Is a lack of space cramping your creative style? You can still make awesome stuff without a dedicated sewing room!
In my dream home, I have my very own office/studio, and it’s AMAZING…you ready for it?? It’s about 150 square feet, painted a cool gray with gorgeous white trim and vaulted ceilings. There are built in bookshelves everywhere, huge windows overlooking my gorgeous green yard and like 4 huge wide tables for cutting out fabric and patterns and collecting miscellaneous crafty crap.
*Sigh* But back here on planet earth, I live in a 2300 sq ft house with 8 children. Finding space for my creative hobbies isn’t always the biggest priority so I’ve had to figure out the best way to make do for the past few years. Having a dedicated space to do what you love is important; even if it’s just a tiny corner of a dining room table. So here’s a peek into my creative corner!
My sewing space currently resides in a shadowy corner of my family room in the basement. This room also functions as a homeschool room, play room and media room…so it is FULL. One of these days I’ll organize and decorate the whole thing so I can show it all to you. We’ve got 2 full bookcases, 2 long Ikea tables, 6 chairs, a gigantic sectional, a school supply/toy closet and fabric closet. It’s a hot mess but it allows me to be close to the little kids while I sew which ensures that I get a lot more creating done than if it was all in a separate room!
When designing this space, I knew I wanted an L-shaped configuration for my sewing machines and ironing board so that I can stay seated and make a sewing project from start to finish (I’m very lazy). One of these days I think I’ll get a comfy swivel desk chair so that it’s even easier to move around! I’ve got my regular sewing machine on the left which is one of the best sewing machines I’ve ever used! (it’s also an embroidery machine) and my serger on the right. Behind the machines I installed two metal rods to hang little white storage buckets. These hold everything from seam rippers to scissors to markers and tape measures. They’re really roomy and are strong enough to hold several pairs of heavy scissors! The little clear box to the right of my serger holds all my bias tape and a few odds and ends.
I use the drawers on the right to hold just about everything else I could ever need while sewing: the top drawer holds pins, tape, chalk, etc. The others store ribbon, elastic, zippers, buckles, snaps…you name it! The big wide drawers on the left hold my button collection as well as all my really large paper patterns. My favorite way to keep these patterns together is to take a large piece of cardstock, fold it in half and staple two of the open sides together. These fit perfectly into the drawers and keep me from having to fold big patterns more than a couple times to store.
Behind my machines, I chose to hang pretty stuff and magazine cut outs of inspiring clothing designs. While I love the idea of a pegboard to hang all my tools like many sewists use, we’re so tight on space that our “television” is actually a projector screen that pulls down and partially covers this part of the wall. So the stuff I hang on it has to be fairly flat so that it doesn’t damage the screen. It’s worked out pretty well!
In the back corner I have my stash of sewing books and smaller paper patterns inside 3-ring binders. I also keep my big clear rulers here (out of the reach of naughty children who have broken about 3 of them already) and my big cutting mats get stored behind my machines against the wall. My favorite part of my machine table is the power strip! I used Command strips to adhere it to the table and plug everything into this strip. That way, when I want to work, I just have to flip one switch to bring everything to life. And then when I walk away I switch it off so I never forget to turn off the light or a machine or my iron (totally did that for years before this setup).
You can see a bit more crap stashed under the back corner of the table: I’ve got a bag full of cross-stitching supplies under there, padding for my dress form and more (and more and more) patterns.
Under my thread supply, I keep this pretty metal basket full of fabrics in my “queue”. Anything that really inspires me or that I’ve bought for a specific purpose goes here so that it doesn’t get lost to die a sad and lonely death in my fabric closet (under the basement stairs). I love seeing the pretty patterns and dreaming of how I’ll put them to use. Way above the thread rack, I screwed in two hooks (these big ones are from the hardware store and are designed to hold bikes on a garage wall) to store all my rolls of paper: carbon tracing paper, swedish tracing paper, medical paper, rolls of interfacing, fusible web, etc.
Finally along that left part of the corner, I have my mini ironing board and iron, as well as more pretty storage on the wall. I love, LOVE this circle shelf because it’s super cute and gives me a place to keep contraband up high. My kids are pretty good about not getting into my sewing stuff (on penalty of death) but if the littles are being stinkers one day, I’ll stash my pins & needles up here as well as candy (or other sewing treats that are not for children) in that little bowl on the top shelf…what they don’t know won’t hurt them!
And that’s about it! It’s not the fanciest or the most well organized but it works pretty great for me at this stage of life. I often use the kids’ school tables for cutting out patterns…or just the floor. I tend to make a big mess when I sew at night because I can, but it’s nice to have a place to put everything back in order when it’s time to clean up.
Let me know if you have any questions…and I’d love to know if you also have a teeny tiny sewing or crafting space. Let’s hear any other tips out there for being creative without a full room at your disposal!
Table top, skinny drawer unit, wide drawer unit, chair, pendant light, white storage buckets & rods, and white magnet boards – Ikea || Sewing/Embroidery machine – Bernina Artista 180 (bought used on eBay)|| Serger – Brother 1034D || Thread rack, iron – Amazon || Circular shelving unit, clock, gold cup, similar decorative bowl, metal basket & plastic (bias tape) basket, ironing board, gold baskets & mounting rail behind ironing board – Target || Instax camera – Amazon || abstract art on circle shelf – Candy Kirby Designs ||other handmade art – Pen and Paint || snowy barn art – painted by yours truly