Saturday, March 16, 2013

Upgrading the Sewing Space

It is time to rearrange the room now that I've had a few months to discover how I like things.
Previously, my sewing room was arranged this way:
  1. My cutting table was up against the wall, and it really needed to be out in the middle like the pressing table. 
  2. Cutting table a was still a bit too short.
  3. My Arrow Gidget I sewing table needed to be bigger to catch the piecing, and later the quilting.
  4. No storage for fabric
  5. Closet full of other junk!
  6. Ott light on sewing table is behind the sewing space and I need it in front, but there is no space.
  7. Ott light on long stand is trapped behind cutting table and doesn't light the cutting space.

Here is the new arrangement:
I really wanted to get a new cutting table.  This current one, as noted in a previous post, is a folding table, with the middle having a hump, and then gap. I hunted all over the web and stores and then decided that spending a bunch of money on another table, even $100 on a Lifetime adjustable height folding table that didn't fold in the middle was foolish. I'd rather spend it on fabric for now.

I turned my sewing table to the side and added a small 4'x2' $35 Lifetime adjustable height table from Costco. It sits at the same height as my sewing table and gives me that extra room for fabric. Now, the fabric doesn't pull from behind my needle. At the beginning of the book our projects were simple piecing and they didn't pull as they fell behind the table.  I think the extra table makes a big difference now that we've gotten to chain sewing larger strips. 

I moved the ironing table to the space my cutting table was.  I didn't need access all the way around an ironing table. Since the ironing board is adjustable in its height, I can move it to the left of the sewing tables once I start quilting and it will make for a nice space to my left.  I think I'd rather have the ironing board behind my sewing table, but I didn't quite have room on the wall without moving the design board.

I did want space to walk around the cutting table.  Sometimes the light is better if I stand on the closet side of the table and look toward the window. My shadow doesn't obstruct the natural light that way. But if I'm just doing quick things, it is easy to approach from the ironing board or sewing table on this side.

I cleaned out the closet and have some storage space for things inside, and I even have room for a few scrap and fabric bins under the cutting table. They are on wheels, so I can move them around easily. There are more inside the closet.

I turned the wooden blocks up to the tallest side under the table, and now it is at the perfect height for me!  I'm 5'7" and needed it at about 36" high. I just make sure that my cutting mat is on the left side of the hump and my fabric and books are on the right side.  Since I don't feel squished against the wall, I haven't had any problems with my "issue" of the gap. I just need to be careful not to bump the table, as I'm a little worried it will fall off the boards or the blocks will get knocked over.

The long bendable Ott light used to be stuck behind the cutting table and I really didn't feel it was doing much. Now, I have it right next to the cutting table when cutting, and then wheel it over next to the sewing machine when sewing!  It will even reach the ironing table from the same plug in!  I was trying to figure out the best lighting for my machine and all the lighting seemed too expensive for what it was.  Turns out I had the best solution right here all the time. I just needed to rearrange to discover it.

The only problem I've had with this arrangement is getting pictures of projects on my design board. I have to stand off to the side, and can't get a good straight on picture.  I wish the table was more moveable! Some day, I'll get that adjustable height table so I won't need blocks any more :) Until then, you'll know why my design board shots do not include the bottom row or are from the side with a table corner in the shot :)

Just by rearranging the room and adding a small table I think the space is much better suited to the use of the room. I have to be more careful moving around because it is a bit tight, but I LIKE it! And, it is still easily converted back to a guest room when needed :)

Just for fun, I found a picture of my dh making the ironing table for me! This was last summer when it was warm and the grass was green! 

I really didn't like the shape of the regular one with the pointy nose. It was hard to press a yard of fabric without having to constantly move it around.
This was the stage where he used my real ironing board to measure for the boards underneath in order to keep the quilting board from sliding around or falling off. Three sides of the board are nice and tight. It easily lifts off if I want to store it, or use my regular board.  I covered the plywood with the Bonash cover, and I had a wonderful custom quilting ironing board!


  1. I love, love, love your sewing room. Things to die for:) design wall, hard flooring, cutting table open on both sides. My room is much too small for a design wall or having the table accessible on both sides. You did great in adjusting your space. Hubby did a great job with your ironing board. My daughter gave me a Big Board for Mother's Day one year. One of my favorite gifts. Looking forward to seeing the Double Irish Chain Baby Quilt. Thanks for mentioning the errors. I have not done that project yet. My book was from the original printing and has a lot of errors. I have corrected many, but I should check the published website again and make notations in my book. Thanks for sharing your progress. It is an inspiration. I have been rereading my my Heirloom Machine Quilting. Maybe I will give it another try.

    1. Thank you Sandra! I have really been enjoying my space. It is something I would have never expected to have. What type of space do you have for your sewing? It sounds like you do plenty of it, so you must have a decent space.

      I'm glad you got a Big Board. Isn't it just wonderful to iron on compared to a tiny regular one?

      My edition of QA has not been full of errors and I was really surprised to come across this one. Maybe there haven't been as many people reaching the end to report them?

      I would think you would be encouraged enough to make a go of the quilting after reading the Heirloom Machine Quilting. It seems detailed enough to offer expertise and confidence to at least start small. I plan on making up some smaller squares to sample some of the techniques and then, thankfully, our quilts are on the smaller side so I won't have to wrestle something too terribly difficult to maneuver. Let me know how you do!

    2. Oh, I was wondering what web site you get the errata from?

  2. I have not been able to find the errata page for Quilter's Academy. I sent an e mail to C&T Publishing. Will let you know. My room is about 11x11. I have all the things you mentioned + some bookcases. It is quite cozy a 1 person space :). I do love having a room, so I am not complaining. We have explored ways to give me more room, but our house is very small, so it does not look promising. Not sure when it will happen, but I am looking forward to replacing the carpet with hard flooring.

    1. I found the errata for v1! QA blog page has it buried in a post back in 2010. Not really accessible to one just looking. They did already have the errors for the number of strips mentioned there. Maybe you already have them noted then?

      Sandra! My room is only 11x11! It is tight and I have to be careful how I move around, but it's just me in that room too, so I don't mind. Maybe my tables are smaller than yours? Do you have 2 window walls? I'm glad that I only have 1 window even though it is on the corner of the house. The other bedroom has 2 windows and would have made it hard for a design board.

      Could you hang a flannel sheet on the closet doors or entry door for a "design board"? I have to have my closet door open for me to have room to stand on the one side of the table, but it works!

      You will LOVE the wood floor. I vacuum it up every few days and it is so easy and keeps it nice and clean. I spilled my needles on the floor last week and was so happy to wave my magnetic pin cushion over the floor and it picked them right up. I had them install the wood floor in that one bedroom when we bought the house anticipating it being used for my sewing room AND an allergy free room for my sister when she visits. It works perfect for both :)
      Hope you get yours soon.

  3. I must have found the info about the same time you did. They must have made additions to the errata after I made my corrections. Anyway, I am up to date now. I have the doors off my closet to get to my shelves I put in there. The only available wall space (I can't reach over my cutting table or sewing table) is the back of the door. I might try that. I probably should try graphing the room like Harriet suggests. Maybe later. Thanks for sharing your ideas and what works for you. I think I just have too much stuff.

    1. I tried graphing the room. All it told me was I should try it. It worked better to just move around the tables until it worked. Maybe your graphing skills will be better than mine. Good luck!