Following on from my last blog post, here’s my next lot of tips to make the most out of your crafting space- whether its a dedicated room, a little nook or the dining table. This post will be looking at maximising storage/DIY hacks and closer look at my pressing (for sewing) set up.
If you’ve missed the first post, where I cover large furniture and how I chose my space in the living/dining room, you can find it here.
Let’s start with maximising storage-I mean, this is gonna be a no-brainer, right? How many of us have craft supplies balled up under the bed/in boxes *everywhere*. But are you using your shelves and cupboards the best that you can? You need to maximise the storage you have, in the space you have. From boxes to organise little bits and bobs, to taking that extra time in storing those bulkier materials- all of these take an extra bit of effort but are well worth it.
True Bias has the ultimate blog post for storing/organising your fabric stash using magazine cards and alligator clips. I love how uniform the bolts become with using a standard card as your backing. I was planning to use a shelf in some deep wardrobes we have (about 60cm deep) so I decided to cut my own bolt cards using old cardboard boxes. This has meant I have saved a heck of a lot of space with storing fabric and the slot into the shelving space perfectly. It’s also incredibly pleasing to the eye and R’s favourite thing to do is get the stool to step up and run her fingers along the fabric, ‘selecting’ which one needs to get made into something. I’m talking Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) style (when she browses the books in the book store!) It makes me laugh every time, but just highlights how easy it is to view your fabrics and pull them out. The only thing to note is that it does take time to do, but the effort is worth it.
For my smaller cuts of fabric, remnants and notions e.g. fabric, elastics, laces, I also fold these around DIY cardboard bolts (but just smaller ones). And then store them in drawer organisers like these SKUBB ones from IKEA. These are then easy to pull out and rifle through when I’m looking for something in particular.
My pot-lid organiser hack meant that I’ve been able to store all my wide Cricut materials (e.g. the 12 inch x 12 inch mats and card stock) in my narrow IKEA Billy shelving unit (which is only 28cm deep). It’s also handy to separate out different materials! Check out my IG Reel below for a closer look in video.
I’ve also put some Command hooks on the side of my drawer unit/desk to hang the long mats. You could use these to hand other tools up too in what would otherwise be dead space.
Miscellaneous bits and bobs
I know its a cliché to start organising everything into individual boxes with pretty labels but there’s a reason for it! Using boxes which nest/stack neatly will make the most of cupboard storage, or use pretty patterned and keep them on display on shelving.
I use boxes to store my zips in one, bias binding in another etc. This means I don’t have to sort through a tonne of things to find what I’m looking for. And don’t forget, you can repurpose other objects like a classic jam jar for buttons, gift boxes for storage or even a classic biscuit tin (Danish Butter Cookies anyone?) My ‘go-to’ sewing box is actually a beautiful William Morris tin I got as a gift which had hand cream etc in it.
And when we say ‘maximise storage’, we’re not just speaking about floor space, we’re talking walls too. Look up! All that extra space! Think hooks in walls (so much can be hung!), shelves and of course- a crafter’s favourite- a peg board!
I put my hand up- I am your stereotypical crafter. Yup, I have a SKADIS pegboard from IKEA! But there are lots on the market and you can even DIY them. The reason pegboards are so popular is that they make such great use of the flat wall space without jutting out into the room too much (like shelves). And if you look carefully at most of your craft tools- whether its sewing or even Cricut tools- most of these will have holes in them for hanging. I also have the little compartments which contain my machine needles, hooks to hang my scissors, tape, rulers etc and pots to hold my pens. I also hang my frequently used pattern blocks (for me and R) from some ribbon so they’re close to hand (they’re also quite bulky to store).
I always get a message about my thread spools. Mine is actually the Sass & Belle one bought many many many years ago, but I cut off the decorative detail and hung it with pegboard hooks. Hobbycraft also sell a wooden one which could also be hacked to be hung.
One of the more recent additions to my sewing corner was the shelf. I’m not normally a shelving fan (I have a thing about things being above my head) but our ceilings are reasonably high so they don’t feel too overbearing. This was a great addition though and it’s so nice to have my sewing books to hand. You’ll often find me climbing my chair to grab a book for reference! I can also store my Cricut Easy Press on here.
I recently got some £3.50 spice racks from IKEA for my daughters room and use them for storing some of her books (blog post incoming on how we revamped her box room!) It looks great and is a really convenient width which means you can fit them even on the narrowest wall space. I think those would be great for having patterns on display- probably not enough for all of your patterns (assuming that you’re anything like me and own a ridiculous number of patterns!) But I like to keep my most-used to hand.
Speaking of patterns… the bugbear of craft storage. I have to admit, I haven’t figured out the best way to store these. And if we’re being 100% honest, I actually don’t have the energy to go through and organise these properly (yet). For now, my printed/cut out PDF patterns are stored in your standard A5 envelopes in a nice storage box and it works for me. I know there’s lots of suggestions out there, from filing storage to folders- but until I need to, I’ll just stick with my envelopes!
Perhaps the bane of every sewer? But over my years of sewing I have (reluctantly) come to agree that pressing your seams as you go is an essential part of sewing. It’s one of the things a lot of us probably neglect but probably the simplest way to get a great finish to our garments. But lugging out the ironing board and iron is not always the easiest. With our living room set up, the ironing board ends up in the slap bang in the middle of the space. When R was smaller (weirdly?) I used to get more sewing done with her around, but having the ironing board out was a big no-no. Even now that she’s older and understands when to stay away from something, I’ll avoid bringing it into the room and will either wait until she’s asleep to sew or iron in the garage. One thing that has made a difference though is my Prym ironing multi-sheet and mini iron. The sheet was given to me as part of previous collab (testing out products) and I honestly love it.
There are two versions, a sheet which is just for ironing on and the multi-one which has pockets, loops and a pin cushion. It’s designed to sit under the sewing machine but I lay it out on my dining table. With its heatproof backing I can iron straight on it which means I have a more square surface to press on, and because I can set it up on the dining table, it’s right behind me! I also use a Prym silicone mat for my iron to rest on.
Alongside this I have my mini steam iron which I’ve done a little review on here. The combination of these things means I can turn my dining table into a dedicated pressing space in no time and then once I’m done, fold it up and pack it away in a cupboard.
I even took this set up upstairs to my work desk when I was shooting my Sabina skirt sew-along and it worked a charm!
So that brings me to the end of my craft storage blog posts. I hope you’ve found at least one or two helpful tips! Don’t forget you can find the first part over here. And let me know if you have any genius ideas for patterns, groan. I guess I’ll have to try and face that mountain one day!