Since I’m stuck in the house like I’m sure you all are, I was looking around my studio to see if I can share some inspiration for using everyday items creatively in the sewing room. We quilters and sewers are really creative people! As they say: “necessity is the mother of invention”. Also, I like to re-purpose things because I do not like to throw out things I can not recycle. So here’s a few things I do with everyday items.
Are you forever piling up scraps as you snip and cut while stitching? I used to and would often end up knocking it on the floor and scattering it. My sewing area is not too big so I do not have room for a garbage pail on the floor by my sewing table. I found this little tip to be handy. An empty, small square tissue box!
I fill it up and then I can dump it in the garbage pail when I am done sewing for the day.
I wanted to keep a small amount of pins handy near my sewing machine for piecing so I did not have to keep my large pincushion out taking up space. How to keep them in place? I took a rectangular refrigerator magnet that can be found almost anywhere and secured it to my table right by my machine using double-sided tape.
This keeps the pins close at hand so I can easily grab them to assemble pieces for stitching. And since it’s only secured with double-sided tape, it’s easy to remove.
I came up with a great way to keep some of my smaller items that I use a lot easy to grab while stitching. I use this plastic soap holder that can be found at most stores in the bathroom aisles. I secured it to the edge of my sewing table using Command strips so I can easily remove it if I need to.
I thought the suction cups that came with the soap holder would work to hold it in place, but the counter top I used for my sewing table is a surface that does not cooperate with those. After it fell off a few times, I took the hint!
If you have lost the small cleaning brush that came with your sewing machine, use a small, clean makeup brush to dislodge the lint from the bobbin area and the area under the throat plate of your sewing machine. Yes…. those areas do need to be cleaned!
I clean it and oil my machine (following manufacturer’s guidelines) every time I fill a new bobbin. This lint build up can cause problems with your stitching and can eventually cause your machine not to function properly. Someone had to help me clean this afternoon…..
You know those plastic sign holders you can find at any office supply store? You can use those to hold your pattern by your sewing machine. You can slip the pages inside or clip them to it with a binder clip.
It will also hold magazines and thin pattern books!
Start digging through the everyday items in your house and see how you can re-purpose them for use in the sewing room. It’s fun to see what ideas you can come up with. It’s a plus when you don’t have to throw something out! I’ll be hunting around for other ideas and present them next week. Until then, leave a comment below on the tips I shared or on some everyday items you use in the sewing room. You’ll be entered into a drawing for my latest pattern Twinkle Twinkle:
Drawing for the pattern will be on Monday, April 13th so you will have two blog posts to comment on to increase your chances… this week and next week! **We have a winner! Congrats, Margaret Wertman!**
I love all your common everyday tips. Thanks for sharing and reminding us that simple things will serve the same purpose.
Great tips. Thank you!
Jenniffer Eberley says
Great tips. Never thought of the magnet.
Margaret Wertman says
I love the magnet tip as well as the other ones! Thanks
Robin McGuire says
Great tips! I buy small baskets from the dollar store to help organize scraps as I’m cutting out projects. Just have to stay on top of them or they seem to multiply!
Eugenia Read says
Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I really would like to add this pattern to my collection. I also use a tissue box for scraps, the low rectangular one. I love to search through Pinterest for ideas to keep my sewing area organized. A few examples would be: a rice filled bag to hold my pins which sits in front of my sewing machine; a thread bag to match and tied it to the machine using an old shoe lace. I just had to have a mat with pockets to hold those items that one uses on a regular basis. A friend gave me some pipe holders to add to my sewing machine cleaning kit. Unfortunlately, I can’t have a beautiful helper like you so a helpful hubby will have to do. He loves going shopping with me for fabric and accessories.
Lewcrese Shields says
Love the magnet idea. I usually pin while at my cutting table, so my pincushion is there. Then when I sew, I take them out, and usually forgetting to bring my pincushion with me, have no place to put the pins that I remove. This would help a lot!!!
Sheila Bales says
Great tips, I love getting new ideas.
Great ideas! I find pipe cleaners are also that at teaching teeny dusty areas of my machine. I love the soap idea. I am always “losing” small items, like 2.5″ ruler!
* I gotta learn to proofread my comments. The word should have been reaching, not teaching!
Jean Gilbertson says
Cathy Weatherford says
Great tips, I can’t believe I never thought of the Kleenex box one. Thanks
Mary Willis says
Just added one to my sewing table.
Thanks for the great tips! Very useful! HUGS… and stitches
I love the magnet pin keeper idea. Thanks.
Thank for the tips. I am afraid to put a magnet close of the machine. Because its électronic ? I have a little table just near me and IPut my pin cusshion on. I must find a box for garbage. I also put on the floor but my dog eat and it s dangerous for her.
I would be very glad to get Twinkle twinkle..
Oh gosh, I drop threads, papers and fabric bits right on the floor. My DH sweeps them up every day. He cannot stand the mess but never complains.
I use a stack of post it notes to mark the spot on my machine bed, say 1/4 inch for piecing, 3/8 for binding, 5/8 for a garment, perhaps…. fabric butts up to the post it note stack and you get your perfect 1/4 inch seam, or whatever you want.
Question…it’s May 22 and I’m just getting this email today?
You’re getting this today because Primitive Quilts & Projects decided to include one of my older blogs in their newsletter. 🙂 I still hope you enjoyed the tips!
