(Dear Readers: we’re taking a little vacation, and re-sharing some of our favorite posts from the past year. Enjoy! )
After all the bustle of the holidays is done, your thoughts turn to organizing, de-cluttering, and getting your home into apple-pie order. But instead of cleaning out those dust bunnies breeding under the bed, or those science experiments in the back of the fridge, let’s work on something that’s a lot more fun: your sewing area!
You’ll have a more pleasurable sewing experience when you put your sewing area in order, be it a dedicated sewing room or one end of the dining room table. You want to spend more time doing the good sewing stuff, and less frustrating time searching for that pattern or ruler that you were sure you put “right there!” To help you do this, I asked the Bernina Babes for their favorite organizing tips:
My favorite tips:
• Separate fabrics by types (batiks, prints, etc,) and within types, organize by colors.
• I love rulers, and my ruler rack is my favorite way of keeping rulers sorted and in easy reach.
• My Absolute Favorite Tip: I take all of my patterns out of their ziplock bags, and put them in sleeve protectors. The sleeve protectors go into 3-ring binders, labeled by pattern type, Quilts, Purse, Table Runners, etc. My patterns stay nice and neat, and easy to find. I even arrange them in alphabetical order!
• Ann has another binder tip that she learned from a Mastery Class student: Buy sleeve protectors for baseball/collector cards, and Velcro stick-on dots. Each pocket holds a different needle type and size. Attach the Velcro dots on the inside, to keep the pocket closed. All the sleeves go into a binder, and when Ann has to travel with her sewing supplies, she can bring the whole binder, or just take out the sleeve!
• Ann keeps bobbins filled with embroidery threads in one bobbin storage case, and bobbins filled with cotton threads in another, so she won’t get them mixed up.
• Ann says that if she doesn’t clean up after each project is finished, things get messy fast! (We know this is not the most exciting tip, but it works.)
Becky’s tip has to do with folding and storing yardage. (You may have seen us do this at the store, when folding lengths greater than a yard.) Lay out the fabric and using a 24 inch ruler, or even a cardboard fabric bolt holder, fold the fabric like you’re putting it back on the bolt. Slide the ruler out from the center and fold the fabric in half. Store on shelves with the fold facing you for easy removal!
• Resist the urge to use enormous tubs to store fabric! When full, these super large tubs are too heavy to move easily, and it’s harder to look through them to find something. She prefers to use tubs that are about 50-58 qts. Those are easier to lift, and hold manageable amounts of fabric.
• She stores filled bobbins and the matching spool of thread in little ziplock bags. Way easier than trying to remember which bobbin of white thread goes with which spool!
• Deanna says her favorite organizing tip for sewing supplies is to make sure that everything has a place! If you don’t have a particular spot chosen for something, it can wind up anywhere, and you won’t be able to find it when you need it again.
• Jill uses cardboard magazine holders, the kind you can find at office supply stores, to organize her fat quarters. She unfolds her fats, then re-folds them in thirds lengthwise, then in half. She turns the organizer on its back, and stacks the refolded fats, folded side out, inside. She has organizers for each color, and she keeps them on a shelf in her sewing room!
• Richelle’s tip is helpful and cute at the same time! She buys small, pretty dishes at the thrift store (think tea cup saucer, etc.), and puts them in the drawer of her sewing cabinet to hold things like pens, Wonder Clips, etc. She lines the drawer with rubberized, no-slip drawer liner to keep the dishes from moving around.
• Sharon’s favorite organizational tip is to use storage boxes—shoebox sized or the next largest—for each project. She puts the pattern, thread, fabric, everything she needs, inside the box, and labels it. She stacks them on shelves. Even if she doesn’t get to a project for a while, she knows the supplies won’t be accidentally used in another project!
• Steph’s favorite organizing tool is peg board! She has it up on one wall, and uses hooks to hold her embroidery hoops, with templates in ziplock bags on another hook. She has a couple of baskets hooked on which she uses for rulers, and also to hold pencils/pens and notepads.
I hope that these tips will inspire you to try some new, creative ways to organize and corral your sewing supplies! As far as I’m concerned, tips and tricks to make sewing projects easier are the ones I want to try.
What’s your favorite tip? Let us know!