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Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps: The Stitching Sisters’ Practical Guide

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!

Here’s your assignment this week:

What’s the biggest trouble area in your sewing studio?  Post your comment and one random winner will be selected to receive an autographed copy of Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps!


The winner of last week’s assignment:

Each participating blog listed above will be giving gifts of Stitched Style book, 4½ yards of Crossroads Denim, Sullivans’ embroidery floss, Clover embroidery hoop and Clover embroidery needles. You have to visit each stop to see what you’ll win.  Tell me what you’d like to stitch the SoHo Bandana collection on and we’ll pick a random to receive a copy of Stitched Style. Winners should be US residents only please.

And the winner is…Darlene M. “I would love it on kitchen goodies, towels, curtains, potholders, whatever it could be put on! Thanks for the giveaway!!!”




  • Lynn

    My biggest issue is keeping my table tops clear off clutter! No matter how hard I try to keep them decal uttered, they get cluttered again.n also, I cannot find anything. I spend more time looking for thongs than sewing!

    • Sue Ewing

      I decided this year to clear out the clutter so I take a box and go through it each time I go in the sewing room. I have stuff friends have given me plus stuff from my mom’s also.

  • Susan Weber

    My problem area is my cutting table area. I have a Baby Lock emb. machine on it, a serger, all my hoops for embroidering, notions, and various other sundries. Would love to know how to keep my whole embroidery/sewing room organized. Your book could help greatly in this area.

  • Verena Lewis

    My biggest issue is being able to keep my work area’s neat and organized. The time that I spend on looking for things I could be sewing and stitching out and hooping. This book sure would come in handy.

  • Colleen Bell

    What a dream come true – a book about organization for the machine embroider BEFORE i set up my new sewing room! A big thank you for writing this and then thank you for this offer.

  • Barbara Justiss

    My sewing closet is the worst area hen I’m in the middle of multiple projects. It is too easy to throw things in the floor.

  • Nancy Harris

    My problem is getting started. My husband bought me a beautiful Phaff machine many years ago and it is still in the box. It seems that it is so different from using my Singer that I feel I need a lot of time just to learn how to use the machine. I have put it off and put it off to when I have time and now I find I am 72 years old and still working a full time job in the legal field. If I could figure out how to make a living at home and still make money like I do in the legal field, I would do so. Your ideas are so great I am ordering the magazine.

    • Sue Ewing

      You might set the new machine up and try just spending a half and hour or less with it each day. It really isn’t that much different than your Singer, it will just take you out of your comfort zone. You will be amazed at what the Pfaff machine can do.

      • Nancy Harris


        • Kathy

          The store where your husband bought your machine should give free new- owner classes which could take some of the intimidation out of a new machine. I met a lady who was taking that type of class for her mother (so she could go home and teach her mom what she had learned) who had just bought a new Viking Diamond Royale at the age of 93! You can do it!

      • Marian

        If the machine has set for a number of years, please do it and yourself a huge favor take it in for a service. The oil will have dried up and you do NOT want to seize your machine up. It will need to run for a bit to get the oil all distributed back into the moving parts. This is not something we should be doing as some of the parts are hidden in areas that we cannot get to.

  • Sherrie Lilly

    My space is very small and the trouble spot is the corner where I stack the bins that hold my material. Things seem to always find their way on the floor stacked in front of the bins. I think I need to weed out stuff that I have not used in a while and reclaim the shelf unit across from this area to use but it is hard to take the time away being creative..

  • Lynne Wurzer

    My countertop. I put EVERYTHING I bring into my sewing room on it. I usually clean it up when things start toppling over. Right now there is a FQ bundle, a quilt to be bound, fabric, half completed projects, fabric for a project I’m thinking about doing, a bin from a project I started 6 years ago. And of course, some bags of things I bought at the store to use in my projects!

  • Colleen Bell

    Sorry I was so excited, i forgot to answer the question. My biggest problem is – well – me. I start too many projects at one time and pile them up. Then I need to sit down, gather the things together and prioritize them. Not as much fun as just sewing whatever I want, as those “gotta-do-it-nows” just keep interrupting.

  • Sandy ANDERSON

    I think my biggest issues is organizing supplies, such as blanks, thread, and stabilizer. I seem to spend more time pulling everything I need together than actually making a project.

  • beth daniels

    My cutting table seems to be always the most congested Area in my sewing studio. I either am cutting strips for scrap quilts or embroidering a design on a towel or other blank. I use the cutting table to put my fabric in my hoop and I usually have stabilizer on the cutting table. I need to clean up after every project.

  • lyn

    Because this is not my full-time job (and I have 3 grandchildren living nearby), I can only work on embroidery projects intermittently. I often let my projects overwhelm the area while working on several at once. Then afterwards I don’t put away as you mentioned, and then the mess stifles my creativity. I need to declutter and organize my room. This is one of my goals for this spring. And thanks for the helpful hints! I may just have to buy this book (if I am not chosen to win a copy!) 🙂

  • Sally Phillips

    My biggest problem is my sewing room is in the basement and my sewing table is the catch all. Everybody dumps everything on my table, I can’t find anything. All of my sewing supplies are under mounds of things. I can’t find anything right now. There’s barely room for my machines.

  • Nancy

    My biggest problem is storage and organization of what storage I do have – my sewing room has no closet and is rather small. Although I have a large cutting table, sometimes I have three machines running on top of it and trying to get ready for my next project while two or three are being worked on….I can’t find the materials for the next project – as 2014 is a stash buster year, I am hoping this issue might diminish as the year progresses – your book would certainly help me keep my resolution this year!

  • Glenda Clark

    My biggest trouble area in my sewing room is storage and organization of my blanks and fabrics! Either I don’t have enough room or I need to purge and organize!

  • Sandy Fraser

    I can’t afford a professional organizer, but I really need one. Fabric storage no matter how I try is out of control. I think that the book would help me finally do it! This is the year to organize my sewing cave.

  • Barb

    My biggest problem is organization of all the piles. They overflow from the cutting area and sewing table onto the floor. I only have a path to walk.

  • Shiela

    Lighting is my biggest problem. I am currently in an apartment and there is very little access to natural light.

    • Sue Ewing

      I hung shop lights from the ceiling 6 in the room and bought daylight florescent bulbs for them. The room is very bright. Hubby worked on wiring them so that two work off one plug and he put switches in the line so that I can turn them on and off easily.

  • Cheryl Ruhnke

    My 2 biggest problems is storing my stabilizer, i want it ready and handy , but forget what type it is ,cutaway,tear away? that I have.Also when working on a multi- color design , I end up with spools of thread everywhere,sometimes it seems a waste of time to put them all back on a rack or in a box, when I’ll be using them again soon.

    • Becky

      The best tip I ever got was from the shop where I bought my machine- store the wrapper, directions inside the tube. I always know what I have and how to use it

    • Letty Bowman

      I tried all sorts of things, baskets, shelves, tubes, etc. Then I found what I think is the perfect solution. I bought a small hanging shoe organizer from Ikea. It has ten sections and you can even buy cloth drawers which you can use to store other things. It is similar to this one.

      • Anne Hopkirk

        I store mine in a hanging handbag storage unit. It’s deeper than shoe storage systems and has bigger compartments. That plus keeping the details inside the tube works for me. I have it in an old wardrobe and it stores up to 50cm wide rolls without any problems. I can put cut-aways in one section, tear-aways in another, etc. I can’t remember where I got it, but I think it was Amazon.

  • cathy sutton

    ribbons that I use in my crafting. need some organizing ideas

    • Mary Haggenmaker

      Pegboards and long pegboard hooks. I put my spools on them.

  • Kim

    My biggest problem is organization. My family tends to come in my sewing room and leave things for me to do and borrows sample shirts all the time and never put thing back where they belong. It drives my crazy!

    • Anne Hopkirk

      Get a padlock (or several) on the door? A new family? LOL

      You have my sympathy!

  • Rusty Pullen

    My biggest problem area is my cutting/hooping table. Between projects it becomes the catch-all place and I have to spend time cleaning it up before I can start my next project.

  • Kris Lescinsky

    My biggest issue is clutter from multiple upcoming projects overcoming my limited table space. We rent and move often, so I can’t hang things on walls and it makes me crazy.

