My Sewing Room

I’m starting to outgrow my space again. With plans to get another machine and a big project coming up, I need to get organized. In the past, I was keeping all my fabric down the hall in a separate closet, but it really needs to be in front of me. Now I have a lot of jumbled piles on various shelving. At some point, I need to face the fact that my fabric will not be in neat little stacks, so maybe storage with doors? The two photos above left show what the room looked like before I wrote 1, 2, 3 Sew. I had just painted and gotten it all organized for the Craft Spaces feature over on CRAFT. And then on the right is a photo taken last spring, with a quilt top draped on the mantel. And what to do with the mantel, which totally impedes my space.

Now I’ve asked you folks over on Twitter for some storage advice and this seems to be a pretty hot topic! So, let’s hear some more ideas. What is your best advice for getting organized?

19 comments to My Sewing Room

  • I don’t know if you have a full wall, but this built-in from Ikea Billy bookcases looks like a great idea. The bookcases come in 15″ deep now, which is great for fabric storage. I think they sell doors for them too. I’m lucky enough to have built in storage in my studio, but if I didn’t I’d be doing this for sure.

  • Hm, I just made curtains for my open shelving to hide the clutter, but allow for easy access. I’m pretty happy with it. I have Billy bookcases (short ones) and the door prices just seemed astronomical in comparison w/homemade curtains, lol, so I’m happy for now.

    I also have lots of those Kasset paperboard boxes from Ikea to organize all my papers and that’s been fab. There’s a spot on the box for labels, so there’s no guessing. I like knowing what’s in the box w/out have a grody see-through plastic thing out in the open.

    I use old jam jars to organize thread, buttons and scraps. The jars are easy to see through, keep things contained, and can easily be moved around on the shelf.

    Scissors generally stay within reach, but rotary cutters/blades and other notions stay in my sewing kit on a shelf. Large cutting mats and rulers store sideways between my desk and shelving; almost completely out of sight, but still easy to find! =)

    I’ve been scared that ‘out of sight’ would mean ‘out of mind’ for me, but that’s just not been the case -I’m too motivated to dig around and create! I just need to be motivated to put it all back where it belongs, lol! At least clean-up’s easy since I know that everything DOES have its place. =)

  • Can you build storage into the fireplace since it sounds like you don’t actually use it? Or find a lower bookcase (check the Expedit from Ikea) that would fit under the mantle adn add shelves above the mantle.

  • Liz

    I love your MoseT!

  • Suzanne

    I hope you will share some of the tips you get. This is such a challenge for so many. I do have Billy bookcases with glass doors (for books not fabric) but I do love them!

  • Paulette

    I have the same issue…outgrowing my space. I need cabinets, overhead ones for the stuff I need but not in front of me. I’m a really visual person so seeing the fabrics, beads, lace, ribbons etc…is critical to the creative process. Problem with that is it always looks messy. One of my favorite things is my rotating spice rack. Keeps all my buttons, snaps, beads etc in an easily accessible spot right on the worktop and saves space.

    For the fireplace area (seems you don’t use it) I would make wood shelves for items you don’t usually need access to but must have. Line the inside with muslin to brighten it up and keep the storage items clean.

    I made a thread holder out of a 2×4 and tiny dowels and hung on my wall next to my sewing machine. Easy access, outta the way, super cheap! The bobbins fit on top of the spools too so they don’t get lost or unravelled. You could do the same to free up tour table top area a bit.

  • Tia

    Our IKEA had a sewing room display that used the Effective series, and I’m totally in love with it, but haven’t found anyone I can kick out of the house and take over their room.

  • What about building up from your sewing table – or above your mantle with shelves.
    I have never have fabric nor an attention span lovely enough to have stacks of fabric that look nice, I do big plastic bins. Which I kind of hate — but what does one do with all that fabric!!!! Oy!

  • I’m not sure about the best advice for organizing but I sure love your Outsider art! Is that a Steve Keene next to the Mose Toliver? Have a collection of my own! Love it all!

