Studio/Sewing Room Reorganization

48 comments
One day a few weeks ago I was whining to Natalie about my sewing room being a mess. I was frustrated because I was so busy and I was trying to get ready for vacation and trying to finish up some projects and so I was just complaining and feeling overwhelmed. At that point Natalie sat down and said "Mom! your fabric organization system has failed!". Natalie is my ubber over organized oldest daughter and after the shock of her statement I decided to listen to her (yes, I was that desperate). She told me she would help me reorganize but on one condition. She said I had to listen to her and do exactly what SHE told me to do. If I hadn't been so overwhelmed at that moment I would have laughed and shoved her out the door. But I was at my wits end and so I gave myself and my precious, lovely fabric over to her completely. This is a photo (above) of some of my previous ways to organize small pieces of fabric. Fat quarters and smaller were in those see through bins in no particular color or order with other odds and ends underneath in various bins. My fabric in larger quantities was folded in no particular order on the shelves with colors assorted all together. I liked the mix of colors together, or so I thought.

So Natalie and I took EVERYTHING off the shelves and we went through every single piece of fabric. She made me look at each piece and ask myself if I really wanted it. I did de-stash 2 bags worth. And then we refolded and reorganized everything. Did I mention how dusty that made my room? By refolding my fabric to the exact depth of the shelves I was able to give myself more space, too.
So the room itself may not really look that different but it is much more organized. Natalie made different categories of fabric: Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow, Red, Pink/Purple, Neutrals (includes black and brown), Plains, Vintage, Home Dec Weight (and linen) and Novelty. I have 2 shelves with books. Finished quilts are still on the very top shelf.
This is a photo of shelves on one side of the room. The bucket colors have really no relationship to what is inside. But each bucket correlates to a category. Like the green piles have a bucket next to them with green smaller pieces inside. There is also a bucket for trim (big one) on the top shelf (Shelbie and Laurie rolled all my trim and put rubber bands around them.) The mixture of fabric colors on the shelf just by the iron is my home dec weight fabric.
The very top shelf here has project buckets to keep my UFO and ongoing projects out of the way and organized since that was part of my problem. I had projects all over in various stages of finish.
These are the shelves on the other side of the room. The bottom shelf has vintage. The next shelf up has red and blue. The next shelf has my lovely collection of tools/rulers and then newer fabric that I need to keep separate to look at (hey that is a category!) After that comes neutral. Above that is novelty and then above that are project buckets.The buckets may not look organized but since they have just one color inside I can go through looking for a color or print and know where it belongs. I used to always make a mess going through the old containers and things were always having to be refolded and sticking up out of the mesh box. This way I can dig deep and go through everything with minimal refolding/fixing. And since it isn't see through you never know just by walking in the room if the buckets are perfect!

We started work on the room right before my vacation. So it was left undone. But I've managed to finish things this weekend and I'm feeling very happy with the organization and feeling like I know where everything is stored at. I haven't started sewing yet in the room but I'm really looking forward to it.

Thanks Natalie for all your help. I am really happy with it. Even Mr. Hive noticed it looked better!

-nanette
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48 comments

Sandi said...

Oh, it looks positively delicious! I have been thinking of taking a week of from blogging and everything else just so I could organize my fabric. Your room looks so neat and workable that I think I will do that. I'll call it a "sabbatical". Sounds more impressive than vacation. Thanks for the divine inspiration!

Shari said...

It looks great! Do you think Natalie is planning a trip to Oz anytime soon??

Cathi said...

It all looks wonderful!! I battle with organizing my fabric all the time -- and never seem to settle on a plan for that that makes sense! Think I'll try a variation on your method!

Nancy said...

Love the new look...what a wonderful daughter to take her time to help you out...

Darlene said...

Sometimes 'they' do know more than 'we' do. LOL It looks wonderful - love the bucket idea. I hope this works better for you. Would you please send Natalie & Shelby my way, please! LOL

Nancy said...

Oh my gosh. Can I move into your sewing room? It looks wonderful. I just reorganized my stash but it doesn't look nearly as delicious as yours. And I love your chandelier. So elegant!

Nedra said...

Will Natalie come to my house?
And I think you should send this post over to Stash Manicure! (Rae Ann is one of your BFF's afterall)

Barbara said...

Doesn't Natalie need to take a little trip to Texas....I could sure use her help!!!!
You are going to have so much fun sewing in your new room!

Di~ said...

Wonderful. Where did you get the buckets:

Pots and Pins said...

I love seeing other work rooms! Thanks for the tour - it's lovely and your new system looks great. I wish my daughter was organized! I had to HIRE a high school girl last year - paid her $12 an hour to come and organize my stash and it was worth every penny! Now I just need someone to follow me around and put things back where they go! xoxo, The Other Nanette

Sue said...

I can see Natalie needing a manager to organise her world tour. She'll need to visit me first and sort out my studio!
Your's looks fabulous.

AnnieO said...

You listened well and got a great new system--congrats!My older daughter wants to organize our garage but her solution to most everything would be to throw half of it away...not gonna happen! But I appreciate her ideas :)

Brandie said...

What a gorgeous makeover! But the room started with good bone structure. We should all be so luck to sew by chandelier. Lovely!

PamKittyMorning said...

