Room to Sew: Organizing Your Sewing Room
Having a dedicated, organized and inspiring sewing room makes diving into a sewing project much more fun. If your dining room table holds fabric and scissors more often than dinner plates and wine glasses, it might be time to think about finding a permanent spot to sew in your home.
If you’re starting from scratch, there are a few things to consider when thinking about sewing room designs. You’ll want good light, enough space to spread out pattern pieces while you’re cutting and plenty of storage opportunities for your fabric stash and tools. Looking at sewing room ideas on Pinterest is a good source of inspiration. While it may sound like you need to build an addition to create your ideal sewing room, never fear. Even a closet can be a good sewing space. Sharilyn of lovelydesign made the most of a small workroom by creating a sewing nook in the closet. A corner of the basement could work, too; check out this space from Ish & Chi. You could also repurpose a seldom-used room in your house, like the formal dining room, as Jen of Tatertots and Jello did.
Whether your space is large or small, organizing is essential. And even if you’ve had your sewing room set up for years, it’s worth it to reorganize every once in awhile (you might find really great fabric you forgot you had!). Spending 20 minutes hunting for your seam ripper is a surefire way to kill your sewing mojo. My favorite part of setting up my sewing room was finding the perfect spot for all of my fabric and supplies; I wouldn’t mind if I had to organize my sewing room all over again. Here are some of my favorite sewing room organization ideas.
Organizing Tools and Notions
Make the most of limited square footage and take advantage of vertical space with a pegboard. Grab a pegboard and some s-hooks from your local hardware store, mount it on the wall and hang up your tools (scissors, rotary cutters, rulers) to keep everything you need frequently at your fingertips. A thread rack will hang nicely on your pegboard and allow you to easily see your thread all at once (no more buying duplicate spools!).
A magnetic knife rack is also a great sewing room organizer. Mount it to the wall next to your pegboard and pop your sewing feet and seam ripper on there. You can also try this tip for creating needle storage boxes over at the Colette Patterns blog. Add some magnets to the back and they’ll stick to the knife rack nicely. Going Home to Roost has an easy DIY for making your knife rack look less utilitarian.
Even if you have square footage to spare, storing your most used items out in the open makes them easy to put back and helps keep your work surface clear.
One of my favorite sewing room organization tips is to store notions in glass jars. Zippers, buttons and trim separated by color are pretty and functional. Keep an eye on the recycling for opportunities to upcycle your storage containers, or buy some Mason jars. Another option for odds and ends is a nail and screw organizer, like this one.
Even the most well-curated fabric stash can start to feel overwhelming, and taming your fabric stash is critical for sewing room organization. Fold fabric to a uniform size and stack on shelves or in labeled bins. You can also make your own mini-bolts and create a fabric store experience in your sewing room. No space for shelves or bins? You could install a curtain rod and hang your fabric from curtain rings, like Craftaholics Anonymous does in her sewing room.
If you frequently purchase fabric without knowing exactly what you’re going to make with it, use index cards to write down the quantity, fabric content and if you purchased it with a particular pattern in mind. Tuck into the fabric or punch a hole in the card and thread it through a selvedge to tie around the fabric.
Organize fabric in a way that makes sense for you– by color for easy mixing and matching, by fabric content to keep your knits separate from your wovens, by designer, or even solids vs. prints.
Commercial patterns are notorious for not fitting back into the envelope once they’ve been used. Instead of ending up with a lumpy envelope, why not put your pattern pieces into a 9 x 12 manilla mailing envelope instead? Cut down the front left side and bottom of the original envelope so you can see the front and back next to each other and attach with tape to the mailing envelope. This allows you file your patterns horizontally in a filing cabinet however makes the most sense for you (by company, pattern number or type) and flip through them with ease.
3-ring binders outfitted with clear page protectors are another option for pattern organization. This works especially well for PDF patterns that didn’t come with a physical envelope. If you have a large pattern collection, separate by category (dresses, tops, children’s) or pattern manufacturer.
Professional pattern hooks are a great organizing option if you are in the habit of transferring patterns to sturdier paper (like Swedish tracing paper or exam table paper) and have extra space for hanging them.
Don’t forget to surround yourself with inspiration! You’ll want to keep track of favorite color combinations and ideas for future sewing projects. Cork tiles or a bulletin board are easy, affordable solutions. You can get more creative with a series of clipboards, like Rachel of Smile and Wave uses, or a gallery photo wire to hang inspiration without pushpins.
One of my favorite ideas for sewing rooms is to bring in color inspiration by using embroidery hoops to display your most loved fabric. You can see the idea in action in Amanda Soule’s sewing room.
Create a functional, inspiring sewing room in your house (no matter how large or small) and you’ll always be ready to tackle a sewing project. If you’re looking for more organized sewing room ideas and sewing room photos, some of my favorite sewing rooms are Alicia Paulson’s of Posy Gets Cozy, Anna Maria Horner’s studio, and this whimsical space from Little Miss Momma.
How do you keep your sewing room inspiring and organized?