I Work Here

When I decided to take the plunge and buy a new sewing machine and serger (and then my first cover stitcher), I knew I needed to revamp my sewing space before I moved in my new machines.

I think I’m like a lot of other folks when I say that I made do with what I had. I started out sewing in my dining room. That worked when I sewed only occasionally but quickly became a hassle when that pace picked up (and a serger on the table didn’t lend itself to mealtimes). We actually use our dining room, so repurposing it was just not going to happen. Instead, I decided to take over ask Honey if I could use his desk/office area, since he rarely used it anymore.

Our downstairs has been largely unused since we bought our house 4.5 years ago. It’s a pretty big space but oddly shaped (a big L) and poorly lit. My sewing space is at the right-most side of the L’s bottom leg, running along the wall between the door to the garage and the door to the laundry room, right at the bottom of the stairs.

Originally, the space had an L-shaped arrangement of desks (a regular sized desk and a laptop desk), with my serger on the small desk and sewing machine on the big desk. This didn’t work for me for a couple of reasons:

  1. Lots of wasted space on the corner of the large desk adjacent to the small desk. It just would end up buried in piles.
  2. The rolling stool I used would lower with each spin, so I’d have to get up and raise it every 20 minutes or so.
  3. Add in my cutting table, and the space just seemed really claustrophobic.

Here’s my new, improved sewing space (as seen from the stairs)!

Left: My cutting table was a sale purchase from Joann’s, as was my cutting mat. The little “paint can” on my cutting table came from Archiver’s. I cut some of the paper I used for my sewing table so it would match. The inspiration piece for my revamped workspace is actually on the floor underneath my cutting table: my vintage sewing box, which I won from Lisa’s blog. It’s roomy and fun, and now I actually have a place to put it! LOL!

Right: We have a few 6-foot folding tables and I pulled one out of storage to use as my main sewing table. One of the great things about having lived near a university (while Honey was in law school) was being able to pick up stuff like that on the cheap when kids graduated. I think I paid $15 for one table and dragged the other two home from the trash at our apartment complex. I bought a roll of adhesive-backed paper at Target to liven up the table. It wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole table top, so I overlapped it by rolling it along the long edge on one side of the table and then the other. (There are close-ups of the tabletop further down.) On the left, behind my cover stitcher, is a basket I bought at Michael’s; it stores the patterns I’m about to use, plus current reading material.

Here’s kind of an overview of the space from the other side of the room. You can really tell from this photo how poorly the area is lit. I actually need to go shopping for a new light fixture soon because I can’t stand the cave-like feeling that’s down there.

Continuing the tour … To the right of my sewing table is a trash can. Big deal, right? Well, it is for me! Until now, I’ve relied on the trashcan in the laundry room. It’s actually not that convenient, so I often would just make a pile on the floor while I was working. It’s so much nicer to have a dedicated trash can right there.

For most of the past year, I’ve been using a stool I bought at Ikea. I love it, but the previously mentioned problem with it lowering makes it less-than-ideal for my needs. The replacement is not only more comfortable, it’s also a little taller, which means I can actually sit at my cutting table now (instead of under it).

Underneath the table, you can see my cheapie Brother sewing machine, which is set up for shirring. It handles it better than my old sewing machine, although I have not tried it on my new Janome. Regardless, I do it enough that it’s nice to have a dedicated machine for it.

The door on the left, behind my cutting table, is my hobby closet. There’ll be a tour of it later.

Welcome to Janomeville!

I picked up this two-sided bulletin board on clearance at Hobby Lobby. The right-hand side is a corkboard. I unscrewed the backing, pulled out the corkboard and covered it with a piece of fabric (a Japanese Little Red Riding Hood print), then slid it back in and closed up the back. Easy peasey! The chalkboard side is magnetic and the new home of the cute magnets Amy sent me (she made them!). I plan to use this as a to-do list and inspiration board, but right now I’m just enjoying looking at the pretty fabric.

I have managed to avoid hanging any artwork downstairs and am glad to say I’ve rectified that now. The frames were picked up on the cheap from Big Lots. They needed to be cleaned up a little but were otherwise perfect. I was delighted to not only find these two pieces of art on Etsy but also that the artist (KJ of The Dreamy Giraffe) was able to accommodate my request for same-sized prints. I need to get some matts cut to fit, but that’s easy enough to obtain. Right now, I’m enjoying having such beautiful things to inspire me every day!

Now, on to the shiny clean craft closet!

