Sewing room: Before and after

“My evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry ’til a more convenient season.” Mary Todd Lincoln

Yes dear readers, I have been procrastinating a bit this week. I’ve not had a go on my sewing machine since I came back from holiday, except to run up a quick ruff for my niece’s Elizabethan project.

But there’s been a perfectly good reason! This was the state of my sewing room a week ago:


What. A. Bloody. Mess. I am ashamed of myself. The wires! The fabric stash! Ugh. Check out that cabinet. What a beast. Let’s take a look inside it.

Inside cabinet

Now you may not believe it, but when I bought this cabinet on eBay for Β£100 I was dead chuffed with myself for coming up with such a clever solution to tidy away everything out of sight. Hah! What a fool am I! I got the idea from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, one of my first sewing books. But wait – this is HER version of it.

Mine never quite… lived up to this. It also blocked out a lot of light from the wee side return window and restricted my ‘sewing elbows’. It was time to get rid. Off it went to a lovely gentleman called Adam on Freecycle, and off I went to Ikea to purchase more suitable pieces. And now…da da da daaaaaaah – here is my new and improved sewing room!


Feel the zen. Feel the potential. Ahh I love this so much. I spent an hour in here yesterday just pootling about and looking at things. Here – let me take you on a wee tour. Do you have the time?

Expedit bookcase

The stash has been tamed – you can see I’ve got some there in the top bit and further down behind the threads but the rest is in the wicker baskets. Second shelf down to the left is the haberdashery, replete with gadgets and gizmos I bought on a whim and don’t know how to use yet.

Books and patterns

Here’s my little library of sewing books. Yes that is Sewing for Dummies! You can probably just make out a tiny yellow book beside the patterns – Yeah, I made it myself! by Eithne Farry. I blame her for starting me off on this path. TBH I wouldn’t be seen dead in some of the things I made from that book but it was an excellent resource for someone who was frightened but fascinated by sewing. And of course – there is the new bible of sewing clothes – the Colette Sewing Handbook. To the right I have my modern and vintage patterns. Renfrew – I yearn for you. But you’ll just have to wait damn it.

Let’s move to the desk!

Sewing desk

Ahh how tidy it is. (That won’t last long.) The radio is tuned to BBC Radio 4 at the moment, if you were wondering. I can’t get BBC6 music as it’s not digital. I like to imagine I will improve myself as I sew but I’ll bet I turn it over to Radio 2 the first chance I get.

Pattern cutting and marking tools

The drawer directly underneath the machine houses my pattern cutting and marking tools.

Sewing machine tools

And the drawer to the right has all my little sewing feet, needles and tools, plus a combusted package of hooks and eyes (damn those evil things – I know Jane will agree with me there).


Here’s my (rather uninspiring pinboard). This needs to be a lot more colourful than it is at the moment – any suggestions on how to brighten it up?

One last thing: I popped my head round the door this evening to have another little look and sigh, and I spotted a little gift had been left on my desk:

Awh – from the husband! What a sweetie. He popped over to the garden centre today to get it. He gets mucho brownie points for this one.

WellΒ that’sΒ it – hoped you liked the wee tour. I can promise you I will no longer be procrastinating and will THROW myself into the Minoru tomorrow.


42 thoughts on “Sewing room: Before and after

  1. Your sewing room look so lovely! Nice & bright & plenty of space to store all your goodies πŸ™‚ Doesn’t it feel amazing to have everything sorted neatly in it’s proper place? I don’t blame you for just going in there to putter around & stare – I do that too lol.

    For your bulletin board, it usually just takes time & collecting to get everything pretty & colorful. I tack lots of fabric swatches to mine, and inspirational pictures I cut out of magazines. Or you could just take the quick route & cover the cork with fabric! The wooden frame pieces should pop right off… then stretch fabric over it, staple it down, and then stick the frame back on (glue it down if you want extra security). I did that once with a cork board that I used to hang my jewelry… it was a very quick & satisfying project.

    Also, I totally hate those keep-everything-in-one-place cabinets & closets. They look totally cute but I don’t know anyone who can actually bear to keep everything in it’s proper place *always*, not to mention actually use it! It’s just too small to sew on!

  2. Your space is gorgeous! I have to admit that mine is much more like your before pictures, but minus the big cabinet…

    It looks like it’s a lovely place to work and be inspired in. I bet the floor is a breeze to clean up? And the orchid is beautiful, what a thoughtful husband you have!

    Pin board wise, I’d cover the cork in some lovely fabric and then criss-cross ribbons over the top so that you don’t have to pin everything.

    I just white-tak stuff to my wall I’m afraid (and it’s still got the digger, tractor and land rover stencils from when it was my little boy’s nursery on them too.) and the floor is carpeted so is always an interesting collage of thread and clips of fabric, until I can’t stand it anymore and haul the vacuum up the stairs to sort it out!

    • Ooh i like the ribbons criss-crossing idea Vicki cheers πŸ™‚ Ooh the trials of keeping a sewing room floor clean. I’m guessing we’re all the same and let the threads fall where they may while we’re sewing? πŸ˜‰

  3. Love the result! well done! it’s so zen and bright despite being dark outside. My current sewing space is a mess because I still need to clear up the attic. Eventually I would like it to be as nice as yours. I even have a library like yours waiting to be put into use. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I’m looking to redo my room too (got it painted and carpeted… now for the final stage of going to IKEA!)

    I have to ask – where did you get your desk from? It’s exactly what I have in mind for what I need, but alas can’t find one like it anywhere!

