Monday, June 20, 2011

Operation: Sewing Room (Re)Organization

*****FYI:  This post is very pic heavy.  I am including so many pictures and explaining my process and products used because it has helped me tremendously while organizing my own sewing space to see and read about other sewers' spaces.  I've included links to some of the storage solutions used for your information, not because I have in any way been paid or perked to mention them.  Hope you enjoy the tour of my sewing room!*****

For the last month I've really been going to town working on cleaning up my sewing room. It all started with the fabric rolling, then I jumped on the ribbons, and from there it just snowballed. It was driving me crazy working in there because though it seemed to be organized to the untrained eye, there were still supplies unpacked from our move lurking in boxes, drawers shoved with bits and bobs, and frankly . . . I just wasn't able to put my hands on my stuff when I needed it.

Honestly, cleaning and reorganizing this room has felt like a part time job. Most of the time, I enjoyed the process . . . discovering stuff I thought I lost and finding more lovely and efficient ways of storing my supplies was fun

For the most part.

But some things were just annoying and a bit frustrating. There is no closet in the room, which may be a blessing in disguise because if there were it would be tempting to just shove stuff in there. But without a closet, everything has to function and foster creativity at the same time . . . too much clutter *out* in the open doesn't make me a happy crafter.  I realize that some creative people thrive in that kind of environment, but it just doesn't work for me.

Here's where we left off:
The Newly Reorganized Fabric Hutch

Here's what I ended up doing:

First, I shoved a bunch more fabric in that hutch.  I loved that bit of breathing room I had in there before, but I realized that I could be *mostly* aesthetically pleased with this arrangement and still have ALL my fabric in a visible place to maximize the possibility of it all being used.  Before when all the fabric was separated into different drawers I felt a bit stuck in the ways I was combining fabric.  Now that it's all together I see things that could go together that I never considered before.  That makes the shoving a bit more worthwhile.  Plus I guess this means that I need to get busy using what I've got to make room for new stuff.  ;)
Hutch Mess

Those lovely organized ribbon cards got relocated into a larger storage container (or rather, 2 larger containers) when I discovered a bunch of ribbon later in the process of cleaning.  Oh well . . . it was cute while it lasted.  A new Salvation Army thrift store opened up really close to my house and they had skads of lovely sheets just waiting to be adopted.  I brought home a bunch and they ended up getting shoved underneath the wire bin that's holding all the vintage sheet fat quarters.  Then there were the regular fat quarters and the Kona fat quarters and the somewhat impressive stash of charm squares that I've acquired through various trades over the years.  Anyway . . . it all got shoved in here.

Fabric Fairy
Did you catch my little fairy hiding on the top shelf?  My Aunt Penny was quite a collector who especially loved angels and fairies.  When she died, her collection was brought to the funeral and everyone took one home with them to remember her.  This one stole my heart and now presides over the fabric situation in the hutch.  :)

Fabric Hutch and Supply Cabinet
A picture I took of things before I got all shove-y with the fabrics.

Here's a corner I've never shared before with you.  This cabinet is located right behind the door.  The hat rack hanging above it came from Ikea (LOGGA for anyone interested).  This was my partial solution to not having a closet in the room.  I knew I wanted at least one rack in the room so that I could hang larger pattern pieces grouped together.  It's also housing magazine files of different types of patterns.  I still have to make some labels so that I know what kinds are in which boxes without having to pull out every single one every time I need to find a pattern.

Baby steps, people.

Top of the Cabinet

On top of that cabinet I've got my stack of sewing/crafting books.  Towards the bottom are a lot more knitting books, and as you get closer to the top the sewing stuff dominates.  I'm not much of a paper crafter, but I do have one of those kinds of books as well.  To the right of the book stack I've got my sewing sweets . . . I repurposed a cupcake stand that we used for Little Miss' birthday party to hold pincushions and other random small items.

Cabinet Goodies
Here's what's going on inside that cabinet.  (I didn't take a picture of the inside of the drawer, but it holds scrapbook paper and the like.)  I used to have these file trays in the hutch holding all the felt sheets, but the more I rolled the fabric the more room I needed so these got moved here.  Next to that I've got a couple rolls of paper that I use for pattern pieces, some freezer paper, some leftover magnetic sheeting from my paper doll project and some clothespins waiting to be made over and used wherever they are needed (in the playroom to hold artwork, to clip papers together, whatever).

