January is a month for organization. Oh please, who am I trying to kid? I’m one of those neat freaks, so every month is a month for organization. You should see me when I get nervous or anxious. Thank goodness I live alone, minus my homeboys, Sage + Basil.
I live in a super small condo – my entire place boasts a whopping 550 square feet. It’s just a hair smaller than Buckingham Palace. When I redesigned my sewing space last March, my goal was to create an area that was not just organized, but efficient and functional. For the most part, it has stayed as is and just as clean. Woot woot! As the amount of supplies have grown, I’ve starting using new ways to stay neat and tidy. These aren’t methods I invented; I picked up most of them by taking note of how other small businesses store product. Organization makes me happy – happy home, happy life, happy sewing life – so I thought I’d share. No one wants to see their sewing room turn into a jumbled elastic mess, right? So enjoy these few organization tips and please share your own! I’m currently trying to find a way to file patterns. Manilla envelopes? Plastic sheets? Help!
Except for small amounts (less than a yard), all of my fabrics are wrapped around small, cardboard sheets and then placed (neatly) in this vintage sewing chair (most of my fabric are galloon laces; I don’t have a lot of full width fabrics) (at the time of taking that photo, I wasn’t using this method yet). Cardboard cutouts are really easy to source. You can cut down moving boxes or old packages using an exacto knife or a box cutter, or you can buy precut cardboard sheets. When you’re finished wrapping the fabric, use a pin to keep it in place.
When I first redid my space, I bought a vintage metal box from Etsy (you can see it if you click the link in the second paragraph). It was small and compact and kept my elastics organized. I loved that little box, but I outgrew it. Sigh! To replace it, I bought magazine/comic boards and used them the same way as my galloon lace – wrapping the elastic around each sheet and then using a pin to hold in place (you can also use a paper clip; vinyl covered or butterfly shaped work great). I chose magazine/comic boards over foam or cardboard because I have more elastic than I do fabric, so I need something that is less thick/bulky. It’s pretty cheap too. A pack of 100 cost $13.14 plus shipping. I read on a forum that some have acids that can seep onto elastic and cause discoloration, but I have not experienced that. There are acid free boards if you’re worried about it. What I like most about storing elastic this way, even more than the metal box, is that I can see what I have. I’m more likely to use it rather than buy new if it’s visible.
Hooks + Eyes AND Rings + Sliders
I store hooks + eyes and rings + sliders in small plastic bags and separate them by width, color, metals, etc. (some of the bags are mixed). A saved a lot of baggies from when I purchased, but I have bought lots from Amazon for my bra workshops. If you search mail bags, poly & plastic packaging bags, small take out bags, or disposable food storage products, you will find tons of options.
You will never use an entire length of elastic. NEVER! At the end of a project I’m always left with 5″ here, 1/4″ yard there. I save and store in a small plastic baggie and use them for testing colors when I dye or experimenting with zigzag stitch width before sewing.
Pinterest has so many tutorials for fabric organization that could be adapted for lingerie supplies. Try searching DIY fabric bolts, fabric storage, or sewing organization. Some ideas include using glass containers, metal hangers, clear boxes and manilla folders. So clever!
The Fabric Organizer sells ready-made bolts in large (10″x14″), small (5″x14″) and shorty (7″x10.5″) size that have tabs that make wrapping super easy.