Have you ever heard the phrase “make do or do without'”? That’s ingrained in my personality! I really, really hate to throw something away when I think I can find another use for it. Now, I’m not a “pack rat” because that would drive the super organized part of me crazy… but, if I think I can use something in my sewing room, it ends up there whether it’s from a garage sale, a big box store or from somewhere in my house. I’m going to share a few ideas I have come used in my sewing room in this week’s and next week’s posts. Hopefully, these posts will give you some interesting ideas for things you can give a “new life” to. Here we go!
Unique Sewing Room Storage – Fabrics, Wool, etc.
As many of you know, I like unusual things to create storage in my sewing room. Some of them are antiques, and some are just “cast offs” found at garage sales. Here are some old library card catalog files (remember those days?) that I found at a junking sale. I though they would perfectly fit my rolled fat 1/8s and I was right!
I lined the drawers with acid free paper to keep the fabric protected. You can also seal the wood with a sealant from the hardware store, if you prefer. Now I can easily find the fabric I am looking for in my fat 1/8s!
I found this old tool box that I thought was so cool looking that serves the same purpose as the card catalog above. I couldn’t pass up this gem at the junk sale!
Another great storage find is this old file cabinet that I got from a school sale. I use it for my shipping station. It stores all my shipping supplies from envelopes to packing tape and my postage scales rest on top.
Of course this would also come in handy as a file for your patterns and ideas, threads and other extra sewing tools like small rulers, templates, etc. You can even paint it a prettier color to match your decor if you like (I’m lazy!).
So… I have a lot of wool and was looking for a good way to store the scraps (as any wool worker knows… we keep the smallest scraps!). I have large pieces folded in storage tubs, but wasn’t sure what to do with the small scraps. Here’s my solution:
These smaller tubs I found at the big box store are perfect for my small wool scraps and fit into this shelving unit perfectly (another junking find!). I actually measured the shelves before I bought the tubs to make sure they would fit. They’re clearly labeled with the scrap colors so I can quickly pick the tub I need for my project.
Unique Ideas for Tool Storage
Now for the sewing tools like rulers, scissors, etc. Once again, I like to turn to antiques, garage sale finds or something from the big box store. My first challenge when I set up my sewing room was how and where to store my rulers. I like to hang them because I do not have a lot of counter space. So, my solution was this peg board I found at the hardware store.
If you do not have a place to hang a pegboard on the wall, you can use a hanger made for belts and jump rings that are found at the craft store to improvise:
To keep my scissors and rotary cutter handy, I use this old mug holder I no longer needed for coffee cups.
For additional supplies I need while designing and cutting, I employed this old sewing machine drawer as a catch all for things I can’t hang. I love collecting these cast off drawers. Anytime I see one at a sale, it’s mine!
Finally, here’s a few ideas for storage near the sewing machine. To store pins, I re-purposed a magnet like the type you get at a souvenir store.
I think used some packing tape to tape the magnet to the table by my sewing machine. It’s an easy catch-all for the pins as I pull them from the piece I am stitching. And since I just used some packing tape, it’s easily removed if I want to move it.
To store my scissors and other small tools I use often while stitching at the machine, I have re-purposed a shower soap dish. I attached it to the edge of my sewing table with a Command strip so it’s easy to remove if I no longer want to use it.
So, that’s all for this week. Share your ideas for unusual things you use in the sewing room in the comments below. You will be entered into a drawing for my new pattern, Star Crossed Scraps.
Come back next week for more quirky ideas! There will be another chance to enter this drawing. The winner will be drawn on Monday, December 6th.
Regina Bohannon says
I need a mug holder for my scissors and will be on the lookout the next time a I’m out thrifting! I have 2 Ikea picture shelves where I store my rulers.
Donna S says
I have a ruler board that’s cut in slants so I could mount it on the wall & slip rulers into it. Problem now is I need another for more rulers. I also like old containers that use to hold tools. I store lots of my “tools” in these. a plastic tub stores my wool scraps, but it then it seems I need a bigger tub. I like your idea of storing them by colors instead of one tub.
Donna Hanneman says
When we had to buy a new dishwasher I kept the silverware rack and I use it to hold my rotary cutters and other smaller items! Thanks for all the creative storage solutions!
Good use of an interesting item. Great way to recycle it for a new use!
I use an antique wall pocket for storing my smaller rulers and the large ruler suction cup holders…on the wall and out of the way near my cutting area. I also have a wall antique cloths dryer that folds out of way when not in use, works great to hang newly ironed fabric, partial/finished projects or larger pieces of material I am using for a project to hang to get out of way, yet close to my cutting area for easy access and less wrinkles.
Thanks for sharing all your tips each week, look forward to them!
I have one of those old drying racks attached to my wall too. It holds strips I have cut for a project but are not needed yet.
I re-purpose things too. Canning jars hold scissors and rotary cutters. Empty box from fancy stationery holds needle cases – I have several for each type of needle. Love the shower soap dish tip!
I have tons of those canning jars. I have a use for one in next week’s post.
Gayle Shumaker says
I use a small canister without the lid to hold my rotary cutters and hand made seam rippers. The canister set was one I wanted badly 43 years ago when I got married but it was very high end and out of my price range. I scooped up the set at a neighbors garage sale a few years ago but ended up giving it to my daughter-in-law when she admired it except the duplicate smallest size.
I use a Jewelry roll up bag to store my small rulers. It hangs up too, so that’s a plus. I also use a cloth eyeglass case to hold pencils, etc. A recipe book holder works great to prop up your quilt book or pattern.
I like the recipe book holder to hold the pattern or book while you are working.
I need a mug holder, too, Regina! I will also be on the lookout for that!
My dad is a woodworker and made me a couple things to hang on the wall – a slotted ruler holder and a pegged spool holder. It’s nice to have them on the wall and out of the way. I already had to have him make me a second ruler holder! 🙂
I am a new quilter and don’t have so much yet that storage is a challenge. I can already tell, though, how addicting this beautiful art will be. Thank you for all the tips.
Brenda Tucker says
I use the 3 tier spinning tray from Harbor Freight to organize many of my quilting supplies. I like that it takes up less space by going vertical. It only comes in black, but can be painted. You do have to assemble it, but it is worth it…
It’s always great to find a space save like the 3 tier spinning tray. I might have to pop into my local Harbor Freight and check that out.
Ann Liebner says
I use shower curtain hooks to organize & hang my quilting stencils & quilting rulers. I also use a utensil basket from an old dishwasher to store rotary cutters, sharpie markers, Pigma pens, etc.
Janet Jones says
I love the way you store your small wool pieces
Janice Spande says
I make my project bags using clear plastic and zipper and a strip of fabric . Have the size of plastic you want the bag to be then sew the zipper on to the fabric then sew the fabric with zipper sewn on it on to the plastic . Sew up the sides of the plastic , you have your project bag .
Very creative! Great way to use up what you have.