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Thread: New quilting space!

  1. #1
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    New quilting space!

    Hi everyone! I have decided to take over the smallest bedroom in my house as a quilting room, but I have a few challenges I could use a few suggestions for.

    My workable space is going to be very small, maybe ten feet by six feet, and I am not going to have any vertical storage space. The room is currently used as a storage space for all of the random stuff households seem to generate, and three of the walls are lined floor to ceiling with those heavy wire racks to store all of the stuff. Moving them (or getting rid of the stuff) is non-negotiable at this point. The last wall is mostly window and bare space for the doors to open and close. I am hoping to have a shelf to store my fabric on, but I'm not counting on it at this stage.

    I don't have any fancy equipment (sewing desks/cutting tables/etc) or a massive stash to store. All of my fabric will fit in a single plastic tub beneath my bed. I would like to put my machine on a larger table than the writing desk I have it on now, so I have table space to the left and behind my machine to support larger projects. I can fit all of my notions in the desk, which is pretty handy, but I have to sit at an awkward angle/height when I sew, and I'm tired of banging my knees on the drawers. My rulers and cutting mat are stored beneath the couch in the family room, and to press I have to set the ironing board up in the kitchen.

    I would like to get all of my sewing items in one space, so when I need something I don't have to go to the other end of the house. More importantly, I don't want to have to wander the house to find all of my supplies, get them out, and put them away every time I want to do anything. I don't have a lot of time to sew, and it feels like I spend most of it setting up and tearing down. I really, really want to get everything into this room and get it set up so I can just turn everything off and close the door when I'm done.

    It's kind of a blank slate since I don't have anything but a machine and an ironing board, but all the ideas I see are built into areas with wall space. Closets, cabinets, etc. I won't have any of that. In fact, I still need to be able to reach everything on the shelves without moving any of my sewing stuff.

    I was thinking about getting one of those long plastic tables and putting it in a L shape with my ironing board, or putting my machine in the middle of the table and setting up a pressing station to my right. The only place I can think of for storage would be under the table...plastic drawers maybe.

    Any suggestions? I am planning on setting everything up while I'm on vacation in a few weeks; I have to actually clear the floor space to be able to use it first. I don't think the shelves will fit in the room any other way than they are now, but I can try to maybe clear myself a corner.

  2. #2
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    If you have air conditioning and the window can be covered, I would put up a design or peg board over it. I would also take what is no longer needed on the wore shelves and yard sale it or bring it to the charity shop. If you can free up some wire shelf space, your stash can go there as well as batting.

  3. #3
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    I will look into the pegboard idea, Tartan. I'm not sure I can get the family to let me cover the window, but I can see.

    To make a long story short, I have to work around the shelves and the content. In my head I am treating the shelves as basically the walls of the room, something that is already there that I cannot change. The only difference is that I can't hang things on these walls, lol.

    Right now I have to use the space that I have, which is in the middle of the room. I am looking for layout and storage ideas so I have room to sew, press, and cut fabric in the same space without any sort of vertical storage. It will all have to sit on the floor in the same footprint as my table, or on a section of shelf I can hopefully claim as my own.

  4. #4
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    Did you say that you don't have a closet in the bedroom either? That would be too bad, I have seen people do a lot with a little closet. My only suggestion is to hang an organizer with clear vinyl on the back of the door for some storage.

  5. #5
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    I would definitely recommend ditching the ironing board and making yourself a flat ironing surface. It can be placed on your horizontal space when you need it and slid behind a piece of furniture when you don't. There are tutorials galore on YouTube. I attached a pic of mine. We've been able to carve out a "permanent" space for it so it stays where it is full-time now.

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  6. #6
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    There is a closet in there, but it is also full. Eventually most of the shelves and all of the stuff in the closet will go to an outdoor storage space, but that will be next summer at the earliest. Every bit of storage in my whole house is filled with stuff that used to be stored outside until a storm came through and destroyed the barn it was in. It feels like I'm drowning in stuff, and a big chunk of it isn't even mine. It belongs to my parents and grandparents and so on.

    I just need a stopgap to get me off the kitchen table and my desk until then.
    Last edited by origamigoldfish; 09-19-2019 at 02:40 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesing View Post
    I would definitely recommend ditching the ironing board and making yourself a flat ironing surface. It can be placed on your horizontal space when you need it and slid behind a piece of furniture when you don't. There are tutorials galore on YouTube. I attached a pic of mine. We've been able to carve out a "permanent" space for it so it stays where it is full-time now.
    That looks awesome...I was thinking about buying one of those drawer organizer units (on wheels, if they exist) and then making a pressing board I could lay on top of it. It could be stored under the table, with my most used notions in the drawers, and I could pull it out when I need it and push it back when I'm done. I like to make blocks individually over strip piecing. Most of the pressing I do could be done on a 16 inch square. I would only need the ironing board for yardage and setting the seams on the final rows in big quilts.

