Getting Organized

I am starting to get serious about sewing, about buying patterns, about hoarding fabric. Because of the pandemic, our bedroom is also my office, is also our workout space, is also my sewing space. When it’s time to sew, I pull out two old TV dinner tables that used to belong to my grandparents, set up the sewing machine, sew away, and then put it all away when it is over. I use my office chair to sit on, always forgetting to lower the chair, and mid-way through my back screams in protest.

I make and cut my patterns on the floor, the only place where I have the room to do so. I stash the fabric and the patterns in the corner, on one of our bookshelves, anywhere where I can. I can’t keep track of my patterns, can’t keep track of my fabric.

Multi-Purpose Space

It was time to get organized.

I started with the patterns. I tried to organize them in Dropbox, organized by style, but I couldn’t see the patterns, so to speak, remember what each garment was supposed to look like. I then printed the image page for each pattern and organized them in binders. But I still couldn’t “see” them easily. I liked the idea of being able to leaf through the binders, but given I spent 90% of my time on my computer, I wanted to be able to look at the patterns on my screen, in color, and hit print immediately if I wanted to.

Enter The Minimal Machinist’s Airtable Template for organizing your sewing life.

This changed EVERYTHING. I now have a soothing ritual when I get a new pattern or new fabric. I enter it all into the table to organize it. I added some categories (like how much and what type of fabric each pattern requires, as well as the link to the pattern in my Dropbox). It even has an app, so I can plan sewing projects while I watch TV at night! But I love how it is connected and how visual it is.

I switched the view from grid to gallery for the fabric and the patterns, to really up the visual appeal, and also organized the patterns by type of fabric as well as how much fabric, on top of the other categories, like garment type.

I have never ever been organized in my life, but this is something I actually enjoy doing. Color me surprised AF.

So no more binders full of pattern pages, and I had long used the method of storing printed and cut patterns in large envelopes, with the “cover” page stuck to the front.

But I wanted more.

You can see from the picture above, we’re limited with the space we have, and we don’t want to block the closet. But I found the answer: the Ivar from Ikea. It literally was a perfect fit to put next to the closet so that when it was folded up, my husband could still have full access to his closet. My daughter and I drove to Maryland to get it, I put it together, and started to set it up. Here’s what it ended up looking like, at first.

I wasn’t happy with how the fabric was organized (or not) underneath. Thankfully, I found the comic book cardboard method. It will never looks as neat and tidy as any examples you’ll find online, but you have to admit, it’s an improvement!

So I ended 2020 with a solid sewing space, with a system that organizes all of my fabric and patterns. The dog also has a new favorite place to sleep.

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