Saturday, April 21, 2012

Order in the Sewing Room!!


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A Beautiful New Sewing Room
(for super cheap)

For the past 7 years I have been operating my sewing business from my ever so spacious and extremely visible, living room.  I selected a corner of the room that I would set up my sewing/embroidery machine on a fold out butterfly style table.  I kept my notions in Tupperware bins that originally had lids but, after 7 years I couldn't close the lids, let alone find them.  My fabric and ribbons I kept in my garage and my ironing board in my coat closet.  It's been oh, so cozy.  After having my fourth child recently I have been trying desperately to create some sort of order somewhere, anywhere in my life.  Jacki (who also just had a baby) and I both missed the nesting stage because we were both on strict bed rest and unable to do ANYTHING.  She went crazy on her house a few weeks ago with the label maker and She thinks this is our bodies way of postpartum "nesting"  lol.  I really just was so tired of sewing in such an nonfunctional space, I had had enough.  I am not necessarily a cheap person but, I do think I am frugal so I didn't want to spend a ton of money but I wanted it to be beautiful, of coarse.  I have had a lot of thinking time over the past few months to plan out how I would get my desired look as inexpensively as possible.

I started by making space for my new sewing room....

Then, I went SHOPPING :)

I decided how many shelving units I wanted and where I wanted to place them.  I purchased 2 five shelve bookcases ($28.97) and 3 three shelve book cases ($14.97) from Walmart.  They are super cheap there and fairly easy to assemble (if you have eyes and can follow picture directions as there are no words). hahaha
I also purchased wide mouth mason jars in 2 different sizes. (quart size and pint size) They come in packs of 12 and are between $8-12 per package.  I then purchased 3 larger Gallon size lidded jars on the Tupperware isle that were $4.50ea.
Next I bought boards to roll my fabric onto.  I actually invested a little more money in this because I wanted something REALLY sturdy that wasn't going to bend over time with the weight of the fabric.  I also wanted something that came in different sizes so I could put larger cuts of fabric on larger boards.  They sell canvas panels in many sizes for painting in 3 packs that I really, really love for this however, they are a tiny bit pricey. You can go cheaper and cut your own from the hard foam presentation board (sold on the poster board isle) or you can use comic book boards (limited size options but SUPER cheap)  I spent around $100 on boards (using a combination of canvas panels and cut foam board) for my fabric but, you could spend as little as $10 if you use comic book boards.  
For my excessive ribbon supply I bought spring tension rods from the curtain rod isle.  They were $1.98ea and I purchased 9 of them.  I also bought 10 folding bins from K-mart for $4ea ($40). They fit perfectly onto the shelves. This puts the grand total for my entirely new sewing room at $293.35.

As soon as I got home, I assembled my shelves.  It took me about 3 hours to put the 5 sets of shelves together (while I was watching The Voice and Smash, so I wasn't totally paying attention to what I was doing)  lol.  I figured it would only take me a few hours to fill the shelves up.  BOY WAS I WRONG!!  I guess I didn't realize exactly how much sewing junk I had accumulated over the past 7 years.  It took me an entire day just to sort through my notions.  

I organized my rolls of ribbon according to color then slid them onto the curtain rods.  I fit 4 rods onto two different shelves.  Just popped them right in, Easy Peasy~

Then I filled up the jars with all of my notions.

It was then time for the fabric.  I first separated it according to quantity.  Fabrics that had several yards,  more than a 1/4 yard, less than 1/4 yard and scraps.  I rolled the larger quantities onto 11x14" panels and the smaller quantities onto 8x10" panels.  I put the scraps into a bin.
 I used different sized office clips to hold my fabric onto my boards.  If there was a really large quantity on one board, I just clipped the fabric to itself at the bottom instead of over the entire end. You could just use straight pins like at the fabric store but, I have 4 little children and my oldest has spina bifida and can not feel her feet so I try extremely hard not to misplace any pins onto my carpet. I thought office clips were a lot safer for me and worked really well.
I arranged the rolled panels onto the shelves according to color for easy finding later.

For my work station I used a 6ft. folding table and set it up on top of my shorter shelves. I have another folding table that I can pull out for extra work space if needed.  It's a 5ft. table that folds in half and stores perfectly behind the front facing bookshelf (under the visible table)
I already had these but they can also be purchased at Walmart for between $20-30.

There you have it.  One brand new beautiful work space.

Now, I guess we better get some new designs going.  :) 



  1. beautiful! now i have sewing room envy! =) i love your idea of the tension rod for the ribbons - genius! do u have the ribon ends pinned or taped?

    1. I taped mine but, only because I have 4 little ones at home still. My oldest also has spina bifida and can't feel her feet so if she stepped on a pin it would be really bad because she wouldn't even know. I think pins work best but for me I had to go with tape.

  2. What a wonderful space. Thank you for the step-by-step instructions. Are canvas panels sold in the art dept at Michael's, for example?

    1. I am sure they do sell the canvas panels in the art department at Michaels but, I bought mine from Walmart. I did find where you can buy them wholesale online for about .87ea

  3. I love what you have done. I have a question, where is your sewing machine and where do you store your thread? I don't see any magazines or patterns? I have such a mess I try to get it organized and the more I do I feel I should have left it alone.

    1. In the picture my sewing/embroidery machine and my serger are in their cases just under the table. I'm certain that they will find a permanent home on top of the table. lol I guess I should have taken one more picture. I have a white 4 drawer armoire that I had to move out of my girls room in order to fit the play kitchen. It's perfect for all the stuff I don't want out. (patterns, books, magazines, etc..) I'll try to add the picture in there later today.
      My thread is in the bookshelf to the right of my table. I just have it those boxes made for spools of thread. My large serger thread cones are just lined up on the shelf.
      I have to admit, I thought it would take me a day to do this and after 3 days of feeling like I was only getting deeper and deeper into a mess I felt like I had made a bad choice in trying to move/organize my sewing stuff. It wasn't until the middle of day 4 that I finally knew I had made a good choice. It always gets worse before it gets better and in my case it got much, much worse. lol Dig in, you can do it!!!

  4. That looks great! I have one of those shelves from WM. I need to steal your idea for the ribbons as I have an empty space that would work for that.

  5. So glad you posted this! I need to organize my room and this gives so many great ideas I can't wait to try!
    Thanks a bunch!!

  6. The tension rods to hold ribbon is brilliant, I am totally going to do this. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your new space!!!

  7. Hi,
    Great job on your sewing room! I have specific question about the panels you used for your fabric. What are they? Also what are the comic book things you talked about? I would love any additional info you have on both of them as they sound like great ideas to use for storing fabric!!

  8. Love it! I sew and "create" in my basement so my hubby doesn't have to look at the MESS! I really need to get organized! I keep scraps of stabilizer to use (I'm overly frugal too!) & haven't found a system that works for that (water soluble kind and tear away, cut away, etc) plus my thread collection is HUGE - my 5 racks are full with dozens more on the counter! I seriously need help :(

  9. Ladies - Trust me you have not seen a mess until you see my "embroidery" room.....its going to take a minimum of 2 days (maybe more) when I finally find the time to actually clean and get organized....its WAY out of control. Thanks for the helpful hints - LOVE LOVE LOVE your sewing room xoxox glenda