Updated view of my sewing space

Updated sewing studio by Allspice Abounds

Today I’d like to share with you an updated view of my sewing space.  As I mentioned in my Highlights of 2014 post, I’ve been slowly working on setting up a permanent sewing studio in my apartment, and I think I’m at the point where it’s just about done.  It’s been wonderful being able to sew without having to move any furniture or machines around!  Everything now has its own permanent place.

As you can see, my little sewing studio is quite modest, but it’s home.  🙂  I live in a tiny studio apartment in a crowded part of the city, but I think I’ve done a good job of making the best of the limited space available to me.  I’m very fortunate to be able to set aside this dedicated space for my sewing, as I know not all of you have that luxury.  With that said, however, I definitely wouldn’t classify my living situation as anything close to “luxurious” in this tiny old apartment!

Anyway, let’s take a tour of my updated studio!

Updated sewing studio - sewing table

My sewing machine and serger are now permanently stored on this study wooden table, propped up against the wall between my kitchen and bathroom.  I picked up the table at Ikea for less than $100, which I think is a pretty good price for a real wood (not particle board) table.  I also picked up the black desk chair at Ikea, which features a study (not overly padded) base and firm lumbar support on the back.  After throwing my back out last summer, a firm, supportive chair is must for me.  The chair is also on wheels, which is great for moving around while sewing.  I think the chair cost about $60 – not bad!

Updated sewing studio - cutting table

My cutting table is permanently situated right next to the sewing table, so I can easily wheel the chair back and forth between them while I’m sewing.  This proximity and mobility are wonderful!  The cutting table is a simple plastic folding table that I picked up at Target for about $40.  It measures 6 feet long by 3 feet wide, which is spacious enough to lay out a full 2 yards of fabric, folded lengthwise.  Absolutely ideal for tracing and cutting!  If you have the space, I really cannot recommend a long table like this highly enough.

I hung some cheerful artwork above the table to brighten up the space.  Both pieces were super cheap and also from Ikea.  I think they were each under $10 – score!  They are a bit off-center because I didn’t bother to move them when I rearranged the furniture to set up the studio, but it doesn’t bother me enough to make 2 new holes in the wall.

I have a bright light set up to the left of the cutting table to illuminate the entire sewing space.  I always use daylight bulbs in my lamps, and I love the cool white light they produce, as opposed to the yellow light of regular bulbs.  This back corner of my apartment doesn’t get much natural light, so a bright lamp was a must.

Updated sewing studio - ironing station

The ironing board gets set up on the opposite side of the studio, in front of my bed.  (Can you spot Maggie keeping watch over it?)  I don’t leave it out all the time because there just isn’t enough room to walk around it comfortably, so it does have to be set up and taken down with each sewing session.  I have to admit that this annoys the crap out of me, but I just accept it as part of my space limitations.  Having everything else permanently set up has been such a great improvement for me!

Updated sewing studio - extension cord connection

The only other thing that has to be done for each sewing session is to connect these two extension cords, simply due to the location of the outlets in my apartment.  All the plugs for the sewing machine and serger are always plugged into power strips, so I just have to make the final connection to get the power going.  I could leave this plugged in all the time, but it goes right across the entrance to my (very tiny) kitchen, a heavily traveled area as you can imagine.  🙂

Updated sewing studio - with chair at cutting tableHere’s a view of the desk chair moved in front of the cutting table.  I do all my cutting and pinning at the cutting table, and then roll over to the sewing table to sew.  It’s a lot of rolling back and forth, not to mention getting up and down to use the ironing board, but hey, that’s sewing!  It’s a pretty active hobby, no?

All in all, I’m immensely pleased with my new set up, especially given the space limitations in my apartment.  One day I hope to dedicate an entire extra bedroom to my sewing studio, but for now this has been working very well for me!  It was a big investment to set up, as I had to give up a lot of my extremely limited storage space to make room for the cutting table, but I’m glad I did it.  Downsizing your possessions can be scary, but I always feel very liberated afterward.

In other news, did you spot the muslin on my cutting table?  It’s a pair of self-drafted pants!  Yes, I have officially lost my mind.  The pants aren’t yet ready for a blog post, but I’ve been working away on this precarious adventure with much excitement and bewilderment.  Stay tuned.

In other unrelated news, today is my birthday!  Yay!  Delightfully, I have turned 29 once again.  🙂

I hope you enjoyed seeing my new sewing space, as I always really enjoy seeing yours.  Where do you sew, and what improvements or upgrades might you make in the future?

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46 thoughts on “Updated view of my sewing space

  1. Happy Birthday – what a wonderful gift to yourself. You have done a brilliant job of squeezing it into the available space.

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You did a great job of utilizing your space! I am blessed to have an entire room for my shelves/sewing supplies, but am always looking for good organizational tips & you demonstrated some great tips-thanks for including the information of where you got your tables/chair! Q.Do you use under bed storage for your fabrics, or are they in the cabinets behind your machine? Also, is there anywhere you could use a tabletop ironing mat, such as the “Steady Betty?” THANKS again for sharing your great ideas and space!

    • Thanks Barb! I’m jealous of your dedicated sewing room and hope to achieve this one day. 🙂 My fabric and patterns are indeed stored in that white storage unit behind the machines, but I really don’t have very much to store. Most of the cabinets store other random things. Having a pressing station would be wonderful! I’m not sure I could pull it off in this space, but thanks for the idea. I’ll file that one away for later!

