Thursday, August 1, 2013

My "DMC Embroidery Thread Filing and Storage System"

During the posting of my backyard studio photos, my blogging friend, Sheila, asked about my DMC thread collection I had mentioned being stored in the three drawers shown above.  I said I would tell about that in a future post.  So, here is the story: 

A few years ago, during a particularly trying set back with pneumonia, I was told to get some bed rest.  Something I don't do very well.   (And, by the way, the old navy man and I both had pneumonia AT THE SAME TIME!)  So, while trying to recuperate and also trying to stay in bed - an impossibility with the two people in the house sick at the same time - I began to think of 'things to do' when I got better.  One of the things that came to mind was getting my beloved (and I seriously mean that!) DMC thread collection ORGANIZED.  I knew I had these three drawers available to help in the organization, so my seriously OCD mind came up with this 'DMC Thread Filing and Storage System' as I have come to call it.   First thing I did was gather every skein of thread I had and put them together, and in order, by number, while IN the bed.  So, my bed was almost completely covered with DMC floss!  The next thing I did was figure out how to 'file' them in numerical order in these drawers.  I can 'figure' pretty well when confined, I guess, so I made a divider for the drawers from foam core, dividing each drawer into two sections.   (Of course, I cheated and went out into the Nest to carry all the needed supplies, like drawers and foam core into my bedroom!)

Next, I had to figure out how to actually contain and number each skein, in some cases, multiples of the same color.  At the time, I was quite taken with the new ziplock snack size bags.  They are handy for much more than snacks!  I had people out buying me several boxes of them.  I also had quite a number of the large index size cards...unlined ones, of course, and because office supplies are one of my all-time favorite things to accumulate, I had a very large amount of stickers.  I decided it would be a good thing to use one card per color number, write that number on the sticker, adhere it to the snack bag and also to write the number ON the bag itself, just in case the sticker came off.  You can only think of that if you are OCD!  At the very beginning of this 'plan' I knew the snack bags would not stand up properly without some support, so the index cards were used.  Works perfectly.
Are you seeing how this came together?  Into the bags went the skeins of gorgeous threads.  And, my filing and storage system was born!

 I began by placing the bags in order in the first drawer on the left.......filling each one with as many as would comfortably fit...and knew it would take two drawers, maybe three to file and store the thread I had on hand.  Which was true...with the exception of a 'little extra space' in drawer #3.  It's about half full at this point,  which won't be true when I get my most recently purchased colors bagged and ready for 'filing.' 

 In this photo, you can see the foam core down the center.  This idea surely worked well for me and it might work for you too. (Oh, I just remembered, I also lined the drawers with that neat drawer lining you can buy that keeps things from slipping sure helps everything stay in place.)

 Here is one of the snack bags...numbered and ready to file.......

 You can see there are several skeins in this bag...sometimes I buy multiples because I LOVE the color and know I will USE it a lot.  You can also see the index card that is inserted in each bag, like I mentioned, for stability.

 And, another color I evidently like.....

 Oh, I love this color too, wonder why there is only one?   I hope you can understand the instructions I have given for the making of this filing and storage system and if you try it, I hope it works for you as it has for me.  I do know it sure makes dealing with many skeins of thread much more efficient  than anything I had tried previously. 

I found this little box with it's cute rose decoration at the flea market a while back....and when I saw it, first thing I thought of was a cute place to pull out some colors of floss I'd like to use in a here they are waiting patiently for me to DO SOMETHING!  My fingers just itch to get started on something new!  So, Sheila and other blogging friends, there you are....something to share with you from the backyard studio.  Y'all take care....pat

PS.  I must tell you that I know some of my family members worry about my 'hoarding' tendencies.  One of my brothers-in-law was once in the Nest and stood in here just taking in all the stuff, including the DMC storage system and all the fabrics.  He's an artist...he paints.  He looked around with this look of wonder on his face and said "Now, I GET it.....these things are your paint!"  What a great thing to be able to hear.  Thank you, Don!


Createology said...

Your solution to storing your threads is brilliant. The skeins stay clean and you can easily see the colors. And such a time saver from winding it onto those itty bitty little card holder thingies. Happy Creative Hearts...

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I love this idea. I'm looking around at my drawers right now! OMG, I almost fell of my chair when you mentioned office supplies. Back to School sales are my fav!! Walmart at the end of the sale when they mark everything down to pennies.

What is WRONG with US??? LOL

Seriously, you are the only person I know that can be bedridden and still keep busy.

Much Love

Sheila said...

Thanks for sharing your system.I will have to tweak the way my DMC and other threads are stored.I think it will work much better than the way I have it now.
Have a great weekend!

Christy said...

