My Sewing Room Set Up + Tips for Sewing in a Small Space!

Sewing storage

I don’t know about you but I love checking out other people’s sewing spaces. And I’m always on the look out for neat storage ideas. So I thought I’d share my new dinky sewing area / set up with you, to illustrate how little room you actually need to create a really efficient sewing space!

This all came about when I finally spat my dummy out threw in the towel over sewing on the dining table last month; I was totally fed up with getting everything out and packing it all away again at the end of each sewing session. It meant, of course, that I couldn’t just grab half an hour sewing here or there and could only be arsed sewing when I had hours to spare and was pretty much guaranteed to have the kitchen / dining table to myself for the duration. Inevitably even then one of the kids would come in and trip over the extension lead I’d trailed across the floor. Or bemoan the fact that my ironing board was in the way of the biscuit tin. Or ask if they could use the table, blah blah blah.

I was under their feet and they were under mine.

And that’s not even getting into how much time I routinely wasted turning the kitchen into a sewing area and then back into a kitchen again. Time I could have better spent sewing, right? Or hanging out with the kids. Or napping! I’m sure plenty of you also recognise the frustration.

We (I) increasingly began to talk of moving house. We (I) needed an extra room. But that debate went round in weary circles; the kids love it here. Then the Husband asked why I didn’t just set up in our bedroom. It’s a fairly long room. I mean, once he said it, it was the obvious solutionThe guy’s a frikkin genius. Or, y’know, just good at stating the blindingly obvious to the blinkered!

He measured up the space and I got to looking for what I needed, trawling through IKEA online like a woman possessed. I figured when we (I) eventually reclaim one of the kids’ bedrooms, it will be easy to source extra matching stuff from there to expand my set up.

Right now, I’m kicking myself. Why oh why didn’t I do this ages ago?!

I’ll start with the Alex drawers. These are the five drawer version (measuring 36/58/70 cms) with three shallower and two deeper drawers.

They are designed so they could fit underneath the table. though I decided to leave them out to the side to create extra ‘table top’ space. On the top I have my makeup brushes, a radio alarm clock, a few toiletries (this is in my bedroom, after all!), some sewing books and, crucially, a really strong directional daylight-bulb lamp.

Sewing room tour
Bits n Bobs

The top drawer is where I stash my notepad, iPad, glasses, other crap I can’t find a better place for. Let’s not bother taking a peak in there!

In the next drawer down, I’ve used these drawer compartmentaliser strips; you can cut them down to size and they interlock. I’ve got snaps, self-covered buttons and button maker, bendy ruler, Prym Tube turners, elastic threaders, a spare blade for my guillotine, spare pins and my bias binder makers in here.

Sewing room
If only the rest of my life were so easy to organise!

In the drawer below that I’ve got my Prym pliers kit and a box containing all my sewing machine feet, a buttonhole kit I sneakily nicked appropriated from my husband, safety pins and a lint shaver.

Sewing tools

Next drawer down I’ve stashed my overlocker threads:

Sewing room storage
Overlocker rainbow

And in the drawer below that I’ve got my hair dryer and makeup. (My daughter has inherited my dressing table!)

Next to the Alex drawers, on the floor under the table, I’ve got several clear plastic storage boxes which contain the cut fabric and notions for my ‘next in the queue’ projects. The box I’m currently working from sits atop.

Sewing storage
Upcoming ‘Project Boxes’

Moving back upwards, let’s have a look at my peg board shall we?

This is the Skadis pegboard; they come in various sizes with different accessories and can all be fixed together to create a really large space. However, I figured one would be enough for now. I really love the accessories, they’re super useful:

Sewing pegboard

You’ve got your usual hooks, from which I’ve suspended my shears, paper scissors, snips, embroidery scissors, duckbilled applique scissors, pinking shears, rotary cutter and French Curves (though you may have to really focus to see them in the picture!)

I’ve also got a Bluetooth speaker, which means I can keep my iPad out of the way when listening to Podcasts and have clearer sound. Given that I’m practically deaf as a plank, this is really useful.

Sewing storage

I really like these little storage container boxes; the lids remain fixed to the pegboard whilst the little container underneath slides out. Sooooo handy.

I’ve got glasses’ wipes, Tailors Chalk, Wonder Clips and machine needles in each of mine.

 

On the right hand side there are two large pocket bags. I’ve stashed the Patterns I’ll be working on next in these (they marry up with the project boxes underneath the table). They’re a good size and can easily hold large plastic wallets containing PDFs.

Sewing in a small space

 

The little table top spool holder pictured above contains the sewing machine threads I’m using currently or in upcoming projects…

…the rest of my threads are still hanging on the back of the door in the sewing cupboard in the kitchen.

