Updated: Feb 19, 2021
This month we're going to be talking all about sewing rooms!
So over the holiday break I had a chance to do a little beautification of my own sewing room and I've definitely had sewing room organization and design on my mind ever since!
This week will be all about Setting Up Your Sewing Space (doesn't have to be a sewing room!). Next will be how to organize your small tools, followed by organizing your projects and wrapping up with a tour of my own sewing room!
You can check out the video for it here:
First you need the Sewing Space!
Notice I didn't say "Sewing Room"! Currently I have about half of our walk up attic which is by far the biggest and nicest sewing space I've ever had! Before this I worked out of nearly every bedroom in our house, the corner of our dining room, and my kids playrooms. In previous apartments I had a closet and once just stored everything under a bed (I had a lot less stuff then!).
If you can, try to find a space where your machine can always be set up. It's a pain to pull everything out and get it all set up before you even can start the fun stuff. So if you have to do that every time you are less likely to sew. I know this is a bit of a luxury, but if you can leave everything out I highly recommend you do it!
So once you have the space figured out you need to know what to put in it...
5 Essential Items for Your Sewing Space
Work surface: This can be a table or the floor, just somewhere that you can spread out your fabric and patterns to work on them.
Ironing Area (check out this video all about ironing if you want more info on that!)
Power supply: access to an electrical outlet or multi-outlet cord
Why to Make it Comfy
This is so important and I know it sounds kind of funny, but I have students come in all the time and say that their shoulders hurt, their upper back is achey because they are bent over their machine or that kids aren't reaching the table or the foot pedal. Let's discuss some options to make your sewing space as comfortable as possible so you can sew for as long as possible!
It's All About the Table and the Chair
In an ideal world the height of the bed of your sewing machine would be even with the table top. If you've ever seen vintage sewing machine cabinets (you see it sometimes in modern machines too), the machine is set into the table like the photo below.
If you were to sit at your table and bend your arms to a 90degree angle they should be even with the bed of your machine. If the machine is any higher you have to scrunch your shoulders up for it to be even.
Now I don't worry about it if I'm just doing some regular sewing, but if I'm doing a bigger project like quilting or I'm going to spend a lot of hours there I actually like to lift myself up so my arms are more even.
So my solution to this is my.... daughter's booster seat! I know that seems really funny but if I sit on there but arms are now parallel to the floor (a good hydraulic chair will work too-- I have one of those now but didn't when I was filming!).
Now even when I lift my seat up my feet are still flat on the floor-- this is what you want so that you can press the pedal with control using your toe. But if your foot is dangling, whether you have short legs, a tall table or your setting up a sewing space for a smaller child, then you need to prop your foot up like this. Use whatever boxes you have laying around to get both feet to the right height. We do this all the time in the studio with our smaller kid students!
So with my seat raised and my feet propped up, my arms are parallel to the ground and my shoulders can relax.
But where do we put the machine?
You're probably thinking..... "In front of you Laura..." Well, yes, obvious answer but of course it's a bit more nuanced than that. We are so used to centering things in front of us, whether it's a computer, a plate, a book, etc that we do the same with a sewing machine. However, if you center it then you're actually going to be slightly twisting your body to the left towards the needle part of the machine.
Instead, justify the machine to the right so that the needle is directly in front of you. It feels weird but it you'll sew a straighter line and be more comfortable in the long run.
Get Set Up and Start Sewing!
I'd love to see your set up! Make sure to tag @hartfordstitch on Facebook and Instagram so I can see your creative spaces.
If you haven't already, check out the rest of the Sewing Room Series: