The Sewing Room: IT’S DONE!

I’ve made it well known that over the last month or so I’ve had a HUGE push to try to my sewing room in order.  It all started last year in March.  I had enough of the mess that was my sewing room and decided that the time had come that I was going to quit “making do” with whatever missmatched things I had around and was going to try to update and redo my sewing room.  Of course I had “visions of sugar plums” until reality set in.  I dreamed of wonderful cupboards that everything perfectly fit in.  What I got was something different….but for me it’s still VERY magical.

In a message I recently got a writer wrote:
I can’t wait to see your sewing room when you get it just the way you want it. I just know you are going to have some ideas to help me organize my own room.”

That scared me.  I don’t think I have a single idea….all I have is STUFF and the want to make it all fit.

I’ve showed pictures of my sewing room before and I’ve gotten some comments that were too much so I’m a little nervous to share photos.  Before I do, I’d like to explain a few things.
1-quilting is not my business but it’s more than only a casual hobby.
2-In the past, my sewing room has been a small tiny cabinet with a sewing machine in my bedroom or the dining room table.
3-We don’t go on vacations or live a fancy life.  All of my “mad” money is in this room.
4-Going to a store to get things is a minimum of 25 minutes away so I like to have things on hand.

So…here goes…
When we remodeled the house, we planned a big craft room for me.  Most people would use the space as a master bedroom.  It’s 14 x 20 with a walk in closet.  We aren’t done with it yet.  We still need to put the wood trim up.  It hasn’t bothered me a drop until now…it’s clean and now I notice the lack of trim.  When it was a mess I didn’t notice it all.

The sewing room is upstairs at the end of a long hall…happily the bathroom is right next door.  Entering the room I have machines and things to the left and my quilting machine to the right.


This is the left or south side of the room.  

I keep a trio of sewing machines in the center of the room.  I piece a lot on the white Pfaff…


This is my old Singer 99.

My Singer 15-91 is the other machine.  I’ll get to that one in a minute.  Starting by the door I have an ice box.  This houses all my solid and muslin fabrics.  My Singer 301 is on top.  The cute red suitcase is my treasure box of ideas and inspiration of things I’d like to make at some point.

The picnic baskets all have things in them.  Novelty prints are in one, orphan blocks in one, embroidery in another and pieces left over from Kalissa’s wedding quilt in the last one.  If she ever has a baby girl, I think that baby will get a quilt from the scraps.  I had four more picnic baskets but I eliminated them.

Next is my New Home treadle.  On top is a wooden box with my needle punch things in.

My African Violets call this room home.  It’s about the only room with good windows for plants.  I added the piano bench to add space for more plants.   I didn’t get all the way through my plants in my cleaning expedition.  Many need to be repotted.  That will wait for another day.

Next is this old piece.  It’s my cutting table.  I RARELY cut out anything up here.  Not because I can’t but more because I can do that over naptime so I do it downstairs in the kitchen.

I used to try to keep neat fun little baskets under here to hold scraps.  Then reality hit.  What I was doing might be cute but it was not functional.  Now I have totes.  Totes work.  Totes are functional…not cute but oh well.

Hubby redid this amazing cabinet for me.  We bought it from a family here in town at an auction.  I LOVE it.  I wanted some open shelving for displays but again…reality set in.  Displays are lovely but I need storage space.  So many of the basket on the shelf are hiding things that are being stored…charm packs and the like.

The two cookie jar on the bottom to the left are from Ila (our blog reader).  I adore them.  One keeps my triangle trimmings, the other, leftover binding strips.My 15-91 is on this side of the room.  It has quickly become the machine I love.  When I snapped the picture I was working on string blocks for Hunter’s Star.  I bought this big sewing basket on an auction for a couple dollars.  It’s worked so nice.  I put the color of strips I need in the box and make my string blocks.

It can quickly close up and….
…be shoved under the sewing machine extension.  It’s wonderful.  I had my awesome light at the Singer 99 but found myself sewing here more often so the light got moved.


