Monday, December 3, 2012

No Sewing, Just Organizing


Wondering why things are a little quiet here on the sewing front? Well, I've embarked on the mother of all organizing projects. Or should I say mother-in-law of all organizing projects? You see, Jeff's mom, Joan, was here for Thanksgiving, and she's an organizing guru. She offered her help to re-do my sewing room, which was a disaster area. I'm really lucky, because I don't know how I would have done it without her!

We spent Thanksgiving day going through stuff and sorting, and then the next day we made an Ikea pilgrimage.

First, Joan suggested using a currently empty wall as a storage space. So what you see above is my new Expedit unit, filled with Drona boxes and Kassett boxes.

The Dronas are primarily fabric storage. Readers, I went through each piece of fabric I own, and measured its width and length. Then I labeled a swatch that is kept pinned to the outside of the box so I know what's inside.


This basically took me forever. But I'm pretty sure it's going to change my life.

Oh! I also spruced up an old lampshade with pompom trim!
I also organized my sewing magazines.
Even though it's looking good at this point, I still have a lot of work to do. I hope I can get through it quickly, because I'd really like to start sewing again. Wish me luck!

59 comments:

  1. Amazing! Such a smart idea for fabric organisation, but I'm curious what categories you split your fabric into? And whether you store prewashed and not prewashed separately?

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    1. I have several categories: cotton, silk, wool, misc, knits, and linings. They're not sorted by pre-washed, but I can tell which I've done because I serge the raw edges before washing.

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  2. Last winter I organized and catalogued my sewing stash. It was gobs of work but I love it! I posted about my stash book here: http://star-spangledheart.blogspot.com/2012/07/keeping-stash.html

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  3. Good Luck! it looks great, I think I need Joan to come to my sewing room too. LOL

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  4. We recently moved into a house and I'm so lucky to have a bigger sewing room - but now I don't know how to organize/decorate the space - I can't wait till I have time to really attack it - thanks for the inspiration!

    Cat
    www.cargotdressed.blogspot.com

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  5. *GASP* I was thinking about stealing your fabric storage idea, but now, there's no question. I've been trying to get organized for a couple weeks now. This post happened at the perfect time!

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  6. Fantastic! After repainting my room, I was planning on building myself floor-to-ceiling units just like this for fabric, notions, thread and crafts supplies. It's nice to see something similar already done!

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  7. Oh My Goodness! It looks even better then I expected! Great job on the fabric measuring and sorting! You just needed help getting started. It looks great.Are those magazines in date order???? :-)

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    1. Why, yes they are in date order! I also ordered more of those pink plastic drawers for thread and small supplies. Can't wait until the whole thing is done. Thanks for your help!!! I need you to come tackle the bedroom next! :)

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    2. I have two kittens that get into my sewing supplies all the time and play. How do you keep your kitty from winding up in all of your supplies?

      Animal Poor in NC
      Robin

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  8. I really need to do this. My fabric stash has exploded recently, and I find that the more serious I become about sewing (even to the point of starting to sell and barter my services as a seamstress), the more paraphernalia I acquire. The right tools really do make the job easier! So to the point of my comment - what do you see is the benefit of organizing by fabric type vs. fabric color? I have been having that debate over and over in my head lately and had just about decided to sort by color when I saw this post. Maybe it comes down to the types of items you sew? You are almost exclusively garment construction, whereas I do a little bit of everything (costumes, home decor, accessories, kids clothes and some adult clothing). Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts on this subject.

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    1. I think it's a really personal thing, and it all depends on how you go about choosing fabric for a project. I never choose by color, but by fiber content or weave. It would drive me batty to have jersey knits mixed up with woven wools (just because they happened to be the same color), but that might make perfect sense to someone else!

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    2. I have fabric sorted by fiber type with some extra space (drawers) for palettes that I am working on....so when I do have things that I intend to go together by color I can sort them together even when they are not the same fiber. I also think project bags or drawers...maybe map drawers...for keeping planned items you haven't gotten to yet, are useful. Pattern, linings, fashion fabrics, trim all together the way you envisioned it. k.

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  9. AHHHHH date order ..the best. It was fun! I really enjoyed it.I just started to get a little tired by the time we got to the magazines :)
    I love a good organizing project. Do I sense a closet organizing project?? My very fav!
    Great Job!

