My Sewing Space, 2013 Edition

Want to know what it looks like in my sewing space? Jennifer of Ellison Lane and Heather of The Sewing Loft asked me if I’d like to participate in their summer Studio Spotlights series. I told them it’s not very fancy in here but they didn’t mind!

My space is pretty much the same as when I moved in to the new office last summer, with a few updates. I find that a sewing space is always changing, a little bit here and there, to get it just right for sewing. I also do everything in this little 8 ft by 14 ft room, from writing blog posts to shipping orders, assembly and warehousing of the patterns, to sewing and developing new patterns. Basically, everything I do, happens in here! So it’s important to have a versatile and simple sewing space.

sewaholic patterns

Here’s a look at where I sew. Be sure to check out the rest of the Studio Spotlights series to look at other (and probably fancier!) sewing spaces for inspiration! I love to see what everyone else does, especially those with larger spaces.

Here’s the table where I sew. It’s a basic IKEA table with detachable legs (this one, I think, with different legs). It’s the type where you can mix and match table tops and leg styles. I bought it when Mr Sewaholic and I first moved in together, and I just needed the most basic of surfaces so that I could sew in his spare bedroom. This is well before I started blogging and well before I ever thought I’d have my own business! This little table has done pretty well for me.

sewing room setup

My favourite part is the rainbow thread racks. I love how they look and it’s so easy to find the right colour of thread! (The only downside is that the colours I rarely use get dusty. Perhaps I should make a cover for the rack to protect them from lint and dust.)

I added this lamp for extra light when sewing late at night. It’s a borrowed lamp from the shared office, but it works quite well.

sewing table with lamp

The trick to working in a small space is to have everything moveable. I can put the ironing board anywhere, and collapse it when I need more working space. (In the photo below, the wicker bin stores comfy flats just in case my feet get tired!) You can also see out the door, that’s where my office ends. That hallway is the start of the shared space.

ironing board and sewing room setup

I’ve started using my rotary cutter a lot, and so I keep the cutting mat on this folding table. I originally borrowed the folding table from the shared office space, before committing to buying a table. I like that I can sit down to work at the table, but I wish it was higher up so my back wouldn’t get sore after cutting for a long time.

In the future, I think I’ll upgrade it to a higher cutting table that’s kinder on my body! (I do like that it collapses though, when I need more floor space.)

rotary cutting mat and sewing room setup

When I do a lot of sewing, I like to have the ironing board near by so pressing is quick and easy. I can lower the ironing board so that it’s even quicker to access in between sewing steps. Just swing to the left in my desk chair and the iron is right there at sitting level!

You can’t see the chair in these photos but it’s just a regular rolling desk chair. I have the same chair for my sewing machine and computer. I can also swing between the sewing machine and the computer, so that I can easily type up things that come to mind while sewing.

ironing board near the sewing machine

I used to keep the serger on the same table as my sewing machine, but I’ve found that I like having more space to work. It’s nice to have room to the left of the machine for the garments to sit, or to keep tools like scissors, pins, even the pattern instructions. So the serger sits in the window on a filing cabinet, and when I need it I sit it back in its original position, to the left of my sewing machine.

serger is on separate table

This is a recent addition – I added these little organizer boxes behind my sewing machine. I found that it was useful to have a seam ripper, scissors, marking tools nearby when sewing, so I didn’t have to search for them. I’d just keep them on the table top but it looked messy. These divided trays – which I think are designed to be dresser drawer dividers – make it easy to store needles, scissors, and marking tools so they’re close at hand.

tool boxes behind sewing machine

The last thing I did to improve my space was this.. and not everyone is going to want to do this to their tables! I wanted a quick way to measure off fabric or trims, so I marked the 1 yard mark and 1 metre mark on the edge of my sewing table from the left corner. When I can’t remember how much fabric I bought, I can quickly measure it off against the table edge to determine how many yards or metres I have.

mark yards and metres on table edge

I use this all the time! Now that I think of it, a half-yard and half-metre mark would be useful, too. This wouldn’t go over well if I tried to do it on my home dining table, but it’s helpful to me in my office and sewing space.

