Creating A Harmonious & Functional Sewing Space

free sewing image

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Friends, do you dream of a visually beautiful but also functional sewing/craft room? I do…I yearn for a dedicated sewing space that I not only want to be in but, also functions incredibly well. I’ve never had a dedicated sewing room…I’ve mostly sewn on the dining table.  It’s only been in recent years that I’ve had a sewing space that was shared with other spaces. It’s always been a sewing room/study, sewing space/family room, sewing room/guest room/study etc.  I was lucky enough to find both a pre-loved Horn and a Singer sewing cabinet for my machines; that alone was pretty exciting after only ever sewing on the dining table.  My biggest desire has been for a cutting table on wheels that is comfortable to use height-wise, has storage for cutting tools and rulers and has a self-healing mat on the entire top surface; I don’t want much do I?

Readers, I’m going really strip myself bare in this post…No No, I’m not taking off my kit (thank goodness you say!); I am however showing you the state of my shared sewing space after I started moving stuff to one side.

oh the shame

oh the shame #2

Before I started piling stuff to one side so I could construct the first stage of storage units, the fabric wasn’t piled on the desk but all study paperwork and folders were there – the top of the drawers has had my uni stuff on it for ages. By the time I had finished 6 years of full-time study (yes you heard right…I said 6!) and one of part time (but still a full-time study load along with working two part-time jobs) I was exhausted and had no motivation to even look at it.

Until a fortnight ago there was a pull-out sofa bed in there too; Miss-almost-21 claimed it for her bedroom. I’m not complaining as it has been a pain in the proverbial! Every time we needed to pull it out, I would have to pack up my sewing table & projects I was working on and roll it out to the hallway. Mr SW recently bought a big tool cabinet on wheels; we haven’t had time to do anything other than put it together…can you guess where it currently resides? Yes folks…you guessed correctly. As you can see the room is out of control and I can’t possibly sew or do anything else in it. 

expedit-shelving-unit 5x5

IKEA Expedit

Behold the IKEA Expedit shelving unit!  This, friends, is going to be the answer to all some of my sewing room storage issues.  The versatility of this series is incredible. I’m starting with the 5 x 5 cube unit and will be adding boxes, doors and drawers.

Expidit boxes

The room’s development will be a ‘work in progress’.  Over time I will add more drawers and boxes; I don’t want anything on display – maybe books.   I plan to put a glass door in the middle shelf and put some of my vintage embroidery tools on display. 

 I’m still considering what type of storage cabinet/robe to get for the adjoining wall – I’m thinking it will be from either the Besta or Pax series. At this point in time, I intend to keep my Horn sewing cabinet/table and sell the Singer cabinet. Both cabinets have a great deal of storage options which I really like and I can drop the machine work surface to be level with the table or above the table surface, but I don’t have room for two cabinets. The 1980’s Janome Combi 10 (sewing machine one side/swivels around to a 2 reel overlocker) that currently lives in the Singer cabinet will not be staying; i’m being ruthless with my vintage sewing machines. 

IKEA Expedit 

finished ikea bookcase

The proposed piece de resistance of my sewing room make-over is the cutting table.  I am going to purchase 3 Expedit 4 x 4 cube systems,  join two of  them together side by side and then add one to the flat end of the joined pair, add 6 Capita brackets around the edge to raise the top 17cm, add some casters on a base board and self-healing cutting mats to the top. I’ll use the drawer inserts to create spaces to store cutting tools, pins, pattern weights etc and the space under the top will be for smaller cutting mats, rulers and other tools that require a flat surface. The table top that I’m using will have an overhang of about 30 cm; just enough to create a bar type work surface.

capital bracket

Photo courtesy of IKEA

expidit 4

IKEA Expedit

 I am going to repurpose the large wooden desk that’s in the room already; we are going to take the top off and attach it to the Expedit shelves – I’ll paint it white to match the rest of the unit. 

I’m getting very excited about what my sewing room will look like and how it will function when I’m done. The only drawback is that I will still have to store large stackable 80L plastic storage bins that houses my teaching resources. The sewing magazines and books that currently reside in the lounge room bookcase will be moved into the sewing room shelving system and much (if not all) of my education related folders from uni will be moved to the lounge bookcase.  

Readers, in my mind’s eye I can see the units with my vintage Singer 221’s and 222 on display and I will definitely be motivated to get some of my counted thread work pieces framed to hang if there’s any free wall space. I have so much of it rolled up in my embroidery cabinet – I really want it brought out so I can enjoy it.  Additionally I have already purchase some smaller frames. I intend to scan some of my vintage layette pattern envelopes and frame them. The frames (really thin black poly plastic) will then be stuck to the doors of the Expedit cube storage system.

Patience is a virtue folks…of which I have very little; but for this project I will have to develop some because it will take time to work through all that has to be done; lots of ditching, donating, sorting and re-organising. And you can be sure there will be lots of updates while I develop a sewing space that I’m happy with.

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