Sew Many Things…

Hello, my name is Sue and I have a sewing problem. I just don’t have enough room to store everything! I’ve tried not keeping scraps – but that’s just wrong – so I keep scraps. I’ve tried to use up my stash, the only problem is I keep buying more. I’ve tried not buying more fabric, unless it was for the project I was working on at the time, but there’s always the next project in my mind. When you see that perfect fabric, well, you know… no fabric left behind!

So now I’m trying to store my stash and keep everything organized and accessible. That’s the key for me. I can work in utter chaos, but it’s nicer and calmer to work in an open space, not having to push one or more half-made projects out of the way to start the next five projects! So, this is what I’ve done: I’ve got project boxes for each different project. Some are started, some are just planned (there are a lot more of these than I anticipated). I have a file box of patterns I cannot wait to try out. I have a box, well, two really large boxes of “unspoken for” fabrics. You know the type of thing that’s just too beautiful not to own! I have a little set of drawers for notions and things – yes, occasionally I make other things, not just quilts. I have all of my thread organized by color and fiber; I have a box of cottons for my quilting, another of polyester thread for other projects, a box of rayons and fancy threads, and a box of JUNK thread – and I don’t know why I’m keeping that (oh, yes, I can use that on my serger).

I also keep my basic threads, plus my current project threads on a rack by my machine. As table space is always at a premium, I wall-mounted the thread rack with those 3M removable tapes. On the thread rack, I put my bobbin (I have quite a few bobbins) and matching thread on the same spindle. On the rare occasion I have a spare bobbin, I have a spindle for those as well. I also separate my threads; top line is polyester in basic colors, black, white, cream (I used to make wedding gowns) navy and gray. Then the next layer is quilting threads, basic colors, sand, cream, gray, etc. All with their matching bobbins ready to sew at a moment’s notice.

Finding spare time these days is such a challenge so having everything ready to go at any time is fabulous. However, it does mean I have to pick-up and pack-up at the end of each sewing frenzy. It’s worth it though!

How do you stay on top of the chaos that a sewing room or area can quickly become?


  1. B J Elder - July 27, 2012

    I read another blog this week that has a similar rack for thread that is kept by the machine with the threads being used in the current project. Love that idea and will be on the lookout for a thread rack to use.

  2. Cindy Radtke - July 30, 2012

    I have one that is built like a lazy suzanne and sits very well beside you on the table. They are very easy to make from just a few inexpensive pieces of wood. They go together quickly. One word of advice though, either leave the wood natural with no finish or paint it with a gloss or semi-gloss paint. DO NOT use oil type stains or finishes as they can damage your threads.

  3. Sandi G - August 1, 2012

    Artistic chaos is not a bad thing. It keeps the juices flowing. I went to Ikia and bought stackable sliding drawers that were relatively inexpensive. I just need a bigger room. My husband won’t let me knock down any walls. Still looking for more ideas. I like yours.

  4. Su Scott - August 2, 2012

    That’s exactly what I’m doing too. Moved… unpacking and reorganizing….what a pain! Love Ikea! Love the Container Store… Love Storables!
    Good luck to all of us in our continuing effort to enjoy our love of creativity! su “-}

  5. Linda Christianson - August 2, 2012

    Seems like CT has talked about this problem many times. The box idea seem great until you have tub after tub of them. I have spend the Summer quilting tops some ten years old that have been lost in the box. Why did I not finish it years ago? Now I don’t have enough fabric to bind the edge. The real solution? Finishing one project before the next. Only I have ten in the making. Just finished a whole cloth, twin size today. It only took 60 hours. Half was quilted on the longarm and all the inside picture hand stitched.

  6. Jennifer Cotner - August 16, 2012

    It turned out that I did not have such a problem! I showed your article to her husband, and he quickly constructed my closet for my sewing problems. In them we are just like you put a small box bought at Ikea, and the problem goes away! Thank you for this excellent article!