March 25, 2015

Sewing Room Tour


Hey funsters!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be familiar with how often my sewing room is an epic disaster… a sign of good sewing, right? But in a rare moment of tidiness I thought I’d take some pics and give you a little tour. For years I didn’t have a permanent place to sew, but when I moved house 3 years ago the biggest selling point was: enough space for a dedicated sewing room! Such a luxury. It’s about 8 feet by 15 feet and I use every single bit of it.

Sewing Room Tour

 So here’s where the action happens! I have a really old IKEA glass-top table that’s traveled around the world with me, which has enough space to have my Bernina sewing machine and serger out all the time, which is awesome. I also have a basic back-up machine (a Brother sewing machine that I learned to sew on) that lives in the cupboard, but comes out to visit when I’m jeans making – I put it behind me on the fold-out cutting table. On the left is my newly-acquired plus size form which is totally fab. It needs a bra with chicken fillets to actually resemble me, but having a form with sloping shoulders and a squidgy tummy is the best.

Behind my machines I put up clear pegboard, which holds all my scissors and markers, and then directly to my right (on the shelf under the window) I have all my basic, most-used bits and bobs: a tray with my presser feet and needles, a bobbin holder, and a tray with my seam ripper, screwdriver for changing my machine needles and whatnot. The Gutermann thread rack is hanging on an industrial hook, and it’s so helpful, not to mention a bargain – I recommend stalking Amazon and Overstock to see when they’re available.

Sewing room collage

Serger thread lives on a thread rack on the wall, and specialty thread like topstitching and silk basting thread is on a little rack on the shelf. You can see my pattern weights to the left – I use washers and some heavy glass coasters my Mum gave me.

IMG_4609

I do all my cutting on this collapsible table with two large OLFA cutting mats. I would love a permanent higher-level table but there’s not really space in my room, plus it doubles as a guest bedroom so I need to be able to get the table out of the way. In the meantime it works well, even if I do get a sore back sometimes.

IMG_4562

Here’s the other end of the room (with the sewing machines behind me). There’s a fuschia sofabed (can’t go wrong with fuschia) for my friends who get the joy of sleeping in amongst the pins and scraps, and then my mahoosive shelving unit.

Working from the top we have: baskets containing all my interfacing (in zip-loc bags), and all roll-like things are stuck behind. Then, onto the fabric, baby. Lots and lots of fabric. I use the comic book board approach – they’re A4/letter sized bits of cardboard, and you wrap your fabric around them into mini bolts, and then you can store them on their sides in baskets so they’re easy to see and keep in order. Broadly speaking, I’ve divided the fabric up into a knits, silks, coating, quilting cotton and then… well everything else. I try my hardest to keep my fabric tidy but frankly it rarely looks this organized!

IMG_4588

Next shelf down I have my patterns in another wire basket, and then a variety of containers containing all my bits and bobs like bias tape, rulers, zippers, buttons, spray starch and elastic. I also have my pressing tools ready to hand.

sewingroomcollage2

Sneaking in the corner are all my traced patterns on a clothes rail. I punch holes in all the pieces and then hang them up using these hooks. It’s a great way of keeping everything organized and accessible!

IMG_4592

You may be wondering about the curious absence of an iron… well here it is (I moved it out of the way in the other photos, caught redhanded there). I have a great gravity feed Silver Star iron – although it’s a bit of a pain to install (I had my handman put a hook into the ceiling) it’s such a treat to use because it stays hot and steamy for hours and hours at a time. Once you go gravity, there’s no going back…

IMG_4600

So that’s me! Where do you sew, dear readers? Do you have a dedicated space or room? Do you have any tips for how to set up your space to work well?

Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Want to get the best curvy sewing and body positivity news delivered to your inbox? Then sign up for the Cashmerette newsletter here!

[yks-mailchimp-list id=”0fd431310d” submit_text=”Submit”]

74 thoughts on “Sewing Room Tour

  1. Tanya Maile says:

    Awesome tour!! I just love everything about your sewing room!!

    1. Thanks! I spend a lot of time in there 😀

  2. Emma says:

    I love your sewing space! Look at that sunshine flooding in 🙂 I want to get my sewing space organized and you have so many great ideas that I want to copy. I love the clothes rack for printed/traced patterns. I’ve been wondering how to store mine. Now I know!

