Monday, January 27, 2014

Organize your Sewing Space - Week 5

Welcome to week 5 of the Organize your Sewing Space blog series. Let's start with thread. How do you store your thread? There are lots of different thread racks out there, from spinning thread trees, to racks that are built into drawers.

BONUS TIP: if your drawers are deep enough you could make your own drawer rack by cutting a peg board to the inside size of the drawer, putting wooden dowels on the peg board. Lay the peg board flat in your drawer and put the spools on it.

My thread is organized by color on June Tailor thread racks that are mounted to the wall.
Organize your thread
Most of my thread is embroidery thread, I keep all of my bobbin thread at the bottom of the rack, and my quilting thread is on another level of the rack (separated from the embroidery thread). Each and every spool of thread is wrapped with the Amazing Tape that I talked about in week two.

You'll notice from the photo that I also keep some of my wound bobbins on this rack as well. These bobbins are the ones that are filled with quilting thread. My wound embroidery bobbins are kept in one of those bobbin saver rings. Since embroidery bobbin is a different thread weight than quilting thread I don't want to accidentally mix the two up and grab the wrong bobbin.
Storing your bobbins
BONUS TIP: The bobbin saver rings come in different colors. So, you can store your embroidery bobbins in one colored ring, and your quilting bobbins in another colored ring.

Regardless of how you store your threads and wound bobbins, be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight so that they do not fade. To keep them from drying out and becoming brittle, do not store them directly next to a heating or AC vent.

Next, let's talk about dull, and broken needles. As well as bent pins. You need to safely dispose of them so that you or the garbage man don't cut yourselves from pins and needles that are sticking out of the trash bag. I put mine in an old film canister.
Disposing of broken needles
Empty pill bottles, spice containers, and even those portable plastic drink mix containers work great for this purpose. Once they are full, simple put the cap on and toss in the trash.

BONUS TIP: Prefer to recycle those plastic pill bottles? Well, then once they are full, you can transfer the old needles and pins into a padded envelope. Seal the envelope and put it in the trash. Another option is the wrap the broken/dull/bent needles and pins with duct tape or masking tape. Be sure that all the sharp parts are covered, and discard in the trash. Tape and padded envelopes are also good solutions for disposing of old rotary blades.

Do you like to save the selvage edges from your fabrics? (I do!! I do!!) Store them in an old mason jar! It adds a decorative touch to your room. I even keep old thread in a jar. What can I say..I like the pretty colors and I love how the two jars look in my studio.
Pretty selvage edges

I also collect vintage thread spools...and I use those to decorate my sewing studio as well. I have a little corner dedicated to my vintage thread spools and my favorite Disney Character - Figment! Your sewing space should be filled with things that make you happy. Fabric, thread and fun!
My Vintage thread spool collection
This display always makes me smile.

One final tip - everyone should be able to have a cutting table. You don't have to spend $100's of dollars to get one either. My table is made up of two inexpensive book cases from Wally world and a piece of wood that we had laying around after a construction project. Most home improvement stores will cut a sheet of wood down to size for you. Don't be afraid to ask them to cut it for you, I believe they even do it for free (but don't quote me on that. It's been a while since I've had anything cut and it's possible they changed their pricing policy). Top off your cutting table with one of those giant cutting mats and you are good to go! Seriously, the cutting mat will probably be the most expensive part of the entire project.

Well that's it for this round of organizational tips. I've really enjoyed writing this series, and I hope that you found it usefull and that your sewing spaces are now an oraganized area of creativity.

Happy Sewing!
-Kat  :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Organize your Sewing Space - Week 4

I can't believe it's already week 4 of the 'Organize your Sewing Space' blog series. January is flying by. I'm sure your spaces are starting to look very spiffy. This week is all about storing your quilting rulers and embroidery hoops.

Let's start with all those quilting rulers. There are lots of different ways to store your quilting rulers including, slotted ruler holders and ruler racks that can be found online or in various quilt shops. Other options include the following:
*Clip them together with a binder clip and hang the clip from a peg board. You can also use shower and curtain rings or key rings through the hole at the top to hang them.
*Install hooks on the sides of tables, or book cases, and hang rulers from there.
*Hang them from a towel rack or a wire shelf.
*Rulers, can be stored flat on shelves, or tucked into drawers.
*Put them in magazine racks.
*I store the rulers that I use the most in a mail sorter/desk organizer.
Storing Quilt Rulers
 My other rulers get pinned up to my cork board, using tacks. I put one tack through the hole at the top of the ruler, and then add other tacks around the sides to secure the rulers in place.
Storing Quilt Rulers

