Monday, September 26, 2011

Introducing my new sewing room!

This is a post that I've been waiting to do for a while! Like many other sewing obsessed people out there, I've always wanted to have a space of my own for sewing and crafting projects. In the past I've had my sewing machine set up on the kitchen table, and then graduated to a little desk in the corner of the bedroom, but the mess has always managed to spill out and take up more of the house than was really desirable. Now I finally have a room of my own, custom designed for sewing. I also have enough storage space that I hope I'll have at least a fighting chance of staying organized, and a door to close if I don't!

Our apartment in Montreal is a three bedroom (or a 5 1/2, in Montreal speak), which sounds quite large (and it is a lot bigger than other places we've lived in, to be fair), but the bedrooms are pretty tiny. The room that we use as our bedroom is barely large enough to hold our double bed, let alone a dresser and clothes. After mulling over what to do about the bedroom setup, it dawned on me that there's no law saying that I have to get dressed in the bedroom -- in fact, it makes quite a lot of sense to keep my clothes along with all my sewing stuff. So, the room is actually a sewing room/dressing room, and now my dresser is right across the hallway from the laundry and in the same room as the ironing board.

I repainted our old dresser to match my new color scheme, and made two sets of curtains. Since the windows are just above street level, I wanted one set of curtains that would stay permanently closed for privacy, and then some sheers for decoration. I finally managed to make peace with my rolled hem foot while making these curtains. They were so long that there was no way I wanted to go over each seam twice to do the rolled hem manually, so I just sucked it up and messed around with the foot for a while. I watched a lot of internet videos to try to help me along, but really, I think the rolled hem foot is all about tacit knowledge. And after sewing 30 or so feet of curtain edges, I'm finally getting a feel for how to hold the fabric so it feeds through nicely.

On the dressing side of the room, my SO installed some wall mounted clothes bars for shirts and skirts. I like the idea of having some clothes out in the open -- I can hang things out there that have a tendency to get lost in the back of my closet to encourage myself to wear them, and it's also nice to have some things that I've made on display in the room. I hung a few pegs on the wall for works-in-progress or hanging up pajamas or so, but in reality I tend to dump them on the dressing chair. The chair was a great find that I bought off my neighbors who have a scrap metal collecting business. They were about to dismantle a set of these excellent chairs before I ran outside and saved them.

On the sewing side of the room, I bought some of these Ikea shelves to use a cutting table/storage area. My most excellent sister bought two of these shelves for her sewing room, and when I saw them at her place I couldn't believe I'd never thought of turning them on their sides and using them as a table. The two shelves together comfortably fit my cutting mat and ironing board, and I hung some baskets on the wall so I can have my rotary cutters and chalk markers nearby.

I took allllll of my fabric out of storage and folded it up neatly so that it could be stored in the Ikea shelves. The SO has a really great picture of me surrounded by fabric mid-organizing, looking totally overwhelmed. With the notable exception of some fabric shopping done while on vacation in Paris, I'm still refraining from buying new fabric until I use up at least half of my stash. I'm hoping that keeping it out in the open will motivate me to sew! I also made some storage bins for scraps and interfacing/random notions. The bins turned out really well, but they were truly more complicated than they needed to be (what with the binding around the edges and all), and I was really annoyed with myself for spending so much time making storage bins by the time I was halfway done. One little idea that I'm really pleased with was painting the front of the drawers of an organizer with chalkboard paint. Now they can be relabeled easily if I ever decide to store something else in there.

And finally, I really lucked out with finding this little desk for my sewing machine at a garage sale in my neighborhood. It's a really tiny desk -- my chair just barely fits under it, and that's after we added little legs to the bottom to raise the height a bit. The person I bought it from said that she thought it was from the 50s or 60s, and probably held a piece of infrequently used office equipment.

So there you have it -- my new sewing room. Now that I'm finished painting and organizing, perhaps I'll actually be able to get some sewing done!


  1. Ohh I use the expedit shelves too, to store my fabric, two back-to-back is a great work surface, what a good idea. I used to have mine on teh side like you and it was perfect to put my ironing board on but now I have it upright because my new room is tiny, but I still love them, I can flick through my fabrics so easily.

    I love your clothes bars, I just bought one of those mobile wardrobe rails, having it all where you can see it keep you motivated I think, hopefully when I get my own house I can steal your idea ;) xx

  2. Having your stash out in plain sight is definitely really helpful! It was always a bit annoying to fold everything back up after digging through my bins for a good fabric, and now I can stare at the shelves and contemplate what I'll make.