Sewing Room Swoon

posted in: Inspiration, Organisation | 34

Lovely Amy from Almond Rocks contacted me to ask if I would like to send some photos of my sewing room for a regular feature in Love Sewing Magazine. For a moment I was confused. Was she talking of the one I am creating in our holiday home? If so it may take a few months to get it right – although I did start making myself a pair of trousers this weekend. But as anyone who has a second home will know – everything you need is at the other house.

One day my new sewing room will be perfect, like the pristine, zen like spaces many sewists show. With their Ikea units, pastel prints and vintage bits and bobs these spaces follow a fashionable trend. I tend to make do with old things I have had for ages, with a preference for sentimental attachments to rainbow thread features of buttons in sweetie jars, colour-coded.

But I soon realised she probably meant my sewing “area”, so I agreed, of course, at once. I love my sewing space and I am proud of it.

Sewing Room Swoon

Like many journalists in search of copy Amy wanted the photographs yesterday. Well, not exactly, but very soon. I asked Gus to take the pictures as his phone-camera is much better than mine – but neither of us were free until the weekend.

My sewing table, notice board, blocks, sewing machines and cupboard

As you might expect I had to find some time to tidy up my space. I scurried around on Thursday evening, stuffing the UFOs and other bits and pieces into my wardrobe. Then I thought it looked a bit plain so I pulled my Napoleon Six dress on Camilla (my K&L stand) but of course it was fairly fitted so I couldn’t do up the zip. Then I thought I would include one of my hats for a bit of colour. I don’t really sew with Carol wedged behind the overlocker. Amy’s caption made me laugh: “a decluttered space, for a decluttered mind”. Good job she hadn’t seen it before. Or into my mind, come to think of it. I am often in a muddle and forget crucial things all the time, such are the demands on my time.

Then Gus suggested a shot of “the cupboard”, aka “Mum’s cupboard”, aka my “stash”. And my notice board. Neither were tidy, but I let him take pictures anyway.  And one of me, grinning.  In my Lorelle jumper. I have to thank Amy for cropping the pictures considerately and for including some very sweet words about me.

My sewing space is small, busy and messier than the photographs show. What’s yours like?

34 Responses

  1. Karen Christensen

    I sew in my dining room. Where did you get that cupboard, I would love to have something like that to put along a wall. I know you are not in the US but would love any help you could give me.

    • fabrickated

      Hi Karen, we bought the pattern on the internet and had it made in Poland. The clock is an old one. I will send you more specific details if you have a carpenter who is willing to do it!

      • Karen Christensen

        Thanks for the offer but I’m afraid that isn’t in the budget. I’ll just have to admire yours. What a great idea.

  2. Demented Fairy

    I couldn’t possibly get mine as neat as that no matter how long I had to prepare! It’s functional, and improving as I now don’t have to keep packing it all away to use the dining room, but most of my long term fabric stash is still filling a wardrobe upstairs. Oh dear. Must stop buying!

  3. Gilly

    What a lovely, creative space. I am in awe of your skills, everything you make is amazing. I too have a tiny corner in which to sew. It is always a mess and I spend my time thinking if only I had one of those gorgeous dedicated rooms we see on line I could increase my productivity and vision. Maybe I need to have a jolly good tidy!! haha.

    I see you have a Juki F700. I wonder how you like it and if you have had any problems? I did a lot of research before I got mine last year, as I was drawn to all the features and reputation. Within a few weeks it went wrong. Mainly tension and the sensor buttonhole. It has been back to the supplier twice, and the sensor still doesn’t work for long. I am very disappointed.

    • fabrickated

      Ha ha. The only way a small space can be liveable is if you keep throwing out stuff you don’t want/need/love and keep it tidy. But it is a strain. I am hoping for an upgrade to a dedicated (but still shared with the spare bedroom) later this year, so will share when I get there.

      On the Juki – I too did lots of research and asked for advice from everyone I know, online mainly. It has worked well for me. I love the features. The buttonholer is great, although like many automatic ones I find the button holes just a little bit too long. My auto needle threader stopped working after a month or two, which is disappointing. Too small an issue to take it back, but annoying none the less. I find it pretty robust too. I accidentally left a pin on the underside and it caught in the feeddog, but thankfully all is well. I am sorry that you are having trouble. All I can suggest is taking it back again and saying that you are fed up with it. It must have a guarantee. Get them to service it properly.

  4. Marianne

    Isn’t it weird to see your own sewing space in Sewing room Swoon? Although I work in publishing myself, I was still surprised to see the result of my snapshots in print last year.
    Your area looks so cozy. I’m wondering how you will feel about your new space. Although it’s wonderful to have a dedicated sewing room, I must confess I miss sewing at the kitchen table and the constant buzz of family activities around me!

