Sew Organized: Designing Sewing And Craft Areas

Do you sew, quilt, stamp or craft? You know the problem! Seldom do so many create so much in such little space--and the stuff! 

Without proper design and organization, sewing and crafts areas quickly become clogged and unusable.

Save time, energy and frustration by designing an efficient sewing or crafts area for your special hobby. 

Whether it's a corner, a closet, or the luxury of a whole room, use these concepts to organize your favorite sewing spot:

Cut it out!

Save wear-and-tear on floors, furniture and your spouse: design your sewing or crafts area on paper, first.

Measure the available area's floor space, and chart it on gridded graph paper. Next, measure each piece of furniture or equipment. Whether a 60-by-24 inch sewing table, a 20-by-52 inch ironing board, or a 24-by-24 inch dress form, draw each item's footprint on another sheet of graph paper. Label each piece and cut it out.

To design on paper, juggle furniture on the chart of the room's floor space. Use the model to try out different layouts before you move one tiny yardstick. Can you place a table in the center of the room to serve as an island? What about using the ironing board to create an L-shaped work area? Be creative!

Mind your "T"s and "U"s

For efficient workspace design, remember the alphabet! Workspaces arranged in an L-, T-, or U-space function better than a single, straight-line surface. Cutting islands, ironing boards, or L-shaped desks all help create easy-to-use workspaces.

This T-shaped double workspace provides easy access to pressing tools from either sewing machine or serger workstation.

organize the sewing room

The ironing board is set level with the desktops, to allow construction pressing from a sitting position. Chairs with casters roll smoothly on plastic floor mats designed for office use. Put an end to the old up-and-down, up-and-down of construction pressing!

Find your center

Arrange sewing or crafting space with an eye to function by planning space as activity centers. To determine your centers, list each activity necessary to sew, quilt or craft. Someone who sews clothing might have the following list:

  • machine sewing
  • cutting
  • pressing
  • fitting
  • hand finishing

Each center requires a different constellation of tools, materials and supplies.

A machine sewing center, for example, needs a work surface, chair, sewing machine, thread, bobbins and feet, lighting, and visual access to pattern directions.

organize the sewing room

A cutting center includes cutting table, lighting, scissors and rotary cutters, rulers, and rotary cutting mat. Don't forget supplies for pattern alterations!

organize the sewing room

Pressing centers require iron and ironing surface as well as pressing tools, spray bottles and spray starch.

Fitting centers feature mirror, dress form, hem marker, pins and measuring tools.

Hand finishing is more pleasant with a comfortable, low-armed chair, lighting, needles, pins and thread, and measuring tools. An adjacent television, VCR or radio can speed hemming and mending chores.

organize the sewing room

Use activity centers to cluster materials and supplies as you design your sewing or crafts area. Even if centers overlap, staying "centered" creates a sewing or crafts room that's easy to use and maintain.

Keep storage to hand

The "center" concept applies to storage as well as workspace. Sewing machines and sergers call for manuals, thread, bobbins and specialty feet within reaching distance.

Keep pattern alteration tools like freezer paper, tape, and marking pens near the the cutting table.

organize the sewing room

Hand sewing centers work best when supplied with a basket holding scissors, pincushion, needles and gauge tools.

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