How do you stay organized?
How do you organize your sewing supplies? Let us know if you’ve got any ingenious ideas for organizing those patterns, fabric, notions, thread, tools, etc.
Deana Tierney, Associate Editor, Threads
How do you organize your sewing supplies? Let us know if you’ve got any ingenious ideas for organizing those patterns, fabric, notions, thread, tools, etc.
Deana Tierney, Associate Editor, Threads
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Deana, I can't resist asking:"Organized?!!" Well, um, that's relative, I suppose. I have a thing for unusual drawers and containers, so quite a bit of my stuff is scattered about the house and not just in my sewing room. I have a wonderful multi-drawered unit that came from a science laboratory; it has many small dawers on two sides and in it I store all kinds of sewing related stuff like bag handles, buckles, unusual braids, embroidery items, etc. It hangs out in the living room. Some years ago I found a small case which was apparently used by a school district dentist. It's got 6 drawers, a dropdown front and a carrying handle. My threads store perfectly in the 4 upper drawers (which still held all the dental tools when I bought it) and small notions fit in the 2 lower drawers which are larger. Like all of us, I store fabric in a variety of ways; one which works well for me is fabric folded in baskets with lids which can then be stacked. I'm not sure if this answers your question?
To keep machine needles organized, I purchased from the sporting goods section at a local store a clear plastic bait keeper. It has slots that are adjustable. I adjusted the sections to fit the needle packets. On the outside cover with a permanent market, over each section I wrote the size needle and type. Example, 12 Embroidery, 14 Embroidery, 16 Jeans, etc. It works perfectly.
Also, to keep the feet to my machine organized and so I would know which is which, I purchased a "worm keeper" from the sporting goods section. It is like a little notebook, made of nylon and has plastic zipper bags on the inside. I put a presser foot in each bag along with the card that came with the foot. It is easy to keep up with and to take to class.
That worm keeper's a great idea!
I really like the idea of the "worm keeper." Is this what they are actually called if I went to a sport shop to purchase one?
The "worm keeper" had a blue and white logo on the front "Quantum". I flipped it and embroidered on the other side and use that for the front.
How to stay organized? Lots of tins. I have five sewing machines and a serger, and so have a great number of machine-specific feet, needles and bobbins. To tidy this, I bought identical stacking cookie tins, two for each machine, and labelled them with the correct machine's name (not make and model, but name - my machines are my pets!). I stack the tins on the kitchen shelves, each beside the correct machine. The treadle is the only exception - she gets a ceremonial ottoman for storage of her accessories.
I also saved Whitman's Christmas chocolate tins over the years, too - they're a perfect fit for rows of Gutermann thread. I also saved Celestial Seasonings little tins over the years for pins and buttons. I arrange them in the order of the spectrum and store them in a clear plastic box on the shelf. It's a rainbow of tins on my kitchen wall.
All of my tools are stored in a beautiful rolling wood cabinet that Hubby made for me as a gift. It is similar to an auto mechanic's red steel roller cabinet, but it looks much prettier, is portable and can also be used as a drink mixing bar! Our kitchen is a very multi-purpose room.
My modest fabric stash is sorted in the order of the spectrum in the linen closet. I found it easier to sort by color than by fabric, and it inspires some nice sewn combinations.
Now if I could only organize my life to find more sewing time!
Everything in the sewing room has its place, and on finishing a project I tidy up, then vacuum the rug, ready to start the next project. I'm not a neat freak, but find projects go a lot faster this way....something like gathering all the ingredients for a cake before actually beginning to mix the thing.
Absolutely! In culinary school we learned the magic of "mise en place", which means "everything in its place" - getting every ingredient measured & chopped, all the necessary pans, knives, cutting boards, etc. lined up and working neatly.
I like to apply the same thinking to sewing, but the truth is that I have to, since my sewing area IS the kitchen! I've had sewing projects going while cakes bake or sauces simmer - I have mise en place on the kitchen counter and "mise en coudre" (coudre = sewing) on the kitchen table! :)
Now, I don't go so far as to vacuum afterwards - you get the prize for diligence, Starzoe!
Thank you for the prize. The truth is, I can't work in a mess and my floor has carpet and all those bits get trodden in after a while.
How do you deal with pins and carpeting? Don't they get stuck in it?
It's not a real problem, not enough of a problem to pull up the carpet and replace it with hard flooring. My sewing room is also my studio with drafting board, computer, bookcases, cupboards and drawers for storage, and sometimes a second guest room when the family visits. Am thinking of putting in a Murphy bed.I have always been able to have an extra room for myself and count myself lucky in this. Because of regular moves (and a lot of them) I always had to think of resale so never did any serious renovations.
I asked because a few months ago I posted a question about flooring. My current sewing room is just bare wood flooring. I really want to move my sewing room to my daughter's old room that has much better natural light. But, it has thick carpeting and I don't want to take it up because that end of the house tends to be much colder in the winter because it's above my garage. The carpeting acts as additional insulation, (there are hardwood floors underneath.) I'm pretty sloppy with pins and envision them wedged in the carpet creating a needleboard floor!
I have carpet in my sewing room but am pretty careful with the needles because my labrador loves to be in here with me. Also I don't like to wear shoes in the house. I've heard of putting gauze or nylons over the vacuum to "catch the pins". This probably wouldn't work if the vaccuum has roller brushes though.
I had this problem too, but it solved itself when I put down one of those big plastic chairmats under my rolling chair at the sewing table. The pins landed on it. So then I put another mat at the cutting table. The ones with studs work well.
I have carpeting in my sewing room. If I spill my pins I can pick them up with one of those telescoping magnets. It works great and I don't even have to bend over!
Magnetic pin cushions really helped me with pins lost on the floor. The few pins that do fall on the floor can be picked up using the magnetic power. It does help that the pins nowadays are much bigger.
