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Redesigning my sewing room!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In a few months, I’m going to be redesigning my home sewing studio so I’ve been analyzing my behavior when I embroider.  No psychologist required here! It’s very interesting what I’ve learned.  Since I have two sewing rooms – one at home and one in the office, I’ve found my behavior is different in each one.  Let’s take a look at each one and maybe you’ll help me design the best environment for productivity.

At the office, I never sit at my machines. I hoop at a cutting table then attach the hoop to the machine (set at a counter height) and press the start button.  There is no chair by the machine so I move back to my desk and return to office work.  It’s a rather efficient use of my time and energy and if I need to view what’s going on in the hoop, I just have to walk over there and take a peek without sitting down or bending over.

At home, it’s a different story.  I have my embroidery machine sitting on a traditional sewing machine table with a chair in front of it.  I noticed that I too often actually sit at the machine AFTER I attach the hoop and then, actually watch the machine stitch.  That’s a total waste of time in my book. I know, I know, sometimes you HAVE to babysit the machine to get through tricky steps but normally, you can press go and walk away.  So I’ve been training myself to hoop the fabric on the cutting table, walk to the machine, sit down, attach the hoop, press start, get up and move to another activity (there’s always more to do!).  But here’s the part I don’t like, when there’s a problem, I have to go to the machine, sit down so that I’m at hoop level, fix the problem and then move on.  It sure seems more efficient to have the machine at counter height.

What do you think about this?  Do you sit at your machine or stand? If you sit, would you prefer to stand?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

And one more thing, fabric storage.  Is your stash as unwieldy as mine?  Mine always seems to be a tumbling mess. I store my fabric in wire mesh baskets (hanging baskets) or stacked in a bookcase (sorted by color). I have an easier time of sorting my fabrics in the bookcase but the stacks tend to creep over one another (like melting crayons!). It’s colorful but not very tidy.  The baskets are just a mess. I know what’s on top (the latest find!) but who knows what’s buried underneath.  I wish I had small cubbies for folded fabric. How about you? What storage system do you use? What do you wish you had?

That’s a lot of questions for one blog post but I hope you’ll take the time to answer because I need some direction.  Leave your comment and you could win a Snap-Hoop this week.

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

We love monograms because you can immediately transform the look of a plain, ordinary blank with embroidered initials, cute words or phrases.  Just like fabric (and chocolate!) you can never have too many monogram designs in your stash to fit the occasion and the type of blank you want to embroider.  That’s why we are thrilled to offer this week’s contest.

Stop by the Embroidery Arts website, peruse the exquisite designs and tell us which monogram style is your favorite and what you would stitch using the designs. THREE random winners will be drawn among all the comments posted on the blog to win a Coupon Code valued at $39.95.  You’ll be able to buy a complete monogram set!

The three winners are:
1.  Gloria:  “I think that the Arabesque would be beautiful monogrammed on a handbag.”

2.  Ruth Robinson:  “I like the Alphabet monogram set. I have a new GREAT Grandson and see many things I could use that on for him!!”

3.  Pat Baker:  Love the Candlewick monogram, would use it on many things, like pillowcases and clothing

Congratulations to our winners!  We are so happy you’ll be able to put the monogram sets to good use!





  • Lori Woodward

    Right now my fabric is folded on shelves. This is great for just looking at the stack, but has not been practical for pulling put a fabric and putting it back neatly. Sme of the slightly smaller pieces get lost and shoved to the back! The smaller fat quarter sized pieces are folded in shoe box size boxes. My goal this summer is to better organize my fabric. I saw these boards on Pinterest that one lady uses to organize her stash. They come in 2 sizes to wrap either yardage or fat quarter sizes. Another lady made some out of cardboard boxes wrapped with the white side of cheap wrapping paper.

    • Judy Merchant

      I have 2 rooms, one has the large cutting table & industrial shelves for fabric, sorted by color & usage, such as for jacket or skirt vs. purses or quilts. Smaller pieces are on a smaller shelving unit in plastic containers labeled. Myribbons, serger threads are also in this space in smaller clear containers. I keep my stabilizers standing up in larger container on shelf. My large fusables for clothing & batting are in 2 separate larger containers, labeled & on the top shelf, which I don’t use often. In my actual sewing room, I have slelving units that were built into this bedroom when boys were home. They are 5 sections, 3 w/coors & 2 without & they have 2 shelves plus a formica top across the entire wall. I keep knits in one section, fleece in one, larger pieces for childrens clothing in another, etc. The 2 open ones, have baskets for small felt pieces & lace. On top of this, of course, is my TV w/ DVD & VCR for use in sewing lessons. My embroidery thread is in 3 Bernina enclosed thred holders, small book rack. My sewing machine & seger are in cabinet that has coner drawer. In middle of room, is my computer on cabinet On the back wall, I painted a peg board blue & have hooks for sewing accessories on it, a small 3 drawer cabinet along serger side that goes w/cabinet & then I have 3 2-drawer file cabinets which I keep patterns in sorted by women, kids various sizes (I have 11 grandchildren of all ages) & on top of that is small cabinet for workbenches w/my needles, etc. in them. My computer cabinet has shelf for a container to put all of my sewing machine feet. I rearranged this last year & really like it. I can get around everywhere to clean & see what I have.

      • Deb Bremer

        You are my husbands dream wife 🙂

    • suzan maxwell

      Hey Eileen… Well I wish you could see my Sewing Shop.. I own Monogram Madness! I recently re-designed my shop..My awesome husband built his dream Shop..which he deserved. In his shop he built me a temp.-controlled room,enclosed in his shop..then built me an attic on top of the enclosed I store my Merchandise.In my Shop he put together 4 Cubicles which hold storage cubbies I got from Big Lot The Storage boxes hold my fabric by patterns..AWESOME!! Hope this helps!! GOOD LUCK!!!! Love your BLOG!!

    • Laurene

      I put my stash into large, clear, plastic bins by color. One bin is for blue, one for green while smaller batches are grouped together. I put flannels and homespun in their own bin. It still means digging into the bin to find what I need, but at least I can stack them on top of each other, so they take up less space in our bedroom closet. Currently sit down to embroider but your counter-top sounds much more practical.

  • Debbie Collins

    I really like your idea of having the embroidery machine at counter-height; that makes so much sense. I do sit at mine and frequently watch it stitch, which I agree, can be a waste of time. Yet, as I watch it stitch, it never ceases to amaze me what technology can do.

    As for fabric storage – after looking around on the internet seeing so many ideas of how people stash their fabrics, I finally saw one that ‘clicked’ with me and I LOVE it! File drawers! I have a two photos on Pinterest; here’s link to their location:

    • NC Lawson

      Debbie, Your fabric storage is wonderful! Great idea.


      I have my fabric on shelves in a “no doors” closet. I can see what I have and I try to keep it neat. Smaller pieces are placed in lidded plastic containers labeled as to colors, e.g. Reds, orange, pink; blue/purple. Seems to work for me.

    • Terri Crawford

      I think work counter height is a great idea for embroidery, but would need to move it back to the regular height for sewing. I love the file cabinet idea, but I would need 5 sets of 4-drawer cabinets just to get started! I must say my sewing room sounds just like Eileen’s! For a minute I thought I had written that description:) I have a shelving unit with folded home dec fabric and one with plastic bins full of sorted fabrics. My linen cabinet is filled with plastic bins of sorted fabric and a dresser also has home dec trims and fabric for purses and all of my bias tape, etc. in the drawers. My hubby built shelving on three walls for bins full of threads, trims, specialty fabric and craft items. All I can say is I long for the perfect solution!

  • Sandi Cunningham

    I have my sewing room set up so that I am sitting at my sewing machine with a swivel/rolling chair. I have shelves wall mounted to the left side with my serger at the same height as my sewing machine, behind me is my ironing board. I also face the television which can also serve as my PC monitor and DVD player. I face my embroidery machine on the desk along the wall of dressers (storage) and sunny window! My walls have serger thread and all purpose threads in racks by color over the serger shelves and over the ironing board. Embroidery thread is wall-mounted in racks over the embroidery machine. The hall is lined with bookshelves which have baskets for storage, books and magazines, and fabric on bolts for quick view. The closet has embroidery blanks (clothes) on hangars, pre-washed fabric folded on hangars and clear storage bins on the floor with more fabric–sorted by fabric types. I keep all the fabric folded in the storage so I can easily spot color and pattern for projects, even remnants can be folded and put in baskets on edge, so I can see what I have. The closet has 2 rows of overhead wire shelves (no dusting) for batting, glue gun, baskets, etc. Over the closet is another wire shelving for display and doubles as a place to hang projects or steam them. The only other tip I give anyone is lighting, Lighting, LIGHTING! So helpful.

    • Sandi Cunningham

      …and I WISH I had a fancy sewing and embroidery machine. So, when my “ship comes in” with $10,000 extra, that’s what I am going to get! Oh and could I please have one of those lovely Koala or other perfect sewing room furniture sets to go with it.

  • Ellen Jordan

    Having the embroidery machine at counter height seems like terrific idea. You would need separate machine for just sewing and have the counter top machine strictly for embroidery. For fabric storage, I buy plastic shoebox size tubs that come with stackable lids and dedicate each one for a specific color family. Works grat for me.

  • Carol Jenks

    I have a 6′ table with two embroidery machines. I sit on a chair with rollers. To the left is a 3′ wide metal shelf with 4 shelves. I keep my fabric in clear plastic totes by color on these shelves. My cutting table is behind me against the other wall. I have a mini ironing board set up on one end of the cutting table. To the right of me I have 2 cabinets with doors which I keep extra supplies like precut fabrics, extra embroidery thread, extra stabilizers, etc. This works well for the space I have.

  • Jimmie Beth Schnoor

    I would pay someone $1000. to organize my sewing room.

    • Edna

      It could possibly take that much to buy the storage units, VBG!

      • Sandi Cunningham

        I bought 5 assemble yourself bookcases for under $25 each (sale!) and use baskets and bins instead of doors and drawers. I just keep a watch for sales on bins. Fabric work best for me (or fabric-lined wicker). I have also gotten some plastic storage 9-10″ high with 3 drawers for loose items. NOTE: Either anchor these bookcase to the wall or place very heavy items on the bottom so they do not tip. A strap is usually provided in the box.
        My mom had a built-in wall of shelves and because it was messy, she made a neutral curtain to hide everything (shirr on the rod using a sheet!).

  • Dolly D

    I sit and “babysit” my machine when it needs it and when it doesn’t, I move around doing other tasks. I have my fabrics all prewashed and folded, then stored in cabinets according to main color. I use a smaller rolling cabinet with colored drawers, where I store small pieces of fabric that I use for applique. When I am looking for a particular color of applique fabric I can go straight to that color drawer. I try to make my different areas as user-friendly as possible, such as storing my decorative and serger threads near serger, embroidery and sewing threads near those machines, etc.