This is where I iron.  I had intended that I’d get rid of an ironing board.  I thought the room would look so much neater if I only used a wool mat.  Neater YES, but I’d find myself pulling out the ironing board WAY too often.  The reality is that sometimes a quilt straight up needs an old fashioned ironing board.  This one is vintage and was FREE on a garage sale!!
The three drawer here is projects that I’m currently juggling.  The BOM is in one drawer, want to projects are the top drawer….another project in the remaining drawer.

My long arm takes up the north wall.  See?

Again, this is where practicality took over. I wanted beautiful totes but the drawers from Wal-mart won out.  Sometimes with storage all you can do is be practical.

Over the last month every time someone in our family went to Wal-Mart they bought a three drawer unit.  This side of the machine houses my Civil War fabrics.  There is a drawer for most colors…one green, blue, red but then a few share as I don’t have many of that color….pink, orange and yellows are one drawer.  I primarily only have fat quarters of fabric.

To the right of the drawers is my fabric users system for Civil War-ish prints…then to the right of that is the “bright” colored fabric users system.


On the back side…more three drawer units.  This is all for shirts and wool.  There is a drawer for every color again….then there is a Scrap User’s System for shirts too.  Each drawer with shirts have shirt backs folded like fat quarters. 
I used to keep my shirts in under the bed totes.  I found myself often not choosing to make a quilt from shirts as then I’d have to pull all the totes out.  I know it wasn’t “that much work”….but still, I found myself making the excuse.  Now the shirts and nicely organized and super easy to get to.

I know a Scrap User’s System for each color is a little excessive but, this is how I like it.   Just like some people don’t want food touching on their plate, I typically don’t mix a lot of my fabrics…if I do want to, I know where to find them this way.

In the corner is quilt storage.  My hope is to clean out a spare bedroom closet and put them there.  These are all quilts that have been or will be submitted for publication.

This is my space for quilt tops that need to be quilted….and more quilt storage on the bottom.  I think I have 8 or so here that need to be quilted.  After taking the picture I realized I didn’t really straighten this up.  It will happen soon.


Then is my walk in closet.  Batting is straight ahead.  I just bought a roll of Warm and Natural and Hobbs 80/20 just before Christmas.  The sales were good and we were running low.

Yes, you guessed it…more three drawer units.  These are for batiks.  Yes they have their own Scrap User’s System too.  The top drawer is for batik scraps.  Batiks I mostly only have fat quarters of too.  Fat quarters work so great in these 3 drawer units.


My batiks were in under the bed totes and again, I didn’t regularly pull them out….too much work.  The totes would get covered in stuff and it was too much work.  I am so looking forward to this.  It’s easy now and easy is MUCH more important than fashionable.

Opposite the batiks are totes for brights.  Each color has its own tote.  These are not fat quarter cuts.  They work better in totes.  These are “dish pan totes”…found at Wal-Mart near the dish drainers.  These totes are a nicer size and much cheaper than regular totes.  They don’t come with a top though but that’s okay with me.  I am not a lid girl.


In the back of the closed my Bernina and Featherweight live along with a tote to take if I’m going on retreat…along with other things like interfacing, quilt books, sewing notions like zippers and such.

That’s my sewing room.  I realize that my space is big.  I realize I have a lot.  I’m very content with what I have.  People laugh and joke saying that their stash is more than they could sew in a lifetime.  I’ve never really thought of what I have in that context.

I want a space that I can easily find whatever it is I’m looking for.  I want to be able to make the mystery quilt without having to go buy a bunch of fabric.  I want to be able to make a zippered pouch without having to run to town for a zipper.  I want to be able to bind a charity quilt without having to run to town for fabric.  I have that.  I also want to manage a space so that should I die, going through my things won’t be taxing on my girls.  The way it is now, I really don’t think it would be.  It’s very organized with all like things together.

So where do I go from here….happily sewing and I am going to try so hard to maintain the space with 5 minute tidy sessions and periodic weekend clean ups.

I’ve had a couple sewing sessions happen in the room since I cleaned it.  I can tell you this.  Giving up sewing time to get this room where it is now was TOTALLY-TOTALLY worth it.  I am completely content with how things are…a little bit of antique furniture and some good practical storage too.

