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A Much Smaller Sewing Space

I’ve managed to fit the stash, sewing machines and knitting yarn cones into a medium sized bedroom that’s 11.5′ by 15′ (including the closet). It’s not put away nor cleaned up nor ready for public consumption but I want to share some thoughts on fitting a studio’s worth of sewing into one room.

Cardinal rule: Everything must be small and movable. So here’s what I’ve done so far.

I bought a new piece of furniture to hold all the smaller spools of thread and I have 2 drawers left over. Maybe some office equipment can go in those drawers. This is the “Alex Drawer Unit on Casters” from IKEA.

IKEA Unit On Casters

This was a good move! It is on casters and supports a couple of smaller closet organizer shelves that used to sit on the floor. Now the whole thing can be moved around to gain access to those messy jerseys on the fabric shelves

IKEA Drawer Unit

Shelves line both sides of the longer walls of the room and storage will continue on right up to the ceiling

Right to The Ceiling

The work table is also on casters, is modular, and contains drawers and shelving underneath. Originally this table was 44″ x 61″ but only one row of the units is being used at this point. The work surface is now 22″ x 61″. I may try to add the second row of units later after I’ve finished arranging and squeezing. Most of the interfacing and tailoring supplies are in the drawers. One whole side of drawers is devoted to Pammy’s interfacing from 🙂 You can see the labels sloppily hanging off the drawer fronts. I believe in stashes.

Interfacing Stash and Work table

This work table is too high for me to comfortably cut out a whole project so I have my old slab of laminate covered MDF with a large cutting mat on it under the bed in a sleeping room. I may have to resort to the dining room table. We’ll just have to see how things go.

I have two oak Sofa Tables that will hold the sewing machine, serger and coverstitch but not all at the same time. When a machine is not being used it will reside on the floor under the table. The commercial machines went to Hello Wood to perform their duties for the company there. Other sewing machines were “sold” (almost given away) at The Stitchery yard sale. I hope they get used by their new owners.

You can’t really see the sofa tables well, since they are covered in extension cords, and office equipment, but they are there and due to their smaller depth and felt padded feet they are easily movable. They will be arranged in an “L” shape. In the foreground you can see a folding stool that will allow seating at heights from regular chair to high stool.

Sofa Tables for the Machines and folding chairs

The above shot was taken from the door to the room and behind the door is the ironing board, folded up and leaning again the wall. I am unsure what to do about the ironing station at this point. I may pad out a small table top board for pressing as I sew and leave the big board with it’s extra big topper leaning against the wall until I have wool to steam or yardage to press. Lots of executive decisions to be made yet!

And finally, here’s the closet:

Shoe Hanger for Thread

There a cheapo shelving units holding acres of Malden Mills technical fabrics and bolts of wools and cotton stand in the corner between them but best of all is the idea that came from a friend who answered my plea for help: use clear hanging shoe units to hold thread.

And then there’s bags of knitting thread cones that have to be organized on the shelf above. As soon as I get the energy to climb the step ladder one more time, I’ll get right on that. LOL

So, what’s my favorite thing about paring down and selling off stuff? Getting rid of those darned magnetized pins and needles that have been the bane of my sewing since I brought them in contact with the seemingly wonderful magnetic pin holders.

Pin Holder

I sold (almost gave away) all my pins and am looking forward to using just a simple wool wad for a pin cushion.

My main “bother” is that I no longer have an office. After 20 years. I feel kind of unstrung about that.

OK, now I’ve shown you my mess. Does it make your mess look better? Hope so. And now that I’ve made this mess public I hope it will spur me on to show you a more well organized room in a few days.


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

11 responses »

  1. “A Much Smaller Sewing Space” is exactly where I am as well. We are probably in about the same situation – mine is even smaller but I don’t have much of a stash. Ironing board is across the hall in my bedroom. Truly amazing how much stuff we accumulate:) One of these days lets meet for lunch.

  2. I love your sewing space because it looks like mine. except your is better organized. thank you for sharing!


  3. MaryBeth, you did a great job to get all your stuff moved in one room. Watch out for sunshine coming from the window, it can fade away color from your fabrics.

  4. 1000 thanks for showing your new set-up. A kindred spirit! At least as far as fabric stashing is concerned. I no longer feel I must apologize for the plastic tubs lining the walls, or the boxes of “goodies” hiding under horizontal surfaces.

    Your space is larger than my 10×10 room. One day, the hope is to retire to what I fondly call “A Sewing Room with a House Attached”.

  5. It is so much work initially but once you are done, and you will make it work, look at all that beautiful fabric you get to use and make lovely garments with 🙂

  6. Wow, you’ve got a bit of fabric! I don’t have nearly that much, but mine is less organized. As I’ve been doing a clean-out, I’ve found I have more than I thought I did. I totally understand about the office bit – I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have a desk in the sewing room. Probably a lot more sewing, if the computer and internet weren’t so handy!

  7. I’m dying to find out about your aversion to magnetic pin holders – I love and hate mine. Love I can pick up all the pins off the carpet (and away from feet, dogs) hate that I prick my fingers and those pins are tough to grab just when you need ’em. Great post – glad I found your blog!

  8. Actually my mess makes *yours* looks better Yes mine is that bad!

  9. I love my magnetic pin holders – they are all over my house! I’m so used to them that I just subconsciously drop pins on the counter expecting the holder to be there.

    I can’t even imagine how tough this move has been for you. But I know you’ll soldier on and get your space up and running quickly. Once you’re sewing again, everything will be okay!

  10. I cleared my sewing space last weekend and it make me feel soooooo goooooood!!!!!! By the way….my *Alex* ist white!!! It´s sooo funny to see Ikea all around the world… My husband visited Ikea in Phoenix/Arizona last year… soooo funny!

    Best wishes from the very northern germay from Anja


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