Category Archives: Storage and Organization

My Big Book of Sewing Awesome (aka My Project Book)

Project Book

I think it was when I was working on my second Mathilde blouse that I realized I needed to start keeping notes on my sewing projects. I remembered that I had to make some alterations to the first version, but couldn’t remember the exact changes I had ended up making and found myself wishing I had written them down somewhere.

And so my Project Book was born.

Each time I start a new sewing project I write down the date I started and all the pattern information, including what size(s) I cut. I will often print out the line drawing from the pattern envelope as well, and make my alteration notes right on the sketch. I love being able to mark up the patterns with my own notes and measurements.

Project BookRecently I have started getting a little more regimented about it and have even started stapling fabric swatches to each project page. I’m still not very textile savvy, so I figure it may come in handy one of these days to have those swatches. I could bring my little book to the fabric store with me and have all the information I need in there, including an example of the type of fabric I’m looking for, if I ever want to replicate a project.

Project Book

A nice little side effect of my project book is that it’s becoming a little trip down sewing memory lane for me. Sometimes I sit and flip through it, reminiscing about all my makes. I love having them all recorded in one place (besides here, lol)!

So how about you, do you keep notes on your projects?

 

Stash Storage

I’m lucky enough to have a designated sewing space in my apartment, but figuring storage for my fabric stash is definitely an ongoing process. I thought that today (while I’m hoarding Christmas project posts until after I’ve given the gifts) I would share what I’ve got going on so far for storage, and to ask what clever storage solutions you use.

I didn’t include the full sewing area in the pictures because it’s still a work in progress leaning toward disaster area at present. I’ve got the bulk of my fabric stash folded onto shelves above my sewing table.

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On the far left of the bottom shelf I’ve got all my fabric >1/2 yard folded so I can easily see everything I’ve got. I used to keep it all packed away and while that’s visually neater I used to regularly forget what I had and made a mess of everything any time I tried to dig something out. The other thing I’ve done to for quick and easy stash assessment is written down the length of each on a little piece of paper and pinned it to the fabric. If I’m contemplating if I have the fabric I need for a project, I can just quickly see if I have enough length without having to unfold and measure things!

On the right side of the bottom shelf is all my “re-fashion” stuff. I haven’t actually done any refashions, but it’s nice to have those bits of old clothes for repairs or who knows? Maybe the refashion bug will hit me one day! (I’m looking for something cute to do with those duckies. I’ve got some blue and white striped jersey that, together with the duckies, would make an adorable quilt for a someone’s baby but my last t-shirt quilt was such a pain in the butt I’m not too eager to do another).

The top shelf is where I keep my Etsy store stuff for making felt embroidered baby onesies. I’ve got my full felt sheets easy to see under the basket on the left, with partial sheets and scraps stored in the basket.

Felt Scrap StorageThe bin on the top shelf holds my finished and unfinished onesies, sorted by size. It makes it so easy to check to see if I’ve got the stock available to fill an order.

Etsy Store StorageI’ve talked previously about how life-changing (No. That is not an overstatement) my craft caddie has been and it’s definitely helped me store some bits of fabric. I’ve got one drawer for larger scraps (<1/2 yard but still big enough to fold up).

Large fabric scrap storage

Sorry again for the terrible lighting!

And I’ve got another drawer for those really mini scraps that I always think I’ll use but never do but just as I’m thinking I should get rid of them I see someone else’s blog post about cleverly using their little scraps and my conviction to save them is renewed!

Scrap fabric storageThis is what I’ve got going on right now, but it’s definitely not the final solution. I know many of you out there have way bigger stashes than I do, so how do you store your stash? Do you save scraps as compulsively as I do????

 

 

Tutorial: DIY Thread Organizer

Spool Organizer TutorialI don’t know about you, but for the longest time my thread and bobbins have been stashed wherever they fit. In boxes, laying around on my sewing table, in my sewing kit. I was always have to search three or four places to see if I had a certain color of thread.

Now that I have a dedicated sewing space, I decided to build myself a wall hanging (or leaning) thread organizer! It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made but it could be easily prettied up with a coat or two of paint and it sure does the trick!

DIY Spool Holder Tutorial

Materials:

– Hammer
– 2/12″ nails
– 12″ x 36″ board
– measuring tape
– pencil

First thing’s first. I ran into a little trouble hammering nails into knots and wood grains in my board, so try to get as un-knotty a board as possible.

For average thread spools, you’ll want to put nails every 2 inches (more if you’re doing large spools like for sergers). Using your measuring tape and pencil, put a tick mark every 2 inches down both long edges of your board.

