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Sewing Room Hit By Tornado!

August 25, 2010

HELP! How could this have happened?

I desperately need to re-decorate and re-organize my sewing room…

I’m looking to you, blog-land readers, to give me some tips and ideas. Do you have a beautiful workspace that you have created? I’d love to hear about it! Pictures too! I’m thinking of doing an entire article on it in an upcoming issue of Quilter’s Connection Magazine, and would love your input.

Post your comments and ideas here, and send photos of your great workspace to

Happy Quilting! ~ Heather

20 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2010 5:25 pm

    I think I have a great workspace but mine looks worse than yours … mine was hit by tornado, hurricane and California earthquake.

    I’m also looking for ideas on how to store the ‘stuff’ that I collect for embellishments and creating mixed media for wall hangings and fabric postcards. I have a very large work room but no closet space to pack stuff and close the door to keep it all from tumbling out.

    It would be wonderful to see more photos. I don’t want to share my messy studio, it is darn embarrassing, but at least my floor is not covered with stuff, just bins of fabric under my 4ft x 8ft sewing table.

    warm quilt hugs, sue in CA

  2. August 25, 2010 5:28 pm

    What a great before picture! Your room already has so many things going for it (first of all, it’s a sewing room, which is a huge step above my little sewing corner in our bedroom!), natural light right by your table, a nice table with two machines, a design wall, ironing area, and those nifty hooks for your rulers.

    To me, it looks like fabric storage is your big issue. I’ve seen so many gorgeous sewing rooms on various blogs. If you just search “sewing rooms” on flickr, you can see entire groups full of hundreds of photos of sewing room organization!

    Can’t wait to see the after picture!

    • Heather permalink*
      August 26, 2010 6:04 am

      Great tip Holly – I’ll be sure to check out Flickr for ideas! Thanks, H

  3. August 25, 2010 5:57 pm

    I can’t send a picture, Heather, as it appears that same tornado hit both the east coast and west coast simultaneously. I wonder what sort of weather anomaly causes such havoc in sewing rooms?! 🙂

    • Michelle Moase permalink
      August 25, 2010 10:04 pm

      I have the same problem in PEI! Especially when a project is in the works…nothing ever gets put back where it belongs and I swear that gremlins stir everything up when I’m not looking. Storage containers are great, but I like to see what I have. Currently everything is stored on shelves in a closet. I’m hoping to re-do the whole area.( I sew in the hallway of our basement. How’s that for sad?? Someday I’ll have my dream room!

      • Heather permalink*
        August 26, 2010 6:07 am

        Oh, MIchelle – it’s especially messy when I have more than one project on the go at once! I’m thinking I need to do something in the closet in the room. I’m sending good wishes that you get your ‘ultimate’ sewing room someday!

    • Heather permalink*
      August 26, 2010 6:05 am

      Hah-hah Karen! Not often we experience the same weather patterns on different sides of the country!

  4. August 25, 2010 11:49 pm

    Uggh! That is NOTHING!!! You should see my space when I get creative!
    Hugs, Laurraine

    • Heather permalink*
      August 26, 2010 6:08 am

      Oh, please, Krista’s right! Even when you’re in the middle of one of your creative bents, your workspace is wonderful!

  5. August 26, 2010 12:47 am

    well, Laurraine’s new space is pretty darned inspiring (and I’m not buying her comment, above!). Alicia just posted a full photo spread of her new studio on Posy Gets Cosy which is utterly amazing and almost entirely from IKEA. Good luck! That was a pretty small tornado compared to my room….

  6. August 26, 2010 2:00 am

    Hey, what are you doing in my sewing room!!! When I’m creating I tend to make a bit of a mess…what’s all the excitement about!! sheesh :o)
    Take care…and don’t worry about it…!

