August, 2019 | The Happiness of Order
Organising your stash of treasures, can seem like a loss of valuable sewing time, but in reality there are many beneficial outcomes.
In this month’s blog I would like to show you some of the storage I have in my sewing studio.
I have to say that I have a large amount of things, I have been in the garment and sewing industry for 30 years, I rummage second hand shops, and friends and family are always gifting me treasures. And finally it is my job and passion, the more I sew, the better I am at problem solving and designing sewing products.
Sorting and Storing
I find the process of sorting and cataloguing calming. It is really like Christmas all over again when you find a piece of treasured fabric from a past purchase. Touching, folding and smelling, let alone the visual symphony, stimulate all of those haptic receptors. These are the reasons I have pieces of fabric. Oh ..that’s right I also have them to make into something eventually……..
There is no right or wrong way to catalogue your fabrics, more importantly it needs to be system that works for you.
I organise my fabrics by type and weight. Eg wool jersey, cotton jersey, novelty synthetic, linen etc. Mostly, I sew cotton, linen and wool. So I have these are very defined. Whereas I rarely sew polycotton or polyester fabric, these I catalogue straight by type and don’t worry about weight.
When I purchase fabric, I always wash it first, then snip a sample, and place it in my fabric catalogue book by type and weight accordingly. I always record length and width. Then it is neatly folded away in its corresponding bin on the shelf. Dave built these for me (remember he is the guy prototyping and engineering for SEWEZI )
The Importance of Protection
Besides the lovely order, there are real reasons to containerise your materials and supplies. Three words INSECTS, DUST, and LIGHT.
Here in New Zealand the only real insect problem we have is moths. These little critters love merino, it is the “go to” on the moth menu of choice. I don’t like using pesticides of any description, so have pheromone traps for them. But at certain times of the year their rabid pursuit of wool is amazing. I wash all fabrics on purchase, catalogue them and store them in a sealed plastic bin. On occasion I have been slow somewhere between purchase and making, and there is nothing so frustrating as spreading out that lovely piece of fabric only to find pin pick holes located right in an unsalvageable location. I have friends who store their wool jumpers and cardigans in plastic in their freezer when not in use.
I appreciate that it looks beautiful having cones of thread on the wall, but the problem with this is dust. No matter how clean you keep your sewing space dust will accumulate on surfaces.
When dust rests on thread it is directly transferred into to your sewing machines. This is also why it is important to cover your machines when not in use as those dust particles are just looking for somewhere to land. Dust in your machine creates wear on moving parts and in areas with high humidity allows moisture to accumulate. This in turn can lead to corrosion.
Storing fabric and notions away from sunlight is ideal. Fading is a big issue in my life. Our UV concentration here in New Zealand is very high. I don’t dry my clothes in direct sunlight, always in the shade, and am very aware of the light in my wardrobe area. Natural light is lovely, but it needs to be treated with caution, I always pull my blinds when I leave my studio, better to be safe than sorry.
Having all your fabrics and notions sorted, and stored, saves time, brings calm and keeps them safe from environmental nuisances.
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Some things about me you need to know…..
I am obsessional, therefore I collect, and have collections.
I am passionate, I either love it or hate it there is no in between.
I am a perfectionist when it comes to sewing, and struggle with the just ok finish I achieve sometimes.
I garden. I collect plants too, especially deciduous magnolias.
I need colour and texture to nurture my soul.
I read, research, and study because it excites me.
I am a mum to three twenty somethings, an attendant to three cats, and partner in all things to David of more than 30 years.