So there you go! That’s my sewing space as it looks right now. For me, flexibility is key, as I need to be able to do a variety of tasks in a small space. I’m always thinking of ways to make it more comfortable, efficient and organized in here!

Want to see more Studio Spotlights? Check out the series here!

studio spotlight prizes

There’s even a prize giveaway. To enter, write a blog post about your sewing space, or if you don’t have a blog, a Flickr pic or a pic from their Threadbias account of your sewing space will do. Link up at Jennifer’s blog Ellison Lane or Heather’s blog The Sewing Loft between August 17-23. There will be 4 winners chosen randomly. Check out the post here for more details!

Thanks, Jennifer and Heather for asking me to participate!

48 Responses to My Sewing Space, 2013 Edition

  1. Heather August 14, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    I love how all of your patterns are neatly stored and displayed! Are those plant holders from Ikea? I have a few in the house and have been thinking of hanging them. Thanks so much for sharing your space with us today!

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Yes, they are from Ikea! I bought them on a whim as I’m not super into decorating but liked the lace-like edges. They are quite pretty and as a bonus, the plants never die! :) Thanks for inviting me to be part of your series!

  2. Tammy August 14, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Loooooovvvveee the plants and tidy little patterns! Inspiring indeed.

  3. Martina August 14, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    I love seeing where other people create – I’d love to set up a home office/workspace as I’m currently using the very small kitchen table to sew at. I love the thread rack so colourful and pretty.

  4. Deborah August 14, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    Ikea has a set of legs that raise and lower–they’re little trestle legs with pegs to adjust the height. I have one that I use as a cutting table, at the highest setting, but when I want to use the same table to sit down or serve meals or have the kids color, I can lower the pegs to make it useful in that way. Might work for your new cutting table! I was forced to trim a couple inches off my cutting mat to get them to fit without hanging off the ends, but other than that, I have been really pleased.

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      Oh nice! I like that, thanks for the link! I agree, it’s nice to have the option of a sitting height and a standing height table especially when you have the same table serving different purposes. Thank you!

    • Jenny August 14, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      That’s the same one I want to buy for my sewing space. Can’t wait!

  5. Michele N August 14, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    I am so loving all the sewing places and wish I had a room, but alas, that will not happen for at least 4 more years. I do have a small walk in closet for craft storage but it’s not very usable right now-needs organized badly! I create either on my coffee table or kitchen table. One little hint on the marking/measuring I’ve seen is to attach a cloth measuring tape to that front lip of your table. I recently bought a crafting table that folds up and rolls out of the way, I think I’m going to attach a tape measure to it.

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      That’s an even better idea, attaching a measuring tape. I use the top of my sewing machine to quickly measure 1-4″ and the table to measure out yards, but an entire tape measure is even better.

      • aem2 August 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

        You can also get adhesive measuring tape that will stick right to the table.

  6. Erin August 14, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Well, this is kind of eerie… I use the exact same lamp, ikea table and thread holder in my sewing room! I think we might even have the same iron too. Rowenta? I only have one table, so I put my cutting mat and sewing machine on the long side and my serger on the short end. If I have a lot of cutting to do, or large pieces, I just move the machines underneath. I’m in the market for a new cutting mat, though, and dream of one that spreads across the whole table. What brand is yours? Since my cutting mat never moves, I mainly use that to measure, but I like the idea of the tape a lot.

  7. Stacy G August 14, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Love your space and love that it is small. Regarding your aching back from that table: I had that same issue. I bought bed risers and put them under the table legs when I am cutting for any length of time. The table is very stable and I didn’t need to get a new table. Works really well.

    • Leigh August 14, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      Yes!!! Bed risers work great, and you can get 4″, 5″, and 6″ risers. I think I even saw 7″ ones at Bed Bath & Beyond. The risers stack for storage. They’re like sawed off cones (or pyramids), with a dent in the top so that the bed legs sit securely.

