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Thread: Ideal quilting area?

  1. #1
    Member Ella Demchuk's Avatar
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    Ideal quilting area?

    Two years ago I began quilting and even my husband understood that this is going to be a lifelong hobby. Because I do not have much experience I need your advice.
    We started house hunting and our goal is to find a house with an ideal space for quilting. I canít horde for myself a separate 20 by 20ft studio Ė how sad!

    1. There are three options: a regular bedroom, a loft, or a family room assigned only for quilting. Which do you prefer?
    2. What is better: quilting on the first floor where the household will be close by, or on the second floor where guests wonít come by my mess?
    3. And the main question: how big should the space be, to be comfortable (it also has to fit TV and a reclining chair for my husband, who is planning to spend long winter nights together Ė isnít he a sweetie?)

    Please help me by sharing your experience of what would be an ideal sewing area. Ideal, but realistic.

  2. #2
    Super Member gzuslivz's Avatar
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    I would want a room that is twice the size of the average bedroom. You can always make a cozy space in the corner, but you can't make a room bigger. I am using my elder daughter's old bedroom. Our house was built in 1975, so the bedrooms are quite small. I could use a larger room, although I am thrilled that I have a sewing room at all! for over 16 years I didn't have one. I would not be concerned about upstairs or downstairs as much as which side of the house I'm on. As much as I love the sun shining in my room, I have my sewing machine under the south facing window. When the sun is shining, I am nearly blinded. As far as guests seeing a mess, you can always shut the door I am thrilled for you! Let us know what you decide on, please.
    Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.
    Renee

  3. #3
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    Answer to # 3 - Yes, your husband is a sweetie!

    If you buy a home with a large family or a living/dining room 'great room', then that would be a good choice for sewing in, since DH wants to spend time with you. But remind him that sewing is not only messy, but can be noisy, too!

    Do you ever plan on getting a long arm? If so, the bigger your space the better. We have a house with 5 garages, 3 of them heated and, most impressive, the 3 car garage has a full bathroom as well. That is why we bought the house - DH uses the 3 car garage for his hobbies; he very kindly offered me one bay for my HQ16 on a quilting frame, and I accepted. (This happened AFTER I threw him and his overwhelming hobby collections out of the house! What a guy!)

    We spend lots of time together doing our own thing in his garage. However, I do all my piecing in the house in the dining area of our great room, so the noise does interfere with his TV. (Most of the time he falls asleep in front of the TV so it's not that big a deal.) Bottom line is that sharing a space sounds wonderful, but may not live up to your expectations, so think about it carefully.

    Question #2 - my sewing areas are on the main floor. My DH uses the bonus room that I thought I'd use for his music. I'm glad we decided to do this, as climbing stairs is getting harder for me as time goes on. We also use the bonus room as a guest room, so it does double duty, especially when the 'grands' come out.

    Also, if you frequently have 'grands' over like I do, and they like to sew, it's much better to have your sewing area in a place that is easily supervised. If you have 'grands' over a lot and they have no interest in sewing, then you could sew in a more isolated part of the house - like a bedroom or a loft.

  4. #4
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    I started with using our one spare bedroom. The rooms are small, but it was enough room for me.....in the beginning. It was on the main floor and I didn't sew when DH was home due to the noise. Once I got the longarm I used the den downstairs AND the spare bedroom. Now I have it all down in the den and have made the spare bedroom my office. The den has room for all the quilting stuff and a recliner so DH can join me and spend time.
    Whatever size you think will work for you, add at least 5 feet and that will be more like it. A closet to store supplies in. Room for all your fabric, and supplies. Room for a cutting table, your machine(s). A wall to use as your display wall..... etc.
    Have fun house hunting!

    Phyllis
    QuiltingGrannie

  5. #5
    Junior Member Briarberry's Avatar
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    I have been quilting for about 18 months and I started by setting up space in a spare bedroom. I recently moved my sewing machine etc to the end of the family room. I put it there because it has a large window and I spend quite a bit of time there so I wanted to enjoy the sunlight. I can eventually see my quilting stuff overtaking the room but for now it is fine. I can turn on the TV while I sew and my daughter can also come and watch TV if she likes.
    I'd say that the family room is a good choice but you have to do what works for you and your family. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    I prefer to be within speaking and seeing of my family room, I took over the dining room since we have an eat in kitchen. Since it is not a huge room, old farm house, I have a spare bedroom in the basement, since 3 of my 4 kids are now gone, and use it for storage of bolts of fabric and my dress forms. I also do custom sewing for proms and weddings. I spend so many hours sewing that if I was in a seperate area away from family would never see them. My machine is tucked into a corner so the noise is cut down.

  7. #7
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    Where ever you decide to set up just make sure you can fit all you have into one room or area, then double the sq. footage, you will grow into it. I started up stairs in the spare bedroom, then I moved machine and basics down stairs to be closer to DH. Spent more time running up and down stairs than I did sewing. Finally moved everything down stairs. We are both much happier, so are my knee's.LOL

  8. #8
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
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    Well, it seems our "house" has been taken over by fabric and machines.

    I do have a small "sewing room" that is basically fabric storage (and freezer and all other crafty items). I had the sewing machine and embroidery machine in there but since my DH is only home a couple days a week I didn't want to be away from him. Now that my Dad lives with us also and likes to "help" the sewing room is out of the question (besides it's out of hand now anyway and needs cleaning badly).

    My sewing machine is on our dining room table. The embroidery machine is in the front room on an extra dining room table. Our couch is history because last May, DH decided I needed a long arm so that is now also in the front room.

    Someday (when our last remodel gets paid off) we'll add a large rectangular room that will be for just sewing/crafting with loads of wall space for design wall and shelving. I'd love to have 2 workstations back to back so I don't have to sew facing a wall. Desk space for the laptop will be a must too.

    Good luck and have fun
    Lisa L.
    Howdies from Possum Trot (yes it does exist)
    My most recent swap - Boomerang 16



  9. #9
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    Everybody's needs are so different -- I have a large room over the attached garage that works for me. I don't quilt all that much, but I certainly love it and have lots of supplies. After living with this set up for 2 years, I think I would prefer being on the first level of the house. It's just my husband and I, and he spends most of the day out of the house at his workshop, but in the evenings he is in his loft which is just outside my sewing room door. The biggest negative for me is if I'm sewing upstairs during the day, I can't hear when someone comes to the door (which isn't very often, but still). I think the fact that it seems a little secluded keeps me from spending as much time there as I'd really like.

    As for your other questions, I prefer a room with a door I can close if it's a mess. As big as possible. I think a family room if it's big and has a door. Like others have said, the bigger the better.

    Good luck with your search. We moved here 2 1/2 years ago and it was such fun looking at houses and thinking which room would be mine. Have fun on your search!

  10. #10
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    I sew in one bedroom. It also has my computer, an ironing board , a tv stand with tv. In a bedroom at the other end of the hall (not a terribly long distance) is my cutting table and along one wall are lined up and stacked all the boxes that were in closets. These bedrooms are on the second floor. The bulk of my material is in the basement and so are my many, many quilt books.

  11. #11
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    I would live to build over our double car garage. Then I could get everything in one room. I we ever had enough money to build our own house my quilting room would be 35' x 40' with a 10' x 10' section for the laundry room.

  12. #12
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    I, too, would go for the bigger room. You will be surprised how fast it will fill up on you. If you have an upstairs, let that be for company. It will be your house so set it up for you & DH. You will also want to consider how long you will be able to handle the stairs. It gets harder every year for me to do the stairs so I have moved a lot of my quilting to the dinning room. I do keep most of my supplies upstairs but only tackle the stairs when I need to switch fabrics. I keep enough downstairs to do at least 4 projects before a upstairs run. Besides, DH would rather I be closer to him. If your downstairs room dose not have a door to hide everything, that would be a good reason to make a quilted curtain to close it off.

  13. #13
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    My sewing area is in our master bedroom - but keep in mind that my master is something like 24x18. It's a HUGE room and comfortably houses a king bed, a dresser, two bookcases, my desk, a Horn of America Quilter's Dream cabinet that I can open and leave completely open without it getting in the way, a small table for my second machine, a cutting table that's set up at all times, an ironing board also set up all the time, and two end tables by the bed. It may sound crowded but it really isn't, and when I do close down my cabinet and cutting table, it is huge.

    That said, I hate it because I am upstairs by myself all the time. If I want to talk to my husband, I have to go downstairs, and I feel somewhat isolated. My 18 yr old son spends a lot of time upstairs in his room when he's home, with the door closed, of course, so that doesn't help. And when he graduates HS in June, gets a job and is going to school and/or leaves home, it will only get worse. I've struggled with what to do about this, because I am lonely up here, and DH will support whatever I decide to do, but the only real place downstairs for me to move into would be the breakfast area. That means we wouldn't have a dining table at all (the formal living/dining is a game room with a huge pool table in the middle of it), and that doesn't bother me overmuch, but my son does sit there to eat when he's home. And the breakfast area isn't all that big ...