  • Yvonne Carrington-Buss

    Stashing my fabric is an issue for me. Of course if I’d quit buying more it would help! I dream of having lots of shallow drawers to put my fats and fabric folds in but for now I have them in “under the bed” zipper bags and have to slide them in and out from under my sofa.

  • Robynne

    I don’t have a studio to embroider in, it is the spare bedroom and not large enough to swing a cat, but probably cottons on the work top. It saves me having to walk to other rooms to put things away, but doesn’t give me room to work properly. Oh one day!

  • Cindy Kasten

    My problem is my pressing/cutting area. I’m using an old dresser, which provides storage, but it is lower than is comfortable, not wide enough, and it’s my only flat work surface and is constantly filling with clutter. I almost always have to clear it off, before I can start a project.

  • Barbara Milner

    My problem area is my cutting table. I bring out different fabrics to audition for design backgrounds and appliqué and just set them to the side. All too soon there is not enough space to do my hooping or cut stabilizer..

  • Susan Novak

    One of my big problems is my cutting table. It is in the dining room (my sewing room is too small) so it tends to quickly become a “Table” to pile stuff on.

  • Dolores

    Being creative is MESSY! By the time I am finished for the day, the table is covered, ironing board was used for everything except ironing! 🙂 I need to stay focused and put things away when done.

  • Mary Yates

    Next to my machine and my cutting table. I get things out and fail to put them away.

  • Darlene Gerber

    My biggest problem is too much stuff!! If I could convince myself to get rid of some stuff, I would have more room!!

  • Nancy Harris

    Darlene, I had this problem several years ago and I donated a lot of fabric to a quilting gil that was asking for fabric. They were making quilts to give to the less fortunate.

  • Anna Cameron

    My biggest problem is the left over stabilizer, I tear/cut off the excess but I can not throw it out, so I put it in a pile to cut down to an appropriate size that can be used for later. Its getting to the pile before it grows high and tips over.

    Thanks Anna


      Sounds crazy and it may not work for people with small spaces, but when I take stabilizer off the back and its large enough to use for other projects, I put it in white trash bags and when the bag gets full to a certain level I can only use those pieces until the bag is empty again (unless obviously I can’t)! You will be amazed at how our creative minds can figure out a way to put those pieces together to to fit the back of another embroidery design. Then I have the satisfaction of not so much waste. I use ziplock bags for my water soluable pieces and sometimes even iron them together to make a whole new piece! (in between two brown bags)!

  • Karen Blancher

    My sewing room has become a storage room – it needs serious organization. I sew on my kitchen table. It is a big problem…

  • Susan Schultz

    My problem is that I am not just a machine embroiderer, but a seamstress, quilter, knitter, and all around crafter. I need to find a way to organize all these activities.

    • Pat

      Susan, I am the same. I have lots of clear bins and I label the bins with slips of paper – 1/3 size of what you put in the printer. Use large black permanent maker to write the general name of stuff in the bin and slip that into the end/side that I can see easily. I use big bins for large amounts of fabric or projects and small bins for small projects or project bags.
      ie I have 2 bins at present labelled “Crochet Projects to Finish”. In the large bin, I have all my medium sized projects in their project carry bags. In the small bin, I have hankies and bookmarks and other small projects in their project carry bags. Only have one rug on the go at the moment and it is too big to fit into any bin, so it moves rooms with me whenever it is cold enough for me to fit under it to work on.
      I do the same for all my crafting activities.
      When I reorganised my sewing room over the Christmas break, discovered I have enough projects to keep me busy for the next 12 months without starting any new ones — that is a laugh! Just received class requirements for next month!

  • Cindy Broome

    I just moved my sewing area into a spare bedroom. Thought this would be so great. However, I didn’t realize how much I had crammed into the area. I started the move by spreading out and quickly realized that the room wasn’t big enough for everything. I made this move in August – and now in January – I’ve rearranged the room 6 times, moved in and out different tables, cabinets, storage units, etc., all in the hopes of finding that “perfect” set-up. I know there is no perfect way or a magic bullet – but it sure would be nice to have some direction on how to organize it all. Hopefully, your book might give me that insight! And with more hope, I sure would like to win it!

  • Lindae

    My cutting table and my closet. They get cluttered very quickly

  • Maria Goad

    I’ve been trying to organize my sewing room for 2 years, but the main thing I need help with is organizing/storing my fabric

  • Robin

    My biggest problem is finding the right cabinets for my sewing room. I have decided to make my own 😉 for now my stuff is in big tubs which makes it hard to find anything. Hopefully this will all change when I get the new finish completed on my cabinets. I think I may have found a new hobby

  • Ronda Halvorsen-Ferns

    My biggest issue is having my Ellisimo on a teeny corner unit type sewing table. It does not fit in the drop-down area and frankly has some cheapy chain system that I would not confidently allow to hold that machine. My sewing room is located in my bedroom with a gorgeous view of the Cascades but overwhelmed now with fabric in my bureau instead of clothes. Have a 14×12 area of the room I can dedicate to the “sewing studio” but really need to have some delineation to the room so I can relax and sleep not keep looking at stacks of fabric that needs to become a creation…. Do you do house calls?

    • eileenroche

      Not yet! I’ll see if I can talk Marie into it!

      • marie zinno

        It’s a thought!

  • Carol Bauer

    Since attending a 2 day function in Bend, Oregon that you sisters were at, I have purchased a Babylock emb machine…….Love it.
    My biggest problem is saving scraps, I hate to throw out anything. I’m running out of room for all my small pieces, any ideas how to consolidate them ? Enjoy your site……thanks, Carol

    • marie zinno

      Hi Carol,
      Thanks for writing.I’m so glad you are enjoying your new embroidery machine.What a beautiful part of the country you live in!We really enjoyed ourselves in Oregon last summer.
      I touch on the difficult task of fabric storage in the book and offer some tried and true methods.

    • le floch

      I buy ziplock bags and store my scraps in there, removing as much air before closing them! I make sure I sort them by size, biggest to smallest in the bag, so there’s always a small part of each fabric that shows, no need to open it up to see if the one you’re looking for is in that bag or not. Hope that helps.
      I also have 3 flat tin boxest stores stabilizer scraps, one for each type of stabilizer. A labelling machine is a great tool to have, but fancy labels will do. I use boxes for stabilizer, as I open them often.

      • Carol Bauer

        thanks , great idea

    • Ruth Sweeny

      I save almost everything also. Finally decided to cut the scraps into the size strips/squares that fit the leftover fabric. The smallest strips I save are 1 1/2″ wide or 2″ square. I find I
      do not use anything smaller. This eliminates all the small pieces.
      I store them in a box labeled with the size for future use.
      Hope this will help you. Ruth

      • Carol Bauer

        Thanks Ruth, like the strip idea

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    I’m afraid it is pretty much the whole place. The biggest catastrophe is the leftovers from various projects. I keep saying to myself “this could be used for ‘whatever’ and ends up in a nondescript pile. I also have some pieces that I have used to test out how certain stitches would end up looking that are still taking up space and need to go. I have been sewing my emboidery test pieces together to eventually be a quilt. Then there are the books that I cannot do without. Fifty plus years and……

  • Rita

    The worst thing is organizing my various threads and also what to do with those little leftover scraps that are too big to throw away, but too small to use on a big projects!


    • le floch

      posted a recommendation 2 posts above yours, good luck!

  • Marsha H

    I especially like the tip you share about using a pipe cleaner to tame the cords. Thanks for sharing. Nice to hear you created the organizational ideas rather than having to hire someone. Sounds like the book has many tools and ways to get you organized with minimal costs.

    • Judy Wentz

      My problem areas the table top of my HandiQuilter. It is such a nice long surface for stacking things. On the other hand, my cords are very well organized. I attach my surge protectors to the underside of my sewing cabinets. Then there is only one cord that goes to the outlet. The sewing machine and additional lights are plugged into the surge protector with additional cord lengths looped and tied with Velcro strips, tie-wraps, or the little plastic wraps that new electronics wrap their cords with. An additional bonus is that when there is a storm, I have fewer things to unplug-just the surge protectors.
      I also have a surge protector on top of my ironing board. I can see the light from across the room to tell if I’ve turned the iron off as I head out of the room.