I use a fishing tackle box for my notions and thread, the kind with two tiered sides that accordion outward, and a large interior space in the bottom for anything that doesn't fit in the little slots in the tiered sides. This way, my notion stash is also portable, in case I have to travel.
I have to admit that my thread stash has outgrown the tackle box and is now in two thread storage boxes, but that only occurred when I branched out to embroidery and acquired many colours of embroidery thread.
PINS that evil necessity! I have never had a sewing space without carpeting so have been stabbed several times in my feet over the years UNTIL I discovered the flower head pins (I love the ones from Clotilde) they are colorful and seem to stay visible when dropped. I also have that neat expandable wand with the magnetic tip - also from Clotilde - and I go over the space I have been working in with this wand to pick up any stray pins. The magnetic pincushions work great for this but you have to get down and I'm not very good at getting down anymore. Of course it won't work on nickel and some of those smaller pins are nickel. I use weights to hold my pattern down and a flower head pin or two where I may need it, but have delegated all my silk pins and even those nice colored head pins to the back of a drawer and do not miss them. I also think that magnetic pincushion helps more than you realize in keeping those pins contained as you sew. I tend to take the pin out as I sew up to it and leave it lying on the machine bed until I finish the seam or whatever, but with that cushion nearby it's easy to grab it and swish it over the area to clean up the wayward pins.
Don't you just hate it when a pin gets wedged sticking up in the floor and you step on it in your bare feet? You would think that a mentally healthy person would be more careful with her pins or at least put on shoes, but nooooooo, this idiot retains her old habits. I'll try your flower pins. Everyone warns me about using magnets anywhere close to my machine so I don't buy that kind of pincushion. I wrote previously about my giant magnet on a long stick that I got so I wouldn't have to bend over, but it's a real battle to use it since it grabs hold of my shelves, filecabinets, ironing board, etc. and is really, really hard to pull away. Using it results in something that looks like a skit from Saturday Night Live.
I date each pattern and store them in more or less date order in plastic drawers or shoe boxes with dividers for different types: tops, dresses, accessories, costumes, children's, etc. When I use one, I tape a small piece of the fabric to the back of the pattern envelope (on the French side, which I don't need) and write on the front the date and any special notes about the pattern. I keep more recent ones in front and sometimes cull away the older ones I never used or didn't like.My notions are in plastic drawers according to type: cutting/marking/measuring tools, elastics, zippers & fasteners, buttons.My threads are in two curio display boxes, arranged by rainbow spectrum, with black/white and speciality threads at one end.My fabrics are in folded stacks, and my remnants and smaller pieces are in copy-paper boxes according to type: darks, lights, fancies, sheers, brights, fleece/fur/felt.This sounds very organized, but I also have temporary boxes and stacks of things from the last few projects lying around. When the search for something starts to take too much time away from a current project, I bite the bullet and start clearing up again!
Wow - I just have to say, thanks! I've never thought of filing patterns chronologically, but it's a terrific idea. That could help me keep the pile to a minimum.
Five June Tailor pegstands on the wall hold my serger threads. The cones are arranged in rainbow stripes from pure white through yellows, tans, browns, reds, greens, navies, lilacs, purples, grays, and blacks. Having the navies in the middle and the blacks on one side saves the trouble of having to sort them out when I sew at night. Regular and other specialty threads are stored in a cabinet specially designed for that purpose. My fabric really is "stashed" in several plastic laundry hampers, sorted by color, purpose, and type. If notions are purchased for a specific project, they get pinned or bagged with the fabric; however, one drawer in the thread cabinet is crammed full of zippers picked up on sale, another holds shoulder pads, and a thrid hanks of elastic. Machine feet and other tools I use all the time are in a tall plastic mini chest right behind my sewing chair so I can swivel to get them without having to stand up. Ribbons and cords take up the top two shelves of the bookcase where sewing books are stored. The button stash is in the bottom two drawers of the minichest. As you can tell, I like to sew a lot.
I use the exact same method as Starzoe. I clean up my room every evening when I am done for the night. When I complete a project I do a major cleaning. Then my head is clear and I am ready to go again. If things are in order its easier for me to be creative. I know most don't work that way, but its what works for me. So everything has its place. solo
In the home we just sold Jan. 18th, I had one of the bedrooms for my sewing room. The closet had two shelves with a clothes pole lower down - high enough for skirts and shirts. This was no doubt a child's bedroom before. We added one more shelf and I filled the shelves with my sewing supplies. I had clear shoebox size plastic buckets, which I labeled on the ends filled with my supplies: zippers, buttons, bias tapes, hem tape, trims, ribbon, craft supplies, etc. I bought slightly larger clear plastic buckets for interfacing, my serger thread, remnants, and use one for patterns that I have used and altered. I bought a square and rectangular plastic cake carrier with handles at the local WM and have used them for my sewing machine threads. There are also 4 pattern boxes which are sorted - one box for my daughter's patterns, one box for craft patterns and two boxes for my patterns which are sorted by type (ie: blouses, tops, jackets; and skirts, pants, accessories). My embroidery threads are in two cases designed for that and the embroidery and cross stitch items are in another bucket. It was so easy to find things because they were all neatly stacked and labeled.
We have just moved to a smaller place, so I'm still in the process of getting my sewing room set up again. The closet happened to have a nook with 4 shelves, so my buckets have mostly been stacked there. I even fit a book case in that closet for my sewing books. I just bought an L-shaped desk with the intention of having my sewing machine on one part and the serger on the other when I'm sewing, thus I will just be able to swivel my chair to work on whichever machine I need at that moment. However, my computer also needs to be somewhere on the desk and I'm in the process of trying to decide how to best work all these things.
As for fabric, it is presently in buckets, but I'd like to have some piece of furniture to put some of that in.