On the opposite wall, we have this mecca of organizational wonder:
Supply Wall
Here you can see the heavy duty shelf I had Mr. Skooks move for me (BILLY from Ikea).  I so very much wanted to sew in front of the window and on a whim moved the entire sewing table over there, which necessitated the shelf moving as well.  (I explained all that malarky back here when I talked about the design wall.)  So, yes . . . there is A LOT going on here, but it all makes sense.  The tissue paper poms up above are left over from Valentine's Day and Little Miss' birthday.  I left them up for a LONG time over the dining room table because they are so fun and cheery, but eventually they needed to be taken down.  Rather than put them in a bag in storage til the next fiesta, I decided to hang them up in here.  The toy sewing machines and my beloved ET lunch box got moved to the top of the shelving unit.
The Owl

As I was going through stuff I also found my mom's owl.  I'm pretty sure at one time it was a plant holder, but all my life I knew it as THE OWL and it lived on my mom's desk in the kitchen . . . providing some desktop storage of all the pens, pencils, and scissors we used on a regular basis.  At some point my mom decided she was over it (maybe 20 years into its use), and I pounced on it.  It's not even like I was "into" owls or something, it was just THE OWL.  How could it just be thrown away?!  This thing was an institution in our kitchen my whole life.  (Yes, I said it.  The owl was AN INSTITUTION.)   I can't explain what the thing is . . . but it must live on.

Sorry - - sidetracked. 

Let me break down the cubbies.
Paint Glue Thread Cubby
In cubby #1 we have an assortment of glues, adhesives, paints, and a few spools of serger thread that I couldn't fit on my thread rack.  That thing you see slipped underneath the step rack?  My Kona Color Card (oh how I love it!)

Sewing Box and Notion Cabinet

In Cubby #2 we've got my mom's old sewing box.  That little stack on top are some super sweet vintage sewing patterns I found while thrifting the other day.  I'll show you those some other time . . . I've got a project in mind for them.  :)  Underneath Mr. Skooks hung this dandy little supply cabinet (an ArtBin Store-In-Drawer Cabinet) .  I sorted all my embroidery floss by color and also was able to compartmentalize elastics, needles, pins, beads, velcro, and purse findings.  What is it about tiny drawers?  I love them.  Especially because this thing has been sitting around empty for ages, and now it's full-on in the function department.  Yes, "full-on" like a Double Rainbow.
Zippers Tapes Vintage Notions

Cubby #3 is holding my zipper stash as well as rolls of tape (regular and floral).  That adorable lamb was crocheted by my sweet friend, Kelly, as a gift for Kee-ku before he was born.  It's a bit delicate though and Kee-ku is . . . well . . . NOT delicate with anything, so for now it's living in here.  Underneath I put together this little display:

Vintage Notions
Let me 'splain.  As I was sorting through my mom's old sewing basket and getting all the stuffs housed in the tiny drawers, I came across a small stash of vintage sewing stuffs . . . some of which were never even opened.  I decided to "frame" them using this corkboard I found at the thrift store (Mr. Skooks spray painted it for me).  I also threw in there my paper flower gift bow (the product of my first and most viral tutorial), a funny little notecard I got from Jo back when I ordered some fabric from her, and a little card one of my Vintage Sheet Freedom Bee members made for me (can't remember off the top of my head . . . should check!)  That pack of bra back extenders kind of kills me every time I look at it.  Awesome.

Here's a different view to give you a better idea of the relationship this shelf has to the sewing table:
Side View
There's Connie chilling in the foreground.  I splurged a bit (when it was on sale) and got the HUGE cutting mat that comes in 3 sections for the cutting table.  Since the cutting table isn't actually large enough to house all 3 sections at once (yet!) one of them lives on the end of the sewing table.  You can kind of see on the floor in the back there a basket I put together of coloring books and crayons and such . . . it's Little Miss' special spot in the room.  She loves to hang out with me while I sew.  :)  As you can see, I hung up some plastic grid and stencils on the side of the shelf, and I've got my rulers stored down at the end up on the wall:
Ruler Storage
This thing used to be natural wood (it's a hanging ruler holder in oak), but that wood wasn't really my style so it went into the spray painting pile as well.  Now it's SUPER GREEN, but I'm ok with that.  Mostly.  It's pretty dern bright.  ;)

My longer ruler and tape measures are housed on some hooks next to the design wall (one of them I found for 29 cents at the Hob-Lob and the other one I scored on Ebay for a couple bucks - - and yes - - nothing escapes the spray paint):

Underneath the sewing table, we've got this working:
Works In Progress

Another formerly black file organizer sprayed to be less dull is now housing my work binders and notes on my projects.  Under each leg of the sewing table I have 2 boxes (LINGO from Ikea) holding projects in process.  I try very hard not to start projects I don't have an empty box for so that the UFOs don't get out of control in here.  On top of the boxes I've got these little baskets (Target dollar spot) which are holding fabric scraps.

