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organizing and setting up sewing room

accessories's picture


I'm new to the group and excited!! After five years of not sewing, I'm ready to get back.  I have an empty room that I would like to make it the room to sew.  I appreciate your input on organizing fabrics, acessories, and tools.  Thanks!    

Josefly's picture

(post #25244, reply #1 of 29)

Hi, and welcome, back to sewing, and to this forum. I'll bet you'll get some good suggestions from folks here. May I suggest also that you check the archives, or do an advanced search in the forum, using the search words "sewing room" or something similar? There have been some great discussions on the topic, and some wonderful photos as well. Just scroll down the left side of the page to find the Archives heading, or scroll up to the top of the left side to find the search function.

Cherlyn's picture

(post #25244, reply #2 of 29)

I have plastic (clear) containers for all my fabrics.  I have them placed by season and fabric type.  I placed all my patterns in covered containers and they are all labeled.  Ideally, I would love a cutting table with drawers designed for patterns, cutting, and design tools.  I have all my sewing books, pics, and nick nack antique sewing stuff on the shelves.  I tried to place myself in a room with things that I love.  Everything is handy.  I do have some roller type plactic storage things I purchased from an office store to place laces in and other trims that I use.  I collect all sorts of antique and hand made laces to use on garments.  I have containers for unique buttons.  I have a chair in my room and good lighting so when I need to do things by hand, I can curl in the over sized chair and do that work.  I love my space, but it just isn't big enough!  I really want the cutting table!

starzoe's picture

(post #25244, reply #3 of 29)

Setting up a sewing room is much like decorating and furnishing a house - start with the important things (sewing machine, table or desk, some shelf space). You will very soon discover what you need next, and next after that. Proper tools are important, a couple of good scissors that the family does not "borrow", good thread, good needles (no dollar store stuff except maybe tape measures). Borrow books from the library until you find one you cannot live without, then buy it. There's a lot of dross out there in sewing equipment and publications.

Sewing is so rewarding, good luck.

Elaray's picture

(post #25244, reply #4 of 29)

I recommend NOT carpeting the floor. It's much easier to use a broom sweep up pins, thread and scraps of fabric than to drag out the vacuum cleaner.


I sew, therefore I am

-------------------------------------------------------- I sew, therefore I am
accessories's picture

(post #25244, reply #5 of 29)


No carpet...I love the idea.  My hunnies would love to pull up the carpet and maybe even paint the concrete flooring#@?#?, not sure yet..



Katina's picture

(post #25244, reply #6 of 29)

Welcome, it's nice to have you here. Cherlyn's absolutely right when she says keep things you love around you. As others have said there's plenty of good advice and info here, so you're sure to get set up happily very soon. Good luck!


DesignandSew's picture

(post #25244, reply #7 of 29)

Welcome and happy sewing...

I have been fortunate enough to have a sizable sewing room in each of our last two houses and have organized things accordingly.  First for small items such as bobbins, needles, gadgets...all those things that should be at your fingertips when sewing at your machine...try a plastic organizer from the hardware store that hangs on the wall that has lots of clear plastic drawers.  I have two that hold every little thing and I can see the items without opening the drawers!  Second, have doubles of some tools, one set for your cutting and pressing area and another set for your sewing machine are such as sheers, marking pencils, etc.  Third, peg board is inexpensive and can be indispensable.  You can purchase a variety of hooks and accessory items such as baskets or paper towel holders (the last one is great for rolls of embroidery stabilizer or spools of ribbon) because you can customize and hang anything on it.  I use mine for scissors, rulers, rotary cutters, yardsticks, etc..  You don't need an expensive piece of sewing furniture for your room, but a large piece of plywood attached to an old table and covered in batting and canvas is a great cutting and pressing surface.  Make sure to jack the table up to counter height so you don't strain your back and neck.  I don't recommend you store fabric long term in plastic containers, plastic doesn't breathe but is suitable for short term storage. Cardboard boxes lined with acid free paper or shelving in a closet is good.  Rolled on cardboard tubes is the best way to go on storing fabric because there are no creases but not a good method for napped fabric. Take a look at using furniture meant for other purposes such as an inexpensive corner desk top with attachable legs could be a great sewing table.  This is getting long so I'll let you go.  Good luck:)

soannit's picture

(post #25244, reply #8 of 29)

Welcome.  Having just retired, I too have just set up a sewing room/office in my new house - a workroom of my own at last!  I have large double wardrobes in which I keep most things in large plastic boxes or drawers.  I also keep zips. tape, lace, elastic, shouder pads, etc, which I need to rummage through, in a spare set of graduated hat boxes - which look OK stacked in a corner.  I can now keep my material in a set of drawers and find is much easier to find what I want than when I had to stack them on shelves as I am only short. 