  • Marian V

    I have 2 places I sew, one at home regular height and the quilt shop counter height. At the shop I can sew standing or sitting. I use a drafting chair and it works perfectly for me, with a small footstool under the counter to put my foot peddle on. My fabric is stored in a closet with lots of shelves, I mark the edges with the approximate length of the fabric and stack the fabric in the proper place, it makes it really easy when I know about what size I need I don’t have to hunt all threw my fabric of the right size and the little pieces don’t get lost. All the fabric is folded around a 6 inch ruler and marked with the yardage. I just slip out the ruler and I have a perfectly folded fabric, the small pieces I fold in half before placing them in the proper yardage area on the shelf. Fat quarters are stored in plastic shoe boxes, by color and batik vs non. Fabric that is for art quilts are stored in another tube as some of them are slippery. Dyed fabric has its own area. I will be setting up a new sewing room when I move in about 8 weeks so who knows what the arrangement will be then.

    • Marian V

      I also forgot to mention the serger lives at home along with the treadle machine. The APQS longarm lives at the shop.

  • Pamela Beeth

    It seems to me that the new-ish sewing furniture by a well-known manufacturer could be an answer. The furniture can be bought at three heights. I think the tallest set is comfortable for standing, yet there is a wheeled chair that is tall enough for one to sit in front of the machines. I have drooled over the furniture which I saw at at the International Quilt Show in Houston. I really liked the tallest arrangement the best because I could stand when needed as well as sit comfortably at a machine. The cabinet has a shelf for the machine foot that is at the correct ergonomic height even though the cabinet is tall. Also, there is more room below for storage and stuff.

  • Pamela Beeth

    It seems to me that the new-ish sewing furniture by a well-known manufacturer could be an answer. The furniture can be bought at three heights. I think the tallest set is comfortable for standing, yet there is a wheeled chair that is tall enough for one to sit in front of the machines. I have drooled over the furniture which I saw at the International Quilt Show in Houston. I really liked the tallest arrangement the best because I could stand when needed as well as sit comfortably at a machine. The cabinet has a low shelf for the machine foot that is at the correct ergonomic height even though the cabinet is tall. Also, there is more room below for storage and stuff.
    One more comment. I rearranged my sewing room several times until I found that I needed my machines in a rectangle around me in the middle of the room. I have the window beside me and not in front of me anymore. All the other stations are just outside this rectangle in the middle of the room. I love this arrangement. I hated facing the walls and couldn’t see what I was doing when facing the window. Now I’m the Queen, not the Slave in my Sewing Room!

  • gail

    Living in a mobile home, my space is very limited. I do not have a room specifically for crafting and storage, much as I would love one. What I do with my fabric (and yarn) is simply store it in stackable plastic bins. I mark on the outside what is inside; i.e cotton quilting fabric, heavyweight fabrics, felt, specialty. I do keep a little fabric basket by my machine with whatever fabric I plan to use on the next or current project.
    My embroidery machine is set up in what is called a tipout of the mobile home. It’s a tiny extension jutting out of the home with about an extra 36″ x 72″ alcove. It is in my kitchen so I have the kitchen table right behind me. I do sit down to embroider but I still multi-task. While I’m sitting I’m either doing paperwork at the table or knitting while my machine stitches. Add to this that I’m listening to an audiobook at the same time, it’s multi-tasking at it’s best.

  • Jill

    My embroidery machine is elevated at the same height as my elevated cutting table. I used a sturdy folding table and elevated it using ceramic flower pots turned up side down. I hoop on my cutting table and turn right to my embroidery machine. My regular sewing machine & serger are at regular desk height and use with a rolling chair. I have a bar height chair if I need to sit at the cutting table or embroidery machine but usually stand. It works for me. Fabric storage is another thing, never enough storage space.

  • Denise

    I have my 3 machines on an L-shaped desk, embroidery, serger, and sewing, with a swivel chair. This way I am more efficient. I hope all my embroidery at my cutting table since it is at counter height and easier to use. When my embroidery machine is going I’m either sewing, serging or cutting out my next project.
    On storage of fabric, if I have fabric/pattern for a certain project it is in a clear pouch or gal size ziplock baggie, stacked on wire shelves, makes it easier when I am ready for the next project and also for storing while working on the project. My scraps are also keep by project until I’m totally done with quilting/binding, then I give them a new home, either making a quilt for charity, or give them to someone else to make a quilt for charity. This way I don’t have to many scraps hanging around, if it’s a big piece it finds a home on my shelf for another rainy day project.

    • Jan

      I also have an L shaped table for my sewing machine, serger and embroidery machine. There is even left over room at the longest end of the L to place another embroidery machine if you want to do 2 projects at once. I have a swivel chair at the helm and drawere at the longest part of the L to reach for more needles or other equipment. No unnecessary moving around or wasted time.

  • Jean Boothe

    I have several machines and 2 cabinets. I prefer to sit at the machine while its embroidering but I’m always working on something else while the machine is stitching. I think it’s a matter of preference as to how busy you want to be. I have my embroidery machines at the machine cabinets and sergers on small tables. The machines I don’t use as often are not out. They are stored in their cases.
    I store my fabric by color but I have it in cabinets with closed doors so when it’s messy no one can see it but me.

  • Lisa Bilinski

    I like to place my stash in cubbys by color. Before I stack them I cut a 1-1/2″ square piece out. I attach them to a piece of cardstock noting which cubby they are stashed in. When I am choosing material for a project I use the samples to mix and match. When I have decided what I am using I know exactly where to find it. My stash stays much tidier as I am not digging through it.

  • Sherrie Lilly

    My sewing room looks like a bomb went off in it. It is small and crowded with 2 machines on 2 separate tables. I also have a queen size quilting frame with a 9″ harp machine. There is a counter high 18 x 60 ironing table. I usually am working on 3 or 4 projects and have not learned how to corral the materials for each (but I a working on it). I store my fabric in plastic tubs by color family. The fabric is wrapped around plastic organizers with the yardage marked. Slowly but surely it will get organized.

    • Deb Bremer

      JeeshI have 2 rooms and part of a dining area corner and it still looks like a bomb went off!

      • Sandi Cunningham

        hahaah! Deb, that reminds me of someone viewing the same catastrophe and exclaiming, “You’ve been robbed!” hahahah

  • Lillian Moser

    I have my machine and my serger in the corner on L-shaped cabinetry with my 10-needle between two windows. Love the light! And because my height is, well let’s say–below average, my 10-needle is just at the right height for me to stand. I do need help organizing my threads–not enough wall space! Do we ever have enough space?

  • Mary Ann

    http://[email protected] I just put together a sewing room in a spare bedroom. Perhaps these pictures will give you ideas for your space. Good luck!

    • Gail MacKinney

      Hi Mary Ann — I, too, am redoing a spare bedroom but I get an error message when I go to the url you have listed —


  • Marcie Bayhi

    I have a huge cutting table waist high in the middle of my room. On the right wall I have a Melco Amaya XTS 16 needle machine that is on a stand. I can sit or stand based on the machine height and mine. I’m height challenged! LOL

    On the left side of my cutting table I have a draft table with my sewing machine on it and a rolling draft stool so I can slide over to the cutting table. Works really well to cut, sew and slide across the table for embroidery.

    My cutting table is built like this: and I have the bins filled on both sides with supplies or fabric. I made one enhancement to the table. We added peg board on the back sides of the cubbies for extra storage. Makes a huge difference.

    When embroidering, I can do hooping, finish up hand work or stack and store the finished product so as to no waste any time.

    On my left wall I have an L-shaped desk, file cabinets, printer etc. It is the office space portion of my studio.

    The front wall faces the street and is almost all windows. I lose almost 100% of any sort of space to use. The back wall – doesn’t exist because the room has what I call an invisible wall and it flows to the breakfast nook that we don’t use. Once I get the table out of there, I may gain more wall space or I may create a wall.

    I take 10 minutes to clean up daily and put everything back where it belongs. The ONLY thing I leave out is the current project. All notions are stored, a quick pick up on all surfaces and floor to keep me wanting to go back.

  • Barbara Rowlan Wong

    My sewing room is large and highly unorganized. I’m enjoying reading about everyone’s rooms as I do need to make some changes.
    I have 3 tables, one with my serger, another with my regular sewing machine and the third one has my embroidery machine. All of my fabrics are in 3 drawer rolling cabinets and my threads are on racks on the walls.
    I have a cutting table where I also hoop. I always sit at the embroidery machine and watch in total fascination. I do take advantage of a long sewout and get up and move about the room now. I found that I sit entirely too much and my feet were beginning to swell so now I will need to change my habits. Having my embroidery machine at counter height sounds like it just may be my next project!

  • Carol Seavitt

    Don’t you find that sitting at the machine, watching it embroider is so hypnotic. I believe it is almost therapeutic — and yes, a time waister.

    Sure do like your idea of standing and you can always build a platform if you decide you need a foot control (and you’ll need a taller chair. I have my embroidery machine along a wall with the serger right next to it. I can get both going at the same time and I don’t mind the up-and-down at my mobile cutting service (big island on wheels with cabinets underneath).

    As for the fabric — can’t help here. My stash is sorted twice a year and then it turns into the bargain bin look!

  • Mary

    My fabric was all over, now it is in neat piles in a cupboard and overflow is in plastic totes 🙂 You’re the second person in a week that said she stands to embroider. Never heard of that before Julie and you. That would probably be good for me because at home, I sit and have bumped the unit while it was doing its thing 🙁 Start over and be careful. Something to ponder as I try to organize this room.

  • Peg Schmidt

    WOW! I have never stored my fabric by color….I store it by type of fabric, or projects that I use it for……PJ’s, dresses, batiks, quilts,holidays,little girls clothes, fleece,flannel, linnen, silk etc. Hmmm…think I will do some finer sorting after reading all the posts! Our Family room is no longer….it is a sewing room composed of a computer, printer, and work deskon one end. There is only room for one small stuffed chair…”4 me”, I have purchased a 6ft counter top from Home Depot that sits on two kitchen cupboards (Grossman’s Outlet)……one has 4 drawers and the other has one drawer and space for a serger and stabalizers underneath. On the other wall is the black wire shelving that holds all my threads on three shelves, and UFO’s on 2 shelves. In the middle of the room I have a sewing table that holds one machine and another serger. On the other side I have another machine set up and on the end another sewing desk for my embroidery machine. I have hooks on the bathroom door to hold my hoops. Behind 2 closed doors is my laundry where I have 2 shelves for zippers, ribbons, trims etc. In the “toy closet” is where a lot of my stash is kept on shelves. The remainder is up in the 3rd bedroom in plastic tubs. After writing all this…….I think I need to really get productive!!