    Looks so good though and glad you’re happy with it πŸ™‚

  5. Your room looks beautiful! I was thinking of getting one of those cupboards to keep all my stuff in so this has definitely made me think twice. For your notice board, how about spraying a wallpaper sample with adhesive and sticking that on the cork bit? There’s loads of lovely bold wallpaper about at the moment and most places will let you have a fairly big sample piece. Your romm looks very inspiring. x

  6. This is so funny, because I can remember when you blogged ages ago about your sewing cupboard and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m so impressed that she can sew from there and keep everything tidy and manageable.’ I guess not! Aw, I absolutely love your new sewing space – and in fact am keenly jealous. Hey, you’re getting on with your Minoru jacket!

    • Hahah you’ve got a good memory! I tried – I really did – but it beat me πŸ™‚ And yay for Minoru – this weekend is going to be a bumper sewing weekend I can just feel it πŸ™‚

      • Oh, and re radio:I alternate between radios 2 and 6. I fell off the Radio 4 wagon when I got sick of shouty men on the Today programme telling me we were all going to hell in a hand cart when the recession kicked in. I adore the Desert Island Discs podcast. Have you discovered Sonas yet? It’s a music system controlled via your iPhone. It’s awesome!

      • Hahah tis so true they are shouty.Ah I have no iphone but I do have an ipod so maybe a docking/sound system in the future πŸ™‚

  7. Your new sewing room looks wonderful. I am not in so enviable a position when it comes to my sewing room. Right now it is a rickety folding table and I have my garden furniture (that is in there for the winter) which I’ve draped some half finished projects on. And, its cold because its in the basement. I have to turn on the heater and wait an hour before going down to sew….

    • Ah yes they’re great Molly! It’s a rented flat so the shelves were already but I can tell you I have swung from those shelves (to test their sturdiness) and I survived and do did the shelves πŸ™‚

  8. A beautiful makeover. I’m sure it’ll be such a boon to your sewing. I just got myself a little sewing table, and it’s made me want to sew a bit every night! And, I’m glad to hear that you’ve got Minoru sewing on the docket. I thought I spied a Minoru muslin on your dress form, so hopefully it should be smooth sailing from there. I’m really happy with mine so far, but I have yet to finish. I was staying with the Sew-Along until this week when I got a few steps ahead. Part of me just wants to finish it up, but the other part of me really likes doing the steps along with others. Enjoy your sewing this weekend! I look forward to seeing the bit of the Minoru you finish this weekend.

    • Well spotted Amy! It is indeed a Minoru muslin πŸ™‚ I’ve been watching the sewalong posts come and go and getting more and more annoyed for not staying with it but it will be great to get a sizeable chunk done this weekend. Yay!

  9. I find I get *REALLY* slumpy in my sewing when my space is a mess… Well done you! You’ll be sewing up a storm soon enough.. πŸ™‚

    My corkboard took over most of two walls… I found some cork floor tiles (ceiling tiles?) for cheap at a hardware store and begged my husband to put them up.. I pin all kinds of riff raff to it… Pages from books and magazines, bits of lace and silk, hats, feathers, postcards, photos of my grandmother and my nephew… Dead pet cat photos… Basically anything I find that I want to hang on to and vaguely has something to do with my space or with happiness goes on my wall. It’s a big old mess. πŸ™‚

  10. Oh, it looks lovely – I’m a definite believer that your surroundings make a difference to how you feel about things. My sewing room is going through a (very) gradual (i.e. not as fast as i would like) transition.

    So far I have painted one wall, put up some shelves, had a nifty spool holder thing made and a fold up against-the-wall cutting table made and installed by my supremely talented father-in-law. I’d love to get it all completely sorted in one weekend but its taken MONTHS to get this far (mainly due to kids, money, time – the usual). However, once it is done it will be worth it as I will then no longer spend my time procrastinating and instead will be doing some more sewing – hooray!

    Love your storage ideas – is that an ikea bookcase with the baskets?
    Regarding your board, I would go the quick route and get some pretty fabric on that thing – won’t show the pinholes either! Let us know what you do with it!

  11. oh that is a lovely wee sewing room, i wish mine was as tidy and organised! i do try, but then end up with bags with new fabric all over my table, my sewing machine turfed down still in it’s carrybag after i have hauled it up the stairs after sewing class and general mishmash! you have inspired me to, at the very least, tidy!

  12. Ah a thing of beauty is a joy forever and that certainly is a beautiful sewing room πŸ™‚ I’m sure output will reach an all time now. I love the orange and brown vintage peg bag.

    Happy sewing,


  13. I’ve enjoyed frittering away my morning reading your blog. I just finished oogling your new and improved sewing space and thought to myself “What a nice, bright space. Where in my house could I have a room like that? Ugh, I’m going to have to wait for one of my children to leave.” And then the most shameful thought – “Oh, I can’t wait!” Gasp. What have I just thought? What a terrible, awful, hateful thing for a mother to wish. I am so ashamed…

    But I still like your room. I guess I have to stay relegated to the dark, dingy basement.

  14. Don’t know how I missed this when you first posted it, especially as my hate/hate relationship with hooks and eyes was mentioned! I’ve just decided my sewing space was looking a bit shabby so have paid a visit to Ikea. Lots of inspiration here, thanks Joanne. x

  15. so envious that you have a sewing room. I use the only table in my tiny apartment, in my living room, the same one I work from, I eat at… I spend my life juggling stuff and clearing things into piles! I have just moved some books to a box in the basement so I can have a shelf for sewing things in my living room cupboard, rather than trying to keep them in the back of the wardrobe and have a tidy home!

  16. Pingback: I’m still here… honestly! | Stitch and Witter

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