Organize your Sewing Room Like Your Kitchen

As I watched a webinar last night from Andrew Mellen’s  De-Stress your Mess 5-DAY Challenge, I kept thinking how I might adapt his ideas to my sewing room.

The topic was Organizing Your Kitchen. Andrew swears by this organizational triangle:

  1. One Home for Everything
  2. Like With Like
  3. Something in, Something out

He explained that professional kitchens are organized in the following area:

  1. Prep
  2. Cooking and Baking
  3. Food Storage and Pantry
  4. Beverage
  5. Tableware and serving
  6. Cleanup

Diving your kitchen into thinking about these functions and applying the three rules from the Organizational Triangle, you can organize your sewing room/area in the same way!

This is how I divided my sewing room into different organizational areas:

  1. Sewing/Serging
  2. Pressing
  3. Current Project Storage
  4. Tool Storage
  5. Notion Storage
  6. Pattern and Book Storage
  7. Fabric Storage

With these areas in mind, I next took an inventory of the physical spaces that I have in my sewing area and attempted to assign them to a particular purpose.

Area Space Contents/Function
Sewing/Serging Sewing Table
Serging Table
Pressing Ironing Board
Pressing before, during, and after construction
Current Project Storage Basket on Sewing/Serging Table Contain all project materials
Tool Storage Sewing/Serging Tables for daily use items, drawer by Serger for other items Scissors
Pins and Clips
Notion Storage Thread
Buttons and closures
Embroidery Thread
Binding and Cording
Interfacing and Batting
Pattern and Book Storage Filecabinet
Fabric Storage Totes Each tote is organized by fabric type: cotton, knits, “fancy fabric,” polar fleece and outerwear, etc.
Figure 1.1 Matching Functional Sewing Areas with available

Doing this step helped me to see where I am struggling with the organization of my sewing room. My biggest areas of struggle occur in the storage areas for patterns, books, and fabric. I simply have too many to fit my container. The answer is not to get a bigger container because the room will not hold a bigger container. The solution is to simplify and purge — a difficult task for me!

I plan to come back to each area as I organize them to show you my finshed progress!

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Yarnapalosa Entries

Here are our two entries for the Yarnapalosa Event. The top is a cowl knitted with 16 stitches on a size 15 needle. It took two skeins of yarn, thus the two colors. I added an accent made from the same yarn. The lower scarf, knitted by my 10-year-old daughter, was knitted using a size 19 needle and the waterfall pattern (knitted, then drop stitches in binding off).


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UFO Plan of Attack

Spending summers at our lake cabin keeps me away from my sewing room. I have my old Kenmore sewing machine here ( a present when I graduated from college). This year I brought up my serger and dome of my unfinished objects (UFOs). I also brought a tote of fabric and a box of patterns. While I always have a tendency to bring too much stuff, I’m hoping that this will put a real dent in my accumulation of sewing projects and fabric. My biggest project is to finish the curtains for my daughter’s room. Hopefully, you’ll see my postings for all the other projects I have brought with me. That is why I’m blogging this – to keep me accountable on finishing these! So far I have finished cutting strips for a quilted serger bag, pinned a small quilt together, cut out the trim for a polar fleece jacket, cut out some yoga shorts, and cut out a skirt and jacket. Company came, so the sewing went on hold while we celebrate the 4th. Happy 4th of July!

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Start with Craftsy — and you’ll be Hooked!

My favorite way to take a sewing class is in-person with Jane!  When that is not possible, I turn to Craftsy.

I was introduced to Craftsy with a banner ad on some website I was visiting.  I signed up for the free Short Rows Knitting class, and that opened the door to a world of learning.  My next class was the Magical Jelly Roll Quilts class, followed by the  Kinit Original Toe-Up Socks class.

What I love about the Craftsy classes are that you can replay the classes when you are doing the project again.  I took a sock knitting class at our local yarn store, but then had forgotten how to start when I wanted to make another pair of socks.  Craftsy to the rescue!

Recently, I made my daughter some yoga shorts from the pattern from Meg  McElwee’s Sewing with Knits course.  She just loves them, and they fit perfectly.  I can wait to use the patters to make my travel wardrobe for this summer.

Are you looking to take your crafting to the next level, or perhaps branch out and learn a new skill, but aren’t sure where to get started? Check out the Craftsy Free Classes, mini classes that allow you to sample everything from food classes (Who couldn’t use Complete Knife Skills with Brendan McDermott?), to quilting (How fun would A New Look at Longarm Quilting with Mandy Leins – FREE! be?), to photography (Seriously, Learn How To Take Professional Family Portraits with Craftsy for FREE! could only help us all.) and more! Just register for your Craftsy account and get started!

Try a Free Mini Class at Craftsy




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Embossed Alphabet

A quick gift has always been either a pillowcase that is embroidered with a name or a monogrammed towel. These Embossed letters make a perfect monogram. I put 2 layers I water soluble stabilizer on the bottom with Solvy on the top.


