organizing a closet for sewing

billie_foxJanuary 22, 2008

I hope I am in the right forum to post this. I have just joined so if I'm posting in the wrong forum please let me know. I am in the process of organizing sewing supplies. I have taken the bi-fold doors off a closet. I have bought some Sterlite drawers and am in the process of trying to organize things so I can find things without spending more time searching than sewing. I don't like the idea of the closet being open all the time so this is what I have come up with. What do you think about a faux wood venetian blind? The closet opening is 50" by 80". Things are much easier to get to without the bi-fold doors. I am open for any suggestions you might happen.

Thank you for any suggestions you might have.


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If you are just storing supplies and equipment in the closet, why not leave the doors on, get what you need and pull the doors closed? If you are setting up a work area with a sewing machine in the closet, I can understand taking the doors off...maybe. You can't beat bifolds for taking up a small amount of space when they are opened -- less than a single, traditional hinged door. I'd rather see a curtain in the door opening than a wooden blind. It would be easier and quicker to access the closet area, might cost less, and might look better.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 8:42PM
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Thanks for your response. The bi folds make it harder to access the things that are in the ends of the closet. That is the reason we took them down.I had thought about a curtain, but they would also be in the way. The room that I use for sewing is also the same room that I use for the computer. You are right about the cost. Wood blinds aren't cheap. I hate not being organized. The room that I'm using was once a bedroom and it isn't very large.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 10:22PM
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make one of your first sewing projects be a Roman shade
I love this site's instructions.
I edit how-tos for a living, and I'm telling you, this is really great.

links to places you can buy the hardware, great photos, really clear instructions.

It might be cheaper than wood blinds, depending on what fabric you can find. Sheets are great for this. Are are muslin, duck, and canvas.

And I bet it'll look tidier (and get less dusty) than wooden blinds. You might be able to either paint the canvas to match the walls, or pick a colored cotton duck fabric $8 per yard, at 54" wide), and choose a paint color to match IT.

Or use a beautiful patterned sheet, and paint the walls one of the colors in the print.

You also might think about whether you want one "door" or more. Depending on what you're storing, and how wide the closet is.

You might want a skinny door right in front of the drawers that hold sewing tools. I find that I need the seam ripper, FrayCheck, needle & thread, safety pins, straight pins, good scissors, knit snag puller, etc., often. But I don't go into my fabric stash, or even my patterns, etc., unless I'm actually working on a project.

You might also consider drapery hardware, for all or just part.

Bcs I'd personally like to just stick my arm in to grab the drawer w/ those basics in it, and to put it back, without having to open the entire stupid closet. So I might go for drapes instead (though of course, they'll bunch up at the end of the run, so maybe a curtain or drape on one end, and Roman shades on the other?

For the blinds or Roman shades, you'll want to have the pull cord fall on the doorjamb/woodwork side, so you can attach a rope cleat to wrap the cord around, so you don't trip over it while you're going in and out of the closet.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 10:33AM
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My immediate thought was to hang a patio-size drapery so that when it's fully open it bunches to one side of the closet. Or a pair hung so that they bunch outside the door opening. Ideally, the drapery would match any other curtains in the room. You can make them yourself, since this is a sewing room, quite inexpensively. Think bedsheets.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 4:08PM
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I thought of curtains, but figured they'd bunch at the sides. But you're right, nannc, if you hang the curtain rod or drapery rod OUTSIDE the door frame, they can bunch in front of the wall or the woodwork.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 7:56PM
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Have you thought of using a beaded curtain? It all depends on how you want the room to look, but I think you could probably find a low key look that wasn't gaudy.

Some sort of ribbon curtain that hangs down in strips instead of being a solid sheet of fabric might also provide easy access and look nice.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 10:46AM
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Watch out for sewing lint in your computer. Also, the curtains and blinds in my sewing room get much, much lintier (dustier) than those in the rest of the house, so I'm thinking those closet curtain doors may be a dusty nuisance. You do need to cover the closet with something, though. Sewing is very linty.

Much as I hate my sliding closet doors and wish I had bi-folds in my bedroom, the sliders work well in my sewing room. I get your point about space with the bi-folds and the corners. Since it's a sewing room, how about getting mirrored sliders for the closet? My room is set up so the machine is next to the closet; I just slide open the door with the most used tools and am ready to go. The other half holds everything else: fabrics, linings, patterns, stuffings, threads, etc.

On the other hand, if you kept the bi-folds, could you put small, tall chests in the corners with the drawers facing the middle? That way you'd have access to tools, etc. I have an ancient, beat up maple chest that fits perfectly in my dtr's closet corner. Now that I thought of it, I may go get it and "repurpose" it for my sewing closet!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 9:23AM
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Oh My I never dreamed I'd get so many responses. You all have convinced me that the wood blinds aren't a very good idea after all. I do like the idea of the Roman shades. I have made many of them. The closet has a 50" opening. I am going to seriously consider this idea. As far as fabric I'll have to decide on that. I have some fabric that I think would be suitable. Thanks to everyone for your clever ideas. I will keep in touch.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 6:29PM
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Try using a favorite quilt. My doors were sliding wood doors. Removed them, added a wire/turnbuckle at the top. Took a favorite quilt, overlapped the top to make a valance, and hung from fancy clips. Love it. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 2:11AM
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Is part of the access problem because it's dark in the corners of the closet therefore hard to see what you are looking for? If that was the case, I'd put the doors back on and add some cheap stick up lighting in the ends of the closet.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 2:06PM
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Billie, are you planning to use the closet only to store your sewing supplies, or will you also have a work surface in there? Will you have a table that you can roll out for work, then back in when you're done? Or will you try to work on the same table that holds your computer?

What type of sewing will you be doing?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 1:58PM
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I finally did some organizing of my sewing area. Invest in the nice vinyl-covered metal shelves, like Closet Maid, and the adjustable shelf standards. They're pretty cheap, and you can readjust height as needed. Much easier than installing fixed shelves (and you can easily cut the shelves to length with a hacksaw).

What I did with the fabric was to fold it all around 11" wide cardboard and categorize it by color into extra-large dishpans. Now I can just pull out a tub of "reds" or "blues" and immediately play with it. I liked the pans better than drawers or just stacking the fabric, since the fabric stands on end, and I don't have to unstack and restack a bunch of stuff or rummage through a drawer to see what I have. I'm putting in some Sterlite drawers to hold interfacing and patterns, and I put a large upright box at one end of the shelving to hold full bolts of fabric.

I like the idea of a curtain. I've got those dratted sliding doors, and they get in the way like crazy. But the landlord nixed removing the doors, so I'm stuck with them. :P

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 5:18PM
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I agree with Sherry about using tall chests of drawers in the corners, facing the center. Those sterlite ones come in all kinds of heights for a minimal cost. That way, you could use the folding doors. I had thought about the Roman shade idea as well, but if you go that route, I would use a heavy fabric rather than sheets, so it would hang properly. For myself, I would try to use the doors and just solve the storage problem. I think it would be monotonous and perhaps painful to have to raise a heavy shade up and down, especially if you access the closet on a regular basis. JMHO :>)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 1:52PM
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We have a fourth bedroom we don't need to use so it has become my "creative" room. For the MOST part, the only thing that I have created in here is a mess!

The closet does not have doors on it and my hubby wanted to put some on but I told him no...I like being able to see everything in there.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 3:43PM
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