How to Organize Your Sewing Room on a Budget (or in a Tight Space!)

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had large quilting studios with plenty of space for cutting, designing, ironing, fabric storage, and multiple sewing machines? Yes, that would be ideal, but it just isn’t the reality for most of us. The truth is, many sewists are squeezing their hobby into tight spaces and we’re here to help you fit everything you love about quilting into whatever space you have to make creating a pleasure again.

Back to Basics

When you think about it, all you really need to sew is a place to set your machine and work with fabric. A sewing machine isn’t that big in and of itself. It could comfortably fit on a side table or a portion of your dining room table. If you’re struggling for cutting and ironing space, think about converting a folding tray table into a temporary cutting and pressing table that you can fold away when you’re through. You can even use a sturdy ironing board with a mat on top for cutting—and it’s height adjustable! As for supplies, they can be packed up into a tote with a handle that you can pick up and put away when you are finished sewing.

Stash Storage

Finding space for a sewing machine is just the beginning. Quilters all know that maintaining a small (or large) fabric stash is key—it can be a source of inspiration, but it can also be a headache to manage all that fabric. So, where to start? Pull out every box and bin and literally gather up every piece of fabric you own. Make a HUGE pile! Once you’ve done that, the magic begins.

Organize your fabric stash
  1. Sort your pile of fabric into three categories: keep, donate, or sell. This can be tough for many of us who love every piece of fabric that comes our way, but if we’re honest with ourselves, there is fabric in our stash that will never be used and it can be used by someone else.
  2. Once you’ve whittled down your stash a bit, take the time to fold it neatly and store it once more. Chances are, you’ve already cleared up some space. Way to go!
  3. When you go to put your fabric away again, consider how you like to access it and display it. Maybe you have a shelf for pretty precuts that you like to look at or deep bins for larger cuts. Be wise as you put your fabric away so you can easily access it later on.

Tips for Fabric Storage in Small Spaces

Below, you’ll find top storage tips from four of our favorite quilters. Of course, Jenny and Misty pitched in their favorite tips as well as our senior copywriter, Nichole, and our educational producer, Liz!

Try a Dresser “I can fit tons of fabric and notions in my drawers without worrying about shelves getting messy. My dresser also doubles as my cutting table.” -Liz

Keep It Visible “I keep scraps of the same color in clear bins so I can see what fabrics I have and use them up.” -Nichole

Hang It Up Larger cuts of fabric or panels can be hung up in the closet on hangers for easy access later on.

Organize your sewing room

File It Away Put an old filing cabinet to use for more than old papers and fold your fabric so that it drapes neatly over the empty paper files. When you open up the drawers, you’ll be treated to an organized fabric stash!

Shelve It Utilize shelf space for fabrics by either folding them up neatly and stacking them, or you can cut down pieces of cardboard and wrap fabric around the cardboard like mini bolts that can be stored vertically on the shelf like books.

Organize by Project “I don’t have a lot of stash to organize, but I do have fabric with specific projects in mind. I have quite a few clear project bins that I use to keep all the needed fabric for each project together. It makes it easy to clean up and store when I want to work on something different for a little while. They’re only a few inches deep and about 12″ square, so they’re easy to stack up and store, but I can still tell quickly what’s in each bin.” -Misty

Notions Storage

Sewing notions may be small, but they sure can pile up, too! Before you go to organize your notions, do a similar kind of whittling down like you did with your fabric. It’s easy to keep doubles and even triples of everything as quilters and those items may just be taking up space. Take a look at all your notions and decide what to keep or donate and then move on to setting up your space for success. 

Because notions are easy to lose track of, it’s important to organize them in a way that is visually appealing and accessible. You know those neat peg boards that have been used as garage organization for tools? Why not use them for sewing! Storing notions vertically opens up space on your sewing table. You can also hang a couple shelves over your sewing table and arrange your notions up above your workstation to keep your table clear.

Notions Organization and Storage

Jenny’s sewing studio is packed with everything she could need to create her next project and she says, “I like drawers for thread and rulers, although I prefer a hanging pegboard rack for the rulers I use often. I also like containers that are decorative and useful.” Like our cute little thimble containers! We just can’t get enough.

And don’t forget about pins! Jenny always says, “You can’t have too many pin cushions and we agree.” Liz mentioned that she likes to keep, “several pin cushions and put different kinds of pins in each—keeping them organized and being able to grab a whole pile of the ‘right’ ones for whatever I’m working on.” What a great idea!

