|My Studio Today|
About three years ago, before I bought my Bernina 750 QE, my sewing room looked like this:
|My Former Sewing Dungeon|
- Insufficient Lighting. My workspace is a bonus room above our garage, and I have a vaulted ceiling that had NO lights except for four dinky light bulbs on a ceiling fan.
- Insufficient Power Supply. I did not have enough outlets, and when my iron cycled on and off, all of the lights dimmed.
- Serious Fabric Hoarding. I'm an interior designer, and over the years I had amassed way too many remnants of beautiful fabrics that I was never going to use, but couldn't bear to throw away. These bolts of fabric were leaning against every wall and threatening to crowd me out of my own room.
- No Design Wall. I couldn't tell whether I liked a quilt until AFTER I had sewn all of the blocks together because I had nowhere to lay them out.
- Inadequate, Barely Functional HV/AC. My studio is in a second-story bonus room above our garage, which is great because it's out of the way, but it was freezing cold in the winter and too hot to use the iron in the summer.
- No Storage for Quilting Stash, Embroidery Threads, Rulers, Embroidery Hoops, and Other Tools.
...And here's what it looked like when I emptied it of most of the clutter so it could be painted:
|Ready for Remodel!|
When we remodeled the room, the first thing I did was to have an HV/AC company redo the duct work of the entire second floor of our home, splitting it into two zones, and moving the thermostat from our master bedroom at the back of the house to the hallway adjacent to my studio. Now the heat or air conditioning, as the season dictates, cuts on more frequently and there is adequate airflow coming into the studio to actually heat and cool the room.
Next, my talented husband addressed my lighting and electrical issues for me. We ditched the ceiling fan (which just blew my fabric all over the place anyway) in favor of a customized Goth 6-light chandelier that was left over from remodeling my dining room. I spray painted it, changed out the amber crystals for smooth clear ones, and put on new white candle sleeves. Bernie installed four new can lights, a dedicated outlet for my iron, and in-ceiling speakers so I can rock out to whatever music tickles my fancy while I sew. All of the light bulbs in my studio are LEDs, by the way, for truer color, savings on electricity, and best of all, they don't create any additional heat when I'm working in here during the hot summer months. We painted the walls and ceiling a neutral ivory, a subtle but significant improvement over the builder's flat pinkish-ivory paint, and I had custom arched plantation shutters installed.
I donated most of my hoarded interior design fabric remnants to the costume department of our local community theatre, which freed up a lot of space in the room.
Then I started working on how to organize the tools and fabrics that I kept:
|Cutting and Planning Worktable with Maple Butcher Block Top|
|Room for Multi-Tasking|
I keep my scissors, rotary cutters, applique templates and marking supplies in those drawers.
|Rubber Drawer Liner Keeps Scissors, Rotary Cutters from Sliding Around|
As with good kitchen design, my goal is to store tools as close as possible to where I use them. That's just cheap rubber padding that goes under area rugs that I've used as drawer liners. It keeps my scissors and rotary cutting tools from sliding around, crashing together and getting nicked blades when I pull the drawers open and closed. The drawer base is several inches shorter than my cutting table, which gives me a handy place to store my smaller rotary cutting mat and my sewing machine's slide-on extension bed.
|Pegboard Storage for Rulers and Pattern Weights|
As you can see, I have additional wire bins at the back of my cutting table. On this side of the table, the bottom bin is full of embroidery stabilizers, bobbin thread, and other items I use for machine embroidery.
|Design Wall (Outlined in Blue)|
|Another Shot of the Design Wall|
Let's see -- what haven't I shown you yet? This is my current custom sewing cabinet, soon (hopefully!) to be rebuilt:
|Current Sewing Machine Cabinet, 28 1/2" x 73"|
The most important thing about the sewing cabinet, for me, is the large surface to support heavy quilts, and the ability to sink the machine into the cabinet:
|Machine Recessed into Sewing Cabinet|
I have another KraftMaid kitchen drawer base unit on the right side of my sewing machine cabinet that matches the one beneath my cutting table, and it houses my collection of needles, presser feet, and machine attachments:
|Presser Feet, Needles, Bobbins etc. Stored Within Easy Reach of the Sewing Machine|
|Sewing Thread Stored in the Sewing Machine Cabinet|
|My Primary Work Triangle: Sewing, Cutting, and Pressing|
Then on the other side of the room I have a TV (front corner of the room, wall mounted, not pictured), my computer, and other supplies that I use only occasionally:
|Anders at Mom's Computer Workstation|
I'm a pretty infrequent machine embroiderer, so I keep my embroidery threads stored in a shelving unit against the far wall, in clear plastic storage bins to keep the dust off, all in numerical order so I can quickly locate the exact shade I'm looking for:
|Isacord Machine Embroidery Thread, Organized in Numerical Order|
The binders on the top shelf are collections of magazine articles, patterns, and class notes on different topics: Quilting Projects and Techniques, Free-Motion Quilting, Machine Embroidery, etc. I also keep my machine and software mastery workbooks in binders on that shelf, back issues of magazines in the cardboard magazine holders, and supplies for hand embroidery and beadwork. WIPs (Works In Progress) occupy the remaining shelves.
