Have you ever heard the phrase “you learn something new everyday”? I often learn new quilt supply and tool storage tips from my quilting friends and students, so I thought I’d share those here with you. Some of these may be familiar to you, but some may not. I guarantee there will be a few you think are just brilliant. I did! A lot of these ideas use items from around your house. You don’t have to buy lots of fancy gadgets!
First up is one of the things quilters seem to have the hardest time storing: bobbins. I do have one of those rubber “wheels” that stores bobbins:
But I have heard other storage solutions from quilters who have not been able to find one of these. And they’ve come up with some pretty ingenious ideas!
Idea #1: Grab some golf tees. Yes, you heard me right! Golf tees! When my son was on the golf team in high school, I was swimming in golf tees. I found them all over the house, in the washing machine, in his car, etc. You would think I would have thought of this myself. So here’s what you do. Match the bobbin with the thread and secure them together with a golf tee. It’s that simple!
Now you have the thread and the bobbin matched up together for storage. You can line them up in a drawer like this or still store them on a spool rack. This works great if you want to keep the thread and it’s matching bobbin together. You can also use pipe cleaners or long twist ties to secure threads and bobbins together.
Idea #2: Toe Separators. You know those funny foam things that you put between toes while you’re painting them?
Bobbins actually fit quite nicely into those toes slots! And these are stack-able so they will fit very well into a small drawer near your sewing machine.
Looks like Addie approves of these bobbin storage options!
Idea #3: You can store bobbins in an old prescription bottle. Good way to recycle!
Next up, rulers. These can be challenging to store even if you have a dedicated sewing space. My solution for my sewing room is a peg board I found in the garage. These are not expensive at the local hardware store. Pick up one of these with some peg hooks, hang it on the wall, and problem solved!
You can even use some of those handy rings you find at the office supply store to help hang them.
Now, if you do not have a dedicated sewing space, you can store your rulers in the closet clipped by pants hangers.
You can also store cutting mats this way too!
Finally, here’s some random things I do for storage to make things go more smoothly while I quilt and stitch.
- I use an old paper towel tube to keep my fusible web under control. Paper clips on the ends of the roll can tear it and rubber bands wrapped around the middle can wrinkle it, but the paper towel tube keeps it nice and neat!
- I store my perle cotton threads for a project in a small pencil box. The 8 x 4″ box works great. You can also pull thread through the space between the box and the cover if you are working in a confined space …. or have a cat that likes to play with your thread!
- Finally, I use an old mug tree that I found at a garage sale to store my scissors and rotary cutter by my sewing table.
So there you go! There is no limit when it comes to thinking up ways for using everyday household items in the sewing room. I bet you have some. Share some of your quilting “hacks” in the comments below. You will be entered into a drawing to win a free pattern!
The drawing will be on Monday, April 29th. Good luck! **We have a winner! Congrats, Carla!**
Happy Quilting & Stitching!
I tie pieces of ribbon through the holes in my rulers and hand them from a wall mounted coat rack. I use old mason jars to store buttons and wooden thread spools.
Took a closet, pulled out wire rack for hanging clothes and replaced with shelf brackets and shelving purchased at Home Depot. I went thru all my fabric, folded it, sorted by color and put in large tubs that stack on shelves neatly. Each container labeled with color inside. A large undertaking but so worth it. Can now easily access color fabric needed.
Very good storage solution for your fabric!
What neat neat ideas!
Well, cannot type today
Sheila A. Scott says
I created a design wall out of sheet metal from an air conditioning shop. Lays flat against the wall and I use magnets to hold up blocks. No threads or lint. Way better than a piece of batting.
Never thought of that. Good idea
Sharon L Dvorak says
My husband put a shelf over my cutting board with holes that accommodates a closet rod. I hung the large shower curtain hooks on the rod which holds scissors, rotary cutters, etc., right in front of me.
Another great idea!
April Lopez says
I use dresser drawers to store my fat quarter sized fabrics. I bought my dresser for $5 and it has deep drawers. I have 2-3 colors per drawer. I’ve tried so many different storage ideas and this is the first that actually works for me.
Dianne Bishop says
To store my thread I use the drawer unit you can put under your kueik coffee maker that holds the individual coffee cups. The spools lay down and I can see what I have at a glance .
BettyAnn Shinn says
I take reusable shopping bags and place my pattern for my quilt (or project) in clear plastic sleeve paper clipped to the front of it. Then put material as I get it for project in bag. I usually have 2 to 6 bag running at a time. Like must sewers i over estimate so I don’t run short. That amount can be stored or used in another quilt bag. Line of my quilts is always a scrappy quilt.
I place all me small spools of thread in a clear cookie jar. Looks cute and I can easily see what I’m looking for.
I store my threads in an IKEA small rolling cart that has five drawers. I have a lot of threads colors so I put each one with its matching bobbin thread in 2″ x 3″ plastic jewelry bags that I purchase at a craft store such as Hobby Lobby. I have made a couple of small traveling sewing kits that can be filled with specific items depending on whether I am doing needle turn applique, English paper piecing or a binding.
