Back to School Blog Hop – TOP TEN LIST of low cost tips for Organizing your sewing room
Good morning – and Happy September. I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the Back to School Blog Hop here at www.onequiltingcircle. I’m Linda Pearl, and I have been quilting for a long time; really, after 25 years, is it really relevent? In that time, I’ve gone through several versions of a quilt space, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I am enjoying being part of the hop this month,and I’ve been amazed at the great tips that I’m learning.
When I began quilting, I had a bag behind my chair which held everything I needed for that first project – ok, it was a big bag, but with 2 sons, life left little time for quilting. Over the years, my physical location has been upgraded from that chair to where I am today – in the second largest bedroom of my home. I have central air and 3 large windows which give me bright sunny light. My space also doubles as my home office for The Patchwork Pearl, where I do marketing and media consulting for small businesses in the space, and I also run a small pattern design business. My room is painted a bright sunny yellow, but once you back out the storage units, the design wall and the quilts on the wall, it’s more of an accent color than anything. A Happy accent color.
Like many quilters, most of my furniture in my space was a hodge podge of cast offs, discards, yard sales and for years, I ‘made it work’ for me. Before I begin, I want to share that to me, low cost means money well spent – and money which is going to pay you dividends (ha!) in the future. It’s not necessarily the cheapest way out of a given dilemma.
So here, in no particular order, is my Top Ten Tips for Low Cost Studio Organizing.
Keep Like items together – as in Thread. I used to have a very bad (read – expensive) habit of pulling all the component parts of a UFO together (thread, fabric, batting) and stashing that together in a plastic bag. As in your forget you have it. During one of my purge/reorganization cycles, I pulled everything out of everywhere and consolidated. And found this – probably more of that one color of thread (I’m not really a purple girl) than I’ll ever use. That was an expensive boo boo…now I keep all the thread in a central location in my studio,and I leave notes in with PhDs. I also have made a concentrated effort to eliminate PhDs…but do they ever go away? Note to self…investigate a destash. If I hadn’t learned this lesson well the first time, on the last studio organization I did, I had to repeat that lesson for panels…I would have thought I didn’t own any (or maybe one or two)…when I grouped them together…well, it’s a lot more than 2.
Folding your fabric consistently will give you a great way to save space as well as to be able to see what you have for fabric, allowing you to actually use what what you have more efficiently. There are a number of options for being able to handle fabric for this, and I have found the Ruler method of folding my yardage works for me.
If you are not familiar with the Ruler method, there are several videos on you tube which you can reference…here’s one that I especially like.
Pegboard is a key component to great vertical storage space in any craft or creative space, and here’s mine. This is the original piece of pegboard that came into my storage space all those years ago…I just keep trimming it to refit the space. Here, it’s on the back of my cutting table/cabinet, facing into the room – and it’s perfect for keeping my specialty rulers under control. I have a couple of favorites that I use for my primary tools, and they have their own special spots.
Ruler Instructions can be odd sizes and shapes, and if it’s a while between uses, you might not be able to remember the ins and outs of how to make something work. Some rulers have QR codes on them, some don’t. Today’s rulers can be expensive, and it’s important to know how to access their instructions so that you can work with them…if you can’t access that, you’ve wasted your money. So I have a thick plastic envelope in which I keep all the literature for rulers that I get. I’ve done this for years now, and I can always find what I’m looking for. That envelope lives in the top drawer of my cutting table, and it’s easy to access – or use – if I need it.
Pens and pencils (and marking tools), and fabric pens…oh, my. Everything I need to mark fabric is kept in here. My family has a phobia about throwing out gift boxes – we reuse them from one Christmas to the next, but every once in a while, I go downstairs and liberate some of the smaller boxes…they make great drawer organizers. Do I decorate them – no, but they do keep things from flying all over the place when I open a drawer. These are, essentially, free (hey, more money for fabric!
If you like that, you’ll love the next one…something else that makes a good drawer organizer…ice cube trays. This could be great for keeping anything small organized – beads, buttons (coming up!), small embellishments. This is my pieceing thread drawer…In a nutshell, I take the 4 colors I use most often (black, white, light grey and tan), and prewind bobbins at the start of a project. It’s a little thing, but it helps me stay organized (and use my thread more effectively.) The other bobbins in there are remnants of recent projects – and need some cleaning and sorting. For those wondering, the rest of my thread collection is in a drawer below this – in a shoebox. It works for me, and if I need to move the shoebox to one of my natural lighting areas, it’s easy.
This one is my best tip for you…and I stumbled on it by accident. I sew on a Janome 8900, and I absolutely adore it. It purrs like a kitten, and I am so fortunate to have the long harp to work with. But there was one complaint I had with the setup. For my machine feet, I upcycled a segmented box – and labeled the feet with what they were for. If I was working on something that called for a blind hem foot, first off I would look at the feet…and then have no idea what they were called or what they were for. I’m not a complete novice, and I could have guessed a bit. Instead, I sat with the manual, went through each foot and figured out what they are used for. Then I labeled them…The whole exercise took me about 5 minutes, and I feel much more confident with my machine. I selected a box that has dividers all the way up…so if this gets tossed in a bag for a class or an event, everything stays sane. Talk about feeling pampered – and it’s a good exercise to go through with any machine, if your feet are a mess. Just saying, an Aurifil box for thread works very nicely for this…I have a second box for sewing machine needles too!
I don’t have an overly large collection of buttons, but like any self respecting quilter, I have my share. I store them in reused (and cleaned) Yankee Candle jars that we have burned through. Trust me, they are plentiful around here in the fall, and they have tons of uses…
This is a variation of grouping like things together – they are all scraps, but they are sorted by color…This was a game changer for me, because it allows me to see and sort my scraps much more effectively. Whether it’s a small project, a test run of something, or just playing, this allows me to work with the smallest scrap that I need to, and not lose my mind. This was an Over the Door Shoe Organizer, and it was something I bought through Amazon. I resisted this for a while (I have no idea why), but it’s amazing useful. I do know that you can search on Pinterest to see other ideas for using this in your home or craft room – or in a kids room! Lots of potential here.
One thing my husband didn’t like about it was the original metal hanger – we have luan (hollow) doors, and he felt that they were digging into the top of the door. We compromised, and it now lives on the inside of a solid closet door. Problem solved.
Lastly…. All those pretty bins, boxes, totes, bags…do yourself a favor (after you’ve used these prin
ciples) and Label. Label Everything. It can be pretty – in my book, these are beautiful because they are done (and I can read them). I knew that I had some ‘widebacks’ around here somewhere – and fabric I bought so cheap that they are great for backs. Now I know where to find them. Life is good!
Stopping by on today’s version of the Back to School Blog Hop. I hope that you’ve found something useful here. If you have a tip to share, please leave a comment below – thank you.