  • Gail Beam

    Since my sewing room is a disaster, I have no advice! lol I would love to have the sewing furniture and big floor to ceiling cabinets with doors for storing my tons of fabric, thread, and trim!

    • Deb Bremer

      Join the club sister! I am trying ot get my husband to make me a cutting /sewing/serging/embroidery table for the day I get organized or at least my version of it 🙂 Of coruse I am wanting a $10,000 Sewing.EMb machine so I doubt I will get either lOL!

  • Diane

    I would love cubicles for my fabric; it would be easier to discover what colors are ‘missing’ that I need to buy and also what colors I lean towards and have the most of! Right now, my fabrics are stored in a chest of drawers, out of sight. I prefer to take my embroidery machine and place it on my kitchen island to sew. This way, I can walk around it, do paperwork, cook, bake, load the dishwasher, and yet I am right there to change thread colors. My back prefers the walking and standing to sitting for long periods of time. My thread racks are upstairs in the sewing room, though, and it is time consuming to move everything downstairs. Ideally, I would like a counter to put the embroidery machine on and have my ‘just sewing’ machine in the cabinet. My husband bought me a great flat screen for watching tv, DVD’s and wireless headphones so I won’t have to turn the sound up to be heard over the machines. My serger is there, too. I love to sew or serge while the embroidery machine is running! Multi task!!!

  • c.j.

    I am hoping to get a sewing studio and organize when my house sells. Right now lots is in storage (trying to make a good impression on buyers). It’s not in the usual state of disorganization that reigned in the little room before. I used to store fabric by color but it always looked a mess in a few days. Then I have so many UFOs with all their parts and pieces. When I get them out of storage I vow to finish or release them to the universe (other sewers) through some charity organization. I’m enjoying everyone’s ideas. The UFOs are stored in fabric covered pizza boxes. The local shop will usually part with a box or two at a time for under $1. My other storage tip is to cut the top and half of one side off a powder laundry detergent box, cover it with fabric and store magazines in it. Looks pretty on the shelves.

  • gayle Hill

    I have to sit down at my machine, and I agree that it is a waste of time. I really love seeing my machine stitching and the minute I walk away something will happen. I try to do other things while I am watching my machine. I am thinking that at counter height I might get a lot more other things done.

  • le floch, anne

    I keep my fabric in boxes in the cellar. they are sorted by fabric type, not color. I had a bit of lavender to each box. NO need to have all this fabric in my sewing room(it’s too smaol anyway!).
    I finf that I sit and stand up a lot, but I have a family inherioted sewing table that I simply canot replace with a counter, but i wish I had space for both side by side so I could move my machine to the right place depending if I’m going to sit and watch or just multitask. One thing I recommend is a mini ironing board attached to a pull out drawer so you can fuse your stabilizer in a flash. a Friedn has this and I’m looking into geting one too, it’s SO useful.

  • Lola Gerhard

    Ikea has wonderful wall unit cubbies. I sort by color for my large yardage. I use clear plastic bins I get at Walmart for my fat quarters which are also sorted by color. I also use the clear plastic bins for my “left over” fabric that I precut to commonly used quilt pieces such as 2 1/2″ strips or squares, 5″ squares, etc. Currently, I have my embroidery machine on adjustable tables from Ikea. I like this because, I can roll from station to station around my room.

  • terri

    I love working at counter height. My emb machine sits on a counterheight cabinet with lots of storage. I even like sewing at counter height so when I redo my sewing center, I want all my machines at counter height.

    Most of my fabric is in the guest room closet. I outfitted that closet with lots of horizontal shelves for fabric storage and sorted the fabrics by colors in the rainbow. One shelf has neutrals, black, browns, and whites.

  • Mary

    I have my sewing machines and related necessities in a U-shape–table with thread box, laptop, etc. on my left, sewing/emb machine in front, and ironing board to the right. I have a chair on wheels in the middle so I can turn to whatever task I want to do. I find it relaxing and hypnotizing to watch the machine embroider, but if I feel like getting more done, I use the computer or watch TV which is along another wall. I also have cutting table and another table with my serger and my Handi-Quilter sit down machine along the other walls. Sounds crowded but is cozy and I’m used to it this way. I store other machines (Sashiko and Embellisher) on closet floor.

    Notions and other supplies are stored in rolling plastic drawer units. I store fabric in plastic bins by type and need–Christmas, fall, Halloween, misc. cottons, flannel, cat prints, etc. I would like more room but this works for me.

  • Jean

    My embroidery machine on a rolling table that is counter height. I seldom sit and babysit it, but when I do I have a large fitness ball that I sit on. The ball is my ‘seat of choice’ when sewing and serging as well, as I find it to be more comfortable than a chair and works my abs at the same time. My fabric stash is stored in plastic containers – sorted by color initially, but after a project or two it doesn’t stay that way 🙂

    • eileenroche

      Wow! You sew on a fitness ball? I love it!

  • Ruth

    I, too, stand to embroider. It is much more comfortable for me. I can see what working on better, and if I need to adjust the machine, that’s easier, too. My embroidering machine is on top of an old chest of drawers. My husband cut off the legs to make it just the right height. And the drawers are great storage for all my embroidery threads, stabilizers, etc…and of course, junk! I have a closet and I hang my better fabrics over pants hangers for storage. The rest is on shelves, and yes, mostly a mess! But, isn’t sewing and embroidery fun??? I just love it!

  • Cheryl

    I found this idea on the internet for fabric storage and it works very well for me. Use comic book backing boards (I bought mine from Fold fabric on these boards and I store in file folder containers (bought at Wal-Mart). I organized my fabric by color, type (flannel, kids, holiday, etc.). I found fabric at the bottom of my stash that I had certainly forgot about!!! I have the wire shelves from Sam’s to store my containers on. Now my fabric is readily available for projects!!

    • Lori W

      Wow, what a great idea and economical too!

      • Deb Bremer

        Oh what a great idea! Wonder if you could cut them out of foam core and use them that way too. Hmm I have foam core here…

  • Jean Guenther

    I have my machine on a portable sewing machine table.
    I have a 4 drawer on wheels cart with all the hoops, instruction books, note books and emb cards next to it. I have a portable cutting table next to the machine with a small 4 drawer box that holds all the usb and small supplies.My husband built shelves for my fabric stash. The fabric is boxed by type and labeled on the front of the box.(I could not afford to put in clear plastic boxes because of the size of the stash–cough cough) The best system I have seen at a friends house was a wall of the rolling carts with drawers. She had all the fabrics folded, sorted by color standing in the drawers.
    I love your idea of having the machine at standing height. It would be so much easier to watch.

  • Patty Sack

    I like the idea of hooping while standing and then going on to something else. I never thought of doing that before (even though I have worked in a sewing machine store)! If I redid my room, I would go with the cubbie option. I think you could see things better and it would be easier to stack.

  • Kate Petrosky

    What wonderful ideas!!! I prefer to sit while embroidering, and have to admit that I spend a lot of time staring at the process in wonderment. However, I also have my serger and regular sewing machine in the same room, and can move back and forth between projects while embroidering. My fabric is mostly stored by color in a large cabinet with doors, with the spillover in drawers and wire baskets in my adjacent laundry room. I like to clean up my sewing room each night — it makes me feel in control. I have been in love with several brands of thread, and just recently started using Floriani. To keep my thread tails organized, I cut strips of clear vinyl about 6″ long, and the height of a spool of thread. I wrap the vinyl around the spool, and it clings to itself. I have four machines in my sewing room — embroidery, sewing, serger and cover lock. I’ve tried serging and using the cover lock on a standing-height counter, but was uncomfortable with using the foot pedal. I also tried using a stool. I finally put the machine onto my ironing board (very old and sturdy) which I then lowered to an appropriate height for sitting. This worked perfectly, and I put the machine back on the counter for storage between projects. I installed stick-on hooks on the underside of my sewing cabinet to store all of my hoops. I also made a shoe-bag type organizer to hold all of my miscellaneous tools like mini iron, heat gun, glue guns, and label maker and another for all of the stabilizers. These hang on the back of the door and on the wall to save storage space.

  • Rasperry

    I have my embroidery machine on a stand and always stand at the machine — when I have tried sitting to do embroidery it seems very awkward. I also have my serger on a countertop and stand to use it – feels like I have a much better view of what I am doing. The regular sewing is the only thing I do sitting down. For fabric storage I had shelves built into my closet and I use “milk crates” from Walmart for storage — I try to organize the different bins – denim, calico, juvenile calico, silkies, etc — I can get 8 bins on 1 shelf so there are a lot of bins and I did print out a “map” so I know which shelf to go when I’m hunting for fabric. Hope this helps.

  • Nancy Stringer

    For small fabric cuts I use hanging file folders in an old 2-drawer filing cabinet, and drape the fabric over the top edge, which is stiff. For larger yardage I use fat, non-slip “coat” hangers from the dry cleaners which are made for drapery panels, table cloths, etc.

  • Celeste B

    I have my embroidery machine on a counter height cabinet so I stand or kneel if I have to do something with the bobbin.
    I have my quilting fabric stored on shelves in a little alcove in my sewing room. I have it all folded the same by wrapping it around a 6 x 24 ruler and then folding it in half. I usually place a slip of paper in the fabric with the yardage, cost and when and where I bought it. That way if I am thinking about using it for a project I can pull it off the shelf and see how much I have without having to unfold it.
    For my clothing fabric, I cut a small snip off the corner, taped it to a 3 x 5 card, wrote which tote it is in, what it is, where and when I bought it, the cost and any ideas for using it. All the cards go in a file box and the fabric is stored in Rubbermaid totes in the closet. When I want to sew something I just have to flip through the file cards and not all the totes to see what I want to work on next.
    All my purse making supplies and fabrics are in separate totes.

    • Ruth

      Wow! You are really organized! : )

    • Carol Seavitt

      I love the 3×5 card file idea. Thanks Celeste!

      • Peg Schmidt

        Me too!

  • Laurie

    Eileen, when I saw your baskets with all of the fabric oh gosh,hat t is my sewing room! I really need to redo my sewing room too! As for embroidering, I stand because I have the EMP9 and I have to stand. But when I had the sewing/embroidery machine I sat and watched my machine. Now that I stand I don’t watch the machine like I use too. I think it all depends on what you have. I really want to see your sewing studio when it is finished and would love some suggestions on how to corral my fabrics! Thanks for a great magazine and your blog!

  • Martha

    I will be moving next year, and have been planning (in my head) for the perfect sewing room! I would like fabric to be stored in cubbies so I can see it–it gives me a good feeling to see all the colors. However, I need this room to be a guest room too, so want to be able to close doors/curtains to cover any mess. The “L” or “U” configuration works for me–I roll on a chair from machine to iron, to worktable. My worktable is adjustable and I put it at counter height when cutting out fabric.