Sharon L Dvorak says
I love the pattern stand idea. Magazines do not stay open. I could akso put my phone on it for watching tutorials!
Great Ideas. I especially like the tissue box for scraps and threads.
Looking forward to what else you have in store for us.
I use an inexpensive flatware tray That you can find at the dollar store to hold the the strips I’ve pre-cut for making log cabin blocks. I use two…one for the lights and one for the darks. It keeps them organized an when you need to clean up before finishing, you just stack them and slip into a plastic bag. They stay dust free until you can get back to the project!
Sheila Buchanan says
I use a small square weighted pencil holder that fits perfectly at the end of my sewing machine to catch my threads and snips and scraps. It stays in place, is attractive and easy to dump. Thanks for all the great tips.
Great tips! I use a counter top paper towel holder (with an old cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels to hold my binding when sewing it on my quilt. Just roll the binding on the cardboard tube and place it on the towel holder. The cardboard spins allowing the binding to roll off just like paper towels. No pile Of binding on the floor that gets tangled. I also use empty peanut butter jars to dispose of rotary cutter blades – even the 60mm fit. Medicine bottles and spice bottles make great needle and pin disposal containers.
Sharon Ivy says
I love the tissue box idea! I’ll start using that one right away.
Cynthia Wood says
I love your idea for the soap dish. It made me realize as I read your comment that it would be great for sewing in the car also. Use the suction cups to attach it to the passenger window and the needles, thread, scissors and scraps could hang on the window for easy access This is the best suggestion I have gotten in years.
Lana H. says
First I want to say that having magnetic items by a computerized type sewing machine is a bad thing, as it can ruin the program in the machines said the folks at my local sewing center. I love my magnetic pin holder, but had to put it away, as I sure can not affored to ruin my good sewing machine.
I make it easy and just suck the dust out of my bobbin holder with the dusting brush on my vacuum. This works very well. Happy Sewing:))
Although none of your ideas would work for me, I very rarely toss anything in the trash simply because I have no use for it, so I donate a lot of things to our local Humane Society Thrift Store.
I had heard the tip about the tissue box but forgot it. What a great idea and it will keep my puppies from picking up bits of fabric and thread if I drop them. Running to get that box right now! Thanks for your tips!
Tami Pugh says
The soap holder you used works great in the car or RV with suction cup On the window for stitching.
Take a piece of pipe cleaner about 3” long. Fold into a circle and twist the ends together. Poke twisted piece into a coffee stirring straw. Works great to clean out machine will get places cleaning brush won’t.
The large salad containers that organic salad comes in. I wash them when empty and use them for scraps.
I have my scraps divided up by size that I have trimmed. I have sorted by holidays. I have some sorted into batiks. They are great for storage.
Linda Schipper-Jarnecke says
Since my sewing table is an old farm table, I was able to drill a hole in the wood to screw in a large cup hook to the right front side and drill another hole in the near top of a Folgers coffee can, add a twist tie to the coffee can hole and hang it from the hook to catch all my little threads, bent pins, fabric snippets etc. Not fancy or pretty, but sure holds a mountain of stuff.
Brenda Mayfield says
I have a rectangular ironing board fixed into place on top of waist high metal shelving unit. As you are all aware, the space under a typical ironing board is useless for storage, but this gives at least 2 shelves for storage bins. The shelves are readily available at home improvement stores. And topped with a piece of plywood covered in batting and muslin and stapled on the underside of the board. On the side of the board, I have marked 1 yard, 1/2 yard and 1/4 yard increments for making a quick check on yardage
Kay Welch says
I use the tissue box, too. And since they make them pretty, it isn’t an eyesore. You gave several useful tips – the magnet is a great one. I will keep my eye out for the sign holder because that is something I could really use. I found a smaller three tier tidbit tray at a resale shop which I use to keep bobbins, safety pins, ruler markers, and my thimbles handy.
Good ideas. I like to repurpose quart yogurt containers for my rotary cutters and all of my fabric markers. I just add fabric and embellishments to the outside of the containers. The wide plastic ice cream containers work great for small rulers.
Lynn Telke says
I liked your ideas but instead of a tissue box I use the round plastic container that
grape tomatoes come in. I keep one by my machine, on my ironing board/cutting area and my favorite chair where I do my hand sewing. Also I use the twisted pipe cleaner loop in the end of a coffee stirrer but if you make one, put a dab of glue on the pipe cleaner before you insert it into the stirrer. I had the loop come off in my machine but was able to remove it.
Carrie Lautarevsky says
I already use the tissue box but the oval shaped ones, I also pull out the plastic film the tissue come thru- a bigger opening for the scraps. The oval tissue box takes up less room and they come in some great colors and seasonal designs.
jean fletcher says
When finished making my binding, and it is ironed in half, I wrap it around my hand in a growing circle. Then I place it in a large enough bowl for it, between my feet at the machine so it feeds nicely onto the quilt without being in the way. Love your little helper!
Kathryn McVey says
I love your tips and your adorable helper! Instead of a pin cushion for my pins, I use a Tupperware spice container. I can shake out some for using for pinning pattern pieces, then place beside my sewing machine and stick them one at a time through the holes as I pull them out to sew. I also have a ‘turn-around’ paint caddy I bought years ago for my tools, which sits behind my sewing machine, thereby keeping my best scissors out of reach of my grandson, as well as my seam rippers. But, to each her/his own.