Organizing a Sewing Room

Sewing Room Organization

Is there a chair, table, or even your sewing machine covered with a pile of material, patterns, and clothes to be mended? Instead of going through the pile, do you just move it someplace else to have access to the chair or sewing machine?

Do you long for a neat, organized sewing room where everything is in its place and you have room to actually work? Don’t worry. It’s a lot easier than you think. Organizing sewing rooms just takes a plan and a little maintenance that will soon become habit.

Organizing sewing rooms is different for different sewers. If you use a lot of patterns, you will need a file box with file folders. Most pattern users that I know have a pile of patterns – some that they have used, and most of them still unopened in the package. In your file box, you’re not going to organize your patterns alphabetically. That would make no sense for you. You should, instead, organize them by projects. Each pattern that you’ve used gets its own file folder. It will include the pattern, notes and tips for the next time you use the pattern.

You should also include a photo of the finished project if you have one. If not, you should start taking photos. They can be helpful to you to decide whether or not you want to use the pattern again. Unused patterns should be filed in one file folder per type of project. For example, you can have a “Doll clothes – Unused” folder and a “Women’s Dresses – Unused” folder. This will help you actually use the patterns you have instead of buying new ones because you can’t see what you already have. Transfers and fusing papers can also easily be filed.

How To Organize Sewing Rooms


Did you know that people sell patterns on eBay? Go through your patterns. If you have some that you don’t want to use again or you’ve changed your mind about, see what you can get on eBay, give it to someone else you know who sews, or (gasp!) simply throw it away.

This is where your photos come in handy. If you’ve completed a project, the photo of your finished project will help the pattern sell. Patterns aren’t sacred. If you don’t love it and plan to use it, why let it take up valuable space in your sewing room?


Material is another problem for most sewing rooms. You buy it because you love it, and then it sits at the bottom of a pile, probably never to be seen again. There are a couple of logical ways to organize material. One way is the filing box or filing cabinet. If your material fits in a gallon clear storage bag, it’s a wonderful way to store it. You can clearly see the pattern, and you can write on the bag the fabric type and how much of it you have.

Group similar fabric types together. For instance, you look in your unused pattern file for women’s dresses and find a beautiful, breezy sundress. You go to your cotton fabric file area and simply have to look through the patterns to find the one you want.

A second option for storing fabrics is to have clear, plastic, Tupperware containers for each type of fabric. They should be grouped by type of fabric and amount you have. For example, you can have a container that is “Cotton, 3 yards” and all of the material in this container is 3 yards of cotton fabric. I know one woman who cuts a square inch off of every piece of material and tapes it to the outside of the container where it’s stored. She doesn’t even have to open the containers to see exactly what fabric is inside.

Organizing Accessories

Small sewing accessories can create several problem areas in your sewing room. A simple solution is to buy a fisherman’s tackle box. There are plenty of compartments to keep different needles, zippers, threads, and flosses separate. Make-up organizers also work well. It’s important to discipline yourself to put the items back every single time you use them, even if you’re only halfway through the project. You’ll always know exactly where the accessories are if you put them back in their places.

Mending Projects

For mending projects, you should keep one or two clear plastic containers. Label them clearly as mending projects, and when you’re in the mood to tackle them, you simply open a container and get started. When a mending project is complete, get it out of your sewing room. When you are organizing your sewing room, if you see “to be mended” items of clothing that you haven’t seen in 6 months, don’t love, and haven’t missed, toss them. If you haven’t been motivated to fix the item, it’s OK to part with it. You can use the sewing room time and space for more interesting projects.

The most important rule to impose on yourself in your sewing room is the organization maintenance rule. Schedule yourself time to put away your projects after you’re done for the day. If you’re going to work from noon to 5:00 PM because that’s when you have to start dinner, stop working at 4:30. Use the half an hour to put everything exactly in its new home, even if the project is not complete. During this time, make notes as to what you want to start the next time you are in your sewing room. Don’t just organize your sewing room – organize your sewing time.

Once your sewing room and time is organized, you will be amazed at how much space you have to move around. Your time will be so much more enjoyable, and you will be more efficient than ever. Imagine actually completing all of those half-finished projects you have.