needle pincushion text

If you’re like me, you have few different sewing projects going at the same time – a knit dress, button-down shirt, skinny pants… you get the idea.  With different projects comes the need to switch to different needles depending on the type of fabric being sewn, and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which needle is which, which one has been used, etc.

My trick – I use a tomato pincushion to keep track of the different needles I use.  Each section is designated for a specific type of needle – on this pincushion, I have a section for universal, topstitching, ballpoint, stretch, and hand sewing needles.  With a Sharpie, I mark the name and the size of the needle, too, so I know if it’s the right size when I’m looking for a needle to use.  You may find that for your personal use, you need more than one section for ballpoint or universal needles because of the varying sizes – I have two sections on this pincushion to keep my universal needles organized, for example.

I also go one step further and mark down on a Post-It I stick to my machine the date I began to use a particular needle in this pincushion and what projects I used it for.  This is a handy organizational tool when a needle isn’t used a lot, and isn’t quite ready to be tossed out for a new one.


fabric mess

Some people hang out with friends at bars on Friday nights.  Me? I chose to tackle the fabric mess in my closet last night instead.

As so eloquently put by “tinapickles” via Instagram, what I had on my hands was a pile of “fabric vomit.”  It first started out pretty well organized, separated into two folded stacks, classified by the type of fabric, knit or a woven.  It seemed simple enough, but here’s the problem: like any good, respectable sewist, I kept accumulating more and more fabric since I moved into my apartment last year.  Hey, it’s the first time I haven’t had limitations on my fabric stash because of sharing mutual living spaces.  Plus, factor in pulling out fabrics from those piles for projects and so-on, and I had a fabric mess on my hands in no time.

When I moved into my new place last year, I tried searching online for ideas on how to organize my stash.  A year later, here’s what I finally turned that mess into:

Fabric stash organization

I bought two Itso storage cubes from Target – they’re great since they’re modular and snap together to make whatever size storage solution you need.  After folding my fabrics, some were too wide to fit across the cube but fit better lengthwise.


Doing the same as before, I separated the fabrics by knits and wovens.  I also bought some extra Rubbermaid containers to sort my patterns more efficiently.  Now I have a container for just dress patterns, a container for tops and jackets, and a container for pants and skirts, all sorted by garment type and brand (Vogue, Butterick, etc).  I even have a container for costume patterns I used to sew many years ago and can’t bear to let go.

Those hangers on the bar?  Those are some folded fabric cuts that I wanted easily accessible for upcoming projects – hangers are wooden pant hangers from Ikea.

Fabric stash organization

Taking inspiration from Megan Nielsen, I bought some index cards to make my own fabric note cards (mine are not nearly as cute as hers).  Each length of fabric was measured since I forgot how much yardage I bought of each cut, labeled where I bought the fabric, and I also jotted down if it was prewashed or not (since I snip off the corners of the yardage before I wash it to insure it doesn’t unravel like crazy, I have a built-in system in case I forget if I washed the fabric or not).  And since I have a running list going of the projects I want to sew for the fall/winter already, I discovered I have enough fabric for 12 of the 17 projects I want to make.  There’s really no reason to go out now and buy fabric….yeah right!

I also discovered I had a lot of fabric “scraps” – pieces leftover from projects that were too big to throw away but too small to make a garment out of – that were making it difficult to organize the good lengths of fabric I own.  I folded them neatly and put them in a plastic crate, easily accessible for when I need to practice a stitch or to incorporate as an accent into a new project.

Now I can easily shop for fabric from my stash.  What kind of fabric organization techniques do you use?


metro textile fabric

I have to say that I’m much relieved that my move is over and I’ve settled into my new place in the past week.  Get this: in the past four years I’ve moved five times.  Crazy, right? I plan to stay for quite awhile now – it’s been a long time coming, but I finally have my own place.  A first ever!

So with that being said, I have all the closet space I could ever want all to myself.  Oh the possibilities for fabric storage!  Which got me curious – how do you store your fabric?

I found ideas online for how to store fabric like quilting cottons, etc.  I do love this idea of using a filing cabinet to organize such fabrics, but that’s not really what my stash consists of (yet…I want to seriously get into quilting this winter).  I have a lot of knits (surprise), lightweight cottons, some wool suiting, and poly dress weight fabric.  Hanging them up over a hanger is an option but it would get wrinkles.  I could ask for some leftover bolts at the fabric store or buy plastic ones, but I don’t have shelving to store them on.  My boyfriend’s mom suggested wrapping them around wrapping paper tubes (I would probably use PVC piping instead, there’s acid in cardboard) and storing them in a big wrapping paper container, an idea I like best so far from what I’ve found.