  • Diane Carlton

    One of my biggest problems is the cords for all the electrical equipment: lights, sewing machines, embroidery machine, iron, presser, serger, Bose radio/CD player. I, of course, use serge protectors and my room is not that big, but I manage.

  • Barbara McKenzie

    My cutting/ironing area is a mess magnet! No matter how often I clear it off, in a few days, it is covered with current and future projects and ideas. I suppose it would help if I finished one project before I started another, but I don’t seem to be wired that way!

  • Corrine Guier

    My problem area is my cutting table. If I am not working on a project that requires using it, it tends to collect everything else.

    • Anne Hopkirk

      I recognise that one! But I believe that a tidy sewing room doesn’t have much going on in it. Mine is like that just after a major tidy, but as soon as I start a new project, the mess explodes again! I’m planning some new shelving, but otherwise I just live with it!

  • Dawn Mecozzi

    In general having enough room for everything is an issue. Keeping things handy and organized is what I need to be more productive. Dawn

  • Linda S

    I am just finishing a new sewing “corner” in a small addition to the house. I get it just about right and then decide to change something (usually small). In the process of making the change I move everything about and all of the flat surfaces get piled high again! Soon it will be finished (I hope). Loving the creative process of designing and organizing it, despite some small frustrations.

  • priscilla

    Not enough room. Have stuff spread out in 3 different rooms.

  • Nancy King

    The biggest issue is that I do not have a place for everything so everything is in piles. I am new to sewing and embroidery so just trying to figure out how to setup my room.

  • Grandmat

    I turned our sunroom into a sewing room,it is full now,also one bedroom upstairs has all my tubs and piles of material. I need to organize very bad,to make things easier to find!

  • marianne king

    Not having enough storage space and organizing

  • Angi

    My cutting table is always cluttered. the threads around my machine.

  • Louise Mahoney

    My biggest problem is my cat – as soon as I tidy an area, my cat decides that it is the best place for his latest nap, or when I decide to tidy an area, he is curled up there looking too cute to disturb!
    Seriously, my cutting/layout table is my main problem as it is perfect ‘dumping’ height, and also, always has a perimeter of the multitude of current projects which I am working on, so I never have full use of the surface aarea.

  • Martha haynes

    My biggest problem area is my fabric can’t seem to keep it neat and organized my husband says I have too much and I think I don’t have enough.

  • Leslie

    I am working on a large machine embroidered quilt. I am having trouble storing the working fabrics and then getting them out to audition them over and over. I can only work on this in spurts of time so I tend to leave the fabrics out, but oh what a mess. And if I work on two things at once the mess grows exponentially. Advice is needed. Consider this a 911.

  • Debbie

    Believe it or not one of my biggest problem areas is the floor. Well, maybe not just the floor. I, too, have taken over a bedroom and there just doesn’t seem to be enough room. But back to the floor. Every time I want to sew I take everything piled up on the cabinets, all the chunks of fabric that I can’t leave on the dining table and place them in stacks on the floor. Next thing I know the room has gotten even smaller. And when that happens I don’t feel that I can create. Maybe one of these days I’ll get a handle on it.

  • Sharon K

    My biggest problem area is embroidery thread, it’s everywhere! When I do a project I get all the thread gathered, usually in a basket (sounds pretty organized huh), BUT when the project is completed the thread just seems to gather on counter tops or table tops, and never seems to get back on the rack, or in the drawer Some day I’ll get a better handle on the wandering thread.

  • Ro

    I have a tiny little 5×9 room with precious little wall space but I use every inch to hang equipment, hoops and projects and I am notorious for dealing with several projects at once so I need some help. Thanks, Rosa

  • Donna N.

    Trying to decide how to store scraps into groups like quilting, embroidery, sewing, children’s.

  • Linda Harrigan

    My problem is too many projects and a tiny room. I have several sewing and embroidery projects going at the same time, but barely have room for one.

  • My biggest problem is my husband. He LOVES to buy t-shirts and sweatshirts or hats to embroider with his company logo. He makes items for all his employees as Christmas gifts. He loves “extras.” He has extras in all sizes and wants to keep them stored in MY SEWING ROOM! I would have way more room for my fabric and notions if he would get his stuff out of my room!

  • Gale Reynolds

    My biggest problem is keeping cords neat and tidy, instead of everywhere.

  • Frances Powell

    My biggest problem is my desk top. My husband made me an awesome work top that is 4′ X 8′. The problem is when I am working on 2 projects at one time, 1 on the sewing machine and another on my sewing/embroidery machine. I manage to cover the entire work top with fabric, patterns, scissors, pins, etc. I always seem to misplace the one thing that I need the most in all the chaos.

    • Anne Hopkirk

      I have a plastic drawer organiser tray from an office supplier. It helps keep things together – scissors in one bit, markers in another, etc. It’s small enough to move around the room with me. Keeping the tools separate doesn’t always work, but I’ve managed to at least keep them all in this one tray – so far!

  • Brenda Sutton

    I need to declutter and organize my room.

  • Cheryl Washington

    My biggest problem is that I don’t put anything away. If there’s a spot on a counter, table top, or even the floor I manage to put something there. I have too much clutter and it all seems to find its way to a surface in my room. I don’t focus on finishing one project before I want to begin something else. I’m a great beginner and a not so great finisher.

  • Susie

    We moved to a new home several months ago, and even though my new sewing room is much larger than my previous one, I have tried to make this into a combination office, sewing room, scrapbooking room, library, etc. I could really use the information in your new book to help me decide how to better arrange this room and make it very functional even if that means limiting it’s use by maybe moving the scrapbooking things or the library to another room. Thanks so much for writing the book and for this opportunity 🙂

  • Rosemary

    Biggest problem is finding time to clean up before I consider a project done and leave the Ma’am Room(sewing room – my son named it the Ma’am Room). Then there is not time set aside before a new project takes me away to the middle of a chaotic Ma’am Room.

  • Susan J

    It sounds like we are all in the same cluttered boat. Every flat surface in my studio becomes a catchall for clutter: fabric, hoops, design discs, thread, stabilizer, tools, books, etc. It all seems to multiply during a project. When I can’t stand it any longer, I do a major cleanup and put everything away only to have the same cycle start with the next project. I like Marie’s idea of taking 15 minutes while embroidering to clean up a smaller area. Will definitely try that. I am looking forward to reading the book and Marie’s new column in DIME.

  • Pam MacConnell

    I love my small and somewhat crowded creative room! My daughter says I’ve exceeded the “furniture limit” for a room but it all works. However I do share my creative space with my “office” and things tend to get piled up! My thread is well organized on spool holders inside two closet doors and my stabilizers fit beautifully in a small wine cabinet. My wonderful tall cutting table (with two huge shelves underneath for storage bins) is the danger zone! It’s just too easy to pile things on it that can’t find a resting place anywhere else in the house! That’s my greatest challenge!

  • Nancy G

    The spare bedroom has been turned into the “craft and hobby room”, with plenty of embroidery and sewing going on, but it’s also become a library and museum and drawing room. will have another bedroom free when my son moves out in the spring, amd planning to make it a dedicated sewing and embroidery room.

  • Lisha

    I have an old drafting table covered with a cutting mat like material – great size and height so it is my primary work space for cutting fabric, hooping, etc. But when working more and more thread, stabilizers, fabric, patterns, templates, etc. come out from their normal hiding places and end up piled on the table – so am always clearing that space. Probably does not help that I am never working on just one project at a time!The second area I have trouble with is the closet in my sewing room (former bedroom) has shelves and hanging space, but I never seem to be able to get that space organized so that I can find what I need.

    • Valerie Brown

      This sounds so much like me. I do manage to get it hidden again when company is coming.

  • Deborah Ervin

    I’d have to say my biggest problem is lighting. Then it would be clutter. I love all the space I have, but it’s not quite the dream room I visioned , but it works for now.