Next let's talk about embroidery hoops. Embroidery hoops can also be stored in fancy holders that can be found online. My hoops are constantly in use and don't really spend much time in storage, so mine mostly live either on the table in my hooping station or on a shelf under my cutting table. But here are some other ways that you can store your hoops:
*Attach coat hooks or 3M hooks to the walls, or sides of tables, desks, or book cases and hang them from the hooks. 
*Store them in magazine racks.
*Hang them on a peg board.
*Hang them from over the door hangers (a.k.a. Christmas wreath hooks)
Machine Embroidery Hoop Storage

*Store them on 'S' hooks and hang from a wire shelf or towel bar.
Machine Embroidery Hoop Storage

*Remember that mail sorter/desk organizer from above? Well guess what? It's perfect for embroidery hoops as well!
Machine Embroidery Hoop Storage

*Have extra purse hooks? You know those things that are meant to keep your handbag off the floor at restaurants?
Machine Embroidery Hoop Storage

 You can hang your hoops from those as well!
Machine Embroidery Hoop Storage
Purse hooks can even be hung on the sides of bookcases.Machine Embroidery Hoop Storage

One more thing before I wrap up this post...did you notice those foam cushion thingies on my hoops? Those are Comfort Grips by Creative Notions.

I put them on all my hoops, and on my mother-in-law's hoops as well. I no longer have pain in my thumb when tightening hoops. They make it so much easier to grab onto the screw, that I can't imagine not using them. I will say this though..they do tear easily when you put them onto the screw..so be careful when you 'install' them. 
Comfort Grips
The tear in one of my comfort grips.
 Even with the tear, the grip still works great, and the package comes with multiple grips in it. So if you rip one to the point that it won't stay on, you can just toss it and grab another one.

That's all for this week. See you next week with more organizing tips!
-Kat  :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Organize your sewing space - Week 3

Hi everyone! It's week 3 of organize your sewing space..and today I'm going to talk about storing your embroidery stabilizers.

There are lots of different ways to store rolls of stabilizers. I've seen people place them in wine racks, on paper towel holders, in kitchen wrap organizers or just on a shelf. I personally keep mine in a cabinet. I removed the shelf from the cabinet and they are all standing upright.

Note: water soluble stabilizers should be kept inside a zipped baggie, so that moisture can not get in. The last thing you want is to have your stabilizer get wet and disintegrate or stick to itself. You also don't want it to get dry and brittle so it shouldn't be stored in direct sunlight either.
Storeing Stabilizers

No matter where you choose to store them, the important thing is that you keep your stabilizer rolls from unraveling once you've opened the package. You don't want your stabilizers to come off the roll and get wrinkled. You also want to save the label so that once opened you know which stabilizer is which. It can be hard to tell them apart at a quick glance when you have multiple rolls in your stash.

Here are some ways to keep those stabilizers rolled up tight and labelled.

#1: Save the label, and use a rubber band to keep it on the roll. This also keeps the roll from unraveling. I've also use hair scrunchies.
Storeing Stabilizers

#2: For wider rolls of stabilizer, I twist together a few pipe cleaners, and wrap them around the roll. Once again I include the original label from the packaging.

#3: Remember slap bracelets?
Storing Stabilizers
Slap bracelets were sooo much fun when I was in 8th grade.
Well, they too will fit around a roll of stabilizer, and they work great for the purpose of keeping the label with your stabilizer, and stopping it from unraveling. Not to mention, that they are just fun to play with.

#4: This one is my favorite....Amazing Tape. If you don't have a roll of this stuff, I recommend you pick one up. It's clear and it sticks to itself, but it's not sticky. And you can use it over and over again. Not only do I use this to keep my stabilizers rolled up, but I also wrap it around my spools of thread. All my thread stays nice and neat and I don't loose any thread because it came unraveled in storage. Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this tape. In my house, we refer to it as MAGIC Tape. You can write on the Amazing Tape as well, so break out those permanent markers and label all of your stabilizers.
Storeing Stablizers


If you've lost the original label and you can't remember if a roll is tear away or cut-way, simply try to tear a corner of the stabilizer. If it rips, it's tear away. If it's doesn't rip then it's cut-way. If one side of the stabilizer is shiny, like it has a layer of dried glue on it, then that's fusible stabilizer. Clear, plastic-like stabilizer is water soluble (although water soluble also comes in a fibrous format now as well, and those are usually white in color. When in doubt..cut off a tiny corner and run it under water. If it 'melts' away..it's water soluble.)

That's a wrap for this week. Get it? A 'wrap'. Ha Ha Ha
I'll be back next week with more tips, including tips on storing quilting rulers, and embroidery hoops.

Have a great week!
- Kat  :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Organizational Tips - Week 2


Hey everyone...welcome to week 2 of tips on keeping your sewing space organized. This week I'm going to talk about storing fabric.

