Excuses, it’s the end of the road!

My sewing has been going sooo slowly. I’ve made a few garments (and got in some good practice time and a little skill learning) and have created a plan to make nine garments this year. Of those nine, I’ve finished one top, and really like it! Have a pair of pants and a few more little projects already started, but not worthy of posting as yet. (I do, however, have about a gazillion ideas for fabrics, patterns, etc needing to be ordered from absolutely everywhere! I’ll need to find a job … and a place to store everything …)

But you may wonder what I mean by the end of the road for excuses. I’ll explain. If you’ve followed me for the nearly two years of my blog (amazing!) you’ll recall that my sewing machine initially resided on the little-used dining room table. The table height wasn’t perfect for my back, and I had to run upstairs to the laundry room every time pressing was needed, but it sufficed well. But when my mother moved here with us, we converted hubby’s office to her suite, moving his office furniture into the dining room. Stella the sewing machine was banished to the laundry room, convenient now to the ironing station, but squeezed into a tiny corner. We purchased 2 utility tables, strapped them together, and the resultant 48″ square table is perfect for cutting fabric and folding laundry (and storing everything left over from remodeling) in this tiny room. To further complicate the situation, after my recent knee surgery, the dining room is now the dining room/office/infirmary. So, no more room at all for sewing (although I have been printing and cutting out some pdf patterns in there.)

You also know that our old house always has projects; the latest were the master bedroom and an emergency bathroom repair. With those completed, the sewing room arrived at the top of the list! And now it’s up to me to make all requests for my perfect sewing space. Soon. Like today or sooner.

And as is my wont, I’m turning to my knowledgeable sewing friends for some advice.

Here’s a little description for you. We are working with a 14′ x 10′ 6″ space with 3 doors and 2 windows and one overhead light/fan fixture. The little closet in the second picture will be for hubby’s clothes storage (after all, I have both tiny closets in the MBR).

Mr LTSB is crafty and has offered to build shelves, tables, storage, update electrical – you name it. (Yes, I’m the lucky one, that is for certain.) What I’ve come up with so far is a 48′ x 60″ cutting table with storage underneath. It would probably be in or near the center of the room. The sewing machine will go just to the left the window on the longer wall. The ironing board will stay in the laundry room, which is just steps away.

My general questions to you – what storage is best for what purpose? open shelves? closed shelves? drawers? what size cutting table works best? should it be against a wall or in the open? TV? lighting? I’ve seen lovely pics of sewing rooms (so many pictures my head spins) with threads, scissors, etc on display – very pretty, but don’t they get dusty? Think I’d like mine enclosed. Fancy sewing machine cabinet or just a table? This will be a simple, functional space.

And the most basic question – what is your number one must-have in an efficient sewing workspace?

I’d appreciate any advice. And when this is all finished, I solemnly promise a flurry of fabulously finished sewing projects!!

Stitch on, everyone!

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25 thoughts on “Excuses, it’s the end of the road!

  1. Hi a comfy chair that’s height adjustable was my main buy after and because of my table. It’s an Ikea desk I bought 2nd hand. Large white expanse where my machines, lamp, paper stand and bits and bobs live. Underneath is another lower desk that pulls out at right angles where my overlocker lives. I love they are together and my chair adjusts to the job. Also comfy for hand sewing. What a lovely light space you have. This is exciting K xXx

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  2. Right missus, you asked! I have to have: bright daylight lamp with magnifier; open shelves with crates;pinboard; hooks for rulers, scissors and tape measure; ironing board close by; swivel chair at a good height [most people set them way too low]; footrest for when I’m sitting basting or hemming; ipod for audiobooks or music. All my threads are in plastic tubs, sorted by colour, rarely used stuff [lace or fancy bits and bobs] lives upstairs with the stored patterns. And that’s it. I have a teeny cramped ex-dining-room, barely big enough for a dining table with people round it, so I have to at least try to stay organised. I never manage it though! I took pics when it was at its neatest, all on my blog somewhere…

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    • Thank you for so many great ideas. I’d been thinking about task lighting, but the magnifier would be so very helpful. On the lookout now for the proper chair with a FOOTREST – had forgot all about a footrest. Now I’ll see if I can find your blog pics….(gosh I’m a nosy neighbor). Staying organized is always my biggest obstacle and there is no one to blame but myself. grrrr.

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  3. I have a kitchen island from Ikea as my cutting table. I have it in the centre of the room so that I can walk round it for ease of cutting. There are a couple of shelves underneath on one side where I keep pattern weights, marking pens, pins, etc. and I’ve attached a hanging rail on the outside of one short end with S hooks for hanging my scissors and rotary cutters. It’s just the right height to stand at for cutting and, honestly, I do practically everything on this table apart from the actual sewing and overlocking. You don’t do patchwork so this probably wouldn’t apply to you but I do have a small ironing pad and cordless iron on another surface for pressing blocks but you might find it useful for small things like collars, etc. I have both open shelves and shelves with pull out baskets. I have a portable speaker which I can connect my iPad or phone to by Bluetooth for listening to music. A swivel chair is a must and a good daylight lamp has become more of a necessity as my eyesight gets worse 😦 It’s hard to get me out of there to be honest.

