Organizing Quilting Projects from Start to Finish

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Quilting | Comments

So, you have a quilt you want to make…or two…or maybe even more! Here are some tips and ideas for keeping everything for each project together and organized. By using a few simple organizational techniques your projects will be completed faster and more unlikely to fall into the “forever unfinished” category.

storing projects

First, it’s important to store everything together for your project. You can use any number of storage containers to do this. 12’’ x 12’’ clear plastic project boxes (available at quilt and craft shops) are a popular project storage container. One advantage to using this type of container is that most blocks are 12’’ square or smaller and can lay flat in the box without getting wrinkled. Because the boxes are see–through it is easy to tell what is stored inside without opening the box. Shoe boxes are another popular choice for project storage since they are inexpensive and can be easily stacked . Whatever your choice of storage container, using the same type for all of your storage needs can make it easier to store projects not currently being worked on.

Everything for your project can go in your storage containers—cut fabrics, patterns, even threads if you purchased a particular style or color to go with the project. If there are a lot of pieces that can get easily confused you can bag them separately in paper envelopes or snack sized ziplock plastic baggies. Writing on the outside of the envelope or baggie with a permanent marker to identify the contents will help you be able to easily identify the supplies you need. It’s a good idea to keep the extra fabric from your project together in one place until you’re finished, just in case you make a mistake and need more of something. After your project is finished, remember to add the leftover fabrics back into your stash so they can be used for other projects.

Another idea for keeping everything organized is to actually make a list of the projects currently being worked on. Information for your list can include the name of the pattern, fabric collection names, date started and date finished. This can be very helpful information to have especially if the project takes awhile to complete—it’s easy to forget things over a long period of time. Another reason to keep a list of projects is to make sure nothing gets forgotten. There are always more projects to make and new techniques to try, and having a written reminder of the works-in-progress makes it easier to keep them in mind.

quilt supplies

Using these simple ideas to keep things together and keep track of what you’re working on can lead to more finished projects which always leads to more project starts! Do you have a favorite organizing technique?

For more tips on organizing your quilting room head here or learn how to make and use a quilt design wall here.

In case you missed it yesterday, learn about sewing with selvages. Come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for a free quilting pattern and a fun roundup of mini quilt projects.


  1. Jan Fasano says:

    Another idea is to use 12 inch clean pizza boxes. You can usually ask for a clean box or two when buying your next pizza. I cut some of my stash into 2 1/2 inch strips. If folded into quarters they lay just right into the pizza boxes. Then I organize them into color families and mark on the outside of the box. When I need pinks, browns or etc, I then go to the pizza box and can choose my right color. Also a 12- inch block also lies flat in the boxes. One draw back is you can’t see into them like using plastic but they do stack well as they are all the same size.

    1. Sandra says:

      I love the idea of pizza boxes. If you ask for them flat then you can fold them inside out for the clean look, then you could mark your project pattern and even attach a fabric sample to the outside of the box! I think I will immediately employ this method of storing my projects, though I will use at least 16″ boxes so they can accomodate extra fabric for the project too. Thanks!

  2. When I am done with my tea-lights; I pop out the wick disk and toss them in my fabric drawers. Keeps things smelling nice and I don’t feel wasteful, throwing out those little plastic cups.

  3. Dona says:

    I used the zippered plastic pouches that sheets, pillowcases , comforters and etc come in. They are free and come in all different sizes and they last forever.

    1. Sue Fisher says:

      I use the ones that curtains come in too!

  4. I use a plastic basket for scraps as I sew. Each project gets one and stays with everything until its finished. Then I trim up the scraps and sort them for future use. The baskets are 2″ X 4″X 8″ and are only n pairs for only 2 for $1 at the Dollar Store.

    1. Nancy says:

      This is a very good idea. I just make a pile on my cutting table, but the basket is an idea I am going to start using.

  5. Joan says:

    Thanks for sharing these ideas, it will help keeping things organized in my chaotic studio.

  6. Karen says:

    I do the same thing – those plastic storage boxes are great – I get them in different sizes as some are good for the blocks as you say and others are good for projects like hexies. I also save the plastic zip bags that sheets come in and I put the quilt tops in those with the backings and binding to store until I am ready to quilt them.

  7. Linda says:

    I use 2.5 gallon ziploc bags, and bigger ones for larger projects. I put them filing style into milk carton plastic containers. Then each one fits into a cubby. For the most current ones, I use fabric shopping bags that sit on the shelf. There are only five of those, so they are the ones I am currently working on and i am not allowed to start a new one until there’s an empty space. :) Most of my stash is divided by size of pieces, and the scraps by color. This is still in process, but so far it is making it MUCH easier to find what i am looking for.

  8. Colleen Moore says:

    Is there a pattern available for that block in the above story?
    Thank you

  9. Dianne Affholter says:

    I just reorganized my sewing room about 2 weeks ago and am using the 12×12 clear project containers for my quilting projects. I labeled each one so it’s very easy to find at a glance which one I need. I also purchased about 10 of the Sterilite Clear View Latch plastic tubs (14 1/8 x 7 1/8 x 4 7/8) to store my stash of fat quarters. I have them organized by color.

  10. Sandra says:

    Those outdated cd towers are great for storing fabric, and can be found cheap at thrift stores!

  11. SewCalGal says:

    Great post. I love any tip/inspiration I can find for organization. I do love ArtBin and Snapware storage as they both work great for storing & organizing and are very high quality. I like the large 12×12 stackable Artbin storage for projects as I’m always ready to take what I need to a class, retreat or sewcial. The Snapware stackables work great for notions, supplies, small projects and also storing fabrics in stackable containers. They are my two favorite for organizational tools and well worth every penny.


  12. Linda says:

    I need to share this with my husband and my sister who think I am the only one with many works in progress. Some great ideas here – thanks!

  13. victoria says:

    where do i find that pattern, please ,could someone tell me what it is?

    1. joyce says:

      where can I find that pattern

  14. Linder says:

    Love all those ideas. I store projects in plastic boxes, even ones I’ll never finish and I have notes for the pattern. I also label each end of the box with the name of the pattern, so I can see what’s inside no matter how I put it away.

  15. beth sommer says:

    would like the name or where the pattern is for this one