Fabric should be stored in a way that keeps dust off of it. Lot's of people store their fabric in plastic bins. I tried that for a while, but it didn't work for me. I wanted to be able to see what fabric I had at a glance. I hated digging through the bins. So, I decided to store my fabric inside a china hutch. DH bought me one off of Craig's list. We paid $100 for it, and it's worth every cent.
Storing Fabric
My china cabinet of fabric goodness.
Not only is my fabric dust free, but it's sorted by color and it's the focal point of the room. I love walking into my studio and seeing the fabric. Fabric makes me happy, so why would I want it to be hidden?

Another option is to store fabric on book shelves or in cubbies. It's still visible this way, and the overhang of the shelves, help keep dust off the fabric.

I wanted to store my fabric standing up, like in a quilt shop. But since I don't have lots of empty mini bolts to wrap the fabric around, this meant I had to come up with an alternative method. So I made my own storage cards to wrap the fabric around.
Fabric card

To make the cards you will need the following supplies:
Storage card supplies

Cardboard, pencil, cutting knife, scissors.

Step one: Place your cardboard vertically onto of a cutting mat, and using the ruler, measure in one inch from the top and bottom ends (the shorter ends) and mark a one inch high line. Do this to all four corners.
fabric storage card tutorial
One inch from the shorter ends of the cardboard

fabric storage card tutorial
Next you will connect the lines.

Step two: Connect the lines. Do this on both sides of the cardboard.
Do this on both sides of the cardboard.



Step three: Using scissors cut out the part that I've scribbles on (see photo). You will be left with a capital letter 'I'.
Do this on both sides.

Step 4: Draw a zig zag line down the center of the cardboard. Do not go all the way from the top to the bottom. Stay about an inch away from the top and an inch away from the bottom. Using the knife, cut the zig zag line.

fabric storage card tutorial
Draw a zig zag line and cut it out.
You now have what I like to call 'monster teeth'. The teeth will hold the fabric in place. The card is finished and ready to hold your fabric.
fabric storage card tutorial
Grrrrrr Monster teeth

Step 5: Fold fabric so that the width fits the inside of the 'I' (see photo). Lay your finished card on top of the fabric. Tuck one end of the fabric into the teeth, and then wrap the fabric around the card.
fabric storage card tutorial
Tuck fabric end into the teeth.

fabric storage card tutorial
Ta-Dah!! Prettily folded fabric.

Step 6: Put fabric onto shelf, and admire it's beauty.
fabric storage card tutorial
Glorious Fabric!

That's all for this week. Come back next week for tips on storing your embroidery stabilizers.

Happy Fabric Folding!!
- Kat  :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Organizational Tips - Week 1


Welcome to week 1 of tips on organizing your sewing space. Like many of you, my sewing studio gets very messy as I work on projects. I clean up in between projects, but I also like to be organized during each project. Otherwise it just gets too stressful trying to find my supplies when I need them. I'm going to share some of the ways I keep my studio organized with you over the next five weeks. Here are this week's tips.

Tip #1: Have a permanent home for notions. For example all of my pins go on a certain shelf. Once I'm done with the pins they go back on their shelf. That way, the next time I need to use the pins, I know exactly there to find them.

Tip #2: Store your scissors in a silverware caddy. I store mine in a summer time caddy that I bought a Wally World. I keep my rotary cutter and extra blades in there too!
Scirror storage
Store Scissors in Silverware Caddy
Not only is it bright and colorful, but it's also portable. So, I can carry the caddy around my studio with me from hooping table, to cutting table, to my sewing machine and all of my scissors are in one spot, and they are always with me. No more searching under piles of fabric to find them.

Tip #3: Store buttons and hot fix crystals in a nuts and bolts container. It has individual pull out drawers and can even be mounted to a wall. I bought mine at a local hardware store.
Button Storage
I like to sort and store my buttons by color.

Button Storage
You can also store hot fix crystals and other small items in the drawers.


That's all of the tips for this week. Sorting buttons should keep you busy for a few days :)
Come back next week for tips on storing fabric.

Happy sorting!
-Kat

About Me

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Welcome to Calico Cali Designs! I’m Kat, digitizer and sewing enthusiast. I learned how to digitize in 2010 from master digitizer Walter Floriani…it was an amazing experience. Soon instead of spending my time sewing, quilting and stitching out other people’s embroidery designs, I was sewing, quilting and stitching out my own embroidery designs. I created this blog, not only as a place to share my embroidery designs, but also as a place to share all the things I make, sew, paint, embroider, and create. You’ll see posts about my life, my studio, patterns I’ve sewn and products I’ve tested. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. Follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/calicocalidsgns . Hugs!! – Kat

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