    If I had a choice of the three situations you offered, I would go with the family room on the main floor. I love my alone time, but in this room, I get a little too much of that. This last weekend, I saw my husband for meals, when I would go downstairs for a glass of water, and about 2 hrs to watch a little tv with him before bed. It was sort of lonely, honestly.

  14. #14
    Junior Member cindyw's Avatar
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    I would prefer mine on the main level of the house to be near the family and not so isolated (as others have said). I have a 20x20 space with plenty of room for all the quilting stuff plus an old sectional from the 1950's parked right in front of the big TV. The kids (teens) will often come watch TV with me while I'm sewing. The TV does need to be pretty loud to hear it but they will suffer for me. Mine is in a detached former maid's quarters and I wish it were part of the house. At least it does have a full bathroom so no running back and forth.


    This is more than you asked but you are concerned about people seeing it. The easiest way to make it attractive and keep it clean is to not have too much stuff. I have seen some sewing/craft rooms that look like a bad closet and it's a whole room. Mine has looked like that in the past but I made the choice to have a nice attractive room and keep it clean and it's such a joy now. I still need to work on mine more and get rid of more stuff and it will be even better. I usually work on one project at a time. I have to force myself because it's not in my nature. I also force myself to clean up after each quilt is finished. Again, it's not in my nature to keep it clean - it's something I decided to make myself do and it's totally worth the effort. There are very few times I would be embarrassed because it is a mess.

    Good luck!

  15. #15
    Senior Member leighway's Avatar
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    If you know you are going to be a life-long quilter, then you're going to need a set-up that can grow with you because expand is the name of the quilting game.
    First thought...have a basement or 3 car garage for the day that you'll decide you need a long arm. Be sure it's a pleasant place to be.
    Now... you need a good cutting surface with room to spread, a sewing surface deep enough to push a quilt around on, a free wall for a design board (that's imperative!) and another wall for stash storage (so something like tall bookcases with doors to close and hide the fabric.)
    You can actually use a door and two filing cabinets for cutting and ironing, as well as filing patterns, etc. The main thing is you need SPACE to walk, move easily between your cutting table, sewing machine and ironing board. If you settle for a closet area it will end up becoming very frustrating.
    And you won't like being upstairs and away(loft.) I had my own sewing room upstairs away from the family and I literally didn't sew for two years...just didn't like being so isolated.
    So, while you're lucky enough to be able to "shop" this for yourself why not sketch out some sewing areas on graph paper and get an idea of just how much space you need? I am in a 12x12 BR and I have a very efficient space but I would BLOW out the wall to the next bedroom and spill over if my husband would let me. Good luck and keep us posted.

  16. #16
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I am in a converted 2 car garage that is attached to the house. I love it!!!!!!!

  17. #17
    Super Member thequilteddove's Avatar
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    I have a lovely quilt room BUT if I were to move, I'd make sure I had these things:

    1. Lots of windows for natural light (I currently have no windows. I spend probably 16-20hrs a week in that room because I have a longarm quilting business. I have my every day sewing spewed all over the kitchen - hubby loves that, not! lol). I don't care what anyone says those SAD lights & those light bulbs that duplicate natural light, don't cut the mustard!
    2. The more space, the better! (mine is currently about 14' x 16' and altho it IS a lovely space, I never seem to have enough room *giggles*).
    3. More built in storage! I have two fantasticly designed closets and some nice cupboard space; BUT you guessed it, I want more!
    4. More outlets!
    5. Tile floor. (I have carpet and it's a pain in the arse to lug the vacuum up & down the stairs... Oh and the stairs hardly ever get vacuumed lol Guess I could get a 2nd vacuum cleaner.)

    With all that said the priority is WINDOWS!!! My space really would be perfect if only I had windows.

  18. #18
    Super Member deplaylady's Avatar
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    I have a room in my basement. (I know, no natural lights! ) I have a fantastic light system and lots of space and a great set up. There is a chair lift that goes down to the space. My basement is basically split into two parts - 1/2 for me, 1.2 for a computer play room and storage. My 1/2 is split into 2 parts - 2/3 sewing, 1/3 pottery. The sewing is 22 x 13, all drywall and painted a lovely green with floors that look like hardwood. Plenty of room for old and new machines, lots of storage thanks to some built ins, a couple great cutting/ironing tables and best of all a bathroom! My husband spends most of his time on that computer, so I might as well be where he is. His room is about the same size - expect he shares it with my granddaughter's toys. I love that I can shut the door and leave everything out and walk away and not have to throw everything into boxes and hurry to pick up the way I did before I had my own place to sew.