To the left of the sewing machine is this bit of stuff:
Scissors and Stuff

I found that rack at the Hob-Lob in the Home Accent Clearance section for $2 and decided to use it to hold my somewhat ridiculously large scissor collection.  And yes, it has been spray painted (it used to be this fakey kind of antiqued rust color - blech).  The wire rack on the left used to be in my kitchen in the old house organizing plates and things in the cupboard.  We don't need to use it that way in this house, so I decided to throw it in here.  Not my favorite look, but it created a 2 tier storage situation which allows me to have my little spinny rack of stuff (I think I got that thing from the dollar spot at Target awhile back) on top and a few bins (recognize those?) underneath.  That bin closest to the front has all of my bobbins and the one in the back has empty thread spools which I will somehow find a use for (currently they make an appearance on the rare times I dare to sew with Kee-ku underfoot.  He likes to use them to make tall stacks and then KNOCKS 'EM DOWN).  I found a drawer organizer that wasn't being used, and it's behind the yellow cup holding my Needle Grabbit and some extra needles still in packages.  The yellow cup has all my different fabric marking pens and chalks and I stole the alarm clock from our bedroom because I'm constantly losing track of time in here.  Also because its alarm could WAKE THE DEAD so we are using something else in the bedroom.  :)  I've got plans to put a wall clock in here, but this works for now.

Here's another shot of that corner taken a little further back:
Ironing Corner
More of the leftover tissue poms.  :)

I had Mr. Skooks take the ironing board holder off the back of the door and screw it into the wall.  This corner is where I use the board the most, and I like to be able to hang up my iron (at least) at the end of the night so it doesn't settle a groove onto my ironing board.  I need to recover it sometime (it doesn't look as bad from far away as it does up close), but you can see that the ironing board itself didn't escape some spray paint action.  That deep turquoise shade was used to perk up the wire basket on the wall too (it used to be black) . . .
Ironing Stuffs

This used to be an over-the-cubicle-wall wire rack that I inherited from a friend who was dejunking her house.  Mr. Skooks sawed the over-the-wall part off of it and screwed it into the wall for me so that I would have all my iron-y stuffs at the ready when my board is unfolded.  It's dandy.  I use it to hold my spray starch, lint roller, water cup for the iron, some iron cleaning cloths, and my pressing cloth.

Here is a view of the room from the hallway looking in:
Cutting Table (Dresser side) and Design Wall
When I changed the layout of the sewing table, I had to turn this beast around as well.  It's actually a dresser and a desk pushed back to back.  In order to accommodate the fantastically huge cutting mat which was too fantastically huge to fit on the makeshift cutting table, I bought a $12 piece of wood at Home Depot and had them cut it down to size.  It's not screwed down but rather just laid across the top to give the mat(s) the uniform surface they need to have the rotary cutter work properly.  Mr. Skooks was nice enough to sand it all down smooth for me before I laid it on top of the cutting table.  He even rounded the corners for me . . . no extra charge.  ;)

I hung the paper dollies on the side of the table (after somewhat lame-ly taping that strip of fabric to the hole left between the 2 pieces in order to accommodate the cutting mat) with some Command hooks.  From the paper doll magnet board over to the wall is Little Miss' domain.  :)  As you can see, my next project is working on finishing up that Glow Happy quilt for Christmas.

Here is the other side of the cutting table:
Cutting Table Desk Side

I used a basket underneath the desk to house my small yarn stash (Allamala from Ikea), and converted that top drawer into some button storage (those tins were an AMAZING Goodwill score . . . I've got loads more of them waiting to house more little things):
Button Drawer
I've also stored in there some extra clips for when I want to expand my inspiration wall which currently looks like this:
Inspiration Wall - Take 2
Here's one more shot . . . a view from the desk side to the hutch side:
Fabric Hutch Design Wall and Cutting Table

WHEW!  I hope you enjoyed my little sewing room tour.

I mean, my ridiculously lengthy sewing room tour.  :)

Now that it's so clean, I'm inspired to go mess it up.  What are you making today?

*****Need some more organizational inspiration?  Check out this post I did awhile back on lots more sweet ways to get your crafty space under control.*****


Ronni and Sean June 20, 2011 at 6:08 PM  

Love it! What a fabulous space.

Kim @ Everything Etsy June 20, 2011 at 9:37 PM  

It's beautiful! You have a great those buttons in the little tins.


Yadira June 21, 2011 at 12:18 AM  

You know how I love this kind of posts! I really enjoy peeking at other crafter's creative spaces. I'll be posting a little bit about mine really soon.

