Have Sewing Space, Will Sew!

sewing space

If you’re just starting to discover sewing as a creative expression, you’re probably still using your dining table as your sewing board and dreaming about having your own work space.  There's nothing wrong with converting your dining room into your sewing space, but believe me, having an organized sewing room will inspire you and your creative juices to keep right on flowing.

So if your dining room table contains fabric and sewing notions more regularly than plates, food and wine glasses, it is high time to think about having your own dedicated space for sewing. Find a space in your home and convert it into one and it doesn't really matter how big it is. What matters most is how you organize your space to get the most out of it.

sewing space

Let’s say you've chosen your sewing space in your home. The first thing to do is decide on your boundary, which means making your sewing room off limits to kids and pets (see Tips for Sewing with Small Children). When you start arranging your sewing space, it’s very helpful to experiment with it keeping in mind that the idea here is to become very productive. Remember that where you put your cutting and sewing desk, ironing board, and other sewing tools matters greatly.

Plus, if your studio only has a simple overhead light, have a floor lamp to illuminate your cutting table and ironing board area. Proper lighting is critical when you sew and there's no need to strain your eyes and make your sewing time less enjoyable.  For other ergonomic and safety tips, please check out Safety Tips for Sewing Machines.

sewing machine safety

I know that being creative and organized don't always come together because when inspiration hits you, the likely aftermath will be a sewing space with notions and fabrics strewn around. Let me just say that there is creativity in being organized too.  If you start sourcing for organizers where you can store your sewing notions and fabrics and find a spot for them in your sewing space…you will understand what I mean. Think about pegboards and s-hooks for your cutters, scissors and rulers or a nice wooden thread rack on your wall. A magnetic knife rack is also a great idea for seam rippers and sewing feet. Clear glass jars for buttons and trims are also quite practical. Finally, think about your space as a work of art and you would want everything to be in its proper place most of the time!

Here are some ideas on organizing the buttons and small notions to keep your sewing space neat and tidy.  You'll also be happy that you know where everything is and can find things easily. Click on the image for the full article on these sewing storage ideas.

Ideas to store small sewing tools and supplies. Some are pretty practical, some are pretty nifty and for some, buying a dedicated item does work best.

If you're even challenged for space for hard storage boxes, you might try using clear vinyl project pouches especially for your buttons.  These pack away nicely and allow you to see what button options you have without spreading everything out.

Lastly, storing and organising your fabric, particularly as your stash grows –and it always will if you really get into sewing– can be a real challenge.  This is one of the very best ways we've found to organize and store a lot of fabric.  The method keeps your stash clean and safe and you can find what you need almost instantly.

More ideas for how to fold and store your fabric stash so you can enjoy looking at it even more :-)

In summary, an organized sewing space should be able to utilize every bit of horizontal and vertical wall space it contains. It should allow you to have enough space to spread out your patterns and the possibility to stack your fabrics in such a way that you see all of them for future use. In the same vein, you should be able to keep smaller sewing notions in clear storage containers and keep all tools handy and ready to use. Another very important thing to consider is your lighting because it will need to be adequate for all the cutting and sewing you’re going to do.  Now, if you keep all of these tips in mind, you're on the way to creating a sewing space that will let you get the most out of your sewing time.

Please let us know your thoughts and comments below!

If You'd Like To Support Our Site

If you want to help us continue to bring you a wide selection of free sewing patterns and projects, please consider buying us a coffee.  We'd really, really appreciate it.

Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Have Sewing Space, Will Sew!

  1. Linda Losinski says:

    I enjoy reading your blog. You have some great patterns and ideas. Thank you

  2. Martha Effinger says:

    To store fat quarters and other “smaller” lengths of fabric I use comic backer boards. I fold the fabric so it is 2-3 inches wide and fold it around the board and tape the end. I can put three pieces per board and do so according to color, subject etc. A pack of 100 boards is $10.00 and they are white, heavy cardboard like.

  3. Martha says:

    I am sooo lucky to have a whole room all for my sewing gear in a new house. However, since this room will be a guest room 2-3 times per year, it was carpeted. My struggle is having plastic office chair mats on the carpet for the chair to glide from machine to iron to serger etc. The mats never stay put and I always get caught on an edge and have to get up to cross the barrier! Any suggestions would be welcome.

  4. lifegetsinthewayofliving says:

    My dining table IS my cutting/sewing center. We haven’t used it for eating for a couple of years. Um…oops.

