Sewing Studio Tour

Maybe it’s my intense desire for spring to go ahead and spring already, but I’ve been sprucing up my studio the past couple of weeks–got a bee in my bonnet, so to speak, and between a trip to Ikea and a couple cans of spray paint, have overhauled the room and made it tidy and efficient. After a couple of requests to share the results, I’m ready to invite all of you in for a look-see! whipstitch sewing studio tourWhen we first moved into this house, we thought we’d finish the basement right away. But after a number of decidedly non-sexy projects like replacing all the windows, putting in a new furnace, and putting in a new deck to replace the one that was dry-rotted, we’ve pushed back the basement project for a year. Or two. Which means that working in the dining room, which was meant to be a temporary solution, is now our semi-permanent solution. The dining room is next to the formal living room, and directly visible from the front entrance of the house, so a messy space really doesn’t cut it–I needed some updates that would make this both a functional studio AND a clean and chic space that I wasn’t embarrassed to invite people to see. whipstitch studio tools whipstitch studio tour This is the view from the open doorway between the living room and the dining room/studio space.  It’s also part Ikea advertisement, and I’m OK with that. On the left, there are two tables arranged in an L-shape, where I keep my serger, computer, and sewing machine.  On the right, in the corner, three bookshelves holding fabric, sewing books, drawers with buttons and electronics, patterns, and magazines.  To the right of that, the ironing board and my dress form.  In the center, another Ikea table with the top raised for my cutting table.  The chandelier is just a perk. whipstitch studio current projects whipstitch studio machine cover My sewing machine is all dressed up in the sewing machine cover I made for Stitch Savvy–luckily, I had the good sense to make one for my serger, too, so they even match!  My computer is connected to a larger, second monitor, right next to my yellow office organizer.  I use a German beer stein that my folks got in Europe when I was a baby to organize pens and pencils.  My Denyse Schmidt thread catcher sits next to my machine.  The small, low basket behind the machine is for the on-deck project–in this case, my husband’s linen jacket.whipstitch studio bookshelves whipstitch studio giant scissors I love the corner with the bookshelves, like, a lot.  The large black set of drawers is all steel, and weighs a clean ton.  As in, when we brought it into the house, it fell on the driveway and nearly hit my ankle.  I feared a future of prosthetics.  We found it at a local antiques show, and while I paid more than I might ordinarily, it holds a massive amount of stuff.  All my notions, thread, zippers, dyes, elastics, pins, trims, and perle cottons are in these drawers, and each drawer is neatly labeled with my label maker.  I love geeking out over that kind of thing.  The art on top is a piece I made of a photo of my son for Stitch Savvy, next to a giant pair of wooden scissors that I found at Target on a random shopping trip.  The giant basket holds all my yarns and knitting supplies. whipstitch studio fabric and notions storage whipstitch studio sewing magazine storage All my copies of Martha Stewart, Threads and Stitch magazine are stored in little Ikea boxes on the shelves, next to bolted fabrics and baskets of knits.  I love baskets–wire, wicker, peach.  Love.  Baskets. whipstitch studio inspiration wall The wall beyond that hosts my ironing board, and my dress form with a rotating selection of projects (this one is a jacket from Stitch Savvy plus a knit tee I made for my sister during a #virtualsewcial).  The wall is covered with images pulled from catalogs and magazines of looks and shapes and details that I want to see incorporated into my own sewn garments. whipstitch studio fabric basket See?  Baskets rock.  These are all upcoming-season fabrics; I just moved the flannels and corduroys down to storage in the basement (you didn’t think ALL my fabric was in this room, did you?), and brought out the voiles, lawns, lightweight cottons, rayons and linens. whipstitch studio denyse schmidt fabrics whipstitch studio workspace This end of the work table is new: before, it was just the table on the right, which had all the same equipment on it.  Obvs, it was a little cramped.  Adding the table on the left was magical–and also gave me a place to add in a set of drawers for storage and integrate my file cabinet a little better (can you just see it there?  