Monthly Archives: September 2011

More Sewing Studio / Office Changes!

Woohoo! It’s Friday, and I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am.  A nasty bug has been kicking my butt all week and I’m ready for some rest and relaxation.  There’s only two things between me and my couch, and those things are a) work and b) showing you the rest of the changes I’ve made to my sewing room.

First, in case you missed my updated sewing table area  in the last post:

Now for my updated  sewing storage wall:


Here’s a reminder of how it looked before:

To the cleaner looking after:

See how the theme from yesterday  continues?   I definitely needed to de-clutter that wall!

While I love the hat hooks that I invented, having that many hats on one wall ended up looking too busy.  So some hats went into the two perfectly good hat boxes perched on top of my computer desk.  I also had some space to put my newsboy caps (the perfect camouflage for a bad weekend hair day) on the top shelf of the desk.  See below.

Want to see how I created the window frame jewelry organizer?  Hop over here.

Very important sidenote:  I am thoroughly enjoying watching all of Melrose Place on Netflix.  It and 90210 are my favorite TV shows of all time.  Aside from Psych.

Second sidenote:  I added two fabric-covered clipboards to the wall by the desk.  One is for my ever-changing To-Do List, and the other is a place to clip all the shipping labels & receipts for Janery orders that need to be shipped out.

But back to the fabric storage wall (which also doubles as my dresser).

While I generally try to DIY my own upcycled storage containers, I bit the bullet a few months ago and ran to Target for more plastic storage bins.  Things weren’t staying organized until I did this.  Each container has a purpose & a label – small scraps, large scraps, oddly shaped scraps (yes, really), and then there are many bins for things like zippers or ribbons or works-in-progress. In fact, I added more large bins so that I could sort all the products-in-progress out by type.

Finally, I moved my Danish modern armchair back to the bedroom , because it was too clumsy to have it between the fabric wall and the sewing table.  But at the times when I just wanted to break from sewing and curl up and watch a movie or episode of Desperate Housewives, I had no where to sit.

One day I pulled two oversized pillows out of the guest room and threw them in the corner.  And just like that, the corner went from angular and unfriendly to totally cozy and welcoming!

That’s it for the studio changes.  Now it’s time to tackle that basement . . .

And if you missed yesterday’s updates, you can find them here.

Sewing Corner: Storage & Decor Updates

Have you ever noticed that the best, most useful and lovable spaces in your homes are the ones that have evolved over time? I certainly feel that way.   While it’s gratifying to collect inspiration and then execute a vision in one quick, dramatic before-and-after, the magazine-ready results may need to be tweaked after months of living with them.

Such was the case with my sewing studio/office/dressing room.   With three crucial functions all occurring in this little 10′ x 12′ space, ever inch of the space needs to work as efficiently as possible.

After about 8 months of really working in my studio, I learned that some of my “great storage ideas” just didn’t work as efficiently as I needed them to.

Take, for example, my sewing corner.  Here’s how it looked when I first put the space together last January:


And now:

Gosh, I think it’s a 100% improvement from January.

It’s funny, because at the time I put my sewing studio together, I was pretty pleased with the space.  But now that I see the “before” and “after” photos side-by-side, I am a bit horrified at how I decorated / laid the space out in January.

First off, I had to change the setup of the sewing table.  Often when I’m cutting large swaths of fabric, I need to get around both sides of the table – so having it in the corner was not ideal.

Aesthetically speaking, I think the biggest (and maybe best) change is the removal of the custom cork board, which I replaced with my first gallery wall for photos of family and friends.   Let me tell you – when I first posted about gallery walls I thought they were easy to arrange.  Now I know differently – it’s hard to arrange the frames so that they look casual and random yet balanced and artistic :)

I used mostly frames that I already had.  The two wood-grain bits are pieces of cork that I wrapped in Joel Dewberry fabric.  The large one holds  photo strips of me and Ryan (because I didn’t have a frame for them) and the small one will let me stick fabric labels on it when I need to remember to order more.

Oh – Why did I remove the cork board?  Because I found that I just covered it with clutter.

Next change: My shelves are now a bit less cluttered, yet still totally functional.

Another big improvement from a sewing & storage process is the addition of the large frame that serves as the thread holder.

I had to make this framed thread holder because my vintage jars were a cute pain in the ass!   I often had to dump them out to get to the spool I needed.   Do this 5 times an hour and you’ll want to throw that jar out the window.  (If you rarely sew, it’s probably not annoying.)

I hung it in place where my fabric-backed whiteboard was – because the whiteboard didn’t come in handy all that often. I learned that whatever I figured out on the whiteboard had to be copied into my notebook so I could save it.   After doing that a few times, I stopped using the whiteboard and stuck with my notebooks.

The same goes for your scissors and bobbins, so I created this setup on the end of the shelf closest to where I sit when I sew:

Over time I noticed that these three items always ended up on the windowsill right by where I sat when sewing:  my favorite scissors, my pincushion, and my bobbins.  So I drove some nails into the edge of the shelf, added a little hook for my fave scissors, and kept the space above empty for my pincushion.  Voila, totally useful storage that’s within reach whenever I need it.

There’s still one more change I’d like to make:  Now that I have a beautiful vintage and wooden pieces in the space, I’d like to replace my white table with an old wooden one.  I think it would add just a bit more warmth to that corner, while providing a slightly larger work space.

For the mean time, though, I’m really happy with how my sewing corner has evolved – just like the other corners of the room, which I’ll share tomorrow.

I don’t care what anyone else says – I think “real life” decorating really is an evolutionary process.

New-to-Me Sewing Studio Accessories

I’ve got a confession to make.  Over the past month or so I’ve been redecorating bits of my sewing studio – when I really should have been sewing holiday products for my shop instead!  But I just had to do it – I’ve found some sweet new accessories and after about 8 months of using the “new” space, I’d learned that some of my initial organization systems weren’t the most efficient.

I was going to share a big, long “reveal” post, but when I saw that Rhoda at Southern Hospitality was having her final Thrifty Treasures party of the year, I figured I’d use that as an excuse to let me fun, new-to-me finds show themselves off. :)

First up, this vintage fan, which I got from Just L for only $15!  And yes, it totally works!  At first I thought I’d re-paint it – I’ve seen all sorts of fun retro fans in bright bold colors.  But I grew to love its slightly rusty and well-worn patina just the way it was. And it fits in perfectly with my collection of vintage glass jars.

And speaking of glass jars, on the weekend when Ryan whisked me away to pop the question, I found a fun jar unlike any I already had.  It’s a very pale aqua-tinted glass, and the lid is actually two parts – the metal ring that screws on, and the awesome glass disk that sits below the ring.   The best part?  It was only $3.00!  (Yes, I know that’s not a total steal, but for a totally unique jar that I’ll use and love, it’s worth it to me.)

The side of the jar reads “Hill Farm Mason.”   It currently holds my fabric product labels.  But not on the floor, of course.  That was just for photo purposes.

For reasons I can’t explain, I’ve really fallen for these vintage canning jars.  I was trying to hold back on buying too many, but now that we’re planning a wedding, I may collect a few more to use as vases for all my table flowers, if I choose to have a local wedding and go the grow-your-own-wedding flowers route.  What a great excuse to go puttering around the countryside this fall, poking about in more antique and “junque” stores. :)

Be sure to check back tomorrow when I’m sharing more info on changes to the sewing space!  In the mean time, be sure to visit Rhoda and peek at all the other fabulous finds she and her readers have shared!