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Organizing Sewing Supplies

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


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5 found this helpful
August 24, 2011

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:


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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2 found this helpful
February 15, 2010

I 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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February 22, 20100 found this helpful

Excellent idea for jewelers also, since the tray is so lightweight I think I will glue it down to a plastic lid for stability. I would hate to be picking up thousands of small beads. Thanks so much for giving me the idea.

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3 found this helpful
November 29, 2011

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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Make a decorative magnetic straight pin holder made from an empty recycled container. Mine is made from an empty plastic facial cleanser pad jar.


jumble of bobbins

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This is a guide about organizing bobbins. Keeping your bobbins organized for easy reuse can be an ongoing hassle.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
May 11, 2006

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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December 29, 20050 found this helpful

By Rachel Paxton

If you're a weekend crafter like me, you probably have a lot of crafting odds and ends laying around that get all jumbled together depending on what project you're working on at the moment.

Over the years, I have found several ways to organize my craft and sewing supplies in a way that I can actually find them again when I need them. As I went through the process of organizing them, I was able to identify items I no longer needed and separate the remaining items into logical groups. As a result, I now have all my supplies limited to one corner of a room and well organized. Now I can find things when I need them.

When I first started sorting through all my supplies everything was thrown together in a lot of cardboard boxes up in a hard-to-reach closet. The first thing I did was dump each box into a big pile and start sorting. My piles were: lace, trim, buttons, quilting supplies, cross stitch supplies, ribbon roses, fabric scraps, craft books, and misc.

I first discarded the odds and ends I knew I'd never use again. I then bought two very large Rubbermaid containers (great for stacking) to store my supplies in. You may need more depending on how many supplies you have accumulated. I also bought some gallon-sized Ziploc bags.

I sorted through all the lace and trim and put lace in one Ziploc bag and trim in another. The ribbon roses went in another. I put all the buttons in a plastic container with different compartments--sorted by color. All these items, plus other misc. like styrofoam balls, contact paper, plastic canvas, went into one Rubbermaid container.

All my quilting and cross stitch supplies (mostly fabric scraps and cross stitch fabric) went into the second container.

All my unfinished projects went into a cardboard box, and all my yarn for plastic canvas projects went into another.

The containers and boxes stack on top of each other and fit nicely underneath a small square "craft table" I have set up in the corner of my home office. It's all out of the way and everything is easily identified.

On top of the table I keep little projects I'm working on, like cross stitch, or photo albums for working on scrapbooks. My embroidery thread is organized by DMC number in plastic containers made for storing embroidery thread. These containers are also stacked on the table.

My sewing machine thread is organized on a small wooden board with small spindles you can buy that is designed to hold spools of thread. My sewing machine sits on the floor next to the craft table while not in use.

Next to my craft table is a stand-alone cupboard that is sold as a pantry cupboard that you can probably find at Walmart for about $100. In the cupboard I store a lot of multipurpose items like my glue guns, all kinds of glue, paper, scissors, and all of my scrapbooking supplies. This cupboard works great for items other family members also use a lot, like tape and scissors. My paper cutter and long stapler are stored on top of the cabinet.

I also have several bookcases in my office, and I use a couple of shelves on one of them for organizing my craft and sewing books. The books are organized by craft type.

All of my small sewing supplies I keep in a couple of small sewing baskets that I can move with me from room to room. In these I keep sewing needles, embroidery scissors, measuring tape, pins, seam ripper, etc.

Hopefully these ideas will help you get in the mood to start organizing your own craft and sewing supplies. It's so much more enjoyable to work on projects when you know what you have and where everything is.

About The Author:

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the owner of featuring the Easy Organizer, loaded with tools to help you plan, schedule, remember events, keep in touch, get your family on an organized schedule, prioritize, and more.

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August 18, 20060 found this helpful

A school in my city was remodeling and for $5 I got a cabinet with 16 drawers. The drawers were deep. the only problem with the cabinet was ,it did not have a top. So I asked my handyman husband to make one of plywood. Then we covered it with peel off floor tiles. It looks great and I can use the top as a cutting table with my quilt mat.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 18, 20060 found this helpful

A school in my city was remodeling and for $5 I got a cabinet with 16 drawers. The drawers were deep. the only problem with the cabinet was ,it did not have a top. So I asked my handyman husband to make one of plywood. Then we covered it with peel off floor tiles. It looks great and I can use the top as a cutting table with my quilt mat.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 29, 20050 found this helpful

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

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