Friday, June 6, 2014

The Great Sort: How I Deal(t) with Scraps

During my blogging hiatus, I was still sewing.  Usually in spurts.  While renos continued, I could only set up my space for a bit at a time, and if I got to leave it up for days!! in a row, then it was pedal to the hardwood...

In February, I had vast amounts of space to myself to fill with nothing but a makeshift studio, conveniently located near the refrigerator and coffee maker.  Also, with extra plug-ins so I could stream the Olympics on my laptop while the fabric was flying.  And flying it was!  I took the rare opportunity to spread out over two floors and organize my stash, supplies and most importantly, my scraps.  This was an "in-progress" photo of the front room as seen from the dining room/kitchen "workshop" I'd established.

Indeed. Whatever you are thinking about this photo, I agree with you.

The process took awhile.  Several evenings.  But the benefits!  I had a "eureka moment" of scrap storage idea that is incredibly useful to me (steal it if you want to) considering my lack of space and cold, cash dollahs!  Yes, necessity invented this mother of a scrap system.
Yes, the blues are out of control, as are the greys....

Hanging folders from IKEA.  Plastic filing boxes. Twelve different sections.  I can see all my small scraps and still pick from many different colours at once. I can also remove an entire colour, lay it open on the table, and the fold it back up and "refile" it. Plus, pretty.  (Ok, I'm not really thrilled about the plastic part but the need to keep things portable, stackable, and dust-free trumps my qualms. I also make sure to allow my fabric plenty of time to breathe on a regular basis. )

My large scraps were pressed and folded and sorted by colour ( I use a 12- colour category system: purples, pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, blacks, greys, whites, creams, browns, which is preferable to the old system of "stuff 'em willy-nilly into whatever container is closest").  Then I stacked them in a box with my baskets of various-sized squares.  Strings and selvedges also sorted by colour, in their own box. And then my stash, on comic boards, solids separated from prints. Battings, interfacings, etc in another.  To be fair, I do have a smaller stash than most - less than 150 yards on hand - with most of that earmarked for specific projects. I'm trying to get better at mindful purchasing, because let's face it, I simply don't have the money or the space, and fabric's only as valuable as it is useful.

Nope, this isn't all of it....

And now that everything is contained and organized, my space (which sometimes needs to be completely dismantled - hence the lack of shelves, no using wall space, and collapsible desk) looks like this.
Batting and interfacing box is actually kept in a different room...

And it works.
Scraps in action! Tiny tiny tiny....
Pouch for a swap
So does the scrap system.  And that makes me very happy.
Pouch for a gift.
Yay for tiny!

29 comments:

  1. Sure enjoy seeing how you cope with sewing and storing in a small space. Your studio makes mine look like a palace, and I've got only 14' X 18'. However, whatever size room you're in, tiny is always doable. I'm an odd duck who isn't a fan of Log Cabin blocks, but yours are adorable, especially in that zip pouch. You make the coolest stuff!

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  2. I have a dedicated sewing space and I'm nowhere near as organised as this! My scraps live in a giant pile until one day it annoys me so much that it all gets shoved into the nearest bag lol LOVE that giant orange square! Seriously awesome pouches.

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  3. You sew in a space about the same size as mine! It's vital to be organised, isn't it!? Love the new pouch with its vibrant and bold orange square- very striking!

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  4. Oh my god! Love those tiny log cabin. You're always so inspiring!

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  5. Great ideas for scrap management! Love those folders from IKEA!

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  6. Too funny Carli. I laughed about agreeing with what I was thinking. Not sure how you got that shot.....
    It looks very overwhelming at first and I'm sure it was very taxing on your brain. Good job. I think you should reward yourself with some fabric shopping : )
    What can I say about those pouches --perfection

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  7. Love the filing system! I am working better with my fabric since I sorted it all and can actually see what I have - which was more than I thought. Though almost all of mine is FQs or smaller. But being able to see at a quick glance what is available is so good. Well worth the effort on your part I am sure!

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  8. thanks for sharing your organizational skills, and my address is.....
    Oh, you aren't for hire???? Oh, well, I will just go stuff a few more scraps through the closet door :)
    Love those tiny log cabins, not sure I am that patient! They are so cool!

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  9. Fantastic scrappy pouch, Carly! Such teeny, tiny scrappy wonderfulness. :o)

    Clever solution for scrap management and bonus of it being economical, too. My favourite combination for organization. ;o) Bet you will love your new system and end up using more scraps as they are easier to lay hands on.

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  10. such a smart idea the file folder!

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  11. That is genius! Similar to my scrap sorting system, but I use cardboard (from cereal boxes etc) for the dividers - I'm wishing we had a local ikea now, that looks much more functional.

    How small are the logs on those amazing log cabins? They look SO good!

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  12. Great chuckle with your first photo! I think most of us canrelate. I wanted my scraps closer to my machine and recently moved them to a CD tower wire thingy. I also like to avoid plastic , but those Glad food containers fit right into the tower like drawers without the lids. I filled 12 of them with smaller Scraps, and folded the larger ones on little shelves above my cutting table. I use them a lot more often now. The cabin pouch is awesome!

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  13. Well, I was thinking that there was nothing wrong with your first picture. It's not supposed to look like that? :)

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  14. Wow. There is something reassuring about a spread out sewing area isn't there? I keep everything in bins that can be moved around. Don't love it, but it is life. I am not as organized as that however!

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  15. Wow, so smart!! Great plans. And the little bits and pieces are looking great (of renos). Good luck with that! Also, love that bag.

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  16. Someday I will stop sewing long enough to get organized ;) This looks like a great plan though!

    LOVE that pouch!! Really fantastic!

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  17. Thank you for sharing, it looks like a super system. Do you cut scraps into specific sizes? And those pouches are ADORABLE.

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  18. the pouch is freaking gorge! Loving your system and your creativity

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  19. That's a lot of chaos in the first picture, but so worth it for the organisation and those awesome tiny resulting log cabins. The organising bug is starting to bite here a bit lately, still mostly ignoring him but Paul's off to Europe this weekend so maybe - you're certainly painting a tempting finished picture!

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  20. Well organised inspiration indeed! And now I feel bolder about photographing my currently-in-the-process-of getting organised sewing space!

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  22. I really love this idea! I have just been thinking about the fact that I don't have enough scraps to fill one bin of each color but I have two or three bins and they're all mixed up. The hanging folders is such a fabulous solution! thanks for sharing!

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  23. I sew in a corner of my bedroom so can fully empathize with your space problem. My fabric is a hike up some stairs to a closet in a spare bedroom. Whatever works....right!

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  24. What a great idea to use hanging folders for the scraps, - something to think about. Have to organize mine in the near future.
    Lovely pouch :-)

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  25. I can't even imagine the magnitude of this task. Eep! But I love the hanging folders--my own system isn't quite so lovely looking! :) But yes, having limited space is a killer. And those pouches? YUM!

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  26. Order out of chaos, brilliant. Gosh how I love that pouch. I find tiny quite hard so I am doubly envious. Good job, that lady :)

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  27. I also fold fabric on comic book boards. I like your idea of the hanging folders for scraps as well as having a set 12 color system. I need to remember that. Love the log cabin piece with Carolyn Friedlander's ledger prints, and that pouch!!!

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  28. Love, love, love that little pouch!

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