeps a number of designer and sewing reference books on-hand in her studio. She especially relishes her Coco Chanel books, since she appreciates the simplicity and elegance in Coco’s designs.


When it comes to making fitting adjustments, this French pin cushion bracelet is Helen’s go-to tool. While she bought hers on a trip to Paris, it can be purchased on Susan Khalje’s website here.

Pincushion bracelet

Helen loves the quality and precision of Bernina sewing machines, and recently bought this Bernina 710 primarily for its LED lighting feature.

Helen and her sewing machine

Helen notes that there are a few sewing tools she can’t live without. They include: a rotary cutter, 8-inch Gingher micro-serrated shears, a seam gauge, an organza press cloth, and a Tailor Trix sleeve board.

Rotary cutter

See more images on next page.

For organization, Helen uses plastic boxes to store large notions such as zippers and trims, while divided clear trays house smaller findings such as elastic and shears.

Storage containers

Helen stores her thread in Sulky thread boxes, which she keeps open at all times so she can quickly locate the thread she needs.

Sulky thread box

This MyKoalaStudio table is the perfect combination sewing/cutting table for Helen. The large, flat surface is great for laying out patterns, such as this Butterick 4386 dress, which she uses frequently.

Sewing/cutting table

Even better, there is additional storage space beneath the table, where Helen stores fabric and other treasured memorabilia.

Fabric storage

Do you have any unique sewing room organization tips? What sewing room tools can’t you live without? Please share your thoughts below!


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  1. User avater
    PKKing | | #1

    Though I can hardly take credit for the idea, I LOVE the two heavy duty magnetic strips (the kind you use in the kitchen for knives) I have in my sewing studio, one attached to the wall next to my machine, and one above my cutting counter. I keep a great assortment of scissors, stitch rippers, tweezers, etc. attached to them both. Nothing ever gets lost under my work because as soon as I finish using whichever tool, I just snap it back onto the magnetic strip.

  2. keerthanraj | | #2

    Though I can hardly take credit for the idea, I LOVE the two heavy duty magnetic strips.

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