Really looking forward to reading everyone's suggestions to help me organise better.

Ralphetta's picture

(post #25244, reply #9 of 29)

For anyone ready to remodel, see if you have a RESTORE location in your city. It is a nonprofit organization connected to Habitat for Humanity. Builders with excess materials or people remodeling having slightly used items donate them and they are sold to the public for a fraction of their cost. Last week I stopped to browse and kept seeing things that would be great if I were redoing my sewing room. Gobs of cabinets. I saw a bank of handsome custom-cabinets that would have stretched from the floor to the ceiling and was about 10' wide. The cabinet doors had nice decorative molding and with a coat of fresh paint/stain it would have been beautiful storage space. It was $250. All of the hinges, knobs, fasteners, alone were worth a large portion of that. You can't buy a good dresser for that...and it wouldn't hold nearly as much.

Susan -homedecsewing's picture

(post #25244, reply #10 of 29)

One thing I have that I love is a hollow core door with cotton padding covered in muslin.It sets on 2 filing cabinets and is the same height as my machine table. I cover it with large rotory cutting mats for pinning and cutting, then scoot them off for ironing. Actually I have 2 doors set up and I still would like more space ! I work in my double garage and use every inch of it. Looks like I'm going to have to clean my shop tomorrow. It needs alittle love.Space more space.I also keep things at my fingertips in mugs.Fray check, needle threaders for serger, tweezers,turning tools... happy sewing, Susan

ThreadKoe's picture

(post #25244, reply #11 of 29)

If you have a place that sells used office furniture, a refurbished office cubicle is what I use. The overhead filing cabinet was mounted on the wall (the legs were missing), but the florescent under cabinet lights are perfect. My tools and threads are all stored above my serger and sewing machine, which are at each end of the table. An office chair with rollers moves easily between. A cutting table on saw-horses is just behind, that doubles as an extra large ironing surface. It doesn't take much space. Storage boxes containing my stash are kept under the cutting table. See through boxes are best.

Edited 5/25/2008 11:22 pm ET by ThreadKoe

Edited 5/25/2008 11:25 pm ET by ThreadKoe

MichelleinMO's picture

(post #25244, reply #12 of 29)

If you are short on cash and have time and space to wait I have a decent idea.  You can buy an used ping-pong table and use all or part of it for a cutting table.  I got one for 15.00, and when I had my sewing room down in the basement I had it all set up.  I repainted it and padded part of it to iron on it and was able to stick straight pins in it.

Shortly after we moved into our new home and I fixed up my daughter's beautiful bedroom upstairs on the top floor painted specifically to her specifications, bought her these beautiful curtains she wanted etc. etc.  She graduated from high school and was going to stay home and drive to college. 

Well, this scoundrel talked my daughter into moving out with him and nine months later they married. They have been married seven months and together living one year seven months, dating two years. 

I decided what a wasted of a beautiful room and moved up there, so I can only put half the ping-pong table against the wall to sit supplies on. 

I also have a rolling Joanne's table that I move around and cut on everyday.

I found an old Maple sewing table at a garage sale for 30.00 and have a sewing machine on one end and a serger on the other end.  My room is still in the works.  I need a roll around tool box to move around the room.  I am working on that.

Michelle in Joplin, MO

dollmarm's picture

(post #25244, reply #13 of 29)

What a great idea for the ping pong table - when we moved in this house - the previous owner left so so much and there was a ping pong table, but it was a mess.  It needed so so much work.  It was so so bent and I hated to throw it out.  Hubby took it to the dump where a lady there displays things for others to pick up and use. 
Plus even though I have a basement (where have of a great room is my sewing area- the table was still too big.  
So...  I have a ol'table we bought overseas at a Thrift Store on base in Germany.  The legs and table top are separate,along with the side out pieces on 2 sides of table so I can expand the length of the table when needed.  Right now it is filled w/ so so much stuff. 
We ALL were so so so assured by dr. and test that our daughter was having a boy - well we have a beautiful petite as (her mommy was) little grand-daughter.  SO I have to put away all the fantastic deal of boy stuff I have and find the girly fabric.  PLUS there is to be NO pinks, ruffles and lace !  Per my daughters request. 
SO ......  I am going through looking to see what all I have to make my new little missy a top quilt and then will make her a girlie later when she ask me  :~) 

TOO I found an old Singer Sewing machine cabinet that I keep my Serger on. The insert inside is too small for a machine to fit in.  This is a very old cabinet that the seller was not aware of what he was selling !!!!

