We've been looking at sewing tools recently and asking if you can get better sewing results, save time in the sewing room or just have more fun if you spend more money, or if the budget versions of your favorite tools are ‘good enough'. Covered so far:
Sewing storage ideas – small tools and things
Today I'm looking at basic sewing room storage for your tools and equipment. Do you like something custom designed for sewing, or do you keep everything in a big cardboard box and rummage about, or something in between. Maybe you have a custom designed sewing space with peg boards, or dedicated sewing storage. Is your storage also a decorative item, and are there practical reasons why spending more is going to get you better organised and save you time.
Why have organised storage anyway?
The biggest reasons I can think of to invest in good storage are really two-fold. Save time by making things easier to find – we all need more sewing time so if it takes 10 minutes to find that zipper foot you know you have somewhere, well then that's 10 minutes less sewing time. The second reason is monetary. If you can't find something you might have to go and buy another one, and by proper storage you can also prevent damage or rust too and keep your tools in tip top condition.
Let's have a look at some of my sewing storage
I live on a small island so I use what I can get locally to keep my sewing supplies in order. You don't need specialist storage solutions for your sewing room, but OK, let's admit it, there is nothing nicer than seeing things all neatly set out and beautifully organised, and given the choice, we'd all go for perfection.
Yep, this is NOT my sewing room, not even remotely like it I can assure you. This is pretty darned nice to look at and practical too – check out some more pictures from I have to say… Let's leave me sewing dreams and get back to the practical reality of my own sewing storage.
Bobbin and tool storage
I don't actually have a lot of bobbins to organise simply because my local sewing shop only has a very limited stock of thread colors anyway. The ones I have are in this small box. It's designed specifically to be a bobbin box and it works OK. It's perfectly adequate. This is what it looks like when it's all neat and organised.
But this is what it actually looks like most of the time 🙁 The bobbins are all loose and rolling about, the threads come undone and get tangled, and I fish about making it worse when I want to get something out. I can do better!
There are SO many ways to organise and store your bobbins, maybe I should write a fun article about that (coming soon). I've treated myself and have something new on order just because I felt like a treat and this looked so pretty as well as interesting! Again, its not here yet so I'll write about it when I get a chance to try it out in real life later on. This is the Nancy Zieman Stack and Store Bobbin Tower.
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This is one place you really don't need to spend a lot of money to store your bobbins, but it can be fun if you do!
Sewing feet storage
One of my ‘make do with what you can find' examples. In this case, a weekly pill reminder case has little spaces which are perfect for storing my sewing presser feet! Who would have though it, but everything other than the automatic button hole foot will fit in here nicely. You can even get 3 or 4 feet per section if you want to.
The last section I keep for my needles so as I change from a Universal to a stretch needle or a twin needle, I swap them out in that end section.
While we talk about sewing feet, let me give you a little sneak peak of something else I have on order and am very much looking forward to receiving. All the presser feet I will ever need I should think, and some I will probably never need. There will be some duplicates with what I already have, but well worth it for the price I paid. More on this great box when I get it.
Rotary cutter storage – FAIL
My sewing room is almost right on the beach. When I look outside my window I see the sea right there. Lovely, except with the humid and salty environment and the breeze coming right in the window off the sea here in Cayman, rusting is a real issue, and certain of my sewing tools are no exception. I've tried all sorts of solutions for my rotary cutter from zip loc bags, to pelican cases and everything in between.
This is how I currently store my rotary cutter – in this plastic case filled with silica gel sachets from the camera shop that are supposed to absorb the moisture. Basically, its not working. This is how the blade looks within 2 weeks of opening it, even if I've only used it once. It no longer cuts anything, so I have to consider my rotary blades as almost single use!
As soon as I've finished using it, it goes back in the pink case with the silica gel and gets put in my sewing tool box with the lid closed. More on that next.
Storing other sewing tools
My sewing tool box is just that – a tool box from the DIY Store. It's not pretty, nor designed for sewing items but it works for me. Room in the top for clips, walking foot, seam ripper, lip balm etc.
Then there is a removable tray on the inside for other seam rippers, yes I have too many (see previous article), small scissors, tape measures, seam gauge, needle threaders, marking tools and pens, etc. I admit, I tidied it a bit before taking the picture.
In the bottom layer are the bulkier tools such as scissors, rag quilting snips, pins, more seam rippers, small bottles, pins, needles and other stuff. I admit, I tidied this too.
I also try to keep rusting here to a minimum too.
Combating rust as best I can
See that little blue pot in the bottom right hand corner? That's my home made humidity remover. I use a product called Damp Rid. I buy the refill packs of the basic granules and have made a small humidity collector out of a couple of plastic ramekins.
The top has holes in it so that the granules inside can ‘suck' the mositure out of the air inside the tool box and into the granules inside. Then that inner container has holes in the bottom and the moisture collects and drains down into the outer / lower plastic container where I can pour it away.
Over time, the granules dissolve as they collect all that moisture from the air. I empty this about once a week and change out the granules infrequently, I'd say about every 3 months. So it's easy to use, economical and it does keep the rust away from all of my other sewing tools – works well. Shame about the rotary cutter!
Storing sewing thread
Let's take a look at my embarrassing ‘ thread storage system'. Yep, its a plastic tray from the dollar store that I keep in a drawer. Again, my local store doesn't have a lot of thread color choices anyway so I only have a few reels to store. It looks a bit sad though.
There are far more attractive thread storage and organisation gadgets and racks out there. Check out some of these examples.
- Art Bin Super Satchel Box with Removable Thread Trays
- Traditional wooden thread rack in a multitude of sizes
- ingenius idea that holds all of your threads at the machine, and you just leave them there and thread the one you want to use. SewTech 20 Spool Thread Stand
- Wire Black Spool Thread Holder Rack Victorian Heart Top
- Sewing machine spool rack
Other bits and pieces
We often collect up lots of other small tools, bits and pieces that need to be kept tidy and organised. I use one of these small desktop 3-drawer unitsfor all the small things. They stack too and you can buy them in sets of 4 if you have a lot of ‘stuff' to organise.
In here you'll find all of my needles, more than likely more blunt seam rippers, small rolls of elastic, knit stay tape, bias tape makers, Frixion marking pens, my thermal thimbles for pressing (I swear by these), dental floss for gathering, and usually a few bits of bag hardware such as magnetic snaps or rectangle rings.
I also have a thing for buttons it seems, but just for collecting and sorting them instead of actually ever using them. Check out my nice bright button collection – I can't think that I have ever used a single one of them – except for on my Spring applique pillow cover which I do adore. Shame on me for being so wasteful. They do look nice though. If anyone has any ideas for how to use them, please let me know!
So I think that's everything. All the little bits and pieces carefully stored away and organised into their own little spaces. You've had just a little peak into my sewing space. It's by no means a dream sewing space, and it's usually messy so I don't think I'll be revealing any sewing room pictures any day soon.
I have dreams though of the perfect sewing space one day. I'm collecting inspiration and ideas on my Sewing Spaces Pinterest Board. Check it out below and prepare to drool and be green with envy. How amazing to have room/spaces/custom furniture etc like some of these….
Fancy splurging on some fun additions to your sewing room? Here are some ideas for you from my own wishlist:
- Mannequin room divider
- Sewing/cutting work table and storage
- Decorative dress form
- Dress form art
- Mannequin storage trunk
One day my dream sewing room will come….