My "resolution" for '08 was to organize my sewing room. I thought it would take about 3 months but I let everything else go & got it done in 2 weekends. Someone in my office told me once that I was extremely organized but terribly inefficient. I told her "thanks, I think". So, here goes. I purchased a VERY heavy 2 "stall" table from a girl that did acrylic nails. This table holds one embroidery/sewing machine & my serger. My blind stitch machine & 2 others are under my sewing table. My serger threads & basic threads are all on thread spindle racks mounted to the wall. I have a white board just above my sewing machine & a corkboard above my sewing table. My sewing table (my husband & I made) was to be for my home dec sewing. It's now all-purpose. We made sawhorse legs (3 sets) to hold the table top. I have lots of goodies stored underneath it. Several rolls of home dec fabric are slipped in the sawhorse legs, as we had to put a brace half way up. That keeps the rolls off the floor. Patterns (I have WAY too many) are all in numeric or alpha order (if no number). I take a pattern envelope & put it in a sheet protector which goes in a 3-ring binder. The contents of the pattern are in 8.5x11 envelopes w/pattern co. & number in upper right corner. I even have all pattern #'s in my palm pilot so I don't buy the same one twice. Well, that hasn't stopped me all the time! The pattern are sorted by category (skirts, jackets, casual sets, work sets, etc.). That way, I can "shop" for a pattern. I converted a closet to hold more fabric by putting additional wire shelving in. I purchased the white adjustable-shelf book cases for other fabric. I try to keep it together by color. I've put the makings of purses in plastic bins. My sewing machine feet are in a plastic bind with dividers so I can see into it. I have 2 of the small-drawer item holders from the hardware store. I painted the outside black (this is part of my '08 organization goal since I'm going with a black/white/light blue color scheme for the room). I bought black & white photo storage boxes on sale to put elastic, seam binding, covered button kits, snaps, velcro, zippers, etc. in. I even have a corner hutch that came from my first home that was used for dishes. I have all my miscellaneous stuff stashed in it. It can be rather chaotic at times but I'm lucky to have a space - and a door to hide it behind when I'm going 90 MPH.
Patterns go into envelope style file folders in a file cabinet with drawers designated for adult, children, costume, and home dec/accessories/other. My biggest organizing tool is a little something called the "Three Items Rule". It's simply this:
Every time you get up to do something else, put three items away. Size doesn't matter and throwing away counts. If I do this for one day in my cluttered studio, I've usually run out of items to put away by the end of the day. It's a little thing that makes BIG impact.
I'm not good about putting things away while I'm working. I really like your three items rule, especially if throwing things away counts! I might actually be able to stick with that one. Thanks
I'm not good at putting things away while working either! But when it's only three items, you really can't convince yourself that it will take too much time. I still fall off the wagon when I'm really in the throws of a project, but like I say, if I do it for just one day, it makes a huge difference.
I'm a quilter for the most part and my biggest problem is stacks of fat quarters that threaten to take over my cutting table. This fall I added some open shelving right next to my cutting table and when I choose the colors for a quilt, I move those sweater boxes of fabric onto these shelves. I take the covers off those boxes and leave them open. I'm much more likely to put a fat quarter back in its box when I'm done with it now. The boxes stay on the shelves until the next project, then I just switch out the colors that I don't need for the colors that I do.
My sewing room is combined with my home office which includes one of my computers, a work desk, and my library (multiple bookshelves of which two are totally devoted to Sewing.. including all my back-issues of Threads). I have a portable cutting table on wheels that has two drawers and a place underneath that I can store my serger and sewing machine when not in use. This small room has two dormer sections which store my ironing board/iron and the other has my dress form for fitting purposes.
I use the closet to store my fabric stash, and I have a portable milk crate file in which I keep my patterns which are filed according to: Skirts, Pants, Pantssuits, Jackets, Blouses, Outerwear.
On my computer, I've attempted to organize my sewing plan so I can look at my stash of fabrics/patterns and figure out what combinations and projects. Here's an example of my Sewing With A Plan. on top of things.
Dk Brown rayon/polyester<!----><!---->
Ordered from Gorgeous Fabrics<!----><!---->
Dress w/ Tuccks<!----><!---->
Thanks for the great idea for an Excel chart!
I've often purchased fabric with a project in mind, which I don't get to for a year or two - and then wonder what pattern it was I had in mind and how much yardage there is in that particular piece of fabric. Your idea is a time-saver!
If you want my spreadsheet to use, let me know and I'll send it to you.
Thank you for your offer, but I liked your spreadsheet so much that I created one on the spot for future use.
:-) (I love Excel!)
Edited 2/20/2008 9:38 am ET by sosewnem
Your "3 Items Rule" is ingenious and may save my sanity. :D Usually I wait till I'm done the project at hand, but by then my (way too small) table is a foot deep - or at least it feels that way. Thanks so much! :D~Kel
You are quite welcome--it's saved my sanity too. I have a huge cutting table, but it is just as likely to get piled high with stuff!
My 84 year old neighbor had the most amazing sewing room I have ever seen. She had a design degree from FIT and we spent many hours together in her room. In this room she had SEVEN !!! antique map cabinets with all the wide shallow drawers. In them were buttons and laces and trims to die for. She also had an antique thread cabinet with the gold Coats and Clark decals on it. This room was amazing and she was so so organized and so very creative. I miss her. solo
I'm rather new to this list and I certainly can't claim to have a tidy sewing area (I am like others on this list who thrive on the creativity born of chaos). However, I'm actually very organized. Here are a couple of tips that I haven't seen mentioned.
Vacuum Store Bags: In preparation for a move several years ago, I took all of my scraps and condensed them in the vacuum space storage bags. The medium ones stacked neatly in a box and greatly condensed the number of boxes I had to move. When I got here, it took several months before I got around to unpacking scraps. I found them only slightly wrinkled, but otherwise ready to go! So I reorganized them by color, the bags are clear, and are stacked on a lower shelf, neatly out of the way, but easily accessible. The nesting hatboxes that had stored the scraps before the move have been re-purposed for my dabbing in crocheting.
