Home, Sewing

My Sewing Room Today

Welcome back!  Sorry if that last post was a bit of a snoozer.  I tend to get excited when it comes to my sewing space and geek out too much.  Are you ready for round two?  Hope so!

Here it is…the moment you’ve accepted is coming been waiting for…

A tour of my sewing room today!

Sewing Room from doorwayView from the entrance of my 10×11 sewing paradise.

Sewing Room fabric storageTo the right, you’ll find storage.  Lots and lots of storage.

Sewing Room
To the left, sewing desk, and small storage.

Sewing Room exit viewAs you exit, you’ll find a closet, a cabinet, and a dress form that needs to be kept
out of sight of the doorway lest it freak you into thinking some strange really
still person has invaded your home.

Now that you’ve seen The Sewing Room in all of its glory, it’s time to explore.

First up, the Expedit:

Sewing Room:  5x5 Ikea Expedit storageIkea no longer makes the Expedit series; it has been replaced by the Kallax series.  The difference?  The Kallax has thinner outer walls, and is slightly cheaper (less materials needed = less cost).  The disadvantage?  Ikea no longer sells the 5×5 monster you see before you.  The biggest Kallax available is the 4×4 shelf.  It’s unfortunate.

I use my Expedit mainly for fabric, pattern, and yarn storage.  Let’s start from the top down and then head on over to Ironland.

Sewing Room:  pattern storageMost of my patterns are stored in these 5 boxes, arranged by company from left to right:  Indies, McCall’s, Butterick, Simplicity, Vogue.  The rest of my envelope patterns are in the center cube of my Expedit (Jalie, Hot Patterns, Style Arc).

The center 3 are the typical cardboard pattern boxes you can buy at JoAnn, like these.  Flanking them are two medium sized Kasset boxes I picked up on my latest trip to Ikea (I only bought 3 things for the sewing room this time around; I think I’m reaching maximum Ikea Sewing Room capacity!).  The Ikea boxes don’t hold the patterns very well (I needed to put them sideways) but they almost fit those larger Vogue pattern envelopes.  Note the almost.  They aren’t perfect, but they’ll work.

While we’re up here, let’s talk about those lights.

Sewing Room:  Decorative lightingThey look cool, right?  That’s where it begins and ends.  The only time I have ever turned them on is to take a photo.  Waste of money.

At the end of my Expedit top is a basket.  A lovely 2 pie carrying basket that my mom’s coworker made for me.  It was a barter; one basket for a bunch of my handmade cold process soap (a hobby and attempt at a small business that I haven’t touched on here).  I use this basket most major holidays to haul desserts in.

Sewing Room:  da bearsInside the basket are two teddy bears, both from my best friend Kristin, who also happens to be my sister.

The first bear (on the right) she gave to me after our grandma Rosemary passed away.  While gramma drove us nuts sometimes, she was very beloved and her death was so hard on our whole family.  You can get a sense of what she meant to us by reading this post.  After gramma passed, Kristin saw some stuffed bears at the store and decided she needed something to hug, and bought two.  If I remember right, I think she intended the second bear for our dad, but ultimately decided I needed something to hug.  I still treasure it.

The second bear she made for me at Build-a-Bear after I went through a particularly tough break up.  I spent a lot of time pressing that paw to hear her comforting message.

I keep these little guys in my sewing room because they make me happy and are full of love.

As for the Expedit itself, it’s got fabric storage along the perimeter with the inner cubes stuffed with other crafty goods.  Here’s a handy dandy guide to what’s inside:

Sewing Room:  Expedit contentsThe 8 plastic boxes are the Ikea Lekman.  When I got them I paid $9.99 a piece, which I thought was pricey.  They’re $14.99 now.

I could probably use a bit more organization, but I’m happy with the way it is.  For the woven fabrics on the top shelf, and the home decor fabrics, I used comic book backing boards (gold size, I believe:  they come in different sizes!) as a mini bolt to wrap the fabric around.  They fit really well into the Expedit and are a great organizational solution.

The other thing I do with comic book boards is use them (and the sleeves you can buy for them) to store my used/altered patterns.  This way if I want to pull out the same thing and make it again, there everything is altogether and no trying to shove everything back into the envelope!

DSCF4958You can read more about my pattern storage methods here.

Anywho, onto more pressing matters…

Sewing Room - Expedit and ironing boardI have my ironing board hung up neatly with a bracket (added since 2011) you can find at nearly any store, and I set it up in front of the Expedit when in use.  This is one of those fancy super wide ironing boards.  We got it as a wedding gift, but I’m disappointed in the quality; it’s not stable:  one leg is always hovering off of the ground (and I shove something under it to even it out).  This was one of the first gifts we received and since you’re not supposed to use wedding gifts until after the wedding I didn’t open it until after the 30 day return window had passed.  Meh.

Also, I haven’t decided yet if the extra wide surface is helpful or a hindrance to garment sewing, but I may end up putting this one in the basement and bringing my old regulation size ironing board back upstairs.

