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Workroom makeover update!

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but I have done some more work on my workroom makeover.  There was a bit of a prompt for this.  For the last 2 months, we’ve had this in our garage.

A garage full of pink batts
These have been busy keeping our garage warm over winter.

When they first arrived, it felt like my birthday (in fact, it was a few days after my birthday, but the prospect of a toasty warm house this winter certainly felt like a birthday present).  I had visions of spending my winter like this:

I work from home 2-3 days a week, so it was a pretty pleasant prospect to think I was going to be snug ALL.THE.TIME.

In reality, we’ve had 2 months of being told by our roofer that he was going to be here the next week… And all that while the pink batts have been snuggled up to my cutting table.  So, given that it’s been a bit difficult to cut things out (there has been a fair bit of hauling supplies upstairs so I could at least get some products made), I thought that I should spend some time organising my space.

You may remember back in February I decided that I desperately needed to tidy up my workroom.  It looked like this back then.  I got the main sewing area into shape pretty quickly, including painting that area.  And then I kind of stalled.  A few months ago I acquired a second sewing table, played a bit of furniture tetris, and I’m now pretty happy with the layout in my sewing room.  It’s cramped, but it works.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of how it looks, because almost as soon as I got it set up, the batts arrived, and more furniture (that was in the garage) got crowded in around it. (I can get in to sew, I just can’t get a picture of it looking all pretty and organised.)

Anyway, after a month or so of waiting for the batts to transport themselves from the garage to the roof, I realised that I could use some of my time to continue with the workroom makeover – specifically with looking at how I could best organise my fabric supplies.  Are you ready for the before pictures? I warn you; they’re not pretty!

Collage of images of my shambolic fabric storage
Fabric storage wall of shame

I’ve tried shelves, I’ve tried boxes, I’ve tried plastic bins, I’ve tried suitcases, I’ve tried hanging bolts on cargo hooks on the wall (actually, that works pretty well for long lengths). As you can see, it all tends towards chaos over time. (These pictures were all taken on the same day. Yes, I have that much fabric. Maybe more.)  Then one day I was at Warehouse Stationery, and I saw a big stack of file boxes.  Overnight, the cogs started turning, and I woke up with the realisation that that just might be the answer.

A stack of flat file boxes
File boxes come flat. Some assembly required.


So I took a quick trip down to Petone, and settled in for some folding.

Swatches of fabric being attached to a file box.
Swatches on the end of each box let me see what is in it.

As I went, I cut a swatch of each piece of fabric, and used double-sided sellotape to attach it to the outside of the box.  I actually discovered after I did the first couple that I needed to put them on the end of the box, rather than the back, because that would allow them to show when I stack them on the shelves.

Boxes full of fabric, all piled up.
So much tidier!

Of course, there are some things that don’t lend themselves well to swatches – interfacings, multitudinous colours of poplin for linings and suchlike.  So those just have written labels on them.  But overall, I think this looks so much better, and I can actually see myself keeping with this system.  I’ve had a few boxes upstairs to cut things out, and I’ve managed to fold the fabric up again after myself, I’ve put it back in the box, and the box has gone back in the shelving.  I haven’t got through everything yet – I’ve still got most of the op-shop finds from the past year to work through (some washing required), but I’ve got more boxes and I’m ready to go – when I can get to the other half of my shelving, which currently has a dining table in front of it…


Illustration of a tauhou or waxeye perched on a twig of kōwhai.

Tēnā koe,
it’s nice to meet you.

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