The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

Hello all, I'm in the process of trying to organize all my sewing stuff and I can't seem to find a system that works for me. I live in a small apartment that I share with my husband, 19 month old son and 2 cats, so space is not a luxury we enjoy. I have turned a small hall closet into a craft closet (I also smock, scrapbook, dabble in photography and do home decor type stuff) but I still have all my patterns and extra fabric in my son's closet. Usually I'm all about organization, but with my growing sewing stash and a list of sewing things I still want to get, I'm a little overwhelmed. I don't like trying to get re-organized every few weeks. I feel like I'm not able to get things done as fast as I should or done at all.

I know organization is something we all do in our own way, but I'm hoping some of your ideas will solve my mess. 

Thanks, 

Aimie

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I live in a tiny flat with tons of stuff.  Things that help me keep organised are to label EVERYTHING on the outside of the containers.  I organize my fabrics by colours: that's how I go looking for them.  I have individual containers for buttons, ribbons, lace, bias tape, etc. etc.  I keep my basic sewing implements (scissors, rippers, tapes) in a drawer under my machine.

I know some people like to organise their patterns by maker/pattern number, but I find it works a lot better for me to organise them by type & date.  So I have a box of pre-50s patterns, with one side dresses, and the other half tops on one side, and bottoms at the other.  And then a box of 50s-60s patterns, with the same arrangement.  And then a box of 70s-present patterns.  And finally, one of kids & men's patterns.  

Does that help at all?

I pretty much do all of this because I also live in a small apartment with tons of stuff PLUS my beau and his tons of stuff and our two cats (they don't have tons of stuff, thankfully!). I have about 1/3 of our large office (really the reason we got the apartment--it's HUGE (at least as large as our combined kitchen/livingroom area) and has natural light. I have two sets of drawers. One is something my mother got at Joann Fabrics--the drawers are divided into thirds. I use this for my patterns which, as Leimomi illustrates, is much easier for me to organize by type and date (i.e. 1950s dresses, 1960s & 1970s shirts and tank tops, etc.). The other chest of drawers is one of those plastic jobbies and holds all of my sewing notions, thread, and cutting implements.  I keep my sewing machines on the top shelf of the closet (learn from my mistake: COVER THEM!). I keep all of my fabric (and yarn) organized into plastic bins that fit under the office/craft/guestroom bed. I organize them by type and color group (i.e. one holds all my brocades--I have a ridiculous amount purchased while in India--another all of my Inida cottons, a another all my red, oranges, and yellows, another with greens, blues, and purples, and a final one with white, black and brown. 

Because I have limited space, it is essential I use what I can. It's all about finding places to squirrel things away and yet have them accessible. 

I do need to make a machine cover. My "little helper" knows he is not suppose to play with my machine so that is all he wants to do. My old machine came with a cover so I never had to worry about it.

Thanks! I really need to organize my fabric. I raided my Granny's sewing room and left with 3 of the giant black trash bags and have "stolen" more since then. I have no idea what I have. I like how you did the patterns too. I'm totally jealous that you have so many patterns from past decades. 

Granny is exactly how I got so many old patterns!  I have all my grandmothers, and an honorary grandmothers too, and a few other ones from other places.  It's really lovely to have the heritage and to think of them when you sew the bits up.  

Have you made any particular projects from your Granny's fabric?

It's funny, every time I go home know she calls and says she has found more stuff for me. Then she jokes that she's going to start locking up the sewing room because a thief keeps coming, forget the computer and t.v.'s.

I've got to do a few projects... a blazer, button down shirt and 3 pair of cotton knit feetie jammies for my son. I have lots of ideas for some of the other fabric but haven't had the time/ patterns to do them yet. 

Thanks! I really need to organize my fabric. I raided my Granny's sewing room and left with 3 of the giant black trash bags and have "stolen" more since then. I have no idea what I have. I like how you did the patterns too. I'm totally jealous that you have so many patterns from past decades. --- my computer went haywire... sorry!

Thanks! I really need to organize my fabric. I raided my Granny's sewing room and left with 3 of the giant black trash bags and have "stolen" more since then. I have no idea what I have. I like how you did the patterns too. I'm totally jealous that you have so many patterns from past decades. 

I live in about 200 sq ft, so organization is tight for me, too! I have a lot of plastic shoe-box-sized containers from the Container Store: one for buttons, one for zippers, one for bias tape... generally if they don't all fit in one box then I know I have too much stuff for my small space! The great thing is these boxes stack up really nice in a closet or shelf, and are clear so you can see what's in them.

I keep all my patterns and fabric on part of my one shelving unit. Patterns are sorted by type (dresses, pants, tops...). Again--if they don't fit, it's time for me to stop going to the store! The open shelving allows me to see what's there, but also means I have to keep it neat.

I think the main challenge is storing the bigger stuff--rulers, cutting mats. Those just get shoved behind my sewing table...

Anyway, here's a look at my tiny tiny sewing space. You can do it!

Wow!! I'm impressed you make it in that small of space. I would go nuts. I have started buying the plastic shoes boxes at Wal-Mart (they're $.96 so I buy a few every trip) for my supplies and I'm starting to like storing things that way. How do you do your buttons? Do you have smaller containers for every color or are they just thrown in and you dig around for what you want? Buttons are one of the things stumping me. 

I just recently oraganized my buttons, I store them in zip-lock bags. I sorted them by color, if I have lots of one type they get they own bag if its just a few I pin them togheter with a safety pin and put them in as bag with others of similar color. All the zip locks are in one of this small boxes that are intended for filing photos. I also have some special buttons that I keep on a rack in old spiceglasses.

Yes safety pins or wire works great for those that are not still on the card. I actually went through and got rid of a lot of my single buttons so I'm left with a lot of useable sets--gets rid of some of the clutter!

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