Rainshore: Planning the sewing room

The room that will become my sewing room now exists. The most important thing about the room is that it has been designed with the maximum amount of light. For years I have been enamoured by these lovely homes along the Talgarth Road in Hammersmith. Look at how wonderful it is to have lots of light inside your creative area – in this case a double height room.

The plan for Rainshore shows the sliding doors and regular door to the room, allowing it to be opened up completely in the event of really warm weather. But, assuming the weather is it’s normal cold/chilly/dull then the windows allow the maximum amount of light into the room. Although this is my workroom you will see on the plans that it is referred to as “Hobby/Bedroom”. So you will see on the plan that there is a pull down bed on the wall opposite the windows. And there will be a decent view eventually when all the building work opposite is complete (another lake as well as our new neighbours). And a small but convenient bathroom right next door. The Italian pull down bed is a table when it is folded away.

The next step was to create a plan of how the room will be arranged now that we know how it will look, where the plug sockets, doors, windows are etc. Some people maybe able to create a sewing room in their head but my method was to list my tasks and supplies and then to think about how to accommodate them. The colour code matches the plan below.

Here are the tasks (can you think of any others?)

  • Machine sewing (emerald green)
  • Overlocking (emerald green)
  • Hand Sewing (red and light green)
  • Knitting (navy)
  • Embroidery (navy)
  • Reading (navy)
  • Blogging and looking at the internet (turquoise)
  • Making hats (red and light green))
  • Pressing (purple)
  • painting and printing on fabric (red)
  • cutting out (red, or if very large, I will use the kitchen worktop)
  • modelling on the stand (orange)
  • reading (navy)
  • disposal/recycling
  • checking fit etc in the mirror

And the supplies?

  • Fabric (white)
  • threads (emerald green)
  • small tools (emerald green)
  • larger pattern cutting tools, and scissors (on the wall above emerald)
  • inspiration notice board (on the wall, above emerald)
  • interfacing (white)
  • tailoring supplies (white)
  • thread (emerald green)
  • toile fabrics (white)
  • left over fabric (white)
  • pattern collection (white)
  • wax pot (above turquoise)
  • silk painting frame (no idea)
  • paper and card rolls for pattern cutting (to be decided)
  • books (above turquoise)
  • waste materials (later)
  • mirror (later)
  • I have been thinking about a ballet barre – for exercise when I don’t have classes to go to

You may remember we have specified pull down wall beds in our hobby rooms. The one I chose for my room has a collapsable table associated with it. When the bed is stored a useful table appears, big enough to take four chairs around it. How clever is that? OK my room won’t look like these Italian styled sleeping/dining areas, but you get the idea from these pictures. My table is white and the bed and wall surfaces are a neutral off white. And our overhead light sources are embedded in the ceiling – and I will  need a few table or floor lights for night time sewing escapades.

  • Here is my plan.
  • Some of the elements will be built in by Nick, and others are obviously movable.
  • The dark blue is a small sofa and chair from Esme’s flat that she is chucking out.  The red is the fixed table and the green squares are chairs. The purple is my ironing board and the little orange square is my mannequin. The turquoise is my computer table and the long green table will house my sewing machines. It also has small drawers under it to hold small tools, threads, pins and items used for machine sewing. The notice board will be above it, as will my tool-hanging area with scissors, pattern cutting equipment etc. The storage areas, in white on the original plan, are built-in cupboards and drawers.
    Rainshore sewing room plan
    Scale drawing of my sewing room

    There are some smaller items to accommodate – table or floor lights, pattern cutting paper roll, and a waste bin. From your own sewing experience have I forgotten anything? Do you think this will work?

22 Responses

  1. gill

    Wow, it all sounds fabulous and I think you’ve got everything covered – except for music. I’d definitely have to include a radio for music and Radio 4, and possibly a CD player – but I maybe you are all wi-fi’d up with your sound system?
    Can’t wait to see it finished – please will you post pictures when all your stuff is moved in – I’m always interested in storage solutions in studios. And at the risk of being twee – I think you need a sign on the door saying “Atelier de Kate” x

  2. Marianne

    That’ll be lovely, Kate! The only thing that looks a bit lost to me is the blue chair that comes with the sofa. Are you really going to use it? If not, that little wall could be the right spot for a full height mirror and a mini ballet barre!

  3. eimear

    the light looks amazing…… my room is much smaller and gets good direct daylight till about 2 or 3 (its east facing) but the window is large so its generally bright. I have my machine and sewing table there and will hand sew there too. everything else has moved about. I have some stave mirrors from Ikea and I have them leaning against the wall so I can move them easily (I have a small room), but if you were to have a dedicated space, the idea mirrors come with door hinges so could be useful to be wall mounted and then you can angle them. One Ikea product I want to get more of are a hanging hook with clip, they are brilliant for holding hard-card blocks. The best of luck -it looks amazing!

  4. Sam

    Oh, how exciting! I can’t be of any help I’m afraid, my “sewing room” is the corner of our spare bedroom and doesn’t actually have very good natural light at all. I know I’m lucky to have somewhere I can permanently leave my machines set up though, so I can’t complain!

  5. Joyce Latham

    Wow. It looks fantastic! I can’t seem to think of any improvement. You are so lucky. I love the view too.
    Is the cutting table high enough? I find the regular table we use to eat, as a cutting table is too low. I raise it by adding boxes on top ( approx. 8 inches high)with the folded cutting cardboard as a topper ( I buy this from local fabric store or from Amazon ). That equals 38 inches in total from the floor. This set up is convenient as it packs away easily when I’m done….but naturally I would prefer a permanent cutting table at this preferred height, but don’t have the space.
    Have you thought of a place to strip down…or if it is someone esle you are fitting and wants a little privacy, like one of those dividing fabric , three panels on hings, that close and open up when needed? Or a little pull privacy curtain?
    Anyhow….it looks lovely and functional as is.
    Fun fun fun !

