STUDIO TOUR; Magnets, My Secret Weapon STUDIO TOUR, And Magnets, My Secret Weapon That Solves Some Pesky, Chronic Problems

Yup. I live in Maine. I live a charmed life in that I get to do what I love (sew) from my own studio which happens to be in my home. We have a small house in Kennebunk with a daylight basement. About 20 years ago, my husband and stepson worked to turn about half of our basement into my studio space. I had been working out of a small sewing room which now is our daughter's small bedroom. The sewing table, ironing board and sewing machine were in the sewing room, but the fabric and all other materials were, well, everywhere else in the house. It was pretty cluttered, and sewing is, by nature, pretty messy. Moving the whole kit and caboodle into the basement was a huge improvement in our daily life. In my studio I have a door to the outside, and I have double hung windows that allow for natural light and also air flow. In addition to my sewing things being out of our living space, a sewing machine in use can shake the whole floor of a house and also be quite noisy. Now the sewing machine is on the concrete floor, and I can work at any hour and not disrupt my sleeping family if that hour happens to be in the middle of the night.

Here is a quick tour of my studio

There are so many things in my studio that I want to tell you about! In this post, I'll be telling you about my favorite discovery that allows me to find the things that I use and need, and therefore lose, often. That discovery is MAGNETS! I have always thought magnets were useful; we have lots of them on our fridge holding pictures, insurance cards, appointment cards, etc. But I have discovered uses that extend far beyond the fridge magnet. 

It all started when I first moved into my studio. There is a steel lally column in the center of the studio to hold up the first floor across the span of the width of the house. But it falls smack dab in the middle of my studio! Since I moved into the space, I have always had my ironing board pushed up against it, and I had even stuck some velcro to it so that I could get it to hold onto my TV remote so I could easily find it. I thought that would be a way that I could make friends with the column, by making it useful in finding the remotes. The velcro kept wanting to pull off of the column. Velcro was not the ideal answer, but it got me thinking that there had to be some way that I could make the column useful for more than supporting the floor of the house. I discovered bull clips with magnets on the back of them. Ah ha! I could use them to hold customer orders. These informative sheets help me to keep track of what each person has ordered and what I need to be making. 

Steel Lally Column At Work
(it's painted the wall color)
•The top clip holds new orders
•The bottom clip holds orders
that have already been cut

From there, I realized that I could use the magnetic bull clips for lots of things. I had been storing all of my patterns using push pins on a cork board. That was not a terrible solution, but the pins were usually too short, so I had started using my sewing pins. These sewing pins aren't designed to hold up stacks of things; it was another less than ideal solution. So after discovering the use of the clips for order sheets, I had my husband install a couple of strips of galvanized steel, and my bull clips and I were off and running. Now I store my patterns and all of my linings in the bull clips up on the wall. It allows me to keep them sorted and flat, and it also allows me to easily remove just a single item of whatever I need. 
Patterns and Interlinings
held to the wall with magnets.

That worked so well, I asked my husband to add another, larger sheet of galvanized steel to hang suspender straps from. 
Suspender Straps Suspended
Thanks to MAGNETS!

The magnetic bull clips are great, but I have other tools and things that are not bull clip friendly. My next discovery was small, super strong magnets that I could put on the steel column, near my sewing machine, and on the galvanized steel that is now hanging in my studio. Mighty Magnets to the rescue! I love these little guys! Now everything I need sticks to my steel support column, near my sewing machine or on my newly installed steel strips so I can find important tools and pieces when I need them. Here is a section of the column holding onto a can of pens and writing things, sewing scissors, and even remote controls!

Mighty Magnets
keeping tools easily
accessible on the column

I keep the remotes on the column by taping a magnet to the back of the remote.

Back side of remote controls with mighty
mags taped on so  the remotes are easily
found on the steel support column.

And just beside my sewing machine is a storage container that allows me to sort and store the findings I use when making bow ties and suspenders. On the door to top row of storage bins I have taped two small mighty magnets, one for my snipping scissors, and one for my Apple TV remote. 

This little case by my sewing table holds many
 findings I use when making bow ties and suspenders.

My next post will be more about my studio. If you've ordered from me, you know that when I package orders for shipping, I use cut up pieces of cardboard to wrap the items around to keep them flat for shipping. Those pieces of cardboard come from our household, so they are often cut up cereal/cracker/household items whose boxes I cut into pieces and stamp with the words, "I like to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle whenever I can." I like to use those three Rs when shipping, but I also like to use them throughout my studio and our household. I'll be showing you more about Reducing, Reusing and Recycling that I do at in my next post. 

Do you have a secret weapon that you've used to solve nagging problems like how to keep track of small tools that you use and misplace over and over again? Please tell me about your problem and your solution if you've found one.

For more than 25 years Lisa Eaton has been designing and making men's bow ties, suspenders and neckties from silk and cotton. She is the owner of the Maine based company


  1. Your ingenuity shines through! My studio is, as you know, very messy and I spend too much time looking for things, but one excellent thing I do is use small clementine crates for supplies (mostly small fabric scraps). The beauty of these containers is that they can be stacked like Lincoln logs.

  2. Clementine boxes! Great idea! I love the reuse of something that you would otherwise be throwing away, too. I've heard of quilters who use egg cartons for the tiny pieces sorted by color either within one carton or one carton per color, etc. I just cleaned my studio yesterday, trying to keep it in order to receive 'the press' (thinking: if I clean it, they will come...).

    Thanks for being my first comment!


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