When the new year arrives, the cleaning and organizing bug seems to hit everyone. Something about a new year starting makes people want to start things in their life with a “clean slate”. Staying organized while quilting is a good thing too! I have some habits that I have developed and I thought I’d share them with you. I think these tips have helped me enjoy quilting more. Try some out and see if they do the same for you!
Make it a New Year’s resolution to organize your fabric stash. That way you can “shop” your stash when you are beginning a new project before heading to the quilt shop. Although, I really, really never turn down a trip to the quilt shop! I have come home with a piece fabric thinking it was “unique” only to find it in one of my bins. Organization should keep that from happening. I use 16 quart Sterilite tubs to store most of my fabric that are fat 1/4s, quarter yards and 1/2 yards. Larger pieces (yards and up) are folded and stored on shelves in a cupboard.
I label the front with the fabric size and color and then store those in the tub. These tubs are stack-able and fit well in closets and cupboards. I also use these tubs to store strips. I like to save 1 1/2 and 2 1/2″ strips because I use them so much in scrap quilting.
When cutting out a project, use painter’s tape or masking tape to label a stack of fabric. Most patterns, mine included, label the pieces you are cutting out with numbers or letters. That way they can refer to the pieces by that labeling in the pattern. Instead of repeating “2 1 /2″ purple print square” every time they use that piece, they can say “piece A”.
Storing a project you have cut out is another organizational tip that comes in handy. We all wish we could whip up that project as soon as its cut out… but we live in the real world! For smaller projects, I use the zipper pouches that sheet sets or shower curtains come in. I have saved many of them over the years and they come in really handy!
I also use them when I have picked out fabric for a project but have not had time to cut it out yet. It’s a great way to store the fabric I’ve chosen with the pattern. That way I won’t accidentally use the fabric for another project.
For larger projects, I use a container like below because it’s big enough to store finished blocks in it as I go.
You can find bins like these in your local craft store or stores like JoAnn Fabrics or Micheal’s craft stores.
To speed up piecing of a project, I use design boards that keep pieces of a block organized.
I made these design boards using 13 x 13″ pieces of cardboard covered with scrap batting. I secured it on the back with a glue stick. Make a stack of these and you use it like this:
Once you have a whole stack of these, you can carry them to your sewing machine and piece several blocks in one sitting. No stopping to layout the next block!
So there you have it. Some tips for being organized so you can have fun stitching your next project. Leave me a comment below with some of the things you do to keep yourself organized. You will be entered into a drawing for my book Blooming Patchwork!
The drawing will be on Monday, January 27th so you have two weeks to enter!