    • Heather permalink*
      August 26, 2010 6:08 am

      That’s funny Paulette! I think all quilters are alike, really 🙂

  7. August 26, 2010 3:02 am

    Hi Heather!
    I’m not sending pictures either, but I have a few suggestions, this is what I have:
    1. large, deep shelves, 3 sets, side by side, my fabric is sorted by colour and/or grouping, ie: batiks, I have some thimble berries, some projects, either planned or in the works
    the biggest at the bottom with either kits, fat quarters or quilt tops, all in different side clear plastic containers. I find containers bigger than shoe box size are good for colour groupings.
    Also, some seasonal wall hangings are in plastic containers too.
    Then I have some dressers from when my sons were younger, these have wool pieces and patterns, applique notions, all by threads in different plastic containers. Of course I have an “anything” drawer where uncatorgorized stuff goes!
    Finally, I inherited a long ladies dresser. My husb built blocks to lift it from below, I have some larger plastic containers for backings, battings, etc in those.
    In the drawers I have rulers, projects in process, notions I frequently used.
    Then, hubby got left over counter top from the building store, but this on top of the dresser, and my cutting board is on top, at above waist height, and then I don’t have to bend over to cut fabric. I have a small basket that sits on top for my rotary cutters and smaller rulers I use frequently.
    Unfortunately, I have a couple of rubber maid containers with fabric to donate, have to get to that, those are in the middle of the floor, sort of.
    Finally, in the closet, hubby made me shelves from floor to ceiling, my books and favorite collections ! of magazines are there. Books catagorized, hopefully easy for me to find, ie: favorite designers, paperpiecing, applique, etc.
    Yard sale finds of same sized dressers, shelves are handy, easy and inexpensive, unless you want something like from Ikea, all works well together, then it is a matter of designing the space ahead of time, then ordering units to do what you would like. Remember, cases at least 16 inches deep, leaves space for books, containers, etc
    I used to have 3 units from a hardward store, 16″ deep, with doors. containers fit in great, could close the doors and hide everything! Books, magazines sat on top.
    You could also ask the advice of kitchen cabinet sales person at your favorite building centre for suggestions, they are trained to plan work areas, storage spaces, etc.
    Hope this helps, good luck! Leslie.

    • Heather permalink*
      August 26, 2010 6:10 am

      Wow! Great ideas Leslie! Thanks so much for sharing – I bet we’ll all take away some ideas for our workspaces!

  8. August 26, 2010 3:45 pm

    I am the type of quilter that lets everything drop while I’m working on a project. By the time I finish what I’m working absolutely everything that I have touched is sitting somewhere it doesn’t belong! I have the room (25′ x 15′), cabinets and shelving to store everything but often they are empty. I’m like that with everything that I do, I focus so much on what I’m doing I figure I’ll just clean it up when I’m done LOL. I quilt professionally so I must keep it tidy for customers but when I have a quilt on the frame it looks like a bomb went off. As soon as the quilt comes off I put everything away, clean my machines, dust, vacuum and wash the floor. Takes a couple of hours but I find I am much more creative and relaxed when I have a clean studio to start with. Now all I have to do is train myself to keep it tidy while I’m working!

  9. August 31, 2010 10:47 pm

    I’ve got lots on my blog about my space. One thing I notice with quilters is the teen little space to sew in on the sewing table. How do you sew a quilt in a corner? I have my sewing machine at the right hand side of a big long desk, and then another long desk backing that. I have lots of space to spread out while sewing. That feels good.

    Another thing is view. I need to be facing a window.

    My sewing room has old wooden medicine cabinets and spice racks for my threads. I get a new one each summer at garage sales : )

    I have a bulletin board where I post projects. Then I can see what I have to do and remove them as they are completed. It’s a good way to prioritize when projects have deadlines.

    See my blog – for all my fibre art, I rearranged my supplies all by color in clear boxes instead of by product (buttons here, lace there, yarns here, metallic fibres there, etc.). Now it’s “blue box”, “green box”, “red box”. It’s excellent and so much more manageable.

    Perfect 2.5 inch strips get thrown into a bucket.
    Anything smaller gets thrown into another bucket.

    I have a microwave stand with a perfectly fit cutting mat on top. Underneath are quilts and blocks in process.