Ohmygosh! I am SO glad that someone else thinks like I do (mostly because people think I'm nuts). I love those little snack bags and I use them for everything. When I buy a box, I turn around and they're GONE! LOL. But, ya know, my theory about 'stuff' is that you never use anything for which it was originally intended. I save jars, pill bottles, small boxes ... all KINDS OF STUFF ... 'cause I know I'll find another use for it. The minute I throw something out, I need it for something else. Geez. My Mother simply does not understand this concept. And my daughter is just like me. Drives Mom bonkers. That's the good thing about the Internet - I've found kindred spirits in the darnedest (sp?) places! (I see you, Pat! hahaha.)
Take care,

LouAnne said...

You must have trimmed a bit from the top of those index cards! I just tried what you described and the larger cards are too tall for the ziplock snack bags! I want to convert to this system. Mine is awful and I need to change to your brilliant system!

Pat said...

LouAnne, YES, I did trim the cards down a bit to fit the snack bags. It's just something I completely forgot to mention. Hope it works well for you...and thanks for your visit! pat

Pat said...

LouAnne, YES, I did trim the cards down a bit to fit the snack bags. It's just something I completely forgot to mention. Hope it works well for you...and thanks for your visit! pat

Pam Schaffner said...

Great idea! Did you purchase your drawers anywhere special? Also, how many rows across of baggies in each drawer? Thanks, Pam

Patricia said...

I have been doing this same thing but no divider to keep them neat. Will be doing the foam core. Thanks for you post.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant. You are absolutely brilliant. I have been fighting with floss organization for years. Thank you so much.

Clare Pain said...

Hi I love this idea and it could be the answer to my storage problem within my haberdashery shop. I have over 400 colours of threads then there's the wools to store and don't have much space. I love this idea! Roughly how many bags per drawer do you have to give me an idea of how many drawers u may need.

rubyslipperz said...

Please, I was wondering where you might've purchased the drawers? I have a LOT of my floss on Bobbins and in those storage cantainer for the bobbins.

But...this would save a LOT of time not having to wind the bobbins. And, the threads wouldn't have the kinks they get after being on bobbins for a long time.


Patricia Malik said...

I have always stored my threads in the storage bags made for floss and kept the bagsbin numeric order on some big rings. A few years ago I purchased a CD storage cabinet with 24 drawers and put all of the thread bags in there. The drawer pulls are also label holders so I can identify what type of floss and number range in each drawer. The only problem I have is the bags slump but you just solved that problem with your index cards. Thank you!

Stephanie Martin said...'s the addition of another idea for those who have a lot of floss. I've been using the FlossAway bags for over thirty years and resorted to the inexpensive bags from Walmart, when in a pinch. I place some scotch tape in the corner and write on that in Sharpie, as writing directly on the bag tends to rub off over time. I hole punch and then hang on a large binder ring, available from the office supply store for cheap. Bobbins are time consuming, expensive, and don't leave a place for your little thread tidbits which are too long to throw away.

For storage, I have engaged a large picnic-style cardboard box which has a handle. Mine is a Bojangles chicken box (clean of course with no food having contaminated it.) we live in the south and Bojangles is a franchise like Popeyes or KFC. The box is wide enough to hold two rows of bags (I've got about 300 colors). And with the handle, I can carry it around the house as I plan my colors for a new project.

Hope this inspires somebody and saves you $ at the same time. System has worked extremely well for me over the years.

Daisy Debs said...

Brilliant! Love it ! By coincidence ...I have also got a bed rest chest condition thing going on ....I,ve been given an inhaler to help , any way , I,m sure that you must be very much better by now, since I see that you posted this last year ! I love your system , also have a fine hoard of DMC ...and a wardrobe full of crewel wool ! lol !

Anonymous said...

I think I'll check into this... My DMC threads I've got solved... I found double-sided boxes and used cardboard bobbins for all my DMC threads. But now, I'm trying to find a new system for my overdyed floss and special threads... I think I'll try this! Thanks!

Nana Renan said...

I'm glad I found your pin! I already did the snack sized bags...with a blank business card inside to indicate the number....but the index cards, as well as something in the drawer to prevent slippage -- BRILLIANT!!

I, too, love my skeins of thread...once upon a time I started the little bobbins, but that seems a cruel treatment of such lovely fibers. And besides, who can do just one skein.

I do "Truvy" math....if one is good, two is better so I buy four!!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I was searching for a method to better store my DMC floss and stumbled upon your blog. I had already sorted my floss into baggies, numbered them and put in a box with dividers but was completed unhappy with the way they flopped all over the place. Your solution of putting in card stock is perfect! Thanks.
P.S. I'm feeling a little bit dumb right now that I didn't think of it.

Marsha Jaramillo said...

I never knew there were that many different colors of embroidery floss that it would take 3 drawers to hold them all. lol I have a lowly little organizer filled to the top with about 12 different colors. I'm going to Google and see where I can buy all the different colors for my quilt project I am working on this year.

I have one room in my house 11x10 and half of my garage filled with supplies for every type of craft and sewing skills I have.

I don't call it an addiction. I call it therapy.

Marie said...

Excellent idea - particularly the index card! Bravo to your ingenuity and enterprising spirit!

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