I know how it is to organize a sewing space in a tiny apartment with kids, a loft with your partner, my bedroom, or now in my luxurious sewing room. You see we have moved A LOT, and while it is a pain in the rear, it has definitely honed my spacial relation skills. There are some who have their own space like I do now and some who have to pick up and pack up mid project. It’s hard, but I sew not only for the better fitting, feeling and longevity of my garments but because it brings me peace. I think I must weave in a bit of magic for each successful make.
When my sewing was confined to my bedroom: under bed storage was great for my tools and patterns. It quickly slid in and out-of-the-way, was shallow enough to see everything and held a lot. Fabric has and continues to live (sometimes I think multiply in the dark) in large rubbermaid bins. They stack easily, have great handles and aren’t too heavy to move about. My sewing table was a folding banquet table that I used for craft shows as well but any hard surface would have worked.
When I shared a loft with my partner: I still had rubbermaid bins for fabrics and those lived in a spare closet. The plastic drawer units held my patterns organized by garment type and my tools by frequency of use (all my leather working tools in the bottom drawer and my sewing scissors and such in the top). I kept the room mostly room like with a large desk as my sewing table and the bed with a cardboard cutting mat as my cutting table (this was before my love of rotary cutters). The only thing that was more sewing room like was the duct tape dress form of myself.
When I sewed with kids in a tiny apartment: I can’t sing the praises of stacking, lidded bins enough. All fabric lived in a bin organized by home dec, suiting, special occasion, cottons, and knits. Yeah I had a lot of fabrics. My sewing supplies were in a plastic tool box by Martha Stewart for Kmart. I can’t find mine but any art supply bin or Caboodle will do (for us 80’s kids). I still had the cardboard cutting mat and would lay that on the dining room table to cut out my projects. I would work as far as I could then box everything back up till next time. Sometimes it was 5min of sewing or 2 hours, sometimes it was days between. I think this is where my dislike of UFOs started (UFO’s are Un Finished Objects).
When I have my own room: I love books and now have a book shelf for all my sewing and art related books and magazines. On it I also have a small plastic drawer unit with my sewing needles, glues and tapes. In two other boxes with a lids are my office supplies and electronic supplies. Next to my book shelf is a very small Ikea dresser that has all my big four patterns (McCalls, Vouge, Butterick and Simplicity) and on top of it in manilla envelopes and magazine holders are all my print at home and indi patterns. Fabrics mostly still live in rubbermaid bins but now I am down to two. One for all my quilting cottons (I’m not a quilter so I don’t pull them out often) and another overflowing with my garment fabrics of varying make up. I do have one of the closet hanging shelf things for my sewing and lingerie fabrics as I don’t have much of them. All my notions are in lidded shoebox size plastic boxes by type: zippers, bias and assorted tapes, buttons and fasteners, bra making, elastics, piping and velcro. This makes it easy to grab what I need and know if I have it or need to run to the store.
Do you have any great organization tips to share? I have been meaning to keep a fabric swatch book or a digital form, I hear good things about Evernote. What have you used?