Thursday, 15 November 2012

Sewing organization

The Hard-working Mother
by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, 1740

 I’m slowly trying to organize my sewing better and have realized that it’s really four parts of it that needs to be sorted out; Fabric, projects, sewing notions and the sewing room itself. This is a very ongoing project and I have reached different levels of orderliness.

Fabrics: My one and only organizational triumph. I found this system somewhere online some seven years ago and spent quite some time putting it together. But it works! For seven years I have known exactly what I have and where it is. Nowadays when I don’t have room for my fabrics in the apartment it is even more useful. Here’s how to do it:

It is a card system so you need a box and cards + big boxes with lids. Number the big boxes so that the number is easy to see. Take a fabric and iron it if you need to. Then measure it, both length and width. On the card you pin a fabric sample, write down what kind of fabric it is, the measurement. If you have an idea or have earmarked the fabric for a special project, write that down as well. Fold the fabric and put it in a big box and then write down the numberof the box on the card. Continue until all your fabric has been processed.
The beauty of this system is that you don’t have to sort your fabrics or have them visible to have an overview. When I need something or just see inspiration I go to my cards, find what I need and go to the right box and get it. No more digging through boxes and shelves, leaving most of it on the floor. After the first time when I sorted all my fabrics I have only need to keep up when I buy something new and remove the card (I use a pencil so I can erase and re-use them) when I have used up something for a project.

Sewing Girl by Antonio Amorosi, ca 1720
 Projects: I have too many of them going on and even if I have tried to not start new one this year, I have not always succeeded I couple of weeks ago I sat down and listed all my projects and it gave me a really good overview of what I need to do. I hope it will prove as useful a tool as it seems. I recently got myself an iPhone so I used a free app, but this method would work as well with pen and paper.

I made four categories: 18th century costumes, historical costumes from any other period, the 40’s wardrobe project and then one for everything else. That made four lists and on every list I assigned every project an A, B or C. A is for projects have started and need to finish ASAP. B is for projects I have started but can wait a little and C is for projects planned but not started.

They looked like this (they are in Swedish, sorry)

Then I took the A’s from all the lists and made a new one, giving them the same treatment, A, B or C. Voila, a list with all my most urgent projects, listed after urgency. The plan is to work through the A’s and then elevate just one project on each list to A status. Wish me luck!

Sewing notions: Here I fail completely. At the moment I have sewing notions spread to two rooms and six different shelves, closets and drawers. And the notions aren’t neatly collected after type either, at least not everything. This I know exactly where my sewing tread, boning, pearls and needles are, but not at all sure on embroidery yarn, flowers and spangles. I don’t really know how to solve this. Any good ideas?

Women Working On Pillow Lace by Giacomo Ceruti ca 1720
The sewing room: Isn’t just a sewing room, but also serves as J’s study. At the moment, though, my stuff is spread all over. This is how my sewing table looked a few days ago:

That mess is cleared now, but most of the rest of the room looks like this as well. A large part is due to sewing notions without a home. A massive de-cluttering is really due here.


Sandra Brake said...

I'm in awe of your planning! I am in the process of rearranging my sewing and craft and art stuff as I now have a work room. It's small but it's mine!!!

Isis said...

Well, I'm not halfway though yet. :) It's nice to have a craft room on your own, isn't it?

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

I love your system! Both of them actually! :)
I had exactly the same problem with my notions and tools, and the solution was a bunch of plastic baskets, smaller than a shoebox. Into these I throw my bits and pieces in some kind of taxonomy that moves and alters all the time, but it is easy to do this as they are easy to see into, get into and they can stack too if the things in them are not crushable.
What doesn't live in a basket, lives in a small craft tote bag, in which I keep all my necessaries like small scissors, hand needles, bobbin holder, that kind of thing. I can take it with me around the apartment or out and about, so easy. Apart fromt hese systems, I also have four plastic boxes with dividers for my threads. One each for synthetic threads in cool shades and warm, one for cotton and silk threads, and the last for variegates and other quilting threads. They stack on a shelf and are easy to maintain.
I am a very messy person, and even these measures don't contain my need to spread stuff everywhere, but they have most certainly helped a great deal! most live in tall cupboards, on my sewing table, or on shelves we put up about 35cm from the ceiling, so they are out of the way. I hope that gives you some ideas! :)

Isis said...

Maryanne: Plastic boxes, that's really smart! So is shelves close to the ceiling! :)

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