Here’s a picture of the family all hanging out in the sewing room with me.  This happened while Karl was still home!!  Never has everyone been able to be in my sewing room before.  It was so fun!  Seeing this alone made the work to clean it up all up worth it!!

If you’re looking for me and it’s not childcare hours, I’m likely in the sewing room now.  It’s such a pleasant place to be….I do want to give some credit where credit is due.  Reading the book  Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White really helped me get in the mindset of decluttering.  Reading her section on hobby rooms was what I needed to rethink some of the things I was storing and help me think how I would best like to store things.

I gave a lot of stuff away.  LOTS.  When I look at my sewing room now I can’t figure out how it all ever fit.  It was such a mess.  Giving stuff away was so freeing.  SO FREEING.

I’m off…off to sew in my happy place.  I can finally call my sewing room my happy place and mean it.  I’ve told Hubby thanks and thanks again for being on board with me spending the money to make the room so much nicer.  I highly recommend going on a fabric diet and using the saved money to make your sewing room the best place it can be!!

PDFPrint

47 thoughts on “The Sewing Room: IT’S DONE!

  1. Donna T

    Your sewing room looks well organized and inviting! Glad you got it organized the way you needed! Have fun now that it’s all done!

  2. Jodie

    Looks great ! I am still in building house mode, and my 20 x 20ft she shed has housed all the stuff for the house, as well as the “tradies toilet’. I can finally start clearing and organizing and hopefully sewing in 2019.

  3. Gretchen Weaver

    You’ve organized your sewing room so well, great job! Don’t worry about what other people think about your sewing room, you’ve made your space your own and that’s what is important. Happy stitching!

  4. Suzy R.

    Your sewing room looks fantastic – and I love that you organized it to suit the way you work on projects. I think the most wonderful part is that your family can visit with you while you sew … that’s priceless!

  5. Debbie Burgess

    Jo, you inspired me! Actually, that a friend is coming to stay in my guest room in February has equally inspired me to tackle MY used-to-be happy place sewing room that is now cluttered and overflowing across the hall into that guest room. I’m about half way there, certainly not ready for anyone to see, and I cannot get to my sewing machines yet, however, I’ve made some pragmatic choices in what to keep and what to give away, and I’m making friends happy!

    Congratulations on a job well done, and also for the grand tour of your sewing room!

  6. Diane

    I enjoyed seeing all the pictures of your sewing room. It is wonderful and so inviting. After Christmas I got my room in order and it is such a great feeling to be able to see what you have on hand and to know where it is ! Thanks!

  7. Anne Hersch

    You room is awesome. I love the antique furniture too especially the ice box. Love to hear your opinions on the different machines you have. Looks great.

  8. jean

    I also just finished a marathon clean and reorganization of my sewing and quilting space and am feeling just like you. I’m now ready to sew and quilt in a reorganized space guilt free. I already had my storage units, and did not get rid of any fabric. What I did to get more organized and have more storage space was to take fabric off bolts and flat fold it on repositioned bookshelves. Congrats to you on a job well done. Your space looks terrific, and I love your two plant windows. Reminds me of my MIL and her african violets in her windows.

  9. Robin

    Don’t you just love a husband who is willing to help support you in your hobby!! We are blessed. Jo, your room is exactly how I imagined it would be. I love the way you pulled your antique furniture together, while using modern day storage units. I don’t have a closet in my sewing room so I sure am jealous of yours. You work so hard during the day with your child care kiddos, you more than deserve this little piece of heaven to go to. Glad you kept with your decluttering, and thank you for all of the help and advice you’ve given the rest of us.

  10. Pam Thorne

    Your new sewing room is definitely a “happy place”! Love all the vintage furniture pieces and your vintage machines! Now you can sit back and really enjoy your hobby. Love how you are able to have multiple machines set up so others can join you.

  11. Diana Nelson

    Love your sewing space and all the storage that you created for all your fabri c and most of all your scraps. It is so nice to have everything organized so you can find it easily and not hunt for everything. My sewing space is similar to that in that I have lots of room for storage. I find in a larger space you do need to have your 5 mnutes of tidying up butit is so worth having everything organized and in its place. Thank you so much for sharing with all your great pictures.

