Organizing Sewing Supplies

Spools of thread, buttons, scissors, and a tape measure.

Keeping all of your sewing supplies well organized makes working on each project easier. This is a guide about organizing sewing supplies.


Solutions: Organizing Sewing Supplies

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Tip: Organizing My Sewing Supplies

I found the best way to organize my sewing supplies is to separate them by item. I have found these solutions by being a very avid seamstress, as well as, crocheter and crafter. I have three active boys, so I do my share of mending as well.

I have several large 3 drawer plastic organizers that I purchased from Walmart to hold everything. I have divided each of my drawers. I divided one in half. The others into thirds, quarters, and eighths. You would want to divide yours according to your needs. These dividers can be purchased, or made from either wood or cardboard.

I keep all of my patterns in a large three ring binder. They are then separated with dividers according to category. For example: blankets, clothing, etc. You can go a step further and subdivide your major categories, for example:

  • children
  • boys clothes
  • girls dresses
  • blankets, etc.

Another way is to file your patterns in an expandable file. I prefer to use the binder. I do this so I can easily see the individual items.

I have my buttons divided by color and size in a tackle box, but anything like this could work; such as ice cube trays, old muffin tins, plastic divided trays, empty baby food jars, or even small sandwich bags, stored in a larger gallon size bag. I do the same type organizing with my needles.

Ribbon can be stored on dowel rods, paper towel racks, or even in a larger box. I prefer to see my ribbon, so I use the dowel rods, capped off at the ends. Just keep in mind you will want to tape down the ends of your ribbon to prevent tangling.

My thread is stored on a wooden peg board. The pegs are just long enough for one spool. These can be easily made; get creative. A cork board would work with cutting a dowel rod (from scraps). If you don't have a saw, you could even use the cardboard which is on the bottom of wire clothes hangers or even the wire hanger itself (cut up into the right length).

Zippers are stapled to poster board cut down to a size small enough to fit into one of the binders or manila folders.

My material I keep folded in the same size rectangles, and pinned down. Then I stack them by color and/or design. Another idea would be to store this in expandable files, labeled by color. Also you can try folding and rolling material around a used paper towel tube.

Yarn is kept rolled and separated by weight; (#3) sport weight (#4) bulky, etc.

Finally for all of the other "doodads", I group them together in separate small boxes. I have used shoe boxes, cigar boxes (look for wooden ones these are best), and cookie tins.

The final step in to use your labeler and label every box and drawer. In case you do not have a labeler, purchase one! It will be one of the best tools you ever bought. They cost $15.00 at Walmart or can be found at any office supply store. You will find yourself using this item over and over again in many projects.

Once you organized your sewing area, projects will go more smoothly, save you money, and be less chaotic. Making all of your projects big or small more enjoyable.

Happy sewing!

By Mistie

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Tip: Storing Bobbins

A great way to keep up with your bobbins it to use Bic lighter holders. You can get them at stores after they are empty, for free. I learned this working in a sewing factory. They work great.

By Patricia G from Brewton, AL

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Tip: Organizing Excess Materials for Sewing Projects

You can separate the materials into categories, cottons, silk, and such. If the material is cut, hang on hangers and use the garment protectors. You should then be able to store bolts of material in there as well. Zip it up around the hangers and bolts and hang it all in closet. This will protect materials from dust, bugs, and whatever else that could ruin expensive materials.

Or for cut fabric only, use an over the door shoe organizer and roll your material if it's small enough to fit in pouches. These come in over the door style or hang in the closet.

Another thing you could do is take rolls from gift wrap, roll the material and stuff it into the tube, and then place it in a storage unit meant for gift wrap and cover it with a garbage bag to protect it from dust. Mark on tube with marker what the material is and its size.

By Carol D. from Minot, ND

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Tip: Straight Pin Storage Jar

Make a decorative magnetic straight pin holder made from an empty recycled container. Mine is made from an empty plastic facial cleanser pad jar. Simply glue magnet strips or a recycled advertisement magnet cut to fit into the top of the jar lid. Cover the jar labeling with contact paper or scrapbook paper or wrapping paper etc.

A small bit of printed measuring tape doubled on top, wide enough to make a small heart. I used mostly tape to secure the edges which is strong enough to suit my own needs.

Source: Idea sprung from someone else I'm sure!

By melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO

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Tip: Use Plastic Vegetable Tray to Organize Sewing Supplies

veggie trayI came across a good idea. At the supermarket you can find cut up vegetables and dip for guests but what to do with the container. This container has sections and a lid. It will make a excellent organizer for your sewing supplies.

If you are just a "mender" like me you will have all your supplies in a container that is disorganized with threads and needles messed up. This container has sections and keeps it all neat.

By pennypacer from Ont. Canada

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Tip: Store Sewing Supplies In Plastic Bags

My threads, zippers, elastic, lace, ribbon, and tools are endless, but are stored in groups. So I have zip plastic bags for each of these supplies. I write the name on the bag. Then I have a notions bin with a name on it also. When I go looking for a color that is needed to make a project, it is easy to see what I have and know what I need to buy.

My children sew also and when they need something, they are no longer afraid to look in to my sewing area. It can be bad that way, because I also supply for the while family, lol. Separating all my crafts works much the same way, including paper and glues.

Anyone that crafts and wants to keep it cheap realizes that knowing where all you have is stored helps save money in many ways. There are many different sizes of plastic bags and bins so there is no problem about finding the best storage solution for any item.

Knitting needles are so fun to organize. I found that a wrapping paper plastic container with a lid that has a compartment works well. I used a hole punch to make holes in the cardboard so the needle can stand in the hole.

Wool is another matter. I used old nylons. After washing them, I cut the legs off. Most wool will fit into a nylon and this permits airflow, but the yarn never falls apart or tangles.

By Carolyn from Chilliwack, BC

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Tip: Sewing Basket Organizing

Most large sewing baskets have slotted containers for the different types of supplies. This can help you really stay organized when you need to find a specific tool or material.

By Vivian P.

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Tip: Organizing Sewing Supplies

I tend to store my supplies in fun-looking boxes by similarity. So, all the buttons are stored in small jars, by color, in one box that I found at Walmart.

Right now my whole sewing and creative space is one corner of our little home. So, I store my fabric in big plastic containers by intended purpose. Christmas and other holiday fabrics in one container, baby/children's cottons and flannels in another container, plain cottons or large pieces of cotton that will be backing or lining fabrics in another container, then the fun cottons for making my bags and small quilts in the last container.

Finally, I have a couple of medium-sized clear boxes for storing the small pieces either in strips or blocks that I need to keep seeing so that I will use them up.

My rule of thumb for now is I won't take in more fabric than will fit in my system because we have limited space. It helps me use up fabric and keep making my crafts for the upcoming fair season. Thanks for letting me share!

By Phyllis from Houston, TX

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Tip: Keep Sewing and Craft Supplies Organized Separately

In my sewing chest and my craft basket, I keep the little things separate. In the sewing chest (three drawers), I keep my various scissors in the bottom drawer, including my electric scissors that were a gift. In the middle drawer I keep the many spools of thread. In the top drawer, I have such things as safety pins, snaps, etc. I have each sorted by size and keep each size in pill bottles, one size per bottle.

When crocheting doll clothes, for example, I can find the size snaps I need instantly. Safety pins are in various bottles, again sorted by size, saves having to dump them all out and search through for what I need. My straight pins are in a bottle, too. Saves a lot of time when I can open a drawer or bucket in the craft basket, and pick out just what I need. Easy to put away too.

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Tip: Organize Buttons In Clear Film Cannisters

Have a lot of buttons, all colours, shapes, and sizes in a bag or bottle? Collect the little plastic containers from a photo developing shop (clear ones), stick little round stickers on top and colour them with Koki pens. Fill the containers with the buttons, pack them in a flat box. If you want to find a button, just look inside the box, look for the colour you want, take it out and select the button suitable for the job. Saves time.

By Marlene from Pretoria, South Africa

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Tip: Thread Spools and Bobbins

Something I have started to do is keep my bobbin and matching thread spools together for easier access.

I used to use (a leftover box from my last baby) the disposable baby bottle bags and enclose the spool and bobbin together inside and fold down and tape shut. Then I found those handy (tiny) ziplock bags in the craft section of Walmart and started to use those.

I also came up with the idea of a pegboard of some sort to hang on my sewing room wall next to my machine with dowel rods cut long enough to hold the spool and bobbin on the same dowel. I just haven't put the idea into action yet.


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Here are questions related to Organizing Sewing Supplies.

Question: Organizing Sewing Supplies

I do a lot of sewing for babies, especially "preemies", and have quite a bit of sewing supplies in my stash. How does everyone organize sewing, trims, lace, thread, etc.?

Evelyn from Southern Indiana

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Most Recent Answer

By Anne lewis (Guest Post) 07/11/2008

Hi, I found a neat trick for storing fat quarters. I bought a cd cabinet. A folded fat quarter fits in the slots perfect.

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Organizing Your Sewing Room

My hobby is sewing and crafts. The problem is I have so much material in a small room. I need some ideas on organizing my sewing room. I am a very clean and organized person, but When it comes to my sewing room it's difficult. Please help.

Ruth from Hot Springs, Arkansas

See-through Boxes 02/16/2005
I store my unfinished projects in see-through shoe boxes (small projects) and storage containers. If it is real small (like a jewelry item). I store it in a zip-lock bag on my projects shelf. (You could also use a small bottle or jar).
By Anna(Guest Post)
Ideas 03/23/2005
For very small misc. pieces (fabric, paper, beads etc.) I use a large cork board and put the items in small baggies. That way I can see everything and its easy to stick a thumbtack through the plastic, poke it on the board and be done with it. You can also use old cardboard gift boxes as cups to hold small things just use two thumbtacks to secure the box to the cork board. I am 99% visual so I need to see everything or it's forgotten.
By Wanda (Guest Post)
Ziploc Bags 12/29/2005
Our grocery stores sell Best Choice generic products. Best Choice makes a 2 gallon Ziploc type storage bag that is perfect for keeping larger projects organized. It even fits 12X12 paper for all you scrapbookers out there. It helps me keep everything for a page together until I'm ready to complete the scrapbook page.

Hope this helps.

By Cheryl from Missouri (Guest Post)
Plastic Dressers 12/29/2005
I have two of those plastic see through dressers that you can get at Wal Mart. I use the 2 top drawers for bias tape, trim. and other notions. Then the bottom 2 drawers are just the right size to organize my patterns in. I have them stacked like they are in the stores except they are on their sides. I also have an armoire that I fold and stack all my fabric in. That way I can just open the door and see what I have.

The larger cuts of fabric i put on cardboard bolts that i got from Joann's. (They just throw them away when they are empty. The employees were happy to give me an arm load of them). I just stack them in the armoire or on top if they are too long to fit inside. I also have a sewing machine table that my machine sits on. Before i got the armoire I hung some of my fabric on hangers in an empty closet in my house. This was ok but i like the armoire better. Hope you get some good ideas from all the feedback. Good Luck!

By nursesarah79