Helpful Tips for Organizing Your Sewing Space

Jan 6, 2022 9:15:00 AM / by Erica Bottger

It’s that time of year, quilters! The holidays are over, the weather (for many of us) is frightful, and we're ready to SEW, right?

Well, if you're anything like me, the holidays have left you with a sewing space that’s less than organized. You've got parts of unfinished projects mingled with supplies, patterns, leftover gift wrap, receipts, empty boxes, and more.

 

Quilting workstation clutter

 

The lack of organization in my own space tends to stop my creativity in its tracks. So let’s talk about ways to reclaim our sewing space and get back to creating and sewing!

 

 

The Eternal Sunshine of an Organized Quilting Space

I tend to organize my space by making piles, but you can use whatever method works best for you. Clear out things that don’t belong and get them out of the way. Things like wrapping and tissue paper, boxes, boots, baseball mitts, roasting pans – well, you get the picture.

Just moving out the things that don’t belong can make a big difference.

Pro Tip: This does not include snacks! Snacks always belong in your sewing space!

 

Snacking as you quilt

 

 

Bringing Order to Your Quilting Piles

Let's start with the things that actually belong in your “space.” Sort those items into piles, boxes, totes, trays...whatever suits you.

Growing up, I remember my mom and her friends talking about how they “cleaned in a hurry.” For one person it was grocery bags, one used laundry baskets and another used trays. It would all be stowed in the “unseen” parts of the house.

This step is also a great time to sort out your unquilted tops, backing fabric, and binding if you have them.

You can also organize your "UFOs" (UnFinished Objects). I like to keep mine in large plastic bags along with the pattern, fabric, and remaining pieces.

"WIP's" (Works In Progress) are the projects I'm currently working on. They tend to live in baskets.

 

Organizing GO! dies and Qubes

 

 

A Home For Your GO! Dies and Qubes

Next on my list of things to organize are my GO! dies and all of my Qubes. This includes doing an inventory of my dies and making sure that my product library is up-to-date on AccuQuilt!

Dies are best stored on the sides or ends. You can bet that you'll find some of these hidden under fabric and patterns - so this step is a must!

You may also want to get some additional GO! Storage Boxes. They're a handy way to keep your dies stored correctly. Perfect for BOBs and applique shapes.

 

Quilting patterns and GO! die packaging files

 

 

A Pattern and GO! Die Package Filing System

Patterns come next and, in my world, I have plenty of those! I’ve started putting my patterns into a 3-ring binder in plastic sheet covers to keep them all together.

I also use this method to hold the packaging from some of my newer dies - so I have them for reference. This really only works with the smaller dies. The information is always available online, but I’m old-fashioned and sometimes I like to have my paper.

 

 

Quilting Tools and Threads

And don’t forget your tools and threads! If you do machine embroidery, the thread is a category all by itself!

Hang in there, get like items together, and decide if the way you've been storing them has been working for you or if it’s time to re-arrange.

 

 

You Can't Quilt With Hidden Fabric

Last, but not least, is fabric. This is the big, scary part; however, there are so many different ways to go about this:

  • Like colors together
  • Fabric lines or designers together
  • Pre-cuts together by size
  • Yardage together, hanging or folded
  • Backings together
  • Scraps together

When thinking about storage methods, keep in mind that fabric colors will fade over time in the light. Folded fabrics lining our shelves may make our quilting hearts happy, but fading can be a big problem, even when not in direct sunlight.

 

 

Quilting and Scraps: The Neverending Story

Okay, scraps really need their own article. Unless you have a bust-as-you-go method in place with your favorite GO! die, it may be better to simply corral them all in one place and tackle them all at a later date.

I have a large glass jar for scraps, and when they start spilling out, I settle in and cut them up. Here are some of my favorite dies for busting up those scraps:

 

More Order Means More Quilting!

The organizational process may be a daunting one. But the reward at the end of the road is a tidy workspace that will allow your creativity to flow without wasting time searching for lost items! That means more time to sew, which is really what all quilters want, right?

Even if your sewing time is limited to 15 minutes a day, being organized will help you make the most of the limited time you have so you can accomplish all your quilting goals in the new year!

Topics: Storage and Organization, Tips & Tricks

Erica Bottger

Written by Erica Bottger