Well, I’ve got time on my side, I’m in no rush to get my crafting space organized by any means.  I even created a Pinterest board awhile ago with neat ideas I’ve found from other crafters and stitchers that I’m planning on implementing in my bedroom/craft studio (what a combination!).

What are your favorite organization ideas for sewing and crafting?


Re: “Tell us about your stash” via Sew, Mama, Sew!

New fat quarters

* What do you usually sew?

It varies based on my mood…during warmer weather I tend to gravitate towards cute little tops and dresses, but lately I’ve been making lots of useful items for around the apartment like placemats and rugs.

* When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)

I tend to buy lots of fat quarters. They’re a great size for a multitude of sewing projects, and it gives me a chance to sample lots of new fabrics. If I like the print, I usually go back for more.

* Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?

Usually I have a color in mind or a theme, like floral or retro, but sometimes I stumble across fabrics I never thought of before!

* Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?

Recently I am; I used to just start cutting and stitching before washing the fabric. But now I take the time to wash and iron out all the wrinkles before folding it up and tucking it away for later.

* Do you iron it?

Yes and it can be a pain if I don’t take it out of the dryer in time.

* How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)

Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of a lot of space to have my fabric all organized by color or collection. If I had the room, I would definitely organize it by color!

* Do you have any special folding techniques?

Nope. Whatever makes it look the neatest.

* How do you store your fabric?

Again, not a whole lot of space in a one bedroom apartment that I share. But for now, it resides in a storage box from Ikea in my bookcase in the living room.

* What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?

I started out collecting fabrics that I thought were interesting or with patterns and colors I really loved. Now that I’m starting to quilt and not just make garments and bags, I understand the need for filler fabrics that give the eye a place to rest. You need a fair balance of both.

* When do you say enough is enough?

Um…I’m not sure when one reaches that point…

* What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?

I’m loving the fat quarter project ideas on Sew Mama Sew. Or even just putting together quilt blocks with random bits of fabric is fun, too.


Well it’s been another crazy month. Finished college, picked out a new apartment, moved all my stuff back home, and applied for temping work before the “big move” in July. Most of my time has been spent visiting relatives and shoveling the crap out of my room, determining what will come with me or what will be brought up at a later date. The big challenge was this:

(Click on picture for a larger view)

Now, I haven’t cleaned out this bookcase since, oh, let’s say 6th grade. All my childhood picture books, novels, and Nancy Drew mysteries were in that bookcase, along with college textbooks, costuming paraphernalia, and my DVD collection. Now, I’ve trimmed the six-shelf bookcase down to four shelves of books I’m willing to take with me (don’t worry, the others will be donated or saved for, as my mother puts it, “future grandchildren”). From the top down:

Shelf 1 – Misc Books
I didn’t really know which shelf to put these on. Or really, where they would fit since some of them are honkin’ huge, like The Great Book of French Impressionism that my grandpa gave me. Just random stuff, like Suze Orman, some HTML and design books, my Jane Austen anthologie, and my Chicago Manual of Style.

Shelf 2 – French books, other college texts, and mostly Lord of the Rings
This shelf is double stacked. The first layer is primarily composed of all my college French books that I’ve saved since freshman year. I really can’t bear to part with them, even though there are quite a few I remember not enjoying when I had to read them for class. The second row is mostly of LOTR-related books, such as the trilogy, The Hobbit, The Book of Lost Tales, and the Silmarillion.

Shelf 3 – DVDs and Art History books
I didn’t realized until I finally put all of my DVDs together that my collection is getting a bit large. Six of them are Muppet related, and I really need to catch up and buy the last two Harry Potter DVDs. I also am lugging up my Gardner’s Art of the Ages (which I love so much!) and my other French art books. Oh, and my collection of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales.

Shelf 4 – Knitting and Sewing
These are, without a doubt, non-negotiable books in regards to the space in my car. If there isn’t much room, I will get rid of other books before I part with these! Standard knitting books such as SnB 1 and 2, Vogue Stitchonaries, a sweater designing book, and a book on knitted motifs for color knitting. Other than that, lots of magazines that I’ve saved over the years with sweater I keep forgetting about that I want to make. On the other side of the shelf, after the two books on sock monkeys, come all the sewing/costuming/designing books. Most of these books are on costuming, so I might leave a couple behind to grab later, such as my books on different period garments or books on designing costumes for stage. I went through a year or two where I was convinced that I wanted to be a costume designer, so I gathered a lot of books on costuming during this time.

I have no idea how to fit all of these in the two cars that are moving my stuff in July.