8 January 2017

My Sewing Studio: A Tour

I've been wanting to do a post for a while an indeterminate number of years about my sewing space, but have always been put off by how cluttered, messy and generally untidy it looks. When is a good time to do this post? Truthfully? If I want it to look tidy, probably never.

I have a tendency to jump right into the next project as soon as I have finished something, and not pack away patterns, scissors, pins, scraps etc. I am also prone to rummaging through my stash and putting aside fabric that I want to make up next, and leave it on the edge of my cutting table. Indefinitely.

When I have a large scale projecct like curtains to do, I am forced to do a bit of a clean up, as I need all the space I could get to manoeuvre multiple metres of fabric around without knocking everything off every available surface. Organising my studio was also helped enormously by putting in my pigeon holes and store room fabric storage.

Here's a panoramic shot of my studio that I took a few years ago - MESSY!
I decided to do a whirlwind cleanup and take photos as part of my January hosting of the Stashbusting Sewalong. What better way to get organised than to clean up your sewing space. When I walk into my studio now I feel inspired to use up all that space and SEW SOMETHING!

My studio is a custom built space above the garage of my house. Due to council height restrictions, it is quite a bit different to the original plans that my husband and I had. We had planned on two separate rooms on top of our double garage, but when the overall height was knocked back, we had to compromise and had a gabled roof approved, but the internal wall height of the room at each side is only 45cm. At it's peak in the middle of the room the height is 208cm. We could only fit one room along the centre, and we put walls in on each side of the room to form very low roofed store rooms. There is one long narrow room that runs along the side of my studio which you can crawl down the length of. On the other side, there are smaller store rooms that I use, one on each side of the stairs.

Looking to the left in my large store room
Looking to the right in my large store room
The height of the walls at the sides of my studio are 129cm, which is a great height for the desks that run along one wall, but not so great if you don't want to hit your head walking around my cutting desk (I always forget to tell people to lean over the table!)

Plastic storage boxes on the shelf above my desks
My husband did all of the carpentry for the cupboards and desks, so it's all built to my specifications. The cutting desk is made so that it can fit 150cm wide fabric spread out in a single layer - it's 155.5cm wide and 204cm long. Under the perspex desk top, I have metal rulers along two sides, and tape marks at 55cm, 75cm, and 100cm along the width, and at 50cm intervals along the length (with smaller marks at 10cm intervals). The marks along the width allow for easy calculations of fabric requirements for the most common fabric widths when folded in half. I also have a layer of clear PVC sheeting laid out on top of the desk to protect the perspex, especially when I'm using my tracing wheel. Just before taking these photos, I put new PVC down. The only problem with this, is that I bought it on the spur of the moment, and couldn't remember how long my desk was, so the new PVC layer is only 160cm long. Oh well, it still does the job.

Shiny new PVC - no marks from my tracing wheel (yet)

This is the view from the entrance to the studio at the top of the stairs, down to the back of the studio. I have two sewing machines set up on either side of my cutting desk. I spend most of my time down the far end of the room, nearest to my most used machines, my Janome 1600P and Janome Overlocker.

When I'm not sewing on one of these two machines, I'm standing in front of the cutting desk, with a view down to the TV at the other end of the studio.

Permanently living on the desk I have a roll of calico for making toiles, a roll of woven interfacing, and a roll of brown paper for patternmaking.

Scissors storage
There's storage space under the entire cutting desk.

I have a set of pattern drawers that we picked up from Home Yardage when they closed down 10 or so years ago and sold off all of their fittings. The rest is open space with a few shelves here and there. Oh, and I have a built in light box complete with dimmer switch!

On the side of the cutting desk closer to the stairs, live my Janome 4800Q, and Janome embroidery machine. The 4800Q I use when I do stretch sewing, buttonholes, names on daycare sheets etc (anything that isn't a plain straight stitch), and the embroidery machine gets a major workout doing names on daycare sheet bags from December to January each year when I sell most of my daycare sheets.

Each of the machines has a cupboard to the left of it that I originally envisaged to be where the machines would live when not in use. In reality, it's where I hide stuff, and the machines stay permanently on the desks. Occasionally they have their covers put on them. If I'm going somewhere for more than a few days I'll put covers on them all, but generally just the 4800Q and embroidery machines stay covered when not in use. I do have my CoverPro hiding in one of the cupboards though.

There are double powerpoints in the space under each sewing machine, as well as other strategic spots around the room, and the desks have holes at the back for the cords to the machines to go through.

There are 5 vintage Singers in this photo - can you see them all?

To the left of the entrance stairs is my fitting room and my smaller store room (more like an open cupboard really). This space stays open until I pull the curtain across to have a more private changing area. I have hooks in the ceiling that the curtain hangs from. I also take a lot of photos up against the curtain when I don't want to go outside for photos, and it hooks up out of the way when not in use.

Two of my Singer treadle machines and a couple of other vintage Singers live up this end of the studio, plus my Gutermann thread stand.

My full length mirror is actually the door from a cupboard that we threw out. I simply added coat hooks on either side. It isn't mounted on any walls, so I can move it around when I need to.

Well, that's about it for the tour of my studio. It's my little sanctuary, and I would hide up here all day if I could.


  1. I love seeing all those sewing spaces and how everyone has been furnishing them. Yours looks great and well organised and what a story about the space built above the garage.

  2. Loved being in your sewing room and my memory makes me think you tidied up for that visit as well.

    1. Quite possibly. I hate people seeing it in it's natural messy state!