Monday, February 10, 2014

A glimpse into my Type A mind and sewing studio...

So, if you've been reading my posts for a while, you probably already know that I tend to be a bit of a Type A personality. I like organization and tidiness and all that jazz, and that often conflicts with the creative side of me that can make a mess in two seconds flat all in the name of creating. There's often a good bit of mental struggle for me, trying to allow myself "room" to create without driving the put-it-away-if-you're-not-using-it side of me. Since the new year, I've been trying to tackle getting my sewing studio back in ship shape, ever so slowly, and going through everything in the room, from files to papers to books to batting scraps to fabric I have no earthly recollection of buying, all in the name of creating some order in my sewing studio. I even built myself a new storage unit for my closet area to make accessing my scrap bins easier!

My sewing worktable

Some important necessities next to my machine - my handy dandy scissors, my awesome pincushion from Cindy/Live a Colorful Life and my super cool coaster for my coffee from Amy/Don't You Know Who I Am

My mom called my dad the "mad mover" when I was a kid - he had a knack for wanting organization and tidiness, to the point where he would often pick something up that was out of place, only to get distracted in the putting-it-away and leave it somewhere altogether unusual. I clearly got the mad mover gene, because I found all kinds of crazy things in crazy places during this little overhaul of mine.

My bulletin board, full of inspiration from the quilting world and from my world as a mom, plus two of my favorite minis - one from Ginny/Fishcreek Studio (top) and one of mine (bottom)

I've got my fabric shelves all tidy again, all organized by color, which makes me ever so happy. I even pulled a boatload of fabric to work on destashing later this month, so stay tuned for news about that. In the past, I've destashed via Instagram, and will probably choose to go that route again, as it's quick and easy.

The yardage in my stash - everything larger than a half-yard - lives on these shelves

I stow my half-yards and larger cuts on comic book backing boards that I get either from my local comic book store or from Amazon, and secure them with small tipped pins, which creates the feeling that I've got my very own fabric store to shop from when I start a new project. I keep my fabrics in rainbow order, with a small collection of multicolored fabrics at the end of the rainbow (after black).

My low volume half-yards, one of my favorite shelves

The multicolored half-yards

My blacks - accompanied by a paper weight one of my favorite bosses ever gave me

I've also got a shelf for my atypical fabrics - my linens and flannels and such, as well as a pile of voile, which I never put on the boards (too slippery) and some small pieces of my favorite fabric collection ever, Wonderland, from when I first started sewing.

My other types of fabrications - linens, flannels, etc

My precuts used to live on one shelf, all shoved together, in like sardines, but I split them up into two shelves and it's much prettier this way. I've got an award I won back in my corporate job days as well as one of my favorite gifts ever, a Cheshire cat from my assistant during my corporate job days, with the precuts. I'm not usually one to collect a lot of knick-knacks, but those things make me smile, so they get to stay in my sewing studio.

My precuts

For my scraps and fat quarters, I keep them in bins, which I've moved to my sewing studio's closet, in an effort to keep the floor a little bit emptier. I have a bin for every color, with the color name on the side, as well as an unsorted bin, for those scraps that I haven't put away just yet. I used to keep the bins stacked up high, which made accessing my scraps a bit frustrating - unstacking and restocking and all that - so this new cube shelving system allows each bin to sit independent of the others, so I can get to just one at any given point in time, which is going to make scrap busting much, much easier!

The view of my closet from my sewing chair

A glimpse inside my scrap boxes - a stack of fat quarters sits on the left and a pile of scraps on the right

My newly built (by me!) cube bookcase for my scrap bins and my Featherweight in my sewing closet

Nice labeled containers in my sewing closet - yay! It's so nice to know where everything is...for now!

My sewing closet

Also in my sewing studio closet, I've got several large tubs - one for my selvages, one for my strings, and two for my large cuts of yardage for backings. I also keep my travel case for my machine in the closet, and it stows my Featherweight. In the corner of the closet, I keep a roll of batting. I go through a quite a bit of it on a regular basis, so buying by the roll makes good sense for me.

My selvages!

Back on the shelves in my sewing studio, I keep my mammoth stash of 505 basting spray as well as my Best Press. I've got some of the new Flatter spray on its way to me right now, too, and I'm excited to try it out. I'm also repurposing some nifty Lego containers from the Lego Store to hold my Aurifloss and Cosmo floss. They look awfully pretty in those containers, and I love getting to reuse them!

My Aurifloss and Cosmo floss

My design wall sits perpendicular to my stash, right behind my sewing worktable

So, that's my sewing studio setup for the moment. It's totally subject to change, but I'm feeling good about all the purging I did in my drawers and my closet, and how tidy things are. For more details on the initial setup of the room, including the furniture and sewing worktable, click here and here. Now, I can make a mess with the best of them, but at the end of the day, I always try and at least tidy up because when I can't find things to create with, it's awfully hard for me to create. Speaking of creating, next up for me is a pair of Super Totes! Hope you enjoyed the tour today! Have a wonderful Monday :)

My current pile on my cutting table - a pair of Super Totes in progress!


  1. I loved the tour of your studio. There are so many great ideas for organization. Thank you!

  2. OMG! I could not make a dent in that stash in my lifetime but I wouldn't mind giving it a try.

  3. You have a fabulous studio! Are the cabinets from IKEA? I love them :)
    And your massive fabric stash makes mine look minuscule - which then leads me to believe it's ok if I buy more! Haha
    Thanks for the tour!

  4. Wow. Very cool. I believe I'm a bit of a type A myself, as the way you organized everything really resonated with me and gave me lots of great ideas! You have maximized your space so well!

  5. I really want you to come fix up my room! It's kind of organized, but I'd love to have some help. ;)

  6. holy moly! That's awesome, thanks for sharing. Maybe you can hire yourself out? I'd love to have you organize my stuff. :)

  7. Wow. Just wow. I recently came into a new studio space (the unexpectedly pleasant result of a tree crushing our garage last year during a storm) so I love reading about other artisans' workspaces these days -- thank you for sharing yours!

  8. I love your fabric shelves. It was the same when I was at primary school too. I loved the teacher's stationery cupboard. Sad but true!

  9. I'm so jealous of your studio! I'm a mover too. It makes it a little harder to keep the house clean. :)

  10. Sigh, so lovely. I'm glad you're so organized, so you can continue making lovely things! BTW - what are you saving your selvedges for?

  11. I'm a mover/Type A personality as well. My sewing room is a never ending cycle of frustration and bursts of creativity. I really want to move the furniture, but all I have in there are really large, heavy pieces that are difficult to move without taking apart. But the current layout just isn't working all that well. I also need to go through my shelves and finally get rid of the acrylic paints and beads, etc. that I know I'm never going to use again, but just can't seem to part with.

  12. Thank you for the tour, Elizabeth! Your sewing room is fantastic and the fabric store amazing! I showed to my hb and he said but that's a shop! I'm the same with organizing and got it also from my father. With quilting I have teached myself not to use all my time for organizing and re-organizing my sewing room, but to create and 'leave the mess happen'. After each (or two, three) projects, I put everything again in order. x Teje

  13. Your studio looks amazing! I would also love to know where you got those shelves with the glass doors. I think I would like one of them!

  14. Thanks for sharing! Lots of great ideas! I feel as though I have a similar personality as you when it comes to organizing my sewing things. I always struggle with whether I'm more or less creative when I "let the mess happen," and I think I've come to the conclusion that keeping things tidy works best for me...for now! ;)

  15. Hee hee, good to know I'm not the only one that buys tons of storage opportunities to help keep things clean :oD

  16. I'm dreaming of the day that my sewing room looks this nice! :) I do have the fabric on comic book boards in rainbow order thing going at least. :) Your room looks like such a wonderful place to be creative!

  17. It looks wonderful! I, too, like to be a "tidy" quilter. There are fewer of us out there but I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    Everything looks so much more inviting when it's all nice and organized. Great job!!

  18. So beautiful! I also like things to be neat and tidy, and there are times when I have six projects scattered all over. Maybe you said before, but what size fabric do you consider a scrap? I put anything less than a fat quarter in my scraps, and the bucket I used when I reorganized filled up quickly.

  19. Organising my room is an ongoing project! :-(

  20. Oh I love seeing other quilter's creative spaces. I can totally relate to the fight with the A type personality and your creative side. I think it is easier to be creative when your brain is peaceful and if your brain can only be peaceful if your space is organized then that is what you need. Here where I live in Switzerland fabric is very expensive, so I couldn't possibly afford to have all that fabric in my sewing studio. You are soooo lucky!!!! You've just inspired me though to go and get my sewing studio sorted out!!
    Thanks Elizabeth,

  21. With 40 plus years of quiltmaking under my belt, I'm always reorganizing it seems -- partly because I get distracted by the stuff and drift off into finishing an old project or starting a new one -- neat and tidy is terrific but I only seem to be able to accomplish it one very little corner at a time . . . .

  22. I cleaned my studio and now I am on such a run for making pretty functional items. I showed a peg board, I love your studio but mine has to have more Life, its in the center of my house, I eat, sometimes sleep and play in there. Plus I can let the house get mess but not my room anymore.. its to pretty. I have more lighting to do but right now I have "pretty " lighting. LOL
    I agree re reorganize to our needs and I think also fabric trends play a part in it.

  23. Rosemary B here:
    This looks great Elizabeth! I love all of the organization by color. It looks just like a fabric library!! I like having my special treasures displayed too, knick knacks and creations as well.
    This room looks perfect!

  24. It's beautiful. I just watched an interview with a clay sculpture artist where she described that most artists spent time clearing and cleaning their space before they began a new work. She said that allowed the creativity to emerge. I totally understood what she was talking about. Obviously you do too.

  25. Fabulous room!! I LOVE your sewing table... have you talked about it on a prior blog post? I'd love to know more about it.

    1. I found more info on your sewing table. Fabulous idea!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful space.

  26. Impressive planning and accomplishing! I didn't get any Type A genes, so live in mess, but admire other peoples' order. The one thing I'd love is the shelving that allows each box to be pulled out individually. Sometimes I change a design plan rather than dig to the bottom of the back stack of boxes. :-)

  27. Wow what a beautiful and gorgeous collection you have! I would like to clone your room and put it into mine. Love how you have everything organized! Best, Kate

  28. Thanks for the tour. It is really inspiring. I'm thinking I need separate rooms for my knitting and sewing supplies, but that would impinge on the guest room, and it was such an accomplishment to create a dedicated room for company.

  29. Thank you for the tour! I spent January doing my sorting and folding and "scrap system management!" Didn't get much done in the way of sewing, but I sure felt better once the room was orderly!! Now, the trick is to keep it that way for me!!

  30. You have a wonderful sewing room! Might I beg you to tell me more about cube shelves in the closet? I had hoped to do the same in my closet with a piece from Ikea but it isn't the right size. What you have is exactly what I've been searching for! As my grandson would say..."pretty please with a cherry on top"?!

  31. I love your new look but, I am in the process of finding a cutting table, one that doesn't kill my back, do you cut on that table opposite your sewing machine??? I would love to know.

  32. Love your studio! I am currently in the process of setting up my sewing space, and I like some of your ideas! It might take a while to organize my room, because I want to do it right and have a functional and attractive work area. I don't want to just settle for something that doesn't fit my vision just because it was available, or cheap, or would 'work' for the time being. Thanks for sharing!


Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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