My new sewing studio revealed

A while back I mentioned that there was a total studio overhaul underway at my house. My craft/sewing space was no longer functioning. This is what my studio looked like:

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AAAAAACK! My eyes!!! The mess!!!

It took me 6 weeks - and a lot of help from my mother-in-law - but I'm no longer sewing or crafting in a mess like that.

Things got so bad that at one stage I was convinced a family of mice was nesting under my desk! I used to hear so many strange scuttling noises during the night, and to be honest, all of the piles of fabric would have been the perfect hiding place for a small rodent or any pest for that matter!

I spoke to my neighbor about my suspicions the other day actually and she told me that she recently had to call out a pest control service similar to Pest Control Experts so that they could take care of a mice infestation in her home so there is a very good chance that the family of mice from under my desk moved next door! My cat, Charlotte, did bring a small dead mouse into my kitchen one day too... Needless to say, it was about time that things started to change. Nobody wants to share their working environment with pests after all!

First of all, let me show you my newly organized craft closet. In most houses this would be a coat closet, but years ago my sweet sweet husband took out the hanging rod and retrofit it with shelves. Pre-purge it had been where I stored fabric. Not ALL my fabric, but a lot of it. Except that it was packed so tightly that mostly I just pulled fabric out and then let it litter up our hallway because it was too much trouble to put it back.

When I decided to clean out my studio, I decided that all my fabric needed to be in one storage space and all my craft supplies in another. At one point, I came to the conclusion that I had so much fabric that I needed to find another storage space. My home doesn't really have any nooks and crannies to store things, so it seemed I'd have to look into purchasing a new shed or building for storage purposes. I even looked into the labor cost for erecting a metal building to add to my garden...however, I quickly discovered that the art of folding and clever organization allowed everything to fit perfectly! So the fabric closet became the craft closet:


One day I may put actual real labels on all the tubs, but for right now it's working out just fine to have slips of paper taped on them. It's all hidden behind closet doors so it doesn't have to be attractive, and I'm having waaaaaay too much fun in my newly reorganized sewing space to be messing with any labels for craft supplies.

And that's what I'm really really really proud to show you.

Remember the messy studio? It now looks like this!!!!


Ahhhh.... much better! There's a floor! And surfaces!

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I pulled my two tables together to make an L-shaped worktable, with room for two sewing machines, a serger, and a cutting mat. I love my sewing machines but recently I have been looking at Buyers Impact reviews as I am tempted to purchase a third! The shelves underneath the main table hold several scrap bins. There's plenty of room for new equipment if I ever want to add to my collection. I've been working more with leather recently and my 2 machines have struggled with it so I'm currently looking at sewing machines for leather to make it easier. With this in mind, I made sure there was enough room to add more stuff without it getting cluttered.


Under my serger are these handy little organizers mounted on the leg of the table. I got them from IKEA about 10 years ago? They rotate so I can move them out of the way when I want to sit at my serger.

And I treated myself to a fancy new sewing chair. It was on sale for $50 at Staples and it's the most perfect sewing chair ever. Soft and cushy, plenty of back support, and on wheels - but no arm rests to get in the way.

Behind my worktable are several bookcases that hold my quilting cottons, vintage cottons, and upholstery fabric samples. My mother-in-law is the fabric folding QUEEN! She helped me fold alllll of those pieces!!


And buttons, and ribbons, and embellishments.


The big galvanized tub holds my smaller pieces of batting and Insul-Brite.

My buttons are sorted by color and type in the divided craft boxes. The metal box next to them holds stray buttons, because I know I'm not going to go to the trouble of pulling out a craft box and finding the right bin every time I find a random button. The only thing that sucks is that if I keep the box open, you can't see the design on the top which says "Crafty Crap".

A cat with scissors is pretty awesome, too, though.


Those gray and pink trays the next shelf over are jewelry trays. They were white but I spray painted them pink and silver to be pretty. They're really inexpensive and are great for sorting small items. You can get them from Store Supply Warehouse. They also sell divider inserts but I'm just using them as big trays to hold bits of fabric I've cut for appliques, die cut shapes, and other embellishments.


The itty sewing machines on top of the center bookcase are all toys. One of them was my mother's when she was a little girl.


Look at how pretty everything is folded! It makes me so happy!!




Those white rolls all tied in a bow are actually big pieces of batting. I've done the same thing on another shelf with some big pieces of felt. The glass jars are stuffed full of selvages. One day I'll make something with them, but until then they're pretty on the shelf.

I'm using a Pampered Chef Tool Turn About to hold my scissors and other notions. Larger supplies are in the tackle box next to it. And my most-reached for notions are in the trays under my serger. Plenty of places to keep notions handy where I need them so I won't leave them sitting out on my worktable. At least that's the plan.


To the right of my machines is a big piece of pegboard. It was there before and it's actually not as accessible now that I've redesigned the space, but I can use it to store things I don't reach for as often.


There's kind of a circle motif going on, with the embroidery hoops and the rolls of fabric strips. That was accidental but I like it.


I've got little metal shelves to hold my smaller quilting rulers and my serged t-shirt scrap yarn and charm squares.

We took the doors off of the closet and retrofit it with shelves so I could store fabric in there. This closet holds my knits, vintage polyester knits, velvets, and leather scraps. There had been narrow shelves off to the side - we kept them to hold my books.


Between the closet and the window is a narrow piece of pegboard to hold my zippers. Sorted by color, of course. Rainbow makes me happy.


