6 smart storage solutions I use in my sewing studio

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I tidied up my cutting table with the Sew Easy Ruler and Template Stand and the Hemline Thimble Shaped Tabletop Organizer, and we finished the thread catcher bag for the sewing machine mat. Since today is our last day, we’ll finish our project and I’ll show you the ‘after’ pictures of my quilting studio cleanup.

finishing the sewing machine mat

From the same fabric, you used for the top of the sewing machine mat, cut one rectangle 4 x 18. Fold it in half to make a rectangle 4″ x 9″ and then sew down the two long sides, keeping the end open for turning.

Fold the rectangle in half, right sides together.

Turn the fabric right sides out and tuck in the open end about ½”. Press all sides. I just love using my Oliso Pro TG1600 Smart Iron for all my sewing and quilting projects.

Press all four sides of the rectangle.

To make the tab sturdier and to close the open end of the tab, topstitch all four sides approximately ¼” in from the edge. Use a SCHMETZ Topstitch needle in your machine for the best results.

Topstitch all four edges.

Cut two sections of Sew-On Hook and Loop Tape and sew the two hook strips to the back side of the tab. If you’re using directional fabric, make sure the motifs on the right side of the tab are going in the correct direction. Match the thread in your bobbin to the fabric. Make sure to reinforce stitch on the ends of both hook tape strips.

Sew on the hook strips of hook and loop tape.

Pin the other end of the tab to the thread catcher bag. Make sure the bag is on the front side of the tab and the hook tape is on the back side of the tab.

Pin the bag to the fabric tab.

Sew the bag to the tab with three lines of stitching: one at the bottom of the tab, one along the top of the bag and one between those two.

Sew the tab to the bag.

Test out the position of the bag on the sewing machine mat and decide where to place the loop strips of the hoop and loop tape so they match up with the hook strips. Pin the two loop strips in place and stitch to the mat.

Test out the position of the bag on the sewing machine mat.

The sewing machine mat is now complete! Place it on your sewing machine table so the pockets hang over the front of the table. Put your sewing machine on top and load up the pockets with your favorite tools.

The sewing machine mat is now complete!

My new CLOVER Create-a-Pincushion and CLOVER Stack ‘N Store Bobbin Tower fit perfectly to the right side of my sewing machine and the HEMLINE 60 Spool Thread Stand sits right behind, easily within reach while I’m sewing.

My sewing area is perfectly set up with everything in reach.

Here’s my rolling 3-tier cart newly organized with the Vivace Craft & Accessory Tote full of sewing machine accessories tucked into the top basket. It sits right beside my sewing table and can be rolled under the end of my ironing board when not in use.

The 3-tier rolling cart sits beside my sewing machine table.

As promised, here are few of the other storage solutions I use in my sewing studio.


The fat quarter storage cupboard is made up of two shoe organizer cabinets turned on their side and placed on top of one another. These organizers can be found at most hardware and department stores.


The machine free motion quilting sample books, like the one I made in my QUILTsocial posts in August 2014 are on two metal rings that hang from hooks stuck to the side of the cabinets. That way they are easy to find if I’m looking for an idea for one of my quilts.

Fat quarter storage unit and machine free motion quilting sample books hooked on the left of the cabinets


My cutting table is an old kitchen table. In order for it to be high enough for rotary cutting, I placed bed risers under each leg. You can buy these at department or hardware stores.


This also makes the table high enough to tuck the IKEA wire basket drawer frames underneath. Larger pieces of fabrics are folded and stored in these baskets according to color.

Metal frames with wire basket drawers.

I always seem to have lots of unfinished projects – mostly these are leftover blocks from other projects I’ve made, or they are partly finished samples from classes I’ve taught. Usually, between Christmas and New Years I sort through these and challenge myself to finish them over the following year. A few years ago, I had over 50 of them, so each week I finished one project and blogged about it. These blog posts lasted all year long, and I ended up finishing those 50 projects – and a few more! This is my system for organizing these projects:


Each plastic basket shown in the photo below has all the fabrics and tools needed to make the project. These sit on the top of two cabinets that store all of my Fairfield Road Designs patterns.

Projects baskets full of UFOs.


This extra wide blanket ladder was made by my dad, and I use it to store all my wall hangings. As you can see, unlike other blanket ladders, it is wide enough that the wall hangings don’t need to be folded, which eliminates wrinkling. I can store at least four or five wall hangings on each rung so this ladder stores lots of little quilts. I made the horse wall hanging on the top rung in my QUILTsocial posts in November 2017.

Quilt storage ladder

Being in your sewing room, quilting room, crafting room, or studio can be more enjoyable and more productive when that space is organized. And there’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to get yourself organized.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of my storage and organization tips and the different products available to help you to organize the room you create in, no matter what you call it. Enjoy the rest of this month and happy quilting!

Note from the editor: For more interesting ideas on setting up your quilting and sewing room check out:

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: 2 must-have notions that organize your cutting table in a flash!

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Rachel Gagnon January 15, 2021 - 9:45 am
hi, I enjoy your website and the magazine. I have a question for you : would it be possible to have the measurement of your wide blanket ladder?
Christine Baker January 15, 2021 - 2:53 pm
Hi Racheal, Thanks for your message. My ladder is 82' high and the rungs are 36" wide. It has 6 rungs, but I find that I only hang thing on the top five. My dad used 1/2" dowels, but I would suggest larger ones because they have warped a bit under the weight. Thanks Christine
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