    • fabrickated

      Yes – it did look completely different – and I remember your slot which looked like a completely professional arrangement Marianne. I don’t know how it will be with a dedicated space. I tried it this weekend. I could see my husband working in his shed through the window, so it felt OK. When the family is there my room is just off the main room with two slide-away doors so I don’t think I will feel that cut off. We shall see!

  5. eimear

    That cupboard is brilliant. My current dilemma is how to store my vintage patterns (total first world problem I know). I am sure I will find a way – I am trying to avoid buying any plastic so will see if I can find a way to adapt an old bedside locker or something. I have a dedicated workroom these past few years (my poor print press is shoved in the corner, and I love the luxury of having the space while not having to worry about pins straying into dinners (happened in a flat share)………..

    • fabrickated

      The pins story is not a very nice one – I have managed to stand on them, and sit on them – but so far the children haven’t been punctured, but it could happen.

      In terms of storage, as you may be able to see, I have my vintage patterns in Ikea magazine boxes. None is double wrapped in plastic, but they aren’t protected from abrasion. I take the mag box out and gently pull out my patterns, but I guess I don’t really treat them with huge respect. I do cut them up to make them fit when I have too. Also I know I will never make most of them up so I have them more for interest and inspiration, or to give away to others who may want to make them.

  6. Tee

    My sewing room is 3/4 of my basement. Although I have tons of space, I have two tons of stuff now living in it. LOL I set up things in stations: cutting, sewing, pressing, and embroidery. I love my space and spend time their everyday!!!!

  7. Joyce Latham

    Congrats on the article Kate….it will surely increase your following! Fantastic!
    Your space looks great! I have my stations divided. Cutting table, I use the dining table with elevated top, ironing in my dressing room, and the small spare bedroom is where I store equipment and have my sewing machines stationed, plus material etc.
    See…your ready for that professional level camera…:- )) and you’ll have lots of fun with it at your country home. They have nice small ones now that aren’t to much if a bother to carry around.
    Have a great day….looking forward to your next post.

  8. Abbey

    I think you have quite a nice work area there! You use the square footage (pardon the USian term) that you have very well!

    My space takes up parts of 2 rooms, really: our dining room, where I work, and our guest bedroom, where I store fabric and supplies. I just reorganized my fabric stash, so it is much less cluttered in that guestroom now; it just isn’t especially photogenic, unlike your lovely “Mum’s cupboard” here! While we (IMO) live in quite a large house for only 2 people, it is an old home and storage can be a challenge; thank goodness for large Rubbermaid bins! And since we never eat in our dining room, I can leave my cutting mat and machine out all the time. Again, not very attractive, but functional! Thanks for sharing this glimpse into your well-lit and pretty space!

    • fabrickated

      Well as I have seen the inside of your bathroom (virtually!) I expect the whole of your house is rather stylish and welcoming. And it has sharks too. Storage is a problem created by too much stuff I think…(talking of myself here).

  9. Liz Cooney

    What a great write-up! And nice photos too!
    And timely for me…as I am just researching sewing machines. My Singer is about 40 years old! – Are you happy with your Juki? Juki is hard to locate where I live (but I am willing to drive a distance to find a great heavy duty machine)……but Bernina is available. Do you have Bernina available in England? Juki makes Bernina, I believe…so I am not sure of the differences…
    Any comments on machines would be helpful.
    I do not quilt, just sew clothing. I want a good solid machine that can sew through multiple layers. I also need good button holes.

    Thanks for your time,


    • fabrickated

      Hi Liz – I don’t know what to suggest. Lots of people seem to love Berninas – I learnt to sew on one as did many, many people – and they used to have the “Swiss” cachet. But I thought they were expensive for what they are. I had an Elna before and was happy with that. I understand all machines are now made in China, with the Juki (a Japanese company) made in Japan. Juki industrial machines are good value and well thought of. I really like mine – I chose it mainly because I wanted a machine that could cope reliably with heavy cloth and the lightest things. It has served me well. But the best advice I had was from Mrs Mole. She said go to the shop with lots of pieces of cloth and try them out. I did and this helped alot. I can’t put a link here but I did a blog post or two on my research (I think you can search for sewing machine), which may be helpful.

  10. Seamsoddlouise

    A great space, and a lesson to know that photographs can be a little misleading. My room can look immaculate in photos, but in reality there is normally little bits of fabric and thread everywhere!

  11. karen

    Kate, if you know where to find what you need, your sewing space is well organized. My problem is that I have too much fabric and don’t know what I have, so I get more. Your space looks good to me, except I would have a couple of working vintage machines in evidence, but that is my obsession, not yours. lol
    When you get the new houses’ sewing room done, you will have problems. You will require two of everything.
    I do like your space. Especially the “ideas” board on your qall.

