My Sewing Area

A work in progress as in I will update when I've rearranged an area or taken new pictures. 

I've shared about my stitching nest or where I sit and work on my hand sewn projects.  Would like to share my sewing area or where I do my machine sewn work.

Prior to setting up and having a space to call my sewing area, most of my sewing stash was kept one four drawer plastic cabinet on wheels that I could push or pull away. I kept my threads in the Darice thread boxes and what few books and magazines I had I stored them in two, yes two, plastic milk crates.

When I lived in a small studio apartment I purchased a sewing table with drawers, a couple more plastic mobile drawer units and a bookcase.  I moved my furniture around to accommodate a sewing space.  As a result of damages to the complex I was living in when the city was devastated by a major flood in 2008, I relocated into a small one bedroom apartment and put all my sewing related items along one wall in the bedroom. 

I had my Singer sewing machine and serger (later traded in for Viking machines).  Sewing supplies were stored in the drawers of the sewing cabinet. The plastic cabinet to the right of the sewing cabinet housed all my counted cross stitching supplies and the plastic cabinet to the left of the sewing cabinet housed all my other sewing stuff - mostly embroidery, crocheting, hoops and such. I stored my books and magazines on the bookcase near the window. That was my sewing area.  It worked.  Didn't do a lot of machine sewing then.  I mostly did counted cross stitching and when I did that, I sat in the recliner in the living room and stitched.

I moved again when a two bedroom apartment opened up in the same complex (November 2010).  I used one of the bedrooms for my sewing room. Having a room for just sewing was a first for me.  I quartered off the room and devoted each corner to one of my crafts.  One corner was for counted cross stitching, one corner was for beading, one corner was for machine sewing and quilting.

My counted cross stitching.  Had an explosion of stash.  Put my DMC threads in cabinets and hung them on the wall.  My magazine collections grew and I organized and filed them in magazine file folders.  Single page charts went into colored magazine file folders.  Small kits went into totes. Overdyed threads were stored in photo boxes.  My fabric, tools and accessories were stored in plastic cabinets.

I started doing beaded scissor fobs (don't do as much of it now, gave 90% of my inventory away) and stored my supplies in boxes I kept under the table or in plastic storage containers placed on a shelf on the wall. My beading supplies are now stored in one Rubbermaid tub.

On the four shelf unit I stored anything and everything pertaining to quilting or making doll clothes.

In the corner with my sewing machine and serger, I kept my notions, sewing tools, pressing items and small sewing related equipment.  I spent many hours creating in this room.  I wasn't working outside the home, was and still am medically retired, so sewing became an outlet for me.  I loved working with fabric and watching a little doll outfit come together.  I was going through a rough time in my life and I would enter the room disheartened and discouraged and spend hours here. Many days I would go in when the sun was coming up and stay, leaving only when it was dark outside long after the sun had set.

Little things matter to this gal.  This room was special.  My treasures were housed in this room.  I listened to gospel music and books on tape in this room.  Listened to my neighbor's little girl giggling during the day as she played outside.  I learned in this room.  This is where I started making doll clothes and baby outfits.  Many of my sewing skills were challenged and perfected in this room.

Life through a curve ball and I dealt with it the best way I could.  I moved to another town (January 2013) into a one room apartment.  Wanted a fresh start, a new beginning.  A new home.

I had maintenance help me put up shelves and a counter top. Rearranged and shuffled things several times before I got it to where it worked for me.  I am an organizer. Like things together.  Put 'em where I can find 'em when I need 'em.

I hung pegboard on the back of the door and hung all my quilting related templates and rulers.

Hung my DMC thread cabinets just inside the door.

Three shelves housed my doll clothes making supplies. The bookcase underneath the shelves stored my doll clothes pattern library, my crochet pattern books and all my quilting books and magazines. My serger rested on a metal stand my dad made for me.  The countertop was wide and deep enough to accommodate many different sewing projects.  Gracie (my beloved companion from 2009-2015) loved sitting or laying next to me when I worked here. I loved being able to look out the window while working at my sewing machine.  Always kept the window open when the weather permitted it and enjoyed hearing the birds sing.  Also grew to love a beautiful feral kitty during this time and he would come and lay on the ledge outside of the window.  Over time, he learned to trust and if the weather was bad, he would come into the apartment and lay close by.  Gracie tolerated him.  They never fought.  

I had a plastic drawer unit that I stored my sewing machine tools and various other things that I used with my sewing machine and serger.