 

The table itself, by the way, is the longest version of the Adils / Linnmon combos, measuring 200 cm x 60. This makes it a great length but not so deep that it takes up too much space into the depth of the room itself. It’s a really sturdy table, especially given its price!

Sewing room sew Sarah Smith

In between my sewing machine and overlocker I’ve got a couple of handy little storage bits…my little caddy holds Frixion pens, nail file (don’t want to snag that fabric!), Clover chalk pen, tracing wheel, makeup brush (for cleaning out lint from the overlocker), tissues, hand cream, Fray Stoppa (and a little brush to dab it on with), tweezers (for threading), a point turner, fork pins (for seam matching) and a bit of folded card (to help get my sewing machine foot over bulky seams). Oh and a flexible thimble. Which I never use. Ever.

Sewing gadgets

I’ve also got this cute little tree stump thing which my daughter made me last year, drilled with three holes, it’s perfect for holding my seam rippers and a pen!

Sewsarahsmith

This box pin cushion is really useful. It holds my needle threader, hand needles and thread wax. On each of the labelled collapsible sides, I stash used machine needles which I tend to use for toiles.

Sewing room storage

At the furthest end of my table I’ve got my ‘pinning station’, i.e. the place where I generally pin pieces together (I really didn’t need to clarify that did I?!) It’s covered by my self-healing mat with a directional clip on LED lamp. It’s also where a couple of fabric weights, a ruler, retractable tape measure, pins and (because my ironing board is set up right next to it), my Hot Hemmer, some Sullivan’s Fabric Stabiliser, tailors ham and sleeve roll, like to hang out.

Self healing cutting mat

And at the end of that hangs a full length mirror so I can check my Makes for fit whilst trying to ignore my reflection. That’s no mean feat let me tell ya. And yes, my  ironing board is at this end too. My dressmakers dummy hides in the corner.

And to slide between each of the stations / work areas on my table I’ve got this Skolberg / Sporken funky swivel chair. Turns out its much more forgiving to the lumbar region than a dining chair! And, yes, I do spend more time than is sensible just spinning around on it whilst my children roll their eyes at me for being immature; jealousy gets you nowhere, kids!

Sewing room ideas

I’m still utilising the storage space in the kitchen larder cupboard but this now contains ‘only’ fabric, my Patterns, guillotine and my haberstashery stuff. It needs a good sort out. But that’s for another time.

So that’s it! It takes up a relatively small amount of space and yet I feel like I’ve got plenty of room with everything I need to hand. I think I’m missing a couple of ‘really want’ items; a magnifying illuminating mirror (for unpicking hard-to-see stitches. Gawd I’m getting old) and a tailors clapper. Hopefully Santa (or someone) is listening!

Anyway, I hope that was potentially useful or at least … a bit interesting!? (And, no, this post was not sponsored by IKEA!)

I’m off, after all that it’s time to get cracking with some sewing!

Sew, until next time, xx

Sewsarahsmith

 

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24 thoughts on “My Sewing Room Set Up + Tips for Sewing in a Small Space!

  1. This looks great – small, but perfectly formed. I’m very envious of the long desk with room for two machines *and* a ‘pinstation’. I share my sewing space with my home office (guess which one gets the lion’s share of the table?) so I can only dream of a sewing-only nook. Until I show your post to my husband, that is…

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  2. Ikea is totally the best place for kitting out a sewing room. I cleaned them out when I did mine! When we moved house last year, I was insistent that there be space for a sewing room. Before we even went to look at a house we’d pore over floorplans and allocate rooms. If I couldn’t fit in a sewing space, we didn’t view. I drove Hubby to distraction. But now, I’m happy and so is he. A dedicated sewing space is a joy! Have fun in yours. It’s wonderful.

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  3. Let’s face it: clear, unfettered access to the biscuit barrel is essential for good family relations. I had the same issue when my sewing space was in the kitchen and I was blocking the kettle. As a result I picked out our furniture in our new flat based on what I needed for my sewing space!! Gotta love Ikea – you’ve given me some great ideas for when I finally get a dedicated room of my own! That pegboard is a must!

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  4. Your space looks amazing and so organised! I’m very jealous of your peg board…. I have a dedicated corner in my lounge but there is a radiator in front of my machines so no wall space sadly to fit one!!
    I really like your project boxes- do they help you to control your fabric shopping and stay focused??

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  5. Ooooo….thanks for showing us your space Sarah! My story is similar….setting up on the dining table and clearing off. Every. Time. I bought the same table and drawers plus the cabinet with two shelves that is the same size as the drawer unit. It was such a joy setting up my sewing nook. I’m realizing now that I have more to do….I got the bare bones set up right away….um, about three years ago maybe…and then jumped in and started sewing. You’ve given me such great ideas for taking things down the home stretch!!!

    PS….I just got a swivel wheeled chair to go between my machines. I LOVE it too! Ditto what you said…the dining room chairs were the wrong height and causing me achy issues.