  • Judy Mathis

    My hubby built me a room on our tiny house since I was running over the dining room. But I still find that I have no space since I try to multipurpose the room with media, scrapbboking and sewing/quilting/embroidery. I love my walls and the various things decorate with but I need to take storage u[ward into placing shelving or cabinets in there.

  • Peggy Schroeder

    Hi Eileen,
    The state of my embriodery and sewing rooms is horrible, I think I have way more stuff than I need, or can posssibly use. I do not know why I do this, and since there is only my husband and I here, it has to be me. I wish I was more like my girls, (I have 4) who manage to throw stuff out, or get rid of it somehow. You wouldn’t believe how fast stuff goes when it is set outside with a “free” sign on it. They don’t keep anything that is or causes CLUTTER,
    and I am just the opposite, I keep everything!!! But, I am going to do my best to clean, purge, throw out or donate. I have gone to two sewing rooms, one would not hold it all. I had two spare bedrooms, so I got rid of the big bed in one of the rooms, and the kids were shocked, and wanted to know where “their” bed had gone. So basically, I use one room for mainly embroidery, and the other is filled with everything else. You know, 2 regular sewing machines, 2 sergers(well, I really have three but only use 2). I keep one serger with light thread, and one threaded with dark thread, then I don’t have to change threads very often. I look and see what probably should be done, then the depressing lack of energy kicks in, and I don’t get much accomplished. Do you think, if I bought your book, it would help me? I don’t figure on winning one, as I never win anything!! Maybe I need to hire a big crew of “Sewing Room Cleaners and Organizers”. Let me know what you think, is there any help for me?

    • eileenroche

      Peggy, It sounds like you’ve already identified your problem – too much stuff! I suggest grabbing two of your daughters and get to work on purging your sewing room. Marie did that with me and it really helped. She wouldn’t let me put down one thing without making a decision – keep, trash or donate. We turned on good music and just went to it. It’s been six months now and I don’t miss one thing!

      Doing this has also made me more selective in purchases. I’m trying to discipline myself from buying fabric just because I love it. If I don’t have an immediate use for it, I pass on the purchase. It’s a bit of a lifestyle change but a good one!

      • Peggy Schroeder

        Thanks, Eileen, I appreciate the information. Now to figure out which of the girls can get along for enough time to get it all accomplished!! I think Marie’s way of not putting something down without a definite destination is good. That is something that my girls do when we are cleaning other things out. It is hard to work that magic in my sewing rooms, but it just has to be done. I know that they will be just ruthless in favor of tossing stuff out, and they give me NO slack—if I don’t have a use for it almost immediately, out it goes. I am going to really try and get this done, but it kind of feels like I am throwing the baby out with the bath water!!

      • Peggy Schroeder

        Hi Eileen,
        Well, I took your advice, got one of my girls, and started organizing, purging, cleaning, etc. I thought I would test her on the kitchen first, just to make sure she wouldn’t put too much in the trash and donate piles!! Boxes and boxes of “stuff went out the door—and that was just from my walk-in pantry! She is taking all of it to the Food Cupboard in the city where she lives. Said she was afraid if she let me take it to ours, I would be bringing most of it back into the house before I even got there. I haven’t figured out why I am so attached to so many different kinds of Tupperware. Anyway, I can walk in the pantry now, and I have to admit, it does look a lot better. We are going to do one room at a time, and I am going to save the sewing rooms for last, maybe by then she will be too tired to throw out so much.

        Thank you for all the helpful things you do, it is always a pleasure and an enlightening experience.

  • Lorri Duff

    My biggest area is my cutting table. It’s just like the kitchen island–“stuff” always gets put on it. When I want to cut something out, or use the table for hooping, I have to spend 10-15 minutes cleaning it off and putting items in their place!

  • Sandy Fraser

    Even if I don’t win the fabulous book, I will buy it as I need it!

  • Lelia Nelson

    My biggest problem is my cutting table..I cant keep it cleaned. Everything seems to find a home there. I need help organizing my whole sewing/embroidery studio..I start but never have time to complete before i have to work on projects. This book would surely give me valuable suggestions. Can’t wait to win it!

  • Patricia Hurdle

    My problem is my computer area. I have 3 computers that are used just for sewing and embroidery and it is the hardest area in my beautiful sewing/craft room to keep organised!
    I have a really nice room with one corner made just for this purpose but for some reason I seem to gather magazines,patterns,notes and calenders,along with all the computer software and CD’s,floppies and copied paperwork patterns. What a mess that I must straiten up before I work on any project.

  • Mercedes Christiansen

    My biggest problem is fabric and thread storage. I want to be able to see them all the time but can’t figure a way to make the space. I currently store them in totes and have to dig for what what I want.

  • Kristi D

    My biggest problem area is “any flat surface”. It is amazing how fast it disappears under all kinds of stuff. Sewing, embroidery, cutting, fabric, ideas, thread, you name it and if it has to do with sewing it eventually finds it way to the “flat spot”. I really do believe that it multiplies when it sneaks out of the drawers. Then it calls all of its buddies to come out and play!!!!

  • LaNae

    My problem area is my craft room everything is out of order and my husbands stuff is slowly taking over so I have migrated to the kitchen table and this is just not working out! So I guess my biggest problem is needing time to do organizing!

  • Leann McClain

    My biggest issue is lack of vertical space. I would like to use that space more efficiently handle the long arm machine, a serger, and 2 embroidery machines. Every inch of floor space is being used. My Koala cabinet helps as far as cutting and quilting surface, but I always feel cramped. My large closet needs more storage containers and houses my ironing board, but not having labels can be problematic! Help!!

  • kbo

    It has to be my closet, an unorganized mess. I keep telling myself “this is the year”

  • Donna

    My biggest problem is that I will clear my spaces of all the clutter after I finish a big project and it looks so nice I hate to mess it up again! I need it to be “working neat” so I won’t feel like I am making a mess as I create

  • Mary Nelson

    Oh, where to start! I am a terrible table clutterer! No matter how many times I clean up, I always end up 4″ on “stuff” on my work surface. I guess it is because I have an attention span of a gnat. I have so many thoughts and ideas going through my head I have a hard time doing and finishing one project at a time…Help is needed.

  • Michele Matlock

    My whole room is a disaster. It is a catchall for everything. I am sewing in the living room and embroidering in my daughters room and have another room that is my craft room but never finished organizing it. My problem area is everywhere and I need good advice.

  • Lola Gerhard

    My biggest problem is all the small items or objects I use only occasionally. I put them in clear storage boxes or drawers and then when I need them spend too much time looking for them. I want to put up a pegboard so that I can put this items out where I can find them more easily.

  • Cindy bollinger

    I have trouble keeping my work table clear, there seems to never be enough room on my counter for thread, scissors, stabilizer, hoops and me.

  • Jacque Curtis

    My biggest problem is like most, my cutting table. It seems that as soon as it gets cleaned up it starts getting piled up again, which is always a problem. I put away my material, but when I have something new that I have in my hands that is the first place that I lay it down. I don’t know how to break that habit.

  • Leora b

    my biggest problem, too much stuff, too little room. I have stuff all over, my cutting table, my sewing table, I really need a professional to come in and help ..

  • Carol D.

    It seems that every flat surface in my sewing, embroidery, or craft area is a “magnet”. No matter what I do the surfaces attract clutter. As soon as I clean off the cutting table, etc, the clutter returns.
    I believe I have attention deficit because I want to organize but get distracted by projects I love.
    I really am the source of my problems and appreciate all tips about organizing to help do what I love which is sewing, machine embroidery and paper crafting.
    Marie’s idea about using stitching time to de-clutter is a good one. Thank you.

  • Martha

    Wow! I am so happy to be in such good company, I thought I was alone in the clutter department. I can identify with each and every comment posted. Cannot wait to get a copy of your book! My sewing “studio” is a small extra bedroom, the best thing I have done was to exchange the carpet for cork flooring. Now have to find a place for all the fabric and embroidery supplies.

  • Bonnie Gray

    I have too much stuff for the space I have. I know I need to use up what I have before I buy more. So that is what I am trying to accomplish. I have a drawer with 3 bins, in each are the materials needed for a project. I have accomplished one project, luggage tags for an upcoming trip with 5 other couples, so I am now working on napkins for a wedding present. The third project is a purse for me. When all three are done I will fill the 3 bins again with 3 more. Hope fully this will help me empty space in drawers, bins and cabinets that are holding a lot of material. That will help de-clutter the room. I also need to organize all my notions and like the lazy susan idea for those. Will have to read your book to get more ideas!

