Sew-Easy Organization

At this time of year, it's great to take a break from making quilts to focus on tidying up our sewing areas and organizing all that gear. Those bins of ribbons, stacks of fabric, and loads of little things all need permanent homes where they are easy to find and appropriately stored.

Keeping important sewing items close to the machine is always a challenge so we created this handy sewing organizer to hang next to the sewing machine. We used a repeating stripe to create the base and pockets for the organizer. For the thread, a vinyl pocket allows the pretty colors to show through. A sleeve weighted with sand holds the organizer in place and serves as a convenient pin cushion. Scissors in several sizes, marking tools, machine needles, seam ripper, thread, ruler, rotary cutter and small mat, all claim spots in the organizer pockets.

These tins are as handsome as they are handy and add a decorator touch to sewing shelves. We repurposed holiday tins to make these cute clutter controllers. Using the same fabric as the organizer, decoupage, and acrylic paint, the tins are a fast and easy solution for button, trim, and ribbon storage.

I use sturdy open shelving to hold my fabric and arrange the fabric by color. This system makes it easy to find the perfect pieces when I design quilts on my flannel wall. If I've selected fabric for a quilt but can't sew it right away, I cut the yardage for the quilt and tie it into a bundle with a piece of ribbon or yarn. A shipping tag includes information about the planned quilt.

Many quilters keep their magazines organized in magazine holders, but I prefer to tear project ideas and articles out of the magazine so that I can file them by category. This cuts down on the amount of paper clutter in my house and makes it easier to lay my hands on information when I need it.

I have two ways of organizing my magazine tears. I use a portable pocket filer (that I've decorated, of course) to hold project ideas by categories such as block, color story, or border ideas. With the pockets, I can easily pull out the projects for reference. A 3-ring binder with dividers works well for technique reference information.

Most quilters like to take a picture of each completed project. A decorated photo box is a great way to organize these photos and information about each completed quilt. Or use the decorated box to hold small tools, yarn, perle cotton, or fabric scraps.