Obsessive sewing studio organization

Sewing machine tables

My sewing studio has never been perfectly tidy. Not ever. I consoled myself that sewing is a messy art form, and since I generally had many projects underway at once, of course my sewing space would have a few piles.

Last week I got a little inspiration from a sewing friend to tackle some of my thorny irritations. Kris Collins, of Sound Stitches, gave a presentation at our local ASG chapter suggesting some ways to organize a sewing space. At first I thought I would just try one or two of her suggestions, but I became obsessed! I spent hours folding, sorting, throwing out, categorizing, and cleaning. And I loved the process, as well as the result. How crazy is that!

This large Ikea storage unit my DH bought contains knit, outerwear, silk, linen, wool, and some cottons. The center and right top drawers hold all the shirting fabrics for my DH’s shirts. Sheesh, I’d better get busy.

Ikea storage unit      

Thank goodness I finally wound my assorted interfacings on cardboard fabric holders. Those messy piles always falling on the floor made me nuts.


I bought one new bookcase (used from Craig’s list), and folded all my cotton prints over a 24×6 inch ruler before filling the shelves. When Kris suggested this I thought there was no way I would ever do anything that compulsive. But once I tried it, I just couldn’t stop. So satisfying. Kind of like folding clean diapers when the kids were all little.

Folded cottons

So many books! And thread – but I did clean out loads of serger cones. What was I thinking with all those colors?

Books and thread

More books, buttons, a container of zippers, some antique laces on the upper left, and my Amanda smocking pleater.

Books etc

See all the binders below the books? They contain all my pattern envelopes, separated into categories (women’s knit dresses, women’s woven dresses, menswear, etc). It is a great way to flip thru my pattern stash quickly and easily. (Thanks Shelley!)


These boxes contain large manila envelopes with the pattern tissues and instructions, organized by pattern number.  How did I ever buy so many patterns?!?!?


 I went thru every pile, box, and bag in my sewing studio. I donated 2 large bags of scraps to the Bellevue Boys and Girl’s Club Pre-school, 2 bags of clothes to charity, and a gi-normous pile of fabric, serger threads, and notions to my local ASG yard sale. My sewing studio feels so much “lighter” without the weight of unnecessary supplies and projects that I had no intention of ever finishing.  I definitely recommend making the effort to clean out and organize your sewing space – thanks for the inspiration, Kris!

Cutting table and storage

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen 


13 Responses to Obsessive sewing studio organization

  1. This looks great! You’re so awesome. Maybe I’ll tackle my sewing room now. Makes me want to identify my next project and schedule a lesson. Soon, I hope.

  2. I was so sorry to miss the talk, but I’m happy to have some inspiration from your efforts, Maris. Looks awesome, thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Tami! Kris recommended a book too – I cannot remember the name – but if you email her I am sure she will send you the title. Happy sewing!

  3. It looks just lovely, Maris. Now, I want a picture taken three months after the reorganization.

    Love you,- and know you,

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