DIY Thread OrganizerNext, match up the tick marks across from each other with your measuring tape and make tick marks going across the board every 2 inches. You should end up with a grid of tick marks, like this;

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Can you see my little tick marks?

Next, hammer a nail in at every tick mark, with an upwards slant to the nail. I found it easiest to start at the bottom and work my way up the board.

Sewing Room OrganizationYou’ll end up with what my husband was referring to as my ‘bed of nails’….

Homemade Thread HolderAnd that’s it! In about 30 minutes from start-to-finish, you’re done!!!

DIY Thread HolderI set mine up so that spools of thread hung on every other row. Then, the matching bobbin can hang under each spool making it super easy to see what I’ve got.

DIY Spool OrganizationThe only word of caution I would extend is that if you’re going to hang this on a wall, bear in mind that it is very heavy. I wouldn’t recommend hanging if there are no studs available. I haven’t tried hanging mine yet. Finding studs in my….er……”economically” built apartment can be….sporadic. At best. But even leaning against the wall, this sure beats the pants off what I had going on before!!!

 

 

Organization: Entryway Key Shelf

I put on my handy-woman belt today and finally installed our new front doorbell! I moved in to this apartment in March of this year and the old bell hadn’t been working for long before that, so it was about time!

Anyhoo, that little bout of handiness reminded me that I’d never posted about a little key shelf I’d put up a couple months ago to help organize our entryway. So I’m posting now!

It was driving me crazy to not have anyway to set things down when I got into the house. Things like keys, umbrellas, sunglasses and pocket change didn’t have a place to go. Which meant they were ending up places they weren’t supposed to go. Like the dining table, the bar, the coffee table, etc. Which, as I indicated already, was driving me crazy! The solution? A simple modification to a little floating shelf we picked up at the hardware store.

Entryway storage solutionI pre-drilled some holes into the bottom of the shelf (being careful to avoid where the metal supports insert inside it) then added some of our hand-dandy screw hooks.

Mudroom organizationI added a couple nails in the wall beside the shelf to serve as home to our umbrellas and voila! Suddenly everything has a place and I have one less thing driving me crazy on a daily basis.

Entryway organizationIt’s amazing to me how I’ll put off these simple projects forever and then when I finally do them it only takes about 30 min to finish and satisfies me on a daily basis. Yet I never learn my lesson and continue procrastinating on these little projects!

Anyway, I haven’t been as active with my other crafting in the last couple weeks but I’ve got some projects on the go that I hope to share with you soon!

 

 

 

New Craft Caddy!

Imagine my excitement when a friend gave us a Bed, Bath & Beyond gift certificate as a wedding gift and I realized that I could use it to buy craft storage!!!! I love my new little craft caddy!

Sewing StorageBefore I got this cart I had everything crammed into a little sewing box that was literally bursting at the seams. I’d have to take everything out whenever I needed something, then put everything back in when I was done. But no more! Now I have a drawer for everything!!

Sewing Room StorageLook!! A whole drawer just for bits of ribbons and elastic!! And another for various glues and adhesives! I’m in heaven!!

Sewing CaddyI love that the cart has wheels so I can shuffle it around the apartment no problem, depending on where I’m working. If these pictures have made you completely jealous, well. That’s understandable. But you can cure that jealousy by picking up your own, here. I can’t wait until the project room is done completely so I can share some pictures with you!

What storage solutions work for you in your crafting space?

 

 

Bike Storage Corner

Bicycles are one of those things that are always tricky to store. They’re weirdly shaped and bulky, but need to be stored somewhere that they can be accessed easily. My husband came up with a nice solution for his bikes by creating a rack that puts them on display.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe cut a piece of wood trim to about 3 feet in length and secured it to the wall, making sure to hit studs with the screws. He then screwed in 3 large hooks from the hardware store that the bike wheels hook into.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can see from the picture, the wheels leave dirt smudges on the wall where they hit, but just adding two more strips of board (one at the front and one at the back wheels) would save the walls.

To help add a little more interest to the corner and continue the transit theme, I added an old glass street sign we picked up at our local rebuild center, Building REsources in San Francisco (more about the center and our other find next week).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just cleaned up the front and back with glass cleaner to brighten it up a little. I attached it to the wall with a mirror holder kit  that uses little plastic clamps to hold the glass artwork to the wall. Since I didn’t encounter any studs where I wanted to hang the sign I made sure to use drywall plugs that came with the kit for extra security. And voila!