4 Drawer Cardboard Storage Boxes: In the laundry department of our local box stores (Walmart is a favorite) there are four drawer cardboard boxes that were initially designed for closet storage. I have a series of five of them in my sewing room with each drawer dedicated to categories of items: shaping (underwire, shoulder pads, etc.), cutting tools (rotary cutters, shears, pins, weights, marking pens, tracing paper), glue sticks and guns, home decor trims, zippers, interfacing (coiled over wrapping paper tubes I trimmed down to fit the drawers), pressing tools and other such groups of similar items. These are lightweight and are stacked side by side on top of an old desk like a hutch. Their cardboard construction makes them easy to update to the decor at will. I recently painted over the marker I had used to identify the contents the first go round and now I'm using brightly colored "sticky" note sheets to temporarily label each drawer's contents.
Wooden Toy Furniture: My local craft store has an assortment of unfinished mini armoires and other chests that were originally intended for doll house furniture I think. They are very inexpensive. I finished them to coordinate with the room. In one "tall boy" I have filled each drawer with needles. The lower drawer has wing and double needles I don't use very often. The upper drawers have ball points and other needles I use more regularly. In another "chest" I have sewing needles, darners, and embroidery needs and thimbles. On the rare occasions when the room is completely clean and the machines are stowed the chests look adorable at the end of the table with a posy vase. My friend recently gave me a pin cushion shaped like a chair that works perfectly with the furniture. I found a small wooden box to which I elevated by gluing four inverted mini wooden candle holders. It's now my coffee table and under the lid are garment labels! I'm planning to stitch a wild woman doll to perch there (cause I prefer the magnetic pin holders).
I am trying to teach my son this as I find so so many books all over the room. He will spread out and I hate to squash his creativity so this has been an on-going teach-you might say. He is Autistic and loves big picture books and the Travel & National Geo. magazines and he matches up pictures and stores and he could fill his while floor and bed with books and etc... Now I just have to keep this up for me too. What sad as throug our day we get so distracted esp. when hubby calls early and says I am on my way - we ditch things in the most interesting places. I am trying not to do this. NOW he is talking of selling our home and downsizing - moving near our daughter (who is expecting our first grandchild) and the rest of the familyin Ga. We live in Va only due to the job.
I tell my self too, yet I still collect way too! Of course it's all the good stuff :~) I spent yesterday afternoon going through all my patterns and sorting them in better sections now I just wanna' find a better way of storage to get to them easier. thanks for 'three item rule' I shall try to keep remembering this through my day and will someday soon reach that goal and that website - neat :~)
One principle that is invaluable: make sure your drawers or containers are clear, so that you don't have to squint to find a label, if it hasn't fallen off. My patterns are stored in boxes sorted by type of garment: skirts, tops, etc., I do not like the thread spindle racks that have to be tilted to get a spool out, and have most of them in clear acrylic boxes. My closet contains stacks of plastic storage boxes for fabrics, one "tower" on the left, one on the right, arranged by size. I separate quilting fabric (arranged by color) from garment fabric (arranged by material). In between the two towers is enough room for a rolling plastic storage cart with clear drawers, in which I put 1. trims and binding, 2. measuring and marking, 3. templates and quilting, 4. pressing, glues, fusibles, 5. buttons and cording, and 6. elastic and hoops. My rulers, mats and square grids are on a wire rack (from office supply store) or an "L" hook on the wall, and vertical things (rolls of pattern or freezer paper for example) are stacked upright in a long rectangular cardboard box in a corner of the closet. Bolts of muslin and boxes of batting go up on the high shelf. Whew! I have an old-fashioned treadle sewing machine desk that holds my machine and a few tools in the drawers, but I think I envy the person who has the desk from a nail salon - brilliant!
I have very limited space to store odds and ends, and also to leave work in progress. I also have a cat.
When my husband bought a wall-mounted utility box for nails and screws, he didn't get to keep it! I mounted it on the wall and it contains needles, pins, tape measures, scissors--what have you. Since it is translucent plastic, I can see at a glance where things are. The little drawers come in different sizes, too.
My defense against the cat is to cover any work in progress on the dining room table with a fitted bottom twin-bed sheet. She's hesitant to step on anything when she is unsure of what is underneath, and it keeps the cat hair to a minimum.
I use one of those nut-and-bolts units for my buttons. I have a lot of vintage buttons and I have them sorted by color in the drawers.
Several years ago one of the teachers at the Husqvarna Center suggested we check the toy department and buy a double-sided box that kids use to store their Hot Wheels collections.
The little compartments are just the right size to keep Sulky embroidery thread. The plastic is opaque but one can see the colors throught it, and the box has a handle. It is the perfect place for about 50 spools of thread--the best part being, they don't get tangled up or dirty.
I've got friends who use the Hot Wheels boxes for embroidery thread, too. I don't do machine embroidery, but a lot of free motion quilting and usually use thread on the 1200-1500 yard spools. I have old sewing machine drawers mounted as shelves behind my quilting head and I store the thread on these little shelves. I'm keeping my eyes open for some sort of shallow cabinet with doors to use instead because the thread gets so dusty on the open shelves.
I bought ten photo boxes when they went on sale for $1.99. I have them along the top of a shelf in my sewing room. Instead of listing the contents on the tiny label, I just put A-J on the label.
I also had a blank page journal (You can buy them at Michaels for $1.00) I placed tabs on the edges, with an alphabet letter for each tab (A-Z). As I put misc. items into the boxes (needles, sewing machine attchments, threads, seam rippers etc.) I would write that item down in the journal. Example Needles would go under "N" tab in journal. Each item would be listed separately in the journal. You can put anything in any of the boxes and find them again by checking your journal under the letter it starts with. I have found this to be the answer to the clutter for me. I also lay my journal on top of the boxes, so I can get it when I need to.