We (my mother-in-law and I) had originally planned to store my zippers on binder clips pinned to a cork board (like this), but I had more zippers than would fit in the space. We ended up using pegboard and long hooks that would each hold several binder clips full of zippers.


Now that my studio is cleaned out, I finally have a place to store the awesome dressform my mother gave me for Christmas last year. Because the living room is really not the best place to store your dress form! I put a pink butterfly on her neck to make her extra pretty.


The storage across from my worktable is my Elfa system. I originally bought it to hold craft supplies but it transitioned quite nicely to fabric storage. Elfa is expensive stuff, but soooo worth the price!


My bolts of fabric are leaned up against one side. And the orange monstrosity next to them is my husband's computer cabinet. A necessary evil.

Smaller drawers hold my bias tape and elastic and stuff.



Bigger drawers work either as scrap bins or to hold larger pieces of fabrics.

This is one of two bins that hold my drapey fabrics. I rolled them up and banded them with paper to keep them from flopping all over the place. Now I can dig through the drawer like I'm digging through the remnant bin at the fabric store!


I find it stressful to look at visual clutter while I'm sewing, so I tried to keep the top of the Elfa as free of stuff as possible. I have rolls of fleece and felt one end, and a galvanized tub full of pillow stuffing on the other. I filled in with a few knick knacks.



Underneath my white table are some rolling carts with drawers. One holds scrapbook paper, one holds ribbons and lace trims, and the third holds my Thoughtful Gift Stash, small handmade items that I'm stashing away to give as gifts when the occasion arises.


Here's a picture of the other side of the worktable. I keep my portable ironing board leaned up next to the table so I can pull it out and use it when I need.


I kind of had to compromise on this part of my room. In a perfect world, I wouldn't store fabric in bins, and certainly not stacked three deep. But my space and budget limitations being what they were, it was do this or get rid of the fabric inside. These buckets store my vintage home dec fabrics, my vinyls, my wools, and some old t-shirts. I didn't want to give up any of them, so they got stacked.


The Elfa rack next to the bins holds my craft paints and my jewelry supplies, and on top are my Sizzix and Silhouette machines. I can pull them to my worktable when I need to use them.

The shelf above holds sewing patterns, scrapbook paper, and my pressing ham and sleeve board.


The white bins I'm using to hold my sewing patterns come from Dollar Tree. They're exactly the right size to hold pattern envelopes, and you can't beat the price!

At this point I was straight up running out of room, and I didn't have a place for my project containers. These are some 12x12 scrapbook storage containers I use to hold all the parts and pieces I need for projects I'm working on.


One last looksee at my pretty new sewing space! Every time I walk in, I have to pinch myself because it doesn't feel real that it's really my space.


And I have to include a picture with Charlotte, because she likes to be my special kitty helper whenever I'm in here.


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  • crafterhoursblog says:

    Looks AMAZING! I'm so happy for you! Great job!!

  • Irene @ Serger Pepper says:

    I'm envious of your tidy and clean (and nicely organized) sewing room.
    And, more than this, I'm envious of you having a mother in law that helps you tidying it up: I would end up bitten by the end of day #1, let alone 6 weeks 😀
    Jokes aside, I'm pinning your inspirational sewing room because mine DESPERATELY NEEDS to be cleaned/tidied too

  • MammaNene says:

    I’m envious of your tidy and clean (and nicely organized) sewing room.
    And, more than this, I’m envious of you having a mother in law that helps you tidying it up: I would end up bitten by the end of day #1, let alone 6 weeks 😀
    Jokes aside, I’m pinning your inspirational sewing room because mine DESPERATELY NEEDS to be cleaned/tidied too

  • Libby Boyle says:

    What a transformation. Wow. I'd just been speaking to my man about what I need to do in my sewing room when we go home (just over 12 months away). Number 1 was rip out the insides of the cupboard and put in shelves to fit my fabrics. Would your mum-in-law be available to help fold? And I need more table space. I like your L shape idea. Now, I have so much more to think about as I count down the months.

  • cassews says:

    Isn't it wonderful to have a place for everything ? Mine looked like your before photo, I decided the other week to clean it up and spend 4 hours a day doing it. Ahhhh.. but it will be a mess soon !LOL
    Your sewing studio looks Mahvelous Dahling (in the immortal words of Billy Crystal). Its fantastic !!!

  • Tiffany says:

    What an amazing transformation. Functional and aesthetically pleasing! But especially functional. You inspire me to do more with my (very nice) sewing machine (from my mother). Hmmm... guestroom vs craftroom.

  • Lorrine Wessell says:

    2. Hope to see more of your work soon.

  • Doris says:

    Can I borrow your wonderful mother-in-law???? Please, please, with kitty treats on top?
    Before I retired and downsized I had a workroom that I loved; now I struggle to keep chaos at bay In a 1 bedroom apartment.

  • Susan Russell says:

    I'm glad to know I am not the only one with a sewing/craft room slowly being transformed into functionality. You have given me lots of ideas for further organizing. My sister has an amazing sewing room that I aspire to out do. (Isn't sibling rivalry great?) One thing she does that makes her fabric look great is to use comic book boards to fold her fabric around. That way every piece of folded fabric is completely uniform. One day... maybe.

    • Orange Bettie says:

      Thanks so much!! I'm afraid my sewing studio is no longer anywhere near as clean and organized as in this post. Clearly I need to get it back in order!! I've blocked "Sewing Studio Clean Up Hour" on my schedule tomorrow. Hoping that will keep me accountable to get it cleaned up again!

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