Organizing Thread

No matter what type of sewing you do; garments, quilting, tote bags, embroidery; or what kind of machines you have; sewing machine, longarm quilting machine, embroidery machine, serger; you’ll use a variety of threads to complete your projects.

There’s so many luscious varieties of threads available now. Janome Canada is a distributor of Janome, Hilos Iris and Madeira threads, so they’re conveniently available from your Janome dealer. If they don’t have them in stock, they can order for you.

The question comes up how to store them? The more organized they are, the less time you’ll spend searching for just the right colour, or just the right type of thread for the job. The key to staying organized is to develop a system which works for you. For me, it’s a variety of metal drawer units and cabinets to the rescue! I like to keep my thread in drawers so they stay dust/cat hair free and are protected against the light. Sunlight will fade and dry-out threads over time. Cotton threads especially will loose moisture since it’s a natural fibre, making the thread more brittle and weak.

Below is a tool chest found in most hardware and home improvement stores, meant to store tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. I already have such a chest to store those traditional tools in my laundry room, so, since I love repurposing and finding new uses for things, I bought this chest to house the other types of “tools” I use all the time in my sewing room – THREAD!

Metal surfaces mean magnets, so I take advantage of vertical storage by using magnets to hang things

The shallow drawers make it easy to organize and find whatever colour of Janome polyester embroidery thread I need. The boxes on the right in the photo above are the lids to the three colour collections of Janome polyester embroidery thread you can find at any Janome Canada dealer. If they don’t have them in stock, they can order them in for you as they’re in stock in our Janome Canada warehouse.

I sort the thread by colour number, then look at the inside lid of the box if needed to see it’s name as all the colour numbers and names are listed by collection #1, #2, #3. This is super-convenient and a real time-saver since every design built-in to every Janome embroidery machine uses the colour palettes from these collections. Every colour you need is at your fingertips!

For larger spools, or in this case, Mini-King Cones of Iris polyester thread, I use storage racks found in the home decor section of large discount chain stores found in most towns, and cities. These racks are intended to use for nail polish or beauty supplies, but, since I don’t use those items, I thought they’d be perfect to hold my collection of thread near my machine. I can pick up the rack and move to whatever machine I’m using as I use this thread not only for embroidery, but for quilting and for decorative stitches on the sewing machine, too.

This type of rack could even be hung on the wall, so there’s lots of options for efficient storage and organizing, especially if you’re fighting for space.

In a previous blog, I wrote how I love these drawer units below because the shallow drawers prevent items from getting buried and lost. This particular bank of drawers is for my scrap storage and to store my cutting tools, but I also have 3 of these drawer units under my sewing table to hold supplies I need at my sewing machine, including Iris 100% cotton quilting thread and regular polyester sewing thread.

There’s lot of thread storage options from Arrow Sewing furniture, which you can find on ArrowSewing.CA and at your Janome Canada dealer.

The Suzi Storage Cabinet comes in several finishes and can be used to store a variety of sewing tools, and goodies, not just thread.

Or, how about this adorable Arrow Storage Cube Craft Organizer? Keep it next to your machine while you’re working on a project, then wheel it back to another place if you don’t have room to keep it near your machine. There’s always sew many options to get and stay better organized no matter your space, needs or budget.

I use the Arrow MOD cabinets in my classroom at the Janome Sewing and Learning Centre as I never have enough storage and am always fighting for space. Sound familiar? lol! The MOD 5 Drawer Storage Cabinet is my favourite piece as the drawers are deep enough to store what I need, yet shallow enough that I don’t have to waste time looking for anything. It’s all at a glance, whenever I need it.

The top drawer is full of thread, which, I admit, isn’t as neatly organized as it should be, so here’s a photo of my specialty presser feet and optional accessories storage below, lol!

TIP: cut the rubbery shelf liner you find at the big “D” discount store to size to line the drawers so the items stay in place. I did that for the presser feet drawer and need to do that for my thread drawer so the threads don’t move around and fall over in the drawer (which is why I’m not showing it now, lol!)

You can also further customize the storage in the drawer by using organizers from the office supply or discount store as I have at home. I need to do the same for the MOD drawers at the office.

Yes, all these cabinets and little drawer organizers cost money, but look for sales, or search the discount or charity stores and think outside the box when it comes to using an item for an unintended purpose. These pieces are an investment which you’ll have for years, so amortized over the years, it’s really not that much.

For example, this is another tool chest sold at the hardware or home improvement store. I find a lot of things there, actually I use for sewing-related purposes, like the cording I use when making piping. In this case, this tool chest is used in our kitchen as our 50 year old house has only 4 tiny drawers, which were not large enough to hold the cutlery tray, collection of utensils, food wrap, etc. The cabinet was on sale, but it was still several hundred dollars. However, it was the perfect solution for our problem and cheaper than new kitchen cabinets. We’ve had it almost 10 years and use it every day, so it really only cost us about 10 cents a day. Definitely worth it in my books! Its all on how you look at it.

Whenever we do finally get around to redoing our kitchen, I’m already eyeing this chest to store more thread and embroidery hoops, so it’s even more of an investment than originally anticipated – which means I can get more thread and sewing supplies, lol!

Yes, it’s more time and expense spent upfront, but getting and staying more organized saves you SO much time and frustration down the road! You’ll be more productive and will enjoy the process more, so it’s sew well worth it! You owe it to yourself to have more time spent creating what you love to do, and making the most of what you have.

Happy Sewing!

About janomeman

As Janome Canada's National Consumer Education Manager, I'm SEW excited to share my love of sewing, quilting and all things creative with everyone at our fabulous new Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON. Have an idea for a class, or to be put onto our mailing list, E-mail me at
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6 Responses to Organizing Thread

  1. grandmacdl says:

    Can you tell me the name and where you got the drawer units in your blog? Thank you for the info
    Cheri Lubow


    • janomeman says:

      HI Cheri!
      The 6 drawer units are “Helmer” from Ikea. The other tool chest I keep my Janome embroidery thread in is from the local hardware store; there are many brands, so you’ll be able to find something similar wherever you live. Happy Sewing!


  2. A. Sandra Clark says:

    Good ideas. I use my old, wooden machinist’s chest for my embroidery threads & miscellaneous items. Organized, out of the light & dust free


    • janomeman says:

      HI Sandra!
      Thank you sew much for sharing your storage and organization solutions. It’s even better to reuse and repurpose items, in the process. Happy Sewing!


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