Great makeover! I'm quite envious.

amy smart said...

Looks awesome! Makes me want to go right down and tackle mine!!

Fiesta said...

Beautiful Nanette.Very bright and cheery.

Muddling Through said...

What a wonderfully detail-oriented daughter you have, Nanette! You two did a wonderful job of organizing your stash. I know you'll find it easier to create even more beautiful quilts. Can't wait to see them!

nettie said...

wow, looks great! i love those chandeliers.

Kaaren said...

Awesome, Nanette. Now that looks soooo conducive to work in.

Do you rent Natalie out? What a peach she is!

Purple Quilter Queen said...

WOW!! That looks awesome! Does Natalie hire herself out??? You guys did an great job! I was just telling my mother the same thing about my sewing room yesterday. You two have given me the inspiration to get my stuff reorganized too. Way to go. Jenn

Lori Holt said...

Oh Nanette...
it looks SO FABULOUS....
now i just can't wait to come over and mess it all up...just looking for that right piece of fabric while we are sewing together....LOL
xx
lori

pratima said...

Nanette, it is heavenly! Natalie and you did a fantastic job in setting up a dream studio. Thanks so much for sharing so many lovely ideas and also your gorgeous room :)

Thimbleanna said...

I hope you like your new system Nanette. I've been doing mine that way for a few years now and it definitely works for me. (Well, I have had that little broken shelf mishap but still ... LOL!)

Trisha said...

How lucky to have helpers! It looks so great. Ever since I organized my fabric by color and put it on shelves where I can see it all, I have been so much more productive. I have a much easier time putting fabric together for a quilt. I am really enjoying it. I am sure you are going to love it when you get in there and start sewing.

Sherri said...

Love the reorganization ideas...you and natalie did a great job! Also...I so agree...new fabric that I need to keep separate to look at is a definite category!

kitty said...

What a great job you have both done. Where did you get the shelves? I have been looking for something like you have. I just moved and am resorting everything and it does get overwhelming, but you have revived my pursuit in making my room better.

Kathee

Pat Sloan said...

what a super gift from your daughter! i love the buckets.. i bet you feel great!

Susan said...

Your room is gorgeous! You listen to your daughter and do what she says...LOL! I can only dream of having my daughter with organizational skills...still LOL! You certainly have a stash, wow! I do like the sorting by color and the bucket idea is brilliant. Enough gushing :-)

jodi@Pleasant-Home said...

Awesome! You know me. I love stuff like this. You guys did a fabulous job! I love looking at the photos!

jen duncan said...

Its wonderful! So inspiring and very motivating...especially the 'toss it out if you don't love it' part :-)

Barbie Jo said...

Well I would love it if you and Natalie stopped by and organized my sewing mess for me! Your space now looks BEAUTIFUL!

Kim D. said...

Your sewing studio looks fantastic! Doesn't it feel good and so much easier to create in a nice organized space.

CreationsForEleanor said...

It is beautiful, I especially LOVE the black and white family portraits in the background. What a beautiful space.

Adventures in Alice Land said...

Oh my, how beautiful! What a wonderful space for creating! I especially love the chandelier. It's a perfect touch.

Pat said...

What a great job!!! I love how that room looks now. I hope you are able to keep it that way (that is always a problem for me...I have good intentions and keep it nice for awhile and then.........)

Vicki said...

It looks beautiful! It must feel so good to go in there now.

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh gosh it looks wonderful, I love it when our children know so many things!!! What a great job, have fun!!

Calli Makes Do said...

I love how you've organized, and looks wonderful. The perfect space for creating beautiful quilts!

Lynn said...

Your daughter sounds like a superhero who can clean out and organize sewing rooms, with sidekicks who are especially good at organizing trim.

Annette said...

Wow, that looks great!! Natalie has a great eye for organizing.

RETRO-fabulous said...

Beautiful! I know you say you don't have stash...but seeing is believing, Nanette.

I love bits of this mixed with tiny pieces of that. Scrappy's where it's at.

Now I have messy sewing room guilt.

Mary said...

Love how you organized and set up your sewing room. I just got back from a vacation, and being in my friends sewing room, now I want to change mine and fix it up. Great Job.

belinda said...

Aren't you proud to have such 'smart' kiddos??? And especially ones who WANT to help you in the first place! Your new organization inspires me to go straighten mine up. I have always had mine in colors but lately I have just been 'cramming' pieces back into the piles on my shelves and it looks a little messing.
It's a great feeling to have a clean/freshly organized work space...I think it opens us up to be more creative....soooo, Go Forth Girl...And Create!!!!!

Brenda said...

Would Natalie like a trip over here to organise my stash LOL. It looks great.

Jennifer said...

Come on over to my house...

Lady of the Cloth said...

I'd love to be in that room just soaking up all the color and texture and organization. When we downsized I had to combine sewing and office and it's the pits. I can dream though.

Aunt Spicy said...

What a fab work room, perfect place to be creative! And love the glimpse of Jennifer Paganelli fabric!

Melissa Stramel said...

Can Natalie come help me? I would seriously pay!!!! Will you be at market? We should meet! Looks like lots of fun projects. I love that Kitchen Sink line -- I was offered some from Indygo Junction to make up a project for them, but had to turn it down.