Build a Sewing Room

I was at the dentist the other day, and the hygienist was talking to me about how she sewed her own scrubs, tried making a dress in college, and wanted to make curtains for her new house. She was great. The cleaning was surprisingly great.

Suddenly, she said something that killed me. 

“I just don’t have a good place for all my sewing stuff, you know? I hate to pull it all out and then have to put it all away again every single time.” 

I REALLY wanted to respond to her. But what can ya do with dental cleaning tools shoved in your mouth? I managed to scrunch my eyebrows and make a {hopefully} pitiful expression. 

P.S. I recently found that the main reason I don’t like going to the dentist is because I am forced to *not* respond verbally. It is a struggle for me to not talk. Admitting this is embarrassing… But it is the first step towards recovery. Here’s to hoping!

Folks, I cannot stress this enough: 

Have a special place that is just for sewing. A sewing room.

Nothing is worse than trying to sew with friends and family and the cat and “I don’t have any clean socks!” interrupting you. 

Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a project, and not being able to locate the seam ripper. 

Nothing is worse than having to pull out the iron, pins, machine, fabric, lace, lining and thread, only to pack it all back up in less than an hour because “dinner needs to be on the table in less than 10 minutes!” 

I can give you more tragic examples, but instead I am going to give you solutions! (I feel like a motivational speaker right now. Look out, Joel Osteen.) 

Whether you have a closet, just a table, a whole room, a small nook, even just your bedroom! There is the possibility to make yourself a sewing room in less than half an hour.

First, let’s take a look at my sewing studio now:20150714_131036    My dad wanted to have a jack and jill bedroom down in our basement “for the grandkids when they come”.

I appreciate planner type personalities. I am one of those individuals who doesn’t think to buy the wrapping paper on sale after Christmas and save it for next year. However, not a soul in our family is even engaged yet! 

So, until the wonderful time the grandbabies come, the rooms were transformed into sewing/craft studios.

I made the first room (I call her “Jill”, above) for basic sewing, and the second room (“Jack”, below) for fashion design.20150714_130413    These rooms have been a TOTAL blessing for me. They are private, organized, clean, and perfect! If I had it my way, I would be in these rooms all day (and all night) long. It’s taken a lot of trial and error, hard work, sweat and tears (not really… I’m dramatic!) to make the rooms work the way they do and to the best of their ability. 

Trust me, it wasn’t always like this. I have had rooms where my stuff was everywhere, or shared spaces with living rooms and dining rooms and kid’s play areas. Still, I made sure to have my essential sewing gear OUT and ready to work on a project. It’s the only way to become a great sewer. Enough of my jabbering; let’s get started:

Build a Sewing Studio: using the stuff you probably already have!

1. Collect all the items you need for sewing a basic project.

I am listing the BARE minimals below. You may recognize this list from my Tools page that I link to frequently on my posts! These are the necessities that most budding seamstresses should already own (if not, it’s time to borrow from Grandma!): 

  1. Your sewing machine
  2. Fabric scissors and paper scissors
  3. Thread (all purpose/heavy duty never fails) with lots of empty bobbins (the type that work for your machine)
  4. Pins and a cute pin cushion or magnet
  5. Iron and Ironing board 

And the next 5 are optional, but highly encouraged:

  1. Seam ripper and soft ruler
  2. Hand sewing needles
  3. Buttons
  4. Light/medium/thick fusible webbing (Pellon’s brand is my favorite)
  5. Fabric

2. Find a Table

This truly is necessary for machine sewing. Please don’t use the dining room table! Find a table that no one will miss, and that you won’t ever have to take your machine off of. Everyone has those random office folding tables somewhere around the house, but if not, I have spied great tables for cheap at target. 

 (Which reminded me of this perfect Ryan Gosling quote):


Your table doesn’t have to be this big!


3. Find 1 large mason jar.

These should be abundant in all American households, with the recent obsession inspired by Pinterest. Tie a strip of fabric around it’s opening, and it’s the cutest spot for your scissors. (As you can see below, I love jars. I keep little embellishments in my collection of them, though.)

I love jars.


4. Get one of those three drawer plastic office containers, a pennand some office labels. They’re all over Walmart if you don’t already have these!

Put all of your thread and bobbins inside the top drawer. Label this drawer, in your best handwriting, “Thread”. 

Place your seam ripper, soft ruler and sewing machine tools (those ones that came with your machine and are probably sitting inside the white plastic thing, getting in the way of bobbin threading and being obnoxious. Make life easier on yourself!). Label this drawer, “Tools”.

Dump the buttons, hand sewing needles and any little extra notions in the last drawer. Label this drawer, “Notions”.


Place drawer on the table, near the sewing machine, but not too close. You need space for sewing!

So simple. The way life should always be.


5. Ironing boards and irons 

Honestly, I would invest in a good ironing board if I were you. I found the best one in Walmart. Yes, it was the most expensive option. But it pays back daily. Wiggly ironing boards that take muscle to fold up are, optimistically, headaches waiting to happen. 

Cheapest option: those mini ironing mats/boards that can sit on a table or even the floor. Better than nothing! 

No question about this one: Invest in an iron that your Grandma would be proud of. You’ll be thankful! The ones that turn off automatically are very obnoxious, so if you can find one that doesn’t– get it guuuurl! Some iron essentials: one with a steamer and different heat settings. You’ll need this for different fabric types! 

Find a spot for it as close to an outlet as possible. As fun as tripping over cords is, I’d rather spare your necks. 

6. Get 3 baskets. Ideally, 1 large and 2 medium. 

Neatly fold all of your fabric that is 1 yard or larger, and place in one basket vertically, with the folds facing up. This allows you to see the different fabric options you own really quickly. (it also just looks really good).


Dump all of your fabric scraps in one of the medium baskets. You could use a cute bucket or container of choice for this, obviously. (Warning: this scrap stash WILL grow). 


I am to the point where I am labeling my scraps… Safe to say that if I wasn’t sure before, I am now positive I’m obsessed with sewing.  

Place your fusible webbing/batting/stuffing inside the other basket. 

Slide all three baskets under the table. 

7. Find a chair

And start sewing. You now have the room for it!  

Thought I’d include a photo of my sewing studio AFTER  a project, too. It is much more accurate!   

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