Organizing a Sewing Room

Whether you are using a spare bedroom, office or a corner of your garage, space in your sewing or craft room can be a premium. This is a guide about organizing a sewing room.
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September 6, 2006 Flag

Here are tips sent in by readers about how to keep your sewing room organized. Feel free to post your ideas in the feedback forum.
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Organizing Sewing Needles

This is a tip for the sewing room on how to keep your sewing machine needles organized. Buy a "tomato" pin cushion (they are sectioned off with thread.) Take an ultra fine tip Sharpie and print a different sewing machine needle size in each section. Place a corresponding size needle in each section. When you use one of the needles in your machine replace it with a large head straight pin. When you change to a different size needle in your machine,replace the original needle to where the straight pin is and remove the pin to replace the new needle you've just put in your machine. This way you always know what size needle is in your machine, and you don't have to try and read' THE FINE PRINT" on the needle itself.

By Judy from Birmingham AL

Organizing My Mom's Sewing Room

I helped my mom organize her sewing room recently. She has a ton of fabric, thread, magazines, books, etc. She has a low cabinet with sliding doors where I stacked her fabric inside sorted by solid colors on one side and prints on the other.
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Drawers

I sorted all her notions in a chest of drawers. Sewing machine parts and accessories go in the top drawer, scissors, needles, etc, in the second, and so on. I just made sure that all like-type items were together. All thread was put neatly into a small Rubbermaid container to sit on the table next to the machine. All magazines were put into magazine holders from Walmart so that they could be put into the bookshelf and quilting and sewing books in the bookshelf as well.

Sorting Fabric

The main thing to get started is to get ALL your fabric out on the table, in the floor, where ever, and start sorting it however you would like it to be stored; by solids and prints, or by colors, refolding each piece as you go, if necessary. If you don't have some sort of cabinet to store it in (it needs to be so that it won't collect dust), maybe a chest of drawers or large Rubbermaid containers. I like the idea of stacking it somehow so that you can kind of look through it and pick out what you want to work with without having to dig in a box for it. Could it be folded so that it would fit on the shelves?

Do One Thing At a Time

Next, pick another thing to organize, such as notions or thread. Do one thing at a time until it's done. Don't start on anything else until it's done. If you have to, toss anything that doesn't go with the current collection in a pile or box until you're done with the first one. You could make piles of like things as you go to make the job easier.

Shelves

If you don't have a chest of drawers to work with, and you say you have lots of shelves, maybe sort notions and threads into small baskets or tubs to be stored on the shelves, labeled of course, so you know what's in each one without pulling them all down looking for one item. Or, you could use clear plastic boxes.

Trash Can

Don't forget to have a large trash can nearby. You're sure to throw plenty away while you're at it!

I hope this helps. It just takes some time and patience. My mom was so happy with her sewing room when we were done that she is trying to hire me out to folks!

By Renee in TN

Peg Board

My mom always mounted a large piece of peg board on the wall over her sewing machine. It can first be painted to blend into the wall, or a pretty contrast color. Peg board has rows and rows of holes that you can hang hooks and pegs in. This solves your problem of spools of thread and bobbins. Mom also hung all her scissors on the peg board, tape measures. LOTS of notions can be hung.

Clear tubs can be used for storing material, or even clear drawer style storage units. These can also be used to store patterns. Personally, I prefer to store my fabric with a pattern so I can "pick a project" as time allows.

Be a little ruthless w/scraps, etc. Only keep what you KNOW you will use, not something "still usable". Be generous with your overflow to other "crafters", day care centers, etc. By limiting your supply to items you can use now, you free up space to be creative, instead of hoarding materials you will never get to.

By slw1299

Hanging Fabric

I don't have a sewing room, but I just thought of these suggestions: for your shelves, you could use some clear plastic shoe-boxes to sort your threads and notions in. They would be neatly organized and you could see what was in the box.

For fabric: if there is a closet in the room you could hang the fabric. I don't sew, so I don't know the proper way of storing some of these items, just an idea. If you don't have a closet, and the hanging idea would work, you could buy a portable clothes rack or something.

If you have large rolls of fabric, maybe you could install some brackets that hold the closet rods, and use the rods to slide the fabric rolls on. Then you could just roll off what you needed. (08/10/2005)

By washburn6394

Old Dressers

I just recently re-organized my craft room, but before I started, I measured the areas I would be using for my material and sewing notions. I checked out our local thrift shops and second hand stores to find old dressers that were still in good shape. One of them had one drawer that was divided into three sections. To my surprise, it was just wide enough to put all my patterns in! I laid them on their sides with the pictures facing front-wards and used the sections to divide up the types of patterns, for example, people patterns, household patterns, and doll patterns.

One drawer I used for lace and ribbon, another for appliques and other similar accents. On top of the dresser I used a set of three nesting tins. I put my thread in one, bobbins in another, and pins in the last one. With the dressers you have a way to keep your material and other supplies clean and contained and have to top for extra storage space or for displaying other items.

By Melissa1968

Organizing My Sewing Room

I find the best way to organize my sewing room is as follows. Start by grouping things together then assess what type of storage containers are best for each grouping.

I found that file boxes are a great way to store my fabric. I get the cheap six pack from staples (around 6$ per 6 pack) then i am able to label the boxes so I know what fabric is in what box. these are also great for patterns if you take a spare piece of cardboard to separate the rows.

Next I purchased two of the large bookcases from walmart, and bought an extra shelf and pegs from Home Depot. You are able to fit 10 file boxes plus have an extra shelf at the top for notions.

For my notions I use a couple of different things. For my threads I use thread racks from joann Fabrics, I bought one at a time using the 40-50% off coupon from the mailing list. I now have three full racks.