    I try to tidy between each project. It gets me excited to have a clean space to begin a new project. : )

    I found a quilt rack that looks like three upright wooden ladders hinged side by side (much like a screen panel wall). That’s where I hang freshly pressed strips, blocks, quilt tops, etc. That saves me a lot of mess and I don’t have to re-press. I think one could use a clothes dryer rack the same way.

    : )
    gotta go sew

  10. September 1, 2010 6:37 pm

    Hi Heather, I’m behind on your posts and I’m sad now 😦 your sewing room is cute and I LOVE how your set up in the corner. I need to do a fresh video and shots of my space it’s changing all of the time (there are new pics on my blog and in the upcoming newsletter)
    Must haves:
    – Ironing Station
    – small garbages all around for all of your small threads, fabric clippings etc
    – a good proper height cutting station and sewing table. It’s nice if you have an adjustable height desk that you sew on – better for the back and the arms 🙂
    – Like one of your other readers I store my threads in old Spice Cabinets also, I love the look of these and their little doors are so cute!! I need to get my hung (“ohh Hubby”) and I have the perfect spot
    – I also have a large screen TV beside where I sew so I can watch my fav shows or listen to music
    – Good lighting – a must!!

    That’s all I can think of for now, but I’m going to try to get you some photos shortly 🙂

  11. Lucy permalink
    September 3, 2010 5:49 pm

    I recently moved to a much smaller home and my sewing space is 1/4 of the previous room. So I am in desperate need of assistance in organizing this limited space. The thought of an upcoming article on this exact topic is perfect timing. I love your sewing space. Especially how you have your rulers organized; what a clever idea. Looks like they are hanging by hooks. The table is also interesting – is the height adjustable? It looks to me like you have lots of fun in your sewing “space”. I don’t think it is disorganized at all. Lucy

  12. September 10, 2010 3:56 pm

    I am really spoiled with my sewing space which is 14×16 with a walk in closet and it still gets messy!! Two ideas I have used lately :
    1. I refold my fat quarters into CD sizes and store them in attractive CD stands that I buy at the thrift store or garage sales. I organize them in color progressions and then I can see at a glance what I have. They are attractive enough for display but practical as well.

    2. my hubby made me 12x 14 pieces out of corrugated plastic from the hardware store. I fold my 45 inch fabric twice giving me an 11 inch long piece of fabric. I “roll” my fabric on to the plastic piece and then store them vertically. They look like fabric “books” and I can see at a glance what it in my stash and can easily remove it without disturbing the whole pile. For smaller yardage, they are 8×14. I store them in a cubby right above my sewing desk which also pulls out with a foldup table behind for larger project management.

    I was given a U shaped office desk when the company across the road was replacing their furniture and it works perfect for sewing, craft projects and storage. The 3 drawer plastic bins fit underneath and because they are on rollers, can be relocated if you are wanting to sit in that particular area. I also put my patterns into file folders with the name visible so that I can locate them easily (another advantage of using an office setup)

    I recently spitpolished my studio and reorganized everything logically. To be honest, I can no longer find anything!!!!!! I think I create best in the midst of mess 🙂

  13. Rhoda Moore permalink
    October 2, 2010 5:40 pm

    Heather: I tend to agree with Karen Neary…..the same storm hit Nova Scotia when it pounced on BC. In our case it was likely one of those huricanes that love to come our way from the tropics.

    My husband gave me a banner to hang up. It says ” It’s My Mess and I love It”

    My sewing room resembles yours………..just a bit bigger and the turmoil…….er…..sewing projects……. cover just a bit more space. I now tell my sewing friends when they visit that my sewing studio is always in a state of flux because I have so many projects on the go all the time. I leave it alone until I can’t find any more space on my table to cut anything. Then I am moved to put some stuff away until I can see my cutting board. This is how I find things I lost in the wind during the last storm.

    As for pictures……….they would have to be of the mess………I can’t remember what it looks like all cleaned up!

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