    • Kate Petrosky

      Bonnie — I like your idea of using bins to store the supplies for individual projects. I started doing that a few months ago, and it helps me keep things together, especially as I’m buying things over time for a future project. I also use an Ott light that’s built into a lazy susan (bought it at Joann’s) that works as a caddy for the notions I need to keep on my cutting table.

    • Debbie J

      I love the luggage tag idea! I need to make some for us for an upcoming cruise we will be going on in early May. Could you share your how to make them?

  • Phyllis Anne

    My biggest problem is me. I continue to buy fabric when I have more fabric than I will ever be able to use. I shouldn’t even go to a fabric store because I always end up walking out with a minimum of 3 yards of fabric that I told myself that I can’t live without. I have a large room dedicated to my sewing, but it isn’t big enough. On top of having plastic bigs on shelving, on the floor and on the extra chair in my sewing room, I have at least 4 bins of fabric in the hall closet. All of my notions are “out” and I can’t find half of what I need when I need it. Oh, and the kitchem table is full of a baby quilt that I haven’t finished. I started it 3 months before the baby was born, and the baby is now four months old and I still have to finish the binding. And my boss’ first grandson was born yesterday and I haven’t started that quilt! This is all my own fault. I’d rather check online for tips, pictures of completed projects to inspire me and fabric on sale than straighten my sewing room. I keep saying to myself, “what if so-and-so came over and saw this mess? I’d be so embarrased.” It doesn’t help. I need to get my act together. I have no one to blame but myself.

  • Barb

    I have to work in an uncluttered space! If my sewing room is a mess I can’t even get started. I got a larger new sewing room last summer and started from scratch organizing everything. And I love it! I’m always looking for tips so I would love your book. I learn so much from peeks of othe sewing spaces.

  • Sharon

    I think chaos must follow me. My computer table is a mess as is my sewing table and my fabrics and cutting table and ironing board. Help! Please.

  • Carolyn H

    I have too much “stuff” and too small a room. I embroider and sew. And I just learned how to dye fabric. I need to get rid of some of the things, but always think I will use it “someday”.

  • Donna Cox

    My biggest problem is not enough space for all the things I need to keep handy. And not enough
    Outlets to get things plugged in. Thank you for the offer.

  • Donna Cox

    My biggest problem is not enough space for all the things I need to keep handy. And not enough
    Outlets to get things plugged in. Thank you for the offer.

  • Becky3580

    I admit I am a fabricholic! I am still functional but getting close to drowning in an ocean of fabric. I love the designs, the solids, the textures,the colors and most of all the planning of what fabric fits what project. I need fabric control and organization. Also something else that needs attention is a good way to organize my designs so they are accessed easily. It is difficult to pass up a good design that I might some day use but have trouble finding the ones that I’m sure I already have. If you decide to make house calls just let me know. I know I will see you next month in Martinez, Georgia as I will attend your event there and can’t wait to see you and your sister and learn so many new and exciting things. See you next month.

    • Kate Petrosky

      Becky — I loved your response! I organized my embroidery designs by using the “Documents” library in Windows. I just set up a folder called “Embroidery”, and then sub folders based on the categories — children, animals, flowers, applique, holidays. Some of these are broken down into smaller folders, such as the individual holidays. It’s not foolproof, but I usually can find what I’m looking for. I’ve also cross-filed some designs into two folders if they apply to more than one. I also bought the Embrilliance software program, which let’s me see a picture of each design without opening it in my embroidery software.


    Storage,storage, storage. When to put all my goodies.

  • le floch

    Still looking for a way to have an ironing space readily availalble when needed, my hubby has promised to make a small one, but I’m still waiting. I hate it when I have to pull out the big ironing board for just 2/3 minutes (also it’s not in the same room, not even same floor in the house)

    • Leslie

      Le Floch. Make yourself a small ironing table. Start with a wooden tray table from Walmart, about $8. Cut a bit of cotton based batting to fit (no poly) then get a heavy duty staple gun (your hubby can help with this part) and a piece of cotton canvas cloth. (available at Joann’s) Cut about 3″ larger than the table top. Turn over and then start with a corner fold over and staple. Continue for each corner and then do the sides. Cut away any surplus canvas. Voila, you have a small ironing surface that can be easily taken to classes as well. Love mine.

      • jo shedd

        Wow! Love this idea!

  • Wanda leffingwell

    My trouble is my sewing room is too small for everything I have, I have two large bookcases with notebooks ,patterns and the problem is I have to stack so much that I have to move everything to get to my bookcase and then put everything back takes a lot of time wears me out! I could really use information to organize better!

    • marie zinno

      We have some tried and true methods for these issues in the book. I know it will help you get and STAY more organized.

  • Valerie Brown

    Aside from my being a piler and not a filer, my biggest problem in my sewing room is that it’s also a guest bedroom. So when I want to start on a project, I practically have to unload the closet to get to things as obvious as my embroidery thread containers. So, right now, that bed is covered in fabric, storage tubs, thread organizers, and a few projects too. I need to adopt a better plan for putting it all back in a more timely manner. With that being said, I really hope to see more articles like this. I’m cleaning it up tomorrow. Usually, that would be my version of procrastination, but it’s like 3:30AM here, so I try to be quiet while the rest of the house is sleeping.

  • Wanda Keller

    Saving every bit of fabric and stablizer.

  • Mary Jo

    I have things pretty organized, it’s just finding it all. I have every container marked with items that are enclosed. However, there are ideas that may be better. Space is a problem and I tend to stack while doing projects…usually 3 or 4 at the same time. One solution with my time while the embroidery machine is stitching, I need to go onto my computer worksheet (similar to excel) and type it all in. Then when I’m looking for something in a hurry, I can type the needed item into the “find” box and up it will pop!

  • Diane

    Definitely fabric and project (UFO) storage…. I manage, but I’ll bet there of Forgotten Objects (FO)!!

  • Cate

    My biggest problem is ANY horizontal surface. My cutting table is usually buried under clothes that need ironing. My sewing tables seem to attract random rolls of stabilizer and dozens of spools of thread… I am terrible at putting my thread back in its organizer!

  • Carolyn Finlayson

    I sew, quilt and embroider. I have a lot of supplies need some ideas on how to organize them. I think I could start with a sign that reads do not dump your stuff on my TABLE! (INCLUDING ME) I work full time so I do ttry to mulit task. I will have an embroidery project under way while I am trying to sew. That can make a mess in my room. I think the 15 minute idea is a good one. Perhaps I can buy a kitchen timer and set it for 15 minutes, put something away, and then sew for a while. That would actually be good to get up from the machine in 15 min.intervals and you could put away or organzie while you are moving around.

    • marie zinno

      Thanks Carolyn, I’m glad you like my 15 minute idea. I think the book will help guide you to a more organized space. It does not happen in one day. Focus on one problem area at a time.

  • Ellen Perry

    I know I need help in this area… My sewing room is a mess
    Eellen P

  • Terri Bradford

    I share my sewing space with my grandkids play area. (They are often here daily) Toys and fabric are on the same shelves, plastic drawers and Barbie houses live under my pressing/cutting table, and while the kids never bother my sewing things (what sweethearts they are) I need to figure out a more practical project and fabric storage system!

  • Kate Petrosky

    My sewing area is located between our bedroom/laundry wing, and the main living area of our home. Everything gets dropped off in this room, while on its way to being put away properly, and causes chaos. I truly work in my sewing room every day, always looking for ways to organize and make things easier. But it seems like one problem area gets cleaned as another pops up.

  • Jeane Barnes

    My sewing area is a small bedroom. My greatest distress is having a specific place for items. Yes I have a cutting table piled high, but it is because I am not well organized in where to put the items on the table, or the floor, or the cubby holes that are filled with who knows what! All this clutter is a distraction to my sewing!