  12. Judy

    What a wonderful way for you to start of 2019! You’re an amazing person! The room is engineered to perfection! Great job!

  13. Carol Lorraine Stearns

    You did a great job! I love the idea of the 3 machines for sew alongs. I have 3 machines that desperately need cleaning and oiling. I need to stop sewing long enough to do it. I have destashed quite a bit in the past couple of months. I confess that some of it is coming your way and now you will have to find space for it. Oh, well. Enjoy. I know you will share what you can’t use.

  14. Cindy F

    Your cleaning effort was so inspiring! My sewing room hasn’t been organized in years since we put things in storage to sell a previous house and now in another house for over 3 years! I had planned on getting organized as my stuff spilled over into two other rooms off my sewing room. My husband took out a closet and put in some cabinets we bought second hand so we’re working on finishing that and then I will tackle the reorganization. I need to utilize the space under my longarm better and will be buying additional drawers similar to yours. I have one set but they got bent with a move. As you mentioned, not attractive but very practical!

  15. Tama Putthoff

    Hi, Jo. WOW!! Well done! Thanks for sharing. It’s a fantastic space. I especially love your use of antiques. Happy sewing! Best, Tama

  16. SusanfromKentucky

    It looks great and so very well organized! I really need to get my room (well, actually my whole house) back in order. My sewing room is also my computer room used for genealogy. Before my husband died, I found a table desk on Craigslist.com in Cincinnati that we went to get. I works so great for me. It has a drawer that the the front flips down on for a keyboard. I keep my laptop in there and my sewing machine on the top of the desk. Before, I was always having to move one or the other to work on something. This was a godsend!

  17. Paula

    Wow! I’d love to have room to organize my fabrics so they are easier to use. Now they’re stacked in boxes in a small closet and overflowing to a few totes on the floor. I need to work on this, but as you know, it’s a big project. Thanks for the inspiration and a few ideas. And yes, you do have ideas.

  18. Debbie B

    Your room looks so nice and inviting and relaxing to sew in. You may have inspired to do the same. Kudos to you!

  19. Sue McKelvy

    Your sewing room looks so cozy. It is like a little home. Nothing too new and everything just right. I look at my sewing room and think “What a Mess” but everyone who enters it thinks it is warm and inviting. Don’t worry about glossy ads showing rooms that no one sews in. Yours is just perfect for you. Good going.

  20. Robin Boggan

    Love love love your sewing room! You should feel so good about what you got done! You have inspired me to start to dig out my sewing room. I need to do one wall at a time. Thanks for sharing your sewing room with us! Take care!

  21. Pat

    I spent many years sewing at the dining table because I had no space. Then the kids left home, and I got my own sewing room. Then we became caretakers of my sister who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. So my husband and I combined our office/sewing room and made it work for us.
    I also have a lot of stuff and do a big purge from time to time. I loved the pics of your happy place. I think it doesn’t matter how much or how little, but as long as it is your happy place. That means the world !! Isn’t it wonderful that your family feels so at home there as well. Love reading your adventures….

  22. Penny Holliday

    I am so inspired, Jo by your sewing room clean up & organization! The is my best compliment ever to you! I love your reasoning on how you’ve arranged it for yourself. I love your beautiful antique furniture & all your practical storage units ~ it’s practical yet a beautiful & inviting room! I love that your family can be in there with you & enjoy all together! Thank you so much for sharing!

  23. Mary H

    I love your room! I’m just beginning my own sewing room clean-up project, so I find your post very exciting.

  24. Kim

    Your room looks great & user friendly. I find my sewing room is always a work in progress, much like a house. Always things to be finished & consideration of new projects. Enjoy your happy place!!!

  25. Carolyn

    Your sewing room looks great! I’m sure a lot of hours went into the cleanup, but it was so worth it. The hard part is done and now all you have too do is enjoy.