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Striking Effect with Black and White

Advanced Embroidery Designs. Free Projects and Ideas. Black-and-white quilted tote with embroidery.

This is a free project sheet for a very striking black-and-white tote.  The idea could be made as is or embroidered with another design, but using the “shades of one color” idea.  I can see this in red and white, pink and white, your favorite color and white.  I can also see that it would take on an even different effect with a scrap border of all colors. 

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Making Big Patterns out of Little Pattern Guides

As I thought, I had been to one of these seminars before; but still learned some things.  They use the Lutterloh® System.  This system takes two measurements — bust and hip, to enlarge a tiny pattern onto a larger pattern paper using a special ruler with a push pin in your measurement size.  It is like connecting the dots to get a full-sized pattern for your personalized measurements.  In the class, they do try to sell you lots of things, the pattern system ($124), rulers, paper,etc.  But they give you a few patterns to try at home for the $10 class fee (you get a video of the whole session, too).

I did not buy the Pattern Making System, but did bid a couple of times on eBay.  Every time on eBay, they went for around 1/2 the cost of the original system.  There are vintage systems out there on eBay so make sure you know what you are bidding on if you go that route.  By chance, I went to an estate sale for a sewing friend; and I found the system for $10 so I bought that right away!

Using my Accentuate, Hide, and Fake technique; I went through the book to mark all the styles that would best be suited for my current figure.  I did create a blouse pattern from the free patterns from the seminar.  I didn’t have a cardboard pattern board, so I used an old cut-up box.  I have since bought a display board (because I couldn’t find the pattern board) to use for other pattern making.

They also talked about using a Roller foot and Even-feed/Walking foot.  You can use a roller foot to put in a zipper.  They didn’t show us how — can you roll right over the zipper to do so?  Mainly the roller foot is used for fabric that seem to be hard to handle.  Your feed dogs do push fabric through your machine so some garment pieces are especially longer so that can happen.  The Even-feed foot is used for quilting and everything that doesn’t need the easing of the feed dogs.  Can’t you get that same effect from a serger?

It was a great time to be surrounded by sewing friends, and quite entertaining for the cost of admission.

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Accentuate, Hide, and Fake! The Keys to Dressing to Look Fabulous!

Have you ever poured over pattern books and magazines to find the perfect style to sew or buy?  You find that cute, stylish outfit; sew it up, put it on, stand in front of the mirror, and say, “What was I thinking?”  The outfit just “does nothing” for you.  Well, just because it looks good on a model (or worse yet in that drawing on the pattern envelope); doesn’t mean it was meant to flatter your figure.

Here is what you do:

In a leotard or tight fitting garments, take a front and side shot of your body.  Now, with the help of your computer, print out a couple of 5×7 or larger pictures of yourself.  Now, in the front view, draw lines up and down the side of your body.  What is the shape?  Do the same thing for your side view.  Do you protrude anywhere?  Also, check your chin and upper arm area.  Draw around those areas, too.

Now, here is the key.

1.  Accentuate the Positive – you’ve heard that one before!  Find out what are your greatest figure assets.  Think about how you are complimented in different outfits you wear.  What is special about them?  Have you ever been told you have, a nice long neck, beautiful hands, great legs?  Show them off!

2.  Hide what you don’t want anyone to see.  Have no waist?  Then don’t wear a short-waisted jacket or a nice wide belt there! 

3.  Fake it!  Create an illusion. One trick for someone like me who has lost their waist somewhere along the way is to go ahead and wear that belt — not so wide, though; and then wear a hip (or longer) jacket over the top of it.  Long, vertical lines create height and are slimming.

So you like that new, trendy style; is there any way that you can use the three tips above to help you adapt the style to you?  That might not be as hard as it sounds so give it a try.

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The Math of Pattern-Making


It’s all about the Math!  Watch this video.  It tells about how your body parts are mathematically related!  Then, it applies this to pattern making.  This is the Lutterloh System, but I remember mom purchasing this a LONG time ago under the name of “Perfect Fit Patterns.”  The concept is taking a tiny pattern and using your bust and hip measurement to make it your custom size.  Note, you are taking your bust and hip measurement to make the pattern.  This doesn’t take a lot of things into consideration — especially the petite/tall factor!

I am attending a Tru-Fit seminar at Hancock Fabric on Monday evening.  It uses this system, and I am interested in how they might address this fitting problem.

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Wild Ginger Software has Free Accessory-Making Program

Wild Ginger  has a free download program called “Wild Things!” that lets you make patterns for hats, wraps, belts, bags, footwear, and pockets.  It has a wonderful complete sewing guide for all the patterns you can create.  So, why not whip up a sun hat, or a costume cape, some slippers for a Christmas gift, or that yoga mat bag that you know you need!  This is a great way to start.

Wild Ginger also has a complete, and reasonably-priced pattern making system called “Pattern Boutique,” as well as, the “Click-and-Sew” pattern making software.  If you are interested in good-fitting patterns that allow you to do some designing, too.  You need to check this out!

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