Getting Crafty Again! Sewing a Machine Cover for my Serger / Overlocker…

Ah finally the six weeks of bedlam and mayhem that constitutes the summer holidays are over! The minute the children were shooed on their way back to school, I took a sweeping look at the devastation left in their wake and took to frenzidly cleaning, tidying and organising the house. And, of course, once that was sorted, my attention turned to my sewing space!

It’s not that long ago I assembled my ‘bijou’ sewing area – the beginning of the year in fact. But, like my middle-aged waistline, the area has continued to expand! It seems I’d consoled myself with having my sewing time curtailed during the school break with planning; buying a shedload of fabric and patterns, as well as a number of new sewing tools.

So my sewing space got a bit of a makeover too! And as part of that I decided to get crafty and sew myself a new machine cover for my serger, using the free downloadable pattern from Closet Case Files. Read More

Sewing machine mats tutorial

Crafty Sewing Room Accessories!

Sewing machine mats tutorial

Hi All, I hope your New Year is off to a great start! I’m really excited about my sewing plans for this year but I thought I’d start with a simple but fun project for my newly created sewing space. As part of that reorginastion, I also cleaned and oiled both my machines. Undoubtedly they’re both running smoother but the racket my overlocker still produced when working at full pedal continued to jangle my nerves. I figured quilted mats were the answer!

I had one metre of this fab tape measure print cotton poplin and I wanted to see how much I could make from it. I ended up with two machine mats – one for each machine – a cushion cover and enough scraps left over to perhaps make a matching pin cushion too! The difference the mat makes to the running of the overlocker can’t be overstated – it’s like a new machine! If you haven’t got one for yours I highly recommend making your own; I’d never quilted a thing in my life prior to embarking on this and, at least with a project this size, it’s a simple yet fun thing to do! And I got to bust out the ‘quilting guide arm thingy’ that came with my walking foot and has been languishing in a drawer ever since!

If you want to find out more about the making of this project, including a bit of an ‘how to’ demonstration, the full post is now live on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network, including links to all the products I used (see HERE).

How to make your own sewing machine mats

Hope to meet you back here soon – I’ve got a really busy week or so coming up including making a couple of Review garments from the new Wendy Ward book, a pattern test and my first magazine article being published; not exactly a bad stitchy start to the New Year eh!

Until then, happy New Year stitching to you too!

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Sewing storage

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!


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



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