As for ironing implements, we have a steamer, which was a gift I gave to John (so romantic of me!) while we were dating.  It’s a Sunbeam, and it works quite well!

My iron is a Rowenta that my sister gave to me for Christmas almost 6 years ago.  I keep eyeing new irons, because this one spits a bit, but it has been great overall!

Sewing Room:  The IronI’m sorry I’m so verbose.  Like I said, I’m excited!  We still have way more of the sewing room to go.  Let’s move on to the left back corner, which contains my desk and machines.

On our way, let’s admire the curtains I sewed up from some Hancock home dec fabric last week.  There’s a close up of the fabric in my last post.  I barely eked four panels out of 3 yards with some piecing.  Thank goodness these are short windows!

Sewing Room curtainsAnd here we finally are: the place where the magic happens!

Sewing Room:  Corner where the magic happensOK, maybe it’s more like cheap slight of hand.

This Ikea Jonas desk has served me well.  I love that if I don’t want to have my serger out, I can just roll the extension under the desk.  I’ve never done that, though.  This Jonas desk is no longer being sold, but the Ikea Malm is functionally identical.

My sewing room hasn’t changed a lot since 2011, but this is one area with a couple of changes.

Sewing Room:  Thread and notionsI’ve had my thread rack screwed to the wall for a while, but had been keeping my serger thread rack on my desk.  Why?  Laziness.  I had the electric screwdriver out working on other things, so I finally got around to attaching that puppy to the wall.

Sewing Room:  Upper sewing corner railWhile I was at it, I also added a second Bygel rail (and I STILL have one more hanging out in my closet – I bought a ton of them apparently!).  On the new (upper) rail I’ve put pins, sewing machine needles, and other handy notions.  The bottom rail has clips to hold pattern instruction sheets.  Huzzah!

And now, I think it’s time to introduce you to my sewing team…

First up, my sewing machine, the Babylock Decorator’s Choice!

Sewing Room:  My Baby(lock Decorator's Choice)It’s shameful, but I can’t remember when I bought her.  I’m going to say I got her in 2009, because I was living in my last apartment at the time.  I love the auto threading and thread cutting on this sewing machine and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new machine.  It’s a discontinued model now, but it’s replacement is the Babylock Melody.

Second but not least, my awesome serger, the Babylock Imagine!

Sewing Room:  My Baby(lock Imagine)The ease of threading and use in Babylock sergers is amazing.  Push a button to thread the lower loopers (AKA the scary hard-to-thread looper in other sergers) and it automatically adjusts tension for you while sewing.  It was a bit of sticker shock when I found out how much these things cost, but it’s worth every penny for a machine that works and works without frustration.  I’ve had this pretty little thing for 6-7 years and am still happy as a clam.

There are also a couple of machine accessories that I couldn’t live without now.  One being the thread catcher that’s under my serger.  So awesome for containing all of that those serged off bits.

The second is these pedal stay pads.

Sewing Room - Pedal minderThey aren’t as effective on my hard floors as they would be on carpet (perhaps this one would be better for hard floors; it wasn’t available when I purchased mine), but they still stop my pedals from creeping too far away from me.

Briefly, let’s look up.

Sewing Room:  Overhead lightingI don’t have a good photo of the light fixture that was here before, but I vastly favor my choice of replacement.  I had wanted it to have a small chain to it to make it sort of chandelier-like, but my ceilings aren’t so tall so I decided against it.

Back down again, we find my Ikea Alex drawer unit and Samsung printer.  Love the former, not a big fan of the latter.

Sewing Room - Alex drawer unitI keep office supplies, paper, writing utensils, self drafted patterns, knitting and papercrafting notions in the Alex.  Next to it is a basket full of fabrics that are only worthy for muslins and some T shirts of Mr. 5’s that I plan to re-purpose next month.  And just peeking into the corner there, what do you see?

Mooooore Ikea Bygel rails.

Sewing Room:  Ikea Bygel rail storageThis set of three rails are the first Bygels that were installed in our house.  I have 6 in total in use (5 in my sewing room and one in the bathroom) and they are really great.

You know what else is great?  Scissors and cutting implements in general.

Sewing Room:  Scissor StorageI keep random what-not in the basket to the left (no longer sold at Ikea; they only have the long baskets shown in my previous pics) including extra rotary blades, and a cutter that just doesn’t fit on a Bygel S-hook.  And then there’s my scissor collection.  I keep most of my paper cutting scissors in the basement where I’m cutting paper, and mainly use my 60mm rotary cutter and mat for all of my cutting needs, but there’s definitely still times that I lean on my trusty Ginghers.

