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The $50ish Sewing Room Reorganization

After spending some time looking at other people’s sewing studios on Pinterest,  I decided that we were going to have to move into a mansion because, clearly, our adorable little cottage isn’t big enough to outfit a proper sewing room.  For some reason, The Mister wouldn’t agree to it (the grump).  However, he did agree to help me create a scaled down version of  The Perfect Sewing Studios.

Step 1: Build Shelves in the Closet

Closets in old houses (if they have one) are usually quite small by modern standards.  They are artifacts from the days when ready-to-wear was less common and so women either made their own clothes or had them made.  A wardrobe would consist of a Sunday best, some house dresses, an errand dress, and, perhaps, a party dress.  In its current form, the closet was basically lost space that needed a new job description so that it could be reclaimed.  Since I hadn’t been able to find a dresser or ready-made shelving that I liked, we decided that building shelves in the closet would enable me to have better access to my stuff.

The Mister found some scrap wood in the garage that he could use for shelves.  While I took all of the boxes and hangers out of the closet, he went off to the hardware store to buy 1 x 1’s to support the shelves.  Our total cost for the shelves: Approximately $13.00.



I would have to look through all of those boxes to find anything.


Finished shelves

Finished shelves

Finished shelves


All of the boxes back in the closet–but with easier access than before!

Step 2: Pattern Organization

My patterns were basically being stored in either an overpriced pattern file box (that I have to mail order since neither my local Hancocks nor JoAnns carries them) or in one of those banker’s boxes.  I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $4 a box for more pattern boxes.  It was this pattern organization issue that had started me down the Pinterest rabbit hole.  As I was looking at alternative pattern storage ideas, I realized that making my own boxes and covering them was going to be time consuming.


Tutorial by on how to make fabric boxes. This is a GREAT tutorial! Click on the image to get there.


Fortunately, I came across Korinne Zimmerman’s idea of using half-sized hanging folder file boxes   (here is a different view on her blog Crafterella). I had heard about these boxes but I wasn’t sure what they looked like.  I did a quick search and my local Office Max had them in stock!   They are sold in sets of six.  I picked up two sets. While The Mister was building the shelves, I was organizing my patterns by maker and whether they were vintage or modern.   Total cost: about $25.


Patterns stacked on top shelf–both old pattern file boxes and new ones.

Step 3: Fabric Organization

Last fall, I came across Fabric Organizers by DeNiece Designs.  I fell in love with the idea of creating bolts of fabric using corrugated plastic but, given the size of my fabric collection, it would become quite expensive rather rapidly.  Knowing that regular cardboard can cause damage to fabric over the long run (that’s why you don’t want to simply get the empty bolts from fabric stores), I was at a loss.

But, once again, Pinterest came to the rescue: Maggie from showed how she organized her fabric using…get this…comic book boards.  Ingenious!!

I placed an order from Amazon and had a 100-pack of 8 1/2″ x 11″ magazine-sized boards in my greedy hands two days later.  The boards are acid free and sturdy enough for wrapping fabric around.  For the heavier fabric, I simply am using two boards rolled from opposite directions and then I fold it together book-style. And, yes, it works fine with the wider fabrics.  I just double fold them.  Total cost: about $16.00.


Fabric bolts pretty much stand on their own.


Fabric “bolts” on a shelf in the closet. The black bolt is 10 yards of fine-wale cotton corduroy.

It will take me a while to wrap the fabric around the cardboard but I really like how my “closet fabric store” is shaping up.  And the organization of it cost me just over $50 instead of the hundreds of dollars I thought I was going to spend.

(Confession: I did buy a label maker that I didn’t include in this reorganization pricing.  I’ve been able to create a label of the fabric content and yardage and stick it to the end of the piece…no more unrolling the yardage to see if I have enough).

So…the moral of the story is that, yes, Pinterest can be a rabbit hole, but some great ideas can come as a result of venturing into it!

5 comments to The $50ish Sewing Room Reorganization

  • Pinterest and a handy husband! I like your new sewing closet but did you set up your sewing machine and cutting table yet? I need more info!
    Carolyn recently posted..A Sewing Weekend…My Profile

  • Dr. Julie-Ann

    Oh, gosh, Carolyn! My sewing machine has been set up since last November!

    I don’t have enough room for a dedicated cutting table so I just use our pull-out dining table (it looks like a cabinet but then it pulls out to reveal a table once leaves are added to it) like I did in Los Angeles when I didn’t have a sewing room.

    I’ve been sewing…just not very much!

  • Just a year ago I gave away a suite of furniture of sentimental value in order to create dedicated sewing space. My husband put together two cupboard units and we bought a small sofa hide-a-bed since the room must double as a guest room. I feel as though I created something that’s uniquely my own. Letting go of the past was so freeing!

    It doesn’t matter where the ideas come from. You’ve made them your own. Being able to see what we love is wonderful! Thanks for sharing your progress.
    Kathy Warnock recently posted..Motocaching the Top of the Big Sky – Day 5My Profile

  • Dr. Julie-Ann

    Kathy, Doesn’t having a dedicated sewing space feel wonderful? Even though I haven’t done much sewing in it this past year, I love knowing that it is “my space.”

  • Having my own space is a little piece of heaven — the more so because I sacrificed for it and created something that would work for me– just like you did. And I predict you will sew now, even when you don’t have a lot of time. You can take your projects a step at a time.
    Kathy Warnock recently posted..Motocaching the Top of the Big Sky – Day 5My Profile