Sewing Organization

I just started sewing back in October and since diving into that side of crafting I’ve come to one conclusion: it takes over your house! I quickly figured out that with all the little things you need for different projects, your home can quickly turn into a disaster area and I set out to do my best to organize everything. The picture above is a sewing table from Joann’s that was my first step in tackling the mess. It’s small enough that I set it up behind my couch in our living room so that I can sew while being in full view of the tv and still be able to spend time with my husband in the same room. The leaf that the sewing machine is on folds down when not in use, making it a rolling cart.

The “cart” part of the table has shelving and storage for A LOT of the little things that were otherwise floating around and difficult to locate when I needed them. I keep all of my bobbins on the spokes and use the side shelving for all kinds of notions and tools. This way I know exactly what I have and it’s always right next to me when I need it. I use the bigger shelves to keep the things I use most frequently. The top shelf is where I put things that need mending (straps on camis, tears in the dog’s sweaters, shirts with missing buttons, etc). The second shelf houses the project that I’m most currently working on (in this case a Chanel-inspired travel caddy… will do a post once finished!). The third shelf houses my sketching supplies and I keep a box of thread spools on the bottom shelf.

sewing tips

The picture above is how I used to sketch out my projects, in a classic sketch pad format. Sketching your projects out helps to organize things greatly… you can mix and match parts of a pattern or come up with your own, you can make notes about the fabric’s material and quantity, and you can make make a list of what notions you’ll need. I also like to pin swatches of the fabric I have in mind right onto the sketch.

adobe sketches

The two pictures above are of the new way I sketch out my projects and I can’t recommend it enough. I bought the Adobe Ideas App on my iPad2 and purchased a Targus Stylus Pen which allows me to draw just like I’m using a pencil right on my iPad. You can zoom in and do great detail drawings (like the back of the dress in the top sketch) and then zoom out to fill in the rest of the sketch with ease. You can change the colors to any one in the spectrum, you can change the stroke size, the opacity of the color and save the sketches right to your photo album. All of your sketches can be viewed as thumbnails on your “organize ideas” page and can easily be emailed anywhere.

The picture above is of the amazing way I’ve figured out how to store all of my extra fabrics. Whether it’s not being able to pass up an amazing sale or falling in love with a fabric even if you have no initial use for it, all sewers have tons of fabric laying around. This creates a few problems- you forget what you even have, it can easily get dirty, you have no way of knowing how much of it you have, scraps get easily lost and it’s just a general pain to store…so here’s my solution to ALL of those problems. I bought a bunch of manilla envelopes (the standard size and smaller ones) and Avery address labels. Depending on how much of the fabric you have, fold it neatly and slip into the desired size envelope. Find a template on Avery’s website that you like and create labels for each envelope. I include a large header with the name of the fabric and then add all the information I will need. This includes the color of the print on the fabric, washing instructions and the width/length of the fabric. Use the metal clasps to seal the envelopes, adhere the label to the back and store envelopes neatly in a clear plastic storage bin. For extra organization you can do what I do and keep an excel sheet with all the same info about the fabrics so you can have a fast and easy way to keep inventory of your fabrics.

fabric envelopes

I have a really long and very shallow clear storage bin that I keep in our basement that houses all of my pattern envelopes. Office max makes these clear expandable folders that are great for storing patterns once they’ve been sketched and cut and altered… they’re much roomier and you can see through them to see what each one is. When I make my own pattern I do them in muslin so these folders are also great for holding onto those pieces. I keep an ongoing list in my planner that lists each company and numbers to the patterns I like… Then when they go on sale at Joann’s for $.99 each I buy the ones I have listed for that company. I also keep an excel sheet with what patterns I have so I never accidentally buy the same one twice!