holding up the other end of the table in the corner, below the monitors?  cheaper than buying table legs!) whipstitch studio raskog cart with fabric baskets My new Raskog cart makes me want to weep with joy.  The color: perfectly suited to my palette–and a flawless match to my newly-painted and recovered work chairs.  The size: exactly suited for the nested fabric baskets where I keep my hand-sewn projects.  The casters: perfect for taking those projects out to the sofa on a weekend so I can sew while I watch Netflix with my hot husband. whipstitch studio drawers The drawers are dreamy, but the best benefit was one I didn’t foresee: storage for my rulers, which used to be stacked on top of rolled up fabrics, and were always (1) in the way and (2) in danger of falling and shattering on the floor. Every ruler but my 24″ ones fits just right in these drawers, and now I have an easy spot to organize my sticky notes AND my stationery.  What!  That’s right. whipstitch studio storage and serger Near the entrance is another shelf, this one with a door to hide all the less attractive supplies: camera bags and stacks of printer paper and buckets of jelly beans, that kind of thing.  I love me some yellow, too, so you know that when Ikea had this glass-front cabinet I was totally going to score one.  This puppy was CRAMMED with fabric, all “stacked,” but the stacks had fallen over and gotten sorta pathetic.  I finally invested in some comic book boards to organize it all, and it transformed the whole room.  For reals: even after all the other changes in this studio, it wasn’t until I had folded and stored all these fabrics that my husband walked in and said, “You’ve really cleaned up in here!”  So. whipstitch studio mini fabric bolts whipstitch studio fish There’s a vintage Florida tourism plaque of a red snapper on top of the cabinet, the only species of fish I ever caught on a zillion fishing trips with my grandfather in South Florida.  I caught a LOT of fish, but they were always the same one.  Still my favorite to eat, and I love having this little guy here to remind me of my Pop Pop.  Next to that, a printed egg I found on Etsy. whipstitch studio wools Another basket!  This one of rolls of wools.  Plaids, boucles, tweeds, you name it.  Next to linen, wool might be my favorite.  You know, if you don’t count cotton, because: cotton. whipstitch studio mending The final wall, on the opposite side of the opening to the living room.  Just to the left of this is the door to the kitchen, which is a full-on swing door.  It stays open most of the time, and this is the major walk-through from this room to the rest of the house, so no furniture here.  Just a towel rack that I got in the As-Is department of Ikea and have re-purposed as a joint quilt rack/works-in-progress staging area.  The Japanese wall clock is bamboo, and from the sale section of Three Potato Four (along with the “Do Your Best” pennant over the computer). whipstitch studio works in progress A couple unfinished quilts (OK, fine, maybe five), some older garments that I rediscovered and that need updates or repairs, and an applique wall hanging that I don’t have wall space for and am turning into a mini-quilt. whipstitch studio cutting table The cutting table is simple, but works great.  The trestle is standard-issue Ikea, but raises up to be a full 38″ so it makes a perfect cutting height, while still having the flexibility to be used at a seated height when I want (if we need an extra table for family gatherings, since we clearly don’t have a dining room set) or in the future (should it ever be deemed No Longer Worthy for studio use, which seems unlikely, but never say never).  The cutting mats are from Jo-Ann a zillion years ago, and refuse to wear out, no matter how much I want to replace them with white ones.  The wooden tool tray was a gift from Craftsy after I filmed my class, and has a Whipstitch-yellow border around the upper edge.  Natch. whipstitch studio tools And keeping me company, on top of the bookcase in the corner, is this little vintage fella.  This and the text art behind it are from Etsy, and my little birdie friend keeps an eye on our pup, who likes to curl up on her bed at the base of the bookcase.  It makes for a happy workplace each day! whipstitch studio vintage whipstitch studio companion Thanks for taking the tour!  Someday, I’ll move down to the basement, but for now, I am more than delighted with how much space I have in the dining room, how much work I can get done here, and that I can finally invite folks in without having to scramble to make it presentable.  As long as I’m wearing shoes, of course.