    • Thanks for reading, Cindy! The permanent setup has really been wonderful. It makes sitting down to sew for a few minutes much more do-able, although ideally I still like long stretches of time to work on my projects. 🙂

  3. Happy birthday! I hope it was a good one!

    Your space looks great. I love seeing where other people do their sewing, so thanks for the peek inside.

    I’m working on a pant sloper now to make my own pants as well. It has been a lot of work to get all the curves to fit me just right. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out.

    • Thanks Carol! I know, I love seeing other people’s sewing spaces too. I always get such great ideas, and it’s fun to see “where the magic happens.” 🙂 That’s awesome that you’re drafting your own pants too! I’m so curious to see how yours turn out. It sounds like you’re ahead of me with fitting adjustments, but yes, I anticipate a lot of work ahead of me. I’m hoping it will all be worth it… for both of us!

  4. I love this. It works! I feel a little like Harry Potter, in my sewing area next to the laundry room partially under the stairs. I haven’t quite got the ironing board location sorted….

  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Your sewing space is lovely, and very well thought out. Downsizing to make room for a sewing studio is scary, but eventually you won’t miss that stuff, and you’ll wonder how you lived without a sewing studio. Can’t wait to see your pants version 2.0!

    • Thanks Ebi! I’m looking forward to seeing how the pants come out too, LOL. 🙂 I’ve already forgotten most of what I got rid of to make room for the table, so I guess it all worked out. Hooray for dedicated sewing space!

  6. Happy Birthday, Carolyn! It’s so fun to see where you sew. Your set up looks great. I am so interested to see your self drafted pants when the time comes. I’m sure that’s a real learning experience!

    • Thanks Teri! I still have a long way to go on the pants, I think. Last weekend I did the initial drafting and first muslin, but I haven’t yet tackled fitting adjustments, adding a waistband, etc. The hardest part is figuring out *how* to fix fitting issues. It’s not very intuitive. Lots to learn!

  7. Happy Birthday Carolyn…& yesterday was mine! Glad to hear you like 29 so much, you’re doing it again! I, on the other hand, am enjoying a rerun (many times over!) of 39! 🙂
    Well done, organising your space so well. The Babylock Imagine (the model I have too) DESERVES a permanent home, hey!

    • Happy belated birthday, Kathy! How cool that our birthdays are so close together…. and that we both seem to be happily stuck in such youthful places, LOL. 🙂 I totally agree about the Babylock, and in fact, the purchase of my serger is what really got me going on re-doing my sewing space. I’m glad you’re enjoying your machine!

    • Thanks Claire! This set up is the 3rd or 4th arrangement I’ve had, and I keep making adjustments along the way. The pants are another story… we’ll see how it all works out!

  8. Happy Birthday Carolyn!!!
    Your sewing area looks fantastic! Having a permanent setup is wonderful way to nurture a sewing passion. Do you cover your machines when you’re not using them? Or do they not need to be because they are always being used? 😉
    I’m looking forward to learning more about your self drafted pants/trousers 🙂

    • Thanks so much Vanessa! Haha, sadly my sewing machines do experience some down time. I do cover them, and you can see the covers resting on the floor next to my sewing table in the photos above. I have a cat, so keeping cat fur out of the machines is a must! The pants are an adventure, and there is still a lot of work to be done. It’s a fun challenge though!

  9. Happy Birthday, you have arranged your sewing space pretty well given the space you have available, I really envy your cutting table, it’s the perfect size. Unfortunately, my sewing space is my living room and I use my dining table for sewing and cutting. At first I used to pack everything when I had guests but now I don’t bother anymore just keep the place tided. I would love one day to have a room dedicated to sewing and another one for my other big passion which is b&w film photography (I know I’m asking too much here)

  10. Hapy birthday. I promise not to complain about my lack of space ever again… your apartment is indeed tiny and yet you managed to squeeze some space for a cutting table. I’m in awe!

    • Thanks Vaire! I definitely don’t have much space, but making some room for sewing was a priority for me. I really can’t wait for a bigger apartment though!

    • Thanks Lisa! The pants are going to be a saga, I think, but hopefully worth it in the end. Even if I don’t get a pair of wearable pants out of it, going through the drafting process has been a great learning experience.

  11. Happy birthday! I’m so impressed you were able to squeeze all that sewing gear into such a compact space. Can’t wait to hear more about your pant drafting!

    • Thanks Lisa! There was a lot of measuring and planning involved, but I’m glad I managed to squeeze it into that back corner. It’s like my little in-home workshop. 🙂

  12. I loved your space! I sew on our dining room table – which is a great space but means that everything gets cleared away for dinner! I suspect without that discipline it would all be a huge mess!

    Louise

    • Haha! Yes, I definitely think space constraints are a blessing in disguise in that respect. I bet the dining room table is great for cutting – so much room to spread out!

  13. Happy birthday! That’s a great space you’ve set up for sewing. Do you keep your projects out in the open when you’re not sewing? I’d love to know, because I sew in the middle of everything, too – due to the kids, not space restraints.

    • Thanks Uta! Yes, I keep my projects out on the cutting table, but I only work on one project at a time, so there’s never really that much to keep out. Usually I put everything in a compact pile and then put something on the top to prevent my cat from napping on it. It doesn’t always work though. 🙂

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