  19. #19
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    I have 2 small bedrooms dedicated to sewing. I have what I need, not near what I want. It is cozy and serves my purpose in the quilting and sewing world.
    In my dream world I have a 4x the space. Room to walk around a wide cutting table (Mine now is 48 x 60, but attached to the wall at 48" end. I wanted 5'x5' when we redid it last weekend, but I gave in on that foot in order to stand in front of the ironing board!) Room to have my extra large ironing board away from the wall and plenty of room to walk around it. Room for storing bolts of batting properly and easily managed. An area set up for embroidery, one for serging, one for piecing, one for quilting. A large design wall. An area to display what I have finished. An area for designing and displaying books. An area to put all my fabric and notion cabinets together. Separate area for cabinets of yarn and other crafty things. Proper lighting and windows throughout. Enough outlets without having to use extension cord. Wall space for a tv that can be seen from all sewing chair areas. Place for a microwave, coffee pot, a red retro popcorn machine, and a mini fridge. A bathroom close by. Room for my doggies to lay around and visit often.
    I would do this on the lower level. I would think that the weight of it all probably isn't best suited for a loft or above the furnace or a spare bedroom, as I also want a frame someday. I wouldn't want any overnight guests to hear the humming of the machines, as there is midnight sewing.
    My sewing is out of eyesight for anyone coming over. I prefer that. I don't feel the need to put anything away when I am in the middle of something and I would certainly forget what I was doing if I had to do that. If you had a large empty basement, think of the possibilities!

  20. #20
    Super Member laurafet's Avatar
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    Many homes have a large room over the garage. That size would be perfect.

  21. #21
    Super Member deplaylady's Avatar
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    Oh - I forgot to mention when planning (dreaming) when I redid my place I had overhead plugs installed as well as the ones on the side walls (some which are 36" high for the iron areas). The over head plugs keep people (and me) from tripping over machine cords strung across the floor when I have more than one machine running in the middle of the room.

  22. #22
    Member Ella Demchuk's Avatar
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    I am so glad I asked you in time, ladies!
    The results are astonishing! One bedroom is not enough, two is not really convenient – I got it. Before I was thinking about a loft on the second floor but after I tried to count your preferences I saw that 13 of you prefer the first floor. So it is much more likely to be a family room about 20’x 20’ft in size, no less! It should be sunny and have enough outlets and even overhead plugs. Still some of you “prefer a room with a door I can close if it's a mess” but sadly family rooms usually don’t have this option. As Halo sad earlier “that would be a good reason to make a quilted curtain to close it off.” Or I can put up a few dividers to border the area, if there is no possibility to hang the quilt from the ceiling. So be it, for I am house hunting again!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Little RoO's Avatar
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    Oh......I can only dream of a lottery win.......We live in the Uk in a small village in the south of the country, our house is semi detached and average sized for homes in this area, house prices here are high approx $500,000........and my living/dining room area which is the biggest room in the house is 24' x 12'...my sewing room is about 10' x 8' but I love it because it is my space...I just have to be super organised ! I dream of a scandinadian type lodge at the bottom of the garden with a long arm in it....and then I wake up and remember the garden is way too small......Off to buy a lottery ticket !

  24. #24
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    I'm finding this very interesting. Hubby and I are in the process of having a house built. My sewing will be a room that is 10' x 15', and it will have to be a guest room when needed. The good news it that I made sure it got a walk-in closet that is 7' x 7' (the closet also has an access door to additional storage under the staircase). My Bernina is in a cabinet but I need to plan what furniture pieces I will be adding. I currently use the dining room table as a cutting table so I definately need one, but also sewing space for my serger and a second machine.

    Hubby is a woodworker, so eventually he will build me new furniture for this room. (Have to build the shop yet so this is a ways down the line) We have planned a murphy bed that will have a drop-down table that can be used when the bed is closed. I thinks this would be a great way to use a sewing room as an occasional guest room. This is a pic of one I have seen online that I told him I want one like:

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  25. #25
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    We are also thinking of getting a Murphy bed down the road. My s-in-law just got one that looks great.

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