  • Linda Lee

    Problem is ME!!! I find that I am messy in that room. II need a book to help me out!!! Its is small 9 x 9 and everything winds up in there related to “crafts”. I start too many projects, have to many containers and too many of everything. I am so messy that I even buy things I already have because I cannot find what I need. I really do need help in my “sewing studio”.

  • Kim Fisher

    My biggest problem is my cutting table. It is the dumping ground for sewing and non-sewing items. When my husband wants to clear the adjoining room he puts things on my cutting table instead of putting them up.

  • Judy G

    I need help with finding the most efficient way to store stabilizers and interfacings. which I have “by the yard” and in pre-cut sheets. Being able to mark my stabilizer and interfacings in some manner as to type/weight would really help. I’d also like to be able to see at a glance what I have and what I need to purchase. While I love excuses to run to my local fabric store, it is very inconvenient to do so in the middle of a project because I have ran out of a particular type of stabilizer.

  • Barbara Cummings

    I admit to the world..I am a fabric hoarder! I have piles and piles of beautiful fabric..too pretty to cut. What if I pick the wrong project ? My beautiful fabric will be gone….so sad…consequently I have enormous piles and an obvious storage problem.

  • Teresa

    My worst problem is the limited amount of space that I have for my machines and trying to find better organizational ideas to keep everything neat and in its own space. I love sewing and embroidering but don’t like the clutter. In desperate need of good ideas for organizing!!!

  • Carole D

    I have an 18’X 25′ sewing studio with four sewing machines, a longarm quilting machine and a serger and I STILL have no counter space to work. I am thinking I should take out some machines and only have out the ones I use consistently, but each project seems to use different features of different machines.

  • catherine jones

    My biggest problem is me and my space. I share my bedroom with my sewing room plus office space. I continue to buy fabrics ( I too shoukd be banned from shopping) and put projects on my to do list. Every now and then I have to find a place to store and keep only what I am working on close by. Unfortunately I alway have about 5 different projects I am working on. Plus I have not finished quilting my tops from fear of free motion quilting. Working on that his year.

  • Rhonda

    My biggest issue is that my husband is going to build me a room out of our one car garage, and I don’t know where to begin!

    • eileenroche

      Lucky girl! Rhonda, Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Steps will definitely help you. The book outlines planning the room for efficiency.

    • Pat

      When we moved into this. House the single car garage had never been used so I claimed it for my sewing room !!
      My husband built all my storage cupboards and drawers plus. Counter and we found perfect table we used for a cutting table Then we made one end was done for scrap booking and computer area. I have 3computers and 3 sew machines! It turned out perfect !!!! THEN he built HIMSELF A 3 CAR. GARAGE!!!! Reply. To me if you would like to see some pictures.

      • gma pamela

        Oh, yes–please!!

  • Cindy Baker

    Being disorganized. I really struggle with it since I am just learning to embroider.

  • Robin

    F A B R I C !!!! It’s all over the place…overflowing drawers, containers, hanging in closet, shelves, baskets. I need to reign it in! I’m sure your book will help in this area.

  • Wendy Stocum

    My biggest problems are also my biggest blessings….children who want to create along with me but their attention span is not the same. So after I have set up my machine, out comes the glitter on the counter near by and the glue/stickers/sissors for paper. THen the ding to change thread and here comes my helper. It truely is a blessing but makes a huge mess and a lot of time organizing and cleaning.

  • Agnes B. Bullock

    I use the smallest of three bedrooms in our rental hme for my sewing and embroidery. Would love more room, but have a trundle bed in the room which holds my dachshunds while I work! My biggest issue is the closet- it does not work for the room and I have crates of fabric stacked on the floor in front of it and this gives me a huge headache when I need to access what is in the closet!

  • Debbie J

    My biggest issue is that my dear husband puts everything in my sewing room, and I can’t even get in there. He has TVs, extra food stored in there, and I don’t know what all. I had it getting close to organized, and then Christmas came, and he piled extras in there. Now, I can’t even get to my sewing machine table.

  • ardith Blucher

    My Husband!! He has a BIG desk in my sewing room which takes up one whole wall. This was not how it was to be when I was working on the plans to my sewing room. So I’m still at a loss as to how to set up my room to work. I have a lot of shelves, one long counter a cutting table that I can’t open all the way and can’t find the other half that is open. Plus a lot of thing I don’t need because I have two or three of. Plus one DH. Help!!!

  • Tammy Esser

    Time is my problem…..because clean up and trying to put things away after a project takes so long I push it to the side another project comes in and I do it, and again too much trouble to clean up correctly so it gets pushed to the side. I do have an organized room but I think I did it wrong because it takes too long to put things away. Any ideas?

  • Patty G

    My sewing room / computer room is also the room that my granddaughters have their toys and TV room. The 3 year old is into everything, so when I get a warning, everything has to be put away. I am thinking about putting sewing and knitting items downstairs in empty dressers. It will mean more trips up and down the stairs, but I think it might get me organized, and keep the little fingers out of Grandma’s stuff.

  • Carol Anderson

    I have the basement as my “studio” and I love it when it’s organized! My problem area is the end of an extremely old
    dining table I use as my cutting table. I have my serger
    set up all the time at the end. Then find I am storing
    rulers and the rotary cutter bag there too! Serger needs
    work space. Need suggestions for pattern storage, stabilizer
    storage and new ruler storage!

  • Mary Ann Genre

    Keeping those table tops free of clutter – ugh! I will have to give that 15 minute tip a try, I always think I have to wait until I have more time (hours) to tackle a clean up.

  • Chris

    My biggest problem is keeping my fabric organized. Since I have a very small space I’m always open to new ideas. Since it is a small room, I have shelves on every available wall and keep my fabric in bins that I can see through and stack on the shelves. I haven’t figured out if it’s best to sort by color, fabric type, etc. And then I get all of those scraps that I feel compelled to keep (and I really do use a lot of them) and don’t know where best to fit those in to the scheme!

  • Linda

    My biggest problem is the whole room! I am slowly converting our dining room into a sewing room. Still figuring out storage areas. Old carpet has to go so I can roll my chair around easily. I have great ideas in my head, but making them a reality is a long process. Always looking for ideas!

  • Colleen Gnehm

    Fabric for sure is my biggest problem. Everything currently is stored in totes and all intermingled. I also have a problem with getting rid of material scraps, so they are also stored in the totes with the other fabric. Who knows when you will need just a small piece of whatever, you know have the perfect piece SOMEWHERE, but where. Then chaos takes over.

  • Julie Daugherty

    I have two rooms that I’ve opened a 6′ space between and I have laid out a new arrangement but have not had an opportunity to move things around. Too much stuff is probably my biggest problem but clutter on horizontal spaces is a constant battle. I need to adopt your mantra if you take the time to get it out put it away.

  • Dale Fedor

    One problem is too much fabric, shirts, towels & etc. waiting to be used & not enough places to store them. Also, I use all my tools (seam ripper,rulers, scissors, pins, etc.) and have them all over the tables that my machines are on. Spend too much time looking for what I need.

  • Jane Cornett

    My biggest problem is all horizontal space getting filled up. I’ve tried to do “stations” and keep everything needed there but somehow, I always end up carrying that pair of scissors off, or the ruler etc. Then I have to go and re-find everything and replace it. I’m like the people above that say they spend more time searching than sewing. I keep adding shelves, tables, boxes of all types and still can’t stay organized. I LOVE your 15 minute idea – I am so guilty of watching as my 12 needle stitches because it sometimes has a mind of it’s own!!! I’m going to start trusting it more and work on one area at a time.

    • Nancy Harris

      I have a suggestion here. I have worked in many different areas of sewing, crafting, etc. I made a short apron to wear with pockets that run around the base of the apron that hold many items like my scissors, tape, glue, etc. Doesn’t take long to make.

      • jo shedd

        Great idea

  • Becky

    Of course, it’s my table top that seems impossible to keep de-cluttered. I like the idea of doing a little at a time each time a design is running. I’m definitely going to give that a try. Thanks.

  • Karla Bannerman

    My problem is that I have too much stuff. Need to find a way to organize several years of things. I have been purging for a while now, but still have chaos all over! I do keep the areas where my machines are cleared, just cannot get the rest of the areas de-cluttred! Maybe I need to stop reading, and cleaning!

