I keep mentioning here that we’re moving soon (less than a month!) and moving means a lot of sorting and organizing. One of the very first things I wrote about on this blog was my under-the-stair sewing space. That little space, as compact as it was, really served me well for the couple of years I had it. But when we move our new basement isn’t going to be laid out the same and it’s less of a place to hang out in than it is the perfect humidity level and temperature to store wine and preserves. (I was going to say that my husband’s excited about that, but, in fact, everyone’s excited about that.) What we do have, after five years of a teeny, tiny living area, is room to really spread out.
Looking at the layout, the best place for me to sew is the new kitchen. It’s large and airy and bright with enough wall space to place our existing shelving unit, add a small table and chair under the window, and hang the pegboard and ironing board. (One day I really hope to add a sturdy kitchen island to use as a cutting table too.)
Having decided on the space I’d be moving into, the next step was to sort through every single scrap of fabric, spool of thread, and notion I owned and then find a reasonable way to store it. This shelving unit has two more rows of cubes that currently hold Ralphie’s toys and those will stay in place after the move.
The first major task was going through all of my fabric. I honestly had no idea I had this much! I folded the fabric selvedge to selvedge and then from the fold to the (doubled) selvedge edge and rolled them onto comic book boards. These are really nice for fabric as they’re both cheap (I paid $7.00 for 100 boards) and archival quality. You can ask for them in almost any comic book store. I love the way I can see all of my fabric in one place: inspiring! The amount of yardage is immediately apparent too.
Can you believe that a couple of weeks ago – prior to all of this sorting – I saw some suiting on sale and wondered if I should pick some up? I didn’t. This is all bottom-weights I had in my stash.
The off-white bins on the lower shelf hold patterns arranged in alpha-numeric order. I have a data key containing all of my pattern envelope photos by category and when I’m looking for something to make, I ‘flip’ through these images and, when I’ve decided what I want, I retrieve the pattern from these bins. The envelopes contain the pattern envelope, the instructions, the uncut pattern, and any traced and cut pieces I have. I sometimes also put in a page of notes detailing what I did in the construction and what I wish I’d done. (I should do this more consistently because those are the best things to have!)
I’m so proud of myself for clearing all of my scraps into one reasonable tin, for finally untangling all of my embroidery floss, and for sorting through dozens of packages of thrifted trims to this one tin. Editing is the key to organization and, even though it’s painful, remember that you’re keeping this stuff in circulation and getting your own collection down to the things you really love and will be excited to use.
Some of the baskets contain things that I normally hang on my pegboard. I don’t really love having my scissors in a bin like this, but it’s okay for now!
Every sewing project now starts will taking out this jar, and pincushion, and beautiful vintage bird tin. The things I use the most — pins, feet, machine and hand needles, measuring tape, sewing machine cleaning kit — are all here and ready to go.
All in all, I love having everything cleaned up and refreshed!