The weekend’s back, which means I’m veering from the daily sewing musings to talk about my house. I had intended to post Part II of how to build a windowseat out of Ikea things to keep your basset hound from sitting on the kitchen table this weekend, but I’m so excited about my new sewing spot that I just can’t wait! Perhaps we’ll get back to the windowseat tomorrow!

So, without further ado, here it is! My very own spot for sewing!!

[a partial room of one’s own]



This sewing space has been coming for a while, now. We are lucky enough to have our own home, but it’s relatively small – 2 bedrooms, an unfinished basement, less than 900 SF. Typical south Minneapolis ranch house with tuck under garage. Mr. Bug and I both like things to be neat, tidy, hidden away. A trip to Ikea for organizational accessories and Swedish meatballs is a pretty hot date for us! So, not surprisingly, my sewing hobby has caused a little contention over the last few months. I’m always in the middle of a project and even though I like things tidy, I care a little less when it’s my mess. That I’m using.

Here’s how I worked before. First, I co-opted a corner of the counter in the kitchen (OK, half the counterspace in the kitchen) with my workbasket, piles of materials and pattern pieces, which I like to keep out for reference when I’m working on something (I hate marking cut material and always have to refer back to the patterns.) Sewing machine on table, with even more sewing stuff all over the place. Like this…

[sewing hurricane]

Lately, it seems like the only time I ‘clear’ the kitchen table (put the sewing machine on one of the chairs) is to cut fabric!

I’ve been setting up the ironing board in the living room. I do a lot of my pattern alterations in the living room on the ironing board. I inevitably end up piling things on the loveseat while I’m working. It’s not quite as bad as the mess in the kitchen – but it’s hard to sweep! (A daily basset-hound-induced occurrence…)

[living room sewing annex]

We’ve talked about what to do about the sewing mess over the last few weeks. One idea was to set up in the basement. But it’s cold down there, and more importantly, as much as I wanted a dedicated (out of sight) place, we like hanging out with each other in the evening, and I hated the the idea of being down in the basement (the COLD basement) in the evenings, out of earshot from Mr. Bug! I briefly campaigned for a complete switchover of our guest bedroom to a sewing room (I believe a futon idea was dangled…), but we like to have space for our guests! We ultimately decided to see if we could find something that wasn’t super sewing-room looking to replace a not-very-well utilized sideboard in the guestroom that was just a landing place for unused stuff and game storage. Here’s how it looked before…

[paper products were recent additions from a Target-shopping trip!]

We decided to get the Liatorp desk from Ikea. It was a little on the pricey side, but we thought it looked like our style, it was nice and big, with a sewing machine hidey-hole and when we finish my dream-remodel of our basement and I have a REAL sewing space in our new family room, this desk will be useful for something other than sewing!

Here are the details – on the left side***, there’s a nice sewing machine den. On the top shelf I have a basket for my current project stuff…

**Also pictured, a little birdhouse left over from wedding stuff. Clothespin hot-glued on the back. Good for holding notes, pattern pieces, etc.
*NOT pictured – our cordless hand vacuum is mounted to the wall right next to the desk! Cordless hand vacs are an AWESOME sewing accessory!

[A perfect fit for the sewing machine! And a place to hide current projects out of sight]

One of my favorite parts of the new sewing corner is that I was able to put the cute little white cabinet (a Christmas gift from Mr. Bug) to great use! I mounted on the wall, and used my coffee can collection**, a glass jar I already had and two snappy-top glass jars to store notions close to my workspace, but off the surface of the desk. Top row, left to right, I have zippers, loose buttons and elastic and horsehair braid. Bottom row, left to right, I have trim, bias tape and hem lace (still in the packages) and buttons on cards. I tried to use glass jars for the cute things, both for the cute factor, as well as to make it easy to see what I have. If I don’t see it, I don’t use it.

**The coffee can with the ribbon was a wedding-leftover. I’m not that cute that I wrapped the coffee can specially for the photo shoot.

[my coffee can collection. I’m very proud]

On the desktop, I have all of my pattern-draft sharpies, rotary cutter, scissors, ruler, tracing wheel and pinking shears out and easy to grab! I found the awesome blue jars at an antique shop (love the color!) and put thread for current projects in one and kept the little one for a table top garbage can (snipping threads) – I usually use a coffee mug! The little white birdhouse is leftover from my wedding – there’s a clothespin glued to the back and I have it there to clip the power cord and foot pedal cord so they don’t slide down to the floor when I disconnect from the machine. I’m not sure if it’s visible, but Ike also had clear plastic desk mats for a few dollars, so I have that to go under the machine. And the little red sewing machine was my mom’s – she played with it when she was a little girl. It works! And I love that it’s red, but it may go back to live in my nook (more on that below), because I have a feeling it’s going to bug me and be in the way!

[mom’s toy sewing machine!]

The top middle drawer isn’t the most useful, but it’s a good spot to stash my current pattern, some tape and notepaper. And my label maker!

[I my label-maker]

On the right side, I found some wonderful magazine baskets at Michael’s for a super deal – they fit well and make everything more accessible! I have interfacing, my tailor’s ham, patterns and a few other things in the baskets. I’m sure they’ll fill right up. The little white box is my handsewing box – my pincushion, all my silk thread, thimble, small scissors and thread ripper live in that box. The coffee can is sewing machine supplies – oil and needles.

[more storage!]
[A perfect basket! And black fur cuffs I got at an antique store, just waiting for the perfect project…]

We also got a little set of hooks to store current projects. Here’s the Lady Grey in all it’s washed out muslin, scratchy glory….

[So sad.]
Of course, since this isn’t a full-blown sewing room, I still have a lot of storage in other places. As I posted last week, I keep the fabric for current planned projects in the china cabinet in our bedroom. I refinished
the china cabinet last year. It belonged to my grandmother, and I think she’d like the use I’m putting it to!
[current, upstairs stash]

I also have what we call the ‘nook’ in the basement. I basically built a clubhouse, taking a little 4 foot wide space, painting it and making a big curtain to add to the secret-garden feeling. All girls who see it love it. All boys get the hives. In the corner, I have a couple of Ikea Billy bookshelves with piles of fabric (nice and cleaned out due to our garage sale last weekend!) The white boxes hold things like shoulder pads, more interfacing, scrapbook materials (a very small stash) and jewelry making things.

[Christmas lights. Makes anything classier]
[The other end of the nook. Completely gratuitous photos. Not related to current post or sewing at all. Hound rump!]

In closing…

[sewing room disguised as guest room]

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