We’re celebrating Day 5 of the #sewphotohop challenge (hosted by House of Pinheiro) with an Inspiration/Organisation/Somewhat How-to guide on getting your sewing room back on track! These tips & tricks are affordable and easy, so you don’t have to go too far down the aspirational-home-decor-magazine-pinterest black hole… Although, I mean, we’re going to, aren’t we?
Before we get started, make sure you follow me on Insta to see all my #sewphotohop posts, and check out my new You Tube series, Sew Vino! (Is it a coincidence that my sewing room borders our mini bar?)
Tip 1: Make an Inspo board
I know, I’m starting you off down the rabbit hole…but really, this can be useful. And you can just follow my pinterest board to get started! I’ll be adding more to this as I go – it’s just turned Spring in Australia so I am up for a Spring clean/sewing room overhaul. I’ll let you know how I get on with these hacks!
Tip 2: Go to your local charity stores first.
Sewing is expensive enough. The thing is, organisation and home decor is aspirational – and consumers are preyed on. So everyone is regularly throwing out their old organisation systems, in favour of something new, shiny, and which promises to solve all their problems and make them rich, organised, and happy.
But you know that you can grab the old stuff, and stay happy, organised, and with moderately more money in your bank!
The first five pins I added to this board were all things I’d either already have, or could pick up cheaply at a charity store. Get rummaging! You might even find some great vintage fabric at the same time.
Tip 3: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Don’t do too much too soon. You’ll get to know what stops you from sewing, or distracts you while you’re sewing. Sewing is why we’re all here, right? So take it easy for a moment. Do one thing, light some incense or a scented candle, splurge on some pot plants, and enjoy your space!
Make that one thing organising your sewing patterns! Here are my top sewing pattern storage hacks:
Hack one: remember that op shop?
A few months ago, I found these awesome wine cellaring tags at the op shop. I do use them for wines I’m planning on saving for a special event (have you seen Sew Vino? I might be obsessed…), I also use them to label my patterns – ever since the Great Lander Pants Lost Pattern Accusation of June 2018. You could also use gift tags, which are often at charity shops too.
- I get my PDF patterns printed at Officeworks on A0 paper.
- I roll these prints up, label them on the outside, and secure with a rubber band
- Once I’ve traced and cut out patterns, I hook them on trouser clothes hangers, chuck a wine tag round the top with the pattern name on, and hang them from my curtain rail.
Hack two: For if you’re running short on clip-py clothes hangers…
You can use a regular hanger, bulldog clips, and safety pins. This works great for add-on pattern pieces (like pocket pieces which can be used on multiple patterns) or pattern blocks which you might use more regularly.
Hack three: Sewing patterns + ziplock bags = match made in heaven
I found these at Daiso, a Japanese 100 yen chain store that has made its way to Australia. Almost everything th
ere is $2.80. To be honest, large sized zip-lock bags from the grocery store are probably more affordable – but these do look pretty! They will keep carpet bugs and other nasties out of your more fragile patterns, and keep pieces together.
Bonus tip: use them for yarn and embroidery thread because carpet beetles & moths will destroy them.
Hack four: when charity shops fail, visit Ikea
Or, you know, don’t go into debt, and stay away!
But seriously, crates like this are perfect for storing your paper patterns – either in or out of zip lock bags. I have one for my traced patterns, and one for those which still fit in their envelopes. I usually know where a pattern will be, so I don’t bother sorting them more thoroughly. You definitely could though, and just cut up cardboard boxes to separate them.
Final Bonus Tip: Organise your patterns on the go!
It’s so much easier to go fabric shopping when you can easily see all your sewing patterns & their details. Here are some suggestions for how you can do that:
- Evernote: make a folder for your sewing patterns, and photograph both sides of the pattern. Save as the pattern name, and ‘tag’ with the type of garment. This is the simplest & fastest way.
- Memento Database: to be able to search by fabric type, yardage required, or any other factor, this is your best bet. It does take a long time to set up your library to start with, but once you have it’s quick to do. Let me know if you want a tutorial on Memento Database! Note: I use this on Android, and I’m not sure if there is an Apple version.
- You can always search on The Fold Line – but it doesn’t tell you if you own the pattern, and doesn’t cover all vintage patterns. Plus, you would need an internet connection.
Well that is it for today!
Check out my Instagram for one extra way I store my patterns. I’d love to hear from you – do you use any apps for keeping track of your sewing pattern stash? How about your fabric stash? Let me know in the comments below!