Does a Clean Sewing Room Improve Creativity?

LoriKennedy, FMQGood Morning, Quilters!

One of my tasks this past November and December was to clear out the stacks of practice pieces, tutorials, and unfinished quilts that clutter my sewing room.  (Make room for the NEW!)Quilt Practice SandwichesI chose several to use as the starting point for “Doodle Quilts”.

This quilt began as a test fabric–a quilt sandwich I leave by sewing machine to test new motifs, threads and my sewing machine tension.LoriKennedy, FMQIt’s not perfect…some tension issues here and there…LoriKennedy, FMQHowever, now that it’s finished and bound…I can use it

It’s so much better than collecting dust on my sewing room floor!LoriKennedy, FMQI have lots more where these came from…if anyone is interested in a few to jump-start their own Doodle Quilt–contact me at

Two things that improve creativity:  a clean space and a “jump-start” new supply…(I’m not trying to clutter YOUR space…!)



PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

38 thoughts on “Does a Clean Sewing Room Improve Creativity?

  1. That is quite a stack. I am sure you can make something beautiful out of everyone of them. I agree with you. I am not all that creative, but it sure helps productivity to have a neatly organized sewing space!

  2. I join my practice bits, odd shapes due to scraps of batting, into a usable size, add a backing, stuff it with all the clipped threads and trimmings… And create a dog/ pet bed! Lol

      • Mary, I do that too, however after reading an article about threads getting caught and tangled in a cats mouth, I decided to exclude all the clipped threads in case the animal polked a hole in the bed or a seam came apart. Amamzing how quickly we accumulate those non usable scraps.

      • I save my little scraps and give them to the nearest elementary art teacher, and to the pre-K my granddaughter went to. They love them!

  3. You are such an inspiration to all of us.Not a tasked that is fun until you get started and you find things that you thought you lost. Wow!

  4. I need organization in my sewing life. Last year, over that period of time, things got a bit out of control. We had moved and I got really involved in a group project. It was with a group I had been very loosely involved in prior to the move and just sent a few items to it through my daughter-in-law. After we moved but before really settling in I got more involved. We had had stuff in storage, etc. In December, because the project was finished I really started to get organized, settle in, sort out the storage, etc. Now, thanks to encouragement on this site, I am ready for the new year’s projects. I spend 30 minutes a day making sure clutter throughout the house is put away. Then I am ready to sew and create. I find that I need to set a time to try new ideas (quilting motifs, techniques, etc.) so I schedule that after the de-cluttering to be sure it gets attention. If I wait too late in the day, it just gets lost and never gets done. I try to group household tasks that take advantage of my normal energy cycles. I am efficient at 5AM and am worthless at 9PM. I want to be more creative and productive and hopefully I have created an atmosphere to carry out this goal.

    • Great ideas! I especially like your thoughts on matching energy level to work flow. That can be very helpful.

      • I like this idea, too. I practiced it loosely, but maybe being more disciplined about the household matters is better.

    • I think of cleaning as organization so I can have a surface to work on. Once I start a new project I take a whole new set of fabrics out and lay them everywhere to see the colors together. A design board is an absolute essential to my having a semi clean studio.

  5. I’m pretty much of a beginner when it comes to the actual quilting… you make me feel like I can do it. When I practice and accomplish something, it’s because of you. Thank you.

  6. I took all my samples from your course, put binding on each of them and sewed them all together and made a wall-hanging. This method is called a pot holder quilt and could make nice lap quilts.

  7. LOL….if you really want to clean your sewing room, this worked for me! We hosted all our kids and 9 grandkids and 2 foster grandkids (ages 18 months to 13) in my sewing room for Christmas breakfast/dinner/games/gifts! That sure got things cleaned up. I’m so happy in my clean room now…still lots of drawers to clean out, but it gave me the boost I needed. Now do I dare make my UFO list? Procrastinated on that for 30 years LOL

  8. Things pile up on me when there’s deadlines to meet in the sewing room but I can only let it get so high and then I’m spending more time searching and sifting than I am sewing. I start to lose my happy sewing mojo. So I have to stop and declutter, reorganize and straighten up… The happy returns and I sew so much better! I know it’s time to vacuum when my dog is walking around with colorful strings attached lol!

  9. I look forward to my morning coffee, and reading your emails. Love it. I have searched your site, and can’t find the answer to my question. How do you sandwich your doodle scraps (or larger piece)? Do you use a basting spray or pins? Also, I am assuming that you only are using the fabric on top and the batting, is that correct?

  10. I had wanted to get a HUGE too big for the room TV cabinet out of me sewing room for a long time. Finally last W/E the DGTeen came over to help. DH walked in and again, bumped himself on my long arm, I thought HUM let’s move it to the other wall while we have help! HA the dust was flying! I still havn’t gotten everything back in there. But I have a new computer Stand, and a smaller TV in there…. I actually did some sewing yesterday. But I have to get more of the room put back today. Along w putting Christmas away…..

  11. I would love to have your clutter to inspire me! I longarm but dream of being as artistic as you are. I had a pile of practice pieces from classes etc and a friend said she would zigzag the edges and donate to the animal rescue agencies who used them as mats to let the critters sleep on. … the cold floors. Then they either went home with the critters or were thrown away

  12. Hi Lori, this post is so timely. I made a lot of gifts this past Christmas and my sewing room looks like a bomb hit it- multiple times 🙂 I can’t walk around and I can’t find anything. So… first I need to clean up. I’m forced to actually or I’ll never make another thing!
    Your work is just gorgeous. I’m just starting machine quilting and have a lot of practice ahead.

  13. You are so right, Lori! A clean room calms me down and creativity starts flowing. I usually let my sewing room get too cluttered before I remember this though. Last week I stopped right in the middle of a project and put away all the things that I didn’t need to get my project finished. What a difference! It even increased my speed because I actually enjoyed being in my sewing room more. And on the subject of doodling..maybe this year I will actually doodle with my sewing machine rather than just my sketch book. I’m still a little intimidated because I don’t quilt as well as I doodle.

  14. Do you ever sell any of your pieces? That would help you declutter and give us the opportunity to see your work upclose. Just a thought.

  15. I turn my practice pieces into pot holders and table trivets… for myself and DD. I layer two together on the pretty side out and have been practicing new binding techniques by machine. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE….

  16. In Arizona, we have periodic frost that requires wrapping pipes and protecting tender plants. I just went through my practice pieces and found them too messy and over stitched for quilts, but perfect to zig zag together as frost protectors,

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