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    1. Ah I love that, a ‘sewing nook’, yes that’s what we have!! I’m thinking of getting a plastic run to lay over the carpet under the chair to make it swivel faster over the carpet haha! Oooh Sue I’d love to see your space too!!! Why did we leave it so long eh! I’m sure the more I use it, the more I’ll add … we’ll see. Xxx

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  6. This is timely for me as I am moving for the second time this year and planning for my next space. I love the look of Skadis and accessories and discovered it recently but it doesn’t seem to be available in Australia (yet?). Nice set up!

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  7. If you have a cat, be sure to keep thread out of reach. Sorry to be a Cassandra, but when I first left my sewing up, my kitty got into the serger thread and swallowed a long piece. It got hooked on a back tooth and did quite a bit of internal damage. She had never showed much interest in thread before, so I was not expecting it. You may not even have a kitty, but I do like to spread the word to the sewing community.🐾 Your sewing space is brilliant!

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  8. I think because I spent so many years in RTW when I see a pattern I like I think, “Oh YES I want that!” Mindlessly neglecting to remember that I have to MAKE it first. It’s not going to be in my closet by week’s end – maybe months end more like it. So these patterns have become rather backed up. Another problem is that I see one of the big 4 sales on (I mean really? Vogue for $2.99??) and I order a couple.

    Another problem is with fabric. I see a fabric I just love and it’s on sale or it’s even in the thrift shop (you would be amazed at what our thrift shops here can have – silks, cashmere, liberty lawn – I live in a predominantly retiree community with many MANY sewists – could you resist any of these fabrics in 3 meter lengths for $10?? – some of the fabric in my collection is amazing honestly!) Or I just see it online and know just what I want to do with it and boom before I know it I’ve ordered it.

    I’ll give you a recent example of how it all happens…the other day I was thinking about undershirts and how much I could really use a couple of these 🙂 I read that silk knit is the best for an undershirt because it breathes but it’s warm, lightweight and can be thinner (not bulky). So I thought well of course I should make myself a couple because they aren’t hard and I could custom them to fit AND pick my silk. I found an amazing place to order it online (Dharma Trading) and noticed they had raw silk on special (amazing special) so I ordered a few meters of that too – have to pay for shipping anyway, why not? See this is how my stash grows! I’m proud of the fact I didn’t order a pattern for the undershirts since I already have a plethora to choose from!

    What is the moral of the story? Be careful what you see online – it’s a snake pit of temptation as are Thrift Shops (I’ve gotten much better at resisting these actually – much more picky but God help me if I see 3 meters of cashmere from the UK again!) When tempted by any purchase go to stash to look at what I have already – that might help? Maybe a New Year’s resolution to NOT buy any fabric or patterns for a year. I’ve been considering that for 2018 🙂

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  9. It’s a perfect sewing bijou! So wonderfully organised, I think when you have lots of space it’s easy to let it all spread out into chaos…I have the Ikea pegboards too they are great for keeping everything in one place and I can’t wait till the Exeter store opens next year Xx

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  10. Brilliant! Love, love, love it. Your pegboard is super neat (it took me a while to spot your french curve…must go to the opticians!) and I love your project storage boxes. And no not immature at all…I love spinning on my chair so there kids! Lol!

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  11. Yay for your new sewing space! It’ll make all the difference. Amazing what you’ve managed to fit into a small space, and I hope you’ll spend many happy hours there! (P.S. My overlocker cleaner is a pastry brush. Did the overlockers not come with cleaning equipment, or have we just lost them??!!) xxx

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  12. When my husband suggested for my 60th that he buy me everything I need to re-launched back into sewing (after a 40 yr hiatus!) my first thought was, “WHERE?” He suggested the front of our living room (a huge space 14’X25′) and I was excited BUT he really had no idea how MUCH space sewing really does take. 3 years later I have fabric stashed in his room (and under my cutting table), patterns in my office (and underneath my cutting table) and slowly it’s snuck into all sorts of dining set drawers…I’m a little horrified myself! Sewing needs it’s own room I keep thinking but moving really isn’t something I want to do either – I love where we are! I keep thinking if I would just STOP buying fabric and patterns I’d be okay but how does one stop doing that I wonder? Just to have it set up permanently somewhere must feel like a dream 🙂

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    1. Ah I know what you mean; it’s amazing how stuff can quickly accumulate! I’m kind of *hoping* that I don’t develop stash habits, it gives me anxiety! I like to have fabric/Patterns/notions for up to 6 projects ahead and then I stop buying until I’ve at least made headway into them. I love a good declutter; I find it cathartic. But yeah, the dream is still a designated room! Do you think of your stash as a comfort blanket/collection or does the fact that it lays there unused make you anxious? Xxxx

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