  6. Jennifer Miller

    Oh Kate, this is a tremendous plan! I expect you’ll do a little rearranging during/after, but there doesn’t appear to anything left off. It will be a very inspiring and production space.

  7. Stephanie

    This looks beautiful. I am a little bit odd so I like floor space so I can lay things out. I think you are used to working with a table though. The mirror suggestions seem helpful.

  8. Carolyn

    Your space is amazing and the only thing I noticed is that your sewing machines face a wall. Maybe I’m just sensitive to this since I’ve sewn in front of a wall for the last four years, but I miss the natural light. Otherwise this is going to be amazing especially since you added a lot of storage!

  9. Annieloveslinen

    Wonderful Kate, it’s all coming together nicely and your room looks fab. I have some thoughts:

    I like the idea of comfy chair/s as they will add to the room when it’s turned into a bedroom and if you add task lighting there and a side table it could be your close work area.

    if the fold out table comes with chairs I would store those and just have one rolling chair for all areas then you could dispense with three green chairs on your plan and gain floor and visual space. Is the wall near the blue chair wide enough for a barre?

    Putting my risk assessment hat on, I’d move the ironing board away from its present place and put it right angle to the table, it would block access to a storage area but it’s less likely to get knocked into there.

    Great post.

  10. Anne

    How exciting! Have you included a full length mirror? I agree with the suggestion of a photography area. I find I now often need a magnifying light. I have a floor standing one (can be adjusted to sit over desk etc) with daylight option and a simpler but no less useful table top one. I see you have plenty of storage.

  11. Elle

    I think this sort of planning is great fun. And you have such a large bright space to work in! I imagine much of this will be trial and error as you actually use the space, so I’ll just share a few things that I’ve found useful. The height of the cutting table seems critical to me. There is some info on line about the ergonomics of various sewing tasks that might be helpful. My table is at waist height and is on lockable wheels which has been great for me. I like everything to be within reach: cutting tools near the cutting table, pressing tools near the ironing board, sewing tools near the machine. (The chairs around your cutting table are a bit of a puzzle for me. Seems like a lot of chairs in one room.) Some people like the ironing board at a right angle to the sewing machine and at the same level so that a person can just swivel the chair, press, and keep sewing. I like mine close by at a right angle but at standing height so that I have an excuse to stand up and stretch. Is using the computer a separate activity or something you use for reference while sewing? I like my laptop to be visible from my sewing machine. How about a mirror–three-way if possible? What a pleasure for you to have such a beautiful space to play with–and in!

  12. Ruth

    You are one lucky sewer to have a room like this – you won’t be back in London ever!
    Think about having your machines facing the window and beside each other on one table so that you can roll on your wheeled chair between the two.
    Is a fixed wall mirror possible that would reflect more light into the room?

  13. Kim Hood

    This all looks well planned – however I would suggest checking that you will have what appears to be a ridiculous amount of plug sockets. It’s really frustrating to have to find gang sockets if you are short.

  14. Jenny

    How wonderful to plan out the space from the ground up so to speak. I think clever planning now will really pay off. Your initial thoughts are great but I agree with the comments above. Why so many chairs? Who is going to sit in there on a regular basis to justify them. And wouldn’t they chose the sofa? I’d definitely go for a high or at least adjustable table – I don’t have room in my sewing room so I use the island unit in the kitchen. And some sort of privacy as it is a ground floor room. I used to spend most of my time semi clad when I was dressmaking!!

    The one thing new I’d add is cable management. It is the bain on my life in my sewing room and certainly looks ugly with trailing wires. There are so many things you need to plug in and then of course sewing machines have at least 2 wires one to the socket, the other to the foot pedal. Those recessed holes at the back of desks are a God send but even then I’d research how you can channel wires down so it doesn’t look like knitting at the back!! I know office furniture/planning have some clever ideas in this area.

  15. Kerry

    A few quick thoughts. Love the space, so exciting! Also consider storage requirements (I’m sure you have) for the little things, cotton reels, buttons, stuff. How will you quickly tidy the room – this depends on whether there will be carpet or floorboards. I like having a ‘home’ for my bin when not in use. Consider your current habits and what REALLY works for you now (even if it doesn’t feel ideal) there will be some habits that really stick. For example I had an amazing upstairs sewing/craft/reading room with great natural light and views. Never used it. I found I liked to be NEAR the centre of the house/family/noise (such a glutton for punishment). I now work out of a tiny allotment in my (largish) laundry and I’m much happier and have used the space more. Even my teenage son uses it. However I do have a constant battle putting projects away as mess drives me mad. I have teenagers. My house is always messy. Hate it. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the final layout!

  16. TRE

    Hello, I think your sewing room looks very practical. Would you please let me know the manufacturer of the fold-down bed? Thank you!

  17. ellen

    Looks great! The only thing I’d consider is making the work table moveable. I have 2 IKEA kitchen islands back to back in my workspace. (Inexpensive, have storage under them, love the solution!) Most of the time they are facing each other (so work surface is about 5 x 6 feet), but I can rearrange end to end or in an L config or move to the wall if that’s what a project requires. Also, maybe this is just me, I can’t think of the last time I sat in my work space. If I have hand sewing to do, I take it outside or to go hang out with the kids in the sitting room.

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