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Thread: Small Spaces, Great Results!

  1. #1
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    Small Spaces, Great Results!

    No separate room to turn into a sewing room? No problem! I live in a relatively small 2-bedroom apartment, and the second bedroom is occupied by my grandson. The master suite bedroom area is approx. 16x16 with a large en suite. When I began quilting about a year and a half ago, I placed my sewing machine on one end of my large L-shape computer station; fabrics were stowed in a large bin placed at the foot of my bed, cutting mats placed on top of that, along with rulers -you get the picture. I had a lovely piano in my bedroom, so there was no place for a sewing station. When my grandson bought a new TV and mounted it on the wall in the living room, I was able to move my piano into the living room, freeing up this corner to create my sewing nook. I considered using pegboard, but I wound up using Command strips to hang various sewing tools, and I am really glad I did. Now, my cutting mats (one of them is a cutting mat and a reversible ironing pad, which I use a lot when pressing seams on squares, etc.) are hung on the wall; on an adjacent wall I have my rulers, various types of scissors, bobbin holders, and a thread rack (and need to add another). On the wall beneath my cutting mats is a 4-drawer storage unit (the top has divisions and holds my pin cushion, a seam measuring ruler, marking pens, seam ripper, etc. Next to it is a wide three-drawer unit that contains quilt tops waiting to be quilted and related fabric; I store my Quilting Binder and a couple of pattern books on top of this unit. Both of these units have my precuts -charm packs, layer cakes, and Jolly Bars (5x10). The VERY BEST ITEM? My 4' table! There are three height settings, two of which I use: If I am sewing, I use the midpoint and set my sewing machine on it; by pulling it out a bit, the quilt can fall behind the table, and there is plenty of room to spread it out as I quilt. I mostly bought this table, however, for cutting fabric. It can be raised to counter height (36"), and it is perfect for cutting fabric, pressing seams on quilting squares, etc. As you can see from my photo, everything is neatly stored and easily accessible!

    To finish out the room, I have an over-the-door ironing board on the entrance door to my bedroom --just drop it down and iron the fabric before cutting or press a quilt top, etc., then pop it up out of the way. I have a cedar chest at the foot of my bed for storing completed quilts, which are either gifts or are donated to charity through my quilting group that meets twice a month to make quilts for those in need. There are two closets in my en suite, so I have two bins in there to store my stash. I'm thinking about adding a shelf or two beneath the cutting boards to hold the quilting books I have just begun to collect, and I'd like to add some individual completed quilt squares to add some color and decor to this space.

    Would I love to have a dedicated sewing room? Of course! But things are what they are, and I am very happy with my highly functional quilting nook. I encourage anyone out there who has limited space to study your space carefully --I bet there is a sewing nook for you, too, just waiting to be discovered!
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  2. #2
    Junior Member just janet's Avatar
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    I have a corner of my Family Room. I keep it as neat as possible as you do. I make everything from coasters to queen size quilts. I also have a closet for things that are necessary, like batting, rulers etc that I like to keep "out of sight" Love it, I call it my Happy Place!

  3. #3
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    nice job......everything you need............

  4. #4
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    ​Nifty nook!

  5. #5
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    You have set up a very nice sewing area!

  6. #6
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    You did a wonderful job utilizing your space. It looks like a lovely place to work.

  7. #7
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    Very nice sewing area. You did a good job maximizing your space.

    Rob
    1955 Singer Featherweight 221/ Late 60's early 70's White Selectronic 970/
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  8. #8
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    Well done! Nice and neat as well as highly functional.

  9. #9
    Junior Member MsHeirloom's Avatar
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    You have really made a functional, cozy space for yourself. Congratulations, and may you have many happy hours creating in your space!

  10. #10
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    Oh, I love what you call your sewing space -the Happy Place! I think one of the things I love is having a space for everything, easily accessible, and, like you, being able to keep things neat. Happy Sewing in your Happy Place!

  11. #11
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    Thank you!

  12. #12
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    Thank you for your well wishes! It does make a difference in having an area to pursue what I hope will be many years of quilting!

  13. #13
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    Oh, I think I posted my reply to you on someone else's post -oops! Anyway, I love what you call your space -the Happy Place! Keep on keeping on!

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    Catchy! Maybe I'll call it my "Nifty Nook" --it needs a name. Thanks!

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    You have made good use of the space you have!

  16. #16
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Congratulations! ... for creating a great space to work by making the best of the space you have.
    Here's to many happy quilting hours, as you have already put a lot of thought into planning it.

    You didn't mention a design wall .... here's a suggestion that might work for you.
    Doors are normally blank space ... How about covering those closet doors
    with fleece and give yourself a design wall to add to your sewing pleasure!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  17. #17
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    You have created a delightful sewing area. It looks like you've made the best use of the space given what you have... happy sewing.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  18. #18
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    What a great idea! I do have a computer program I bought as a Christmas present to myself (I chose QuiltPro, as opposed to Electric Quilt 7) and have been very happy with it; I especially love that I am able to scan my own fabrics in and use them in whatever design/layout I've chosen. STILL,I think I'd like to take what I see there and transpose it to a design wall. I work with a lot of precuts that come in layer cakes, charm packs, and my ever-popular "Jolly Bars," which are 5'X10" coordinating cuts from Moda (available only through Fat Quarter Shop), and as such, there can be as many as 10 different fabrics in one set.

    I have a question about how to create a design wall. One, I'm not sure the closet doors will work. They are 36" wide, but they are the type that fold open. Wouldn't this be a problem? If so, I still have a couple of other options: As I enter the vanity area of the en suite (like an entryway, sort of), there is one solid wall that is 46" wide; the opposite wall is 33" wide. There's plenty of room to move around, so would either of these walls work? HOW BIG SHOULD A DESIGN WALL BE, ANYWAY? I suppose I could also use the wall that's behind the bedroom entry door -except there is a light fixture there (it is 36"). Hum...biggest space is clearly the wall that is 46" wide.

    You said to use fleece. I guess I've never seen or read about how to do this. Is this put up to stay permanently/semi-permanently? How do I adhere it to the wall? Is fleece better than felt? I even read that one can use batting, but I just didn't see that one working!

    Well, this is an EXCITING idea you have suggested, and I would really like to try it, so I hope you (and anyone else out there reading this post) as to which of my areas described above would work best for my design wall, which medium to use, and how to affix it.

    Thank you so much for this suggestion!

    When life gives you scraps, make a quilt!

  19. #19
    Senior Member roguequilter's Avatar
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    my sewing room is my dining room. command strips are fantastic. now if i need to feed people, i put table cloth over the table sized cutting mat, unplug lights & machine, sit down & eat! cords are all held neatly out of feet range by command hooks attached to side of table, all tools, even my felt block book hang on wall on command hooks. closet in upstairs bedroom holds my fabric. inconvenient, but the bed works for hauling out & previewing fabric choices/ideas for projects. my dining room sewing room opens up to the deck. for a design wall i have hung a large piece of felt over the window. easy to take down for feeding, but have learned people really enjoy seeing works in progress & my projects & pretties become part of the dinner conversation. i would love to have a dedicated sewing room like i did in last home & i miss my seasonsl table cloths & center arrangements ..but i can live w/o them & can't live w/o sewing!
    Last edited by roguequilter; 01-12-2017 at 07:25 AM.
    the rogue quilter - in from wandering in the sun and snow with camera in hand.

  20. #20
    Junior Member just janet's Avatar
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    I have a 36" wall also. I tacked a yard stick to the wall up high to the ceiling and pasted some wooden clothes pins to it. The kind that clips. I hang a piece of flannel to those clips when I need a design wall and take it down when I'm not using it. It isn't the best solution I'm sure, but working in a small space sometimes you just gotta do it! I think it work on a door as well.

  21. #21
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Thank you MountainWoman for your excitement ... to be honest, I didn't know if I was overstepping by making my suggestion! It just seemed to me that you had everything, and were missing that one "big" item. Big, in that I don't know what I would do without it!

    There have been many different threads on here discussing the merits of one type over the other, and lots of how to's, different styles, etc.

    Here's a bit about my experiences .....

