10 hacks for organizing sewing and embroidery supplies

By on August 20th, 2020
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I have to admit, my sewing room is currently a mess. Wait – isn’t that a sign of a creative mind? Maybe? But all I know – it’s not pleasant at the current moment to be in there. I really need to get is it straightened out. So I’ve hit up my Facebook friends for some of their best ideas for organizing sewing and embroidery supplies. And, I have to say, their organizing hacks are pretty genius.

And, guess what? Here’s the great news. These organizing hacks are not expensive. Most of them could be recreated with discarded items or random stuff you can pick up on the cheap via Craigslist. Check out these creative hacks for storing and organizing sewing and embroidery supplies.

Closet door shoe holder

Organize fabric in closet shoe holder
Photo provided by Helena Cupit and used with her permission

Colorful fabric scraps are extremely valuable when you do a lot of applique. Even a very small scrap has some value. The question is – how to organize all these scraps? 

One creative solution is to use a closet door shoe holder with clear pouches. You simply shove similarly colored fabric scraps into the different compartments.  The benefit is that the fabric stays off the floor and it doesn’t take long to pick up and put away. Shove in a compartment and you are done! 

Shoe cubbies

sewing and embroidery organizing hacks: shoe cubby for fabric
Photo provided by Melissa Meadows and used with her permission

If you have more fabric than what a closet shoe holder can accommodate, you can use a similar organizing hack with a shoe cubby. The spaces allotted for each shoe are small enough to keep different fabric separate, yet have ample enough room to be able to store several pieces of similar colored fabric. 

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Pegboard

peg board for organizing sewing supplie
Photo provided by Ashton Boyett and used with her permission.

Pegboards can be used in a multitude of ways for organizing sewing and embroidery supplies.  You can actually buy little peg board hooks to organize your sewing and embroidery thread. But, you can also use a multitude of hooks to hand scissors, rulers, embroidery hoops, etc…  You can even integrate a paper towel holder to hold rolls of stabilizer.

The nice thing about a pegboard is that it keeps your tools right in front of your face so you don’t have to go searching around the room to find a pair of scissors.  The trick is just remembering to put those scissors back where they belong.

File cabinet with fabric over files

fabric stored in file box

I find that as my life becomes increasingly digital, I have less of a need for file cabinets. So what to do with all that extra file cabinet space? Store your fabric in it. All you have to do is (sort of) fold up your fabric and then drape it over one of the hanging files. You can dedicate each file to a different type of fabric, organize by color, it’s up to you. 

File cabinets are pretty easy to come by on Facebook marketplace and Craigslist if you don’t want to cough up the big bucks for something new.  However, you can also get nice, clear file boxes designed to accommodate hanging files that allow you to actually see all the fabric inside.  Just store the file box sidewards to you can see the beautiful array of fabrics. 

Fabric in clear plastic drawers by color

Photo provided by Paula Nelson of www.snugglepuppyapplique.com and used with her permission.

Another common means of organizing fabric is to use clear, plastic drawers. The key, here is to make sure these drawers are not too large. The bigger the drawer, the harder it will be to find the fabric you are looking for.  Then, simply organize the drawer by color. Need a pink piece of cotton fabric? You will know exactly where to look. 

Command hooks

command hooks for holding hoops
Photo provided by Venus Thomas and used with her permission.

MC Hammer was right.  Command hooks are amazing! But clearly it’s not possible to hang all your sewing supplies on these little hooks.  However, if you make a little ribbon hoop attached to a D-ring – then you can hang just about anything. 

Pots and pans bar and hooks

hooks for pots and pans
Photo provided by Terri Lawson and used with her permission.

You know those bars and hooks that are designed to hold pots and pans?  Well they are also great for holding your sewing and embroidery accessories.  They sell something like this at Ikea, but you can also Amazon prime them as well

Fabric rolled up on comic book cards and clipped 

fabric rolled up on dollar store cards an stored in plastic shoe boxes.
Fabric scraps folded around Dollar Store playing cards and stored in clear plastic shoe boxes. Photo by Helena Bull Cupit and used with her permission.

I’ve seen some amazing fabric collections arranged on bookshelves that look super tidy and organized. The secret to achieving this look? Comic backing boards and clips. I only recently learned about what these things were via some of my machine embroidery friends.  

Comic book boards are pieces of cardboard that comic book collectors use to store their prized comic books. They simply put the book into a bag with the board behind it to keep the comic book from getting bent. Serious comic book collectors recommend only the acid free boards, but if you are using them for fabric storage, it doesn’t matter. 

If you are using the comic book boards to store fabric, you simply wrap the piece of fabric around the board and clip it to the board using alligator clips.  Then line up your boards on a shelf, organized by color.  Not only do you have a beautiful display, you can find the fabric you are looking for quickly. 

cabinet with fabric neatly folded
Kathy Innace neatly stores her fabric scraps folded on in this cabinet. Photo provided by Kathy Innace and used with her permission.

PVC rack for tulle

PVC stand for tulle
Photo provided by Brandy Ardoin and used with her permission.

If you use a lot of tulle in your embroidery, it can be struggle to keep it on the spool, organized and easily accessible. But it’s pretty cheap and easy to solve that problem with a bit of PVC.

Brandy Ardoin and her husband made this cool rack for her tulle out of PVC piping.  The rolls of tulle stay in place when she is cutting pieces off of the spool. All you need are some 1″ in diameter PVC segments, connector pieces and a good tool to cut the PVC. Brilliant! 

PVC stabilizer rack

embroidery stabilizer rack made from PVC
Photo provided by Sarah Heming and used with her permission.

Here’s another style of rack made of PVC that accommodates large roles of stabilizer.  Notice how the PVC bars are just resting on the arms of the rack.  This makes it super easy to change out the rolls when you run out of stabilizer. 

Table “Apron”

Another way to keep your sewing and embroidery supplies right in front of you is to make a table “apron.” These aprons typically have a few pockets, and go right under your machine. The pockets hang down the front of the table which gives you the perfect spot to store scissors, a tape measure and a little sharp pair of scissors.  

These table aprons can probably be made from the fabric scraps just sitting around your sewing room. Check out this tutorial to make a table apron for yourself. 

Ribbon Organizer Made From Wooden Dowels and Coat Rack

How to organize ribbon
Ribbon organizer made with wooden dowels. Photo provided by Breanna Benefield Medlock and used with her permission

Breanna Medlock uses A LOT of ribbon in her embroidery and applique projects. But how to organize all those spools?  Breanna came up with this clever device. She bought a coat rack piece from Hobby Lobby, drilled holes in and stuck in some dowels. To keep the spools from unwinding, she puts a pin in the end like they do at fabric store.

Ready to get organized? 

I don’t know about you, but all these creative organization hacks certainly inspired me.  I’m actually heading right to my sewing room now to start tidying things up.  But maybe I’ll just do this one project first…

Good luck & happy stitching

xo

Julie

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