The next thing I use is the photo storage boxes from Joann's. About 3 or 4 times a year they go on sale for $1.99 a piece (this is usually on the big 3 -day weekend sales like memorial day, labor day and Thanksgiving, maybe others like christmas, columbus etc.) Keep your eye on those fliers!

You can also use the clear storage boxes from Wal-Mart they are about the same price, more durable and come in different sizes. I like the photo storage because they are pretty and I can color coordinate.

I made my own ironing board with plywood heat resistant padding (available at Joann's or Wal-Mart.) and a fabric from my stash. put together with a staple gun. Then I put it on top of a shelf constructed with 2x4s and then covered the shelf with a coordinating fabric.

My sewing and cutting table is an 8ft dining room table which was a hand-me-down. I also manage to stuff 8 file boxes of fabric underneath the table. And a 24 x36" cutting mat.

I hope these hints help. And even though my room sounds rather organized I always manage to make a mess. And i am rather obsessed with change so I rearrange my room every 3-4 months or so. Happy creating and remember; Just Laugh.

By JustLaugh

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September 7, 20060 found this helpful

Just Laugh sounds a lot like me! It must be the creativeness in us that makes us that way. My husband is never surprised anymore to see me rearranging "my room", in fact, he just helped me rearrange some things just yesterday. I have taken over our dining room area (convenient to keep an eye on dinner while working). This is where I homeschool my son and have my craft and sewing area. My daughter and I recently started a small business making handcrafted items, so I am usually working on something daily (when my health and time permits). Of course, like many of us who do this type of activity, my supplies are stored in numerous places throughout the house. I have 3 large bookshelves in my husbands den with fabrics, yarn and the like stored there. Off the family room in a large walk in closet where you will find finished items packed and stored away. As for "my room", well there are 2 computer desks, one for myself and one for my son, a stand for the printer and scanner, a long desk with a sewing/embroidery machine and a serger and a cutting table. I also have a large bookshelf and one of those drawer units from Walmart. The bookshelf has 5 shelves packed full of patterns, trims, sewing/crafts books and magazines, etc. I keep all my thread and notions in the drawer unit. Since I also do crafts, I also keep tapes, glues, tools, etc. sorted in these drawers. There is also a large fishing tackle box that I use to organize beads, buttons, crystals, etc. The desk where my sewing machines are located has three small drawers across the front and works perfectly for sewing machine needles, feet, etc. I also keep some notions in cigar-style boxes in these drawers for easy access. I am constantly working on making the area more "user friendly". I'm sure all of you who sew and do crafts know what I mean when I say you always have an abundance of unused supplies to store, but you want it available when you need it. I am always on the lookout for something to add to my collection of supplies. I can't pass a good bargain up!!

Cheryl

www.2ewenique.com

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September 7, 20060 found this helpful

Hey justlaugh I could use your organize gene care to donate LOL great tips;)

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September 18, 20070 found this helpful

I bought an adjustable metal music stand and use it nearby when I am working on a project for my pattern instructions or sewing tips secured with magnets and other items clipped. (My cat cannot sleep on it to thwart my sewing, either.) It has a bow slot in which I may rest my scissors or other marking or cutting tools, plus I can hang a small bag or organizer from the pole. It saves time and energy and keeps my space organized during a project whether I am standing or sitting. I am not having to set something down to review a reference. It helps prevent eye strain because I can keep the print materials close and/or place a magnifier sheet over a page. I use it for crafts (sometimes with a corkboard tile) and also as a copyholder when I edit documents at the computer. It's useful as a cookbook holder too (using bands slipped on the sides to hold open a thick book) since it is very portable.

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September 27, 20080 found this helpful

My sewing room is a disaster and I really don't know where to start. So depressing. Some of these ideas were great. Thank you.

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April 12, 20090 found this helpful

I hang fabric on pants hangers in the closet in my sewing room. I use the kind with clips and it is really easy to see what I have and easy to organize by color, fabric, etc.

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October 26, 20130 found this helpful

When my youngest moved out to go to school, I really didn't jump up and down for joy. I took off at a mad dash for her room and cleaned everything out. My oldest daughter was getting rid of an old set of all wood bunk beds. That piece of particalboard is an inch and a half thick and the size of the twin matteress. Perfect size for my sewing and cutting table, I just plopped it on top of two bookshelves I bought at wal mart.

All of my fabrics are in those sweater hangers that velcro over the bar in the closet. I used a clear plastic drop cloth pinned to it so I could still see all my wonderful fabric and keep them dust free. I have 6 of the wooden spool holders for all of my thread and bobbins. I spray painted them all different colors and hung them all on the wall. Instant wall art, all of my bobbins fit on one. I used the other bunk bed board as my inspiration board, I just painted it white and screwed it tothe wall. Thumb tacks go in it easy as pie.

Sorry this is so long, couldn't stop. Have a great, everyone.

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September 19, 2006 Flag
2 found this helpful

Some of us don't like our kitty to help us sew. Mine has fairly long hair and will immediately lie down on any piece of fabric I lay down.

Cat Proofing the Sewing Room with Lattice

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May 20, 2005 Flag
3 found this helpful

Tape a common paper lunch bag to the top of the back of your sewing machine to dispose of thread and fabric snips as you sew. This keeps your sewing area neater.

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January 18, 2012 Flag

Like most people, I find myself trying to find uses for my grocery store bags. I don't like to spend money for something if I can avoid it. I bought waste cans for all the areas where I thought I would need them and forgot my master bedroom.

A sewing room garbage can by tying a bag to the table leg.

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