    My initial trial was fabric held on the wall with painter's tape. I soon realized it worked, and I wanted MORE ... but I definitely wanted something more stable that I didn't have to fear would have come down as I worked with it. I tried flannelette, fleece and batting and made my decision towards fleece, because, I found that pieced squares held better than they did to the others. Plus fleece gave me a wider width to work with. I also chose black fleece, because as I went around to LQS', I saw too many design walls of batting or flannelette that were just outright grubby looking. I didn't like that. Plus a designer had showed me one time with a design sample board how black gave a truer colour. One detriment ... if you do a lot of white/light quilt work, you may not like the black. A lint roller does a quick job of cleaning it off, if/when threads start clinging.

    I jumped right in, and my first design wall was a biggie 7-1/2ft x 10 ft. I wrapped fleece onto 4x8 boards of tentest, which were then mounted permanently to the wall. Tentest was chosen because it was cheap, plus would allow me to stick in pins when I wanted. I realize that you may not be able to go permanent, being in an apartment, but in my situation, I knew I was here for the long term and too, I had the wall available! I have found that pins are not needed for this wall, but I wanted that option.

    I like a hard surface behind the design wall, so that I can smooth a block or the quilt onto the wall. That is what helps to keep it there for the long term! Pinnability isn't really needed, except when I want to include paper ... eg. patterns, notes, etc. I have had large quilt tops on the wall without pins for a length of time. Although I now put in just 3 or 4 as a security, just in case! All of my FWS and PC quilt blocks were displayed as I assembled the blocks and they never jumped ship! However, you may find that you want to be able to pin things ... thinking that if it is in an area where you may brush up against it, you may want to secure what you have and not be playing 52 pick up!

    There are some other less permanent options, and that is what my other design walls are .... from 15" square (portable), right up to that big wall. Of course, the basic where I started and where you may want to start .... painters tape and some fleece for that trial run. If you don't have any fleece, try a piece of batting that you have instead of buying until you know for sure what you want.

    Others ... I have some small boards covered with fleece that I use when piecing blocks .... they can sit right on the edge of the sewing machine as I work. All the pieces are together, and I can take them to the ironing board for pressing and return to continue on. Can be as simple as a piece of cardboard, corrugated plastic or plywood covered. One is thin plywood, with a couple layers of batting and then the fleece. Corrugated plastic is fairly durable and leaves you with that pinnability! Sometimes I use more pins when doing block work than on a full wall .... pins labelled A B C etc to identify cut parts are easier than having to label each cut piece. Or if there are multiples of one size, I can remove the two I need at the moment, and keep the rest stabbed to the board until needed later! Plus, they keep those pesky little pieces from disappearing until sewn into place. )I just did some blocks at Christmas with one inch squares ..... )

    The same corrugated plastic ... I covered 4x8ft sheets with fleece. They hang from the wall right up against the ceiling with picture hanging hooks. Knowing that my DJ project was going to be for the long haul, I did not want to tie up my main wall, and thus, why this wall was created. I went for the width between a window and a door, about 7 ft and covered it fully in this manner. Also, because my DJ was on white background, I did give in to white fleece for this one.

    These corrugated/fleece type may be a good option for you as less permanent and picture hangers are normally allowed in an apt! Likewise, I have some other corrugated/fleece smaller design walls that just lean up against a wall, or a piece of furniture. The corrugated/fleece is nice in that they are lightweight, easily movable and if not in use can be slid in behind a piece of furniture until needed. I was fortunate to have some "free" sources for the corrugated plastic. Keep your eyes open for old signs being pitched! That's how I have continued to add to my collection. Can you tell that I tend to work on more than one project at a time?

    Yes, I love my design walls and wonder how I ever quilted without one.
    And I think you will soon agree!

    Your question as to size .... as you have figured out by now .... any and every size.
    You will never have enough! Just get started!

    I hope these ideas help and not confuse you!
    Please be sure to ask questions, if I have left you totally lost!
    Last edited by QuiltE; 01-12-2017 at 07:44 AM.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  22. #22
    Super Member callen's Avatar
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    You have done an amazing job with making that small spot, your little piece of quilting heaven !!
    Dance like no one is watching

  23. #23
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    A very nice, tidy, organized place to create. " A room of ones' own", no matter where or the size. Enjoy your studio!
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  24. #24
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    Such a nice, tidy space. Thanks for sharing it with us. At our previous house, I had a relatively small design wall. I hung a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth from a tension rod between a wall and a door frame. It worked for me. I haven't ventured into big projects yet.

  25. #25
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    Your space is neat and inviting. Enjoy.
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

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