    Anyway, I have my humongous cutting mat on that table, along with my sewing machine (and several crafting/sewing accoutrements). Due to RA, it was getting harder for me to bend over to use it as a cutting center though.

    I had a “brilliant” idea – put risers under the legs! It worked! It’s great for cutting now…but not so much for sewing as it’s too high. Fix one problem, create another.

    So, I moved my sewing machine to a rarely used sofa table in another room. It works! Except now I have to keep going back and forth from the cutting table to the sewing table to get any needed sewing tools. Back and forth, back and forth. Fix one problem, create another.

    Apparently this means I have to purchase duplicate tools. Darn. This also means I’ll have to sew different containers to hold my duplicate tools. Double darn. 🙂

  5. Rita Smith says:

    I just reorganized my sewing room into a new space and splurged on all new IKEA shelving and cabinets. My favourite right now is Alex drawer unit on casters for threads and other supplies, at $150 it is a beautiful and functional piece. I have 12 feet of shelving with cubbies that I totally filled with my fabrics. Yes, I have a LOT lol.
    I put a 5 ft sewing table back from the front windows, so I can look outside and have room to put my cabinet in back when I need extra flat space for quilting. I have a drop leaf table to use for quilting, but had good wheels installed on it so it can move with ease where I want it. It’s still not completely organized but I can hardly wait to start digging into the fabrics again lol.

  6. Mary says:

    I’m moving into a new home and the spaces are quite a bit smaller. I will be using a bedroom as my space. Going from a 20×20 space to roughly 11×12. Most of the furnishing except my sewing station will be on casters. That way reorganizing will be a breeze. The closet will house my Fabrics, on shelving that will cover the entire closet wall. I am creating a thread storage from an old dvd cabinet, using golf pegs to hold the threads especially the cones.
    I really want a she shed with lots of space and a lock on the inside

  7. Barbara says:

    I’m building a house and have a whole room for sewing/crafting/gift wrapping. I’m intimidated as to where to set my sewing machine table, which is narrow. Do I put it in the middle of the room so I can add a table when I am sewing a quilt? I like to sew clothes, but I also just discovered quilting… Also, the tons of thread I own…do I keep them hidden in a closet or put on the wall on the five or more spool holders I have purchased over the years? I read recently that thread should not be exposed to the sunlight. Should I make them all the same, meaning, toss the ones that don’t look the same, so aesthetically they are pleasing? I feel stumped.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Barbara, have a look at this article.https://so-sew-easy.com/7-practical-tips-designing-a-sewing-room/ to help you plan ahead. I think the most thing you have to remember is to think of your needs, storage and being able to see what you have so you can use it and get inspired. We tend to stick things in bags, collect more than we need. As for the threads, there are some acrylic boxes you can use to store the ones that do not match and display the ones you want to be visible. The color of the fabrics and threads will change when exposed to light and dust so you need to consider the position of such display. Have fun designing your sewing room! 🙂

    • Ruth says:

      Honestly, I think that great sewing spaces evolve. What works for one doesn’t for another. What works now won’t work when you get more equipment and supplies. In designing it, think of it as a WIP, work in progress.

  8. Roch says:

    A good stable ironing board, set at a lower and convenient height is a good permanent table for a portable to full size sewing machine.
    It has room one side for the fabric and tools on the other.
    Set the machine in the center of the board, directly on the metal grid. No padding or cover bc these tend to slip. A rubberized mat is helpful to keep absorb movement and noise.
    You can place this close to your electrical outlet and a window for good lighting to work by.
    This extends about a foot from the wall for about four feet long.
    Under, you can place a regular toolbox for basic sewing supplies. These work well to keep everything’s within reach and close up clean.
    This is an inexpensive format, which works well if you travel or move often, or are limited in space.
    Only downside, is this does not take care of fabric and pattern layouts for cutting.
    Pull a chair up to sew, and you are ready to go 😉

  9. Lynn says:

    Wonderful article. Some great ideas from everyone for me, a beginning sewer, to contemplate putting into practice.

  10. my71914toy says:

    Hi Inky, inexpensive clear plastic totes/boxes in stackable sizes and a hand held labeler will solve your problem. I too keep not only my own “someday stash” but I have my grandmother’s and mother’s too. I organize like items together in totes and label the tote that is then stashed where space allows elsewhere in the house. Under the bed, on the top shelf of a closet etc…. The label allows me to quickly see whats in the box without necessarily opening it. If multiple unlike items are in the same box I might have multiple labels on it. This way my stash stays clean, well organized and accessible. I do this will all of my notions, sewing feet, literally everything in my sewing room. It’s much easier to dust off boxes then several small items on cleaning day. Good luck!

