10 Tips to Help Organize your Sewing Room

I’ve been so excited to share this guest post. I’m in especial need of getting my sewing/quilting space organized and Andy has some really useful and practical tips.

Hi everyone! I’m Andy Knowlton, pattern designer and blogger at A Bright Corner. I love creating pretty things every day and I’ve discovered that I feel way more creative and productive when my space is well organized.

I’ve been doing a month long series over on A Bright Corner all about sewing room organization. I’ve been sharing tons of tips and suggestions on ways to store, sort and organize everything — from rulers and tools to fabric and even those downloadable PDF patterns.

Tips for Organizing your Sewing Room

Today I’ve got my top 10 favorite organizing tips to share, but if you don’t want to miss out on any great ideas, you can find my Sew Organized series here:

Sew Organized Part 1: Tips for Storing Quilting Tools and Rulers
Sew Organized Part 2: Tips for Storing Patterns, Magazines and Books
Sew Organized Part 3: Storing and Organizing Fabric and Scraps
Sew Organized Part 4: Quilting Projects and WIPs

There have also been lots of questions about my cutting table. Here’s how we built this Ikea hack cutting table.

Alright – here we go!

Tip 1: Sort and store your quilting tools by use & store near the work area. For example, keep all of your quilting rulers together by hanging them on a bar near your cutting table.

Organize quilting notions and rulers

Store scissors, pens/markers, and sewing machine presser feet in a kitchen organizer like this one near your sewing table. Stay productive by keeping your favorite tools within reach! This organizer is called Grundtal and you can find it here from IKEA.

Tip 2: Consider how you use your patterns. If you refer to a few favorites often, they might be best stored in a 3 ring binder such as this one, with tabs to keep them organized and easy to find.

Tips for organizing quilt patterns

Paper patterns stay organized in a mini binder using small page protectors. They’re the perfect size for sliding a paper pattern into, and as you flip through the binder you can easily see both the front and back cover. You can find mini binders at most office supply stores, Walmart, and Target.

Tip 3: Speaking of patterns – always save a backup of any downloadable PDF patterns on a thumb drive, or hard drive! Once printed, I store PDF patterns and printable online tutorials in these cardboard magazine holders.

Tip 4: Once a year sort through all quilting magazines and books and donate or give away the ones that you’re ready to let go of. Local quilt guilds and groups are a great place for passing along books and magazines. I try to limit my magazines to one shelf, and books to one shelf. When they start to overflow then I know it’s time to donate some!

Tip 5: If you have favorite magazine patterns but don’t want to save the whole magazine, tear out the pages you need and store them in page protectors in a 3 ring binder like this one. 

(photo from Make Life Lovely)

Tip 6: Now let’s talk fabric storage. Think about how you choose fabric when you start a quilt. Do you reach for a certain designer first? Or do you look for colors? Or maybe you like to work within a certain style (Civil War prints, feed sack prints, modern geometrics, etc). Store your fabric according to how you use it! I usually start a quilt with a color palette in mind so I sort most of my stash by color.

Tip 7: Bins are a fantastic way to corral your fabric storage. You can find bins in any size and shape to fit your space. You can stack them on a shelf, store them in a closet, or even push them under a bed if you’re short on storage space.

Tips for Fabric Storage

Tip 8: When storing scraps, sorting by color is a great solution. Sorting by size is another option. I keep most of my scraps sorted by color in these bins on the top shelf of my closet. When I need to dig through for a scrap project it’s kind of fun to just dump the whole bin out and make a colorful mess. Clean up is easy because I just stuff everything back in, click on the lid and put it back on the shelf.

Tips for Fabric organization and storage

Tip 9: When storing quilting projects and WIPs, store everything for one project all together.  I like to use these ArtBin Super Satchels  — I can even keep the backing and binding fabric in here along with the blocks and the pattern.  If it’s easy to find, then you’ll be more likely to work on it!  (You can find these here at JoAnn or here on Amazon.*)

Tips for quilt project organization 

Tip 10: Keep track of those projects! Use some kind of planner or tracking sheet to help keep you on track so no project gets left behind. I like these two options: the Quilting Organizer Pack from Maker Valley, and the Quilt Project Planner free downloads from Hello Melly Designs. I keep these on a clipboard that hangs near my cutting table. The hope is that if we can keep our projects organized, then we’ll be more likely to finish them, right?

10 Tips for Quilt Room OrganizationSo there are my top ten tips for keeping your quilting space organized! Want even more ideas? Check out the entire Sew Organized series:

Sew Organized Part 1: Tips for Storing Quilting Tools and Rulers
Sew Organized Part 2: Tips for Storing Patterns, Magazines and Books
Sew Organized Part 3: Storing and Organizing Fabric and Scraps
Sew Organized Part 4: Quilting Projects and WIPs

And for even more ideas be sure to follow my Sewing Room Organization pinterest board – I’ll keep adding great ideas to the board as I find them!


