Spring is here, and it’s time to start spring cleaning! Not your whole house though – that would be silly. Let’s just focus on the important thing – spring cleaning your sewing room!
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As you’re sorting and decluttering, don’t forget to make a list of the supplies you need to stock up on!.
1. Sort through your pins and needles
Let’s start with an easy one (or at least, not as emotional as some of the things coming!). Sort through your pin cushion and remove any bent or rusty pins. It’s amazing how many of them I have. I didn’t realise I’m so rough on my pins.
After you’ve done that, go through your sewing needles too. Make sure you dispose of your used pins and needles safely in an appropriate container.
Fun fact: Hari Kuyo is the Japanese festival to honour old and broken needles, and is held on 8th February or 8th December (depending on the region). This ritual involves sticking old and broken needles into tofu as a way of showing thanks for their hard work.
2. Look after your cutting tools
Replace the blade on your rotary cutter and have your scissors sharpened. You’ll be so much happier when you next cut into your fabric after you’ve done this.
2.1 Don’t forget your cutting mat!
If you use a self-healing cutting mat, give it a good clean. The National Quilter’s Circle has a blog post with details of how to clean and moisturise your cutting mat.
3. Clean your iron
If you’re anything like me, you’ll slowly have the glue from iron-on interfacing and other gunk slowly building up on your iron. Give your iron some love with these tips from Thrifty and Chic.
4. Service your sewing machine
If you have a trusted repair-person, send your sewing machine in for a professional service to make sure everything is running smoothly.
If that’s not possible for you, get out the little brush that came with your sewing machine, open up the bobbin casing, and sweep away all the fluff and threads that have built up.
Check your manual to see if you should oil your machine, and what parts need oiling. Note: not all machines should be oiled – it is not recommended for my sewing machine.
Give the outside a wipe with a damp cloth – don’t use any cleaning chemicals on your sewing machine.
Do the same for your serger/overlocker and/or coverstitch, if you have one.
5. Sort your fabric stash (including fabric scraps)
Now for the hard part. It’s time to sort through your fabrics. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you sort through your collection:
- Do you like the fabric? I’ve ordered fabric online and the colours or print weren’t quite what I expected.
- Do you have a plan for what to sew with the fabric?
- Do you have enough fabric to make what you want? If not, do you have coordinating prints?
- Is the fabric still appropriate for the person you bought it for? eg Is it a baby-ish print that your child wouldn’t wear now?
- For fabric scraps, is it a usable size?
Be honest with yourself as you touch each fabric in your stash, and then reflect on if you really want to keep this fabric. I’ve previously talked about how it felt like my fabric stash was stifling my creativity – maybe purging some fabrics will spark your creativity.
Where can I sell fabric?
- Destash groups on Facebook
- List your fabrics to sell on eBay
- List your fabrics to sell on Instagram
- Garage sale or car-boot sale
Where can I donate fabric?
If you don’t want to sell your unwanted fabric, consider donating it to a local organisation. Here are some places that may accept fabric. Please check with the organisation before sending your donation as not all may accept fabric:
- Local schools or childcare centres
- Charity/secondhand store – check with the individual organisation to see if they accept fabric and what the requirements are.
- Local animal shelter may be able to use fabric for blankets etc. Check with the organisation.
- Give away to a friend who sews!
- Find a local charity organisation that sews items for those in need.
- List your fabric in a local Freecycle group.
6. Sort your notions
You’ve done the hard part. Now it’s time to sort through your notions. All those bibs and bobs you collect for various sewing projects.
- Get rid of pieces of elastic and binding that are too small to use.
- Unwind bobbins that only have a small bit of thread on them.
- Make sure the thread is wrapped neatly on your spools and bobbins (how do they unravel like that!). Secure them with spool huggers to stop it happening again!
- Throw out fabric markers that no longer work.
- Get rid of any notions you won’t use again.
- Sort and tidy what’s left – making sure you store items of the same type together, to save hunting around for them.
7. Sort your patterns
Pull out all your sewing patterns, both paper and printed pdf patterns. Sort through them, asking yourself the following questions:
- Was I happy with this pattern when I sewed it? If not, get rid of it.
- Do I still like this sewing pattern? Fashions change and people change. Let go of a pattern if it’s just not right for you anymore.
- Will I ever sew this pattern again?
- Will I ever sew it in the size that I have printed? If all your kids are in their tweens, do you still need the baby sewing patterns?
- Will I be sewing this again soon? Do I have an electronic copy? Whilst I might want to sew a pattern if I have grandkids, if I have an electronic copy of the pattern, I’ll get rid of the paper copy for now and reprint it down the track.
Consider selling or donating the paper patterns that you no longer need.
8. Sort your UFOs
You’re almost there. Lastly, pull out all those unfinished projects and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I still want or need to make this?
- Will it still fit?
- Why did I stop making it? Did I lose interest? Did I need something to get something to finish it? Did I not have the skills to finish it? Did it not turn out the way I’d hoped?
- Am I ever going to finish it?
Be ruthless and just get rid of the project if you just don’t love it anymore. Whilst you may feel guilty about the time and money you wasted, sometimes it’s just best to move on and get rid of it, otherwise it will continue to make you feel bad!
9. Enjoy your clean and tidy sewing space
Now it’s time to get sewing again. Enjoy your tidy sewing space and get sewing!