Saturday, August 13, 2016

My Sewing Room - Banish the Beige!

 So, I moved last month (gasp!) which means I had to move my sewing room and start afresh. Before I delve into the big reveal though, let's all shed a quiet tear for the space I had to tear down: here. Man, I loved that room. I still love the wall color, but I digress. I'm renting my new space, so painting wasn't an option. I had to just stick with the awful beige and make the best of it. Here is what my new room looks like:
Not bad, eh? I can't help but feel happy when I go in here, and it's all mine :) I mean, I share with my dog and cat, but still. Personally I love stalking other people's sewing rooms to see how they organize things and all that, so I thought I'd do a detailed tour.
So, here's what you see when you stand in the doorway. My cutting table is in the middle of the room, and the walls are lined with shelves and other storage.
My cutting table is one of my favorite things in the space. This was my first kitchen table year ago, but when we got a bigger space we also got a bigger table, so I was quick to stake my claim on this one :) We bought this at Ikea preassembled in the As Is section (it was the display model). I haven't seen the table since so sadly I believe it may not be available anymore and I have no idea what it was called. The table is right at 1 yard square on the top, and the best part is that there are 2 hidden wings that you can pull out to extend the table on each side and double its length. This works fantastically for cutting things out and gives me all the space I need. I added some rod holders on one side to keep my medical exam paper within easy access for tracing. A friend of mine gave me 3 of these white closet organizer drawer units when she moved and they are the perfect height for me to raise up my table. I just have the table sitting on top of the units now, but it makes the table nice and tall (I'm 5'7") so it doesn't hurt my back to cut fabric anymore. The other side of the drawer units has all my rulers. I attached some mini Command hooks to the sides so all the rulers are an easy grab away. I also keep my blocking boards for knitting and my small cutting board in the space between the drawer units under the table. The drawers are also very useful - one holds my tracing paper and tacking tools, another has WIPs in bags, and another is full or crocheted stuffed animals I made a long time ago but don't have space to display while the other 3 drawers all hold yarn. The table really does so much more than a table needs to, and I love it for that.
Storage wide, the first thing you see when you come in is my big étagère in the corner. This was a big painting project of mine years back (see post here) for my other sewing room, and it fits really well in my new space as well - yay! This holds some of my favorite knitting books as well as some of my favorite knitted and crocheted animals. I love how the animals add fun pops of color. This also always holds my tv and bluray player (eventually it will hold the cable box, but my cord isn't quite long enough at the moment). The bottom cabinet holds my old sewing machine and other random tools and such. Also, you can see my yarn swift on the floor - it usually lives in the corner but I hadn't noticed that it fell over before the picture, Oops.
To the right I have a little drawer unit stack filled with tools. I got these drawers at a yard sale for $5 and they're a great size. The drawers are organized as: glues and magnets; stay tapes and fusible notions; snaps, grommets, setting tools, etc; shoulder pads, pocket lining, velcro, elastic, belting, etc; extra scissors and seam rippers; my Sizzix Paddle Punch set. My tower fan is an absolute must since I'm always hot, and the stand up lamp is just the $10 one from Ikea with 2 lights.
My dresser was another piece I painted (posted here) and it holds more notions and tools. The drawers are: knitting needle sets, crochet hook sets, clear tape, and washi tape; yarn winder, post its, ric rac, etc; button stash (shown in above photo); decorative trims and elastics, extra pins; fold over elastic, animal eyes, sewing machine feet; bias tape maker machine and tips, embroidery hoops, heat set crystals and tool. There are other random things mixed in, but that's the gist of it.
The wall above is pretty fun too :) I have my neutral colored threads, a shelf with hanging bins (that I still haven't put anything in, lol), a bulletin board, some paper flowers, a faux milk glass dish, and art work. I also hang my rotary cutter on the shelf because it's really convenient. The little art work is all meaningful to me - the pin cushion one at the top is actually a card my husband gave me, and the kitty with the diamond ring is a postcard I bought at Epcot in Japan when I was a teenager (and I still had it!). The canvas is a photo I took with my Holga back when I was obsessed with weird film photography and then I did an inkjet transfer onto this canvas. I still haven't decided where to hang it, so it's just sitting on the dresser right now. I also splurged a few months ago on a Capri Blue Volcano candle so now my sewing room smells like Anthropologie on command :) The cup on the desk holds my pencils and colored pens for tracing as well as a loop turner, chop stick, and bodkin.
The cork board was given to me by a friend and most of my pins are actual lapel pine or costume jewelry earrings I thought were neat but can't wear. The clock one is actually a button cover, but I hot glued a pin to the back :) And you can see the magnetic Crazy Cat Lady on the desk in this photo. She's fun to stack with her little cats when I want a change, lol.
This is the other side of my sewing room. My dress form hangs out in front of my book shelves, but she rolls easily. Usually my ironing board is set up in front of the book shelves as well (I put it up to look fancy, lol).
Keep going to the right and you see the other big shelf unit. There shelves were in my office at my house before I moved, but since my new place only has 2 rooms these needed a new occupation. And who doesn't need move shelving in a sewing room, I ask you?! The pink bins on the bottom of the shelf hold bins with embroidery/cross stitch supplies and thrifted sweaters I plan to unravel. The shelf above those with all the boxes have elastic, ribbon, old wooden thread spools, fat quarters, and my bead box from my pre-teen days (my friend and I used to sell beaded bracelet and I still have a fancy sticker on the box with our prices #entrepreneur). The bottom of the other shelf has by clear bag full of yarn for when I want to work on crochet or knitted animals that take multiple colors as well as my distilled water for my iron. The shelf above that holds my tatting bag (maybe I'll actually figure that out one day, lol, I had high hopes at one time) as well as some knitting projects in bags.
The top shelves I used more for decorative purposes :) I do have various craft books (sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, etc) as well as my Eucalan and Soak washes, a darning tool, my clothing shaver, and little bits and bobs, but I love being able to see my fox, tree, and Well Dressed Pig as I iron, lol. The two sheep are some thrift store finds that I couldn't resist. I am a knitter, after all.
The other shelf has some white baskets I use to hold small knitting WIPs. Below that is a shelf with my PDF patterns (which I keep in file folders) as well as a yarn holder and my basket of pressing tools (the hams are in there, you just can't see them). Below that is my sewing basket with all my little tools and hand sewing needles (typical basket stuff) and my iron and spray starch. And on top of the shelves I have some pretty sewing baskets I just really like and a fancy wig box - because. And my letter M that I spray painted years ago sits here too. It used to hang on the wall, but that thing is a beast to hang (there are 2 holes on the back, but they are not level plus it's really heavy so it needs anchors, ugh). It's cute up there though, so I'm not worried about it :)
Next is my desk area. I deliberately put the desk here because I found I was a little paranoid with my back to the door all the time in my old sewing room. At least now I can greet Gordo and Daisy as they come to visit (my dog and cat). The desk used to be a boring computer desk, and was actually my first custom painting project - I even stenciled it (posted here). The desktop itself holds my sewing machine (a Singer Quantum Stylist 9960) and my Ott Lite (because I'm getting old). The little shelf in the corner keeps my bobbins (in plastic cases), extra machine needles, and manuals at easy access. On the shelf I keep a mug with pens, seam rippers, chop sticks, seam gauges, and more. My magnetic pen plate and wrist pin cushion also live here near my note pad so I can quickly take notes as I'm sewing or weighing out yarn. The milk glass lamp is the real deal and it still works! I was given a matching set and I just love them in my sewing space. Above the desk I have a magnetic strip from Ikea to hold my scissors (clearly organized by type so I don't accidentally grab my sewing scissors for paper).
And now is a good time to show some art work :) Back over by the TV is this awesome electric sewing machine ad from a ladies' magazine from 1919 I picked up at an estate sale. The frame was thrifted and I painted it white. The Simplicity posted came from Simplicity a few years ago and I just really love the design. Back over by my desk I have my Pretty Little Paris cross stitch that my sister gave me for my birthday last year. Aren't the colors fun?! And above the desk itself are my colored threads and serger threads as well as these really cool Marie Antoinette postcards from Versailles that I picked up on Yerdle (posted here) and the frame they are in is one I've had for over 10 years that I just spray painted the same coral as my desk. I also spray painted those thread racks.