  • Barbara

    Like a lot of you, My sewing room houses “several” machines. Three of which are embroidery machines. I have made changes to the room, the decor, and the spaces for years. I have found a U shape work area is the best for me. I have my embroidery machines on long tables in front and at both sides with a swivel, rolling chair to move around. I try and keep threads, hoops, and items I embroider with in that particular area. I also find myself just sitting and watching my machines, but my computer is right there, as well as a work space, and I can always work on the “next” thing as I am stitching. I’ll never have time to do all I want to do and love researching different things on the computer, so YES it’s important for me to make good use of my time with an arrangement that works for me.

    The other parts of this room have a special area where I can just sew, serge and use my other sewing things. It actually works out well. I always dreamed of having matching tables, cabinets and drawers built in, but somehow this all works well with how I do things.

    I’m sort of a neat freak and love everything to be organized. What a joke for any one that enjoys sewing, quilting and embroidery. I do keep my fabric stash in a huge walk in closet ( it’always a mess ). I started asking the fabric store for the cardboard bolts they throw out. I cut these to a certain size and roll “my” fabric on them and store on shelves up right. The smaller bolts look so pretty, organized and I can see what I have. Like everyone. I just have too much to sew in such a small amount of time.


  • Leslie S.

    My 10-needle embroidery machine sits on a stand with locking wheels that is a bit higher than countertop height and I stand when working at this machine. (I have an adjustable drafting chair and sit when I have to thread and/or change needles.
    I have a pneumatic cutting table that has a machine drop-in spot for my sewing machine so I can raise the table to standing height to cut and sew or I can lower it to sitting height, but I mostly stand to sew also. I have my serger and embellisher machines on a large desk I got when a bank closed so it had holes for cords and surge protectors etc, and I sit when I use those machines.
    I wish I had an organzied fabric stash. I have lots of plastic bins that are stuffed with fabric and someday I hope to organize them in a user-friendly manner but for now I just go bin-diving whenever I need fabric for each new project. It is always an adventure when digging around in those bins as I often forget what I have on hand and sometimes I find something that is perfect that I really had no idea was in there!

  • Patty Happel

    I use Bonnie Hunter’s stash orgnization system and so far it’s working great. Just have to remember to put extra scraps away after each project. My embroidery machine sits at right angle to my other sewing machine. That way I can piece and babysit from the same chair

  • Gerry Guerra

    I would definitely have a counter installed for your embroidery machine and you could also store your computer there. I’m a neat freak so for storage I would have cabinets with drawers that you could slide out to fill and look through. If I have less space I seem to neater. Like you I have to force myself to walk away and not watch my machine embroider! Hope this helps.

  • Renee

    I have a similar situation with 2 sewing/embroidery areas and have found that the standing one is much more efficient . I have recently read lots of articles too that state that it is better to stand than sit through the day–health wise. So I am constantly working to have my work areas at hip level to be more effiencent and healthier. I found Fabric Organizers immensely valuable (although not cheap) in organizing my fabrics. I then found Rubbermaid containers to “file” them in. It’s now awesome since I can easily see what I have and know if it’s on the bigger ones I have at least a yard or more of that fabric.

  • Linda S

    Storage in a sewing room always starts out neat and organized and as you add to your stash, it gets to be a mess. I think it is important to go through what you have, sort it and perhaps part with a few pieces that you have had for a very long time. This summer, I plan to take time to go through my fabric, sort and get rid of some things I have had for a very long time or things I don’t care for any more. I will get a binder, and plastic pockets similar to the ones I used to use for slides and put a piece of the fabric and note about how much of the fabric I have. I plan to resort my fabrics by color and fiber content and store them in bins on shelves and in the closet. I hope this cleans up some of the clutter. A couple of bins will be for UFO’s. I also need to make a plan for completing UFO’s. Many of them only need the finishing touches. A friend made mini bolts and put her fabric on them. When you open a plastic bin, you can immediately see the fabrics inside. The biggest part is keeping your fabric organized once you have spent the time to sort and store it. Put it back where you got it from once you are done! Easy to say, hard to do!Good Luck!

  • Jackie Branscum

    I have a very small bedroom that my regular sewing/embroidery sits in and it looks like a war zone too! (I really like the cabinet system that Nancy Z. uses.) The 12 needle Happy sits in my very small dining area wedged between the cabinet and dining table. I have a storage building that I plan to clean out and reorganize into 1 sewing area. I love the 12-needle because it is tall and I use a rolling architechs chair (for drawing tables), so I can sit or stand. I use my kitchen island and cabinets for hooping. I love the taller set up and would like to convert my other machine to counter height but even if I don’t, I can always use the exercize going to check on it. It would be great to have it all in 1 area so I could go back & forth and keep both machines going when I need to. I read on a yahoo group where they were using comic book “cards” to store fabric on. They are much cheaper than the fabric organizers and are stiff enough to stand on end in a bookshelf or filing cabinet. Thanks for letting me share. This helps me get energized to work on my space.

  • Barb Miller

    I would chooses Arabesque 5. I am having a new granddaughter in August and I would embroider her name, Lily on everything I make.

  • JoAnn Ruby

    My spare bedroom is my sewing room. I have a large sewing cabinet that folds up and stores in a corner (like the ones Nancy Zieman uses) and I love it. I leave it out at all times so I can sew whenever I want. I sit at my machine for both sewing and embroidering. I have a computer/TV in the room that I watch when I’m embroidering to help pass the time, although I do like to watch the designs taking shape. I have a large two door cabinet in my room where I store all my fabric – neatly folded and stacked. When there are small pieces left, I fold them into small sandwich plastic bags and then put them in a plastic tote. It makes it easier to see what small pieces I have left since the bags and tote are both clear and see through. I store my notions and threads in a three drawer plastic rolling cart that I have in the corner and is easily accessible. It’s so easy to see and find everything now that I’ve become organized!

  • Becky

    I have an L shaped sewing desk that my husband built for me. It has my main sewing machine on one side, next to my laptop. On the other side is my serger and I have a stand alone emb machine in the corner, where it can also easily connect to my laptop. There are shelves above on either side, one filled with fabric, pre-washed & folded, and the other filled with sewing books and plastic bins for notions & projects. Behind me is a 5′ table that holds my small cutting mat & my steam iron. Of course, next to that is my ironing board. All of this is in a small room that is only about 8′ x 10′ off my kitchen. It’s a little cramped, but if I keep it organized, it works for me.

  • Judy Walker

    I have my stash in plastic drawers. I sort them by colors and use only fat quarters or less. I stand them up on their sides so I can see every piece of fabric I have. The drawers are easy to take out if I want to take them to a project. It is also easy to take out a piece and replace it. The color shows through on the front so I know exactly which drawer has which color, i.e., blue, red, black, etc. I do combine some of the less used colors that I only have just a few.

  • Nancy Newman

    Jenny Beth,
    $1000. Where do you live?

  • Betsy

    My sewing room, 9′ x 20′, is also my laundry room and pantry. The organization process is evolving. The sewing portion is about 2/3 of the room in a big u-shape. From the right moving left, counter height over stock kitchen drawers (for threads & emb.machine attachments,etc), on the wall above this counter my husband built a 10′ long unit of 3 shelves that house my sewing/emb books/magazines as well as labeled baskets for all the other stuff I need….then sitting height counter for laptop in corner & emb. machine on end wall, then another stock kitchen drawer unit (counter top height) that stores other sewing supplies. Moving around the next corner is a window where I keep my ironing board set up. There is a 6′ wall before the next window where I have 2-30″x6’tall shelving units. My husband anchored them to the wall leaving a 1″ space between the shelving and the wall. In this space he put grooved wood strips where I can easily slide in and store my cutting mats. On the ends of the shelves, I have nails to store my rulers. I fold my fabric on a 6 x 24 ruler, then in half, and it’s organized by color. I attached a curtain rod to the top of the combined shelving unit and made “curtains” to protect my fabric from sunlight and dust. Scraps are thrown in a big Rubbermaid container under the corner of my counter…someday hope to organize using Bonnie Hunter’s method. I also have stacks of clear bins under the counter that hold charms and layer cakes. I have one blank 9′ wall over the counter where the emb machine sits. I’m taking my time deciding what to do there…maybe shelving for the scraps, charms and layer cakes since the bins under the counter annoy me! Maybe the posts this week will help in my decision!

  • Cathy T

    If you want to keep the wire drawers, I would suggest folding the fabric, with or without cardboard, and stacking it sideways so you can see it at a glance and easily pull one out without disturbing the others. My larger fabric is folded neatly and stacked in my closet on wire shelving, from largest to smallest.
    Smaller is stacked in small cloth baskets, sideways, as noted above. This sits on a bookcase, where it is colorful but neat. Notions are in a 7 shelf storage bin. Thread is above the sewing/embroidery machines on thread racks. I have a shelf above my sewing area from which are suspended my emb. hoops and supplies are on the shelf. As I have become older, my back doesn’t do as well standing, so I find sitting easier for me while embroidering. I think this is a matter of physical and personal preference.

  • Barbara

    I have my sewing/embroidery machine and serger side by side with a rolling chair ready to go in front of whichever machine I’m using. When I had space for one at a time, the embroidery machine was at counter level, but since I switch from embroidery to sewing all the time, it was not a great situation.

    My sewing room recently underwent re-organization — it’s so tidy I hate to mess things up! Not good for creative endeavors, but it makes my husband happy!

  • Shirley

    My sewing room doubles as a guest bedroom so I have a small space for sewing. Recently I reconfigured it; I now use an L-shaped configuration for my embroidery machine and my Pfaff Expression 4.0, both of which sit on and in sewing cabinets respectively. The Pfaff lowers inside one of the cabinets, so if I use the serger, I can use it on top of that cabinet. The closet houses plastic roll-about drawer carts in which I place patterns, notions and fat quarters. The bed serves as a preview area when I have no guests. Some of my fabric is hanging in the closet for the projects I am planning on working on in the near future. The rest of my stash, alas, has to be stored in clear storage boxes in my garage, sorted by type of fabric. Cutting is accomplished on my cutting table in my family room, which can be covered and used for other purposes when I am not cutting. I love to sit at my machines rather than stand. Sewing for me is a hobby, so I do not consider any time I may sit and watch my embroidery machine stitch as a waste of time; it’s relaxing and a complete escape from my office-in-the-home, high-pressure profession. I purposely do not choose sewing projects that have a time element on them, so any time I spend completing them is a completely ralaxing experience.

  • Elaine T

    I have my embroidery machine set up so I can either stand or sit. I was able to find a chair that will raise high enough to be comfortable if sitting.
    I have other machines set up for sewing and serging. I recently bought opened storage units to hold my fabric and I have them sorted by color.It’s so much easier to see what I have. I’m always looking for ideas for storage. No matter how often I clean, as soon as I start a project, it gets messy. But what fun I have!

