After a flurry of posting about the sewing room reno in early September, I’ve been a bit quiet on the subject in anticipation of the two final pieces of furniture that were on their way to helping me finish the job. This past weekend, both were installed, and so I’m ready to show off the sewing room I’ve been working on since August.
In case you forgot, the sewing room was shared with the TV and guest quarters and used to look like this:
Besides the fact that my sewing stuff was crammed into a shared space, I had also collected a ton of fabric from thrift and seconds sales, none of which I was ever going to use (it was bought so randomly), which resulted in a stash overflow of epic proportions. A big part of the job at the outset was de-stashing the fabric, with a little yarn thrown into the mix. We also got rid of the gross/ancient futon couch, the table my sewing machine was on, and moved the TV to another room.
This really left me with only a large wooden shelf from the original room furnishings – an item my father and I made together about thirteen years ago – and that has always been wonderfully useful in my life.
This I organized with uniform boxes, five to a shelf, all labelled with their contents. Likewise, patterns got organized according to type in magazine files. Some other odds and sods ended up on these shelves as well, which is to be expected, not everything can be categorized! Having used this system now for the past month – it’s incredibly easy to both find things when I want to use them, and to put them away. Seems elementary I know, but being well-organized makes it so much easier to stay well organized.
Next up is the sewing table, which we put together on the weekend (it was on order at Sears for a month). I picked the Sauder table because it is designed for both sewing, and storing a sewing machine (right depth, right height), plus has some built-in storage, and folds into a cabinet. It may be that I never put my sewing machine underneath in the long run because I like to have it out and available. But if I ever do get a serger, it’s got a place to live.
Being able to keep my workspace tidy is really important (given the mess it was before all the time), so the extra cupboard on this is a bonus.
Of course, the one thing I haven’t had for years (since I lived in a 1/2 duplex all by myself on the Sunshine Coast) is a cutting table positioned at the right height. And so, I bought an Ikea Bekant table to do the job. It’s sturdy and a decent size – and I find myself using it as an all-purpose standing table for all sorts of things – sorting through patterns, hand sewing, choosing fabrics and threads under the super bright work light. It’s been really great having this set up. Underneath you can see baskets – one for unfinished projects, and one for scraps from works in progress. The UFOs in the one basket are very old, and some decisions will have to be made soon. The plastic drawers house some quilting projects in progress.
And then we come to two pieces of storage hardware the I purchased from the Algot line at Ikea. Algot is a series of mix and match pieces that make in-closet and hanging storage solutions – very easy to hang and put together. I wanted to be able to store all the fabric, yarn, and garments-in-progress neatly, and visibly (for easy access). My self-imposed rule now, is – no new fabric or yarn unless there is room in the bins for it. I have made my storage space finite and obvious to help curb my hoarding tendencies. Right here you can see that there are several garments worth of fabric, and at least four sweaters worth plus a bunch of other yarn. That’ll keep me going for awhile. One of the first things I did after the sewing room was mostly set up, was make the Woodland Stroll Cape out of wool that’s been in my stash for three years – this is a trend I tend to continue as I look at my oldest fabrics first.
One of the other final pieces, picked up last week, is this most-desired chair – which my mother bought me as a graduation gift. You see, I don’t always like to sit at the sewing table or stand at the work table – when I am knitting intensively or stitching, or even ripping out stitches on a dress gone awry – I like to have a comfy place to sit. Beside that you can see the technology center which features the printer/scanner, my tote full of camera bits (which I apparently didn’t tidy for the photo), a bin for paper, and the notebooks I pull out to write and sketch in. On top, you can see a doll made by my mother – my favourite of the many she has created.
Ultimately, it’s the little details that thrill me when I discover their utility or aesthetic value: I installed a full-length mirror so I don’t have to run up to the bedroom to try on garments, I framed some dresses that my mom made when I was a little girl as memento artwork, I hung kitchen organizers to keep all the small bits close at hand, and got all the thread out of a shoebox and onto an organizer so it’s easy to pick from. I also installed new overhead and task lighting, and a new roller blind to help keep the light in when working at night.
Of course, this wasn’t my labour alone. My husband painted from top to bottom, helped me install the shelving, and put the sewing table together. He’s also just been super supportive of turning this into my space now that we have a little extra room in the house – and that is *huge* to me.