Finally, when you’re organizing your workspace, think of the overall layout and how everything works together. If it’s a tight space, you may not have to walk far to your pressing station from your sewing machine, but do you prefer it on the right or on the left? Or are you always tripping over the iron cord? Keep these considerations in mind when setting up your space so that you’ll always feel comfortable and your creativity will flow easily. Another great tip from Liz is, “Think about laying out your ‘golden triangle’ of workspace. You can learn all about this on home improvement shows about kitchen layouts with an oven/sink/fridge, except our golden triangle of sewing is cut/press/sew—make that layout work for you and you’ll love even a tiny space!” Wise words indeed.

No matter what size space you sew in, you can make it work for you with some careful consideration about your fabric stash, sewing supplies, and overall layout. Share your beautifully organized sewing spaces with us at #msqcshowandtell. We can’t wait to see what you’ve done with the place!

DISCOVER ORGANIZATION AND STORAGE SOLUTIONS >

Year in Review – A look at 2020 with Missouri Star

As we look back over the past twelve months, we’re simply amazed! We were touched by the love from our followers, the support of our customers, the kind hearts of each and every one of our hardworking team members, and the selflessness within the quilting community. Despite this challenging year, we’ve been able to accomplish so much together.

Thanks to you, Missouri Star is celebrating yet another great year of quilting! It’s been filled with inspiring stories from quilters all around the world, brand new products created with you in mind, exciting tutorials that have inspired many, and some unforgettable, first-ever online events!

Let’s celebrate the end of 2020 by looking back on some of the good things that happened this year:

FACE MASKS

Wow, quilters! Thanks to your passion for sewing and your big hearts, you were able to play an important part in the fight against a global pandemic. Since March 1st of 2020 – 56,973 of you have purchased fabric from Missouri Star specifically to create masks to help keep your communities safe! That is amazing – thank you!

In the comments below, tell us about all the ways you were able to help your community this year! Here’s what we did for ours:

  • Close to 6,500 yards of fabric has been donated to area groups and non-profit organizations who are making masks for healthcare workers
  • We have donated 350 N95 masks to the local regional hospital and 2 local businesses who provide food delivery and cleaning services for our community
  • We provided tutorials for creating masks to keep you safe
DIY Face Masks

TOP TUTORIALS

Morning Star Quilt Tutorial

MORNING STAR

Jenny Doan demonstrates how to make a beautiful Morning Star quilt using 2.5″ strips of precut fabric (jelly rolls). This pretty star pattern was designed by Tara Faughnan for ModBLOCK. It’s an easier version of the old block known as Morning Star, Lone Star, or Star of the East.

WATCH TUTORIAL >

Jenny's Easy Carpenters Star

JENNY’S EASY CARPENTER STAR

Jenny teaches us how to make an easy version of the classic Carpenter Star using 10″ squares of precut fabric (layer cakes). This traditional quilt is often made with squares and diamonds, but Jenny uses half square triangles because they’re so quick and easy and don’t require y-seams!

WATCH TUTORIAL >


TOP MISSOURI STAR LIVES

Our First BLOCK Party

Together we celebrated BLOCK Magazine Vol. 7 Issue 4 with our very first BLOCK Party hosted by Jenny and Natalie!

WATCH BLOCK PARTY >

Zig Zag Placemat and Napkin Kit LIVE

Placemat & Napkin Kit

Back in January, you let us know loud and clear that you loved this fun tutorial. These pretty placemats make a sweet addition to your table!

WATCH TUTORIAL>


NEW SERIES! THE FINAL STITCH

We introduced a brand new tutorial series by Jenny’s daughter, Natalie, that’s a fresh take on finishing quilts. Follow along with her and get beautiful results every time!

SUBSCRIBE NOW >


THE NEW, IMPROVED BLOCK MAGAZINE!

BLOCK MAGAZINE

This year, the BLOCK team released a brand new design to BLOCK Magazine. New cover look, more educational content, more stories from our readers, and more!

Digital version of BLOCK Magazine

DIGITAL BLOCK

Each issue of BLOCK comes with an interactive digital version! It’s kind of hard to wait for each issue to arrive, so we wanted to give you an early treat.

SEE HOW IT WORKS >

Best of BLOCK

Best of BLOCK

We recently released our first-ever special edition of BLOCK Magazine. It’s a compilation of the last seven years with 25 of our favorite patterns and over 200 pages of quilt-y fun!

PRE-ORDER TODAY! >


SEW-ALONGS

This year we introduced two new sew-alongs to make quilting easier than ever. As you follow along, month by month or piece by piece, your quilt will take shape! By the end, you’ll have a lovely quilt that’s handmade by you!

