Monday, February 23, 2015

Organization... or Disorganization?

Sometimes it's really hard to tell, right?  Quilters often comment that when their sewing space becomes unruly it inhibits their creative process.  I would agree with that and definitely fall into that category.  I am very blessed to have a wonderful, large space for my quilting studio.  It has not always been that way,  I have had a variety of sewing spaces, both big and small.  However, regardless of the size of the space, organization is key (a little OCD goes a long way too! LOL). 

You might recognize this from my post last week.
I think we all would agree that the one thing quilters have the most of, and that needs the most organization, is FABRIC!  Some of us verging on "hoarding" proportions... but I like "fabric collector" better. :-)
I read a blog post recently where a quilter was talking about how her fabric was organized... the Civil War Repros would never touch the 30's Repros, etc. So I started thinking how I organize my stash and wondered how the rest of you handle this challenge!  So....
How Do You Organize Your Fabric?
Here is a look at how I manage the bulk of my stash.
I used to store fabric chronologically... meaning the newest stuff on top. :-)  I soon realized that I needed a better system.  Initially everything was sorted by color.
I love these plastic drawers for keeping fabric separated and dust free. They fit nicely under my work table.
They also fit nicely under the extension of my sewing table.  Yes, they are usually closed. :-)
However, right from the start I knew I had to keep the batiks separate.  This was the start of further division of the fabric stash!  Now this is not protected from dust, etc. but it is a visual feast for the eyes.  (I think I need re-sort this - it's looking a little messy these days!)
Next came various styles that I wanted to keep together for easy of selection - as with these Civil War Repros.  It makes it a lot easier when working on a certain style quilt.
Plastic totes are great for all these different style fabrics

Two more plastic storage drawers hold florals and brights.  They also raise the small ironing board to just the right height! (I am 5' 9" tall!)
Now that we have the fabric hidden stored away, we can look at some of the other storage ideas I use.
To the left of the ironing board are plastic containers of various styles and sizes for buttons, quilting thread, patterns, and fusibles.
Spray starch, water and Best Press are kept to the right of the ironing board.  Easy reach!
Books and cd's are located on two book shelves behind my sewing table.  Easy reference and I have to have my music!!!  Jazz is the main selection!
My design board sits on top of the book shelves.  Visible from any spot in the room.
I forget where I found this tip.. but soda fountain glasses and glass candy dishes make great holders for pens, marking pencils and pens, etc. These are located on the left side of my work table.
And right above them are my scissors and rotary cutters in one wall basket and special templates and rulers in another. Also within easy reach!
Large plastic rulers hang on the wall within easy access to my work table.  The work table is also set up perpendicular to the wall so I can work on either side of the table. Makes working on big projects much easier!
Sewing thread racks are mounted on the wall behind my sewing table and organized by color.. of course!
Some specialty thread is kept to the right of the sewing machine for easy thread changes while doing machine applique or machine quilting.  Again, plastic storage drawers are perfect for this too!
My sewing table sits in the middle of the room.  It is a good use of the space rather than facing against the wall.  Someone said something about good Feng Shui... not sure if that is true.. but it is a great spot to sew.
One last tip.  I always unplug my machine when not in use.  Surge protectors are great, but if they fail a power surge can blow out your computerized machine. (Now that's a hot flash!!! LOL)  Power surges can occur even when the machine is turned off, but still plugged in.
Of course a good sewing chair is everyone in the room!
So let me know how you organize your fabric stash.  I would like to hear your comments and/or suggestions on any organizing ideas you may have.  I still have a lot to learn!!!!
Happy Stitching!


  1. I keep my cloth in large semi-transparent plastic bins, sorted by color and covered by lids. They fit nicely under my cutting tables. My thread is also sorted by color and is kept in flat, semi-transparent boxes purchased at Harbor Freight. I think they were meant to hold screws and washers but the divisions fit spools of thread and they stack nicely in the closet. I thought you had a really nice space to work in!