I love this post! I definitely feel motivated to get my own space/fabrics/projects organized. I hope you found some tips that were useful to you! And if you want to refer to this list later, be sure and pin <—- this image!

Thanks so much, Andy! Be sure to check out Andy’s beautiful quilt patterns in her shop! You can also see all of Andy’s beautiful inspiration on Instagram and Facebook.


*this post contains affiliate links

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  • Reply
    February 23, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Your room looks lovely. How do you hang all of your mini quilts on the wall?

    • Reply
      Andy Knowlton
      February 25, 2018 at 12:08 am

      Hi Terry! I use clear thumb tacks – just one in each of the top corners does the trick!

  • Reply
    Elaine Tolsma
    February 23, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Instead of tearing out patterns from magazines, I copy them with my color printer. Then the whole magazine can go to a quilt group or the library. Nothing worse than seeing a quilt on the cover only to find someone has torn out the directions. I have three 3″ binders full of patterns and pentograph ideas. Really like the idea about small three ring binder for paper patterns.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Great idea!

    • Reply
      Elaine Jordan
      February 23, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Thank you, I like this idea, plus some patterns are continued and two might finish on the same page, nothing like tearing out a pattern and months later finishing out you don’t have all the instructions

    • Reply
      February 24, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      BRILLIANT idea. I would do that too.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I pretty much do this but #10 I have a weekly blog post with a list of current projects!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Thank you both for this wonderfully helpful post! I’ll definitely implement some of the suggestions.

  • Reply
    Sharon Howell
    February 23, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Some great ideas. Been wanting to organize, but just didn’t know where to start. Thanks a lot. Will implement many.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2018 at 12:42 pm


  • Reply
    February 23, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    My husband has been a great help with my sewing room. He wants to build a sewing specific table. What is a good height and size?

    • Reply
      Andy Knowlton
      February 25, 2018 at 12:16 am

      Hi Kelly – This one is made from two IKEA bookcases with a countertop on top and locking wheels on the bottom. As far as height goes, I think it depends a lot on your height. You want to be able to cut without having to bend way over – that kills my back. But if the table is too high, then you can’t put much of your arm strength and body weight into cutting. Test out a few different heights (try cutting on your kitchen counter, kitchen table, etc) and see what works for you. My cutting table is 34″ inches high and I’m 5’4″. The table is 31″ wide and 63″ long.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Hi Kelly! Andy wrote her post about building her sewing table. Here is the link! http://www.abrightcorner.com/2018/02/diy-sewing-room-cutting-table-ikea-hack.html

  • Reply
    Doris Werkman
    February 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Great ideas! I use some already but lots of new ones to ponder 🙂

  • Reply
    Margaret Maley
    February 23, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I upload all my pdf files to dropbox. Thanks for all the tips!

  • Reply
    Colleen Kelly
    February 23, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you so/sew much.
    I am 5

  • Reply
    Danice G
    February 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    What a dreamy sewing room! Your organization is perfect. So neat and eye-catching as well.

  • Reply
    Judy Caudill
    February 23, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    What about people who sew clothing. I’ve been looking for sewing rooms for people who sew clothing. I’m not a quilter, I find it very tedious. There must be some ideas for my ultimate sewing room. My sewing room works pretty good right now,, but it could be better.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2018 at 7:39 am

    I really like your cutting table. Where did you find it? Or did someone make it for you? Thanks for sharing your tips.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Thank you for sharing! I have implemented some of these ideas to my small sewing room.
    It helps a lot.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 6:33 am

    That cutting table is great! thanks for sharing !

  • Reply
    February 25, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I try to save my photos of directions or pdf copies of files in evernote. Then I include a photo of the finished quilt to the same note. I use evernote for recipes the same way. Trying to do away with paper, when I can. I have an old iPad near my sewing machine so I look at directions easily.

  • Reply
    Karen Eckhart
    March 10, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    You are right on with your ideas. The only thing I would add is to take a label maker and label all those boxes with the name of the quilt that is still in progress and the ones you have the pattern and material for. I like to make sure all my boxes are labeled and that way, I can quickly find what I am looking for.

    • Reply
      March 12, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Great addition! There’s something about a label maker that makes me feel so much more organized.

  • Reply
    Colleen Rangel
    March 22, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    I use binder clips to hang my rulers. They’re cheap and easily found at Wal-Mart or office supply stores. The instructions can be slipped under the clip as well. I hang them on a small 5 Hook deal I Bought At Ikea Years Ago.

    • Reply
      March 23, 2018 at 8:58 am

      That is a great idea!! I’m going to try that myself. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2018 at 4:24 am

    Great tips! I’ve read so many blogs on organization, but this one has given the best advice so far. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Dottie MACOMBER
    January 21, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Nice ideas but not all of us have sewing rooms with such nice straight, wide walls; I have an old house with sloping walls so I can’t use the ideas that require bars on the wall for hanging items. However, I’m happy that I do have a dedicated room for sewing, and I do use the binders for patterns.

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