One of the things I always seem to be struggling with is storage. Firstly. Sewing requires a lot of gear and secondly the gear seems to be all odd shapes and sizes. I’m sure I can’t be the only person who spends half an hour looking for something that was here ….but has now perversely hidden itself. I think there are two types of people – tidy on the outside with messy drawers and cupboards and messy on the outside with tidy drawers and cupboards. If there are really are people who can do both, I salute you, but you’ve already got it sorted. I’m talking to the rest of us.

I’d like to share with you some of my old and new, recycled and purpose designed storage ideas. I’m sure you have lots of great tips, and I would love to hear them.

Firstly: finding your feet.

I have a lot of extra feet that don’t fit in my storage box. The answer is the in the hardware store. They have heaps of plastic containers and drawers of all shapes and sizes. This one is ideal for my feet. Labelling with the number and what the foot does is also helpful. This set of drawers stays behind my machine, ready for action.


Secondly; what goes where – classifying tools

I had a brainwave one day and reclassified my miscellaneous tools into things that write or make marks like pens, chalk, soap slivers etc; things that cut like scissors rotary cutters hole punches; things that measure such as tape measures, gauges, rulers and seam guides; things for viewing like ruby beholders or door viewers; things that join such as tapes and glues. I also have liquid glues in an old spice rack so I can easily see what I want.





Rulers: big and little

I keep my cutting rulers in a magazine rack on my cutting table, and my big rulers on a shelf below my rotary mat. I actually made the shelf to raise the height of my fabric drawers and to give me a nice big flat space for mats and rulers.

I keep my quilting rulers in brochure containers from the office supplies. They fit neatly into the shelves of my sewing table and each fits about 4 rulers.

Fabric: how much is enough …. ?


I was lucky enough to buy a set of old drawers from a friend. They originally came from a health food shop, and they are deep and wide. I classify my fabric by colour and theme and the drawers keep the fabric away from the sun and dust.


Notions and UFO’s: maximising storage

I was looking for more storage one day when I decided the space under my ironing board was going to waste, so I drew up a set of shelves that would neatly fit my plastic boxes full of zips, elastic, and UFOs, and with space for machine storage on the bottom. Honestly, it is awesome. I love it. I can easily find my projects and notions, glues and ironing aids. It’s made of marine ply for strength, and the ironing board on top is marine ply covered with plastic (to stop seam getting through) , a fire blanket (worst case scenario), thick felt and a thick cotton removable cover. It’s on wheels for easy manouevreability.

Light box

My younger daughter studied fashion and a light table was the best thing we ever made. I have inherited it and while I don’t need the size she had, it is so handy. I bought an old glass door off a cupboard from the recycling. A young tradie made me a metal frame, and I used silicone to stick the glass to the frame. The frame just sits on top of a white table my daughter had, and I got some clip together lights from the hardware that just sit underneath. It gives a light table big enough to trace pattern pieces.

Rolls and where to put them.

This was my daughter’s genius idea. Underneath the light table are slung rolls of wadding, calico, brown paper and pattern paper. They are out of the way, out of the light and still easy to access. Other things that get stored on rolls such as fusible webbing, tearway, washaway, freezer paper and baking paper are kept in a wine box. Well it’s not very photogenic, but you know wine boxes, they have 12 slots for wine bottles which make them ideal for keeping small rolls of notions that you don’t want to fold. It is a bit embarrassing to add a photo, but whatever, I’m not getting rid of it.

Storing unquilted tops:

Am I the only one who gets to the quilting stage and then has a break? ….. a long break. I hang my pieced tops on hangers which then hang on over-the-door hooks on my bookshelf. Not a perfect solution but it does keep them hanging not folded. In addition, every time I go past it reminds me to crack the whip a little harder and get them done.

Finished quilts

This is something I never had til recently. Mostly I give my quilts away to family and friends and I hope they end up on beds being treasured, but over the years I’ve accumulated a few, and I found a display cabinet with glass doors suitable for stacking quilts. I wouldn’t use it facing the sun, but it is in a room which gets morning sun, so I think I’m safe from sun fading. I take the ones that don’t get used out every year and refold in different creases.

Over to you

What are your nifty tips for storage?


  1. Corinne Curtis

    I’ve only fairly recently classified my tools in a similar way (cutting, measuring, writing, etc), and it has been brilliant for making it both easy to put away and to find again. Some other great ideas in your post that I will probably try out too. Thanks for this blog.

  2. Ingrid Papaphilippopoulos

    Wow you’ve got sooo much stuff Sue 🙂 I kinda wish I had your storage problems but as a newbie I keep my fabric in square plastic art boxes, I have 10 lol – I know, it’s a bit sad isn’t it!!! I look forward to the day when I’ve got fabric stuffed into every corner – I’m sure your blog will come in very useful then x