The view of my closet from the outside. It’s not a huge space and actually occupies the underside of the stairs leading to our living room and other main living spaces. Fabric is stacked on the left and right side of the doorway. I also store my scrapbooking paper in here, some photography gear (backdrop stand and my formerly lost tripod), rubber stamping supplies, Xyron machines and a few other things.

Honey also uses this closet to store his lawyer books. He is far happier with the renovated closet, since now it’s possible for him to open the door, walk in, find what he needs and retreat without commenting on my fabric stash. (That last bit may be wishful thinking on my part.)

We also have things like big coats down here, plus my tutu-making supplies (gotta keep all that tulle somewhere!). When I need to, I can fold down my cutting table and roll it in here, too.

The fabric is sorted by color, more or less. I separated out the corduroy, flannel, linen, silk and Japanese fabrics (both from Japan and Asian-inspired prints). Since reorganizing it like this, I’ve found it easier to locate specific fabric and also to find coordinates.

But enough yapping. Here are more pictures!

22 Replies to “I Work Here”

  1. Thanks for posting–I love the pictures of your workspace! And light green is one of my favorite colors in a room–there’s something light and airy about it. Your fabric also looks SO organized.

    My workspace is very crowded–it’s the 3rd floor of our house, but it has a slanty roof and is only one room. It also has all my clothes, our Christmas ornaments, all our photos, our gift-wrap, etc. I need to reorganize it and move what I can to our storage spaces. (And then eventually when we need a nursery, I think I’m going to lose the crafting space and will have to move my crafting space into another part of our house.)

  2. it looks terrific! a well organized and aesthetically pleasing workspace makes sewing so much more enticing. little things, like a trash can in the right spot, are so easy, but make such a difference.


  3. Looks so organized and clean…it just bekons to come work there! Love your choice of colors and the wall prints.

  4. Oh my…that looks like a wonderful and comfortable spot to create from! And, it’s so sparkly clean and organized…I just love it.

  5. It looks like such a nice, efficient, peaceful space. I love the lighting and the colors. Just one problem I foresee, though: How will your family ever get you to venture out into the rest of the house? 🙂

  6. It must have been in the air, I did a “redo” as well on my studio this week! I love your setup, very calming! And I love what you did with the top of your table, great recycle!

  7. What a great space. I’m using a smallish table. When I need to cut I need to clear everything off, my serger and my sewing machine. Then when I’m done I pile everything back on. It takes so long to get anything done.

  8. WOW! Great space. I work on my dining room table so I can chat with my husband at night while I sew. But it would be nice to avoid lugging out the machine and materials everytime I work on something.

  9. Mary,
    Well, you look ready to rumble. Your space looks very peaceful, too, I like it. I also totally know what you mean about the trash can. I am just stuffing all my scraps into this yankee candle container that doesn’t have any wax left! I keep telling myself to just buy a trash can, but I never remember.

    Have fun,

  10. Wow, I’m super jealous. Everything looks so fantastic.

    I’m still stuck sewing on the dining room table and having to have it cleared off each night for dinner. My dream is to have my own space to spread out and have everything organized. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. I sew can not get my space that organized. I have like piles of fabric in every drawer and every shelf and then when I need my seam ripper I am like…”ok..I know I saw it…” That is my challenge today!

  12. LOVE this space, the colors are beautiful and soothing. I’m feeling a little convicted to trapse down to MY basement room and clean it up. I need to take up the carpet and lay down some linoleum, I’m tired of pins and needles being an issue.

    When I decided I needed a sewing table and the ones at the store were far out of my price range, I found something else comparable. On Craigslist, I found an L shaped desk that was perfect and even had a little lifted area in the center for my little television. I paid $60 for it. Since then I’ve seen many of them for sale, so it’s another option. It provides me with space to switch machines quickly. But…sigh, my serger is no more.

  13. Holy sewing machines! Your space is divine, i love the soft color of the walls and the nice, real, framed artwork (unlike mine which is stuck to the walls with pushpins). Who wouldn’t be inspired? Now get to sewing!

  14. Gorgeous work space. I’d love to have an extra room, but over here we work in the dining room. :/

  15. So envious of your organized space! I’m revamping my studio to be a studio/nursery, so that’s a bit complicated. Poor baby’s clothes are where my fabric stash used to live.
    I have a new serger, but the second thing I tried to do, I broke one needle and bent the other, so now I’m scared of it. Better just get back on the horse soon, or I’ll have to watch the threading video again.
    Love your very inspiring studio!

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