|Practice muslins and tag board patterns hanging on the back of the door.|
I sew because it clears my brain. This has been the best benefit for me mentally. It's like a different exercise for the brain, and affords me to use my creativity. But with a busy schedule, I've had to put a few rules into place. This is what I've done so far to keep me productive:
Organize! Organize! Organize!
|These are my favorite shelves that house all my sewing and some knitting gear. I use little clear plastic bins to house my notions. My ironing space is directly underneath.|
I can't work in clutter. I know everyone's different. Every couple of months or so, I do a more thorough cleaning, and regroup some of my supplies, and put things back where they belong so I can find them again. Doing this regularly has really saved me tons of actual sewing time. I throw away fabric cuttings, try to organize the tables to create more work space, and return some of the tools back to their dedicated baskets. When my cutting tables are cluttered, I don't want to sew or start on a new project. It is as simple as that. I get discouraged just looking at a table piled high with patterns and the like.
Everything Within Arms Reach.
I have a lot of little trays and baskets scattered around my sewing room. One near my cutting table, a portable basket I can move from table to table with my most frequently used tools, another one right by my sewing machine, and a toolbox that is filled with anything I need for travel or school projects. It seems excessive, but it's not really. Instead of storing all my "extra" or duplicate supplies like tailor's chalk, scissors, threads, needles, and other tools, I put them in different baskets so they are always handy. I hate having to get up and walk across the room to pick up things I need. Face it, sewists tend to have too many gadgets or multiples of the things we love. Why keep them all wrapped up in its original packaging? Break everything out and scatter them around your work space to make everything more efficient.
|Basket at the sewing machine table.|
|Tray for the tall cutting table.|
|Additional tray for drafting and cutting at the work desk.|
|I've had this Art Bin for 20 years and it still stores my drafting |
|Same Art Bin opened with three trays|
This is challenging. I avoid frequent visits to the fabric store. I give myself budgets, and purchase things that I plan on using within the same season, or at least within the same year. If I'm holding something I like, and I say to myself, "This might be great for a top for my daughter," I put the thing down and move on. Having self control over fabrics, especially when they are on sale is a problem. Having too much fabric that I'm not using is also a problem. Fifteen years ago, during one of my big moves, I cleared out several boxes of fabric that I was no longer using. I put aside two boxes of things I really loved and couldn't part with. The reality of it is, I only really cared about ten percent of my stash. I like to spend a little more money on better fabric these days so I make sure I use them, and I limit how much I buy. I can honestly say that I love every piece that I've picked up except for one: a synthetic jersey piece that I got fairly cheap to try my hand at making a bathing suit. Okay...I'm also not going to beat myself up over bad fabric decisions either.
|I just cleared out this shelf for fabric. It's filled with all my current pieces and my patterns in a basket at the bottom. There's still room for more, but I'm going to try to use up every thing in here this year.|
|Another shelf filled with extra fabric that I have collected. This is my main stash.|
|I have a couple of wire racks attached to my ironing board, a perfect place to store my rolled paper, and light fabric rolls.|
I don't have a great system, but it works. I have a small chest of drawers that I store already cut up patterns, patterns waiting to be used, or patterns that I want to re-use again soon. Eventually, I will clean out all the drawers so I can keep other sewing supplies in there. Right now, the other drawers just house paper, and some fabric.
Keeping My Scraps Almost Tidy.
|As I sew and collect scraps for testing, and other little things, I throw them in a designated basket that's easy for me to rummage through, re-organize and re-use. This was one of those easy "ah-ha" moments in my sewing room. Very useful.|