You would be really surprised at how fast you can locate any item, if you tried it.
I converted a walk-in closet to become my "sewing studio." (Mentally, the term "studio" gives the spacea purpose and a bigger impact.) Needless to say space is at a premium, but with careful planning I do have a spot for everything. Many of the tips mentioned in other emails are used in this space. Clear boxes, patterns organized by categories, etc. Some things I use in my studio that haven't been mentioned.
I store fabric in Rubbermaid bins and have them labeled: Winter knits, summer knits, winter wovens, summer wovens, kids fabrics, miscellaneous. And, I don't add anything in a bin unless there is room. Therefore if I purchase something and the bin is full I either have to make something or dispose of a fabric .. often donating it to a local group. I also have 2 stackable rolling bins that I purchased from Ikea (children's department) that I keep scraps in.
I hung a curtain rod along the wall and attached several curtain rings with the clips that work like a clothes pin. I hang my cutting mats, etc. from these. I also have hangers (skirt & regular) to hang works in progress from the rod.
I hung a lightweight rod over my built-in counter that I keep my sewing machine and serger on. I use the curtain rings to hold miscellaneous items .. such as a sheet that has all my passwords for my sewing sites, my teflon ironing sheet, etc.
Through the years my children gave me many special mugs and instead of throwing them out I use them to hold items such as scissors, pencils, brushes, etc.
I use a product called "StikkiClips" to hang papers (patterns, directions, notes) on the wall by my sewing area. The clips are removeable and can be used over and over again.
My built in work counters are "L" shape and are at 2 different heights. The one for the serger and sewing machine is lower which puts the machines at the proper sewing height for me. The other one is desk height and was designed so the top removes to become a light table.
A chair rail was placed on the wall opposite of the sewing counter to preserve the wall from chair damage. This is a converted closet and it is narrow so if I am too exuberant when I move my chair I can easily hit the wall.
I have a wicker hamper that I keep my distilled water, my tailoring hams & clapper in. It tucks nicely under the counter.
Our condo was new construction, so instead of a regular door to the closet I had a pocket door installed. Therefore I lost no space in the room because of the door.
I have a small, portable ironing board on a counter for ironing as I sew, which reduces the need to use the "big ironing board." It doesn't fit in the studio.
Good lighting is a must. I added florescent lights under the wire shelves.
Would I like more room. Absolutely! But, I love being able to go to my studio, get lost in the creative process, and leave it there to be continued later. No more clearing the bed and shutting down everything which was the case when I had a corner of the bedroom.
hi like the way you laid out your system and I have a few of what you have done and some I will implement in my Craft room. I printed it so look over when in my room and see how to better my space. More Space - on we all would love that no matter how much we have when it comes to our own craft sewing space. This is my world and I really want no one else in it. I do not have a door to shut them room off but I have a moving cart that I placed beside the table that blocks it off when my family was here so the little ones didn't enter. They were too little to move it, next yr. might be a different story, :~)
All my walls have either a large cabinet with buckets in them or the other three have a Shelf and dresser with shelves on top of that for better storage of what I need to get to. I like the pocket door idea and wanted a sliding door of some sort but was told the tracting for that door would take away from the space so I decided to lay up the room so that it was as easy to get into unless I moved this cart on wheels I plan to get a large heavier one with locking wheels so it is closed off and keep things I want to leave them and come back. Thanks again for sharing your ideas w/ us all, :~)
Thank you for your kind words. You mentioned that you use a cart to keep "little ones" out of your sewing room. Does the cart have locking wheels, or is it something that you could add to the cart. That would keep it stationary until you wanted to move it. Also, perhaps a child or pet gate could be put in the doorway. There are so many types on the market that you may be able to find one that is "perfect" for your needs.
I wish you happy creating.
I have an 8sided house and my sewing/craft area in half of a great room downstairs where the other half is a exercise/reading/tv room - then there is a large table for Paints and other wet crafts. there is no door but furniture that marks this are off but it is still a large enough area. The cart does not have locking wheels, but I do plan to get one and one that I can use better than the one I had. NOw that cart has all the paints and brushes so to keep the table clear so to paint and wk' on. That cart is an old tv cart that little small tv's sat with a little shelf under it. The previous one who owned the house left it. The little one do not live close by but will come back this summer so I have to get me a new cart. The way I have this all section off I can place it in between the sewing table and a large cabinet/shelf unit I have and you can not get into my sewing area. I have a doll collection up high and that is what invites them to want to go in. BUt these never come off the shelves. Great hearing from you, I gotta' run and go find a pattern or several to make those pants I am trying to wk' out with using fabric I cut up from 2 extra jackets. :~)
I also store my huge stash of fabric in Rubbermaid bins, but I have each labelled with a letter ("A". "B", so on) on an index card and attached to the bin. When I purchase new fabric, I cut a small swatch and mount it to a plain index card The index card is then filed in a plastic storage box designed for index cards, with all pertinant info (width, yardage amount, etc), then also add which bin it is stored in. Whenever my creative juices are flowing, I get out my index card box, go thru the cards of fabric swatches, and get a project going!
I like your idea of attaching swatches. I am going to try that as my bins are cumbersome to get off the shelf they are stored on. This would save time, energy and my back when I have looked in the wrong bin.
I like this idea too I have all my cross stitch separated in those containers with the info. on the ouside but didn't think about the fabric. I have it all in an open cabinet and I do lose where I placed a certain one I am looking for. I will have to measure out my opening and get some new container. My mom (mother-in-law) hangs her fabric - she gets the pants hanger from Target and hangs them on a small hanging rack. Most large pieces however is stored in a closet and dresser. BUt she knows where they are all. She washes and presses the material and I think folds it inside out and hangs it ready for when she wants to use that piece. She does alot of quilting and has quite a bit of fabric.
