13 May 2014

My Sewing Studio: Storage Pigeon Holes

If your sewing space is anything like mine, you never have enough storage space. When I was living in a two bedroom terrace, my husband made me a beautiful timber cupboard and drawers for all of my craft and sewing supplies (however it all fit in there I'll never know). They can sit on top of each other to take up less space. When we started breeding, we had made the decision that I would quit my full time desk job to start my own sewing business, we moved to a larger house, and built a new garage with my own sewing studio on top of it. The cupboard is too tall to fit into the studio (due to council restrictions on height we couldn't build it as tall as we would have liked), but the matching drawers are still in use in the studio (with mainly craft supplies),
Let's play "spot the drawers" behind the piles of fabric!
and I acquired a long triangular shaped store room that you crawl into, and lots of under bench cupboards.

But there still wasn't enough storage. We added a rail to hang pattern blocks and WIP at one end of the room. Still not enough storage!

So, a few years ago I devised a design for some pigeon holes to go at one end of the studio, next to this rail.

The spot for the pigeon holes, before I cleaned it up
And after the clean up, ready for pigeon holes
My craft drawers were originally in this spot, but we sold a drafting table that had been gathering dust in my studio, and I moved the drawers to that position. When next I thought of doing the pigeon holes, I couldn't find my original plans, so did my measuring again, and came up with new plans! When I found the old plans, the two were very similar, so at least I was consistent with my thinking! To make sure I didn't change my mind again, I bought four baskets from Howards Storage World to fit into some of the pigeon holes.

Back in February I managed to convince my husband that we should buy some MDF for them while we were shopping at Bunnings. We bought two huge sheets, and had them cut to the right width in store. It's so cheap to get them to do it for you, and ensured that all the pieces were the exact same width, with a perfectly straight cut. Try doing that in your height restricted garage!

The Cutting Machine! 
The Machine in action: Thank you Bunnings!
Ever since I first mentioned what I was wanting, my husband was resistant to doing it for me. He thought I would change my mind and not be happy with these anymore. Hopefully I managed to convince him that this is the best option for my ever growing storage needs, because he got up one morning a couple of weeks ago and said that he was thinking of putting them together for me. Later that day, here's how they were going.

The following day I gave myself an enormous blister on my finger from undercoating with paint that was a bit past it's best and rather thick and gluggy, and the husband kindly offered to do the finishing coats of paint in ceiling white.

Then I waited a week to put anything in it. I didn't want to ruin that beautiful paint job by putting anything on it too early!

My four baskets have six pigeon holes at the bottom that they fit in. The original concept for the baskets was to put client work in them, so that everything for a project stays together. Since I've had the baskets for so long however, they all got filled up with assorted random stuff, which is now in even more random places throughout my studio. One of them currently has my Vietnamese fabric in it, another has bra making supplies, a third has lingerie fabrics, and the fourth actually has client work in it (Woo hoo!) The two spare spots I will use for some of my fabric stash for now (the fabric I actually know what I want to make from it), but maybe I'll buy an extra two baskets later. I thought if I have fabric looking me in the eye, it might get made up sooner rather than later!

The tall shelf is for my pattern books. I use A3 folders to put all the patterns that I make in, and I didn't have one single space that fit them all. I had some in the top half of one of my cupboards, more stuffed under the cutting table, or lying around on desks. But most often, there was a pile of them sitting on the floor, usually the ones I'd been looking at most recently. I may have outgrown this amount of room already!

Some of my pattern books in their former home
And more on the floor - their other home
Right up the top is where the iPod speaker/dock now lives. Much better than living on the floor! And much better than my original plans. I was still using a compact stereo system when I first came up with this idea, and it would have taken up a lot of room. I gave it away to some friends when my husband decided he didn't need an iPod anymore. (Why carry around extra things when your phone has plenty of storage space?)

All filled!!
The blue plastic storage boxes are my zipper collection. Yep, they're all full. And sorted into sizes.

I have plans for some type of Work in Progress system to go along the side wall of this storage unit. I had wanted a cork board or magnetic white board, but the whole thing is too narrow for a ready made notice board, so back to the drawing board for me (pun intended). Hubby suggested some kind of magnetic clips or something, so I had thought maybe a few magnetic strips placed at intervals all the way down. However, everything would just fall off whenever it got knocked. His latest suggestion is screwing bulldog clips at intervals along the side, so I can clip up each client's paperwork (and not have to search every surface to find the right paperwork all the time!) I think this might be a winner, I just need to find the time to go out and buy the perfect bulldog clips.

Are all of my storage dreams for my studio fulfilled yet? Not by a long shot. Wait til I show you the inside of my store-room. If I'm game enough.


  1. You are so lucky to have all that storage and working space. Fantastic! BTW, I thought of you this morning when I saw this ad on gumtree http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/cottesloe/antiques/antique-sewing-machine-/1046365355 Such a beautiful machine in amazing condition. I know nothing about antique machines, but this would look lovely on display in my house!

    1. Thanks Megan. It doesn't matter how much storage I have though, I also need more. That machine looks amazing! If your budget stretches that far, that would be a great piece to have.

    2. Oh, I couldn't possibly justify spending $1200 on an antique machine. Just think how much fabric that would buy! Anyway, after last night's budget announcement, wayward spending will definitely have to be curtailed!

  2. Wow, such a beautiful and well organised storage space!

    1. Thanks Carolyn. If I can manage to clean up the rest of the room - ever - I'll do a full tour of my sewing studio.

  3. That is really a clever idea! Adding shelves would definitely help you maximize the space of your storage area. But in case you need some extra spaces for your unused items, you could always look for a place that offers affordable storage services. Have a nice day!

    Everett Tyler @ General Store-All