I’m sitting in my (relatively) new apartment in Seattle, where the weather has decided to stage an unexpectedly clear blue day in the middle of the cloudy rainy season. If I look over my left shoulder I can see my quilt studio. It makes me so happy — I have a huge chunk of the apartment devoted to my hobby, and I want to show you what it looks like! I have a wonderful view over part of Puget Sound, just enough space to cut, press, sew, and store my stash, and lots of natural light. Welcome to my studio!
It’s a small space that opens off of the apartment’s main room. The cutting table acts as a room divider, and I can work easily from any of the four sides of the table. On the outer side (above), I keep a bar stool so I can sit down to do fiddly work.
The other side of the cutting table has shelves where I keep my current projects. I fold large quilt tops and store them in pillowcases, and I keep the backing, binding, and any other pieces in labeled plastic cases. I put smaller projects or groups of blocks right into the cases. You can also see my design wall in the photo above — it’s one of the best features of my studio, and I love it. It’s so convenient to have a large, permanent place to lay out blocks. The two blocks in this shot are from a hand appliqued quilt I’ve been working on slowly for years, called Simply Delicious by Piece O’ Cake Designs. The cutting table itself is from Ikea.
Next to the cutting table is our 40 gallon aquarium. We’re still in the process of setting it up, so it has a few plants but no fish as yet. All in good time!
My sewing table is against the window at the far side of the studio. It’s also from Ikea, as are the two chairs. I have one open space for handwork and one space for my machine, and I can easily clear the whole table when I need to quilt or sew something large. The drawer cabinet in the middle has a matching partner on the far left of the table (you can just see it under the plastic tub on the left), and most of my notions live in those two cabinets. I labeled the drawers because I kept forgetting what I’d put where.
The rest of my notions are stored in trays that I keep in two cubbies next to the desk:
My patterns are stored in those small binders; I bought the block-of-the-month kits for Simply Delicious, so each block’s pattern envelope also holds the fabric to make the fruit. That’s why that one quilt gets two binders all to itself.
My fabric stash isn’t in my studio space. There wasn’t any room, unless I wanted to give up my design wall (not a chance!). Plus, that room gets so much direct sunlight that I was worried the fabric would fade. Instead, I lined the entry hall with bookcases (Ikea again), wrapped my fabric neatly on Mini Bolts, and stored it there. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in to the apartment, and it always makes me smile when I get home. It’s completely out of the sun, too. There’s a good light in that hallway, so I can see what I’m choosing when I pull fabric for a project.
Any fabric that’s at least a quarter yard gets wrapped on a bolt. I use the smaller size for pieces that are a yard or less, and the larger card size for bigger pieces. It’s so easy to see what I have, pull out a couple, cut off what I need, and put them back. I just love it. Plus, I can see when my space is full, so I know I need to stop buying fabric and start using up what I have 🙂
For smaller scraps, I made a set of fabric baskets using the pattern in No Scrap Left Behind, choosing a single color for each box.
Any scraps that are smaller than a quarter yard go into the matching box, and when the box is full, I know it’s time to do some improv quilting in that color 🙂 I made boxes in blue, green, yellow, red, orange, pink, purple, brown, black, and white.
I also keep strings and selvedges in glass jars, and at the moment I’m showcasing my new Zuma fabric purchase in between them:
And of course I have a glass jar for my buttons:
I also keep my collection of quilting and sewing books on one of the shelves there too for easy access:
Even though the studio and the stash are at opposite ends of the apartment, they’re not that far apart. I think the separation helps me keep the shelves neat, since I take away what I need and then I can tidy it up before I bring it back. If the shelves were more convenient to the sewing area, I would probably tend to pile stuff on them rather than taking the time to put it away. Maybe the added pressure of having my stash be the first thing visitors see helps, too 😉
It’s been a work in progress… here’s a little taste of what my sewing space looked like in my old house (and before I invested in the Mini Bolts):
Quite the makeover! And I’m sure my husband is happy that he doesn’t have to eat dinner in my sewing space anymore, though he was always gracious about it. Or perhaps he was just resigned 😉
What does your sewing space look like? I’d love to see it — I’m always curious about how people organize their workspaces.