I made an extra deep “Retreat” bag. Sorted my threads by colour into small ziplock bags and filled the retreat bag. Like it for classes and travelling. I put handles on the bag so it’s easy to grab.
I purchased packages of comic book boards and wrap my fabric around them. Then I stand them on end on shelving in my closet. It’s like having your own mini bolt fabric store when you open the closet.
I purchased a CD tower from IKEA for storing my fat quarters.
I purchased several 1” binders for storing 8×11 patterns from downloads and magazines and labelled them with types of patterns- eg. quilts, bags, placemat/kitchen, wall hangings, etc.
My purchased 5×7 patterns I “file” in a plastic bin and made cardboard dividers for each type as with the binders.
I purchased from Michaels their 12×12 bins to put supplies into for a specific project (pattern) and fabric for while I am working on it.
Margaret Dalmer says
I have just found comic book boards to wrap my fabric around. Fat quarters store in a shoe bag that hangs from the closet rod.
If I have fabrics that I have purchased for a project but not using for awhile, seasonal fabrics eg halloween, I put them in an XL ziplock bag and stand them up in those square grocery bags and place them on a shelf so they stay grouped together.
I find this last method especially handy when I have yardage, fat quarters and scraps I want to keep all together in one place.
Deb C says
Thank you for sharing. I like the mug rack idea!
I keep my thread in plastic containers that are to be used for matchbox cars. I label color of each side. They work great!
Angelia Ulrich says
I use an antique candy dish w/holes around it to store my scissors, etc. by my machine.
I made a fabric tool tote with lots of small pockets for marking pens, thread nippers, rotary cutter, pins, etc. that is always stocked with the essential tools to just grab and go for classes. It holds a lot for it’s small size!
Karen Morgante says
I have three 5’ tall plastic shelf units from Kmart, each has three shelves plus the top. I found some old style white wire baskets that go inside a deep freezer at a flea market. Three wire baskets fit on one plastic shelf (times three shelves = 9 baskets per unit) that gives me 27 baskets total plus the area on the top shelves for other items.
I organize my fat quarters by theme: holidays, Civil War, batiks, florals, flannels, also jelly rolls, bundles. Easy to see and can pull a wire basket off the shelf if I want.
Audrey Burk says
I use a pretty piece of 1″ wide ribbon thumbtacked to a shelf or wall close to my sewing machine and clip my binding clips to it in a vertical line. It keeps them fingertip handy!
Rhonda Daniel says
I use a large piece of flannel ,ceiling to floor nailed at top, for my design board/wall.
Judith McCaulley says
I use all of these ideas. I have a large pegboard for my scissors, rotary cutters, embroidery hoops and odds and ends. Another pegboard hangs on the back of the door for my rulers. My husband added a little u-track to the back of my bookshelf to store cutting mats. Binders for downloaded patterns and ideas. Plastic totes for material by color. Embroidery thread on spool storage racks. Regular thread in matchbook car plastic totes. — I’m a lucky sewer 😊.
Recycled candle jars are great for colored buttons. Each jar for a different color.
Karen H Guinn says
I use a three by four cube unit from Ikea for storage. Each cube holds a fabric basket where projects and fabric are stored.
Cindy Gonsowski says
I use a clean recycled plastic container and punch a hole in the lid to drop my used needles and dull pins through so I don’t risk puncturing myself when emptying the trash.
Use a wine rack to store rolls of stabilizer for embroidery.
Carla Toppass says
Well I don’t have a sewing room. I usually use the kitchen table. When our daughter moves our on her own in a few months I’ll be able to use her room. I’m going to save these tips and tricks to use to set up my own handy storage space. Although as someone very new to quilting I don’t have much fabric to store yet lol.
Laurie Wozniak says
I use a countertop dish drain rack to hold my small to medium rulers. I cut scraps into various sizes so they’re ready to go for scrappy quilts and store them by color in clear plastic shoe boxes.
Kimberly Erpelding says
I put 2 eye hooks at top and bottom of closet door. Then I stretch a bungee cord from top to bottom and store rolls of stabilizer underneath bungee cords. Stabilizer can be placed in PVC pipe cut to approximately 18 inches to keep from crushing stabilizer. Can label PVC pipe with Washi tape so can easily be changed.
This is brilliant!
I use a rack designed to hold spools of ribbon to hold my fabric strips as I work on a project. I often repurpose paper crafting storage for fabric and quilting supplies.
christine boreland says
Smallish(about 12″ w. x 18″ long x 6″ deep) clear plastic tubs are great for sorting colors, folded and lined up like files to easily see the fabric.
They also stack up well.
Rose Case says
An empty tissue box with the top cut off is the exact size to store fat quarters.
Linda Hare says
I use empty toilet rolls to keep my electrical cords (sewing machine, iron, travel light etc) under control.
I use a discarded silverware holder from a dishwasher to hold my pencils ,scissors , rotary cutter, etc at my cutting table. Scrap batting can be laid in the bottoms so smaller supplies don’t fall thru. It also has a handle so can be carried or moved to another location if needed.