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Tutorial: Knitting Needle Wrap


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After wrestling with a messy bag of loose yarn, needles and other knitting bits, I finally decided that it was time to make a proper wrap to keep my knitting needles organized. It’s a simple project that takes just a couple hours from start to finish (or less with a few shortcuts!).

Materials:
– Three pieces of your main fabric** cut into the following sizes;
– 18″ x 5″
– 18″ x 8 ”
– 18″ x 16″
– Three 2″ wide strips of edging fabric (or bias tape) cut to 18″ lengths
– Two 2″ wide strips of edging fabric (or bias tape) cut to 17″ lengths
– 2″ x 25″ piece of tie fabric (or ribbon)
– 2″ x 13″ piece of tie fabric (or ribbon)
(Optional: 18″ x 6″ piece of decorative fabric)
– thread
– scissors

**To make your life easier and your project neater, try to choose a fabric without obvious right and wrong sides. A heavy cotton will hold up well. I used the leftover scraps from some curtain panels.

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Step 1: Preparing your edging
This step is essentially creating your own bias tape, so it can be a real time saver to just use bias tape for this step instead of contrasting fabric as I have here. To create your edging you’re going to want to make sure your iron is heated  up!

First, press each strip of fabric in half length-wise, creating a center crease (wrong sides together). Open up the folded fabric, then bring each long edge to the center crease and press again. You should now have a long strip of fabric about 1″ wide with two long edges folded to meet in the middle. Finally, recreate that strong center crease by folding the fabric in half length-wise again, hiding the fabric edges on the inside.

Press the fabric for the ties (skip this if you’re using ribbon for the ties instead) in the same manner.

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While you’re at it, with wrong sides together, go ahead and iron a half inch seam allowance along the long edge of your contrasting fabric for the decorative strip around the outside of the wrap.

Step 2: Sew decorative strip
Take the 18″ x 6″ contrasting fabric you just pressed and top-stitch it to what will be the outside of your wrap on the largest piece of main fabric. Placement doesn’t need to be precise but the top of the strip should be around the middle of the main fabric.

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Something to take into consideration if you’re using contrasting fabrics is that the stitching will be visible from the other side. So if you care about that (which I don’t on a project like this) you may want to match your needle thread to the decorative panel and your bobbin thread to your main fabric.

Step 3: Sew edging/bias tape to top edges
Using 3 of the 4 pieces of 18″ long edging, pin one piece of edging to each piece of main fabric along the 18″ side. You’ll want to insert the piece of main fabric into the edging fold so each side of the main fabric has decorative edging on it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow carefully sew along the edging as close to the open side as possible. Remember that these stitches are meant to catch both sides of the edging fabric, so check periodically to ensure you are doing so.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou should now have three pieces of your main fabric, each with a strip of edging sewn to one of the long edges.

Step 4: Sew the bottom edge
Line up your three pieces of main fabric along their bare bottom 18″ edge and baste all three together. This basting step makes it way easier to sew the edging on. Now sew your final piece of 18″ length edging around this bottom edge. This stack will be a little thicker than the first edges so make sure your catching both sides of the edging/bias tape when you sew.

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(Notice on this picture the stripe of green stitches – this is showing through from the decorative strip on the outside of the wrap and can be avoided as I described above).

Step 5: Sew the sides
Next, baste the overlapping sides of the fabric as you did along the bottom edge (this is visible in the picture above), then cover these with the 17″ long edging strips. The sides of the main panels are 16″ long so you should have about an inch of overhang with the edging. Center the edging so you’ve got a half inch of overhang on either end, then fold under and pin before sewing.

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Step 6: Sewing the ties.
This is another easy shortcut for this pattern. Instead of making your own ties, you can simply buy lengths of coordinating ribbon. If you’re making your own ties you should have them pressed as you did for the edging. Top-stitch the ties as close as possible to the open edge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce you’re ties are made you can sew them the right side of your wrap on the inside. Try to line them up with the center of the outside decorative strip.

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Step 7: Pockets
The final step is just to sew some pockets to hold your needles and notions. Top-stitch straight lines from the bottom edge of the wrap to the top of the second pocket (8″ height). I sewed one of these lines every 2 inches because I rarely use really chunky needles. My size US19 needles barely fit in a 2″ pocket, so if you have a lot of chunky needles you may want to consider different spacing. I also left a larger pocket on one side to hold odd shaped bits and pieces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s it! You’re done! Go ahead and fill your new knitting needle wrap! As you can see in the pictures below, I also chose to label some of the pocket with needle sizes I commonly use, but keep in mind that this prevents reorganization of the roll in the future.

Stuff, fold, roll, and wrap! And away you go with your very own handmade knitting needle wrap!

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