  2. Very nice and so organized. Some day mine might be that way. You give me encouragement. Thank you

  3. When my quilting space gets too messed up, it drives me insane! Yours is looking very tidy and well organized. I try to keep mine organized, but sometimes the space is too small for me--not that I'm complaining! All my fabrics are kept by color regardless of style of print. Too much sun where my room is, so nothing is see through which I kind of regret. Oh well. I am so happy to have a permanent space that I just do the best I can!

  4. Oh I enjoyed this peek into your creative space!! Love the idea of keeping batiks seperate...I'm probably going to do that. I also organize fabric by color and some by my 30's. You've also inspired me to start collecting Kaffe prints!! (SHhhh don't tell my husband!!LOL!) Thanks for linking it as know I can revisit as much as I want as I conintue my finishing touches.

  5. I've moved from the plastic drawers to wire shelves so I can see what I have. I organize the fabrics on the shelves very similarly to the way you do. You have a fun and functional quilting space. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I have had a lovely time here looking through your sewing space! I too use those plastic storage drawers - great idea.
    Also love your idea of having your ironing board perched on top of those drawer units - I may try that as I have a small room and would save space there. I have my computer in here and think that's going to have to out, doesn't take up much space but it's on a table 30" by 23". I need to reorganise my Kaffe fabrics - overflowing -and I intend to order some of the Spring 2015 collection when it's available!!! Do you have your computer in your room - don't see it there?

  7. I organize my fabric by color and theme as well as by new vs old. I am trying to use up my old fabric so some is sorted by potential project as well. :) Your stash looks like lots of fun!

  8. Thank you for the wonderful tour of your studio! I organize by color and also have a large section of batiks......that really seems to be growing.

  9. Hi Debra! Thank you for inviting us to your sewing studio! Everything looks great, well organized, beautiful Fabrics, threads and colours! I try to post about my sewing room later today. x Teje

  10. Hi kitty! I have kitties in my sewing space too. :) I'm getting a new studio soon (time to move out of the living room!) and love seeing yours. You're making great use of under-table storage and vertical spaces. I love the soda glasses for pens and the half baskets on the walls.

    My fabrics are all folded a certain way (and safety-pinned closed) so re-arranging them won't take long. All kinds are jumbled together and I find myself going through several bins before finding the right one. So I'll be sorting them by type, too. The novelty prints can be sorted further into babies, kids, holidays. Batiks go together as well as solids. I'll still probably have an "everything else" bin but getting some things straight will go a long way. Thanks for sharing the post! Found you on tuesday archives.

  11. I'm going to start unplugging my power strip - thanks for the tip! Like you I sort by type and then I have my "rainbow stash" that I sort by color. My stash would drive me crazy without a method to keep it under control and easy to access. I fall into the category of too much stimulation/distraction and I lose my focus... when my room is too messy I end up avoiding it completely. As you said - it's a fine balance. Thanks for sharing your space.

  12. Organization is in the air it must be spring fever! I also sorted my fabric by color and theme and batiks must have a own. I have a two rolling carts for thread, a bit of an obsession there. I've chosen wire racks to keep my fabric out in the open in plastic bins where I can see it. Still visible because I think it's so pretty but covered up because it's crazy dusty here in the country on a dirt road.

  13. Thank you for showing us your sewing room. Great ideas. I need to get some of those drawers. I love the quilt up on your design wall, could you tell me how to find the pattern? Thank you. Hugs,

    1. Sandi, Thanks. That quilt is based on a quilt by Audrey at Quilty Folk. I believe she made a pattern. Her blog is

  14. Your sewing room is so deilghtful and organized. Thanks for sharing it.

  15. Thanks for the close-up of your sewing space. When I first started quilting I bought 2-3 yard pieces and now its usually 1/2 yard. So I have the large flat folds on shelves, half yard and smaller in wire storage units, and scrappy scraps in plastic bins. Okay, that's in theory. In reality, everything is everywhere. But now seriously. Where did you get that adorable sewing chair cushion. I want one just like it!

  16. I love your sewing room and stash! Can I come and live with you?


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