Regardless of how large your sewing space is, there are a few factors that help turn a good sewing space into a great one. Examining my current sewing space as an example, let’s break it down.
On the left-hand side I have a table with a cutting mat on top of it. Under the table are 3 plastic shoe boxes and 2 3-drawer storage towers on casters. Each storage tower is 12” wide by 13” deep by 24.5” tall. At the end of the table is a floor lamp.
In the middle is my sewing machine table, leaves extended. There’s a desk lamp on the left-hand left. Just right of my sewing machine are my sewing basket and thread catcher.
On the right is a larger 3-drawer storage tower on casters. This one is 24” wide by 15” deep by 25.5” tall. On top of it are a mini storage drawer unit, spray bottle, and the organizer I keep my business card and hang tags in.
So what are the key factors?
If you don’t have enough light to see what you’re doing, you are going to make a lot more mistakes. Your sewing machine may have it’s one built in light, but it it’s not bright enough you’ll need to supplement it.
The lighting in this room is poor due to a lack of ceiling fixtures. I’ve added some area lighting in the form of a desk lamp and floor lamp. I tend use the desk lamp when I’m sewing and/or working on small projects at the sewing table. When I’m cutting materials, laying out pattern pieces etc on the white table, I use the floor lamp.
2) Well organized
We’ve all heard the adage “… a place for everything and everything in it’s place…”. Having a designated space for your items makes it a lot easier to find things when you need them. To that end, I love 3-drawer storage towers. I have two sizes on casters for fabrics, interfacing, fusible fleece, and quilt batting. They can be rolled right under the table when not in use. Three of the smaller ones wouldn’t fit between the legs of my table so I have 3 clear plastic shoe boxes with my thread, zippers, and bias tape. I’m planning to improvise a wheeled base with the board and some casters so that I can roll the shoe boxes in and out from under the table.
I also love mini storage drawers for my smaller items. I keep metal and plastic hardware (d-rings, purse locks etc) in larger 3-drawer tower. I’ve got 4 colour coded 2-drawer mini units with deep drawers for Halo snaps, magnetic snaps, rivets, and fabric making pens and pencils. A slightly taller 4-drawer unit with shallow drawers is the perfect place for my 30+ bobbins, fabric labels, and small tools (favourite presser feet, stitch rippers, sewing machine needles, etc.)..Usually these drawers are stacked up on the right-hand side of my sewing machine table. I like the idea of a floating shelf about the sewing machine.
I’ll be the first to admit that my sewing space isn’t this tidy when I’m working on a sewing project. Having an extra table to cut fabrics on and then stack up the pattern pieces really made a difference. In my previous place, I cut and stacked fabric on top of a chest freezer…only to have to move them whenever someone needed to get into the freezer. Using my ironing board only worked so long as someone didn’t have to iron something.
Pens, rulers and scissors also tended to go astray. I solved this problem by sewing a sewing caddy (pattern review here). While I was at it, I bought a purse organizer that I use to keep my business cards, hang tags, embroidery floss and hole punch (for attaching hang tags to completed items), and mailing labels in.
To combat those lose threads that didn’t quite make into the garbage can, I sewed a thread catcher (pattern review here).
To sum up, a great sewing space is well light, is well organized and is uncluttered.
Update May 13,2018. At the end of April 2018, I moved to a new apartment. While my sewing space is smaller, the large, east facing window allows for an abundance of natural light during the day.
Do you agree or disagree with my list? Tell me about your sewing space.