  • Gaila

    I have my fabric on comic boards in my armoire and some in file cabinets. I had it all in the file cabinets but the drawers would not pull out far enough for me to be able to see what’s at the back. A problem I can’t figure out is, everytime I want to do a project that takes a little piece of this color and a little piece of this color, I have to pull out the whole board and unwrap and cut off then wrap back and put up. When you are pulling 10-15 different colors, it runs into work and lots of precious time. Still looking for a solution to this.
    I sew and embroider on my Brother 1250-d. I’m just starting out with embroidery and quilting, so this little machine does it all. I do have a serger also.

  • Judi

    I purchased a great rolling chair at Ikea that adjusts from table height to counter height. It took a long time to find but it is perfect. I have 1 machine at counter height and 1 at table height. Since I got my new chair I sit whenever possible.

    My fabric stash management is in 3 areas: Large bulky yardage is kept in wire baskets sorted by fabric type. Smaller thinner fabrics are in 14″square wooden storage cubes with glass doors so all the beautiful colors show through the glass. And lastly remnants, fat quarters & leftovers are folded in rows in one big drawer so most show up when the drawer is open. The drawers & wire baskets are all part of a wooden closet system. I added more pieces slowly until I had an entire wall of storage. (I even found several of the doors at HH thrift store brand new in their boxes). They are much to good looking to hide in a closet. I added a “shoe organizer” into 1 of the units that now holds all my rolls of stabelizer, aida cloth, etc. Love it!

  • Karen

    I have a 4 foot x 8 foot table with machines all around it with 2 chairs to roll from place to place. I have 2 other tables to store things under and sometimes on, also use for cutting and hooping. My fabric is stored by type in labeled bins on a wall of floor to ceiling shelves.

  • Mary Gordon

    I have a large dedicated sewing room upstairs with a big window (we live in the country), with my desk and return with my laptop in front of it – to my right is a 24×36 cutting and drafting table angled in the corner – then a 72 inch table with two sewing machines (one is an embroidery combo) and fabric folded and stacked neatly by color family across the very back of the table – then two wide 6-drawer plastic drawer cabinets that hold scraps divided by colors (made my own drawer dividers), and also my toys (rulers, glue guns, etc), and a book case with books and small notions, then on the half-wall overlooking the stairs and entry way, I have another 72 inch table with my larger embroidery machine, serger and area for laying stuff out – then the last wall I have 3 sets of narrow 5-drawer plastic cabinets that hold my cone threads, hand embroidery stuff, looms, machine tools, etc., and then 3 sets of matching shelf units where the lower portions are matching crates for drawers and the upper are shallow shelves for spooled thread. I also keep a fat quarter cut of every fabric I have in a bin for quick grabbing and to remind me of what I have – lastly is another of the shelf units with my printer/scanner on top. Everything is white so it all blends together.

    I prefer to sit with the embroidery machines in case they “hiccup”, and I have my editing program going on the laptop to show me what and where the next stitch out is going to be. I keep my laptop flexible so I can move it around the room to any machine if I am following instructions on the internet like a video or pdf, or the cutting/drafting table if I am following directions. So far it has all worked out very well for me – though I have been known to grab my laptop and a machine and go downstairs to keep hubby company.

  • Wendy Hyatt

    I have a small apt so there`s not any extra room for my sewing hobby. I have my Singer for sewing in a cabinet in my dining area and my embroidery machine and laptop sit on it when not sewing. I have an old computer armoire that I use to keep all my supplies in clear storage stackable containers and use the large area in the bottom for my fabric storage. My dining table is very large so I put my cutting mat there and everything is together.I iron on my kichen counter so all is close and handy. I have a rolling chair, too.

  • Peggy Schroeder

    I have an “Embroidery room” and another “Sewing room.” They are right next to each other, & they are “sort of” organized. For my emnbroidery machines, of which I have both a Brother & a Babylock, I bought a used heavy office desk & credenza, 6 ft. x 3 ft. Both machines sit on it, & in the cubbyhole underneath, I have a small 4 drawer chest(I had 2 made at a cabinet shop) that holds the miscellaneous stuff you need. With the machines next to each other, I can run both at the same time. In one corner next to the desk, I use my mother’s cabinet sewing machine as a table to hold my Madeira thread chest, (which holds 360 spools of emb. thread), all in numbered slots in the same order as Madeira’s color card. It makes putting thread away easier, and I can see when I am getting low on the various colors. I wrap each one with a piece of Hugo’s Amazing Tape to keep them neat. In front of this, I have a wooden box that holds all the rolls of stabilizer. The flat sheets fit in the drawers in the cubbyhole. I have a separate little end table that I keep a cutting mat and a piece of rubber shelf lining that I use to hoop. Under this, I keep my adhesive spray, & most frequently used roll of stabilizer. Across the room, I put the credenza, with my books & magazines on top, and the drawers & cupboards hold the floppy disks, batting and misc. stuff. In the back room, I have both open & closed wall cabinets for fabric, yarn, beading, trims & way more stuff than I need. I try & sort fabric according to color & some by type (silk, flannel, baby, children)I have a table in the center of the room,(with the other little 4 drawer chest under it) & it holds 2 sergers, (one set for light and one for dark threads) & 2 regular Brother machines–one I keep set up with a ruffler foot on it. In one corner of the room, I have a wall mounted ironing board, & I can just roll one of the chairs to it. I also have closets in both rooms, one with my kids stuff they are going to pickup “someday”, & it also has a lot of embroidery blanks. I have shelves, bins, baskets, and just lots more fabric than I will be able to use in 5 lifetimes! One thing I would really reccommend is that you do not make the drawers too big; when filled with fabric or other necessities, they get too heavy and the handy husband has to lay on his belly to get way in the back to replace the brackets that the drawers slide on. For some reason, this does not seem to make him a very happy camper. (Especially by the time he gets through with the 4th drawer.) I can’t understand this, it is not like I filled them with heavy stuff on purpose!
    The other thing I find very helpful is a heavy piece of oak that a friend made for me, he cut 20 round holes in it, (2 rows of 10), that I numbered 1 -20, & I put my thread in it in the order of the stitchout of the design I am embroidering. An ice cube tray will also work, but is not as nice. Next, the floor is much nicer since I replaced the carpet with hardwood. Finally, I purchased a telescoping magnet (gets to 24 inches) at Wal Mart for $2.38, and it works great for picking up pins, etc. I hope this helps, and I think my rooms would also work better if I was better at cleaning them up.

  • Anna Cameron

    Hi there, you have really given me something to think about! My husband is finishing our basement and I had always thought about tables holding all my machines. But after reading your blog I think that I will now change to my embroidery being on a counter where I can stand to hoop and sew. I have always sat at my machine but I find that the constantly up and down can be such a pain at times. Thanks for that! My fabric is stored in rubbermaids, each container has a different type, ex. Christmas, basics, t-shirt knit. I am not sure if I like it or not, I haven’t found anything different that I perfer. Good Luck at organizng your room!

  • Cathy Cattle

    I have a clothesline type effect accross one level of my sewing room. Put the small fabric scraps in plastic bag and clip it to the line with similiar colors in the line. At a glance you can find just what you need. Another line below that has the larger pieces stored in larger bags, then the row of shelves below that with fabric folded.

    • Colleen Bell

      I love this idea. Wouldn’t it be amazing to go really far with this idea and set up the ideal fabric filling arrangement like a dry cleaner with those overhead racks where they rotate by number, except these would be sorted by fabric types and colors. That would be really fun. A smaller version would be like the library/education departments that have all their books with the DVDs together in those wonderful heavy duty bags with grommets to slide them metal through. Okay, so I was thinking out of the box.

  • Cindy Amend

    I use the fabric (like reusable grocery bags) 12″ cube bins. I sort by fabric type and color. These bins fit neatly into a bookcase and you can embroider whimsical labels for the outside of the cube (a yellow giraffe for yellow cottons, or a brown bear for minky). If you are more industious, you can make your own cubes.

  • Susie Mackenberg

    First of all, I like things neat and it’s a nearly impossible to be neat when you are creative so I always clean up after each project. That way, I can enjoy a clean work space for a few minutes, and fabric, notions, etc. stay organized. I have large cabinets (office type) filled clear plastic cubbies inside. Larger cubbies hold yardage and small ones fat quarters and smaller folded pieces of fabric — all by color. Cotton is in one cabinet, knits and flannel in another, fancy in another, etc. It works and I have a small sewing room. Covered baskets are on top of the cabinets with more fabric, clearly marked with contents.

    Now, for my embroidery machine — sit or stand. Before my recent “aahh moment” I needed to sit because of babysitting. I have been using cheap embroidery thread and was often having breakage. I switched to good thread (in my case Robinson Anton) and now I can walk away from my embroidery machine confident that it will continue sewing until the thread needs to be changed! So, I think a standing height a smashing idea!

  • Kate Petrosky

    I’ve already commented on this blog, but after reading everyone elses replies, I felt compelled to write again. I am totally amazed at the creativity and resourcefullness of the sewing community! And their dedication to this craft. I was especially impressed with the lady who has two sergers — onoe with dark thread and one with white. I love this idea, because I hate to change the thread. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all post pictures of our sewing rooms and visually share all of these wonderful ideas?

  • Lynn Rose

    I use sturdy plastic shelving that I purchased at one of the home improvement/hardware stores. The fabric is rolled and put in bins made of fabric that I purchased at one of the big discount stores. Right now it is stored by fabric type, quilting, garment and home dec since I do all three types of sewing. I also try to put them by color withing the category. The fabric rolls are put in the bins vertically so the top of the fabric sticks out. The bins have handles, so I can pull them out and easily see the fabric that is in there and then pull out what I need. It works great for me!

  • Diana

    I have a long counter top held up by kitchen cabinets to hold my 3 machine-2 embroidery & 1 seger. Then 4 large storages cabinets for fabric by color & type. With some baskets to hold fat quarters,

  • Judy Clements

    Hi Eileen, congratulations on the re-do! I just married, retired, and moved to Waco a few months ago. I had a 1-bedroom, 5-sewing room house when the new man in my life told me I couldn’t keep all that in his house. He is making me a 1400 sq.ft. studio. It’s not finished yet, but you’re welcome to come see it whenever you can. I have 3 embroidery machines, a long arm, commercial quilt binding machine, a felting machine, serger, and an old mechanical machine. None are the same age – I’ve collected over the years.
    He has made me a counter for 2 of the machines, and a computer (the Pfaff has to attach to transfer designs.) One embroidery machine is on a regular sewing cabinet. I do keep stools handy to the counter in case I need to do more than change the thread color. The plans keep evolving as we go – he’s putting a kitchenette in the back for whenever I have friends over to sew. I also have counters for cutting and hooping stations.
    For storage, I like to wrap every fabric big enough for a cardboard bolt, onto a bolt and shelve them. For smaller pieces, they’re in plastic bins sorted by color. For larger pieces (50-60″ wide) they’re folded and put in large plastic bins. I lay the bin on one end, stack it full of fabrics, then turn it upright. That way, every fabric is “on top.” To re-insert the fabrics, I just turn the bin on end again. Threads are also sorted by color, in different containers or racks by brands. I’ll take some pictures to post and send them separately. I also have those 5-drawer plastic cabinets for organizing and storing buttons, trims and ribbons, etc. etc. I have plastic organizing bins for the various stabilizers, and 2 roll holders for the large tubes of stabilizers. And because the floor is concrete, I have those large foam rubber square tiles near the counters and long arm. My husband is also going to make pigeon-holes for small pieces out of pvc pipe mounted on a board to go on the back of the embroidery machine counter. This is everything in a nutshell – there’s more to share. Waco is close – you’re welcome to come visit anytime.

    • eileenroche

      Thanks for the invite!

  • Janice

    I just removed all my fabric from drawers. It was hard to find without taking all the fabric out or rummaging and making a mess.
    I bought several sweater or shelf portable organizers that you hang up on your closet pole. Similar to the hanging shoe bag. I sorted my fabric by color and each shelf holds a different color of fabric. I can see into the shelf and find what I I need. No more mess.

  • Denise

    I sit at my embroidery machine to hoop and then get up to either hoop another garment or do paperwork at the computer desk. I have often thought about setting the machine up for counter height. It does seem more efficient. Most of my fabric is in a drawer that I have to go through each time. Not so efficient, but have gotten ideas from everyone. Thank you ladies!

  • Deborah Stephenson

    My sewing machines are on a countertop which is mounted to the wall at 31″ (normal countertops are 36″). A chair is to low and makes me lazy, so I use a bar stool with a back. That way I can both stand and sit if I am doing tricky or fuzzy sewing. I have 2 barrister bookcases that I keep my fabric in. The bookcases have a glass door on each shelf. My fabric is sorted by type and then by color. With the doors closed you see all the fabric but it is protected from the sun and the dust. All of my fat quarters are stored in plastic see through bins by color. And I have a round basket that sits on the floor for all my small scraps and this is a big fabric bonanza. Every season change I go through the basket and sort it out. I really just look at all the fabric because I don’t think I throw fabric out, soon I may have to buy a bigger basket.

  • Shelley from Central Indiana

    My husband and sons finished the walk-out end of our basement to get me out of the dining/living rooms a few years ago!

    My solution to the embroidery machine delimma is that I’ve set up a work triangle and have a rolling office chair to quickly transfer between the desktop computer, embroidery machine and sewing machine. It’s actually more of a U shape of desk/tables than a triangle. The embroidery machine is at the base of the U, and the computer and sewing machine are on each side. That way, whether I’m working on the computer or sewing, I can make a quarter turn in the chair and slide to tend to the embroidery machine!

    As for storage, I inherited 10 shelving units and a pie safe to line my walls. The pie safe stores my thread cone collection, and fabric is stored in clear plastic tubs on the shelves. Somewhat organized by either theme or project. Cutting table is a center island so I can get to it from any side. Stabilizer is in an over-the-door cloth shoe organizer hanging over the end of one of the shelving units.

    ShelleyTowne is quite a collection of mis-matched furniture, but it works for me! BTW, does anyone else name their sewing space?? My friends have WandaLand and Janet’s Planet.

    • Terri Crawford

      My hubby calls my The Crap Room. I prefer Terri’s Studio.

      • Sandi Cunningham

        Craft room/crap room…I use that interchangeably! hahaha

      • Sherrie Lilly

        My husband call mine the same thing. I call it my creative room.

  • Meg green

    My fabric is in a constant state of disarray as well. Reght now I’m working on wrapping fabric around comic book boards and storing them that way in my hanging wire baskets. It looks pretty, and you can grab one without the rest falling into a messy heap.

  • Karen Poole

    When I embroider I sit at my machine. I have back problems so standing for any length is out of the question. I have my machines set up on tables that have adjustable heights, my embroidery machine is on the left side of the big table and my Serger is on the right. I then have a much smaller table that I can move around that I put another machine on, so while I am embroidering I can either work onthe serger or the other machine. These are all in a guest bedroom on the first floor of my house. In the adjacent family room (my overflow crafting space) I have a Little Gracie II quilting frame with a quilting machine set up on that. It sits pretty close to the door of my sewing room. So I can also be quilting while the embroidery machine is going. I didn’t always have the luxury of this much space or machines! I have used any space I had, including the dining room table! As for my fabric storage, my husband installed those wire closet organizer shelves in the closet (the closet is the length of one wall) and I have my fabrics stored in see through tubs with lids. I have them sorted by fabric types, such as holiday fabrics, felt and flannel, childrens fabrics, florals, solids, landscape fabrics, and so on. And I have two tubs dedicated strictly for fat quarters. This system seems to work the best for me. My only desire for my sewing room would be to have more space for my books and magazines!

  • LeAnne L

    For a long time the only table I had for my embroidery machine room was my cutting table, so I never sat down to do my embroidery. I now have my machine on a standard height table, but I still do all my threading and hooping by squatting or bending down to do it. I never sit at the machine unless I’m in a class, and even then I’m up moving around most of the time.

    I have some wire mesh baskets like yours and some clear plastic storage that I try to organize by color. The plastic storage stays organized better than the mesh baskets. I do like the mesh baskets for holding my batting though.

  • Deb Bremer

    I stitch at my kitchen table right now. I have a craft/PC room and room in another bedroom for a place to set up a sewing/emb center it is actually where I used to emb at. I had a 4 ft table and then to the right side I put one of my old side tables from my old living room. I still have a tote full of my older fabrics in it. I have a plastic storage bin with drawers that I keep my older emb and sewing supplies in that room as well .I have a TV in there so I can watch it if I want to go to be all by myself. (we all do now and then LOL!
    I prefer to stitch in the kitchen so I can be with my hubby when he is home , I bought him 2 sets of those My Zone cordless headsets for our Anniversary last year and they now serve us both. I cannot hear the TCV when the machine is going and would have to holler out “What did they say?” All the time before which irritated him for some reason. Geesh men go figure:) Now We just put both sets on and watch happily/
    And in the kitchen I have a roughly 4’x6”’ piece of pegboard mounted 2x4s he made me that I put dowels in to hold all my emb thread and sewing and serging thread. I LOVE this! I cut the dowels to different lengths to match my cones and can even put my rolls of stabilizer on some that I made longer to hold then.

    It is so great I just look up and can see my all my thread colors instantly without having to drag out plastic thread boxes like I used to do.

  • [email protected]

    I only have one machine I use to sew as well as embroider so it is in my custom made sewing cabinet because I’ 5-11.I start my embroidery project then go to my tall cutting table to do something else as my project is sewing.Always like to be in the same room in case I have a problem . I have inexpensive kitchen cabinets to store my fabric mounted on the wall and kitchen pull out pan drawers under my cutting surface.I like the pan drawers because the are great for storing stabilizers and threads.I like the idea go closing up the fabric to have a less cluttered look . I am up and down all the time but it’ good exercise. Have fun designing you new room! Joyce

  • Cecilia

    I only have one machine and i have to move my machines hen I want to embroider. I keep my machine in a sewing desk, so I sit in a chair when I embroider. I keep most of my fabric folded and on bookshelves sorted by color. I also have cubicles where I keep my scraps and fat quarters in wire baskets. I would love to have a machine just for embroidering, but it will be a while before that happens. Have fun designing your new sewing room.

  • Cindy

    I fold my fabric in half selvage to selvage, and then fold again to get a 10″ width. Then I wrap the fabric around my 6″ x 12″ ruler. Once the fabric is wrapped up, I slide out the ruler and store it on the shelf by color. I have a counter height cutting table, but sit to use my machines.

  • Pam

    I used to store my fabric in bins – in many different rooms. So I took a small sample, stapled it to a notecard and added the width, length and other information, as well as which bin it was in. Then, when it was time to look for fabric, I could just look through the box of notecards. Now my fabric is in wire basket storage units, but I still like to look at the notecards as a reminder of what I have. This allows me to update my “memory” before I go out shopping and use what I have. Sometimes, it serves as inspiration to get something done!

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    I store my fabric in those plastic drawers from Walmart. Each drawer has its own color. I also have fabric just folded and laying out on shelves. I am in the process of redoing my room too so I am going to read all of these ideas for myself.lolol

  • Greta Kanegae

    My living room is my sewing room. I have a cutting table my carpenter neighbor built for me at the height I need it to be comfortable when standing. The is the exact dimension as the large cardboard mat that JoAnns sells, and I have the self healing mats over that one. My sewing machine is on a sewing table that has a chair, as I haven’t yet learned to sew standing up. My embroidery machine is on a stand that puts it at the perfect height to stand at to load the thread, put on the hoops ect. I also have a large dresser that I keep all sorts of bits and bobs in, and bins of whole material and bins of scraps under the cutting table. My husband isn’t fond of my set-up but it works well for now, lol

  • Marthie

    Nice to have a big sewing room. I converted one of the guest bedrooms in a sewing room. I use relative big plastic containers, which I label, and my scraps in smaller containers in one of the big containers!!!! Neatly stack in a huge build in cupboard.

  • Katie

    My fabric stash is very large. I keep it in containers labeled and organized by fabric content, length ( fat quaters, under 1 yard, larger), purpose( quilting, clothing, home dec), project( quilt xyz) or designer/collection. The first of the year I started scanning my fabric as I got it back into the proper containers and now have about half of it done so I can use my computer to look for fabric for a project. Since I don’t have any special program for organizing, I use the attributes that MS Explorer gives for pictures. The draw back is I have to keep a list of what attribute stores what info i.e. camera maker is used for amount of fabric in that piece. I can edit these attributes at the bottom of the viewing screen when adding new files. These attributes can be used for sorting files when I’m doing a search.

    As for my machines, I sit as I use them for both embroidery and sewing. Even when I go do something else while an item is embroidering, I prefer this as it gives my a few moments to get off my feet and having concrete under vinyl that helps with the wear on my joints.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    Wow! There sure a lot of very organized folks on here. After 57 years of sewing it would probably take me another 50 years to get so organized. Right now I have VERY LARGE cubbies organized by color.. except for the 2 very large bags that are not organized at all and and about 5 dresser drawers and 4 large bins that are semi organized by type of material. Oh well..maybe in another liftime.