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  • Amber
    March 7, 2014 at 10:15 am

    This? This is drool-worthy.

    • Deborah
      March 7, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Oh, thanks!! I was worried the photos wouldn’t really reflect how inviting and happy the room feels now. It made me nervous to invite all of you in–glad to know you like it! 🙂

  • Melissa
    March 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

    And perfect timing as I get to create my special crafting spot in the new house!!

    • Deborah
      March 7, 2014 at 10:43 am

      I’m so excited for you!! Can’t wait to see what you’ll do–although I suspect you’ll need a LOT more yarn storage than just the one basket I’m using. Right?? Those Ikea Expedit cube shelves are so great for that–but I think I saw they’re discontinuing the 5×5 one? Good thing you’re moving RIGHT NOW! 🙂

  • Jennifer
    March 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Love it. Looks so functional. I’ve been sprucing up my studio lately. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Deborah
      March 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Functional is such a great word–just knowing where everything is and being to find it easily has at least doubled the amount I can get done during the time when the kids are at school/asleep. I feel like it improved my sewing AND made me a better mom! What else can you say *that* about, right?!? Thanks so much for your kind words!!

  • Evelyn B.
    March 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    What a lovely space! I’m about to put together my own dedicated craft and sewing space, which fills me with glee. 🙂 I’m most excited to see those Ikea trestles — somehow I’ve missed those completely and had no idea they even existed! Question — does the tabletop simply rest on the trestle legs, or do you have to secure them in some specific pre-drilled way with an Ikea tabletop? I’m trying to figure out if I could purchase the trestles and use the top from a different table that I already own (it’s got a large surface area – I love the huge amount of space, but I need it to be higher!). Thanks for any thoughts or input you have! I don’t have an Ikea near me to see things in person, so it’s always a bit of a guessing game when I’m making a list for my annual road trip. 🙂

    • Deborah
      March 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Oh, thank you, I’m so glad you like it! The table top *can* be screwed down and has pre-drilled holes, but the trestle legs come with little rubber sticky nubs that keep the top from sliding around if it isn’t screwed in, so I’ve left mine loose and it works great. I can lean against it and everything, and only remember it’s not screwed down when I try to lift the edge to move the legs–and they’re not attached! Am sure you can use the trestles with the top you already have–and you can’t see it here, but there are small shelves on the trestles that I use for storage. Once has baskets with patterns and the other has a large wire basket where I toss scraps as I cut so they never get wasted! 🙂

      • Evelyn B.
        March 7, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        Oh, that’s brilliant! Thank you for clarifying — and those little shelves make me even more interested in the trestles. Happy sewing in your spring-cleaned, organized space!

  • aimee
    March 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    ah! this is so stinkin’ lovely!
    I’m working in our dining room, after I got flooded out of my amazing basement space. While I can’t dedicate my dining room specifically to my sewing, your little tips/tricks inspired me to figure out some new ways to work with the space. Thanks for sharing! Maybe I’ll get back in the basement soon too!

    • Deborah
      March 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Ack! I feel your pain. When our basement flooded in 2009, I was in the middle of writing my first book and pregnant with our fourth baby, and had to move everything upstairs to our (tiny) dining room where we ate supper every night. It was tough! You can totally get through it, and if you’re anywhere near an Ikea, they really do have inexpensive pieces that you can use in lots of different parts of your house after your basement is all better! Hang in there!!

      • aimee
        March 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        Ikea is like 1/2 of our house! When I knew that the dining room was going to be longer than temporary we made a 3 hour journey just to get some shelves and storage! Ikea saves the day over and over again!!

  • Cherie
    March 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Eeek! I am totally geeking out here! I love your space. It’s awesome!! Thank you for sharing.

    Ahem, now I want to know what sewing books your bookcases house. 🙂

    Your sewing space is truly inviting, and I loved every minute of the tour!!

    • Deborah
      March 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Ooh, thank you so much! I did a post (two houses ago) on my fave sewing books, which is a start:

      Obvs, there have been a lot more books since then, but it’s a peek into what I have on the shelf, at least! 🙂

  • Robyn
    March 8, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I love your sewing space. I enjoy peeking into other people’s crafting spaces. I have yet to set mine up to be decorated although it is mostly functional. Sturdy tables and shelves are what I desire. The closest Ikea to me is 2 hours away. So, I keep putting off a visit until I know that i am ready to purchase all that I want. By checking out others spaces (and reading the comments) I think I am able to design my space in my head. But, first I need to get the floors of my basement room covered so they are warmer. Your space is lovely and I have gotten some really good ideas. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Robin
    March 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    This room is amazing! I love everything about it! I miss having an Ikea so close! Perhaps I’ll have room in the van and can work in a visit there when I come to Atlanta in June!

  • Sewing Princess
    March 12, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Deborah, that room is great! Don’t feel bad about postponing the basement work. I have exactly the same issue with the attic. I am hoping to move back in by summer. I have the same cutting table as you do. And I am hoping my fabric organization will become as neat as yours! Thanks for sharing

  • Cheryl Arkison
    March 19, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Oh, a chandelier. Because, a chandelier.

    I would happily sew away with you in that space.

    • Deborah
      March 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Come over!! Super fun! And I so agree re: the chandelier. Someone asked me if I had considered taking it down, and I thought, For real? WHY WOULD I DO SUCH A THING?? It makes the space. Pulls the room together, like a good rug (which would be impractical with all the thread bits).

  • Penelope
    March 24, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    What a wonderful sewing room! Aloha from me and Mel of Singlehanded knits,

    • Deborah
      March 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Thank you so much!! Like so many other things about our homes, I think most of us never see a room as “finished,” but I feel so satisfied and content when I’m in this one–really helps keep me moving and turning ideas into finished projects! So glad you clicked over–hope you’ll stay a while and dig around! 🙂

  • Rebecca
    March 24, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Your sewing room is awesome! Really makes me want to learn to sew better! Aloha from me and Mel of Singlehanded Knits!!

    • Deborah
      March 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Oh, thank you so much!! And you should totally do more sewing!! Like knitting, I think it’s terrifically soothing and meditative, and I love that at the end, I feel more centered AND I have something to show for my time. I hope you’ll stay and play with me–so glad you clicked over! 🙂

  • Ruth
    March 27, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I am visiting from the Camp Aloha Friends link. Aloha from Mel and me. I love your studio. I feel as though I have gotten so many great ideas from just this post.
    I will be back!

    • Deborah
      March 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Oooh, thank you so much!! Love Mel, so glad she sent you to visit. Hope I see you at Camp! 🙂

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