Monday, September 30, 2013

Renodecorating the Quilt Studio: Organizational Tips Part 1

Hi everyone:

Here's your chance to get a peek into my updated studio. Still in the basement, but it's feeling much cozier now and not so much like being in a dungeon. I'm pleased at how much warmer the basement is with the the cork floor and of course it's easier to clean than the old carpet. The downside is that now I can see the cat fur on the floor :).

Before the renodecorating (noun: a technical term for a redecoration where the amount of work expended feels like it was a renovation), I purchased a few items from Ikea. Of course it would've made sense to wait until after the renodecoration was done to construct the bookcases, but excitement trumps common sense every time in my experience, so... at least I didn't actually put fabric in the new Billy bookcases before they were moved to the garage (amazing self restraint on my part). An Expedit unit and a small Alex drawer unit completed the Ikea purchases. 

Alex drawer unit
Photo courtesy of

Billy bookcase with doors
Photo courtesy of

These are all white as Expedit wasn't avaiable in high gloss turquoise when we made these purchases or it would definitely be in my studio now. 
Expedit in yummy high gloss turquoise - mine is white :(
Photo courtesy or
Now I know you're wondering how I'm using all this furniture. The Billy bookcases, unlike the ones that you usually see in Ikea are 15" deep with the doors on, making them perfect for fabric storage.
View into the studio - the Expedit and
Billy bookcases are along the left wall
New Expedit and Billy bookcases
The bookcases hold a surprising amount of fabric and, once properly folded, the fabric actually all fit in without even squishing it - much. I organized my fabrics a few different ways: first, by colour like the colour walls in the quilt shops and then I arranged my batiks, seasonal fabrics and collections, such as florals, black and whites, novelties, etc. 
Fabrics sorted by colour, then batiks
and finally collections near the bottom
The second bookcase holds more fabric and my patterns in progress in pizza-like boxes (they are actually clock boxes from school). A pleasant surprise to find that they did fit into the bookcases as well.
More fabric collections and flannels in the top of the second bookcase
My best storage tip for fabric is to fold it so it is all a uniform size and will then fit neatly into your chosen storage unit.

The Expedit cubby storage unit is next to one of my sewing stations and holds my dies in the bottom part behind doors. The top cubbies are open to hold sewing machine related items and business information (if it's behind doors I forget where it is!). I was going to put glass doors on the upper area, but I'm finding that I like it better open as it's quicker to grab items when I need them.

Expedit cubbies hold AccuQuilt GO! dies perfectly
(The vitamin bottle actually holds my used needles and pins)

The reduced cutting station in the centre of the studio has rulers hanging on both ends and is on wheels so it can be moved around easily. The large Ikea table at the back holds my pressing board and has room at the end for laying out projects. The cork board and design wall still need to be hung up - always a few odds and ends to finish!

The hanging folders on the door are perfect for pattern ideas and business information. The second sewing station has the machine set up for piecing. Yes, I do use the exercise ball and it actually stays put under the sewing area when I'm not using it :)

This is my computer area. The desk is actually an old Singer sewing table, with the drop down area in the centre for the machine. When I'm new using it for sewing, it works perfectly for my laptop. The Antonius cart (one of two in the studio) holds projects with fabric and my Sizzix Big Shot pro is on top - covered to keep the cat fur out.

That's the quick studio tour. Next time I'll show you how I'm using the Alex drawer unit and my updated pressing board (here's a hint: it's from Ikea again). I'll also talk more about organization and storage in a small studio space.

You've seen how I organize and store my fabric. Let me know how you store your fabric? Do you organize it by colour or by collection? Open shelving, bookcases or baskets? I'd love to hear about your studio space and organization.


Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

I love seeing how quilters layout their space so thank you for the show! And I love IKEA too and have a cutting table in my room made with Expedit units.

My main stash is stored by category 1st (brights, florals, batiks, Xmas) by color. It is folded to fit the shelves in my laundry room closet. I used to sew in the walk in storage closet there and I've left it there because it works for me.

Last winter I put my "rainbow" stash on comic boards and used a dresser to store them (post at Since then I've moved into that room and love it!

Unknown said...

I store my fabric on the 10" Ikea billy book cases. It is on open shelves since I like to look at it. It is sorted by color. I have my batiks separate also sorted by color. It looks great Kim.

MariQuilts said...

I'm thinking I might need to make a trip to Ikea....I love that turquoise piece. Everything is looking great.