I also use a clear plastic over the door shoe bag to hold my small wool scraps. Each slot holds a different color. I put a gallon ziploc in each slot so each color can be easily pulled out to look for the right scrap
Patricia Mevis says
A scarf rack (essentially a bar that hangs over a door with hooks on it) holds all of my fuseable web. There are three hooks on each row – so the web can remain rolled up in a tube roll and slid onto the hooks. My rack has four rows – so four types of web can be stored on each rack. Neat and organized and easy to find when you need a different types of fuseable.
Linda Wilson says
When I get the fabric for a quilt project, I don’t always have the time to sit down and work on it right then so I precut as much of the fabric as I can ahead of time and along with the pattern (or note with which pattern book inc page # that it’s in) and any additional fabric that I’ll need, I store it in a gallon or larger size storage bag. This way when I have the time to sew I have “kits” ready to go so I can just start sewing.
Brenda Schmitt says
When working on queen/king size quilt, I use a big Ikea shopping bag with handles to keep it in and it has carry handles. I also use a Clinque free cosmetic bag to keep scissors, thimble, thread, needles and battery operated neck light as a travel bag to go.
Cathy L Wilson says
I have multiple kitty litter boxes from the dollar store which I used to organize student work when I was a teacher. I use them now to organize fat quarters by color. Each one holds 60-70 easily and they stack nicely in shoe organizer shelves available at Target or Walmart.
Darlene L. says
I love this idea! I am always looking for a better way to store all my fat quarters so they are visible to use easily. Thanks for the great idea!
Darlene L. says
My storage tip is to help organize your rulers. Visit a kitchen shop like Crate and Barrel and find a wire organizer for pot lids. They are often made of chrome or some type of metal making them very sturdy. They are free standing or can hang on the back of a door. They come in various sizes with a number of compartments. I have found the best ones have a solid bottom or a wire bottom with very small holes. I have also found a good organizer on Amazon that is for office files. If you get one with holes that are too big or without a bottom, the rulers will fall thru them. I love mine because I can stand up my square rulers in order of their size. Each slot in the rack can be used for different type of rulers (rectangle, specialty, square, etc.). I tend to buy a lot of rulers and this keeps them organized so I use each one of them and don’t buy duplicates by accident! Hope this tip helps! Thanks for all the great suggestions!
Janet Nykiel says
I use a wooden dryer rack to hang blocks & strips of fabrics as they are cut & sewn.
Paula DiMattei says
I use an office paper and folder wire storage piece to organize my rulers and a re-purposed cd/dvd media storage unit for fat quarter storage.
Dotti Mondoux says
I use small fabric boxes (have them at the dollar store to store strips according to width size. Makes it easy to find the right size strips for a scrappy quilt.
Debra Miller says
I have a granddaughter that loves the little toy machines in most restaurants. You can’t get by without her-do you have a quarter? The clear plastic snap together containers the toys are in are perfect for buttons, beads, snaps, rolled up zippers, bobbins-oh so many things! I even store pearl cotton in them and poke a small hole in the end with a hot needle to pull the thread out without the ball rolling away. So easy to carry without unwinding and tangling. Some have colored lids so you can also organize by color.
Ariel Koenigsberg says
Remember the 35 mm film cases. I store my pins in them. The travel well and I can get finger in the top to pull out a pin as I need them.
Julie Betz says
I use old suit cases to store my wool,I tied a piece of that color on the handle so I can just pull that suit case.They stack nice on top of each other and double as a table.
I use an office supply organizer that has a large drawer for rotary cutters, blades and scissors. The smaller 2drawers are for my neutral thread in on and black, dark threads in the other. I keep rulers in the stationery slotted organizer, where mail or letters would go. The sides have slots I keep for reference for my Janome and Becky Goldsmiths spiral reference for measuring binding, borders, etc. The other side slots I use for keeping the pattern I’m working on. It is above my cutting area so I can get to it instantly. My color threads are kept in a makeup bag the opens flat to see everything.
Gayle Cowdin says
I use a-and lid holder for my rulers, it sits on my cutting table and they are right there to use and return in a jiffy. I like it because it holds all but my smallest rules and those I found a sick on office orangizer and they are just above my cutting mat. Everything right at arms length and easy to reach and see
Marie Blash says
I use a multi pant hanger on the back of a door to hold assorted cutting mats. Keeps them nice and flat
Janet S Jones says
I store my spools of thread for wool applique in a small clear plastic container my husband purchased at Walmart in the fishing department. It has several small compartments. Perfect for a ball of thread and closes tight enough not to spill out if dropped.
Each time I shop for fabric, I ask Joann’s and Walmart for any extra empty fabric bolts. They happily Give them to me. I like the ones that fold over, makes it easy to put the fabric on them. All my yard cut fabrics are stored nice and neat on a shelf. My sister likes to “shop” in my craft room lol.
Barbara Firesheets says
I use a large mug beside my sewing machine to hold my rotary cutter, stiletto, marking pencils, bodkin, purple thang, etc. It works well, but I really like your recycled mug tree idea too! I also put one of those small removable hooks on the side of my machine to hang a small pair of scissors. I always have a scissors handy to snip threads.
Christy Dafler says
I love the golf tees and the paper towel cardboard!! Will start using both right away😊