Anonymous,  June 21, 2011 at 12:30 AM  

What a great sewing room! I am so jealous! I sew at my kitchen table and my ironing board is permanently set up in my dining room. I look forward to having a sewing room one day. Thanks for sharing!

Jill June 21, 2011 at 5:51 AM  

Wow Wow Wow!!! I want a sewing room just like that! What a fantastic job - and some amazing supplies you have!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Unknown June 21, 2011 at 7:30 AM  

Your room must be massive! I'm very impressed ^_^ I love the blue locky basket and the yellow hangers the scissors are on!

gingersnaps June 21, 2011 at 9:51 AM  

Very nice. Love how it turned out. Following you from MMM. Would love to have you link this up to my {wow me} wednesday link up party going on over on my blog right now. The most viewed link will win a set of fancy rectangle chalkboard labels. This week I’m co-hosting with Reasons to Skip the Housework…so links will show up on both blogs! How fun!


Kim June 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM  

yowza!!!! looks great! :)

Kathy June 21, 2011 at 12:13 PM  

LOVE your sewing room, I am so jealous -- it is so neat and organized - what great ideas you have for storing everything, its beautiful. Haven't even had time to read the whole thing (I'm at work), but just had to comment when I saw "THE OWL". I have the very same one, and guess where he is (and has been forever), yep - my sewing room. Holding all sorts of pens, markers, paper scissors (keep my sewing shears in a drawer so nobody accidentally grabs them to use on paper). So imagine my surprise when I saw him on your blog -- glad he found a home ;-)
love you!

Poppyprint June 21, 2011 at 2:10 PM  

OMG, I don't even know where to start except to say that I want to transport this room, in tact, to my house. Or come and play with you. Beautiful job!

Leidi Bird June 21, 2011 at 2:27 PM  

Such a nice set up! I'm always trying to re-organize my workspace, it can be quite a job when all I end up doing is making a huge mess everytime I work, yours is very inspiring!

Skooks June 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM  

Leidi - I can assure you that the room is not always so together . . . I had JUST finished cleaning it up and organizing it when I took those photos. So, don't be deceived! LOL. Now that I've got it the way I want it, I do try to be more diligent about putting things back where they belong when I'm done with a project . . . but I'm not promising anything! ;)

Jacey June 21, 2011 at 3:28 PM  

1) Double Rainbow. Awesome. I have a shirt that commemorates that pop culture reference.

2) The owl is an institution. You're so funny.

3) You've got lots of great thoughts on organization here. Thanks for sharing! I will definitely reference back to this as I sort out my chaos.

Anonymous,  June 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM  

This is a timely post for me. I am in the process of putting my sewing room back together after moving to a larger room and doing the nasty wall paper removal and painting. I'm down to figuring out the storage of all the little "stuff". So many great ideas here for me. I'll have to steal of few!

Thanks for sharing! I may finally get photos of mine up on my blog in a day or two.

AnneMarie June 21, 2011 at 9:56 PM  

Great post! Love seeing this? Even thought of GXQ's Follower Friday? Love these sewing space photos...

Karima June 22, 2011 at 7:47 AM  

Saw you on smwyg linky.
I love this post, I love to see how other people organise things, Karima x

Now google following you.

Ruth June 22, 2011 at 12:33 PM  

This looks amazing - and it's exactly what I should do - get more organised! I love the uilt on your wall too!

Abby June 22, 2011 at 2:19 PM  

Love it! Fantastic organization! You must have so much fun working in there now

ShannonSews June 22, 2011 at 6:29 PM  

cute, cute cute! Can you come by and reorganize my sewing room?! :) I love it. I need to take some tips from you!

~Damita's Pretty Wrap~ June 22, 2011 at 7:14 PM  

Such a cute room!! I have a jewelry room that I've been wanting to redo/organize, yours looks so nice!!! :)

Unknown June 22, 2011 at 10:43 PM  

This is amazing! Wish I had a whole room that I could dedicate to a craft room.

I am a new follower and I would love if you came and followed me back at A Sew Chic Boutique!

jok,  June 23, 2011 at 3:06 AM  

Wow what a marathon effort but it looks so beautiful!!! Well done. So inspiring for all of us who juggle our sewing machine on the dinner table!

Rachel June 26, 2011 at 12:05 AM  

Thanks so much for sharing! I love seeing what other people have done...always gets the imagination going!

Sew Can Do June 26, 2011 at 10:30 AM  

I covet that you have enough space for that hutch and the island made from desks!! Also like the idea of the corkboard for holding notions. I need to make some updates to my craftroom and spruce it up after seeing this.

