Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Organizing your Studio, Part 1

Welcome to our ongoing series on organizing your sewing studio! We'll be sharing some great tips to get you organized so you can get stitching...

If you're like me, you have several projects going at once - and each project is at a different stage. Last year, I was given three amazing opportunities - first, I was asked to write a book on machine embroidery; a month later, BERNINA of America asked me to become a BERNINA Spokesperson, and a few weeks after that I was given the opportunity to film a series of courses and videos for my Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine column "In the Hoop". All three of these opportunities required me to create several unique "in the hoop" embroidery designs and I knew it was time I created a system in my studio to keep me organized and on track. As a single mom and an ADD poster child, I don't have a set 40 hour work week. I have frequent interruptions and I'm not always able to complete any given part of a project in a day (sometimes not even in a week). I needed a way to keep track of many projects all at once, so when I had time to devote to a project I wasn't wasting valuable time locating my notes (which could be found in one of my many spiral notebooks), the fabrics I'd planned to use, prototypes I'd created, etc. I came up with a system that has been a lifesaver and I plan to continue with it because it's worked so well.

As I mentioned, I was constantly losing parts of my projects and spent way too much time gathering up everything before I could continue to work on any given project. If you have only one project, that may not seem so bad, but last year I was working on literally dozens of projects at the same time for BERNINA, my book, the magazine, and for my website, and I was going insane. So, what's a girl to do? Head to Target! There, I bought a wire shelving unit and several lidded plastic bins that stacked neatly. Back at my studio, I labeled a bin for each project I was working on. I then collected each and every part of each project and put them in their respective bin - fabrics, prototypes, notes, thread, needles, fabric - EVERYTHING. Now when I am working on a project, I pull the bin off the shelf and carry it to my workspace. It stays open until I'm done working on it and I put everything back inside, put on the lid, and it goes back on the shelf, ready for next time.

I also write notes on whatever is handy when I have a design idea - spiral notebooks, loose paper, napkins - and I promptly lose track of them. In the next post, I'll show you the solution that has completely changed the way I work; Evernote.