One yr. several of us caravaned to the Grand Canyon from Ga and we stopped at every Walmart all the way there and back (drove the men crazy), looking for a certain fabric and buying every piece we found and then some to finish this quilt for her daughters' bedroom. Mom bought all she found at her closet Walmat but needed more. SO she has a lot more than she will ever need - she tells us all to come pick out what we want and she will think about letting it go :~) hahahaaaa
My daughter and I redesigned and redecorated my sewing room in one weekend. After painting the walls and putting in new flooring, I purchased two five-tiered chrome plated metal wire shelves and two four-tiered ones. They're strong enough to hold fabrics, books and storage totes and all my fabrics are in plain sight...well, mostly. The quilt stash is in large totes because many are small and stringy, but they are arranaged by colors. My patterns are arranged in sliding metal wire drawers that hang under the shelves. Because I have gazillions of different colors of threads, I needed some way to keep they orderly. I found the chrome, mesh flatware trays perfect. I can see through them, they hold various sizes of spools, and they stack.
I like to have lots of embroidery bobbins pre-wound and my machine is not compatible with commercially available bobbins. So, I've purchased lots of bobbins and pre-wound them. I store them in translucent used prescription tubes with the color written on the outside of the tube. I also store other small parts in the used prescription bottles (knitting markers, darning/tapestry needles, grommets, etc.). The bottles are also very transportable, so I can throw them in my project bag when I travel.
I keep my tools separate from my supplies (the things that need replaced). And I use see thru containers as much as possible. Threads are separated by general color (like yellows, etc) and they are in a plastic drawer unit. Embroidery threads are separate from sewing threads. Specialty threads are separate too. Stabilizers are in a clear vinyl hanging shoe bag which i found in a thrift store. Not the pocket type, but it has like "folded loops" on both sides. Patterns are each in a larger flat bag so they fit it with less of a fight and on their bag i write my measurements at the time and the date (time changes our figure and the date helps me think if i need to remeasure). Same for children's patterns. Then all these patterns are standing up in one of those cardboard storage boxes with no lid. And I separated those into some categories-children, adult tops, adult pants, home dec, fun projects, projects with embroidery designs, etc. Basically, I need to have most stuff in view or I forget about it. That's just me. Also, I found, for me, that if I move and rearrange too much at once, I seem to forget it's new spot, so I do any of that very slowly. Emilie
I have a unique problem. I don't live in a house, but in an RV. One thing about living in an RV, you can't store things all together in a logical order, you have to store them where they fit.
I have thread in two of the double sided thread carriers and a Hot Wheels case. I had no place to store my machine and serger, so we devised a storage ottoman from a large Rubbermaid tub and it holds my machines, larger notions, etc. A large tackle box holds smaller notions, along with a small workshop cabinet with clear plastic drawers.
I have some fabrics, patterns and projects in progress stored in large baskets with lids.
I do miss having a sewing room when I have to clear everything off the table several times a day for meals, but wouldn't give up the life of travel we are living.
Kitty Mom: "I don't live in a house, but in an RV"
I relate. We travel in our RV a lot and I usually take along my cutting board (which is stored behind the couch) and my sewing machine and/or serger. I have a wicker basket that I keep essentials in, and a recycled plastic see through chocolate case for threads. These last two usually ride up front with me, in front of a little stool I use for my feet. I also take along my iron and a short, collapsible ironing board. Full width but short on the length. The ironing board is stored at the back of the hanging closet and the iron above the washing machine.
So, like you, things are a bit higgley piggley in terms of location. I usually do hand stuff when we are travelling and wait until we set up for a few days to pull out everything else. I usually cut out and sew at the picnic table outside. That in itself is a great ice breaker as others stroll by our sites.
I really appreciated you telling about your experience with organization in your RV. Scrubble4
Oh you are so blessed! You are living my dream! DH chickened out and won't give up the house and big yard. We go to RV shows and I drool and daydream about how I would set it up for sewing. Enjoy living each day! Mary
The biggest thing I miss in this lifestyle is my sewing room. Right now I am working on quilts for each of my grandkids. The machine is on the table, iron and ironing pad and cutting mat are on the countertop. The drawback is that everything has to be moved when its mealtime. But it is a small price to pay for having the chance to see this wonderful country of our.
In my sewing haven, there is a place for everything but rarely is everything in its place! For me, chaos breeds creativity and for that reason I strive for a state of organized chaos in my sewing room. I use many of the previously mentioned storage methods. In addition to having 5 large 3-ring binders with the pattern envelopes, I also have one binder for my Burda WOF index. When a new magazine arrives, I make a copy of the "All Styles at a Glance" pages and insert into page protectors at the front of the binder. This makes it easy for me to quickly scan through all of my WOF's. Another binder holds copies of each yearly index of Threads. When a technique grabs my attention while reading, I make a note on a roladex card (i.e. welt pockets #122) and insert alphbetically into a roladex for quick access. There is then space on the card for notes after actually trying the technique.
A 10-drawer antique thread cabinet keeps my threads arranged by color families and brand. An antique china cabinet with upper glass doors is a great place for fabrics. The inside is lined with cedar drawer planks and the cabinet is on a wall that never sees direct sunlight. Glass apothecary-style jars with lids store buttons by color, wool roving, and assorted embellishment fibers.
I am fortunate enough to have a dedicated space for sewing. I have taken over one of our bedrooms in our home. We are empty nesters, so it is perfect. It is way over stuffed, but I tell everyone that I work better in controlled chaos. I also tell my daughter is always after me to clean up "that" room, "Creative ideas and projects work best in a cluttered room"! LOL
There are several things that I do as well to keep organized that have already been mentioned. I do have a few to add.
I found an antique printers cabinet that is about 5ft tall. The drawers are shallow and allow me to organize small items. It is close to my sewing area. Some of the items I store in the drawers are loose buttons, buttons on cards, bias tape, extra marking pens, tape measures, zippers to name a few.