  • Tia

    Hey there! I loved seeing you at quilt market. Your new line looks AMAZING. My sewing studio has swollen to spots all over the house. I have a basket beside my spot on the couch for hand work, there is a large walk in closet upstairs for my overflow fabric and of course there is my sewing room (the family room – but we use the Living room as the family room so that is fine)with 2 machines and my cutting table. I have had to swell out to the garage when I bought my Gammill – because that machine is seriously Massive. My design wall is out with my Long arm, it is nice to look over to my WIPs and be inspired for the next quilt. I also want to say thank you so much for the awesome strip cross tutorial. I used it to make what may very well be my favorite quilt ever.

  • I’ve always liked the EXPEDIT bookcases from IKEA because their small sections help me to be more organized and they’re cheap.

  • I’m a big fan of IKEA storage cabinets, too. The Billy series looks pretty versatile, but I have something different that I don’t see online now. Have you considered putting a cabinet above the mantel, maybe the same depth as your mantel? You may need a step stool to reach the top shelves but you could store fabric up there. And if you need a way to hang your quilt projects until they’re finished, maybe consider one of the cable drapery hangers from IKEA that you could run along a wall or from the ceiling ( ) and use the clips to hold your fabric up. If you’re not worried about resale value, then you could ditch the mantel completely and cover the space with a large cabinet unit (again I recommend IKEA). Hope this helps! Good luck and please share pics when you’ve made changes…I love sneaking peeks into craft rooms!

  • I am going through the same issue! not enough space and my fabric stash is not where I need it to be. I do have the Ikea Billy shelves but honestly it does not work for me. My fabric is not the same width and ends up looking more untidy than it should be after I have spent ages re folding! I think I have decided to go for kitchen units under the sewing tables so that it can be accessible without being in plain sight.I guess you have to do what works best for you.
    Post pix when you are done though! love your blog.

  • I don’t have specific storage advice, but I think the key is to take advantage of your vertical space as much as possible. Keep wall space for a design wall if possible, but otherwise do floor to ceiling shelving (or table to ceiling shelving if you’ve got your tables against the wall). Good luck! And please post photos of your space when you get it figured out!

  • I don’t think I have anything to add but am following along with interest – my space is a disaster!

  • Michele N.

    I have not an ounce of info to share as my crafting space is just an absolute disgrace!! The pictures of your current space are inspiring and I plan to attack my room tonight!! I can not finish a single (or start for that matter) holiday gift until I organize my supplies. sigh. Thanks for the kick I needed to get moving!

  • Josie

    I use an IKEA storage bags with a zipper to store fabric and batting(2.99). They are large and roomy. I am lucky to have a large closet in my craft room that I can put them in. I do feel overwhelmed looking at open shelving with stacks and stacks of fabric. I label the bag for easy of locating. They are great for keeping your batting white when you have small children or pets around.

  • Pam Pike

    I recently purchased Fabric Organizers by DeNiece’s and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, them!!! (Did I type that loud enough)? I bought 75 of the large size and I plan on buying 75 more soon. Before getting these I had my fabrics folded and stacked on a bookcase and more on full size bolts stored in a closet. It was difficult to see what I had and I was constantly refolding and restacking.
    Two great things about the Fabric Organizers; #1, I can see what I have and #2 I can store the same amount of fabric in less than half the space.
    Check them out here

  • I think the best advice I can give you for getting organized is to just start! In my craft room I have fat quarters and yardage up to 4 yards arranged by color in little clear bins originally designed for DVD storage. They hold about 25-30 yards of fabric in each. I put scraps in separate little bins by color groups. When I am working on a project I keep all my pieces and scraps in a 2 gallon sized ziplock bag until the project is complete, when it is a larger project like a quilt I will use a clear shoebox with everything in it. This also helps when one is in the middle of several projects at once. I have a small drawer to dump scraps into until I have time to sort; sometimes I put them into the correct scrap bins when each project is complete, but rarely these days. It helps to have a stopping off place for them; they used to sit on a corner of my desk but then I ran out of actually crafting space! Even if your fabric has to be stored elsewhere you can grab an empty clear shoebox and go shopping for your fabrics, then everything will be at hand for that project. Another thing I like to do Is to get the majority of my cutting done for several quilts at once since I use the same space for everything! I will cut strips and squares and put them in a ziplock bag with Quilt instructions making a sort of quilt kit. If I spend a few days or even a week doing larger cutting It is so much easier to store the large mat and use a smaller mat for assembly…I have more ideas, but I am afraid I am monopolizing the comment space!

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