    • Edith says:

      When I moved into my “own” apartment, I made my front room my sewing studio: steel shelving to hold (ahem) MOST of my fabric in bins. I have gone through many, but not all bins, and have been trying to keep fabrics by type: fleeces together, felt together, flannels together, cotton prints, etc. My problem area is that I am using a tailgate table (folding, about 20″ x 40″) to sew at. I love that there are no bars hitting my knees, but haven’t found casters to fit. I may haul the table to a hardware store to see what they can suggest. Or bite the bullet and actually get a REAL sewing table!

  11. Leah Eitzen says:

    We have plans for a fold up sewing unit – front drops down onto a leg and becomes the table, everything kept tidily within – plenty of ideas on Pinterest. Just have to finish the 3 renovations we have on the go first, then the living room and my ‘cupboard’. Cannot wait!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Yes Pinterest is a great resource, I agree. But you know what would be better? A pick at your sewing unit. I do not know anyone that has one, but sounds terrific.

  12. Cyndi says:

    I was blessed with a kitchen table for many years and sewed for my children as they grew up. Finally now with the grandchildren I have my own sewing room. I love garage, estate sales, etc. and have found almost everything I need for my sewing room. On one wall is all my inventory in bulk like zippers, elastic, buttons, etc. One row is my fabric that is less than 2 yards. All 5 yards and up are in the closet that my hubby transferred to shelves that hold all my bolts of felt, fleece, and cotton. Tables in the middle and on the other wall is 2 machines with all the small compartments to hold all the different threads, bobbins etc. I have several pull out storage that sit under the table. I also teach my grandchildren so there is a machine on one of the tables. the rest is work space. It has now become my get away room. I love it but I am sure I can use more organization. I’m thinking of putting felt on the door so that when I am quilting I can use it to hold my squares to see where things should go before sewing. Felt works for so much. Great article.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I must say Cindy, seems to me you have build yourself a paradise of creativity and inspiration. Blessed are those that can profit from you passion and knowledge. Would love to see some pictures. May I ?

  13. PrairieWindRose says:

    Hello Inky, I think all textile artists struggle with their inventory, or as quilters say, their stash! I know I do! As a new quilter I have spent a great deal of time, (and money), purchasing fabrics I absolutely love and building a stash. It can be hard to move past that and start implementing. I too, have three children and a busy household. As my children have grown older I find myself beginning and finishing more projects. Yay! Projects I have a definite plan for I store in nice, appealing boxes or bags. I have made several different size mesh bags for this purpose. I find wonderful boxes at Michael’s or Joann’s and follow the sales or use coupons to keep the price reasonable. I find it is much more fun to open this box and begin a new project and I can store it there until I finish. I try to finish a project before starting a new one. That is not always possible in quilting if the project is a block of the month or something similar. That is another reason the bag or box works for me. I also have a couple of boxes for my precuts so I always have fabric on hand when an idea comes. For my stash I use baskets and plastic containers by theme and/or color. This I am still fine tuning but it is important to be able to see your fabric so you utilize it first before purchasing more. With two children still living at home space is a problem for me, as well. You may want to consider buying and repurposing a piece of furniture like an entertainment center or a bookcase to store your fabric. I would love to do this.Hope this helps! PrairieWindRose

  14. bevnewman says:

    Lovely article and just in time for me too 🙂
    Thank you?

  15. Inky says:

    Great article! A little extra tip could be to not create the whole space in one go unless you have experience with sewing and/or organising craftspace. I’ve learned that at first I just didn’t know what would work for me, so I find myself changing things and wishing I had done some things differently.
    Your ideas are also a great help so you can be aware of possibilities.

    I have a related question too. There’s the organising your space and stuff, the discipline to tidy your space at least after finishing a (part of a) project (quite a challenge in itself, I’d rather sew lol), but what about the ever growing amount of stuff? I have enough ideas for sewing to get me all the way to heaven and back, but very limited time (household with 3 kids under 10 literally running around). When others see ‘trash’ I see a future project and simply can’t throw it away. Or it might some day be that one piece I wish I had. How do y’all manage that? I’d so much love to hear what tips everybody has for this part of sewing, since this is my big struggle. I really need to manage this part, before it starts getting in the way in the house and my creativity (too many possible projects).

    Love to hear from y’all!

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Inky, that’s a really great question and something I’m sure we all struggle with. Let’s see if any of the other readers have some ideas for you!

  16. laura Naab says:

    great article and just in time for me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *