Setting Up Your Sewing Area

Sewing is Fun -- Let's Make It Happen!

Sewing is such a pleasurable activity! Shopping for and choosing all the proper tools and neat little notions to use is fun. Setting up and arranging all your sewing things in your proper little sewing area is a major step towards producing those clothes and toys and gifts you've dreamed of stitching up.

But, of course, first you must decide where to set up your new 'sewing studio'. This is an important decision which must be limited by what is available. But don't be sad -- perfectly wonderful things can be produced in a less than ideal sewing space!

The Ideal Sewing Room -- What to Shoot For!

It's hard to hit the target if you don't know what the target looks like. In short, the ideal sewing room is the one that has what you want and what you need in a place that works for you.

One seamstress will want lots of room for books, while another will want a place for her computer. Another stitcher will be looking for windows that let in lots of light and fresh air, while another will prefer lots of task lighting and overhead lighting with full-spectrum bulbs.

One sewer will only have a portable sewing machine, a lamp and an iron to plug in, while another will want more outlets for his serger, his ironing press, his television, and a coffeepot, as well as running water close by for making his coffee!

Other things to consider might include:

  • The safety of younger children -- they should be kept away from pins and needles and hot irons, although you may want to be able to see and communicate with them.
  • The temperature of the area -- an enclosed porch with ceiling fans may be dreamy during the hot summer months, but may be lacking in comfort in the cold winter months.
  • The traffic pattern -- if the room is heavily travelled during the times you want to sew, it may not be convenient for you or your family.
  • The relative ease of moving into it -- if it's on the third floor, up a narrow, twisting staircase, getting your equipment up there may be a tremendous challenge.
  • The ideal spot would be a room with space for a sewing and pressing area, a pattern layout and cutting area, and a storage area.

For me, abundant windows for natural light combined with plenty of electrical outlets for various pieces of sewing equipment would make my fantasy studio the perfect place for me to practice creativity. Furnished with the nicest of sewing furniture, plus a cushy wingback chair with tea service on the chairside table, this is the place to be!

Unfortunately, all too often in real life, the available space is a corner of the dining room table between meals. If that's what you have, don't give up; let's make the best of the situation!

Facing Reality with a Smile!

First, let's see what your situation is. Take a leisurely stroll through your place. If it's a one-room apartment, it won't take long, but if you have multiple rooms, walk into each with a notepad and pen in your hands.

List the ways you and your family use each room. Is it over-utilized, under-utilized or pleasantly just-right -- how would you rank how busy this room is? Make a note of this ranking.

Next, ask yourself if there is any major and obvious reason this room, or part of it, cannot be used for sewing -- I've got to tell you that if I tried to convert my kitchen into a sewing studio, there would be a family revolution of immense proportions to deal with! If there is such a reason, write that down too. Then, before you leave the room, make a note about how many electrical outlets are available and where they are located.

Continue on throughout your beloved home, making similar notes on each room. As a last precaution, peek out the windows to see if anyone has dropped a cute little studio-to-be with power, heat and running water in your yard. No? Okay, let's go sit somewhere comfortable and mull this over.

Using your notepad and pen, make a list of those things that are important to you in a sewing area. Do you prefer to be able to shut the door on the mess and leave things out until they're finished? Or do you like to be in the thick of family life, so you can chat and keep an eye on things? Do you require a view to the outside to keep you rested and inspired? Or is that too distracting? Also make a note if one room really appeals to you, but there are reasons it won't work, as far as you can tell.

Okay, now that we have the facts written down, I'll show you how to use a neat decision-making tool, called a Decision Grid, to help you figure out the best place for your sewing space. Don't worry, we'll take it slow, moving through the process step-by-step.

Also, note that while this process is very helpful in bringing the facts into a helpful written form, there is nothing that says that what you want cannot be considered! If all the facts line up with your setting up your sewing space in the laundry room but you don't want to put your sewing space in there, you don't have to! But the Decision Grid is a good place to start and should help you to think through the decision-making process.