  • Vita

    My biggest problem is storage, have lots of fabric and thread. One thing I really want is a large rack to hold my thread with doors to keep the dust off my thread. Then shelves for my fabric.

  • Pam

    The top drawer is my problem. Always opened so it becomes a part of the counter. But everything gets thrown in it because the real counter needs to be uncluttered. Oops.

  • Sharon P.

    My biggest issue is trying to keep my cutting table top clear. I would love to be able to just start a project. But I always have to clear the table first. I do return items to their proper home whilemy machine is stitching but never finish! Thanks for writing a book to help us get organized.

  • CarolKE

    My problem area is my embroidery thread. I do not get it back into the storage boxes, so it takes over the area. I also have a kazillion magazines that I can’t bear to part with.

  • Rachel Price

    Right now my main problem is trying to keep EVERYTHING in it’s place. We have our house up for sale right now, and it’s impossible to keep everything where I want it to be and where it needs to be. When we sell and get our new home in Maine, I’ll most likely need your new book to help me arrange my new sewing studio. I can’t wait till that happens. Moving over 1800 miles takes a lot of planning and we’ve already packed things we think we don’t need…but not my sewing things yet. Thanks for being there with your blog to help us.

  • Joaniez

    Hi, my biggest problem is I have so much stuff when I go into my sewing room I am so overwhelmed that I can’t even begin a project until I organize my stuff. Now I have no more room to put anything else away and I have no room to work. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • Paule-Marie

    My biggest problem area is the whole room. I am the slowest organizer in the universe and since the whole house needs to be organized, my room/studio is looking to be the last one to be done/ Oh well, one step at a time.

  • Carolyn

    I don’t have a sewing studio, but will be setting one up within the month. Right now my machines are in my country kitchen, while my supplies are in the guest bedroom and my fabrics are in what will be my sewing studio. I spend more time “looking for things” and can’t wait to organize my studio!!

  • Elaine

    Working out of a bedroom that my college daughter uses every summer. Don’t know what to do with stabilizers. Tried a basket but I guess it wasn’t tall enough as everything keeps falling over. What to do with smaller pieces of stabilizers that you want to keep. How to organize hoops? Thread is in containers but fabric is everywhere. I need help!!!

  • Chris

    My biggest issue is other people giving me fabric that I will never use! I have tons of decorating fabric and won’t use it. I have jersey knits that are nice but I don’t sew clothes. I have no where to donate them and they just pile up.

    • Penny Kitzmiller

      I would be willing to pay postage if you could spare some for me? I could use any that you don’t need.

      • gma pamela

        Let me know what you need–“inheritated” a lot of stuff when a friend passed & MUST download!!!(SOON!)

  • edna watkins

    The contents of my craft room are currently all in my living room and dining room. Emptied out the room a month ago and don’t know where to start putting stuff back. Seriously i found 150+ marking tools. If i don’t win i will buy the book. Love you girls.

  • Nancy Harris

    Chris, you might donate the extra fabric you are given to a worthy cause. There are groups all over the US that take donated fabric and makes clothes or take the fabric to areas where they are teaching people how to sew. I saw a show not too long ago on Sewing with Nancy of a lady that goes to a foreign country and does this. Nancy Zieman might be able to put you in touch with her.


  • Karen T

    Not enough room, bad lighting and evidently growing up my mother’s mantra, if you got it out-put it back did not adhere to my brain cells!

  • Jane Ruhl

    My cutting table is always covered with stuff. It is the biggest horizontal surface in the room, and that’s where everything goes when I don’t don’t where else to put it. I work mostly n doll clothes, so I usually don’t need much cutting space. But I have put off starting a quilt project because I know I will have to clean it off.

  • Patty

    My biggest problem is that organizing this area is OVERWHELMING right now! My sewing room is also my scrap booking room and computer/office! Help!

  • cheryl

    I was wondering what type of commercial embroidery machine you like to use?

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    I don’t know how to even start this but I have a huge problem! I just had a sewing room built for me. The problem is that every one of my sewing machines and every bit of my supplies has just been thrown in there. I don’t know where to start in organizing it. I need help so bad. I stay depressed because I can’t get anything started much less done. I ask that everyone reading this please say a prayer for me. I miss sewing and the joy of making pretty things really bad.

    • Patty Gaugler

      Here is what has helped me, free emails from Flylady. You can google & find the site, and become a member. She sends daily pep talks and tasks. She encourages me to be the best I can, set up simple routines, and be proud of what I accomplish in small segments. To give up wanting perfection, and make progress, steady progress. She understands not knowing where to start, says to jump in now and do something. Please look her up, see the books, blogs, etc.

  • Cy S

    We recently made a move from Fl. to Texas and though I now have a dedicated sewing room it is still not as organized as I (and my husband) would like. There are so many things in a “for now” spot. I would truly like to be organized so that I could in a moment, with out doubt, put my hands on the needed tool/supply.
    I think your book would be a great help.

  • Betty

    SPACE,STUFF,STASH,SEARCHING!!We all seem to have these same problems.
    I decided 2 yrs ago to reduce my fabric piles and buy only if I can’t use what I already have. I took last week to organize my fabric: folded every piece over my cutting ruler, folding so all fabric is same size. What a difference! I can see most of my fabric now on shelves in a closet (no doors, just shelves)
    Larger pieces, bulky: knits, linen, fancy fabrics are stored on floor of closet in lrg. clear plastic bins. Small pieces I couldn’t throw out are bagged for “pot holders, etc” or by color as I like to applique. I need help with stabilzers, thread and lighting. My emb. hoops are stored with “command” hooks in the knee area…very handy and don’t get in the way.

    • Sue Ewing

      I store my embroidery thread in those plastic rolling units. I got two large collections and they fill two units. I store by color number but I know of those who store by color type. It’s your choice.

  • Benie Webre

    Right now my sewing room is a disaster. Every horizontal surface is covered. I’m constantly trying to organize my stashes but it is a losing battle. I have way too much stuff.

  • Janet Matteson

    My biggest problem is cluttering up the studio tables beside the machines and one end of my cutting
    tables and then putting things under and beside my tables on the floor. I get going on too many projects
    at same time. I should have no excuses because I acquired my dad’s beautiful brick home next to mine after he passed. I turned whole house into a sewing, embroidery and quilting studio as my hobby and love it. One room is quilt room with longarm 14 ft frame and chrome storage racks that store bolts of fabrics and big clear storage boxes for organizing like things. The Lv & DR areas have koala cabinets one of which holds 2 embroidery machines & serger and another with a new Pfaff CV Pro and on a separate cabinet is a 10 needle Babylock embr machine. I keep thread in 2 Madeira thread chests, spool rack on wall above storage cabinet that holds many types of thread in thread boxes plus I use a Keurig pod revolving rack for RA threads and an antique Coats
    & Clark’s large thread chest that came from an old dry goods store of years past. Thus with the space I have ther is room for improvement on organization and arrangement of my space

    • eileenroche

      Janet-your space sounds heavenly!

    • gma pamela


  • usairdoll

    I guess my biggest issue is not having enough storage items. I’m also not sure how to organize what I do have. I have tools/fabric/ufos etc. in boxes and sacks and would love to have my items out so I can see what I have and it’s easy to find. Thanks for the great ideas!

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  • Terry B

    Space constraints & keeping it organized are a problem but I deal with it. Maybe when my kids are grown and on their own I can renovate to get a larger space.

  • Sue R

    My biggest clutter area is usually my working area – take my embroidery thread out and don’t put it away if I plan on doing more designs and the same goes for my stabilizers. The other is not having enough storage. I get very frustrated knowing I have something either a tool, fabric or pattern and not being able to find it. I made a promise to myself to get organized and keep it that way since my “studio” is also a part time business for me. I will sometimes avoid going in my room just because it is so much work sometimes to do one project just gathering the supplies. I will be definitely buying this book if I don’t win. The bonus is it is written by fellow embroiderers who know what is important and how it works 🙂 Thanks for the chance

  • Debe

    Cutting table , big time!!! It is full of projects to be finished & then when I go to cut anything I have to take time to clean it or it often gets put on the floor (Not a good solution). I put things away, but then dig them back out as “I’m going to finish them” but then they get left behind for other projects.