  12. Stephanie

    Reflecting on the comments, I realize that I also like working in the middle of main areas of the house. Photos of my sewing would show everything spread out between kitchen, bedroom, hallway and living room. I think it’s because growing up my mom always worked in the central parts of the home. I would always knit and paint with the family around, too. The more chaos and company the better! I have my sewing machine on a built-in desk in the front window of my living room so that I can look out on the world. But then again I also have the luxury of not having anyone touch my stuff or complain about the mess as I am usually alone. Interesting to think about these work styles and a nice article.

  13. ceci

    I have what used to be a child’s bedroom and now is sometimes a guest room (after hasty clean up…..) – its a bit isolating but I don’t feel pressed to stay as tidy as I would if I was sewing in a more frequently shared space. I’m trying hard not to buy fabric so many earlier purchases are at present displayed on the desk/cutting surface with possible pattern pairings to see if inspiration strikes. This annoys the little dog, who likes to sit up on the desk looking out the window, but she is making do, on a nice piece of cashmere suiting, naturally.


  14. Sue

    How fabulous! I feel so privileged to have seen this space in the flesh, as it were, but I’m a tad disappointed that your amazing ironing board didn’t make a showing. On the other hand – that cupboard! A lovely article all round Kate!

  15. Elle C

    I love your sewing space, it seems to me to be a luxury to sew while in the midst of your family. My sewing dungeon is quite big (in comparison to yours) and I love it, but sometimes I wish my sewing space was in the middle of the house.

    You asked what my space is like. It is an unfinished basement, no walls, just studs and concrete walls with insulation and plastic sheeting, and a concrete floor. Having said that, the size makes up for it’s lack of finish. I have a very large cutting table, 2 sewing desks, one U shaped, 1 rectangular, holding a total of 6 machines. 1 old danish modern style china cabinet filled with sewing books, another bookshelf for the rest of the crafty/sewing books. And there is more. But it sounds like I’m bragging, and I’m not. It is a great space to work in, and sometimes friends come over to sew and to cut out their fabric, and it is nice to work without being on top of each other. One day photos might appear on the neglected blog. 8-D

    Like everyone else, I have some serious envy for your lovely cabinet. Gorgeous! ♥

  16. Manuela

    Great article Kate. I’ll be setting up a sewing space in a living room soon. We just purchased an apartment in Thailand as an investment/holiday retreat/maybe retirement place. So, I’m getting inspiration from your setup. Mr Manuela already agreed to get rid of the dining table and have a bar height elevated table/working surface set up with barstools instead. I’ll get a huge sewing table and a small as well… Right opposite from where he cooks with oodles of daylight.

  17. Green Eye Crafts

    You have a beautiful sewing space:-) It seems so inspiring, and what to say about that cabinet. I think we all could have needed one:-) (If there only was some space were I could put it)

  18. Judy

    I have the luxury of an entire room to sew in. I moved in the week after my eldest son left home. After years of sewing on the kitchen table and packing up every time we needed to eat, it is pure joy to have everything set up permanently. I love following your blog as you always have something interesting to say.

  19. Brenda Marks

    Congrats on a wonderful article, Kate! I wonder if I could be as disciplined in a small sewing space. My collection of sewing supplies seem to grow and grow on its own. I have vowed to sew what I have (when I start sewing for myself again) and stop buying fabric until everything fits in the allotted space.

    I store bits and bobs (such as bias tape makers, elastic and covered button kits) in old jars and re-used boxes, but I wonder if I need to adjust to a more organized system since it’s challenging to find things.

    The bottom line for me is that a good sewing space is one that gets used.


    What a marvelous space! My sewing space has been in constant flux; starting in the dining room, moving to the laundry room, waiting to move into the spare bedroom when the electrical has been upgraded and walls painted. We have an older home, as does your commenter Abby, and closets are very small indeed. So hubby has promised to make some cabinets/storage for me as soon as I can tell him what I want. Yikes! Hard to narrow it down…..but your cupboards are amazing (are they double-deckers?) My cutting table is 2 utility tables strapped together and topped with cutting mat. 4′ x 4′. Just one machine, my Bernina called Stella. At this point, a very small stash. And there you have it. 🙂

  21. Jane

    Very exciting!

    As a second home owner myself I can tell you the only way to do it is to have a second of everything you love and use regularly, one for each home.

  22. Amy

    😉 You should see my sewing room some time. It’s SUCH a mess hahaha. Perhaps that’s why my mind is so cluttered up.
    Lovely to feature you
    Amy x

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