Another idea for keeping organized, I bought these small three drawer organizer at my local organizing store. I have several of them to put notions and supplies. I have stacked them in closet 2 high. I have labeled them and have like items grouped together. I have laces and trims together. I have snaps, covered button kits, hook & eyes, etc. together. I also have a draw dedicated to my stash of safety pins for basting quilts together. I have a glue gun and glue sticks in another. It is a very handy way to store these items. It is easy to find what I am looking for and keeps them dust free since I live in the desert.
Another use for a tension curtain rod, is to mount in an appropriate space, such as a space in your closet that you can fit one. I use this rod to store my spools of ribbon. I can see what I have and am less likely to buy duplicates. LOL
I do go to sewing clubs and classes quite often. The best thing I purchased was a plastic 2 sided pencil box. I found it at a closeout store for $1.99. It is perfect for storing my extra feet for my machine, marking pens, hem gauge, a seam ripper, and extra pre-wound bobbins. On the other side, I can carry many different types of needles. I find this to be one best organizing tools.
I also wanted to say I have learned a few new ideas from you postings. I too like the 3 item rule. Maybe, my room would be a little cleaner!!
I like to keep my sewing supplies organized, so I can easily put my hands on what I need without wasting time.
Here are a couple of organizing ideas that might be of interest.
1) I "sew with my feet", so I have more accessories for my sewing machine than will fit into the space provided by the manufacturer. I bought some clear plastic craft containers ( meant for storing beads). These are sold in "towers" of 5 or 6 which screw together , the top one receiving the cover. The little containers are quick and easy to open and close. I used the larger and the medium size. Each presser foot is in its own labeled container, grouped with those of similar functions. Example: The 4 different-sized pintuck/raised seam feet share the same "little tower", the rolled hem feet share another and so on. Easy to find, easy to put back.
2) Some 30 years ago at a hardware store sale, I bought some of those little storage units with small, clear plastic drawers used in workshops for washers, screws and such. They have been the perfect solution for storing buttons, snaps and other small notions.
Looking forward to reading the other replies. Should be interesting, as usual.
I made a copy of each of my patterns (about 100 patterns, dating back to 1965). I punched 3 holes in each. They are now arranged in a 3-ring binder with tabs: Blouses, Childrens, Costumes, way down to Suits.
I have four pattern-boxes, one for each of the major pattern companies. I place the patterns into the appropriate boxes in numerical order.
I can look thru my binder until I see a pattern that will work and then easily find it in the pattern-box for that pattern company.
I write notes on the binder pages such as: "sewed 11/07, collar very difficult" or "easy and it fit beautifully". Actually I lied on that last one, it has never happened yet!
In my sewing studio, I like to have all my information and tools handy when I am sewing, so I hung one of the table top cardboard cutting boards on the wall over my sewing counter. It is 4'X6' and is great for hanging the pattern instructions, sticky notes for customer info, and all my measuring tools as well. Everyone who comes to my studio comments on what a great idea it is. It saves the wall from all the puncture holes that pins leave.
I also utilize a rolling kitchen island cart for bins and it doubles as a cutting surface on top.
I try to stay organized - though it sometimes seems as if I spend more time doing that than sewing! I think it's the anxiety of cutting the fabric.
I bought several multi-drawer organizers from Office Depot and they are filled with notions, etc. I think my best idea is my P-touch label maker - I have labeled all the drawers & even the compartments of plastic containers for sewing machine feet. I also label as many notions, rotary cutters, rulers, mats, etc with my name as possible for going to classes & retreats. The nice thing about these labels is that you can remove them - no residue.
Also set up hanging files for ideas, patterns, etc.
I've been sewing for over 30 yrs. and have tried many styles of organization. I organize my patterns by style, except for children's pattens, which I sort by size. Patterns are kept in zip-lock bags, in clear plastic boxes. Threads, notions, etc. are each kept in separate smaller clear plastic boxes.
Scissors, marking tools, pincusions, etc. are kept in a plastic tote recomended for cleaning supplies. I can carry it easily to the ironing board and back.
I also have a small plastic 'cabinet', used by mechanics, that has 25 tiny drawers that holds needles, seam rippers, snaps, etc. It sits on my sewing cabinet within easy reach while sewing.
Fabric is sorted by type: cottons/cotton poly-by color-in drawers, 'fancy' satins,silks, bridal-on bolts or rolls in a tall cabinet with the shelves removed.
Trims are kept on cards/rolls (many times you can get them from fabric/craft stores) in plastic baggies on a shelf. Ribbon is on rolls kept on a dowel, suspended from a shelf. I can pull and cut off the legnth I need. Bridal beading are kept in small clear plastic containers, inside a larger clear box. Clear is the key. You can see what everything is no matter where you stack the boxes.
A bulletin board is mounted on the wall just behind my sewing cabinet. I keep sewing instructions, measurements, ideas, etc. pinned to this while I sew. Also, I keep a measuring tape there...A silk pin stuck in at an angle allows me to remove it easily by sliding the "hole" in the end of the tape off of it.
