As Sneha will show us, an organized sewing space is a happy sewing space! Follow along on her task to de-clutter and tidy up her sewing space from top to bottom. Inside this post she reveals 12 steps to take to get your area cleaned up and ready for more sewing action. Thanks for the inspiration, Sneha! And when you see how many scraps you have, you will need a pattern to use them up so don’t miss her darling Lil’ LDT, which is just $5 today only for Feature Friday. Plus, there is a bundle option for an even steeper discount with the Everyday Playdress!
12 TIPS TO ORGANIZE YOUR SEWING SPACE
Hello! I’m Sneha, and I’m a fabric collector. I rescue lonely fabric from online shops and warehouses, bringing it home to be loved and cherished. I take this heroic task very seriously, and meticulously comb through my favourite websites to check for new, lonely, forlorn fabric.
Who am I kidding? I love fabric. I learned to sew because I wanted to play with happy prints. My life lacked color and vivacity until I discovered the wondrous Joann’s fabric section about 10 years ago, and there was no stopping me ever since. I’ve amassed a huge roomful of fabric that I love, and find it unbearable to cut into sometimes.
Last year we down-sized our home as we moved from a huge house in Texas to a smaller townhome in the Toronto suburbs. As I dealt with settling my children, learning where to shop and what groceries were available, acquiring driver’s licenses and health cards and finding a doctor and the million small things that come with a giant move like this, somehow setting up my sewing room took the last priority. A long, brutal winter meant that getting back to normal was doubly hard.
I slowly slipped into a state of avoidance, opening just the boxes I needed, putting fabric away wherever there was space. The room was full of empty suitcases, paper patterns strewn about, Costco non-perishables and even old trophies. I would step on piles of fabric to get to the sewing machine, because I still wanted to sew. I started to decline pattern tests because I couldn’t face being in that room for too long, and an activity that once brought me immense joy felt like a boulder on my back. I’ve not even attempted to make masks, even though I would love to.
Avoid or Organize?
When I chose to write this piece on organizing your sewing room, I signed up in January for June. I put it off every day, even forgetting about it for weeks. Meanwhile that room stayed closed, a fallen suitcase barred the door from the inside. Finally the week before this post was due, and I couldn’t procrastinate any further, I grabbed a cup of coffee, put my favourite podcast on my phone, and went into the belly of the beast.
ORGANIZE YOUR SEWING SPACE:
12 TIPS FOR EFFICIENT DECLUTTERING
Shockingly, it only took about 22 hours to get it done. I worked mostly at night, after the family went to bed until 4 or 5 am. Here are a few things that helped me speed up the process:
- Put all the things that don’t belong, outside the room – suitcases, boxes etc. Once the floor is clear you can decide where to store everything.
- Fold fabric and stack it on a chair or table. Don’t categorize it yet, just clear it neatly.
- Carry a giant trash bag with you wherever you go. There’s always something that can go in the trash.
- Paper PDF patterns can all go in the recycling if they haven’t been organized. It’s frustrating to realize you’ve lost a piece and have to reprint when you expect to be sewing. More than likely the size you’re going to need will have changed, especially with older patterns and growing kids. If you’d like to sort your patterns out and keep them, I think you’re a superhero.
- Take a picture when you come across something you didn’t expect to see. It’s fun, and gives your brain a little break from the tedium. I found a Rice Krispy Treat!
- Listen to something interesting – a podcast on business, a favourite tv show (one you’ve seen before so you don’t have to keep looking at the screen is awesome), or a random playlist.
- Group like things together, and don’t put them in containers just yet. It saves a lot of time when you’re not constantly going back and forth between containers. Make piles of like items at this stage.
- Put aside items to donate. There’s always something you can part with – fabric in colours you’ll never wear, slippery fabric you hate to sew, velcro and snaps from when you planned to make cloth diapers but your kids are all potty trained now (this is me!!). Bag them immediately so you don’t get lured into holding on to them.
- Once I finished categorizing, I had clear piles of fabric, notions, interfacing, elastic, thread and art supplies (I’m a fabric designer and illustrator as well). Then it was easy to simply put each category away.
- I knew the size of container I needed, and since the finish line was close I actually stored everything neatly.
- I put my fabric in stacks of fashion fabric and custom prints, but you may choose to organize by color or fabric base.
- Other items like suitcases, boxes of stuff etc went into an unused closet that I could finally get to. You may choose to fill these with fabric that you will sew in the appropriate season, if you would like to free up more space.
I’m pretty proud of my Before and After Pics! I had two GIANT trash bags filled, and donated about 100+ yards of woven and cotton spandex fabric.
ORGANIZE AND DONATE
The wonderful part of this transformation is that I got in touch with our local Canada Sews group that has been tirelessly making masks, scrub caps, headbands etc for frontline workers across the country. I was able to donate fabric, elastic and velcro since it was already categorized. I will be donating fabric that cannot be used by the organization to other places.
I’m also going to be selling some fabric and donating the proceeds in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Here is a vetted, extensive list of organizations that are accepting donations right now.
More ideas on where to donate fabric:
- Days For Girls makes washable feminine hygiene accessible around the world. Check with your local chapter in the US for what they need.
- Your local Quilting Guild chapter (both US and Canada) will often come together to sew quilts for charity, veterans etc. It’s a great way to get involved and really connect with your sewing community.
- Our Social Fabric, Canada diverts fabric destined for the landfill.
- EcoEquitable, Canada teaches sewing to all levels of sewists. Their Sewing For Jobs program helps immigrant and marginalized women gain skills to work in the sewing industry.
- Little Dresses For Africa sends dresses to little girls in Africa. You can sew dresses and send them to the Christian 501(c)3 organization.
- Local school sewing program
- Senior activity centres
THE RESULT: ORGANIZE YOUR SPACE FOR MORE SEWING
The effect of this massive declutter is an immense sense of relief, and a feeling of accomplishment. I know where to find something when I need it, without dreading the search. Most of all, I am happy to sew in an inviting, lovely space. In fact, I decided to sew up my favourite Love Notions pattern for my daughter that same day! The Li’l LDT Pattern is one I have relied on for a quick, flattering sew ever since I first tested it.
I decided to make a tank dress with a cowl neck since it’s summer. I chose a custom printed brushed poly fabric from Wanderlust Custom Fabric, since it drapes nicely and will stay vibrant through multiple washes. Kids are so hard on clothes!
The Li’l LDT Pattern (affiliate link) is on sale for $5 as this week’s Feature Friday pattern, and it’s definitely a wardrobe staple. With the option to make a tee, tunic or dress, optional high/low hem for the dress, four neckline options (including a hood!), pockets and five sleeve lengths, there’s no way to get bored with this wonderful pattern!
Dress Pattern Bundle
The other exciting thing happening this week for Feature Friday is that Love Notions is offering even more value than usual. The Everyday Playdress is also on sale! My good friend Marta and I got our daughters together to show off our makes for this double feature, and you can tell the girls are trading secrets. The big deal for this week is that if you buy both of the $5 features, the price goes down to just $7 total, for both. All you need to do is add both to your cart and use the code that pops up at check out. Easy! Two dresses for less than the price of one. You can check out Marta’s blog today here! She shows how to add an easy (and FREE) twirly circle skirt to the Everyday Playdress!
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