Sewing rooms come in many shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The truth is that many of us sew at the dining room table and store our fabric elsewhere in the house. Some of us are lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing space that might be a part of a larger room (such as in the basement or shared with a guest room or home office). Others have a sewing room that is 100% dedicated to sewing all of the time, which presents its own challenges (there’s never a need to clean up unless it’s self-imposed!).
Sewing rooms are busy places, whatever their size may be. Sorting and selecting fabrics, pressing, cutting, measuring, stitching — with so much going on, it’s not a surprise that the room can get chaotic from time to time. But with a few changes to storage to maximize space, your sewing room can operate like a well-oiled (sewing) machine!
Assess the Space
When you assess what is working vs. what needs improvement, try to think about how you use the space.
- When you’re in the flow, do scraps end up all over the floor mixed in with larger pieces of yardage? Perhaps having a waste bin (for small cut off scraps that are too small to save) right next to the cutting station would help.
- If you’re too caught up in a project to refold yardage while working, have a bin nearby for fabric that needs to be refolded and put away. Once you are done for the day, you can refold the fabrics that end up in the bin and put them back in their place.
- Alternatively, maybe you like to cut all of your pieces and put fabric away before you begin to sew. In which case, you need solutions for cut projects that are in the works.
Think about how you work to determine what storage solutions would work best for you personally.
Selecting Storage Solutions
Storing fabric has particular challenges because there are so many different needs. Yardage, bundles, scraps — all need to be stored differently. Plus, while cotton fabrics for quilting might be best sorted by color, other fabrics may be best sorted by type. Keeping fabric off of the floor and away from dust and light as much as possible will prolong its life and make your workspace more efficient and pleasant to work in.
Using every inch of wall space can be an efficient way to keep fabric, notions, templates, and other supplies organized. Shelves that are not too deep can ensure that everything is visible, which makes it easier to keep tabs on what you own and what you need. When wall space is limited, a customizable cart may be the solution.
When shelving isn’t an option, a customizable mesh or metal cart can provide additional storage. These carts from the container store are a little pricey, but they do have room for a small cutting mat or ironing pad or could provide space to rest spray starch and basting sprays or other items that need to be stood up. Another option is the popular RASKOG cart from IKEA.
Bins and Baskets
Using deep baskets, preferably stackable is another way to make the most of space, especially when wall space is limited. While clear plastic bins are great for being able to see fabrics and scraps without digging, clearly labeled and eco-friendly bins are an earth-friendly option. We love these eco-friendly options from the container store. Target offers similar baskets here.
Stackable trays are another great way to create storage when wall space is limited. A solution such as these stackable wooden toy bins can hold scraps, notions, yardage, or works in progress.
If your workspace is visible from an open floor plan, part of a larger room in the house or needs to be packed away when guests arrive, a large armoire or cabinet can be repurposed as a sewing cabinet. Look for a piece of furniture that has good looks and great storage capacity to keep your sewing stash hidden in style.
If you’re lucky enough to have a large closet in your sewing room, you are living the dream! A closet makes it easy to keep things organized and clutter out of sight so that your workspace can be the sanctuary it’s meant to be. It’s essential to keep a closet functioning properly by evaluating and purging from time to time. If items on the top shelf haven’t been touched for years, bring them down to determine if they’re worth storage or if it’s time to destash.
If space allows, a combination of shelving, rolling cart (which can be brought out for easy access to supplies), and bins can make the best use of space. Don’t forget the back of the door offers another option for storage solutions to maximize space! These racks from IKEA are inexpensive and lightweight — perfect for collecting small items on the back of the door!
In addition to organizing your stash and notions, you’ll need to have room for your ironing station, cutting mat, sewing machine, dressform, etc. Depending on your space, you can determine what workspace formation works best. Much like a kitchen, the effective work triangle between sewing machine, cutting station and ironing board should be unobstructed and easy to navigate. For more ideas on workspace layouts, check out this article about kitchen layouts. When visualizing your sewing space, think of the sewing machine as your stove, the cutting station as your fridge, and the iron as your sink!
Maintenance and Care
Part of loving your sewing room more is making sure that your tools stay in tip-top shape. Following these tips will ensure that you have a fantastic experience each time:
- Keep your sewing machine covered when not in use
- Change your needle regularly
- Remove lint from your machine as it builds up
- Oil your machine as needed
- Have your machine serviced according to manufacturer’s guidelines
- Change your rotary blade when it starts to dull
- Remove lint and residue from your iron’s soleplate
- Replace your ironing board cover when it becomes burned and damaged
Following these tips will make it enjoyable to sew and truly make your sewing room a sanctuary!
Have more tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!
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