Costuming DIY Design

Organizing Sewing Tools

Hello gang!

Essential sewing tools: Pin cushion, needles, pins, thimble, thread, bee's wax, sewing shearsOver the long years of my professional sewing career, I’ve moved through many phases of organization in response to my changing needs.  I’ve lived in small spaces that required keeping my tool supply very condensed and contained.  There have also been times when I have worked in theatrical costume shops, in bridal salons, or for small design houses as a pattern and sample maker.  In all of those situations, I needed to have a portable storage solution, with all of my tools organized, labeled and ready to go at a moments notice.  During that phase of my career, I kept all of my tools contained in a tackle box.  I still have that tackle box, and I take it when I’m teaching classes and workshops outside of my home.

Portable sewing tool storage in a fishing tackle box.  Perfect for when you need all your tools in one handy place and ready to take with you on costuming assignments.I’ve also, at times, had the luxury of space.  Twice I’ve had access to shared artistic spaces outside of my home where I could spread out. But that also meant either having a duplicate tool kit or lugging my tools with me on a daily basis.  I chose to duplicate, which means that I now have backups of all my most important gear.

Today, I am lucky to have two-rooms in my home devoted, for the most part, to my business.  One is a sewing room that also serves as a guest room, and frequently looks like a tornado hit it. This sewing room, however, is really easy to put back into shape when guests are due to arrive!  My other business space is a mixed-use room that was identified as a formal living room by the real estate agent, but has become my dance space, library, photo studio, and fitting room all rolled up into one. That is “Studio Davina” where I work with clients, students, and dance associates.

Table top sewing storage idea - use a small box lid to contain your sewing tools.What this means is that I frequently meet to move my sewing tools from my sewing room to Studio Davina.  While my tackle box is mighty, what I really need is something that contains the essentials I need for fittings and hand sewing. This container also needed to be easy to carry, and keep clean and tidy.  The tackle box was great, but it’s pretty big! Here’s a modern version similar to my now vintage tackle box.  But realized that since there is a lot of duplication in my work tools, and I could set up a permanent sewing station in my public space, Studio Davina.

My first experimentation began with a simple upcycled lid from a photo storage box that had gotten damaged in my last move.  The lid survived, the bottom, alas, did not.  The beauty of using this box lid was that it was big enough to hold all my tools, deep enough to contain pins, and made a good target for tossing my equipment back into as I worked.  The downside, as I discovered, is that a box lid is not waterproof.  If you have a beverage nearby, you might loose your container in a spill.  Did I mention I have a cat?  The box lid was destroyed in a cat-tastrophe, and I had to find another solution or buy another box like this one.

Junk Drawer Organizer - for table top sewing tool organization - www.davina.usWhen deciding my next move, I knew that a flat, open top box was ideal. But I also missed the divided trays of my tackle box to keep things from shifting.  So, I spent a few moments calculating.  What I needed was a plastic box with organizing compartments, an open top so I can just throw things in, and sized to conveniently hold the tools I use on a regular basis.  And voila!  It hit me.  What I needed was a junk drawer organizer.

I found this organizer over on Amazon, and was thrilled when it arrived because the compartments were already conveniently laid out.  This is a double-decker model with a top tray that lifts out.  So I put my pins, snips and marking tools in the top tray to allow me to easily move them around. Fittings generally involve sitting on the floor and marking hems, and this removable top tray makes it easy to keep my stuff contained when I’m scootching about on the floor.

I try to clean it up and put everything back into it’s place every other month or so.  As many of you know, sewing tools can get crazy out of hand if not occasionally picked up!  Now that I’m all cleaned up, it’s time to get back to sewing!

Happy Costuming and Dance!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
October, 27, 2015




By Davina

Davina ~ Dawn Devine is a belly dance costume designer, dance instructor and author of more than a dozen publications on Middle Eastern dance.