Sunday, 22 July 2012

Getting Organized

Well, I did say I wasn't sure how frequently I'd be able to blog over the summer. There is some sewing happening, but it's infrequent and late in the evenings. C'est la vie! That said, I have been slowly reorganizing my sewing studio/guest room.

I love getting organized. Yep, I do. I love finding a great system for putting things in their place. Getting organized and staying organized are two different things though, aren't they? As such, I'm regularly in the 'getting organized' phase. Sigh!

Two years ago, I organized my stash by colour and value into these bookcases. Seeing the fabric all tidy and organized was quite a juxtaposition against the rest of my sewing space and, frankly, sometimes the rest of the house. I loved it and was able to keep it like this for the most part too...if I didn't touch it. Trying to find fabric though was not so easy and often resulted in having to refold the pile. Not a great incentive for using the stash.
Before - That empty cubby is where my solids
don't fit anymore. They were all over the guest bed.

Then I started seeing other bloggers' studio spaces like Elizabeth and Angela, where they organized the fabric on the vertical like a library. Oooooh -- yes, I actually drooled. It looked like a mini quilt store! When I read Patti from Retired to Quilt's post about getting organized too, it finally kicked me into gear. Thank you, Patti!

The next day I went to my local comic book store and picked up some comic book boards (FYI: They are the Magazine Book Boards - 8.5" by 10.5") and started folding...and folding....and folding. And then I had to go back to the comic book store to get more boards. And kept folding. I was actually shocked at just how many boards I needed. Thankfully, they are inexpensive, but still.

As I was folding, it felt like I was rediscovering my stash and I fell back in love with so many of my fabrics. It made me think of a game to play for exploring my stash more regularly, but I'll share that another day.

I organized my stash into these sections:  solids, white and black prints, stripes, prints and tone on tones, botanicals, landscape/texture fabric, holiday, batiks, novelty. I'm still trying to figure out how to store my fat quarters in with the yardage because I've found that if I store them separately, then I forget about them.

Soooo loving this!

I thought I'd also share a couple of things that I love about my space with you besides my now yummily organized fabric stash. The first is the peg board that I painted a few years above with some leaves to give the room some more colour. It holds my rulers, scissors, stencils, rotary cutter, pens and pencils and colour wheel.

Also, I repurposed this match holder for my safety pins. I keep it beside my sewing machine while I'm machine quilting so I can just drop the safety pins in the top, then I hang it on my peg board out of little people's reach when I don't need it. When I'm pin basting, I can just pull the pins from the lower opening. 

To keep things real though, here's what I'll be sorting out next...

and this...

and this...

I've got my work cut out for me, eh?

I'm not the only one trying to get some of the creative chaos under control. Pink Chalk Fabrics is doing a linky party for sewing spaces and I'm hoping to get some more ideas on how to better organize my stash:


  1. Your stash looks great M R. Makes you just want to dive in and make something!!!! Wish I was that organised.....maybe one day.

  2. I like the way you stashed your fabric.

  3. it looks like a store! awesome

  4. A good summer project. I am always looking for better ways and like you I went from stacks to the library look. I think it'll always need tweaking because our fabric choices also change so more of these and less of that and yikes, why did I buy those. LOL

  5. What I do with my fat quarters is use half of a comic book cardboard. I then fold it on and hold it in place with pony tale holders from the dollar store. I store my fabric in plastic bins so they don't get dusty. (I am in the basement) (or my sewing room is) I have pictures on my blog.
    It really helps to have them sorted this way as you can lay them out and choose colours and then just pop them into the box they belong in. I have been doing this for about a year and it works pretty well.

  6. Looks great! And lots of great ideas here for getting organized! Maybe that will kick start me......or maybe not, on second thought! But love looking at your beautiful pictures.

  7. Your fabric looks wonderful! I have been meaning to get me some comic book cardboard too. My fabric is mostly hidden in a cupboard though so I can just close the doors and forget about the mess, that is when the doors will close!!

  8. I started buying boards too to roll fabric on....way to much money. Instead I recycled yard signs from local elections/damaged Realtor signs and etc! The foam core is easy to cut to what ever size I need. I know they are not acid free...only free....and hopefully the fabric will get used up and not hang around too long.
    Your stash looks great!

  9. wow M-R - your stash is looking really good! Storing vertically like that not only looks fabulous, the need to refold everything because the piece you want is at the bottom of the stack is gone! I love it! Love your peg board and safety pin solution, too

  10. Oh you do have your work cut out for you!! But what a job you have already done....looks wonderful...I have a room for you to attack here!!!!

  11. Isn't it a great feeling to see all your fabrics lined up so pretty! I agree that it was so amazing to rediscover our precious fabrics. Good luck with the rest of your reorganizing!

  12. Wow! I have been slowly working on organizing my sewing room : it has been a year already for me and you are already ahead of me! I do a little, then I get discouraged and my brain tilts!!!! May be you should think about starting your own business of sewing room organizing!!!! I love your idea for the safety pins and your peg board is so cool! I got my husband to install some wall shelves last week : it helped but I ordered more! I thing you have a nice fabric collection!

  13. That all looks really lovely! You've nade great progress! I've admired those boards for a long time as the vertical storage looks so inspiring and I wish I could use them - but sadly my sewing room is very sunny in the afternoons (when we have any sun of course!)and I fear fading of my fabrics! It is hard to hide them all away ...

  14. This may just be the inspiration I need to do some organizing in my sewing room. Your fabric looks so pretty and neat lined up! What a clever idea for a match holder! And it's so pretty, too!

  15. Your sewing space looks wonderful!

  16. Nice stash! I agree about the FQs - I finally put them with my yardage (my fabric is folded the width of a CD case and stacked).

    I admit I smiled at the "keeping it real" photos because they're VERY familiar!


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