Organizing my sewing workspace

Workspace organization in a sewing room is critical. And now that you’ve read all about my cutting table, I thought I’d share a bit about how everything (well, mostly fabric) fits inside it. All the fabric I buy comes on bolts that hold 15 yards each. Since each of my hats uses up to six different prints, I buy a lot of different fabrics to piece together. In fact, right now, I have over 100 different fabric prints in my collection! When thinking about the creation of my cutting table, one of the most important aspects of it was storage. I needed to make sure whatever I created had lots and lots of storage options.

My table has eight storage cubes on each side for a total of 16 cubes. I use eight of the cubes open for storing fabrics (four on each side), six of the cubes have bins and two of the cubes have drawers (two drawers in each cube, giving me four small drawers).

When I receive a new bolt of fabric, I cut 3-5 yards off the bolt and wash it. After it’s clean, I iron it (right on the tabletop) and then wrap it onto a magazine board. This piece of paperboard is the size of a magazine made for collectors to archive magazines in plastic baggies. I fold the fabric and wrap it around the board. All of these are stored in four of the cubes on one side of the table, organized by color.

The remaining fabric that was on the bolt also comes off. Actually, the bolt comes out – I smash the end of the cardboard and yank it out, then I stack the fabric into the storage area on the opposite side of the table.

On the side of the table with the washed fabrics are four purple bins. These bins hold all the hats I have in stock and ready to ship, organized by size. These are hats that are all currently for sale on my Etsy shop.

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On the other side (the side I stand behind when I cut), I have two more bins. In the top bin, I keep usable scraps (those that I think I can use for smaller pieces like for the brim for a conductor cap or for the circle piece on the top of the hat). In the other bin are scraps that are too small for me to use. Every couple of months I clean it out and give it to a friend who passes it onto her mother’s quilting guild.

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Also on this side are the four drawers. In these are pieces of hats that are already cut out. Brims, bands and tops all go into the drawers, arranged by size. And in the photo below, to the left of the drawers you can see the unwashed fabric.

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On my sewing table (also an Ikea purchase some years back) are my sewing machine and serger as well as some smaller bins that contain pieces that are waiting to sew as well as larger chunks of fabrics that don’t fit on the magazine boards but are too big for my usable scraps bin. As you can see from the photo below, I also have all my various threads for easy access. And on the top shelf of my sewing table are shipping envelopes and tissue paper for shipping my hats out.

Next to my sewing table, I have another shelving unit (again, thanks Ikea!) where I keep other items such as hang tags, current paperwork, notebooks and other items I need to store. I also keep a bin with fabrics that aren’t currently in rotation (for one reason or another, usually because a corresponding fabric I was using is discontinued and I haven’t gotten anything new) and yet another bin that has one of a kind hats to take with me to local craft and farmer’s markets.

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And that’s how I organize my work area. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point, but I’m pleased with the flow of my work. I’m sure I’ll continue to make changes and upgrades as time goes on!