I also have a dresser that I added stack wood lock in shelving on top of dresser that reach to the ceiling for added space for my crafts. 

Costco has those Chrome/metal (stainless steel-looking) Shelving that are grand !  |
I have one in the sewing/craft room, one in my kitchen and I am putting on in my hubbys office/computer room !
These are great for you decided where you the height of each shelf and they hold so so much! To me, they are well worth the monies and not that high.  

I am also a doll collector so on the top shelves I am able to display my dolls that I do not want touched, but for show ! 
Great ideas my friend,  :~)

JunkQueen's picture

(post #25244, reply #14 of 29)

I had been missing your posts and wondered if you were busy welcoming the new grand child. Congratulations, and I do hope Mom and child are doing well. Grandchildren are soooooo special. I never believed it until I had one. I affectionately call mine BabyGrands and they love it, but they are growing out of the 'baby' part of the equation. In fact, I now have a cuddly 4-month-old GreatGrand, and I don't get to see him nearly enough.

Be sure to show us pictures of you all the sweet things you make for her. And welcome back. You were missed. By the way, what was A's reaction to the baby?

dollmarm's picture

(post #25244, reply #15 of 29)

This will be very brief - we are in the midst of terrible storms all around and the power has popped off and on several times so I will get back with you !  I starting earlier and I lost it all  SO I will try again tomorrow am  :~)

JunkQueen's picture

(post #25244, reply #19 of 29)

I read about the storms over your way. Hope you and yours are safe and well.

dollmarm's picture

(post #25244, reply #20 of 29)

WOW was it a night - I also had a set back and must rest much this wk'end.  I have been doing really great for months gaining back and just going too much and when the storm was all around - there wasn't much sleep and I crashed.
The storms were a mess and tornadoes were very very close - PTL they did not hit around here. 
I shut all down upstairs and made a picnic lunch for my son A and we watched the pretty colors on tv of the circles and spins and all as the one News reporter was showing all that was going on around us.  We lost power a couple of x's but A was not upset - we were in a 8.2 Quake in Guam many years ago and that was scary for him.  He has a MY Buddy Doll that was upstairs on his bed and he ran to get it and my hubby had to grab them both and literally lay over A so he would be otay and was.  We bought t-shirt  and sent them to all the kids in the family and for adults as well and we had many pictures and all of that !  We lived in a safe house as we do here and we have been fine in the midst of storms.
In fact when we lived in GUAM - there were many of storms and we had a house there that had storm shutters that u close when one would hit.  The kids made a game of it - the wind would make a whistle noise and the would was not power and we had flashlights and our daughter would make grab all the sheets and they would sit in tents and she would read to him. At times the kids would friends over during these storms and they would play all sorts of make believe games and make sure A. was fine in the games.  
IN fact A. still has his MY Buddy Doll. 
We have tree limbs down and brush around. It hit again around 8 pm that night while my hubby was installing new phones (old ones were going bad) ekkkk...

Yesterday I had no choice but to rest, hubby came home early to care for A and I and I will rest alot this wk'end and hopefully make it to church this wk'end. 
We are having intense heat and could have more storm at night - right now it is still and I pray it stays that way.  Thanks for your care - need to ck' on A and rest again. 

rodezzy's picture

(post #25244, reply #21 of 29)

Thank the Heavens, you and yours are fine.  I really hope anyone in bad weather is O.K. 

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

dollmarm's picture

(post #25244, reply #24 of 29)

Thanks my friend It has been crazy and the storms unreal !!! 
NOW I have always loved a good ol'fashioned rain w/thunder and even lightening'
Loved to watch it from a far !  BUT...... NOT these storms we are having now !

I grew up in the deep south and you could smell the rain-a-comin' as it was stated !
Married and moved to CA and was homesick for that smell of rain !

Don't know if you have seen in some of the postings - my daughter had a baby girl and we all have been (both sides of the family) trying to get plans-dates, wk' schedules so we all can get together tos this small little precious wonder. 
I am sent cell phone pictures and etc.... but I wanna'hold, smell and just drink her up- she is the complete likeness of when her mommy was a baby !!!!