  8. #8
    Super Member juliasb's Avatar
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    First of all congratulations on your new space! Maximizing any space is a challenge. It sounds like you have a good handle on it so far. I am sure you will have so many ideas that you will be over whelmed.

  9. #9
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    I would suggest a very basis set-up.
    - a sturdy table for the center of the room, big enough to hold a cutting mat and your sewing machine, and still be able to walk around the table,
    - a comfortable office type chair for sewing,
    - an ironing board set up at one end of the table (or you could make an ironing area on your table)

    If possible, I would add a vinyl table cloth or piece of batting as a design wall, suspended from the wire shelving (clipped for easy access to the shelves). The design wall should be your view while seated at your sewing machine.

    Storage units on wheels, room on the shelves or closet will happen with time. In the meanwhile, you can still take advantage of your new quilting space and create some awesome quilts.

  10. #10
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    In some ways, you are in a good position: you have to keep your fabric purchases limited to what you can fit in that tub under the bed. You have a window--I wouldn't cover it. Not only do you need light for working, but it's good for the mood and warmth (unless it's drafty, of course).

    I would "shop your house" first before bringing in anything new to set up your station.

    a. Do you have a big table you could use for your sewing table, that has legroom and is the right height for your machine? Try to use the smallest iron you can. You can use a handheld steamer (portable, small, cheap) for steaming wrinkles out of the yardage, and use a small iron for your blocks.

    b. Comfort is more important than space. You have to have your cutting height and sewing height correct so you don't get a backache/shoulder pain/neck strain after just a few minutes.

    c. Since you'll be opening and closing what you store under your table all the time, make sure you get sturdy units. Drawers should be easy to open, not frustrating, solid enough to open with one hand smoothly. Some of those cheap plastic storage things on wheels are too lightweight and cheaply made--the drawers get stuck or if you yank, the whole unit moves. Ugh. THey're fine for things you don't need easy or frequent access to.

    d. How close will outlets be ? You don't want to trip over a cord, especially if it's attached to a hot iron!

  11. #11
    Super Member copycat's Avatar
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    I am also in a small bedroom for my quilting space. Please go to the link to see the table I use that is a great space saver. I added wheels to raise the height and also allow me to move it around the room. The drawers are for storing the quilting supplies.

    https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/norden-...irch-90423887/
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 09-20-2019 at 03:14 AM. Reason: make link active

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by copycat View Post
    I am also in a small bedroom for my quilting space. Please go to the link to see the table I use that is a great space saver. I added wheels to raise the height and also allow me to move it around the room. The drawers are for storing the quilting supplies.

    https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/norden-...irch-90423887/
    I love that table, thanks for the link
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  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=wesing;8303603]I would definitely recommend ditching the ironing board and making yourself a flat ironing surface. It can be placed on your horizontal space when you need it and slid behind a piece of furniture when you don't. There are tutorials galore on YouTube. I attached a pic of mine. We've been able to carve out a "permanent" space for it so it stays where it is full-time now.

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Size:  1.29 MBI did this also until the heat from the iron transferred through and warped my cutting mat. So do be careful. However you can take that same iron board and put it on your table end when needed. A small TV tray covered for an ironing surface works great. I use an old microwave cart on wheels for my pressing mat. It can then roll next to me and make my sewing surface L shaped. Maybe on your wire shelves you can “hook” a display wall to hang. They can be made from the pink insulation sheet covered with flannel. Then it is removable if you need to get something off the shelf and something better to look at than filled shelves. Good luck! Your room will evolve over time.
    Last edited by lilli480; 09-20-2019 at 04:28 AM.
    Always keep music in your heart 🎶❤️

  14. #14
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    Like many others, i am in a small bedroom too. After my sons left the nest i had the choice of one of their bedrooms for my sewing room - i took the one with 2 windows! 😊 It’s been a work in progress for a while but i think i finally have it the way i want it. Work area with a small table, my main sewing machine and my sitdown longarm are in the center of the room. I have a separate cutting table and an ironing station. My brother gifted me with a beautiful treadle so had to work that in too! My goal was to have a cozy but comfortable space where two people could sew (gotta have room for your quilting buddy!) - but still be able to move around freely without having to squeeze between things. When planning the best layout for me i measured the room within an inch of its life many, many times! Last October i got the sitdown longarm... amazingly it nested perfectly in the center of the room with my main sewing machine and a small work table! It took some talking... but finally convinced my DH that i really, really, really wanted my Happy Place painted Lilac (he is an outdoors kinda guy and freely admits that his favorite “color” is camo)!

