Oliver + S

Sewing room organization

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    Masha Richart

    So we recently got word that in all likelihood, we will be moving home to the U.S. next year. This means moving back into our house, which was more than adequate when we were a family of three. We are now a family of five, and while we will fit, it is going to be a challenge after living in our current, larger house. My sewing space in particular will need to be significantly compressed.

    As I consider aspects of this (like the need to just throw away small scraps instead of keeping them – they currently occupy a 70-liter tote with overflow), I realized that I have yet to develop a neat and efficient system for my sewing patterns. For the patterns that have a lot of pieces, I have a tendency not to be able to fit them back into their envelopes, so I fold them up as best I can and put them into a gallon Ziploc bag. Others go back into their envelopes. I have a couple cardboard magazine holders I keep them in right now, but that does not allow for easy rifling through.

    What do you do? And how is your space organized, in general? If you do not have space for all your fabric by your machines, where do you keep it?

    I know we’ve shown off our craft spaces before but I figured this would be a good opportunity to do so again. Bonus points for photos!

    Nicole @motherof5

    How exciting!

    When my older children were little I sewed in the corner of our sitting room. I used play pens to form a barricade but I could still see them and they were happy to be near me.

    I kept my supplies in neat faux leather storage boxes that stacked neatly when not in use and I made covers for my machines that matched our sofa cushions.

    The ironing board was out but I just got in the habit of taking the iron off and putting it out of the way as I used it each time ( a pain but necessary with crawling twin babies).

    It was a set up that allowed me to sew with 3 under 2 so I was pretty happy with it.

    Tamara @justsewit

    Yes how very exciting to be returning home! Will this be a permanent move? It will be good for your whole family to be settled in a home that is actually yours I think.

    I’m wondering how your set up will go and the question of how we organise our supplies etc. I have to share the office which is a demountable office really and I take up the majority of the room. My three machines sit on an ikea table and the majority of my things go into the large ikea wardrobe minus the doors that I purchased last year. Having doors would be ten times better but it is glass and a couple of the panels were damaged so the doors never went up.

    To store my patterns, I have them organised in their packages in a storage box which is not quite A3 sized but narrow. It serves its purpose for now however as soon as I can claim some wall space I will mount some sort of system to the wall to display them that way.

    I didn’t really sew constantly when my chilcren were very small. I did alot of hand embroidery which allowed me to sit in the lounge when they were up and about and I could easily put it down and pick it up whenever my attention had to shift. I did attempt to stitch during their nap times but it didn’t always work as I took that time to clean up and organise etc – I still to this day find it hard to clean around the kids.

    I think if you have a living space that could be big enough to split easily, this would be the perfect solution to the problem of wanting to sew yet having to keep constant watch.

    I don’t believe in locking yourself away when the kids are about and needing your supervision but I do agree with how Nicole has described that safety is paramount. If you can access them, playpens make great barriers. You can also find some sturdy yet low shelving (Ikea has the expedit range) that could also double as storage and a barrier should you have to share a space. You need to make it safe yet a mummy only zone because of that. Low lying furniture that is able to be anchored down would provide obvious boundaries and “rooms”

    Having a designated space beats having to use the dining table all the time. If you don’t have to that would be ideal.

    I hope this is helpful as you plan your move.

    Masha Richart

    This is not a permanent move – my husband’s job requires moving roughly every 2-4 years, though we do have a home “base” to return to when we are in the U.S. I don’t think there is any living space in our home that is large enough to accommodate both the accoutrements necessary for its intended purpose, and my sewing space. I may decide otherwise when we are actually in the house again. If my sewing room ends up in our bedroom, as I suspect it will, I will only be able to sew during naptimes, evenings and weekends. It’s not like I sew much outside of those times anyway, so that’s not a huge deal. I’m looking at some set ups like these:

    We don’t have much storage space at all – so I will have to be creative with fabric storage. I imagine under-bed storage will probably be necessary.