Thanks for linking to Craftastic Monday:)

Grammy Goodwill June 27, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

I have that same sewing basket that was your mom's. Mine is harvest gold. Too funny. I also have my mom's which is totally different. Now if I only could sew. I love your room and all the creativity that is bursting out of it.

Skooks June 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM  

GG - Oh my, how funny. Honestly, I would use her basket to store a lot more stuff, but the clasp is tricky (has been for a long time), and I don't trust it to hold the basket from its handle. There were way too many incidences growing up where mom said, "can you get me my sewing basket?" and all the stuff ended up on the floor. So yes . . . it's really just sitting there out of a bit of nostalgia. :)

Leah June 27, 2011 at 6:34 PM  

Oh my gosh, the owl! How did I forget about the owl? It's good to know it will live on in our family.

jojoebi-designs June 27, 2011 at 9:20 PM  

wow, you are far more organised than me!

Livin' In Duckville June 29, 2011 at 9:34 AM  

OOooohhhh!!! What a great bunch of ideas you have!!! LOOOOOOVE them!! I'm going to swipe a few for my own craft room. Especially the scissor one. Duh, why didn't I think of that? As for the awkward light switch, why don't you highlight it? There are some super cheap clear light switch covers. You could put your favorite vintage fabric behind it (with a little spray on sticky glue stuff) & then spray paint an interesting fun pic. frame to go around it.

Loved lookin' at your room. Great job!

Skooks June 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM  

LID - That's such a great idea . . . now why didn't I think of that?!

Now . . . I wonder if I have a small frame around here I can go play with . . .

Shruti July 1, 2011 at 2:31 AM  

I really love your sewing room... I just started a new blog dedicated to sewing spaces... Would you like to be featured in it? Please email me if you're interested and we can decide on a date..

Kristy July 5, 2011 at 11:46 AM  

Wow! Gorgeous! Your creative space is so inspiring and I love the fun ways you have found to organize and allow it to be part of the room, very nice!

karen July 12, 2011 at 10:36 AM  

I read every word with interest - have got my sewing room set up and mostly organized but got some great ideas from you to help me finish it off

Unknown July 28, 2011 at 7:45 PM  

A ton of great ideas! Everything looks the cutting table!

OrganizingMadeFun October 19, 2011 at 8:40 PM  

This is FANTASTIC! I saw this on Pinterest and had to come over and tell you what an amazing job you did. The organization is just brilliant and I LOVE how you repurposed the furniture to organize everything! I shared this with my Facebook fans! Beautiful!

Becky B.
Organizing Made Fun

Unknown November 15, 2011 at 3:10 AM  

It's an AMAZING room, very inspiring and I really love that lantern quilt-wall hanging. I LOVE that cutting table and wish I have something like that in my craft room. Tks a million for sharing, i enjoyed this post a lot :)

Rebecca,  January 16, 2012 at 10:05 PM  

Thanks so much for this's really helping my wheels to turn in my head and help me know what to do with my nook.

Skooks January 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM  

R - You're so welcome! I'm happy that it was helpful to you. :)

John & Hannah February 21, 2012 at 3:28 PM  

If you still think your light switch is awkward, cover it in fabric!

Anonymous,  April 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM  

Awesome space! Totally jealous!!

Knittynutter March 30, 2014 at 5:28 AM  

fabulous post, inspired me to sort a creative space..

Sewing_lover_2003 July 19, 2014 at 3:11 PM  

How do you make the paper Pom-Pom things?

Skooks July 20, 2014 at 10:47 PM  

It's been ages, but I wrote a post about the poms here:

Theresa Morgan May 11, 2015 at 6:43 PM  

I just love your room, The fairies here and there..... I use a fairy stamp...I even have the blue sewing bkst.!! It was my MIL.[I miss her] . I was getting my Sewing Rm in order I thought for the last time and God intervened. He came and needed my now I have to do this, again. The north winters and a big house is too much on me,so going to move to Fl.

Anonymous,  May 23, 2016 at 3:33 PM  

Thanks for all your tips getting ready to reorganize my sewing room it's tore apart right now and what a mess so you've given me some great ideas I love repurposing things. I have repurposed a lot of furniture in my sewing room and in my life. I remember my brother was taking back his chainsaw and I said oh what are you cutting up he said oh my my chairs I said you mean those solid wood ones and he said yeah I'm just going to burn them up using for firewood it's at all no I'll take them so I sanded them down and put new naugahyde seats on them and they were great they were so happy you could hardly lift them but they've turned out to be beautiful chairs and for next to nothing so it's so nice to be able to put something to use that's built better than what a lot of things are built today so I agree with you about repurposing furniture thanks sincerely Debbie Kelly

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