  26. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I always wanted to be like Eleanor Burns and toss my scraps over my shoulder…but I don’t have anyone to clean up after me like she does!! Your room looks amazing and if you can find everything, you are way ahead of the game! Actually, how dare anyone criticize your quilting room! Everyone works differently in their space and what works for one, doesn’t work for another. Rude people need to learn to close their mouths and not type everything that pops into their critical minds. Great picture of the family gathering in your treasured space!!!

  27. Robby H.

    I have to say, I like your space a lot. I’m all about function over form. Having things look nice is, well, nice. Having your tools and supplies at the ready but not in the way is not nice, it’s fabulous and helps productivity, too. I cook extensively for things at church as well as our family. People think I need marble counter tops and fancy appliances. Nope, I just need things to work for me. Although if the Kitchen Fairy offered me 3 more feet of counter space, I would not refuse it. Enjoy your refreshed space!

  28. Jean

    Your sewing room looks great! Don’t worry about what other people think. It makes you happy and that’s what counts!
    -Jean <3

  29. Irene Reising

    Jo you are so inspiring!! I love your sewing room!! So warm and welcoming and organized too. So glad I found your blog

  30. Lisa W

    Jo – what a great space you have created for your quilting and creative activities! It is so warm and inviting. You deserve the special retreat you have created. Enjoy and happy sewing!!

  31. debbie

    Your “HAPPY PLACE” looks wonderful. It is very inviting[as your kids prove :) }.
    I started to get very angry as I started to read this post though.. you should never have to justify yourself. You should do what works for you! I have spent some time recently stalking “organizing your sewing room “Posts anywhere I can find them.. Do all those people with the “pretty” rooms use them? Do they actually have fabric in the color coordinated(color of the yr) boxes? Do they even save scraps? Don’t get me wrong I love hot pink and have a lot of hot pink in my sewing room but those fancy boxes got replaced the first time I forgot what was in them and had to remove them from the shelf to open them to see in it, grr. Give me comfort and practicality any day!

  32. Becky McNeely

    Great job Jo. Your happy room looks so inviting & cozy. I just got my sewing room organized & today when I started sewing again I felt so free & much more creative after working in a mess for several months while it was getting a renovation. I too started out with pretty & ended up with practical storage. Great decision.

  33. DLK from Oregon

    I’m very impressed, especially at you’re being able to keep so many machines out and usable, even the long arm set up!
    I have the living room/ front room of my house as my sewing space and I am not NEARLY as prolific a sewer as you. I think you’ve done a fabulous job.
    Your productivity in the midst of your busy life is amazing and inspiring to me.

  34. Kathy

    Jo your room looks great. I remember seeing a few of your “before” pictures and this looks quite inviting for creating beautiful quilts and quilty things! I’m going to check out that book and see if it can push me to get to an “after” result in my room.

  35. mpv61

    It looks great!

    You had mentioned Dana K. White before, causing me to read her first book. Thanks to that, my kitchen is in better shape. Now I have the Decluttering book from the library; I’ll start on that soon.

    I am lucky enough to also have a dedicated sewing room. It’s not huge (about 9.5′ by 13.5′), but it doesn’t have to be! I also like to have enough stash that I don’t have to run out shopping to make something. I can quilt from my stash for a long time! I hope to spend some time soon on decluttering my sewing room. I know there are things in there I won’t use, like odd non-quilting sewing notions. I would love to regain some space there so the things I really like and will use are where I can find them.

    Thanks for showing us your sewing room! I’m going to put a picture on my Sewing/Craft Rooms Pinterest board — https://www.pinterest.com/mpv61/sewingcraft-rooms/

  36. Susan Rizzi

    Great pictures of your sewing room. It looks very organized and I would love to have that room for myself. Would you mind posting about your sewing light? It looks very slim and I think would be perfect for me.

  37. Lace Faerie

    That looks great, Jo! I need to do some paring down in my studio. I would also love to start using a scrap user system, but I always hesitate to cut something smaller, until I know how it will be used. But it certainly seems like a time saver!

  38. Janet

    It is perfect Jo! I did my organization about 2 years ago. I’m so much happier now with a place for everything and everything in its place.

    My only suggestion to you would be to have your husband make you a big board for your ironing board. I had my husband makes me one several years ago and I love it. It isn’t hard.

    Happy sewing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *