An important element in wildly successful sewing experiences is creating a space where you sew.
In a perfect world, you would be able to leave your sewing machine and other supplies out when you have to stop working on a project. For many, that just isn’t possible. So creativity may be important as you create a space where you will work on your sewing projects.
Note: This post is part of a series called Get Ready to Sew! This series is intended for people who are either new to sewing or are getting back into sewing. It is intended to help you prepare for wildly successful sewing experiences.
Your Sewing Space
The sewing space you create for yourself will depend on two things:
1. Available Space in Your Home
If there is a room in your home that you can dedicate to sewing, or at least leave your sewing machine and supplies out when you aren’t working on a project, that is where you want to create your sewing space.
However, if all the rooms in your home already have a dedicated use, you will need to determine where you will create your pop-up sewing space. This is a space where you can set up and take down your sewing machine and supplies without a lot of hassle.
2. Time Spent on Sewing
The time you spend on sewing will depend on what else is going on in your life. You may be able to sew every day, once or twice a week in the evenings, or every other weekend. Chances are the time you spend on sewing will vary from week to week and project to project.
Keep in mind how much time you can dedicate to sewing as you figure out where the best place in your home would be to create your pop-up sewing space.
If you’re able to sew several times a week, consider finding a spot in the corner of a room where you can set up your machine and supplies and leave it all out as you work on a project. You’ll enjoy sewing so much more if you don’t have to set up your sewing area everytime you want to sew.
Will you be a weekend sewer? Maybe the kitchen table is where you can create your pop-up sewing space. You set it up for a couple of days then put everything away during the week.
Sewing Space Zones
Whether you’re able to create a permanent sewing space or you’ll need to create a pop-up one, there are four zones you need to have:
Sewing tends to involve a constant flow of movement from one zone to another.
The ideal sewing space would have these four zones all in one area. If the zones end up being in different parts of your home, you’ll be doing a lot of walking to get from one zone to another. (Which is great if you’re counting steps, but not so much for sewing projects.)
The Cutting Zone
The Cutting Zone is the place where you’ll lay out fabric and pattern pieces, cut fabric, etc. It needs to be a space with a flat, smooth surface where you can spread out fabric, pin pattern pieces, cut fabric, and lay projects out as you pin pieces together and construct your project.
A kitchen table works well for this as does a 6-foot utility table. Recently I realized I could use bed risers to lift the kitchen table up high enough so I didn’t have to bend over and end up with an aching back. (I wish I had done this years ago!)
The Sewing Zone
Your sewing machine will go in this zone. Make sure there is an electrical outlet near your sewing machine so it is easy to plug your machine in.
Lighting is also important as you determine the best place to put your machine. Consider the time of day when you will be sewing. If you will sew during the day is there a window where you would benefit from natural sunlight? If you will sew in the evening, you will need a lamp or overhead light that illuminates the zone.
There should be enough room on your sewing table to hold, at a minimum, pins and a pair of scissors. In addition. there should be room on the left side and behind your sewing machine to support the fabric as you sew.
The chair you sit in as you sew should be comfortable and allow you to move freely. A chair without arms works well as a sewing chair.
A trash can or some type of container for scraps and threads is beneficial in the Sewing Zone. Throwing these away as you sew makes clean up quick when you finish with a project or need to break down your sewing space.
The Pressing Zone
It is important to press as you sew on many projects. Pressing helps set stitches, flattens seams, and elevates the overall appearance of finished projects.
You need a board and an iron in the Pressing Zone. This could be a full sized ironing board and iron if your project consists of long seams and larger pieces of fabric. You could also use a small board and travel-size iron if you are working with smaller pieces of fabric.
The Pressing Zone should be located near the Sewing Zone because you will be going back and forth between them as you work on your project.
The Storage Zone
The items in the Storage Zone include a variety of different items. In a perfect world, all of your sewing supplies would be stored in the same location. That is not always possible. Depending on your home and the amount of sewing stuff you have, your Storage Zone may need to be located in different places.
Storing Small Sewing Tools
If your sewing space needs to be a pop-up space, you want to store your frequently used tools in a sewing box or basket. This will allow you to keep your tools in one place for easy setup and breakdown of your space.
Storing Large Sewing Tools
Your sewing machine, ironing board, small pressing board, iron, and cutting mat may need to be stored if you don’t have a designated sewing space.
A closet or corner of a room works well for these items. Try to keep them all together if you can for easy setup and breakdown of your space.
Thread, interfacing, and trim are some of the supplies you may collect depending on the type of projects you sew. These can be stored in containers or on a closet shelf for easy access.
Storing Books and Patterns
Books and patterns are stored easily on a bookshelf.
Fabric can be folded or hung (if you have a lot of yardage) and stored in a chest of drawers or in a closet.
Storing Unfinished Projects
It is not uncommon to be working on multiple projects. You may find your self side-tracked by another project that catches your eye, get tired of something you are working on, or even find yourself frustrated by the construction of an item and need to take a break from it.
Regardless of the reason, you will need a plan for storing unfinished projects. Bins, baskets, drawers, bags are all good options. It is a good idea to store any of the notions and supplies you bought to complete the project with it. That way when you are ready to sew on it again, you won’t need to hunt and find everything.
My Sewing Space
For almost 25 years I had a semi-permanent pop-up sewing space. I could leave my sewing stuff our for a week or two but would always need to get it cleaned up for one reason or another.
Many times I used the kitchen table for Cutting and Sewing Zones. The layout of the houses we lived in over the years were open floor plans. So, when my son and husband were in the living room and I was sewing, we were all together even if we were doing different things.
My husband ironed all of our clothes in the living room while he watched TV. He would leave the ironing board and iron out when I was working on a sewing project. They were set up near the kitchen, so my Pressing Zone was near my Cutting and Sewing Zones.
My Storage Zone for several years consisted of a sewing basket that held small sewing tools and supplies. A portion of our hall closet held fabric and other supplies I wanted and needed for future projects.
When I wasn’t sewing, my machine and large supplies were stored in the spare bedroom/office. The ironing board and iron were kept in the laundry room.
Throughout the years, the number of notions and sewing supplies I have has increased as has my fabric stash. When we moved into the house we live in now in 2008, we attended a local auction and bought a great piece of furniture…an armoire with 4 doors! It was in excellent condition and allowed me to store almost all of my fabric and sewing supplies in one place.
In October of 2018, my 24-year-old son moved to California and I created a sewing space in his bedroom. I now have everything in one place and can leave projects out as long as I want.
The only thing I can’t do is layout large pieces of fabric. I still use my kitchen table (with the risers) because it is the largest flat surface in our home.
Creating Your Sewing Space
Consider the space available in your home as well as how much time you will be able to spend on sewing.
Think about where you will be creating your sewing space. Will your sewing space be permanently set up or will it be a pop-up space?
Your sewing space will need to have four zones:
- the Cutting Zone
- the Sewing Zone
- the Pressing Zone
- the Storage Zone
Sewing tends to involve a constant flow of movement from one zone to another. The ideal sewing space would have these four zones all in one area.
Your sewing space will grow and evolve as your sewing skills improve. Sewing is a lot of fun, and your sewing space is a key player in having wildly successful sewing experiences.
Hello, I'm Nicki!
I'm a fabric lover who believes in the necessity of having a creative outlet. My goal is to educate and inspire others in sewing-related projects that are fun, functional, or both. Sign up to receive notice when new posts have been published.