Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sew Canadian - July 27

Hello and welcome! I am excited to be a part of the  Sew Canadian sewing room tour.  Every Sunday, throughout the summer, the Mad About Patchwork blog features the sewing studios of two Canadian bloggers (click here to see the full schedule).

 This is the fourth Sunday of the tour (wow, July went so fast!). I've been enjoying all the stops on this tour.  I love getting a peek at other sewists' creative spaces!  Today, I'm delighted to be sharing the day with Shena @Apple Pie Patchwork..

 Did you know that YOU can join the fun, by sharing pictures showing where you sew?  I hear that Pam has also generously offered to do two giveaways, both for an Ombre Sewing Studio Kit by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts!  So please, make sure you add your pictures to the Sew Canadian Flickr group to have a chance to win (don't you think your sewing studio would love to have a Ombre Sewing Studio quilt adorning it? yes, it would ;o).

On with the tour! I couldn't resist adding a few more photos to the ones I shared along with the questionnaire on Mad About Patchwork today, in hopes that maybe my set-up or my ideas for storage will help or encourage others.

With only 2 walls for storage possibility, I chose tall cabinets to make the most of the space with narrow bookcases flanking the units holding my fabrics and interfacing supplies.
 First off, let me say, that the set-up I enjoy today, did not happen overnight (here's a look back) and it is still a work in progress (note my cutting table is actually a dining table ;o).  Although I've been sewing for most of my life, it's only in recent times that I've had a room exclusively set up for sewing. 

I am an organizer by nature, but it's not just about being neat.  I like things to be thoughtfully laid out and easy to maintain.  Better yet, is keeping it low cost, by repurposing what I can for storage and by shopping the second hand market for my shelving units (click here to see more). 

All the units you see in my sewing room are originally from IKEA, with only two of them purchased new.  If you're looking to save money on storage ideas, I suggest you start checking your local ads for second hand items (try kijiji or craigslist) to find shelving for less.  That's how I scored my shelving!
(P.S. Thrift stores and garage sales can also be good resources for sewing items and this includes sewing notions! I have a healthy notion stash thanks to thrift sales.)

Benefits to storing left over cut strips or squares into containers: you will save time searching for the size you need and you should not need to re-press small bits of fabric. :o)

I make use of containers of all sorts for my organizing efforts. I use a spice rack (photo above) to store specialty buttons, beads as well as noses and eyes for toy making.  Baskets hold some finished projects and even some fabric bundles. You will also see many clear plastic salad greens containers throughout my sewing room.  They're repurposed to store everything from elastic, binding and zippers, to cut strips and squares of fabric.  I love these containers because they are stackable, allow me to see the contents at a glance and they are basically free (because you recycle these after eating the salad greens)!

Quilting cottons organized by colour and sorted (pre-washed behind cabinet glass doors and unwashed on open shelves). I love seeing them while I stitch on one of my vintage Singers.
My button collection (sorted by colour of course), located on the top of my fabric shelving units, is stored in repurposed candle jars with lids (I love candles and immediately realized the container's potential for button storage,  win-win ;o). 
 Now, let's talk about fabric!
I have clear containers filled with scraps, selvedges (these are hidden in the drawers) as well as cut ones containing strips or squares. Fabric yardage is folded and colour grouped on my cabinet shelves.  I find I quite like having my quilting cottons on display - they inspire me!
Organizing yardage by colour has the advantage of letting you know at a glance which colours you have the most of. ;o)

Why is there a candle on my fabric shelf? I have a habit of tucking a small soy candle or a scented bar of pretty soap on the shelves with my fabrics.  Originally I started doing this on the shelves stacked with vintage fabrics (to battle the "old" smell on some of them), but now  I have something scented throughout my shelves and  in the drawers that hold fabrics.  It's  an extra treat to open a cupboard or pull open a drawer and be greeted with a pretty scent amidst pretty fabric.

Next we come to one of my favourite finds for keeping me organized.  This three drawer rolling unit sits to the right of Belle and will roll under the table extension of my other vintage Singer - meaning I can access it's storage whether I'm sewing at one machine or the other, simply by turning it.

The drawers hold my basic sewing essentials - bobbins, bias tape makers, machine feet etc. are in the top drawer.  The second drawer stores my quilting threads and scissors.

Finally, this photo shows the whole space I work from - including a glimpse of my design wall on the far left (which covers an ugly brick fireplace) and my temporary set-up for my computer (my hubby is building me a desk for this, so my cutting table will be clear again).  It's hard to tell in this photo, but I have my two (in cabinet) Singers, Belle and Fancy, flanking the table I use for cutting.  It makes a compact but highly functional set-up for my sewing.  I have access all the way around the tables set up in the middle of my room.  It's also helpful that the table and machine cabinets are all at the same height (awesome for quilting - lots of area to support a quilt - even if it's king sized!).  I even have room to set-up my serger, modern Janome or a Featherweight machine on my table if needed.
Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me share my sewing space with you.  I hope I've given you some ideas that you can use or find helpful for your own sewing space.
  Thank you, Mad About Patchwork, for organizing such a fun tour this summer (and for helping me stock those shelves I showed, with such yummy fabrics!).  Enjoy the rest of the tours!


  1. What a fabulous sewing space you have! I am not envious, but I do hope to have my own special sewing space one day- it will be just like this! I love being organized too!

  2. WOW! I'd never show my sewing space after seeing this!! No wonder you are able to devote more time to sewing! You don't have to hunt for anything, wasting valuable time. Minutes count, right?? Lovely post!

  3. Hi Katherine! Your sewing room looks beautiful, so well organized and inspiring! Happy sewings! x Teje

  4. So cool! What a great space, Katherine. Thanks for all the organizational tips!

  5. What a great inspiring space!

  6. What a great space you have. Love those stacks of quilting cottons.

  7. what a fabulous space, and so many great storage ideas - thanks for sharing!

  8. Great sewing space...currently working on mine. Love the salad green container you have any idea how many of these I have tossed? For shame! My jars are mostly peanut butter and applesauce. Astounding how much we go through here. Thanks for welcoming us into your sewing space!

  9. looks so nice and all the colours in certainly have a lot of stash....if ever i am lacking I am coming to you first wink...

  10. Thanks for sharing your space with us and your organizational tips.

  11. Wow! Great space! Thank you for all the great tips and ideas and for the tour of your space. :)

  12. I am TOTALLY green with envy over your gorgeous sewing room. Is that 3 drawer rolling cabinet from Ikea? I have 2 that look the same (except mine don't roll) - they're handy! I use the spinach/salad containers as well, for notions and for keeping all my scraps sorted by colour :D

  13. What a great room. Thanks for all the storage ideas.

  14. I really enjoy seeing other people's studios and you have a great set up! I'm a bit jealous of the clear containers though, we don't get salad greens (I assume this is what we call lettuce?) in plastic pots, they come in thin plastic bags over here


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