Saturday, September 3, 2011

Studio Organization: Taming an Unruly Stash

I haven't posted lately because I've been busy with several custom orders (and I'll post photos once the "gifts" have been given.) I also took some time to organize my studio, especially my unruly stash (for non-quilters, a "stash" is a collection of fabrics and can also include sewing notions or other supplies, I'm not referring to an unkempt mustache).

I am generally an organized person so having fabrics and supplies located in several different spots will start to drive me crazy. There are no "before" photos, these are all "afters." Above is part of my fabric collection. I organized the smaller pieces of fabrics by color and put them into plastic boxes with drawers. When I want to find a small piece of fabric that is blue, I just to take out the whole drawer and look through it.

Some of the other boxes contain:
- fabrics I've set aside to make journal/sketchbook covers
- hand-dyed fabrics
- neckties
- African-themed fabrics
- plaid and homespun fabrics
- Christmas fabrics
- multi-colored and floral fabrics.

Not shown are plastic boxes with:
- solid colored fabrics
- batik fabrics
- fabrics that I've set aside to make quilted postcards

Now fabric doesn't stay together on it's own, so it's time to turn our attention to:


I have a dresser in my studio that was my husband's dresser when he was growing up. I used to have three drawers filled with the many, many cones of thread that I have (cones are large spools of thread). I probably have about 100 and half of them are pink (what can I say it was a good deal).

When it came time to reorganize, I wondered why I had so many cones of thread in an easy to reach place when I can only use 1 cone at a time. So I boxed up all the extra colors and put them in the back of the closet.

Now I have half a drawer with cones of thread and the other half with smaller spools, bobbins and other sewing machine related items. I decided to keep out 2 spools of each color because if I need to refill a bobbin while I'm sewing it's easier to use a different cone of thread than to remove the top thread. That leaves me with two empty dresser drawers so we'll move on to:


I love beads almost as much as I love fabric and I love to embellish my quilts with beads. As you can see many of my beads are organized into plastic compartmentalized boxes. I used to have these boxes in a plastic box in the back of the closet. So when I wanted a bead of a certain color, I had to get the box out from the back of the closet and take out all the smaller compartmentalized boxes until I got to the box I wanted.

After doing this a few hundred times I realized I needed to have the beads spread out and not stacked on top of each other. And since there was an empty drawer...

Now when I need a bead I open the drawer and can look down at all the boxes and take out the one that I want. And since embellishing doesn't always mean beads, it can also mean:


My yarns and ribbons were stored like my beads were, stacked on top of each other in a plastic box at the back of the closet. And what's good for the beads is good for the yarns and ribbons, so they are now in the final dresser drawer which I can open and look right in to.


Karen Jones said...

Nice suggestions. It must feel good to have your sewing supplies in good order! I'm in the process of getting a room ready for a place dedicated to sewing...Need all the suggestions I can get!

Holly U said...

That looks awesome Pam. Food for thought, when I re-establish my sewing room in the new house.

Lori Gravley said...

Looks great, Pam.

Libby Rudolf said...

You can come over to my house and help me get that organized any time! I can find my stuff when I need it though....
Looks great

Victoria said...

Having just embarked on a re-organization, I can truly say, (as I am sure you would agree) that it's a time consuming endeavor, but so worth while!