Sewing is not one of those hobbies you can just keep tucked in basket and bring out when you need to. Well, you can, but only the current project. Meanwhile, all the rest of your supplies have been packed behind a closet door that's threatening to burst open, and you know if you ever need to find something specific, you'd best not be in a hurry. In short, we can all use a few more tricks up our sleeves when it comes to keeping our sewing supplies organised. Here are some favourites:
1. Clothes pegs for embroidery floss
Got bits of embroidery floss to keep track of? Instead of tossing half-unwound skeins into a tin for later, wind them onto clothes pegs to keep them neat. For added visual effect, store them in a clear glass or plastic container to show off all their colours.
2. Hanging racks for thread
If you're like most sewists, you've amassed enough different colours of thread to start your own shop—at least, you could if most of the spools weren't half-used already. Rather than rummaging through a box or drawer, invest in thread racks that you can hang on the wall. Choose ones with pegs long enough that you can stack bobbins with their matching spools so you always know just how much thread you have in each colour.
3. Cork board for needles
You know the rule about new project, new needle? But what happens if you've just got one quick seam to set or repair? There's no need to toss that needle after just a few minutes of use! But if your next project requires a different type of needle, where do you keep the slightly used one? It's not quite good enough to go back in the box with the unused needles, but definitely too good for the bin. The solution is simple: a small cork board! Write the type of needle and how long it's been used on a small piece of paper and gentlypin the paper to the cork with the needle in question (using too much force can cause needles to develop a barb at the tip). Now they're ready to be called upon to return to service when next you need them.
4. Comic book storage for patterns
The clear plastic sleeves and associated boxes designed for storing comic book collections are just about perfect. Check with your local comic book shop, or online, to pick out boxes to suit your pattern collection.
5. Separate your scraps
Scrap busting projects are great, but not all scraps are created equal. As you're working on a project, keep a few bins on hand to sort your scraps into. One is for thread clippings and scraps too small to work with. One is for larger pieces that can be used for small items, and one is for larger pieces that are irregularly shaped and can't be easily stored with the rest of your material. This will make it easier to re-sort and organize your scrap stash, or just fish something out that's about the right size whenever you need it.
6. A place for everything
The best way to ensure that everything gets put back where it belongs is to make it very clear where everything belongs. Of course, this is most helpful when you have multiple people sharing a space. Labeling drawers, hooks, or even tracing out the shape of items onto peg-boards can make it immediately clear both where something belongs, and when it's currently in use.
7. Group project pieces
If you have multiple things going on at once, it can be a challenge to keep track. Get a set of baskets or bins and use them to corral all your project pieces together, from pattern pieces and cut fabric to notions, idea pages, photos, and more.
8. Store like tools together
Keeping things logical means you'll spend less time moving from place to place in your sewing room trying to gather up all the tools you need. Keep your sewing machine presser feet in a drawer right beside your sewing table, and your extra rotary cutter blades in the same drawer with your cutter. Also group tools that you tend to use together, even if they're not physically similar, like your marking pencils and measuring tools.
9. Try a toolbox
This is particularly handy if you travel to sewing classes or to meet with customers, or just to sew with friends or family. A toolbox has enough space and separate organisational caddies that you can keep everything you need neat and tidy and all at your fingertips without lugging around a giant container of supplies.
10. Use all your vertical space
Sewing is one of those hobbies that will take up as much space as you give it...and then some! If you're working with limited space, don't forget to put all of it to use. That means dead areas under tables or counters (add drawers or shelves) and vertical spaces like the backs of doors or the insides of cupboard doors. Add hooks to hang caddies or small sewing tools, depending on the space you're working with.
11. Don't forget to leave workspaces!
In our quest for optimal organisation, it's easy to forget to leave space to work! Sewing takes a lot of flat surface area too, so build in plenty of areas that will always remain clear of clutter to use for laying out fabric, cutting, pinning, and stitching.