  • Donna

    I have a sewing/embroidery combo machine so I have it on a table. I wish I had gotten a stand alone embroidery machine so I could multi-task. I have an old 50’s Singer that only does a straight stitch and a 80’s Singer with some decorative stitching and a serger. The serger is on it’s on table.
    My fabric is stashed all over my house. (Don’t tell my dh!) The kids are grown an gone so what else should I use all those dressers for? I have recently combined many of them by like fabrics, ie. quilting cottons, home dec., flannels, fleece, etc. I was desperately looking for some fuzzy fleece for embroidery applique (chicks, lambs, etc.) that is why I combined like fabrics. I was tired of hunting for something specific. Most of it is in a Sauder cabinet in my sewing room in clear plastic containers. Still this isn’t a final solution.

  • Janet

    I enjoyed reading all these great ideas. I have a tool cabinet that my husband bought me, just like the one he keeps his tools in, yes, it is red. It is on rollers and I keep it in the closet of my spare bedroom with my fabrics sorted and in different drawers. The smaller drawers hold all kinds of supplies. The spare bed took up a lot of space so he built a Murphy bed with shelving and drawers and a dresser. It takes up no space and it pulls down for company. I push my machines aside and to the back on my table and desk and company has a table for suitcase, etc. This works for me.

  • Sandy

    I have recently redesigned my sewing/craft room also. I ended up buying four 36″ x 36″ 12″ cubbies with nine openings in each of them that are 12″ x 12″, five of the nine openings have a back and the other four are open, which is handy when I have fabric bolts that are larger than the 12 x 12 opening. I have created an island by putting the four cubbies/shelves in a rectangular design and I have a self-healing rotary cutting mat on top, which is held up by eight L-brackets in the center (on the back of each of the four cubbies) I have then taken foam-core broad and cut it into 6″x10″ pieces and wrapped my fabric onto them, for larger cuts of fabric I used a larger piece of foam core broad and cut 10″x16″ pieces. This is working beautifully. I can use canvas tote type containers in some of the cubbies for small items and I can see all my fabric at a glance. I wish I had a way of sending you a picture so this would make more sense. Trust me when I say I did not dream this up on my own, I searched the web for something that would suit my needs and this seems to be working very well. Good luck on the redesign.

  • Mary Catherine Black

    I sew in my f inished basement in a space carved out for my sewing area. My machines all stay out on an area on my sewing table made specifically made for me at my height. I am 6ft tall and needed a custom height made table. I am just now learningto use my Serger and it sits on one end of this table at a height suitable for me.
    I store all my fabric folded in plastic bins I purchased at a big box store. They work for me and I am able to see what is in the bins. Happy with my portion of the room.

  • Mattie Saturley

    I have countertops along 2 walls and do have my machine at sit down height but have wished many times that I had made one section at stand up height for my embroidery machine and if I wanted to use it for sewing could move to a lower section. My room use to be a bedroom so I have totes in the closet with fabric by colors like blues/purples in one, orange/yellow, brown/black, etc. have a granddaughter so one is pink by itself lol. Then I have fleece and flannel by itself. I also have shelves along the ceiling with all the same size smaller totes all along the wall with different embroidery blanks and then another wall are smaller yet and labeled childrens prints, sports prints, holiday prints, themes/whim. I have a 3 drawer deal that is perfect for fat quarters and they are color sorted, I open a drawer and there they are easy to see.

    My room has as many decorations as storage due to my theme being from working at Purina Mills for 22 years so checkerboard was born from that and a picture with Purina worked into the lace (can’t remember what that’s called) Even have stereo with red parts. lol

    Good luck with your remodel.

  • Yvonne Estrade

    I just ordered a new motorized adjustable height craft/sewing table–a real extravagance, but will have multipurpose uses for cutting, sewing, etc. I’ll easily be able to sit or stand with the push of a button. There’s also a notched-out area for the same brand cutting mat so the mat is flush with the table. Can’t wait to get it.
    My fabric is stored on metal shelving in my sewing/guest room–larger, bulkier fabric folder on lower shelves while smaller amounts of fabric are folded on “comic book boards”, secured with special clips, and stored vertically by color between bookends. Larger upholstery type fabric is on shelves in the hall linen closet.
    Sewing, serger and embroidery thread are on wooden spool racks mounted on the wall.
    Scissors are stored on heavy duty magnetic strips mounted on the wall above my machines.
    Books are on a wicker bookshelf by subject matter.
    Embroidery hoops hang on the side of the book case on “S” hooks.
    Shelving built going up the sides of the closet hold labeled bins with ribbon, trims, patterns, etc.
    My computer sits on an old wooden sewing machine table, while my embroidery machine and serger are on a desk type piece of furniture with drawers for notion storage. I also have a small chrome wire type table with shallow drawers which hold my stabilizers on rolls, while bolts of stabilizer and wonder under stand in a basket.
    I can pretty much put my hands on anything–of course, the room is constantly evolving!

  • sonja

    Guess I didn’t hit post, so here it goes again, LOL!
    I would use a multiple skirt hanger to hang larger pieces of fabric and organize it by color or shades. Also a multiple pant hanger would be good to use for multiple yardage as you can see what you have at a glance as well,and also saves on ironing. Then use or recycle clear plastic cleaners bags to keep the dust off. With these hangers you can see the multiple pcs of fabric at a glance. For the small pieces just take the corner pc of fabric and fold over about an inch or so use a hole puch and punch a hole(the reason i say to fold it over is to give the hanging pc more durability if it has any wt to it at all) apply frey check around the holes and string those on a round hanger such as a belt hanger and color cordinate. Hope this helps, good luck with the remodel!

  • Kathy

    I have a metal shelf unit that I sort my fabric by type of fabric. That is if it ever gets out of my sewing room and into the closet!LOL. I wish I had built in cabinets in the room so I could sort all the fabric and try to corral it. I guess I should not buy any more and that would help, but then it wouldn’t be as much fun-ooh and ahhing over all the pretty fabric!

  • Colleen Bell

    The idea of having your embroidery machine counter height is fantastic. Since this is not an option to me, I have the slide in and out method for my embroidery machine. You could say my seat is a stool set about 12″- 18″ from the machine, but it is really an old oak chair that lost its spindles and I cut off. It works so well. I just slide in to set the next thread and I am out again in no time at all and not much effort at all. The chair never moves and yet it allows me to sit when I have to do something just a little bit more time consuming.

    Whoa, storage of fabric! What an never ending dilema. It seems to be ever changing. I have a large double closet where I keep the fabric stacked on the shelf sorted by color and type if it over a yard. Pieces less than yard, but not yet a scrap piece are put in a different place in the closet and then those scraps that I have been collecting since I started sewing in 7th grade are in a bucket by fabric type – totally ready to rummage through. If I have projects that I bought material specifically to go together, they go in a plastic zippered bag in a different stack. it seems to work for now.

  • Dee Leach

    I went to a store that sells used retail display fixtures, and purchased a rolling, two-sided display with multiple clear plastic bins on both sides as well as the end-caps. It is about 5 feet tall, and one side holds all my embroidery threads sorted by color and type(i.e. reds/pinks; blue/gray/black;brown/tan/beige/white, etc.) while the other side holds my garment patterns(they fit perfectly in the 9 bins on that side) sorted by styles for male and female. The end caps hold “specialty” threads, like wooly nylon, 12-wt. twist, perle cotton, etc. and metallics.
    I use clear storage tubs for special fabrics like fleece, knits, etc. Since my sewing studio is a spare bedroom, I have wire shelving in the closet which holds smaller clear plastic tubs of notions, laces, zippers, etc. Fabrics which should not be folded, like velveteens and velours are on rolls standing to one side of the closet. Better fabrics are hung on skirt hangers or pants hangers in the closet. My machines are arranged around 3 sides of the room on 8′ tables, with my cutting table in the center of the “U”. I use rolling office chairs to roll from one machine to the other as I multi-task. The notions and attachments for each machine are in its area, and I have a “lazy susan” in the center for all cutting tools. I made this from a dollar-store spice tray which spins, and some 12 oz. clear plastic tumblers, glued to the spice tray with industrial glue, and one 20 oz.tumbler in the center for my biggest shears. An artist friend asked me to make one for her supply of art brushes! Works great and keeps everything in a smaller space as well as handy.
    Along with the clear storage tubs, I have two 3-drawer file cabinets which fit under my little computer table and hold tools and supplies not frequently used, as well as paper supplies and embroidery designs in hard cases. My goal this year is to add more lighting, and a wall of part pegboard and part cork for storage and design. My studio is on the 2nd floor, and my one large window affords me close-up views of squirrels, birds, and the changing seasons.

  • Judy Wentz

    It never occurred to me to put my embroidery machine at a standing level. I think it’s something I need to try. However, I do try to do something else like quilt on my frame or piece quilts while my embroidery machine sews.

    My fabrics are stored on bookshelves, with extra shelves added so that the stacks of fabric are short. All fabrics are sorted by color. Anything over 3 yards is wrapped on the cardboard bolts that fabric comes on. These bolts are also stacked on bookshelves.

    Fat quarters and odd shaped small pieces are stored in plastic drawers by colors or these. I also cut small pieces into various sizes strips and store them in plastic bins by width of strips for scrap quilts.

    Now that I have started embroidery, I have added additional plastic drawers to store threads, also by color.


    i would love to have some of your rooms, mine is about 8×5, i have the cheap white cabinets from target/ or walmart. i have some of them stacked to make room. then i also have a nice desk from sawyer, rolling chair. i have to go to kitchen table to do cutting or piecing. i put my charms and other pieces in the under bed boxes. cause like everyone else put them in cabinet you can’t find what your looking for,without every thing falling out.i also use the cabinets that are 3or5 drawers, seethru plastic for my threads, odds & ends.
    thank you for lsting,
    shirley dalton

  • Joan

    I am always trying to find better ways to store my fabrics. I do have alot in a tall cabinet but my new way of storing is large draws with the fabric stored vertical and I really like it. I try to keep fabrics divided into categories. I keep children, baby,purse fabric etc. I do try color coordinating but that does not always work.
    I always stand to embroider except at my one spool and when I sew I sit. Hope you will let us see your new rooms.

  • Deborah Ledbetter

    I have my fabric in a five foot cabinet with glass doors so I can see what fabrics there are on each shelf and easily can find exactly what I’m looking for quickly. My friends have came over to the house and said it inspired them to clean their sewing room up because of how neat the fabric stash looked. I also watch my machine while I’m embroidering, but I’ll get other hoops stabilized for the next projects at the time that I’m watching the machine run or I’ll be doing some hand stitching on quilt binding while it’s running.

  • Karen

    I have a lot of fabric over the years I have purchased plastic bins to store my fabric in. I measure my fabric telling the width and length, then take a picture and a swatch of fabric. I number the bins. I store by color, and type of fabric, knit and woven. With the picture and fabric information I put into a 3 ring binder so when I need fabric I then know if I have enough for that project and what box it is in. I am new to quilting so my quilting fabric is in smaller containers by color.