  • Kathy Schmidt

    Almost every area of my sewing space is a problem area that I really need to get organized…..but the worst is of course my cutting/hooping table…I REALLY NEED HELP and this book would be a great help…love the magazine, blog & website…Please continue to do the great things you do.

  • Terry Senko

    My problem is that I don’t have a dedicated area for sewing & embroidery. The machine has to be set up on the dining room table. Ironing board in the hallway. Tools are mostly in storage boxes in the office. Fabric in boxes in the guest room. Thread, stablizer stashed in whatever nooks and crannies I can find. I quilt as well as embroider so I have a lot of stuff and it’s all scattered throughout the house.

  • Maggie McHugh

    Horizontal surfaces call to me!! Their beautiful emptiness begs me to ‘just set it here for a moment’! And the rest is history… I feel better reading through everyone’s comments and realizing that I am not alone in this affliction. I have been blessed with the sewing studio of my dreams and still I let it get cluttered 🙁 Your idea of just tackling one little area while my machine is doing its magic is a great goal. Can’t wait to get the book for further inspiration.
    P.S. If you make a house call to Rhonda(see above), please hop over the Cascades to my side of the mountain!!

  • Gale Cooley

    As a beginning machine embroiderer my frustration in organization comes from not knowing how to group my fabrics and stabilizers aw well as how to store them. I put regular thread in a shoe organizer on the back of the door and my embroidery thread on a thread holder but I have run out of room on it. Sometimes it seems hopeless because of not knowing the tools needed as well as what needs to go together.



  • jo shedd

    My problem is me! Can’t reduce my stuff and can’t organize it. Need to take advice given here and declutter and downsize. Need your book, is what I’m thinking.

  • april

    My biggest problem is the counter tops. Easy to just dump stuff on and hard to find a place to put it away.

    I will use your suggestion of putting things away when the machine is stitching.


  • Marsha N.

    My biggest problem is that I work on several projects at once. A skirt needs a zipper, 3 quilts need finishing and three embroidered wall hanging are half through. I need help!

  • Kathy Prather

    Thread! I love thread!! I use mostly Madeira but also have a large selection of Robinson-Anton Poly. I have a Madeira treasure chest, but most of my thread from it is gone and the replacements I have bought are the mini-king and don’t fit the chest. So I have bought thread cases(4). I have a bunch of the Robinson-Anton on a rack on the wall. The problem is I can’t figure out how to arrange all my thread so I can see what colors I have, what their name is or their number. I spend so much time trying to find what color I want that it gets tiring just looking for thread!

  • Cindy Amend

    I have a crafting/sewing room and I have to say, the floor and my cutting table are my biggest trouble spots. I hate throwing away my scraps because I know that “I will use them someday”. It is a never ending struggle to keep those areas clean.

  • Marian

    My biggest problem area is lack of storage for quilts that are waiting to go on the longarm, both my customers and mine. The other area is good storage for all my threads that are not out in the open. Living in a dry climate I need to keep moist cotton balls in the drawers so the thread breakage is not from dry thread. The other area is not having proper chairs and tables to put the machines on or in. I have 4 machine work areas in the studio, serger, embroidery/sewing machine, sewing machine and the hog of space the 14 foot longarm. I just did some tweaking and it is better.

  • Vicki Wishin

    My greatest challenge is how to create storage and organization in a room that is also a bedroom with a queen size bed and a tall dresser. I use a long folding table to hoop, iron, and cut. I have an old desk that holds my embroidery machine, along with my assorted tools, seam reaper, rotary cutters, scissors, etc. I have a folding table/tray that holds my laptop when I embroider. I work full time as well so it is difficult to make myself spend time organizing when I really just want to spend time learning new things with my embroidery machine.

  • kathy mohammed

    You are all so lucky to have a dedicated area. I have never had one. I will be purchasing your book to see if there is any room for improvements .

  • Rosemary W

    After 30 years I finally had a room in my home I could use for relaxing and reading and hopefully sewing. I’m brand new to sewing and received a beautiful Janome embroidery sewing machine for an anniversary gift. Things changed and my room is a bedroom for a family member so I have a corner in my laundry room. I need to learn what supplies I need and how to get organized from scratch.

  • Jill

    My husband for Christmas gift to me is to redo our oldest daughter’s bedroom into my sewing/scrapbooking room. She has a daughter I watch 2-3 days a week and am overwhelmed with trying to organize fabric, ribbons, buttons, you name it – I have it but am paralyzed due to no organization to get much done. I am dreaming of trying to have an area where she can be with me while I sew and embroider for her and others! HELP! I am thankful for this gift but overwhelmed by all the offerings on pinterest and elsewhere. Would LOVE to win this book from such successful sisters as family is everything to me! Thank you for all your suggestions!


    My biggest issue is space in my sewing room. I took over my son’s bedroom wich is 12 x 12. i also have a t shirt printer in this same room with heat press (stays unplugged when not in use). I have my PR600, Baby Lock Ese2 (i use for sewing only) and my Bably Lock imagine serger. I need proper cabinets for dual machines with storage. I like my machines in front of my large window for natural light.

  • Teginder Ravi

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.

    I will remember to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from now on.
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  • sue

    I love to sew

  • Deana Full

    I think my biggest issues seems to be my family thinks my sewing room is the catchall for everything that was cleaned up in another room, storage for vacuums, add to that the fabric and unfinished projects, an iron press, and all the other sewing/embroidery necessities and we have disaster! I have pegboard on the walls for tools and stabilizer as well as thread. One wall is nothing but pegboard with the large thread stands on them, I think there are like 9 of them, all full!. I have two table spaces for machines and have to move the current machine to change out if I want to do something different. ( small embroidery machine or sewing only moved for the overlock, or each other! I have a cabinet, and small dresser that are full, the closet has all my books and most of my fabric, but still have stuff downstairs! Would really like to have room for useable desk, (have a roll top desk that is also full of stuff!!!) as well as a computer and printer. I have a quilt cutter 2 that I love but can’t use as it’s all too piled up! HELP, a larger room is not possible as I would only be able to move downstairs and that’s not an option since I can’t do the stairs that often!!!

  • sharon easdale

    I would love to purchase this book but I live in Australia. Is it available in Australia and if so, who is the distributor.

  • Penny

    out of sight – out of mind

    Once I can’t see the stuff, I forget it’s there and I end up buy duplicate items.

    I have fabric overflowing the closet and shelves.

    My room is also a guest room with lots of storage units and drawer space.

  • Sue Pavlick

    My “scrap heap” is my biggest trouble spot – I can’t bear to throw away anything but the smallest pieces of scrap. I always think I’ll use those little pieces for applique or making scrape squares but boy do they pile up! Keeping the scraps organized and available is a real challenge.

  • Jerri McElyea

    I am in the process of building a new sewing/craft/office room. I have found fantastic ideas on Pinterest- sewing rooms and craft rooms. I plan to put some of these ideas to use. I hope I can keep my “stuff” in better order!!!

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  • Anne Hopkirk


    I’m new to blogging, so forgive me if I’m not doing this correctly.

    My biggest problem is small pieces of fabric – lots of them. I love machine applique & embroidery and make quilts using these techniques – especially baby quilts. So I hate throwing out any piece of fabric – if it is bigger than a postage stamp, then I’m sure I’ll find a use for it at some point in the future – LOL. Recognise the symptoms – it is definitely an addiction and I haven’t found any Fabrics Anonymous so far!

    But I’ve had a brainwave – I’m going to make several quilted fabric ‘baskets’ and on each one I will put a crazy quilt block using the shades of the colours in that basket. So, I will have a reds/oranges one, a yellow/green one, a blue/purple one. If one overflows, I can always create a new one, separating out the colours into 2 or more new baskets. These will sit on the new shelving which my husband doesn’t yet know he’ll be putting up in my new sewing room when we move house in the spring. The Crazy quilt block will let me see which basket my scraps should go into.

    So, this should get rid of several scraps and a fair amount of the heavy weight calico that I knew would come in handy some day!!

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