      An alternative is to get PVC pipe from the hardware store – enough to slide each table leg into it like a sleeve so that the length of the PVC is the length that you want the legs to be.

      Either way, you still have a table that can be folded up and put away.

      • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:21 am #

        Thanks for the ideas! Bed risers – it’s nice to know the proper names of things like that so it’s easy to look up. Thank you!

      • PepperReed August 15, 2013 at 3:04 am #

        These work really well! I’m tall and put a folding table on (maybe 6″) risers to be my cutting space. Works beautifully and just the right height so i can cut or craft without a sore back. Next to add would be a chair with adjustable height so I can sit there as well. Inexpensive and works great!

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks Stacy! It’s funny how sewing can be hard on our bodies eh? You would think it’s a slow and relaxing hobby, or I do anyways until I wonder why I’m sore the next day.

    • Elle C August 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      Bed risers are the best! I have them too.

  8. Szarka August 14, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    My husband, who is 6′-2″, uses standard exterior folding tables when he does BBQ competitions. They’re great for outdoor sitting, but like your table, cause backaches when what’s really wanted is a counter-height for standing work. So he cut short lengths of PVC pipe that slip over the feet of the table, kind of like platform shoes in tubular form. The table sits on these, and the pipe ends stand on end.

    I had not thought of using this setup for sewing! We’re going to need another set (table + PVC pipe feet).

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Oh yes, nice that he’s already got it figured out so it will be easy to duplicate in your sewing room. BBQ competitions, that sounds fun! Do you get to taste-test his practice meals? :)

  9. Jennifer @ Ellison Lane August 14, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Thanks so much for being part of our studio tour Tasia! I love how efficient your space is and the marks on your table are so smart! Thanks for sharing your workspace with us. :)

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      No problem, thanks for asking me to participate! It’s fun to check out other people’s sewing spaces

  10. Hillie August 14, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    You can buy bed risers to put under your folding table

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks for the link! I like this description: “Raise your storage options to new heights”

  11. Eda Albert August 14, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    I have a great study all to myself, housing books no-one reads and the children’s old school memories, but having seen your sewing space, I am inspired to change it into a sewing room!!….Love the spool arrangement for cottons etc Brilliant!!! hmmm…. now to convince my husband, that shouldn’t be too hard! :}

    • Tasia August 14, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      Maybe it could be both – book room and sewing room! Seems like a good combination to me.

  12. Katherine August 14, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Bright, happy and well organized studio, Tasia! A pretty place to be creative. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  13. Kay August 14, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Lovely studio, Tasia!! another vote for the bed risers for current folding table and also the height adjustable IKEA table legs if you are looking to upgrade.

  14. Colleen August 14, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I have been looking for those plant holders! I have a waste basket like them and if you could be in love with a wastebasket — I am! Please please please tell!!!!!

  15. Vicky August 14, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    I looooove seeing small sewing spaces, I work with the smallest space humanly possible and as pretty as all of the large sewing rooms are, it just makes me really jealous :(
    I’ll echo the bed risers, and now’s probably the best time to get them since they tend to go on sale for college students that need them for a dorm. If you didn’t have a carpeted floor, I’d also suggest getting non-skid shelf liner to put underneath them so your table doesn’t try to slide away when you work on it.
    Have you considered ruler tape in front of your machine? I saw that you already thought of a measuring tape, but you can usually find sticky tape printed like a ruler that’s used for the same application. Plus, some kinds are easy to remove (think masking tape) if you change your mind later on.

  16. MarrieB August 14, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    I love your one yard mark on the table, so clever! I’m going to add this to my table tonight.

  17. nothy August 14, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Yopur sewing room is small but it’s very efficient and that is all that matters. I think you should look into ways to raise the height on your cutting table rather than buying something else. I love looking at all the improvised furniture at…one person made a cutting table from several of those cheap end tables they sell for $20 and the storage they get with them are impressive….