  • Paule-Marie

    I sit at my embroidery machine / sewing machine. I like to watch it run. It’s my down time. Alot of the time I will either read or be in the office on the computer across the hall – I can almost se the machine from where I sit. As for fabric storage, well my little room had a hurricane hit it – Hurricane Paule-Marie, that is. I haven’t got a lot of room but will be in a new home in the fall and will have the rest of my sewing room furniture out of storage. We’ll see then.

  • Sharon

    I usually sit at my machine. I guess I worry about something happening to my machine if I were to walk away, needle break, jamming thread etc. I do try to organize something while I am there or watch TV.
    As for storage of my material, I have gotten some of the backer boards that people usually put in comic books to keep them straight. I have folded my material so that I can wrap them around these boards. Then I have used the large plastic paper clips to hold them together so they don’t undo. I have some great pictures of the before and after if you want to see. I didn’t see how I could post them here. My closet looks so cute that I have take the door off and used the material to inspire me !

  • Sharon

    Oh I forgot to say that after I put my material on the boards I stand them up like books on my shelves. It makes it easy to see them and I can pull out just what material I want without messing up the other ones. I hope this has helped. I would love to show pictures of it all!

  • Nancy Eidsmoe

    My fabric is in plastic tubs with lids, stored on a chrome wire rack both purchased @ Costco. It’s clear, so I can see what I have to a point, and the lids keep the dust and the cat out. My machines are on tables. Big embroidery/sewing machine, with the serger on a table to the right of it, so I sew sitting down. I have a folding table that I think may be a good height, so I plan to try that as well. The serger, I think I will continue to sit. My friend Deb has a cabinet she got at Ikea that is perfect for folded fabric, it’s vertical so the footprint is small. She’s talked about 1 on each end of a cutting table, to leave open wall for audition pieces. I love that.

  • Carol Crawford

    If I were you, I’d keep the wire baskets. Roll your fabric in little roles. You would be amazed at how much more you can put in there and yet still see what you have.

  • Lesley Charlton

    as my “craft/sewing room is the size of half a single room I store my materials in plastic storage boxes, colour coded and stabliers in another , my scraps of material is also coloured coded and in plastic containers, one of the main reasons I store my materials/ stabliers in plastic containers is the containers ( with lids) keep out the dust and anything else that could be “lurking”

  • Debbie Hicks

    I spent a couple of MONTHS trying to figure out the most efficient way to outfit my sewing room and finally ended up making up a counter height embroidery station with two Ikea kitchen cabinets attached to one another and then had caster wheels put underneath. I have a large six needle machine and it took up so much space I was never happy with anything until this. I purchased two Ikea kitchen cabinets to make into a cutting table too and purchased a countertop there to finish them off. The drawers are 25″ deep and hold SOOOOO much I love them! They glide like buttah and I can easily see everything in them at a glance. Using the kitchen cabinets you get the smooth gliding drawers, the depth and counter height. I even learned to use the power drill. I got hooks and hung my embroidery hoops on the sides of the cabinet so I can grab them easily but they’re not very visible. I like the look of a clean sewing room with minimal stuff showing. I joke now that if I leave this house I’m going to be pulling my sewing room behind me in pieces like a circus train – and I will! Oh, and I forgot – they have a 25 year guarantee! I think I need to post pics on my blog.

    They have cubbies galore Eileen. I’m an Ikea expert now! There are also lots of inserts you can put inside each opening if you want to customize – two drawer units, different decorative baskets and colored drawers.

    I can’t wait to see the before & after shots!

  • Debra Clark

    I inherited an old armoire. It has a rod for hanging and one deep drawer. I purchased a bunch of pant hangers and am hanging fabric on those which makes it really easy to see. The fat quarters and scraps are in the drawer. There is also room under the hanging fabric for plastic boxes for interfacings, etc. Similar (not so old) wardrobe closets or armoires can be purchased from Ikea, etc.

  • Lorelyn

    I am in the process of finally putting together my sewing room. Actually, there was no room in our house for all our interests and hobbies, so my husband and I took advantage of the current real estate market and purchased another building not far away. It was originally a house, but was then converted to office space. The good news is, the upper floor is mine, all mine! I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the layout and, although I have tape on the floor for placement purposes, my husband has to put together his shop on the ground floor before he can build me my cabinets.

    The main room is actually two, separated by a wall with a large opening. The back half will be my actual sewing area; the front portion will contain my library, desk, weaving loom, etc. Two adjacent walls in the sewing area will have tall counters. One of these is where I will have my embroidery machine. The other will include a wider section as a cut/press area. A third, non-adjacent wall will contain sit-down height counter. In the center of the room will be two island units. One will be set up with my sewing machine and the other half will be an adjustable-height, movable unit that can serve as a cutting table or an extension of the first unit.

    My plan is for all the under-counter cabinets to be movable and interchangeable. I refer to the areas under the counters as “garages”. When all the moveable units are “parked” in their garages everything will be neatly put away, but I can pull them out to create “knee-holes” if the space is needed to work on a machine. I can also roll the units to another working space if I need to organize or sort, etc.

    In addition to the main room, there are two tiny, windowless rooms off the front area that I use for storage. One has industrial shelving and the other currently has tubs of yarn. (This closet will eventually get shelving for better storage.) The third, slightly larger room is off the sewing area and has a north-facing window. This is my “fabric pantry”. It will eventually have shelving to hold the clear plastic containers into which I have organized most of my fabrics, trims, notions, etc. I standardized on mostly 7- and 15-quart containers. Fat quarters can be stored upright, one deep in these containers. I have also folded larger pieces of fabric into the same fat-quarter size to be consistent. I used 3×5 cards inside each container for labels: these can easily be changed to suit my purposes or as my “stash” grows or shrinks. I also use these containers and labels for specific projects, to keep all related items together as I gather them.

    There is one small area, between the “fabric pantry” and the back door, in which we will create an expandable hanging rack, something like you might see in a wedding or home dec fabric department, that will hold rods for rolls of stabilizers and interfacing, as well as larger lengths of fabric.

  • Tara Dittmann

    I bought a 10 ft. counter top at home depot and had a friend build me 2 , 3 drawer chest one for each end. The chests are built just tall enough that when I sit at my machine I am in perfect position to sew for many hours. In the center of my room I had built a cutting table just the right height for me. I had the 8 drawers made so no matter what side I am on the drawers pulls out. My stabilizers are on the back of my door on a bathroom towel rack. I have 4 rods to put them on. I store my fabric in the closet on shelves that I built in. The fabric is stored by color, season, home dec. and clothing. Projects are in containers and labeled and are on top of the 3 tall cabinets I have in my room. The 3 cabinets have doors. Books and desigines are stored in there. I prefer my machine at sitting height. I always have hand work or something to do while my machine is stitching. I hope there is some idea in this post that will help you. Have a blessed day.

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  • Karen Poole

    First question: would I prefer to stand or sit at my embriodery machine? I prefer to have my machine on a table and sit at it to do embroidery. A few reasons for this, one is that I use the machine for other sewing in addition to embroidery, I own a Brother Duetta that does regular sewing, quilting, decoerative swewing and embroidery. When I am doing embroidery, I put the hoop in the machine, press go and I usually get busy with ather things at the same time. The way I have my room set up is that I have my Serger set up to the right of my Duetta, and if I have any serging to do, I will do that while waiting for the embroidery,I also have a small table sitting at a 9+ degrewe angle to that table and I have anothe sewing machine on that table. It does 4 x 4 embroidery and sewing, so I can also be doing embroidery on that at the same time or I can be sewing on it as wll, or I can jkust sit in my chair and do some pinning, cutting, whatever else needs to be doen. I think the only time I would prefer to have the machine at standing height would be if I hade a multi needle machine!
    Now for the second question, the fabric storage: my wonderful husband installed wire racks into the closet for me and I store my fabrics on those shelves in transparent bins with lids. The fabrics are sorted into various types, such as landscapes in one tub, all felts and flannels in another, floral in one, holiday fabrics in one, childrens fabrics in one, solid colors in another. The containers are different sizes depending on the need and they are stacked on the wire shelves with some of them stored under my sewing table. I also have a box (or two) that has my purchased quilt kits, projects that I have gathered all of the supplies for- the pattern or magazine and all fabrics, threads notions, whatever is needed for that project. Then I have another container for my UFO’s. I try to keep all of the fabrics and patterns together for the projects that

    • Karen Poole

      I didn’t finish the last sentence! I try to keep everything together for any project that I plan on making, all fabrics, patterns, magazines, notions, trims, etc. If anything is storewd someplace else, I will place a large piece of paper or a note card in the project bag that identifies what items are not in that container and what location those items are stored in. Then I put the extra items in a project bag and mark which project it goes with and what location the other part of the project is in!

  • Marilyn Weiss

    I know I’m a bit late to this post, but my dream is to have one of those tables with the pneumatic lift rather than a proper sewing cabinet, so that I can sit when I need to sit and then stand and have the machine at eye level most of the time. The large flat table would also allow for staging fabrics for embroidery applique, or spreading out quilts parts and clothing pieces, etc. that have already been embroidered. A large table like this would be so versatile. I think the one of my dreams is made by Koala.

    Fabric is a different story. Mine is in bins in a closet that isn’t even in my sewing room. And I never, ever remember what I have. I have divided the fabrics by types (novelty prints, fabric and pattern together for a specific project, holiday fabric, etc.)I’ve decided that going forward, I’m going to snap a quick picture of new purchases with my phone and maybe I can at least stay organized that way. And yes, I will definitely not finish all of the projects I have lined up and organized in my bins, but in my mind I can visualize them all done–isn’t that enough or do I really have to do them!

    Good luck with the project and I look forward to pictures when you’re done.

  • annette Rady

    I like to compare my evolving sewing studio to an epic poem… it goes on and on… Thanks to my husband and my unbeatable slave driving tatics, the storage portion of the studio is almost complete. For my farics, I use a walk in closet (not very large, but very accomodating) for a traditional shelf storage system. It was worth three or four days of hard work to arrange it for identification by sight. L-shaped shelves hold various types of fabrics–eg; knits, quilting fabrics, home deco fabrics. On those shelves, these types are folded by color and quantity. The other shelves hold my UFOs(and there are lots of them) stored in jumbo zipper bags with everything that is needed to complete them. It has really made it such a dream to find what I’m looking for. It’s not perfect, mind you, but my fabric storage is 360 degrees from where it was a year ago. I also have another new closet that holds all of my embroidery blanks and completed items. Patterns, Stabilizers, notions and fat quarters are stored in jumbo drawers that are in my cutting table–which once was,incidentally, a table that was part of Strawbridge and Clothier’s children’s department. We were lucky enough to find them outside of the store about 25 years ago (4 of them)and we now only have one. The others have been broken down and the huge roll out drawers have been built into the wall of the sewing room to hold other supplies and crafts.

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