making space monday :: studio tour of Sewplicity

it’s that time again…making space monday…the month long tour of sewing studio spaces.

this week, Jennifer from Sewplicity has generously offered to take us on a thorough tour of her sewing studio.  Jennifer runs a successful sewing business making beautiful high chair covers and was named one of the top etsy baby sites on babble.com in 2011.  she previously worked in Manhattan but left her corporate job to be with her kids and sew! she balances motherhood and her sewing business while nestled right here in central jersey. she is one very organized gal, though she swears she isn’t as organized as she used to be.  either way, I’m sure she will have lots to suggest about making space (and keeping it tidy)!

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STUDIO TOUR by Sewplicity

Let me preface this tour with a little history.  My current sewing space is probably larger than the space many can dedicate in their house….but it didn’t start out that way. I live in an old house (circa 1920).  While I seriously love the character and detail of the house, space is quite limited.

When I renewed my passion for sewing about 3 years ago, my sewing machine and supplies sat on a side table in my dining room (yes, interior designers would cringe).  But it was what it was.  It worked and it was manageable.  Having spent a good deal of time constantly taking out and putting away my sewing things, I would highly recommend setting aside a DEDICATED space for your sewing.  If this means that you need to have a small sewing table on the side of your dining room, or a closet (I’ve seen some awesome closet sewing spaces) do so – there are tons of options for “hiding” away your sewing stuff when not in use.  It will save you the headache of having to continually clean up which interferes with your sewing time and your life.

Ok, so back to my space.  Once I started my business, and it began taking off my supplies quickly took over my dining room, barely leaving us space to eat. (Now I was cringing).  I couldn’t stand looking at the room anymore and not being able to leave my work out was becoming a HUGE problem.  Something had to give….so….I ousted my hubby from the frightening “finished” basement where he had his home office set up.  Although he was not happy about giving up his space, I think he was sick of looking at all my stuff in the dining room too!

A major clean up, replacement of the old, scary 70s dark paneling, the rickety staircase, some fresh paint, some track lighting, a new carpet and the space was transformed into a sewing studio.  MY sewing studio….

The Tour

DOWN THE STAIRS

As you head down the steps you will see my big basket of pre-washed fabric.  To the right I have some rods where I hang wrapping paper for easy access and underneath is a magnetic board to hang my kids’ artwork.

TIP:  Pre-wash your fabric as you purchase it that way when you are itching to make something you can get right into it.  No waiting for the laundry to be finished!

 

THE SEWING SQUARE
I played around with a lot of different layouts and this is what works best for me.  80% of my time is spent in my “sewing square”.  When in my sewing chair, I have access to my sewing machine, my computer, printer, my serger and embroidery machine on the table behind.  To the right is my cutting table.
TIP: If you have enough space for a square like this, you can swap out the 2nd table for your ironing board and iron.
By the way, I purposely choose bright colors for this space (I LOVE my orange wall) to not only inspire my creativity but keep me content.  A basement studio can be dreary with lack of light and bright paint and lights give it personality.

 

ORGANIZATION

Within the square I have all of my sewing stuff nicely organized.  I try to live by the “Everything has it’s place” rule.  It’s a huge time saver.   My embroidery threads are all on a wall rack, my tools hang on the wall and that cabinet houses a ton of thread and other supplies.  Under the table I have a wire rack for fabrics and other supplies.  The shelves to the left of the table is where I keep my mailing supplies, tape, pencil sharpener, files and patterns.

TIP: Regardless of the amount of space you have, organization is key in maintaining a tidy work area as well as your sanity.

THE CUTTING AREA

My cutting table is actually a kitchen island from IKEA (where the majority of my furniture comes from). This table doubles as a craft table for my kids (hence the folding chairs) and is great for wrapping gifts! I keep a table height garbage pail next to the table so I can just slide the unusable cutting right into it.  (I also keep a small garbage pail right by my machine).

I hung some track lighting above the cutting table and my sewing table to provide extra lighting when required.  It really makes everything super bright.  I actually don’t use this all that often, but it is nice to have when I need it.

TIP:  If you have an island in your kitchen, do use it as your cutting table (protect it of course).   The height is perfect for this task and it will save your back.  Another option is to pick up a folding cutting table that can easily be stored when not in use.

THE FABRIC WALL

I purchase the majority of my fabric by the bolt to accommodate my custom business.  While bolts make organizing fabric a tad easier, you can see in the far back left of the photo that I have a smaller shelf for my remnants.  I use fabric organizers to help keep them neat.  This allows me to easily spy what I have and find coordinating prints quickly.  This lovely rocker is typically littered with cut pattern pieces, but I cleaned it off for the picture.  It looks so much nicer here then it usually does!

TIP:  Find a way to organize your fabrics that allows you to view what you have easily.  Fabric left in boxes typically stay that way.  Proudly display what you have!

THE FAR WALL

The final wall in my studio is where I keep my irons (I have multiple) and back-up sewing machine (a necessity with a sewing business).  I also keep my large rolls of batting (empty roll pictured), and “Tess” my mannequin (Yes, I named her!).

When working I set up my ironing board in this area.  I hang it on the door to the wash room when not in use to give my kids access to the floor for playing.  I recently mounted my TV so I could make better use of this space.  This is also where my daughter is learning to sew.  Oh, and that back curtain hides the tiny corner where my kids keep their toys. (Yes, they only have a small corner to store their stuff – but they can use the entire space to play – with the exception of my sewing square that is).

And that’s about it.  I seriously love my sewing space.  I have to – I spend over 30 hours a week in it!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

2 Comments on making space monday :: studio tour of Sewplicity

  1. K-Sue
    April 11, 2012 at 7:12 am (6 years ago)

    Love it! Jennifer has some great ideas – I just walked over to the end of the office where I sew in the dark and thought…hmmm…I could add a row of track lights…

    Reply
    • ahappystitch
      April 14, 2012 at 8:19 am (6 years ago)

      I agree! Jennifer is great and so smart!

      Reply

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