    Excuse the mess, been working in there! The one good thing about a small space is that you usually need to put one project away before you start another. But at least it’s my room and i can leave things out if i want. Our house has an open floor plan and this room can be readily seen from the main area. But if i have a mess i can just shut the door!
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  15. #15
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    Beautiful room!
    Always keep music in your heart 🎶❤️

  16. #16
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    Lucky you! like everything bout it. Happy sewing/quilting.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rilene's Avatar
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    You're so fortunate to be planning your room out now. It looks like you'll have many happy hours there.
    I agree about the ironing surface. Put the ironing board somewhere else in the house. My surface is 20'' x 45'' but I wish now that it were a bit longer - say 50 or 58 inches.
    Rilène

  18. #18
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    Your sewing room is beautiful! thanks for all the pictures!

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    Also thank you everyone for all the ideas; I have never had any kind of personal space except for sleeping before....it is kind of exciting!

    I guess I want to go as minimal as possible until I know for sure what works and what won't work. I don't want to put a lot of $$ into big expensive pieces of furniture that I won't use or won't work for my space. I think that is why I wanted to ask for suggestions first, to listen to people who have been here before.

  20. #20
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    If you haven't already, get some graph paper. Measure the size of your space including window, door, and the space the shelves take up. Then figure out the size of your sewing table, etc and how this will fit into the allotted area.

    Yes to the over the door clear plastic shoe bag...I just picked one up at W.mart for around $8.

    Hanging a design wall (back side of a vinyl tablecloth) over the shelves sounds like a great idea.

    Can you attach S hooks to the wire shelves? I was able to do this and then hang wire baskets to the hooks on the exposed end of some shelves in a WIC. You may be able to make fabric baskets instead of buying "new". Maybe some ideas here...you can customize size to your space.

    https://www.patchworkposse.com/50-fa...ins-tutorials/

    Best of luck as you design this little cozy space.
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  21. #21
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    I use one of those wooden TV tray tables from Walmart for my ironing/pressing. I also have one for a 12 x 18 cutting mat. I live with my 93 year old mother in a mobile home. My sewing room is a small bedroom with some of her furniture along the walls. I have had to be very creative with fabric and tool storage. I am also a member of the County Extension Office. Our FCS Agent is a quilter as well so we have quite a quilting program. We have UFO days once a week, where I work on larger projects like major cutting. October 3 and 4, we will have our annual Lock-in. It starts at 3:00 p.m. Friday and goes until 7:00 a.m. Saturday. I always get lots accomplished.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 09-21-2019 at 02:49 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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  22. #22
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    I am in a similar situation ... except I still have a full size bed, dresser, TV stand, and 5-drawer chest in my room to deal with. My DH feels we still need to keep these ... just in case. So I added a 6 ft. folding table that just fits partly over the end of the bed. This has worked out very well. I can put my cutting mat on it and can use it as an ironing station (w/removable padding, of course). While it's still not ideal, it's better than going downstairs to the dining room to cut or the laundry room to iron. My sewing machine/cabinet are in the corner to the right. Since they are very near to the closet, I don't have room to add a table behind for more support of quilts.

    I have a small desk in the garage I need to finish painting to sit my embroidery machine on. Once that's finished, I'll put the TV on top of the chest (which I use to store some fabrics, etc.) and place the desk beside the dresser on the opposite side of the room to do embroidery. Also have fabrics stored on a shelf in the closet. My DH took over the closet for his winter clothers when our son moved out ... otherwise I would have a lot more storage space Hahaha.

    One thing I've learned is that quilters will find a way to make space limitations work. We are a creative bunch. Ha.

  23. #23
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    I wouldn't cover the window. You will want the lighting. I have a table under the window and my work space then has me sitting as if I am looking out the window.

  24. #24
    Senior Member leighway's Avatar
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    A photo of the room as it is, along with pics of the shelves as they are currently would be a good starting point for our suggestions. Unless you are uber organized, I would think there might be a way to 'tighten up' the items on the shelves now, to give you a bit of space to place things.
    As for the window, you could look into some board and brackets and put a couple of shelves there. Also, look to Ikea for one of the rod and bucket fixtures or make one to also go in the window to hold smaller items like pencils, scissors, etc.
    As for a design wall, go for the large piece of insulation from Home Depot, cover it with flannel and place it in front of one of your existing shelves, leaning against it. it's very lightweight and you can move it when you need to.
    Ironing if it includes large pieces might have to be done outside your room. Meanwhile, one of the June Taylor ironing mats would be perfect when piecing. That's all I've had in my sewing room for years and it's great. I can place it against a wall when I need the space for cutting. Hope these ideas help you.

  25. #25
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    Unless you have to get things on the shelves that are already there on a daily basis, I would get some sheets of plywood/insulation/something to stand in front of the shelves and make that a useable area. Even if it's just for a design wall. They have sets of wire baskets/drawers that will fit under tables and work well for fabric storage. As far as not being able to get rid of the stuff, my method is to do a few things at a time. I look at it decide if I want to keep it and then it either goes in the charity basket or the trash. When you do 3 or 4 items a couple times a week you don't really notice its gone and suddenly there starts to be extra space.
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