Sew Great to be Organised - Spotlight on Notions

Feb 2023

Let's store the notions that you accumulate along your sewing journey...


Welcome back to another in the Sew Great to be Organised series.

If you'd like to see where I started, head here to read about why I'm focusing on a sewing space sort out.

Let's talk notion storage today!

If you're new-ish to sewing, then you might not be familiar with the word notions.

We're not talking about ideas in your head ... notions are all the small paraphernalia that accompanies sewing, like scissors, pins and thread.

Whether you love them, hate them, or are indifferent to them, notions are one of the things that accumulate as you sew, almost without even trying.

And that brings with it the problem of where you’re going to store them all.

Choose a Method

Some people approach storage from a purely practical point of view. They just want a solution which doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to work.

Other people love storage for for storage sake, and everything needs to be arranged in perfectly neat rows in rainbow colours. They like to keep everything on display and make décor out of their notions, practicality be blowed!

But it you're thoughtful about this, you can find a balance between the two!

I take both a practical and a pretty approach quite appealing to be honest, but reality for me is that I don’t have the time or the budget to ‘prettify’ everything. I’m a work in progress, somewhere in between these two, and you might be too …

I do believe you can organise your notions effectively on a budget, and still enjoy the form and colour that they bring to your space.

Your options also depend on the space that you have, how much you have to store and how much you have to spend.

I’m currently on a quest for a happy mix of the two. I want a modern and clean space, with a few touches of the sentimental and favourite kind. I don’t want much clutter around that I need to spend time cleaning so 'm not going to display everything, but I don't want a stark space that lacks character.

So, come take a peek into my space and see how my notions are stored.

How I store My Most Used Notions

I do believe you can organise your notions effectively, and still enjoy the form and colour that they bring to your space.

I'm not going to display everything I own, but I don't want a stark space that lacks character.

I’ve been using this tiered stand from Ikea to hold my pens, rotary cutters, and scissors on the table in front of my cutting mat for a few years now. - ikea tiered tray

It’s been great for when I’m sewing and writing patterns, as I can grab everything fast and put it back just as fast.

It just needed a rethink and refresh to work its best for me again.

This week I went through the contents and culled the excess pens and scissors from the top tier. I also switched around the lower tier with some practical items like my tape measure and notepaper and some purely special items like my tins which are mainly just there for cute.

Sewing needles, clips and trims

I keep all my sewing needles, clips and paraphernalia in my Ikea drawers.

The top drawer has a divided insert where I’ve stowed everything in its own compartment. It works a treat, and I can see what I’ve got and what I’m running low on.

I keep my ribbons, laces and other trim in a large glass jar I picked up at the thrift shop. It’s perfect to see exactly what I’ve got, and very pretty to look at too.

Thread Organisation Tips

So now we move over to the next notional theme I’m focusing on…my thread! - great wall of thread

When we began the first serious fit out of my studio, I really wanted to put my thread on display.

I loved all the pretty pictures of thread displayed on the walls of studios and I was determined to have one too, so we built a serious pegboard to mount it all on and I had great fun decorating it.

After nearly 30 years of dressmaking, sewing and quilting I have accumulated a lot of thread.

I have a lot of colours and I still use a wide range of colours for top stitching and quilting. This is actually only a fraction of it. I have double ups, overlocker thread, embroidery cones etc. in another container. - DIY thread system

I was so determined to have it on display that I ignored all the common sense rules (and my mum in my head) that I already knew: keep your thread covered so it stays dust free and doesn’t fade from light damage.

After several years now of having it on the wall, I’ve decided enough is enough.

Practicality wise this wall has worked well as it’s so easy to grab when I need it. - pegboard thread system

But now it’s time to put it all away. My promises to myself to dust it regularly haven’t eventuated, and I can see that it’s not staying in good condition.

It was time to implement a system that was easy to use but kinder on my thread, so I re-purposed the pegboard on the wall into this super convenient drawer system.

It’s my favourite hack yet!

I can just open the drawer, see exactly what colour I need, grab it, and put it back again when I’m done. No more dust or fading. You can make this same storage system following this tutorial.

If you’re just wanting something fast and practical for a burgeoning collection of thread why not save old biscuit tins, plastic containers or baskets. You don’t have to go out and buy something special or spend much at all.

Group your thread in ways that make sense to you and label the containers so you can find what you want easily.

When you feel you are ready for some more serious thread storage, I really like this buildable system which has several options.

If you're like me, you would rather buy fabric than storage any day, but investing in thoughtful storage over time will save you money in the long run and you will thank your younger self!

I love getting a peek into sewist’s spaces and seeing the different approaches they have at storing their stuff.

One of my all time favourites is Kimberley from Sweet Red Poppy for all the eye candy she always has!

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