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  10. You don't want to get it TOO organize-y or you won't want to mess it up. (I seriously had that problem two years ago when I overhauled my sewing office and then just sat in it for 2 weeks unable to start something new.)Finding the right balance of tidy and approachable is a delicate equation.....right now I am on the side of too messy to work....going to fix that, uh, now. k.

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  11. Gertie,

    I can't be 100% sure from the picture, but I think your expedit is going the wrong way! My BF and I built one as well not long ago and I remember have a "debate" about which way it went. I think long shelf piece goes horizontally, not vertically. I could be wrong, but maybe check the instructions again!

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    1. Alicia, I have several Expedits and they are designed go either way. We have the largest one in our kids' "play area" and in those the only long boards are on the outside and there is no up or down, as it's a 5x5 grid. My son has the 2x4 grid in his room and while his is in the horizontal position, it's definitely designed to be used vertically, too.

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  12. It's looking very good! But it's making me feel guilty because I've started organizing my sewing stuff (which unfortunately have to share space with my living room) and I don't know when I will ever finish.
    How fun is it that your wall matches your hair? Great!

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  13. Looks great! I have a couple of the 5 x 5 Expedit storage units and a couple of the attached desks. The desks are about 1m apart with my serger on one and sewing machine on the other. I have a 'spinny' chair, so I can use one machine, then spin round and I am at the other one. perfect!

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  14. Oh.my.gosh. That is so cool. I love organizing so much and you've done such an impressive job! I am a novice sewer/quilter and already cannot imagine measuring all of the fabric that I've accumulated, but you're right: it is totally going to help you out in the end! Congrats :)

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  15. I did a similar overhaul of my knitting stash - sorting everything by weight and labeling boxes with the name of the yarn, the colour and how much I have left.

    The next step for me it to knit entirely from stash for a while until there is not so much of it. So much easier said than done.

    -jen

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  16. This is what I dream of. It takes some time to get it all in order, but once you've worked your way through the hard part, it's so worth it (at least, I think it is, I've never been able to finish a reorganizing of stuff :-) )

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  17. Crikey that's some serious organisational skills you're rocking there! ;) Looks great!

    And I love the re-vamped lampshade - pom-pom-tastic!

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  18. A suggestion for your sewing magazines: I took a copy of alle the pattern overviews in my Burda magazines and put them in a folder. This way I don't have to look through the magazines themselves everytime I look for a pattern.

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  19. What a cute way to organize! I tried something similar a few years ago (cataloged everything too) but I found that it was too easy for me to just shove something out of sight. I recently reorganized with open cubed shelving and found that I was more likely to actually keep things put away and folded neatly.

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  20. Sounds/looks like we all need a mother-in law like Joan!

    http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/

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  21. Oh amazing! When I have my own place again I can't wait to set up an organised little room like this too :) The fabric swatches with measurements are a clever idea!

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  22. awesome - that looks so good. Now I want to organise too :o)

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  23. I picked up some kassett's a few months ago for pattern storage. It's wonderful, and they even accommodate large Vogue patterns.

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  25. Such a great storage idea - your Mother in Law sounds marvellous.

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  26. My problem isn't getting organized, It's staying organized. I'm hoping to have a sewing room the beginning of next year. Maybe if I start off organized I can stay tht way. I'm just a messy crafter.

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  27. I am still flabbergasted that you had a bare wall. I think I recall you moving to a new place since I started following, but still! Nice work on getting it all put in place and hope it is a joy to work in when you start sewing again.

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  28. Everything looks so nice and pretty!! What a great mother-in-law.

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  29. Isn't it wonderful that you and your mother-in-law can do this together :0) You both get bragging rights here!
    I have my fabric stash organized by fiber type, as well. Mine isn't as pretty since it is in an unfinished basement, but it is done in a way that works well for me.
    Can't wait to see pix of the room when all done.....with that painted floor.......

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  30. I organised all my magazines (cross stitch and sewing) into folder recently but I'm now in the process of scanning all the pages I want to keep into my computer and recycling the actual magazines :o0

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  31. I should do this again too, last time for the fabrics was 2 years ago, the books and patterns...not since we moved in 12 years (!!) ago. The herds have expanded greatly since. I have machine swapping and work to get done first though, that would free up some floor space.

    I can't wait to see your newly organized sewing room.

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  32. Love the swatch labeling idea! I would like to say that there's no way my casual sewing hobby will ever get to the point where I have enough fabric to need that system, but who am I kidding?