Here are the types I have, hanging from left to right:

1.  Gingher stork embroidery scissors
2.  Gingher thread snips
3. Gingher 4″ trimming scissors
4.  Gingher bent embroidery scissors (I had a short stint with a simple embroidery machine that I no longer use.  Hey, anyone want a lightly used embroidery machine?  It’s the Huskystar EM10; $200 OBO plus shipping)
5.  Gingher dressmakers shears
6.  Gingher serrated dressmakers shears (so great with slippery or sheer fabrics!)
7.  Fiskar’s 45mm rotary cutter
8.  Fiskar’s light touch scissors (I also have the light touch thread snips)
9.  Pinking shears
10.  Leather perforator (haven’t used it and not sure I really know how to properly use it)

I love scissors so much.

Moving down, I have these cute metal Ikea Fintorp cups, which are intended to hold flatware.  I have them holding zippers, sewing gauges, tracing wheels and seam rippers.  These were the second of my three Ikea acquisitions this time around and I’m really happy with how they look!

Sewing Room:  Bygel storage railsOn the rail below I have a quilting ruler, tube turner, protractor, and forgot to hang my metal ruler and yardstick that I keep here.  I used to hang all of my patternmaking rulers here when I was still hunching over on my sewing room floor to prep patterns.  Now they live in the basement where they are used with my kickass new cutting table.

Directly to the left of these goodies is the closet, which looks perfectly respectable…

Sewing Room:  closet…until you open it up.

Sewing Room:  closet of horrorsI definitely still need to do some work organizing this. I feel that the rest of the room is about as good as it’s going to get, but I really need to go through this closet and decide if I still need everything and then figure out how best to organize what’s left.  I also need to be better about actually using fabric before I buy  more.  There are FOUR containers of fabric in this closet.  The clear box on the floor holds sweater and sweatshirt knits, the basket on it holds fabrics yet to be washed and put into the Expedit.

Sewing Room:  Fabrics to be processedIn addition, I have two boxes on the first shelf – one has enough wool/poly melton to make a coat, and the other has all of my wool knits.

And then there’s my dress form.

Sewing Room:  Dress formIt’s a great, pinnable dress form, but I haven’t used it much lately.  I think I would use more if it was actually the same shape as my body; has anyone used and liked the Fabulous Fit system?  I would be interested to hear your opinions.

Next to the closet is this darling little Ikea cabinet, whose name I don’t know and who was discontinued.

Sewing Room - Ikea cabinet (discontinued)I keep my sewing box and an awesome basket a friend gave us on top of it.  There’s more fabric in the basket, and as you can see, there’s more fabric IN the cabinet…

Sewing Room:  Cabinet top shelvesI keep my foldover elastic in the glass container in the back (I went crazy and bought a bunch off of eBay a couple of years ago), and most of my ribbon and lace in the wicker sewing basket.  The sewing basket was given to me by my Aunt Diana shortly before she passed away.  With a will to live like no other, she fought long and hard against her terrible illness.  I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with her, and felt like I got to know her better in those last years than I had the rest of my life.  She was taken from us far too soon, but makes me happy to have a bit of her with me as a sew.

On the shelf below, I have all of my quilting fabrics.  Have I finished a quilt in the last 18 years?  No.  So, why do I have so much quilting fabric, then?  It’s pretty…

Sewing Room:  Cabinet lower shelvesOn the lower two shelves I have fabric remnants and sewing, knitting, and art books and magazines.  The last of my recent Ikea purchases is the white Kasset magazine holder on the bottom right.

OK, we’re almost done. Here’s a shot you’ve already seen to help provide some context on the following photos:

Sewing Room: exit viewAnd here’s a close up of my Ikea Utsira mirror!

Sewing Room mirrorI’m hoping to be able to use this mirror to take in progress shots while I’m sewing.

And the last thing to show you is where I keep my cutting mats. I have 4 of them: one is in the basement, one is under my Alex drawer unit and the other two are…

Sewing Room:  Mat storageBehind the door!

I used this kind of hook to hold them up.  You just push them into the wall, and voila!

So, uh, on that sort of anticlimactic note, that’s my sewing room!

If you actually read all 2600 words of this post, congratulations!  You deserve a pat on the back.  I did not intend to write a novel starting out, but sometimes that’s just where the mood just takes ya.


24 thoughts on “My Sewing Room Today”

  1. WOW! It looks great Jess! I’m so very impressed!

    now, if I can manage to actually walk into an Ikea store…I went there once when they opened near Mall of America and vowed to never step foot in that place again. I did not like. Love, love, love all of your storage solutions.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Found this entry on Google — thanks for sharing, I’m putting together a 9’x11′ sewing room and it’s nice to see others share how they set up smaller spaces. My boyfriend thinks I can’t possibly fit all my stuff in my room, but I’m going to show him this post to prove I can!!!

  3. This is a fantastic space! I luv the idea of hanging cutting mats. I too have multiples stored all over the house. You have inspired me to tackle my sewing space.

  4. Love your organizational genius. What kind of hood did you use to hang up your cutting mats. I have the space now to set up a room but no nearby Ikea. And a limited budget. My first purchase has to be a cutting table that is high enough and expandable.

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