DO YOU EVER GET THE SEWING ROOM BLUES?
If you have a magazine-ready sewing room, count your blessings! If you suffer from the “Small Sewing Room Blues”, I feel your pain. You will never find my 12 x 14 foot sewing room in “QuiltFolk” magazine.
Over the past weekend I spent an entire day emptying my sewing room and starting from scratch. I didn’t buy new furniture, paint the walls or replace the old, burned carpet. (I’m waiting for my son and his DOG to move out before I do that!) I simply rearranged the space to make it more functional.
In my sewing room, nothing is heavy or permanent. I can move every piece around as needed to utilize the space for teaching, filming, ZOOM presentations, and creative time!
My cutting station is a 6-foot folding table. It is sturdy, it fits my huge Martelli Cutting Mat and a small pressing surface. I can store loads of goodies under the table, like bins for my latest project and my Martelli “Round About” Rotating Mat. You can just see the black arm hovering over the table with one of my webcams for filming cutting and fusing demonstrations. My Mistyfuse rolls are handy and goddess sheets are rolled up inside an old Mistyfuse tube under the whiteboard. “Your Nest” organizers keep my tools handy on the cutting table while extra everything is hanging on the pegboard.
My sewing machine is set into a lightweight sewing table. It is facing the door so I can keep the door open and make the space feel larger. Two heavy 4-foot folding tables are easily set up behind and to the left side of the machine to make machine quilting easier. Another webcam is perched above the sewing needle to capture every stitching detail.
When your space is tiny, you utilize every inch of wall space for design walls, thread storage, and a pegboard so every tool is within reach. When you need a fabulous and functional design wall, watch me make one on my YouTube Channel!
This is where I record and edit videos, shoot Facebook Live Tuesday sessions, and tune in to ZOOM workshops. It isn’t easy to access the pegboard behind the standing computer desk, but this latest sewing room addition is absolutely essential!
Donna and Penny lost their computer desk for good now that I covered it with a big board for ironing big projects and yardage. This reclaimed corner of the TV room is a great place for a pressing station. Look where I mounded a 100yard roll of Mistyfuse under the big board!
To the right of my sewing machine, you see the Rainbow gradations quilt on the design wall. The back wall has sliding design walls that cover my Quilt Storage closet. There are dozens of quilts folded and stored behind the wall where today I have two more pretty Gradation quilts tacked up to the design wall! I’m working on a red scrap version when I start this course again in April.
The adjacent furnace room stores fabric, UFOs, and class samples on wire shelves. My heating oil tank is hiding behind these project boxes for teaching. It’s not pretty, but it works!
Just remember that beautiful quilts don’t need to come from beautiful rooms! Anyone can make fabulous applique when you have the basics: An ironing station, a cutting table, a sewing area, a design wall, and some storage space.
Here are two of my favorite project storage tips with built-in motivation!
Storage Tip #1: Plastic containers are perfect for storing PHDs (projects half-done), the problem is having mismatched bins with different styles of lids. Having all the same boxes is key for stacking the boxes on shelves. The solution is to buy a case of clear storage boxes. I bought mine from The Container Store where a case of small shoeboxes contained 20 boxes at $2.25 each. Larger boxes were $5.00 each with 10 in a case. I made an appointment for “Contactless Curbside Pickup” and had them loaded directly into my car!
My strategy for eliminating PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) required buying one case of each size. I “only” have 20 small boxes and 10 large boxes at all times. When all the boxes are full of PHDs (projects half done), I need to complete a project and empty a box to make room for the next PHD. Instant Motivation to get your PHDs finished!
Before you gasp at having 30 PHDs, remember that I have a box for every class that I teach, and these projects will never be finished as long as I am teaching! You can decide what number of UFOs (unfinished objects) you can live with and only purchase that number of boxes. Use all your mismatched boxes and lids for storing supplies and keep the matching set for your PHDs.
Storage Tip #2: When taking over the utility room, I found adjustable wire shelving units that are easy to set up, affordable and flexible. The height of each shelf can be adjusted to fit the size of your boxes, they are stronger than the plastic shelf options, and light travels through the open shelves to make the boxes and their contents easier to see.
I’d love to see your strategy for dealing with PHDs, UFOs and PIGS in a small sewing space. Leave a comment with your favorite storage solutions!