I had two bookcases.  One for my counted cross stitching magazine library and another one for my counted cross stitch booklets and loose leaf patterns. I had two bags.  One for counted cross stitching WIPs and one for upcoming and wanting to stitch projects-as I bought the fabric or threads or buttons I would put it in their respective project bags and store it away.  The plastic totes under the fan stored my counted cross stitching fabric and counted cross stitch related supplies and accessories.

For my sewing fabric I didn't have room in the closet in the bedroom to store so I devoted one of the closets in the hallway for it.  It had nice metal shelves and lots of them.  I stored alot in this closet and had to check it carefully each time before closing the doors as Gracie loved getting in the baskets.

After the death of my dad and a visit to northern Minnesota to spend time with my sister at her cabin, I made the decision to relocate (August 2014) to be closer to my sister who lives in Minnesota and extended family living in northern Iowa.  Relocated to a small one bedroom house and between my sister, extended family members and myself we worked on the basement so I could have a sewing area.  I sewed three baby quilts, a baby's dress and some fleece buntings in this space.  

This area was set up for my machine sewing.  The walls and floor was washed, cemented/sealed and painted.  Two new windows were installed in the basement.  A deck quality platform was built, outdoor/indoor carpeting was put on the platform so I could have a level base to work with my sewing inventory.  My sister cut and painted the peg boards.  We hung them using eye bolts and plastic cable ties.  It was nice having the table set up with the cutting mattes.

This area was set up with my counted cross stitch inventory and my doll clothes making inventory. Didn't have the notions I use when I make doll clothes unpacked and on shelves like I did in the previous place I lived.  It was something I was working on but arrived at a point where I said no more (deplorable living conditions, being taken advantage of by landlord, getting sick due to mold and sewer issues).  Packed everything and relocated

How I had my fabric stored.  Gracie loved to lay on the top shelf.  How she got up there, I have no clue.

I moved into my current rental May 2015 and after rearranging a couple of things around a few times, I have gotten my stitching and sewing inventory set up and where it's functional for me.  My rental is small.  Four rooms upstairs but a good sized nice dry, clean, workable area in the basement.  On a sunny day, the light floods in through five good sized windows.  I divided the space into two areas - an area for my cross stitch related inventory and another area for my machine sewing related inventory.  I installed two shop lights giving me more light about my cutting table and sewing machine and serger.

I love that my cross stitch inventory is set up in one area, all organized.  I've added an area where I have all my materials for framing my cross stitched finishes. I love that in my sewing area, I can cut fabric and work with my patterns, sew at my sewing machine or serge at my serger and leave things out when I want to take a break or leave.  When I return to pick back up where I left off, everything is where I left it.  

The long folding table has been replaced by a circular oak table and two chairs after I purchased a new kitchen table with four matching chairs.  

Plastic drawer units one by one being replaced by wooden cabinets.

Cross stitch area.  Going right to left from base of stairs.

Located near the stairs.  I keep packing material and plastic totes stored under the stairs.

Hung up a mesh pocket unit and I store my Q-snap pieces in the pockets along with my framing supplies.  The styrofoam blocks along side the mesh unit are for when I want to make and use a needle organizer (think Pako Needle Organizer).

The bookcase on the right holds my counted cross stitch magazine library. I have five complete collections.  I also have two totes that are filled with counted cross stitch kits.  Think Mill Hill kits.  They are small sized packages or small one page charts. Again, grouped together by designer, in a ziplock baggie.

The bookcase on the left, with the colored cardboard magazine file boxes, holds my counted cross stitch chart inventory and overdyed threads (GAST, WDW, etc).  I have my charts grouped together and organized in alphabetical order by designer. I like having items together.  The loose leaf, one page charts, are in ziplock baggies and in the file boxes.  The leaflets, softbound and hardcover books are on the second shelf. Again, grouped together by designer and filed alphabetically.

My custom-built thread cabinet stands next to my bookcases.  I had a neighbor custom make this for me.  It holds three units on the front and three units on the back.  It is on wheels so I can pivot it around when I need to pull threads from the other side.  Has handles on the sides so I can easily move it.  

Under the table I store three totes.  One tote is for my cross stitching accessories.  Think small project bags, needles, floss away bags, LoRan project cards, etc.  One tote is for my cross stitch fabric and I have evenweave and ready made fabric items in this tote.  Towels, baby bibs, bookmarks, etc. Another tote contains my beading inventory.  I don't have alot as I gave over 90% of it away but I did keep my tools, favorite beads and supplies. 