ALL STARS BLOCK OF THE MONTH >

Jenny released her first-ever block of the month in February of this year. It contains 11 of her favorite star blocks from 11 of her favorite tutorials! Become an all star and join in on the fun in her Facebook group! >

INTO THE WOODS QUILT PATTERN >

Inspired by her children’s love for the outdoors and their adventurous personalities, Misty created a gorgeous quilt designed with them in mind! Get the pattern and join her Facebook group >


BIRTHDAY BASH – AT HOME

This year we celebrated Birthday Bash like never before! Thank you for stitching along with us for 12 wonderful years and joining the party from the comfort of home. It was an experience we’ll never forget! Relive the Best Moments >


DONATIONS

Thanks to your support, we were able to donate $10,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation! All through October, we fought breast cancer one stitch at a time by shopping pink! Learn more >

Project Linus is an organization that provides love, security, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or are just simply in need of a handmade blanket. As one of the many ways we’re trying to spread kindness this year, we chose Project Linus to receive a $5,000 donation from us at Missouri Star. Learn more >

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT TO MAKES THESE DONATIONS POSSIBLE!


GIVE LOVE

You are one of our biggest sources of inspiration! Although it’s been a tough year for many, you continue to show optimism and spread joy through all the kind things you do.

“I’m 11 years old. My Grandma taught me to sew. This is my very first quilt!  I used 10 squares. I had it quilted at Missouri Star. I Love my Grandma!  It was the best day. Ever. (It was my idea to have her embroider a Secret Santa for people to find.)”
– the grandson of Laurie S.

“For several years now I have been donating quilts to the Linus Project.  I get to be very creative and I try to think about the kids that will receive a quilt and make them more than just something to snuggle under…  I average about 10 quilts a year.”
– Wendy G.

“We are a small group of ladies that support needs of nursing homes… We have made over 60 fidget pads, over 30 clothing protectors, over 20 baby dolls with blankets, crocheted over 40 caps, covered over 40 Small pillows, for wheel chairs, 100s of masks… Love these ladies and their servant hearts!”
– Nancy D.

“I volunteer with the “Helping Hands” sewing group my church.  We make various items from donated fabric and yarn… lap quilts for first responders to give to children in trauma situations, bed quilts and kitchen goods for our missionary families, quilts for orphanages, and window curtains for loft houses our church builds for homeless families.”
– Cindy M.

Quilters, thank you for being an inspiration to us and the world. We look forward to seeing all the great things you’ll continue to do in the new year!

Happy quilting!

Take a Look Behind the Scenes of BLOCK Magazine and Join Us for a BLOCK Party TONIGHT! 🎉

BLOCK Magazine is an “idea book” designed, produced, and published by Missouri Star Quilt Co. As you flip through each glossy page you’ll find gorgeous photography, fun patterns, brilliant ideas, and one-of-a-kind stories! For seven years – hard work, creativity and pure love has been poured into each issue!

SUBSCRIBE TO BLOCK MAGAZINE

Go Behind the Scenes

Q: How many people does it take to make an issue of BLOCK Magazine?
A: It takes a team of about forty people!

Here’s how they do it:

Each issue of BLOCK starts with thoughtful planning months in advance. First, the design of a quilt is put together by Jenny Doan and her daughter, Natalie Earnheart. They choose patterns and themes and then request the fabric they want to use. Once the fabric arrives, they team up with our sewists to complete the quilt tops.

Next, the pattern writers break the design down into steps, figuring out precut fabric and yardage requirements, and noting when any tools or templates are needed. Then, they outline the sewing process, piece by piece, so you have a visual of how the block comes together.

Then the quilts are sent over to our Machine Quilting department to have batting and backing added and are quilted up on big longarm quilting machines. Afterwards, our sewists carefully stitch on the binding and voilà – a completed quilt ready to star in BLOCK!

This magazine isn’t just quilt patterns though. There’s so much more to discover like, inspirational stories, educational articles, and amazing photography.

The copywriters for BLOCK collect the memoirs of Missouri Star family members and employees as well as inspiring stories from quilters from all around the world. They then use those to create story prompts and begin crafting beautifully written stories that will make you laugh, cry, feel inspired, or overjoyed. Our copywriters truly have a way with words and you’ll get all the feels with the stories they whip up!

When I write stories, I often get to reach out to people, Jenny included, and ask them about their own stories. It’s so much fun to hear their stories and bring them to life in BLOCK. I love writing, so it’s all fun to me.– Nichole Spravzoff

The team also follows up with the latest trends and performs a ton of their own research in order to share with you the most top notch techniques in quilting and sewing!

