Friday, July 11, 2008

Organized Chaos

I have a lot of sewing and knitting projects that are either in progress or are queued up. With such a large stash of fabric and yarn, I get a bit anxious when I think about the next project to work on so I thought I'd try to better organize and manage things.

With knitting projects, I have an assortment of bags that I use as "project bags," so I just keep the in-progress knitting projects in separate bags. That way I can grab the type project I want at the moment - although I have to admit that most of the in-progress projects are at the finishing stage and that's my least favorite part of knitting. Plus I have a fear of the project not fitting or working out and if I don't finish it, I won't find out. Pathetic, I know. I obviously enjoy the act of knitting more than the desire to have a knitted item.

With sewing, I don't tend to have multiple projects going at once because I'd rather not rethread the sewing machine or serger more than I need to. However, I'm always thinking ahead to what the next project will be and with far too many potential projects, I get anxious thinking about it. There are just too many!

So I've found a way to help me cope with the sewing projects. I believe I got the idea from patternreview to use bins to store each project. I find these plastic bins are just the right size to hold the fabric, pattern, and notions for each project, plus they stack. I bought six bins but I quickly filled them and have more projects identified.

(click for larger)

Being a Virgo, I need organization, so this simple solution has made me so much happier. Now I can prewash multiple fabrics at once and keep them separate from the rest of the stash, so they don't get lost and I don't get sidetracked by a new fabric purchase. I can also trace off multiple patterns at the same time and now they won't get misplaced or separated. I also like seeing the fabric and pattern together as a project, so I can see what's coming up and which items work well together.

What's in those baskets? Well, starting in the upper left, the very bottom bin has the rest of the fabric for my Burda wool jacket that's been on hold for too long. The bin on top of it has fabric and pattern for a shirt I promised to make for my husband...a long time ago. The top bin actually has two projects in it: both are mesh knits for tops - one will use a Butterick pattern I've used before and the other will use a Simplicity pattern. To the right is black gauze fabric for a skirt to go with the jacket I made (which just needs snaps but I haven't built up the courage to do them just yet - the snaps are not sew-in, so they have to be right the first time). The bin in the upper right contains the fabric for the Diana Couture skirt I started in 2006 with cotton embroidered fabric I bought in Paris. The skirt has lingered because it's a 3-tier skirt and I read that style was out, but I've decided to finish it anyway because I'm not a slave to fashion and I've seen a few tiered skirts in the current RTW sales ads. The bottom bin on the left has fabric and pattern traced from Diana Couture for a little knit bolero top to go with the skirt. The two un-binned projects are tops to go with the black gauze skirt and the Paris skirt, respectively.

Do I expect to actually get to all these projects? Well, I hope so now that they're organized.


  1. Bins are a good idea. I use large ziplock bags which is ok.... unless I put something away with pins in it, then forget when I go to grab the bag next time....

  2. Pretty good!

    I do something similar, but because I have the closet space, I hang the fabric and put the notions and pattern into a small shopping bag. It's a good use for all those pretty paper ones you get at stores that are too nice to toss.

    Same general principal and it helps a lot.

  3. The small bins are a great idea, I'm going to get some - at the moment I just have piles around the room!