  18. nothy August 14, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Your sewing room is small but it’s very efficient and that is all that matters. I think you should look into ways to raise the height on your cutting table rather than buying something else. I love looking at all the improvised furniture at…one person made a cutting table from several of those cheap end tables they sell for $20 and the storage they get with them are impressive….

  19. Pat August 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Hi Tasia,

    I put the lifts that you add to the bottom of your bed to lift my sewing table higher (they look like black cones). This enables me to cut for longer periods without back ache.

  20. Carol Y August 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    You definitely need a higher cutting table! The most comfortable height for me is slightly lower than my arm when it’s bent at the elbow, which is pretty high, but it’s worth it to save your back.

  21. thecuriouskiwi August 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    I bought a $2 tape measure (150cm long) and double sided taped it to the edge of my cutting table, it’s so useful! I think I’ll get another for the opposite side but stick that one down with the inches side up since I seem to use both when sewing ;) Also a higher cutting table is great, much better for your posture, makes you stretch and move about, and it’s also good (if you have the room) to be able to walk around at least 2 sides of it, I love mine.

  22. Josefina August 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I enjoyed the tour of your space. It is indeed flexible. I love having one chair for 2 tasks. I also really like how neat your patterns are. Mine are in an accordion folder – I have to dig around before getting what I need. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Sewemsy August 15, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    I really love your sewing space, especially the thread organiser and the yard and metre marks (quite handy!) I have a room to myself in our house which is my piano, study and sewing room, but the fabric has taken over!

  24. Alyce {Blossom Heart Quilts} August 15, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Oh BRILLIANT idea marking the yards and metres on the table!!

  25. ZoSews August 15, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Thanks for sharing! Those table marks are GOLD!! Want now.

  26. Deb August 15, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    If I can see the base of your cutting table, it looks like its one piece of curved steel in a big U-shape, so the bed-raisers won’t work with that. But!!! Get 1 piece of wood for each leg – are there 3? Cut each to the correct length of the bar (the bit on the floor). Use a router to cut a channel across the middle of each piece of wood so the leg fits snuggly into it. Then get a door stopper and screw it into the other side of the wood near the ends. Then you could use the bed raisers under each door stopper. Only going to cost you 6 door stoppers and 3 peices of timber. And the bed raisers of course. Still much cheaper than buying a whole new table, and it still all folds up if you need it to.

    My other favourite tip is to get a lazy susan – you know the thing in the middle of dinner tables in chinese restaurants (in Australia anyway) – cut out a circle the same size from an old cutting mat and glue it to the lazy susan. This forms a mini cutting turntable that you can use with your smallest rotary cutter or scissors so when cutting tiny pieces, you can turn the cutting surface, rather than walking around the table to get to the other side, or turning the material and risking movement of the fabric. Practice first before you cut – you ARE working on a moveable surface.

  27. Lynn Mally August 15, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    Tasia, you can use bed risers (plastic things that you put under the table legs) to raise the table into a cutting table. That’s what I do with my dining room table. It is easy to remove them when you want to make the table its regular height.

  28. Patti August 15, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    You should make a cover for your serger. The light is not good for the plastic and might discolor it over time and make it brittle.

    It amazes all you manage to achieve in your space! Sew, design and run your business! Awesome!

  29. Anne August 15, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    It’s been so fun to see where other people work. Your patterns look so great all lined up on the shelves. It must be inspiring to see them each day.

  30. Sue August 16, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    I enjoyed the tour of your working space; so tidy and well organised! I was looking to see where you stored your stash? I also wondered if you or other sewers keep a ‘bit box’? I am a bit of a hoarder and keep all the offcuts from my sewing projects just in case I can make anything with them in future! It does take up space though!

  31. Megan January 20, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    I wish I had my own office! Or a room just for sewing. I have a desk at the end of my living room, but with a toddler I have to pack things away quite carefully at the end of naptime. I am getting a thread rack though-it will be lovely to have thread organized and not in a jumble. Amazon promises I’ll have it by Wednesday, and I can’t wait!


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