    1. Yes the clothes rack solution is awesome – no folding or searching the back of your cupboards 🙂

  3. gingermakes says:

    Love this space! It’s so bright! And your fuchsia couch is awesome!

    1. Fuschia for the win!

  4. Katie says:

    Ooooh, it’s so nice and organised. I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated space too (about half the size of this, and also doubling as a guest room!). I’m about to spend a small fortune getting some sexy storage and a nice long desk built in, can’t wait. I’ll also be pinching a few ideas from you I think – comic boards for mini bolts, the cutting table and hanging pattern storage are all super neato.

    1. Oooh a built-in desk sounds awesome. I am a total convert to the comic book boards – no more rolling piles of fabric falling on top of my head every time I get something out

      1. erniek3 says:

        Schweet thread racks! I use the comic book storage sleeves for my old patterns. And I’ve been using my foldup plastic topped table AS the rotary cutting board. It’s only other job is Thanksgiving, so it’s unsightly only to me.

  5. Kelysews says:

    Love your room I have a small space dedicated, I utilize my cubbies space, and wall space to make it work. I look forward to the day of a bigger room. I have a low ceiling in my area. Well Im in the finished attic, so I can only move so much around my cutting table and I need the other walls becuase of the outlets

    1. It’s always a challenge with a small space! But having somewhere you can leave your stuff out is so helpful for getting things done, I find

  6. Judith says:

    Love the birdie curtains!

    An idea for easily, quickly, and cheaply raising your cutting table – that is just as quick and easy to take down when company comes: buy PVC pipe, just barely big enough to slip over the legs of your table. Cut it into four lengths sufficient to raise the table to your desired height. Slip the pipe over the table legs…it will only extend up to where the table leg starts bending. When company comes, slip off the pipe and fold up the table. This works way better, IMO, than the commercial “bed risers” which always seem to make the table tippy. (If you are concerned about the PVC marking your floor, inexpensive furniture leg floor protectors are widely available.)

    1. Ooh good idea! I’m going to look at all the suggestions and work out which one makes most sense for me.

    2. Jennifer says:

      Judith you beat me to that suggestion! The tables at my sewing group are on PVC pipes and they are great.

    3. RainDayPerson says:

      Judith! You beat me to it too!

      Jenny, Check this out on Pinterest.
      Jan P. Krentz – Table Leg Extenders for a a banquet table, raised to working height with four lengt… – http://pinterest.com/pin/253468285252568824/?s=3&m=messages

  7. mommylap says:

    I love these pictures, and your sewing room! Since your cutting table is collapsible, maybe you could try bed risers to raise the height?

    1. Patti says:

      This is what I use – they are a huge help!

  8. pam says:

    It’s beautiful!!! Many good ideas for me to pinch 😉

    1. Thanks Pam! I really like it, which is just as well given how much time I spend in there 🙂

  9. Fashionista says:

    I can only dream about a dedicated sewing space! Yours looks fabulous, so neat. My machines and lots of bits & bobs are stored in a Horn sewing cabinet (an Aust made invention that is excellent for its purpose) which slips into the laundry cupboard and is wheeled out into the meals room for use. Patterns are in six comic book storage boxes that don’t actually have a home yet so are languishing in the corner of the family room. Fabric in three 60ltr plastic tubs in the guest’s room. Daphne the Dressmakers Dummy is in the formal lounge usually sporting a current project or a vintage frock. Because surely that is art?

    1. Well I have to confess it isn’t always this neat 🙂 Your setup makes a lot of sense though, and I love the formal room dummy! Every room should have one.

  10. What a great space Jenny! Thanks for sharing. You made the most of a small area – that’s for sure. Also, great resources for other sewers to pick up on. Love the Gutter man thread! I’ll have to keep my eye on on Amazon!

  11. Linda says:

    Ok, have Mr. handyman run to Lowes and purchase a 4 x4 piece of wood. Cut it into four lengths, maybe 6 – 8 inches long. Then he can use a spade bit in his drill ( http://www.lowes.com/pd_175157-281-87954_0__?productId=1223405 ) to drill down into one end of each piece maybe two inches
    Now you have “stilts” for your cutting table!!