    Tamara @justsewit

    I like those storage ideas. In my single still living at home day (late teens) I used to designate a shelf in my wardrobe to my fabric stash. It was different back then as I only did sewing for myself. The closet idea would be a good option because the. You could just close the doors and the kids couldn’t access it. It would also be easy to not go overboard with expanding the collection only to have to downsize again on the next move.

    It makes me feel very fortunate (through all my complaining) that I have an actual room even if it has to be shared.

    Still exciting though!

    Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    I’m a “only after bedtime sewer” and as for sewing rooms… what are they? sound lovely.

    I draft my patterns onto the really light tracing interfacing and then store each drafted copy in an A5 clear plastic sleeve inside a ring binder. I stick labels on each sleeve with brand, style, size etc and then label the folders to show which patterns are inside. That way all patterns fit on a bookshelf. patterns and instructions in their packets. Ring binders with the drafted copies.

    I haven’t really solved fabric storage and I keep adding to the pile that I have… (that pile is in the garage on an old shelf covered with a dust cover.)

    Sarvi @Sarvi

    Both those pinterest links make use of the idea of treating your walls/doors as huge vertical desktops. I have a metal grid you can hang baskets from, hung over the left side of my desk. I keep all my main gear there — bobbins, cutting tools, measuring and marking tools, presser feet. Something like that might be good for you, since the whole shebang attaches to the wall with just a few screws. You could put tupperware in the little baskets, and when you needed to pack it up, just put on the lids, unscrew the whole thing from the wall, and stick it in a box. I’ll snap a photo in a bit.

    meleliza @meleliza

    I had that exact desk from Ikea and sewed there for a while. It let me close up when I was done. However, my stash of fabric and supplies outgrew that so fast it was barely worth the money and effort to set it all up. Plus, it was dark and it wobbled under the machine at higher speeds. The desks at Ikea are also wobbly, so I bought an inexpensive dining table and put it under the window. It doesn’t wobble and I have much better light. And I don’t feel all closed up in a closet.

    I’m still sewing in my bedroom, which I don’t love because it’s messy and produces lots of dust. Hopefully, the basement will be finished next year, but that is a long and dirty job. I keep a little village of dollhouses and a swing basket for K for those times when I sew with her around.

    I have some big projects starting soon, and I’m considering temporarily taking over my parlor for more space. This would involve a lot of furniture moving and it would be the first thing people saw when they walk in. During the holidays. So I’m still thinking.

    SarahGreen @moonglowmama

    Hi there! Welcome back home?!

    I love organizing, and I’ve tried a few different things that have worked well. When I had a desk in the dining room, I used the built in cabinet type space in it to store the current project, the sewing machine cords and instruction manual, as well as a very small tote box that held scissors, my threads, threaded bobbins, tape measure, interfacing and pins. Basics.

    In the other room I keep my fabrics on a shelf, stacked and sorted with some regularity. I have pretty much quit keeping most of my scraps, only keeping what looks like a decent size, trimming off any excess weird shapes and keeping those in clear plastic bags. If I have enough of a fabric after I make something and I like it, I might go ahead and cut bias strips and wrap those in a piece of paper to be used whenever.

    I have started a keeping a big binder of my patterns. I just slip them into sheet protectors, one per pattern. The tracings go in there, labeled on the outside with what size they are. This especially works well for the digital patterns. I also keep my knitting patterns in that binder after a divider. I like being able to flip through and find what I’m looking for easily.

    I think underbed storage could work great for fabric. I would want to fold so I could see at a glance what I had, more like a library card catalog than piles. Right now we are in a teeny tiny apartment and I just have the machine on a desk in the den, with a big Marshall’s shopping bag holding my favorite fabrics on the floor next to the desk and the little tote on the corner of the desk. It works. I just use the dining room table when I am in the middle of something and put it all away when I’m not. It pushes me to complete one project before beginning another.

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