Marie and I are known as the Stitching Sisters. Not only are we really sisters, we are also the best of friends. We are daughters number three and four of six sisters. We’ve worked together—albeit from a distance—for over fifteen years on multiple projects: writing content for Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, creating videos, and conducting hands-on embroidery events across the country. When we meet embroiderers, we’re often asked about our personal sewing spaces. It seems like we are all searching for a more efficient workspace. So we thought we’d give you a glimpse into our working studios.
We did not hire professional photographers or stylists to prep the rooms. We didn’t use a professional organizer to arrange, design, or help in any way. We wanted you to see how we work so you could imagine how to transform your space. We take a practical approach to creating an efficient workspace and hope you find some helpful ideas for your embroidery studio in the 64-page full-color book, Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps: The Stitching Sisters’ Practical Guide.
I have to admit I was reluctant to share my home studio because it’s not my ‘dream studio’ but it is where I create and it’s been working for me for several years. I learned a lot about efficiency, habits and control during the process of writing this book. Now that I’ve made the transformation, I’m committed to keep the chaos to a minimum! I can’t tell you how much more efficient my workspace is. It’s a joy to walk into my embroidery studio and find everything where it should be. I was even able to keep it under control through the holidays! You’ll see more blog posts on this subject along with Marie’s new column in Designs in Machine Embroidery, Let’s Organize it! The Stitching Sisters are committed to staying organized and you can too!
Marie uses time efficiently in her at-home commercial studio. Here’s how she does it.
While an embroidery design is stitching away at my machine, I take 15 minutes to de-clutter a problem area. Instead of sitting and watching the amazing embroidery machine work its magic, I take action against an overflowing cabinet or drawer. I realize we love to watch our embroidery machines effortlessly stitch beautiful designs, it can be mesmerizing. Sometimes the road to organization is many short trips that create an efficient work space.
As a commercial embroiderer with a home studio, I am never sitting at my embroidery machine(s). I am constantly moving: hooping the next garment, trimming stabilizer, meeting with customers, possibly even throwing in a load of laundry. My daily habits usually include organizing some problem area of my studio. I suppose I am a fidget and I realize everyone is different but my experience has taught me I can accomplish many tasks in 15 minutes. (Did I mention I also have a short attention span?)
Next time you have 15 or 30 minutes to watch your embroidery machine perform, look around the sewing room. What area is bothering you? If you are like most home embroiderers, over flowing counter tops and tables might be at the top of the list. All of the horizontal space gets dumped on rather quickly. Let’s tackle the cluttered table top now. Remember this helpful quote “If you take the time to take it out, make the time to put it back”. Simple and clear, it is a perfect household (and sewing studio) rule.
Step 1. Think about how you want to use this area. Is this surface for hooping, cutting fabric, embroidery and sewing? When the area is defined for a specific purpose it is easier to keep clean and orderly.
Step 2. Clear off the entire work surface and group items into categories. Dust and clean the work surface. Find practical clear storage containers for the remainder of items not being replaced on the work surface.
Step 3. Keep only what is needed on daily or almost daily base, and reposition the notions or tools in a tidy simplified container. One of my favorite storage containers is a lazy-Susan type of unit.
Look at the tools or notions that must be stored on the counter top and use the divided openings for the necessary items. There are numerous containers available for holding small objects that can be found in most hobby and craft stores. But don’t just look in the craft and sewing stores. I enjoy looking for storage containers in the hardware and office supply aisles of big box stores.
Step 4. Electrical cords can also be a huge eyesore.
They are extremely important and functional but somehow find a way to take over the table top or underneath. Can you drill a hole in the counter top for sewing machine or computer cords? This trick has worked for me.
Use pipe cleaners or zip ties to corral the wires and cords underneath the table or counter top.
These four steps can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Work on the most troublesome areas first; you will be rewarded with an organized sewing/embroidery space.
Be sure to check out the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for our latest book and a limited time special offer!