    You could use bed risers, but the wood blocks are sturdier

    1. Jenny says:

      Another creative idea! Thanks for sharing

  12. LaLa Sews says:

    What a pretty space! And so organized. It must be so satisfying to have it all set up just as you like it. Complete with sunshine and bright birdie curtains!

    1. I do love my birdies!

  13. ciara says:

    kind of hilarious that you think of this as a “small space”. my entire house is about 18′ by 18′. & i share it with my partner, cat, & two-year-old. i do have a dedicated sewing space, however. i’ve carved out a portion of the living room (about twelve square feet) & it contains my sewing machine housed in a recessed sewing table, my serger, all my sewing reference books, a dedicated cutting table, all my patterns, all my notions, all my fabric…obviously i hope to someday have more space to spread out, but the first order of business is maybe finding a place where we no longer share a room with the toddler…

    1. Glad i made you laugh.

      1. ciara says:

        sorry if my comment came across as dismissively snarky. your sewing room is about one-third the size of my entire house! but space is kind of like money: it seems to expand or contract based on how much you have.

        1. Carolyn says:

          Clara, I was about to leave pretty much the same comment! My apartment is even smaller than yours, and I was thinking throughout this entire post how HUGE this sewing room is. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. 🙂 Like you, I’ve carved out a little sewing space in a corner.

          Jenny, your sewing room is incredible! I love it. You’ve organized everything really well, and the big windows and sloped ceiling add a lot of charm to the room. This looks like a rather delightful place to sew! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  14. Melinda says:

    Great space! I also needed my cutting table to be portable and use a long folding table. My dad had the genius idea to cut four equal lengths of PVC pipe to slip the legs into to make it standing height and added furniture floor protectors to prevent it slipping or damaging the floor. Mine has always been sturdy and worked perfectly for me, including hammering lots of rivets on it!

    1. Another vote for PVC legs! Will have to check that out

  15. Oh it’s amazing and I am jealous! Particularly of your cutting table weirdly enough, even though it is too short. I’ve got both my sewing machine and cutting mat on a small dining room table and it’s just not enough room. A fold out table is a jolly good idea! Also, how on earth have you taken a glass top table with you all around the world?!

    1. Thanks Rosie! I cut out on my dining room table for years and I always had to shift everything around constantly… so frustrating! As for my glass top table – hilarious, right? I used to move around with a multinational company who paid for everything to be shipped professionally and somehow it survived. The economics of shipping a cheapo IKEA table around though must not be contemplated…

    2. indonesiapetrifiedwood says:

      woow awesome, thanks your blog

  16. Marike Smit says:

    You have a lovely sewing room:) I have the same cutting table as you do – Judith’s idea to raise the table with PVC pipe is a great idea! I wish I could also fit a couch into my space.

  17. Hilde says:

    The stuff of dreams! I especially like the wire baskets and the wooden thingy which holds all the spools of thread. Will need one of those, me thinks.

    1. Definitely! You can never have too much thread / too many thread holding devices

  18. Cherry says:

    What a great post! I love your room and all the storage ideas. I’d never heard of comic book boards though I’ve seen people using a bolt method on blogs. I’ve only recently taken up sewing again since retiring and my stash has already got to the silly stage! Maybe this method will make it look smaller, hehe.

    1. Oh yes I’d heard about the comic board thing a while ago but when I finally tried it I was a total convert. So much better than attempting to fold evenly or rolling everything up, at least for my space.

  19. Britt says:

    Isn’t it nice to be able to leave it all in one place! I’ve been spoiled in this house with a huge room to house my two Ikea board room tables (each 4′ x 8′), one set at sitting height and one set at cutting height. And then there is the Ikea storage cube shelving. I share my space with three mini-mees, who contribute to the chaos.

    1. That’s one of the biggest benefits! I love just closing the door at the end of a session and knowing it’ll all still be there in the morning – it saves so much time. I am jealous of your amazing space and tables, but I’m sure it must be a challenge with littl’uns… I can’t even imagine having to watch out for a cat!

