When I first designed my sewing space, I hadn’t lived in my new place long enough to know exactly what I needed. Over time, I started to see its potential for becoming more functional for my sewing. So, over the past month, I made changes that will hopefully streamline my workflow. My goal was to reduce the time it takes me to set up and break down, but also keep it “decorated.” When Lauren wrote about why she’s so fast, she cited this as one of the reasons. That and she is awesome at everything! So let me walk you through the mini redesign!
First up, closet number one (it was originally a closet that I turned into a workspace). I replaced the light blue desk with a white one. The reason was not related to workflow, but aesthetic. The blue desk was vintage while the floating shelves above it were modern. I liked them separately, but not together. I felt guilty for replacing the desk with an IKEA one, but after searching Craigslist, Etsy and Ebay for a white, sleek, modern desk, it was the most affordable option. Also, if I removed the shelves, I’d have to redo the wallpaper. There’s less storage space, but I bought a 1970s vintage sewing chair on Etsy to make up for it. The seat flips up to a compartment which is clean and stain-free. It’s wood and vinyl with no rips or tears. Total score!
I also added, eliminated and rearranged the items on the shelves. New are the Lladro porcelain figurines, which were my mother’s and I discovered while going through old boxes over the holidays. My dad had no idea about their value or worth. Also new is the 1954 Singer Featherweight. Well, it’s not new, but it sat in a box in my closet prior to this mini makeover. It works and I use it fairly often, so why keep it close by for when I want to take her for a ride?! Last is the addition of the lace curtains. I tried winning several pair on Ebay, but lost every time. So IKEA it was again.
To the next closet. This is where the biggest change occurred. I bought a clothing storage unit from Home Depot when I first moved and I hated it from day one. So, I took it out and replaced it with a chest of drawers that is waist height. On top will be a removable pressing board – there is currently a sheet of ¼” plywood, which I will wrap in cotton padding and drill. I also plan to order a custom cutting mat. So basically, the top of the drawers will be my work table. Above and beside it, I installed shelves where my temporary spray adhesive, Dharma Trading Company Acid Dyes (for nylon) and my iron sit. These are my most used tools when at the work table. Next to the vintage sewing chair, I’m most excited about the vintage metal box I also bought on Etsy. It has a total of 20 clear drawers with paper labels (which I left as is) so now, I can keep my elastics super organized! Gah! I love organization!
Just to note – what is hanging and in the drawers are all my clothes, including undies. I’ve written about how I used Sarai’s The Wardrobe Architect last year to develop a smaller, well edited closet and I’ve maintained it. I don’t have a lot of clothes, but I wear every piece. I dress a lot better with less options and I’m happier because of it.
I’m really happy with my new set up. I created a functional space that is still decorated. I feel slightly guilty for the IKEA purchases, but the vintage chair, Singer Featherweight and metal box offset the mass manufactured buys. At least that’s how I’m rationalizing it!
If you’re looking for a handy (wo)man in the Philadelphia area, email me and I’ll put you in touch with a woman who helped me plan/execute this mini redesign. She’s very good at knowing what drill bit, screws, paint, spackle, etc. and is willing to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s. Even with a small project like this, a lot can go wrong and if it weren’t for her, I probably would have gotten stuck mid project several times.
For fun, here is an image of my sewing space from when I was 18-years-old or so. I was living at home then, and took over my dads office. “You need to do work? Well, I need to sew!” Because it was located next to the front door, everyone would see me sew – visitors, friends, guests, etc. The kitchen was adjacent to it and my fondest memory is sewing at night with my dad watching TV across the way. Those were the good ole days!