The shelving unit (was there when I moved in) contains... 

The top shelf - left to right - my Z-frame accessories, embroidery projects, plastic hoops, pillow forms and quilt batting for ornament finishing or doll or baby quilts.

The middle shelf - left to right - electric bobbin winder, bias tape machine, doll model, doll accessories for when photographing doll clothes, button jars, doll clothes notions - bias tape, elastic, zippers, snaps, lace, ribbon, trim, etc.

The third shelf - left to right - sewing patterns for adult, teen, young child, infant, serger sewing thread, fabric.

The bottom shelf - left to right - fabric.  All my fabric is sorted by color and type.

To the left of the shelves - pegboard that holds two jewelry hangers containing sewing related items.   On the floor beneath the pegboard I have a black file box where I keep sewing related sales receipts.  I keep these receipts or sale invoices to reference back to should I want to purchase something again or want to know where I got an item.  

What I had...

To now this in my sewing area...

A peg board that holds quilting templates and miscellaneous items related to quilting.  Under the pegboard sits a bookcase that holds all my totes containing doll clothes patterns and a basket containing baby to adult clothes patterns that I want to sew.  Eventually would like to have a small mobile cart and add all my baby to adult sewing patterns in this area.  With my doll clothes patterns I have a digital file of each and every pattern.  I scan in the front of the pattern jacket and come time I want to make a new outfit, I can do a scroll through my patterns and pull the one I want.  I have the patterns grouped by designer in numerical order.  Second and third shelf houses my quilting books and patterns and my crochet books and magazines along with my crochet hooks and threads. Again, grouped together by author/designer and filed alphabetically.

I have a MS Word file for all my inventory.  I have a separate file for my cross stitch charts, my magazines, my quilting books, my crochet books, my quilting templates and rulers and my doll clothes patterns.  I reference these lists when I shop.  I don't want to buy something I already have.

The countertop with lattice on the back held my former sewing machine.  Contents of the metal cans were moved into the drawers of my new sewing cabinet.  For now the unit holds stuff so I can keep my cutting table clear.  Not sure I will keep this as I really want to have a quilting design wall and this is would be a good spot for it.

I bought bed  risers (found in the household section of WalMart, comes in a pack of four.  If I remember correctly, found them where the ironing board and covers were) for the legs of my cutting table, organized my quilting rulers and templates and plastic sleeved patterns on a pegboard next to the table.  The added height makes it nice for when I work at the table cutting fabric and such as it doesn't strain my lower back.  I have plastic totes under the table where I put scrap material leftovers.  These scraps can be used for Sunbonnet Sue or other applique types of quilt or wall hangings.

My new sewing cabinet that has a vertical column of drawers on the left size, a lift for my sewing machine and an acrylic insert.  My new sewing machine is a Babylock Presto.  My new to me Babylock serger, an Imagine, has been set up next to the cabinet on a metal unit that my dad welded for me in 2006 when I was living in a studio apartment.  Dad died of colon cancer 2013, don't plan to part with it.  It's sturdy and takes the vibrating of the serger when in use.

What I had for my sewing machine and serger...

What I have now for my sewing machine and serger...

To the left of my sewing machine I have my ironing board.  Having the ironing board next to my sewing machine makes it easier and quicker when pressing quilt seams or garment seams.

Another nice feature of my basement is my washer and dryer.  Purchased this set in 2014.  Prior to that I did my laundry at the local laundromat.  Makes it so nice and so convenient for washing and drying fabric for my projects.

Future plans for my sewing space include putting up a design wall for use when I put together my quilt tops, adding sewing related decor on the walls, curtains on the windows (will help with lighting in taking pictures), mobile wood furniture or cabinets and solid wood bookcases (have been slowly, piece by piece, replacing plastic or junk put together furniture).

If the house were mine, the walls would be painted a pretty soft blue, would put a nice piece of blue carpet down in the area where my sewing machine is, redo the carpet on the steps, add a toilet and sink and install shelves along another wall.  I would install a waist high countertop with cabinets.  I would open up that little storage room (don't like going in there - dingy, unpainted, but dry.  Landlord uses it for storage).  Again, if it were my house, but it's not, so I work with what I have and am thankful that I have what I do have.  Folks, this space is more than what I've had in the past.