  20. Emily C. says:

    Nice sewing space! Thanks for sharing.
    I have a dedicated space, carved out of the corner of our living room. I have a desk with shelving mounted on the wall above it (I love this because I can just reach up and grab what I need). Our never-used dining room table is pushed to the side of the room and on bed raisers and serves as my cutting table. I have an ironing board in the corner of the dining room and fabric stashed here and there around the two rooms.
    I actually like that my sewing space is in the center of our home; I am often sewing a little bit here and there while I cook dinner or care for my two kids. It works out well. 🙂

    1. Having things easy to reach is the best! Though I still lose my scissors *constantly*…

  21. Michelle says:

    I love that your sewing space is so light and bright! You have some really great storage ideas! I am absolutely going to lurk online for a thread rack! That would be incredible to have handy. And, I just got a garment rack for my sewing space, so I think I might borrow/steal your pdf pattern storage system! Thanks for the tour.

    1. Thanks Michelle! I did catch it on a particularly sunny morning, but it does have two big south-facing windows, and you can’t go wrong with that! Definitely stalk for the thread rack – once mine runs out I’m totally tempted to get another.

  22. katybee says:

    What a great space. Thanks for sharing it. Well organized and it looks like it would such a cheerful place to work. I have a piece of that bird fabric that I keep intending to use for a pillow.

    You can also get adjustable height folding tables that will bring a table up to countertop height. I have an inexpensive one and it works fine.

    1. Isn’t the birdie fabric the best? I have a yard of it somewhere I want to turn into a skirt..

  23. Jane Connelly says:

    Check out bed risers to elevate your cutting table.

  24. Aimee Elise says:

    I love that Gutermann thread rack! I just have one of those collapsible wooden thread holders and it drives me crazy. I may have to update!

  25. AJB says:

    I think it’s amazing how hard you’ve worked to get your dream sewing space! You spend so much time in there and it’s beautiful and so well organised. It’s amazeballs 🙂 🙂

    1. Aw, thanks Bides! And you should know, it is basically your second bedroom 🙂

  26. mamalulu67 says:

    Thank you for a tour! I just LOVE seeing how people set up their sewing rooms. I am still working on the kitchen table…no sewing room for a few more months. Okay, I love he fushia sofa and all the windows and bird curtains. Lovely!

  27. mamalulu67 says:

    Oh! And the “squidgy” bit on the plus size form….AWESOME!

    1. I stroll by and just poke her tummy for fun sometimes 🙂

  28. V Reed says:

    I have a lovely dedicated space. However, the space is dedicated to feeding my family, so I often have to scramble to pack up my sewing bits and bobs so I can put dinner on the table. On the other hand, it means that my sewing machine is close to the tea pot. I can easily step away from any troublesome piece to swear while having a nice cup of tea to soothe my sewing frustrations. 😀

    1. Easy access to tea sounds like a winner in my book!

      1. V Reed says:

        If I ever got my own dedicated sewing room, a cabinet to house the kettle and teapot is on the list of must haves for the space! I’ve been terribly spoiled by having a fresh cup so close to hand!

  29. Robin says:

    Your sewing space looks like the perfect amount of space. When we moved a year ago, I downsized my space and it has been so hard to get it organized. So, the only tip I have is to avoid downsizing 😉
    LOVE the fuschia sofa tucked in the corner!!

    1. Thanks Robin! I will try to avoid downsizing 😉

  30. Angie says:

    As a suggestion, for your cutting table – try using bed risers. Before I got my cutting table I had one like yours and the bed risers helped under each foot.

  31. Carolyn says:

    I have my own dedicated space and it is no where as light and airy as yours is! But let me tell you if I had a couch in it – I would NEVAH leave it! *LOL* Great job on the organization! Enjoy your space its truly wonderful!

    1. Ha ha ha well the couch also turns into a bed so I could quite literally spend my whole life in there 😀

  32. Sally says:

    I love seeing other people’s sewing spaces – thanks so much for sharing yours!!! 🙂

  33. Sue Givens says:

    Sams and possibly Costco have collapsible tables that fold in half, with a little handle, and can rise to counter height. I use two of them pushed together for my cutting needs.

    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/4-light-adj-light-comm-adj/prod8340207.ip?xid=plp:product:1:6

    Love the tour!

  34. LuAnn says:

    What a lovely space! Just an idea on your folding table–paint cans under the legs really help with the sore back. And they are of course, reversible in a minute.
    Great use of space and excellent tips. I just stumbled across your blog for the first time.

Let me know what you think!