Cards on the table…I sew and work from my dining room table.
I would love to have my own sewing room but we simply don’t have space on our house for one. I used to have the box bedroom as a sewing space but it was too dark and small; then hubby started working from home some days and needed somewhere he could close the door to take calls, and we moved the piano into there when Fletcher started lessons…there’s only so much you can fit in a tiny room! And the layout of our house downstairs means having a permanent sewing area in our living space wouldn’t work for us so I everything I use for work and sewing needs to have a place to be stored and tidied away into when I have finished.
Although there are some drawbacks to having to tidy everything away all the time (I’m sure I would be far more efficient with a permanent space and I could do little bits of sewing here and there without the hassle of “setting up”) I don’t mind being in the dining room. We have a really big table, it’s a lovely light open plan space, I can open the back doors on a warm day, there’s space for a full sizing ironing board and it’s right next to the kitchen i.e. the coffee machine!
So here are my top four tips for having an “invisible” sewing space… one that is invisible (or close to it!) when it’s not in use.
Tip 1: Handmade Storage
If you are using open shelves to house any of your sewing supplies then handmade storage boxes and baskets are a great choice; they are quick and easy to make and look great on display. Choose colours to match the decoration of you living space then your sewing storage will blend in nicely with everything else.
Patterns I especially love:
Lou Orth Designs Little Things Basket
Sweet Cinnamon Roses Wee Braw Bag
Hearts and Bees One Hour Basket
Tip 2: Mats & Rulers
Small cutting mats and rulers can go neatly into cupboards or onto shelves but larger mats and longer rulers are more difficult to store out of sight. Slid them under your sofa to tidy them away, with the added bonus that this keeps the mats flat too.
Tip 3: Be Organised
This might seem really obvious but it is always worth mentioning. Make an effort to keep the same things in the same place, especially supplies you use often; always put your scissors and rotary cutters in the same pouch, keep your thread on the same shelf, store your fabric in some sort of order (group colours, designers, piece sizes…whatever suits you best) and stick with it. By having a specific place for everything it will be quicker and easier to find the tools or supplies you need and it is faster to tidying everything away. Be sure to plan the setting up and packing away into your sewing time. Keeping projects together also helps a lot. I love these storage pouches from Sarah Ashford Studio; they come in three different sizes, hold more than you’d think and line up really neatly on a shelf.
Tip 4: Don’t have too much stuff
OK, so this is much easier said than done! I’m not here to tell you how much you should or shouldn’t have in your sewing stash; fabric stashes especially can be a rather emotive topic, check out HollyAnne’s blog post over on String and Story about fabric stashes, she basically says everything I’m thinking. But a limited amount of storage space can easily become overwhelmed with too much stuff, and an out of control stash can lead to you becoming overwhelmed and losing that all important urge to sew…and no one wants that!
Next time you are tidying away your supplies (or even more importantly, next time you are about to buy something new) think to yourself “Do I need three different 45mm rotary cutters?”, “Is one pair of small scissors actually enough?”. If everything serves a unique purpose then that’s great and they all deserve a space in your stash but if not, perhaps take a moment to think about what else could go in the space instead.
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