Organizing your sewing machine accessories

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I talked about the Clover Create-a-Pincushion kit and the GRABBIT Scissor Spot/Pin Place Magnetic Holder, and I started to work on our quilted sewing machine mat. Today, as I continue with our topic of storage and organization, I’ll show you another great product that can be used to organize your sewing machine accessories.

First, I wanted to show you one of my sewing studio storage solutions. Since my sewing machine table doesn’t have drawers, I bought a 3-tier rolling cart to keep beside my table. I keep my sewing machine storage unit in the top section and have cones of thread, machine quilting gloves, and quilting paper in the other sections.

A 3-tiered rolling cart is handy to have beside your sewing machine table.

I attached a hook to the side of my rolling cart to hang the selvage bag I made in my April 2017 QUILTsocial blog post: Save your selvages for a colorful sewing project. This bag works perfectly for storing my machine quilting rulers and templates, so they are close at hand beside my sewing machine.

The inside of the selvage bag.

Although the storage unit that came with my Brother NQ900 fits inside the top section of the rolling cart, I find it hard to locate anything I’m looking for inside. Sewing machine feet, bobbins, screwdrivers and spare needles all end up mixed up in the bottom.

The Brother NQ900 sewing machine storage unit.

The Vivace Craft & Accessories Tote.

When I saw this Vivace Craft & Accessories Tote, I knew I’d be able to put it to good use organizing items in my sewing room! But as I thought about the many pockets that were in the tote, I decided the best way to use it would be to organize my sewing machine accessories. I took everything out of the top tier of my rolling cart and started sorting. One page in the tote was devoted to sewing machine needles, two pages to sewing machine feet, bobbins and tools, and the rest were left empty for future storage.

I love that I can now see all of my Schmetz sewing machine needles at a glance. Each pocket is devoted to a certain type of needle. One pocket for quilting needles, one for top stitching, one for embroidery and one for specialty needles like twin needles and leather needles. This will save me money and time, since I won’t be buying needles I already have, and I’ll be able to easily find the right needle when I need it.

One tote bag insert page filled with packages of needles.

The 12-pocket Vivace Craft Tote Inserts work perfectly for extra sewing machine feet, bobbins and small tools. When I have more time, I’ll put labels on each of the pockets so I can tell at a glance if anything is missing.

One tote bag insert page filled with small sewing machine accessories.

Making the pockets for the sewing machine mat

Now, let’s continue working on the sewing machine mat. To make the pockets for my sewing machine mat I’ll follow the same process I used for making the Selvage tote bag pictured above. I have an even bigger collection of selvages now than I did three years ago, so I have lots to choose from! Instead of using heavyweight interfacing for these pockets, you can use muslin or another unwanted fabric as the base.

Selvages saved from previous projects

The first step is to mark out on the base fabric a rectangle with diagonal lines drawn on it. I marked out a 9″ x 12″ rectangle and drew lines at a 45° angle. I’ll sew the selvages to this base fabric using the drawn lines to keep the selvages parallel.

The base fabric with a 9″ x 12″ rectangle with diagonal lines drawn on it.

Following the procedure shown in the Selvage Tote Bag post, sew an assortment of selvages to the base fabric using your walking foot and white thread. This will make a selvage panel that can be cut into pocket sized rectangles.

The selvage panel

Using a rotary cutter and ruler, cut the selvage panel into four pockets of varying sizes. I ended up cutting one pocket 3″ x 8″, two pockets at 3″ x 6″ each, and one pocket at 3″ x 3″. You can make yours a bit bigger or smaller, just make sure they are all the same width (for example, all of mine are 3″ wide).

Four pockets cut from the selvage panel.

Now that the selvage pockets are done, join me tomorrow I’ll attach them to the sewing machine mat.

I’m super happy with how organized my sewing machines accessories are now that I’ve put them all in the Vivace Craft & Accessories Tote. Since it also has a handle and shoulder strap, it will be great for taking to workshops and retreats too – and I won’t have to worry about forgetting any of my sewing machine accessories at home!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: 2 great products to help organize your sewing machine area

Go to part 3: 4 ways to organize your threads in your quilting space!

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