A Tip to Keep Your Sewing Supplies Under Control

How many rotary cutters do you own?  I have nine.

All these rotary cutters. Why?
Eight of my fifteen seam rippers. Yikes!

 And, at last count, I also own fifteen seam rippers.

A little silly, isn't it? (In my defense, I do product testing and haven't actually purchased all these duplicates.)

Yet, when I look around my sewing studio, I can identify only three main work stations: sewing machine/serger area, cutting table, and ironing board.

If I were to keep necessary notions at each station–and that, for me, is a very handy thing to do–I would need three of everything. So what's with the fifteen seam rippers? They have simply accumulated.

Now I'm going to give you my best tip for keeping your sewing studio efficient, well-organized, and a fun place to work. Divest! For me, this means keeping three seam rippers and maybe five rotary cutters-one of each size at my cutting table and a 28mm at the ironing board and sewing machine. (If you regularly take classes or workshops, organize a well-stocked travel tote that you use for classes or travel only. Think of it as your fourth station.)

The next time you're in your sewing area, start putting all those extras into a donation box. Give yourself and your work area some breathing room. Make friends with a 4-H group or charity organization for whom your extras might be their necessities. Keep your favorites scissors, hem gauges, and chalk pencils-and let the rest go.

Your sewing supplies will be under control–maybe someone else's control, but nonetheless, under control. And you'll have more space to create.

Once you've gotten that cutting space cleared off, you'll be inspired to enjoy your up-to-date sewing room and start some new sewing projects. Keep it fun and stay organized with Stitch 2011 and Studios 2011, now available on space saving CDs-both are filled with creative projects and lots of inspiration.

So, how many seam rippers do you have? Do you think you can let them go? Let us know in the comments section below.

Happy stitching!

           

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13 thoughts on “A Tip to Keep Your Sewing Supplies Under Control

  1. I have a couple of rotary cutters dedicated to certain tasks. One is for cutting paper or tagboard (a good use for the used blades) and another is for cutting specialty fabric (teflon coated–very hard on blades). Both are labeled and have a home in a specific drawer.

    I do keep a set of most tools in a plastic carrying box ready for classes, retreats etc. It makes it so much easier to pack up. Each class I review what’s in there and may add something specific for the class. I’ve been able to help out others who’ve forgotten something as simple and necessary as a seam ripper. I keep a few extras just so I can pass them on to someone else.

  2. I love the idea of having a separate rotary cutter for tagboard. And passing on extras to classmates is a wonderful idea. (By my calculations, I only need to go to eleven workshops to get my seam ripper count down to normal!)

  3. I own and operate a custom closet business, which, I think pretty much makes me a professional organizer. As a PO, I’d like to say that this is one of the best articles I’ve read about organizing your work space! Most people forget that it’s all about function and how you use it.
    Keeping the necessary tools at each station is a very wise idea. We use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time…that 20% needs to be where it is most used.
    Another organizational thought is keep your tools and supplies at the point of first use! I’ve created sewing, quilting, craft and scrapbooking rooms for many of my customers, using my closet product, and these are some of the theories of organization with which I start to design.

  4. I loved this article and found it follows right along with the way I work. My sewing studio is set to function like a great kitchen – in a triangle work space with lots of storage all around. My sewing/serger is in one point, point two is my ironing board, and point three is my cutting table. My table is portable so I can’t hang or set on it all the time, but I do have a basket to keep those in and leave them on the table while up. It keeps me from moving every item from my sewing machine cabinet to the table each time I turn around. I have 4 rippers, several scizzors of various sizes and styles, four measuring tapes, two rotary cutters, pins and pencils galore. My ironing board has several scizzors, thread nippers, rippers and razor blades. It is the area I do most of my deconstructing and detail work. As to station four – that is my knitting/project tote I made from my old Harley vest and holds the fourth set of scizzors, rippers, tape, yarn, needles, etc. It is great to hang from a chair or open on my lap while I work. Keep up the great tips. I love them. Wish I had learned this stuff 50 years ago instead of 30 years ago. Oh, I can not function without my magnetic pin plate!
    AJ from AJs Aprons and More at Etsy

  5. I hadn’t thought of my sewing area in terms of the kitchen triangle–but that makes perfect sense! And it is so true about using 20% of our stuff 80% of the time. And yes, I wish I had a knitting bag from a Harley vest….

  6. I just spent several days going through every drawer in three bedrooms. I would like to encourage you to do that if you haven’t in a while. You will be amazed at how many dubpicate things you have and don’t need. When you get rid of what you don’t use, you have so much more room for the things you WANT in your life! Thanks for all the good tips on organizing.

  7. I realized a while ago that in a few years, when our “retirement move” happens, I don’t want to have such an accumulation of fabric and equipment to pack up and move 900 miles away. So, I have begun a sewing group that gets together monthly for making quilt tops and various other items for charitable organizations. A local cafe let’s us use a conference room, for free. And we’ve had a lot of interest shown by the cafe’s clients. One homeschooling mom and her three kids came and made pillow cases. Because I have such an abundant stash (I traded time for fabric with a local quilt shop for a few years) I am able to supply all of the fabric for the quilt tops or pillow cases. This also helps get people to sew that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. I enjoy the sewing AND the people I’ve met. Luann

  8. I realized a while ago that in a few years, when our “retirement move” happens, I don’t want to have such an accumulation of fabric and equipment to pack up and move 900 miles away. So, I have begun a sewing group that gets together monthly for making quilt tops and various other items for charitable organizations. A local cafe let’s us use a conference room, for free. And we’ve had a lot of interest shown by the cafe’s clients. One homeschooling mom and her three kids came and made pillow cases. Because I have such an abundant stash (I traded time for fabric with a local quilt shop for a few years) I am able to supply all of the fabric for the quilt tops or pillow cases. This also helps get people to sew that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. I enjoy the sewing AND the people I’ve met. Luann

  9. I don’t really know how many seam rippers I have or even how many rotary cutters. I do know that I kept buying new cutters in a search for the ‘one’ that felt the most comfortable and worked the best, and of course there are necessary multiples: different sizes and one for chenille-making. As for the seam rippers, well, as you say there has to be one at each work station plus I have found that they become less sharp as time goes by. I don’t know why this happens because I don’t really use them all that much but blunt they become and so a new one has to come into the house and the studio.
    Some other things – and seam rippers may very well fit into this category – seem to multiply in the dark, a bit like rabbits. Pliers is a good example of this, I have so many. Of course if you were to look carefully you would see that they are all different, and hence necessay.

  10. Unless the tool genie is hiding my tools, I have 2 seam rippers and 4 rotory cutters. It’s a good thing you didn’t ask how many pieces of fabric I have!

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