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    • A swivel chair is a must! And yes the daylight lamp, have to make sure to get a good one (yes, the old eyes…) I love the idea of the kitchen island – should be a little higher, perfect for cutting and the shelves can be used many ways. Checking into the online catalog. And who knows, with such a perfect setup, I may undertake a patchwork one day. 😉 Oh, and my ironing board has a big square end, so it’s difficult for small bits…perhaps it can stay in the laundry for regular pressing and a new one shall come for my new space?

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  4. How exciting!

    I have a keep it simple philosophy, although I live alone so that makes it easy as I can do as I please anywhere in the house. I like to have my sewing machine in a window space as I like natural light. I got lucky in that I have a built-in desk under a window with three vertically stacked drawers to one side. I love sewing from there and I keep thread and zips and currently used items in those three deep drawers. Otherwise I have a single cabinet. On top there are bookshelves on which all of my art and sewing and knitting books and magazine are arranged; down below the bookshelves there is a cabinet with doors and two shelves that includes a box of patterns not currently in use and my fabric stash, all bagged to prevent moths and the like from getting in, where relevant. As needed I have a couple of plastic bins with fabric in waiting, which I can store anywhere else or bring into the sewing space as I am exploring ideas. For cutting I don’t have a sophisticated arrangement but have tables in a couple of rooms that will do or can use the big (cleaned) hardwood living room floor as required! I think I am going to put a longer table in a den space that I have at some point.

    Good luck and have fun!

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    • More great ideas! I thank you. I’m planning for some bookshelves, too. And must remember the moth protection when my stash builds up. It’s nice that you have so many suitable surfaces for cutting out, I’d have to drawn the line at getting on the floor though-I’d never get back up!

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  5. Sounds really good! I’m converting a room into a craft room but much smaller than yours. I’ve just told husband whose not too impressed but this is a non room in our tiny cottage so the makeover has promoted a massive general sort out! Phew!

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    • Oh, the dreaded sort-out. It is not my very favorite thing, until it’s done, of course, then one feels so accomplished! I hope you’ll share the photos of your new room? Fun time, indeed!

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  6. How wonderful to get your own dedicated sewing space! I like my sewing machine smack in front of the window, so that’s where it is. I like shelves behind doors because it keeps the dust down, definitely. If they are big sliding doors across shelves, then you can usually attach a design wall to one or both, too. I don’t have a TV because I listen to speeches on either my phone or computer. Having a TV distracts me and causes more problems. Lighting – natural light bulbs, and plenty of them.

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    • Yes, I’m pretty excited about getting the space started! I think there will be some closed shelving for dust control (and hiding clutter perhaps??). There will certainly be room for my laptop, that’s probably all I need in addition to phone. Need to learn how to do podcasts, etc, don’t you think?

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  7. I think my number one priority is a cutting/working surface that is the correct height and depth for reaching across and working on comfortably so that my back issues don’t become an issue. For me, this means a kitchen work surface height and just over two cabinets placed back to back wide, if that makes sense giving a work surface with storage underneath.
    So, good luck and look forward to seeing the finished project!

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    • Oh, wait till you see the cutting board solution I’ve decided on….think you’ll like it for the reasons you’ve mentioned. Thanks for the good wishes, and pics to come as progress moves forward. 😀

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  8. Some of my needs have shifted from time to time. After all, it’s a working space, and as the work shifts, so do my needs.

    ✂️ I use a plastic filing case (with larger pattern envelopes inside) for my movable footrest.
    ✂️ I use small task lights, all have daylight (white) light bulbs (overhead light’s useless).
    ✂️ I tried my machine in front of both a south-facing and west-facing window & I was squinting against glare. Grudgingly, I moved back to the wall and put up fav pictures.
    ✂️ Lots of little things hang by ribbons on various sides of my main table lamp.
    ✂️ I find myself dumping stuff (fabric, planning projects, what-shall-I-do piles of fabric) all over my large cutting table in a separate but close room. Currently use plastic shoe boxes for all haberdashery items, but got an elfa (The Container Store) cabinet for threads and really current projects. As the drawer depths are exchangeable it seems to work well at the mo.
    ✂️ Current cutting table is a dining room table with all leaves inserted.
    ✂️ I prefer a swivel, adjustable height chair w/o arms.
    ✂️ I sometimes stick my full size board under my sewing table at a right angle & height so I can swivel to iron itty bits.

    Hope this helps! Have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments, and congratulations on having a space to call your own! xx

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    • Thanks! I’m incorporating several of the ideas….progress has slowed a bit at the moment, but I suspect it will pick up quickly. (Oh, and in my sewing room research I saw a nice portable station and thought of you… 😉 )

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