THEN I ate some of those ol' tomatoes and was so so sick so I am just now recovering.

A(son) and I have an afternoon job on M,W&R to water the Alpacas across the street.  SO.........I do the wk' but A is enjoying the Alpacas - they follow him and he laughs and turns back around to see if they are still following him. 

I have totally destroyed my sewing area looking for the correct colors of material for me grand-daughter a quilt. 
Cause my friend, you know we had been lead to think it was a boy and I had all the sports fabric and etc... all out ready to start to cut out and Applique and all
But ....   I have many ideas and will step back to see what I can do and prayerfully have it done for Christmas.  This is will be a small one for babybed and then I will make a twin one for her bad later. 
( I have all the original Strawberry Shortcake stuff that was my daughters- that is a guide at the moment )
Must run for now .....   take care and yak some more later ... :~) 

rodezzy's picture

(post #25244, reply #25 of 29)

Hey there, glad to hear you have a grand baby girl now.  Just think of all the pretty things you can make her when you have time.

At the same time, sorry to hear about all of the weather problems.  You don't have flooding nearby do you?  I hope not.  It's so unbelieveable when I look at the news at all the lost homes, businesses, schools, etc. due the flooding.  It's crazy.  I pray for the people as I watch the news and humbly give thanks for whatever I have.   These peoples aren't just loosing their homes, they are losing their whole livelyhood.  Job, schools, restaurants, neighbors, whatever.  It's a whole way of life gone.  Oh, I shudder at the thought.  I've always fought through adversity in pray and gave thanks by saying that "every time I open my eyes and see another day, its a chance to start all over again."

I know about rambling through your sewing area to look for something, that's when I stop and try to put everything in order again.  I've done that three times this year alone.  giggle.

I also cleaned out my clothes drawers this weekend while I washed.  Couldn't stand them any more either.  So I was productive this weekend.  No I can find what I'm looking for an know what I've got. giggle.

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

dollmarm's picture

(post #25244, reply #26 of 29)

Must run over and take care of the Alpacas - we are about to have some more storms - will be back in on line asap and share all -  :~)

dollmarm's picture

(post #25244, reply #27 of 29)

Hey, lady I back for a brief time - getting ready to go see the new grand baby !
We have had several storms since my last reply.

TOO  I ate some of those tainted tomatoes and was very very ill for a couple of days. IT was ruff.  I got Salmonella many yrs ago when we lived in India - so I knew what I had and when I learned it came from the tomatoes I was so so disappointed ! 
I love tomatoes and will eat several at a time. 

I have several different idea,in fact too many to decide what to do next for the little one.   Just trying to get to get all on board for several different days at different places for pictures and visits with all has been a job in it self ! 

My daughter and I will look at a pillow that was made for her when she was a baby and try to match up material for me to make my grand-daughter her 1st baby quilt top that she can use for her baby doll and then I make her a twin size top for her when she a bit older. 
I found her a little top that states GRANDMAS HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS that we will have several pictures made with her.  This little one is the 5th generation-1st born female !!!!   WE rock, huh ?   :~) 

I will try to ck' the blog when I get a down time at my in-laws & share, but need to close for now. I have many things to pack for A, me, baby, sewing stuff and etc...
take care and thanks,  :~) 
Hopefully when I get back settled in I can share some sewing stuff again.  I miss my sewing/crafts but so much has to be completed before we can get to all the fun projects we love so so much !  :~) 

rodezzy's picture

(post #25244, reply #28 of 29)

Glad you are up and around and doing fine!!!!!

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

London_Evie's picture

(post #25244, reply #16 of 29)


I'm blessed to have a sewing room in our loft conversion.  We're currently modernising the house and this will be the last room to be done so at the moment everything is piled up in boxes.  But I do have a fabulous cutting table - it's made of a sheet of MDF set on 2 adjustable trestles from the hardware store.  This is topped with a sheet of fibre board wrapped in lining fabric.

The beauty of this table is three fold.  I can adjust it to the right height for me (I'm 5ft 8ins tall); I can press fabric right on the table; and I can store rolls of curtain fabric and lining underneath supported on the trestles.

I also organise projects in brown paper bags with string handles.  In each one I put the fashion fabric, any notions and linings and the pattern so that I can clearly see what I've got in my stash and what I've allocated it to.  It also means that I can quickly pick up a project and start work on it.

Hope this helps and good luck with the new room.  You'll love it.