Once all the quilts are quilted and the stories are written, our photographers help piece it all together by providing a scene that will bring the quilt to life.

The photo team is very resourceful when it comes to finding or crafting props and they have the most intuitive eyes for seeking out the right location for each quilt. When food is involved, they even prepare meals such as a Thanksgiving turkey for a fall scene or baking cookies for celebratory backgrounds.

Once the photography is done, everything is then tied together to build out proofs to be sent over to the printer. Each issue is then shipped out and ready for you to enjoy!

Together – several different departments work together here at Missouri Star to bring to you a quality magazine at a great price.

Fun Facts

  • The first issue of BLOCK was printed in 2014
  • It takes 4-6 months to create each complete issue of BLOCK
  • BLOCK is published locally in Missouri
  • All the quilt designs, stories, and photography are original works of art
  • BLOCK doesn’t require ad revenue, it relies on subscriptions from readers like you
  • Over 60 original quilts and other fun projects are made each year for BLOCK

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Join us for a BLOCK Party!

Join us tonight (Friday, November 20) at 4:00 PM CT for a LIVE BLOCK Party with Jenny and Natalie to get a sneak peek into the next issue!

Until then, enjoy this message from Jenny and a behind the scenes look at the cover shoot for the December 2020 issue of BLOCK Magazine.

SHOP BLOCK FRIDAY DEALS

Misty’s Into the Woods Kit – Make this Beautiful Quilt with Missouri Star

Meet Misty Doan

Misty Doan is many things. She’s a mom, wife, city councilwoman, model, quilter, Missouri Star LIVE host, and now… a designer!

Misty recently created this quilt pattern, Into the Woods! Check it out HERE!

Get to know Misty and all about her inspiration behind her latest creation and her favorite holiday traditions!

Where do you look for inspiration in your work?

Inspiration strikes in all different ways for me. But, everything I make or design is usually with a specific person or purpose in mind. So I think a lot about that- Who is it for? What do they love? What would make this quilt meaningful to them? What would make this project stand out? I like to challenge myself during the design process by asking lots of questions and that helps guide me to the final result.

What are your must have tools for working on quick kit projects?

Before I sit down to start on any quilt project, I always make sure I have my diagonal seam tape on my machine, a seam guide handy, and a few bobbins wound and ready to go. I do all my cutting first, label my pieces with trusty post-it notes, and then I can just sit and sew, sew, sew!

What tips do you have for new quilters?

Finished really is better than perfect. Take your time, enjoy the process, and remember- it’s only fabric and thread. Jenny always says, “Sewing is a learned skill. Sew an hour today and tomorrow you’re an hour better!”

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

There are almost too many to name. We try to make every holiday special at our house, but Christmas is especially magical. We always decorate the day after Thanksgiving- singing along to our favorite Christmas music and decking the halls together. The kids also make handmade gifts for each other every year that they exchange on Christmas Eve, so Jake and I love helping them with that. (It’s always a trick to keep their plans a secret from the others.) 

Which projects do you work on specifically for Christmastime? 

I always try to make handmade gifts for a few special people each year. What I make is different each year, depending on who it’s for, but there’s something truly special about making time to make something with someone special in mind.

What inspired Into the Woods? Why did you choose those three blocks?

My boys have been spending a lot of time playing in the woods behind our house lately. They’re always adventuring and exploring- bringing back treasures that they find and building forts. I recently made a quilt with my daughter and loved spending time helping her- so it seemed like it was time to make something that the boys would love. The quilt really seemed to design itself once I started. I knew I wanted to use the simple wedge to make the rows of trees, so that’s really where it all started. Then, I decided to include the log cabin blocks as a nod to the ramshackle fort that they’re so proud of building. And lastly the bearpaw blocks just naturally seemed to tie it all together.

What’s Your Story? – Memorial Quilt by Jean L.

BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together. Today’s story is incredibly special:

“My mother passed away in April 2000. As a gift for my dad for her October birthday, I suggested to my siblings (7 of us) that we make a memorial quilt for him. We each designed a block (including one for the two children that passed), and one of my sisters and I created the blocks, and I put it together. 

As I was thinking about the backing, I thought of doing a snippet quilt of a picture of them from their 50th wedding anniversary party from 1994. While creating that quilt, I determined it was too detailed to make it a backing and decided to make an entirely separate quilt.

At the family gathering to celebrate our mom’s birthday with our dad, we presented the quilts. First the block quilt, then the separate snippet quilt (with textile embellishments.)

It goes without saying that my dad was overwhelmed with emotion. He hung the quilts in his living room, where they remained until his passing in 2013. The quilts now hang in my home.”

-Jean L.