Back over to the other side of the room, there's another little storage area. The shelf holds my dtraight knitting needles and circulars (inside the basket) plus my sewing machine bank (it's a bank!) and some animals. The shelves hold a basket with project bags in it (what can I say, I really like project bags, lol) and folders and magazine holders filled with knitting patterns, craftsy patterns and class materials, etc. The drawer unit is the same as the ones under my table and it is full of yarn. The mini drawer unit has things like buckles, snaps, and other random little items (I really need to go through this again and get rid of things. One drawer has feathers in it?) My other milk glass lamp is on top of these to spread the light evenly since this room has no ceiling light fixture.
I'm pretty proud of my little mini curtain above the window too. Since the place has vertical blinds, there is a matching "valance" at the top, but those are just so unbearably boring. I had this cute coral eyelet that I salvaged from an old bed skirt that a friend gave me a long time ago and it's a great match to bring the coral color to this side of the room. I just measured it out and cut it, then folded the edges over twice and top stitched around the edges. I made a little dart for the corners et voilà! I know it's a crappy picture, but it's just enough to make me happy :)
The other wall has a huge closet, but that can be kind of boring just left on its own. I had collected quite a few vintage doilies from thrift stores just because I liked them, but I ever did anything with them. They are really perfect to go above the closet! Now I can enjoy these old pieces of crochet every day. The mirror is kind of a funny story. I knew I needed a full length mirror in the room, so I deliberately left this space next to the closet empty and planned to buy a mirror when I could spare the $8 later on. That same night I was walking my dog around the complex and what did I find in the trash alcove? A perfectly fine full length mirror! It's like a little gift from the sewing gods to reward my hanging everything up that night, ha ha. 
The closet itself holds ... my fabric stash! You knew it was hiding around in here somewhere, right? A good friend of mine gave me two huge Ikea shelf units she used as a desk like a year and a half ago, and they fit perfectly in a standard closet, but this closet is more like a 1.5 length closet than a double even though it has 2 sets of doors. This measn one of the doors cuts the shelf unit in half, which can be pretty annoying. When I want to search through that side, I ususally take the doors off. Also these shelves fill the entire area, which means these shelves have another layer behind what you see (don't judge). I try to keep the shelves organized by fabric type, and I must confess I heavily neatened things up before taking this photo, lol. On top of the fabric I have buckets with yarn (I organize by type and size) as well as ... more fabric! I use the shelf in the top of the closet to hols my buckets of zippers and interfacing as well as some Craftsy boxes with yarn and fabric in them. The other side of the closet has boxes of thrifted clothing to refashion and a little more fabric, lol. It's everywhere! At least it can be nicely tucked into the closet and close the door. 
The only area that is not really "maximized" is the space between the étagère and the drawer unit under the window. I used to keep my patterns in a large filing cabinet at my house, but even there I couldn't fit it into my actual sewing room. So when I moved and couldn't fit it in the new room either, I wasn't too broken up about it. At the moment, my patterns are all just in paper shopping bags as they wait for a solution. There are also two boxes of yarn and a serger I need to get a part for. I'm hoping to figure out some type of shelf unit or something that they will all fit in. We shall see.

So that's my sewing room :) It's always a work in progress, but I'm pretty happy with the current iteration. If you have any questions, please leave a comment!


  1. I love studio tour posts, and yours was great! I loooove your table. How nice to be able to reduce the space it monopolizes when you're not using it.

    1. Thanks, Susan :) The table is fantastic and I'm so glad it's worked out the way it has (and that it was all technically hand-me-down furniture!). I think I would be most devastated to lose my sewing space simply to not have a place for this table, lol.

  2. Your sewing room is so beautiful, that I would never want to leave!!!

    1. Thanks, Tanya! That basically sums up my disappointment each morning when I have to "be responsible" and do stupid things like go to work. I just want to sew!


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