GailAnn's picture

(post #25244, reply #17 of 29)

I've enjoyed reading these posts.  I have a 10' X 10', sewing room.  Once it felt restrively small.  Now, I find it to be nice and cozy. 

Because of an ice storm, last Winter, my Mom, (85 and usually in an Assisted Living Facility) spent the night here at our house.  When she looked in at my space, she said, "What a pretty little room."

It has seemed "Just Right" ever since.  Gail

rodezzy's picture

(post #25244, reply #18 of 29)

About five years ago, I downsized to a one bedroom apartment from a small house.  It is an old apartment building and has a formal dining room.  A lot of the more modern apartments only have a dining space off from the kitchen.  I've always loved the older buildings in Chicago because of the space and set up. 

I started back sewing, after many, many years of not sewing, because I mainly wanted to make quilts at the time.  I have a large kitchen table with a tile top that I keep my sewing machine, rotary mat and do my cutting on.  To my right I have a heavy old banquet table which has plastic containers with drawers for my sewing supplies, a serger and containers with paper patterns on top, and underneath, larger plastic containers with drawers for more sewing supplies.  Also, on the right I have a wooden TV tray with a small combo mat and ironing pad for ironing seams, and or when I'm doing the flip and sew method of piecing and/or paper piecing.  Behind me I have a bookcase housing more supplies, irons, water bottles, beads, and other sewing "stuff". 

It's the classic "L" shaped workspace.  It is very efficient, because everything is in arms reach.  Luckily when the main office of my company was downsizing in "99", I was able to get two ergonomic office chairs on wheels.  I can even have a friend over sewing at the same time.  Which we did when we were making the quilts for the returning, hospitalized soldiers from Iraq. 

In the last bit of wall space on the other side of the main table to my right I have a tall shelving system I purchased at KMart that has one basket and three shelves.  They are large and I keep fabric on it.  All of the rest of my "stuff" is in the bedroom/storage room in large containers.  I need to do some purging now, as I'm bursting at the "seams".  he he.

On the left front of the corner of the room there's a built-in wall shelving unit that I store VHS tapes I've recorded over several years, DVD's and in front of that I use an old singer sewing cabinet to hold a 13 in. TV and VHS tape combo with a small DVD player to the side.  I watch my recorded craft and sewing shows when I'm in need of inspiration to sew and while I'm sewing "just because."  I have a good library of self recorded VHS tapes on all of the sewing and craft shows since 1999.  I stopped recording stuff about two years ago because most of the shows I love no longer are on TV.  And I wish I had recorded all of the Knitty Gritty shows, but I had cable and never transfered the shows to VHS tapes.  Only a few.

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

Edited 6/5/2008 11:10 am ET by rodezzy

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

melanie56's picture

(post #25244, reply #22 of 29)

Hi I have 2 great tables from IKEA. They have adjustable legs so I have one raised to a suitable height for comfortable cutting out and the other at the right height to sit at with my machines, overlockers and cover stitch machine on. 1 chair on wheels and I can zip round them. My dummies can stand on the table so if I am working on a wedding dress it is much easier to work on the hem. There is plenty of room underneath for plastic crates which I keep my smaller peices of fabric, lace, ribbons stc in and my main stash is folded on a tall bookcase in colour order. I could stll do with more soace though. 

Ceeayche's picture

(post #25244, reply #23 of 29)

After living here four years of living out of boxes, I'm putting my room together on the 4th floor of my house.  It has been the dumping ground for everything I was going to "handle later."  I recently purchased four inexpensive shelving units at the local box store.  They are roughly 37" square and feature 9 separate cubes (each about 12" square).  I've folded most of the stash and stacked them in the cubes by color and type.  I am embarassed to say I've filled up all of them and need two more to accommodate my fabric stash!  They are lightweight, come in a variety of colors and leave the fabric visible for inspiration.  I purchased canvas "drawers" for some of the cubes and have filled them with delicate fabrics, and smaller yardages that would get lost stacked.  My plan is to stack them back to back and top with a hollow door.  Right now, I'm having a ball rediscovering all of the neat fabric I accumulated over the years as I liberate the pieces from their packing boxes.



Greet each day with Joy.  Embrace your blessings.

jeanfm's picture

(post #25244, reply #29 of 29)

I have set up sewing rooms in several different homes. I've used everything from hanging my stash in a closet (making each piece acessible) to the current of putting anything over 2 yards back onto bolts and stacking on end on high shelves (I took out some to make space). Whatever works for you. Just give some thought to the things you use most often and keep them near your work space. Jean