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Have you ever googled “sewing room ideas” and wondered just where these people got all the money for furniture and décor?  And how could they ever function with such tiny little stashes?

How we can build a special sewing place in our own home?    The intertwining issues are
1.    Your available space
2.    Your storage needs
3.    Your sewing projects

I have little spare money and a humongous fabric stash.  I live in a modest suburban home already overtaken by a collection of about 5000 books.   I have a husband, 3 daughters and 5 cats.  And I have a sewing room.  Here’s how I have twined things together.  Bear in mind this is a work in progress.  

You can’t change the available space you have, or can you?  You have a lot of things to store, but where do they really need to go?  You have projects you want to complete, so what is the best way to accomplish that?

Follow me below the orange bobbin tangle for more.

Ideally, we all want a sewing space where we can set up our project, then just close the door on it when we need to, knowing we can pop back in for 10 minutes or a full day later on.

I took over the basement playroom when my girls outgrew it.  Sounds like a lot of space?  Hah!  It’s less than 1/3 the floor space of the main floor.  The rest of the basement is occupied by a 2 car drive under garage, the stairs to the basement, and a closet housing the furnace and hot water heater.  My sewing area looks like a lopsided dumbbell.  The larger end has my Bernina and serger.  The smaller end has my old reliable 1968 Elna.  In between, in the “corridor” is my Tin Lizzy long arm quilting machine (purchased used).

The floor is peel and stick vinyl tile I found on clearance and installed myself.  It’s holding up well after 15 years.   The walls were painted by my girls when it was still their playroom using paint leftover from other painting projects.  I had pale yellow, pale blue, and 2 shades of pale green.  There wasn’t enough of one color to finish the whole room, so I instructed them to start on the left side of one wall and go around the room to the right.  They did a super job, particularly in blending the 2 shades of green on the wall as they began to run out of one shade.   The Elna end is yellow, the Tin Lizzy corridor is blue, and my main sewing area is green, and no one notices unless I point it out!

If you don’t have leftover paint, get on Freecycle and watch for someone to give some away.  Also keep an eye on the “oops” paint that the big box stores sometimes have on clearance.  

Every time I go in a hardware or office supply store in the back of my mind I am asking “how can I use that”?  That’s how I hit upon using old fashioned hand towel rods and S hooks for my scissors.  I found the towel rods at Ace Hardware.  The big box stores don’t carry anything that simple.   I installed 2 rods, one by my Bernina and one by my moveable flat surface/desk.

I didn’t have enough wall space for all the bulletin boards I needed so I installed pieces of cork board tile on the folding closet doors concealing the furnace. I certainly didn’t have enough wall space for a design wall, so I got my husband to install a closet rod near the ceiling and hung a flannel sheet from that.  I’ll have to install another rod on the bottom of the sheet because it is too floppy right now, but at least I can roll the whole thing up out of the way when I don’t need it.    Then a surprise…the indoor outdoor carpet (I got on clearance) that I installed on the back of the basement door for insulation turned out to be a good design wall for small projects!

My sewing machine furniture has been purchased at clearance sales down thru the years.  The Elna and Bernina both have dedicated cabinets.  I also have 2 Sullivan brand cabinets with drawers and fold down leaves (henceforth referred to as the twins) that I use for anything and everything – desk, computer stand, pattern pieces, serger table.

My main work area is completely flexible.  Everything rolls.   I can reconfigure it in moments depending on my project needs.  Usually my work space is U shaped.  Bernina is at the bottom of the U.  To my left is one of the twins opened out.  Between the twin and the Bernina table is an old bookcase which has been re purposed into an entertainment center and office supply caddy.  To my right is an ironing board lowered to seating height.  Behind me to the left is a folding lingerie drying rack upon which my quilt pieces are draped, all ironed and ready to be selected and pieced.   All I have to do is rotate my chair!   And if I am working on a garment, I just roll the serger on the other twin over from where ever I tucked it and I’m ready to go.  Yay!

My folding cutting table rolls in and out of the furnace closet as needed.  

If you don’t have an entire room you can take over, maybe there is part of a room you can use.   A friend has divided her basement family room into entertainment area and exercise area with a couch.  

Now then, storage.   I don’t have a lot of storage space in my sewing room.  I do have a rolling set of plastic drawers, and my threads are on spool holders on the walls (all gotten at garage sales or clearance).  One day I realized I didn’t need to have everything right there in the sewing room!   All I needed were the materials for the current project (and maybe some projects in the thinking stages), and the tools for those projects.

I cleared out my bedroom closet and discovered I didn’t need to keep my clothes in there.  They would fit in my husband’s closet with ease. Mwhahaha!   I now had a narrow corridor-like walk in closet for my fabric stash!   I installed ClosetMaid wire shelves along one long wall.  The back wall and opposite long wall have old wooden bookshelves plus another stack of rolling plastic drawers.   I can now see my entire stash and yet keep it in the dark to protect it from light fading.

Other chunks of my sewing stuff are in repurposed furniture that we already owned.  
A popular place to store things is under a bed.  If your bed is too low, get a set of bed risers and you’ll have instant space.

That's just a short summary of how I have tried to create a sewing space without breaking our budget.  

Originally posted to DK Quilt Guild on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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