Tips and Tutorials Tuesday – Sewing Room Set Up for Maximum Efficiency

July 14, 2015

Welcome to Tips and Tutorials Tuesday!  I’m back after an unexpected two week hiatus.  I’ve been traveling with my family, which is no small feat with two eight year olds, a four year old and a two year old.  We’ve been on the move for 12 days so far, and stayed in three different locations.  So the kids are bouncing off the proverbial walls, and my husband and I are struggling to hold onto any semblance of a routine. I hope amid the chaos of overpacked suitcases, misplaced blankies and pacifiers, and new spaces to explore, that we are making priceless memories together.

I also hope that after my two week break there are some bloggers out there who have some fantastic new tutorials and ideas to link up below and share with you!

For my tip today, I’d like to share with you a change I made to my sewing space last year that has made an immense difference in my efficiency and the enjoyment of my work.

If you can see past the clutter in the photo below, you’ll notice that I have three tables set up in a U shape.  I sew to the right on my Janome 1600P, cut in the middle, and press on the left.  My swiveling office chair connects these three integral parts of the quilting process. I never have to get up to move from my cutting table to my sewing machine; and with a smooth, seated pivot, I’m at my pressing station, ready to set a seam.

2015-06-20 00.26.21

My friend Michelle made this change as she shifted my tables around to make room for both of us to sew.  At that moment, I didn’t realize just how much time it would save me every day.

I also like that by pulling out the large cutting table in the back, I can easily move around all sides of the table, which is particularly helpful when I trim and square up large quilts for customers.

I also have a second sewing machine (a Husqvarna) below the table that I keep set up with my walking foot, which I use quite often.  I keep all my large rulers just under the table, leaning against one of the legs.  These are other time saving techniques that I rely upon daily.

While we’re looking at my sewing space, I’ll go ahead and show you my main storage area (not as a tip, but as a no holds barred offering of truth).  I hope to rearrange the contents of my storage shelves within the next couple of months.  Right now, it’s what I lovingly refer to as organized chaos.

2015-06-20 00.27.20

But who am I kidding… imagine how much more efficient I would be if my stash was organized by color, neatly folded in the storage bins, and I knew exactly where each of my notions were the moment I needed them?  sigh. another goal for another day.

I do have one more small tip – in my small closet next to my overstuffed Ikea bookshelf, I use an over-the-door hanging shoe bag for storing some of my tools.  I forgot to snap a picture of it to share, but I will do so another time when I show you more before and after pictures of my sewing room organization project. I hope to add some labels to the individual shoe bags, or switch it out for a clear version so I can see all the goods more easily.

What are your time saving sewing room tips?  Please share them with me so I can make improvements!

If you have your own blog posts about tips or tutorials to share, please click the link below to enter!



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  • Reply RuthB July 14, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Looks very professional and efficient! Do you sit down when cutting?

  • Reply Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge July 14, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Though it’s contrary to the creative chaos that lives in a lot of quilters’ studios, I work at keeping my space organized. I generally do a quick tidy before and after sewing. It’s my way of using my small amount of studio time wisely. I have a small desk for cutting, sewing, and blogging, so I can’t let it pile up with stuff!

  • Reply Jen @ Faith and Fabric July 14, 2015 at 9:03 am

    We’re in the process of turning our guest room into a sewing room. The bed is pretty much unusable as it is now, as it’s covered in fabric. I can’t wait to finish the room up!

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  • Reply Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl July 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I think the U shape you have set up looks great. I don’t have that kind of space, so when I need it I will pull my ironing board up to be an extra desk extension for large quilts next to my sewing machine. Because ironing boards are adjustable, it has been my go-to extension for years! 🙂

  • Reply Sandra July 14, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Looks pretty efficient. I get up to cut and press which is good for me, to make me move around from time to time!

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  • Reply Lisa July 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Your space looks really well organized. My ironing board is in another room altogether so I consider it to be exercise when I use the iron. If I was quilting for my job I’d have to do something different but my space is smaller. I also have the problem of not being able to find things when I need them.I think the solution would be to actually put things away properly after I use them….but then I’m always working on several things at once. I also use an ironing board for an extension on my table for quilting. in my case I put it at the back of the table to stop the quilt weight from falling off.

  • Reply Sue July 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I love seeing other people’s set-ups! I like how you can pretty much reach everything from your chair. And those Ikea shelving units are so versatile. I have two of them!

  • Reply Mary May 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    How do I keep my sewing project from sliding off the table while I am sewing on it?? The end that is waiting to be sewn keeps slipping of.

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