hi ya, I like your organization of your sewing 'stuff'
I am waiting for my hubby to put up a form-board over a drafty window - 1. to keep out the winds when it blows hard2. to put up a form board to do as you stated to post patterns and or to do list
We bought an older home 3 yrs ago and the man left so much stuff we are still weeding out but the best he left were old dressers with neat organized drawers. His wife died leaving so much craft items in on dresser. It has taken me quite a time to get them in a better organized place. They left another odd shaped cabinet that I think he needed to add more shelves w/in it, but.... I have several of my clear Rubbermaid container with several different projects in these. I have 3 different stacks so I know which column to go to search out. As my mothers states I have too much going on with all my crafts. Now the fabric is another story - I love fabric and just bought some new pieces when Wal-Mart closed out most of all their craft section ! :~( Now I like your idea of the sections you have for the fabrics. I am also a doll collector and my most interesting one and unique ones sit on the very top shelf of these cabinets. OH I did forget to say I added shelves to the top of the dresser and extended by storage going all on the way up the wall of of my dresser for the items I use most - with baskets that house the different items needed for sewing and other crafts. I have an old table that has slide out ends for extending the length of the table when needed. Across the room I have an old kitchen table we use for painting and other wet crafts. Then I keep my ironing board up across from the sewing table. WE were very fortunate to find this home. It is an 8sided house with this wonderful size great room that I have the sewing and crafts on one side and the other is for exercise and lounging away to read and or watch some thing different from the family. Thanks for your ideas on more I can do to better organize my sewing area esp. with the fabric. I also like the plastic cabinet idea - my daughter has one that keeps her beading materials. My patterns I have to work on also as to how to organize, so thanks for the extra ideas Sincerely, :~) dallmarm
I also live in an older house. After 10 yrs. of sewing in my dining room, I took over an empty bedroom upstairs. DH has promised for 20 yrs. remodel that room. I have an old kitchen table for cutting. I keep my big clear boxes stacked under it. I also have a dresser and a lingerie chest that I keep craft stuff in. I bought an old bookcase with a shelf and sliding doors that I keep my craft books in. I keep smaller clear boxes stacked on top of that. I also use several of the "cleaning totes" to organize craft supplies,i.e. markers, scissors, odds & ends.
I have a suggestion for your covered fiberboard. Use a dark (I used black) fabric to cover it with. If you need to photograph any of your garments, it will make the best background; white, especially, will show up nicely. I learned this the hard way when trying to photo wedding veils and christening gowns.
Edited 3/11/2008 4:31 pm ET by Ocrafty1
Deb, thanks for the color suggestion - my foam board is a bright pink/orange color - never thought of the color - but I do know these board come in other colors so will look
We need to re-place all the window and I have one of those well meaning promising hubby who also travels with his job, plus we have a townhouse that is empty and he is gutting it and replacing all to sell. We are tired of having tenants and have talked about moving closer to family. My hubby retired and then went right back to work as a teacher for the company and other things that are needed from time to time. He is one of those with a vast of knowledge, but needs to just plug in his battery pack that constantly run out on him. He spends the wk'end wk'ing on the t-house and still has so much to do. He does most of all the wk' himself he is like 'HOLMES on HOMES' (that tv show) he like it done a certain way. when we replace the windows the window in the Craft area is in the way and he will close it in, but for now I need to seal it up and take use of that space. I have hung some stuff from the top of curtain rod, but one day will take it down and say help now ! Think that will help him ? teheheheeheeee :~) Too we have a grown Autistic son that keeps us busy - that is another reason we think of moving closer to family. Our daughter married in Jan and lives in Tn close to Ga. border almost an hour from hubby's side of family and my grandmothers lives close by and she is in her 80's so we really need to be close, just the time to buy and sell and get a good deal all the way round. I don't know about you, but I know I do have too much craft stuff but as I tell others - there's this magic that happens and as I reach the register all these items have placed themselves in my cart and my heart complies and off to a new place to land an store until I find more time to get to them as I am working on another. I am working on several Cross stitch projects and am designing one for my daughter and son-in-laws wedding announcement for them and wk'ing on a Cross Stitch lady, painting with my son and re-constructing jackets to make a pair of pants to match this neat jacket I found. SO in my craft side of the world I have a plenty - OH I didn't mention I have been wk'ing on a Amish quilt I learned to make several yrs ago. We moved in mid-stream of the class. The teacher showed a different way of construction and was left with all these 14x14 squares all ready quilted not knowing how to put together. Hubby's cousin recommended a book that shows the many ways of putting these together so I have that one next to complete.
As for the plastic container - they are not as easy to get into as I would like. They are those old deep one by Rubbermaid - it would sure be nice to have that size and they open to the front some sort of way. I have seen the plastic pole shelves that these containers slide in & out of easy use. I do however want to take the legs of my table for sewing and put wheels on them to move the table when I wanna. I also have a very sewing table that one of the old singers fit in (which I do not have that one) and I keep my Serger on and a Cross stitch frame of the USA that I found in a thrift store for only a couple of $$$$$ that was not finished. I tracted down the pattern and now have to complete that. There is always something new and a new way to work with what ever you have. Sincere thanks and enjoy, :~) tera
Wow! You sound very created with many artistic areas of interest and expertise. I have seen where the quilted squares are attatched using double fold bias binding. I plan to try it for a King sized quilt eventually as it would be easier than trying to deal with the whole quilt. Mary
oh I agree on the working on smalll scale of the quilting. I have one to do for my daughter that will be complicated but that another day and worry so I have enough going on right now. I think the bias is the way I am to finish my Amish 14by14 squares. I have to go back and place them on the bed to make sure I have enough for the size I want. I only want to make it as a top and not one that hang over the bed.
I was also given another idea of a piece of materal in-between the squares when you connect them and quilt those seperate pieces after it is all put together. Mom (mother in law) says we will decided when we are ready to finish it.
I want to fold it back and down and use it for sleep or hang it on a quilt rack in the room at night. I do love my home. It was a mess when we first looked at it. The man's wife died and he left it just as if she was returning. sad too We have lots of work to do in to bring it up to date inside, but sadly we r thinking of moving near family. Our daughter and son-in-law live in another state along with all other family member live in another. Right now we are here and we have many many ideas of how we want to re-construct this place.
I get alot of my craft ideas from my grandmother who is in her 80's - she made everything w/o patterns and I wanted to be a designer, but you know love happens and your brain goes to mush and you re-direct all your wants to his. teheehee :~)
Your home sounds like a true gem. What a lucky find! I love anything unique, an eight sided house would please me no end! Mary
Excellent information, thank you. Mary
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