    Incidentally, I have a question: How small does a fabric piece have to be for you to just give up and throw it out as useless? (Assuming I'm a garment sewer and not a quilter who needs scraps.)

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    1. I get rid of scraps once or twice a year by going through my stash systematically. I usually only keep scraps if there's enough to do enough for all the facings for a garment or something similar. If it looks like there won't be enough for an entire garment or at least for lining a hat or other small item, I put it in a bag and take it to the local children's museum where they use the scraps in their 'Arts and Parts' studio.

      On that note, please don't throw out your scraps! Donate them to schools, Girl Scout troops, preschools, church children's programs, community centers that offer art classes or even senior centers that may have quilting groups. Places like this love to have the donations and you're recycling at the same time.

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  33. I think that the Expedit is probably the most versatile piece of furniture when it comes to use by crafters of all types. I know of a couple people in sewing forums who have used them as a base for cutting/sewing tables; I have a friend who uses one for yarn storage; and I've seen them with various storage bins for fabric storage.

    I don't use an Expedit for fabric storage because my stash wouldn't fit in even the largest one. However, I do have mine sorted by type and my quilting cottons are sorted by color because they take up 2 large rubbermaid-type totes. I also sort my knits by print - I have one for floral, one for stripes and one for other prints. My solid knits are in a different tote. You get the idea. I've been trying desperately to sew from my stash only in order to cut down on the need to buy more totes! I also have to go through my stash once or twice a year and purge the stash from scraps.

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  34. I just did almost this exact same thing with my Expedit and some white Drona boxes but I put all my scraps in a plastic bag paperclipped to the outside. Your way is so nice, I might go back and cut some squares!

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  35. I'm doing something similar right this minute. Our apartment is a wreck! My sewing area is in my living space though (very small apartment). So I'm using the Pax wardrobe system. As money is limited, I can add to it as I go along, get more drawers or shelves, baskets, a new frame, etc. Plus it has doors so I can close up the mess if I need to (I haven't gotten the doors yet). My problem is what to use as a table. I currently use two card tables I haul in and out when I need them but I'm looking for a nicer way to do things. Something that can function as a cutting and sewing table that will fit in a small space. It's a bit problematic.
    By the way Gertie, I just got your book the other day and its just lovely. Once I get all these boxes of sewing stuff put away and the rest of our living space back to normal from the rearranging I hope to start on something from it. And can I say, THANK YOU for the spiral binding! What a nice bonus.

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  36. Nice work Gertie! I find this to be somewhat of an ongoing process. Needs change slightly over time, new kinds of projects require some new kinds of storage, and tackling a REALLY LARGE stash and storage area like mine is a little overwhelming. But I definitely go thru sections of my sewing studio several times a year and make more progress. BTW - I have a killer pattern organization system you may also like. I keep the pattern envelope sleeves in large 3-ring binders, organized by type (blouses, knit dresses, sleepwear, etc), and the "guts" are stored in 10x13 manila envelopes in "bankers boxes", arranged in numerical order. Easy, peasy to find patterns I want, and I love flipping thru the envelope sleeves to select a new project. Keep at it, Gertie!!

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    1. I store mine exactly the same way! We must be twins! ;)

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  37. Wonderful! I need my own Joan to organize my sewing area1

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  38. Oh to dream of such storage. Looks great!!!

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  39. Expedit is the best way to go for fabric organizing. :) I have one too, the biggest, but I should need at least one more. :P I would like to see the before-picture though. I love that!

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  40. An organising guru is always handy. We have the 16 space unit with drawers in 4 and books and things, (mostly my things) in the other spaces. Works great. ;o)

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  41. Nice To see the colorful collections :)

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  42. Its very beautiful and wonderful idea. Very nice to see your images...Thanks...

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  43. OMG. Count me as one impressed reader!

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  44. This is such a great idea for fabric storage! You inspired me to start organising my sewing room too!

    styleclasselegance.blogspot.com

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    1. Lots of Good information in your post, I favorited your blog post so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

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  45. Love the way you organized and keep track of your fabric. Very clever. It is giving me ideas for my own tiny stash

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  46. I'm on a quest to organize my extensive fabric stash too. I want a Joan, LOL! I'm fired up!

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  47. This is such a great fabric storage! Thank you for sharing such useful information.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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