|Featherweights, Hand Quilting Supplies, and Reference Books|
Well, I didn't mean to go on and on like this forever, but I think I did a decent job of showing you my studio setup. I still consider it a work in progress rather than a done deal, but I kind of got bored of it and wanted to start sewing again! I know that I am very fortunate to have a large studio dedicated to my sewing and quilting projects. It's wonderful to be able to leave everything out and know that even if I only have ten minutes to spare, I can come in here and pick up right where I left off and sew for ten minutes.
I'm linking up with Amy's studio linky party. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Lovely studio. I think they are always a work in progress as we acquire new stuff and change our interests and priorities.
looks wonderful, big room would like to have more space for myself!
Whaww! I am jealous! Wat a beautiful working space! I have one tabel 75x175 and a ironing board. And a few cuberts and draws. Which you a good sewing time in your new sewing studio!
What a great post, full of clever and practical ideas. I wish you could help me with my space! Only an interior designer would chose such wonderful surfaces: granite, maple, etc and have chandelier lighting! What a joyful, beautiful space.
I am sew jealous!
Karen, Marie, and Jenny -- The irony, of course, is that you all produce many more quilts, all of them much, MUCH better than mine, in your workspaces! Maybe if I spent more time quilting instead of decorating my studio... Hah!
Fabulous! Look at all that space! I'm glad you got the electrical and hv/AC issues straightened out since what good is a great space if it's uncomfortable. Plenty of room for visitors too.
Wow! Great space, wonderful layout. I prefer studio spaces being used, not so cleaned up you can't tell what the main interest is.
Holy Mackerel - what a huge difference between the before and after! Rebecca your studio is a dream space! I love so many things you've thought out in such a well organized way. Right off the bat, I'm going to line my drawers so things don't slide around. Simple and effective - I love that. My favorite part is the all the glorious light in your space, both the natural kind and the electric. I also love that there are places for your kiddos to hang out. A beautiful tour - thank you for sharing!
Very nice space...enjoyed getting to see it!
Love it! I have the bonus room heating and cooling issues too. I wonder why builders don’t think they need insulation??? Yeesh. Next project is to repaint the pale green walls (what was I thinking!) to white. :-)
Oh my what great space now. What freedom to be creative in. Love it
Such a large space. The chandelier makes it look very elegant.
What a fabulous creative space. I love how you apologise for the mess, you can't even see the carpet in mine at the moment. I really need a good day in there to clean it up
Drooling. --Say what do you think about the cost/benefit of having someone make a custom sewing cabinet vs. buying a Horn or Koala?
wrighax, it depends on whether you have a dedicated studio space where you can have everything out at once, like I do, or whether your studio shares space with some other function in your home, like if it's a corner of the family room or in a guest bedroom. The primary benefit of Horn, Koala, etc. is how they fold up completely when you want to put your hobby away and use the room for a different purpose. However, in order for those cabinets to fold up, they have a lot of wasted space beneath the sewing surface. If you know you will have your sewing cabinet set up all the time, and you get a Koala or a Horn, you could always slide your own storage bins behind and beneath the sewing cabinet to use some of that wasted space. But cost-wise, you can probably get something MUCH nicer for the same money or less if you have it custom made for you. Consider: you get order two kitchen base cabinets in stock sizes for $500 each. Then you really splurge and add a granite countertop for $1000 and a lift mechanism for a couple hundred dollars. You now have a SPECTACULAR custom sewing cabinet for less than $2500. I think the Koalas are going for around $2800 now, and they are not made of wood that is as solid or as nice as kitchen cabinets are. Of course if you use a laminate countertop material and base units that are in stock at Home Depot or from Ikea or something like that, you could probably come up with a great sewing cabinet for a third of what the name brand sewing cabinets cost.
Looks great. I love the pops of red.
Rebecca, you are such a kind, helpful and wise leader of our Bernina 7 group that you DESERVE this beautiful sewing room!!!!
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