Sewing Room Installed

In the midst of what is generally accepted to be the worst week of my life, my sewing room furniture was installed. I’d like to also thank each and every one of you who left a comment about my mom. Especially those who have lost a loved one or a mother. Your advice and words of comfort mean a great deal to me. I am incredibly touched that you care about her passing because you care about me (and/ or are not horrible people without a soul).

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I worked from home the last week so it made sense to have the furniture installed while I could be here.  It took two guys about six hours to get the job done. Do you hear angels singing? I do. I was so pleased with the installation, I just walk in the room and stare.  It looks like a little sewing shop!! Like a *real* studio!!

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I’m now able to have all my sewing machines out! Singer 301, blind hemmer, Babylock serger, Brother coverstitch.

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I’ve put the ‘finishing’ machines on the right (blind hemmer and coverstitch) since I won’t use them throughout construction. There’s a little space off the side  on the right for what I hope will be my sewing pattern cabinet or my dress form. I can also keep my folded cutting table along that wall too (or in the closet).

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All my sewing books are now in then bookshelf along with my Singer 221 / Featherweight. I’m going to try displaying it. But, I’m totally freaked out about it getting grimy, etc.

I would like to put a peg board up between the bookshelf and the countertop. I’m saving those empty spaces on the book shelf for plastic bins. I also need the electrician to come out and give me some more outlets. Possibly at countertop level too.

The drawers are empty. Liz and I are going to go out and buy foam core and do some serious fabric folding. The comic book backers won’t really work for the kinds of fabric I have. But, I’m keeping them to do elastics, interfacing, ribbons and other thinner items. It’s tempting to save the drawer space for patterns, but I would like to keep my fabric dust free if possible.

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On the wall below, I am debating a metal shelving station or another IKEA cabinet. I need someplace for my sewing pattern magazines (mostly Burda).

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That’s it! All I moved in were machines and books. There is so much work to be done. I have two old sewing cabinets down in the basement I need to Freecycle. Fabric that needs organizing. Notions that need sorting. It honestly may take a snowstorm for me to really get to this.

Oh, while I use an IKEA piece to hold my patterns currently, it’s gotten a bit wobbly. I did call  the company that makes pattern cabinets for Mcall, Vogue, Butterick (not Simplicity they said). They are so far out of my price range (think $600). That I’m going to start stalking Craigslist and store closings. I found a legal size filing cabinet on craigslist that could also work too. Anyone use a legal cabinet for filing patterns?

Oh, and of course I now realize this installation is going to make it real hard to refinish the floors in my house. Or paint. Doh.


  1. So excited for you and the progress you are making. The room looks awesome. May I suggest, if you do pegboard under the shelves to also make a section of bulletin board. You could cover it with some gorgeous fabric.
    I have three lateral file cabinets in my space. You can set them up in any direction (the files). I keep my patterns there. A section for the normal pattern and a section for other patterns that have been put into large manila envelopes. A lateral cabinet seems to take up less space into the room. Keep those pictures coming.

  2. My deepest condolences! I know how difficult time you have now.
    Work can be a good distruction… the room looks fabulous! You can sew and look outside … getting all great ideas and inspirations!

  3. I have a couple of pattern cabinets that I got lo these many years ago when the Jo-Ann store I worked in updated their old cabinets, but they do sometimes give them away or sell them if a store closes. Mine are still in use or I’d gladly let you have them, I don’t use them in the sewing room but they are excellent for storing paint and painting supplies, and we are constantly in one long ongoing remodel, it seems.

  4. that’s a whole handel’s messiah of sewing room.

    i’ve left a 221 out for years, just dust her, she’ll be fiiiiine. i do wonder about the foam core– you know how foam can get sort of weird after awhile? like, disintegrate-y? (totally a word). could it hurt your fabric?

  5. Wow, this looks fabulous! I have never had a set-up for anything that is this professional, so I don’t have any suggestions that would be useful. Maybe it would be helpful to use the space for a little while so that you know exactly how you want to finish it. You’ll get there. Be gentle with yourself now.

  6. My condolences for the loss of your beautiful mother.
    I keep my patterns in a legal style filing cabinet. Since I’m a retired academic, I have plenty of old file folders–which make a great place to put the patterns.

  7. My heat goes out to you on the loss of your Mom. Mine passed 12 years ago and not a day goes by that I do not think of her, a lot. Enjoy your beautiful SR, know she is there with you smiling and encouraging you! Gloria

  8. I use three filing cabinets I got at a university’s surplus sale. Two are legal sized (like, legal paper sized) and one’s a tiny, funky thing that still had a grade sheet from 1941 in it. They all work for patterns. In the legal sized ones I’ve arranged the patterns facing sideways, in about three ranks per drawer. Works fine. Check out some local colleges and universities and see when they’re having their auctions. I bet you could find shelving too.

    • I did this too! The filing cabinet thing that is.

      Grief sucks, nothing is the same. Eventually you come to realise you have a new normal.

      Thinking of you.

  9. Wow, look at all that counter space, that’s a wonderful dream of a sewing room. I use a lateral 3-drawer filing cabinet that stores lots of my patterns but not all. It’s weighs a ton (really) however.

  10. Your room is looking great. If you get a short lateral file cabinet, you could have someone build a wooden shell for it. Make a cushion for the top. Now you have a seating area in your sewing room.

  11. Your room looks beautiful and the colors on the wall are so cheerful. I have a legal file cabinet and a lateral file cabinet. I got both at Mark Downs on York Rd up past Cockeysville. They have a lot of used file cabinets, tables, desks, etc. It’s not as cheap as CL might be, but good when you need to get it done fast. I know what you mean about upacking, organizing and subsequent work on the house. I’d really like to make my space prettier and I have lots of pins on Pinterest for inspiration. But … it’s daunting.

    I love that you got the cabinets installed; you shared enough about your mother that I have a sense this is just what she would want you to do.

  12. It’s gorgeous! What a dream sewing room. I’d use the drawers for patterns and buy that Ikea wall system that has baskets that fit into each cubby. Gertie used this in her sewing room and pinned swatches of all the fabrics in each bin on the front. It’s in a Threads magazine. I use regular file cabinets for my patterns with my Burda pattern sheets divided by years. I don’t take out the pattern sheets until I use them. The magazines are sorted by year in Ikea magazine boxes. The only thing missing is more lighting by your machines and a cutting table. My fabrics are in bins in an adjacent closet.
    BTW. Unless you buy foam core that is archival it won’t be acid free and will eventually damage your fabric. The archival stuff is hideously expensive. You could wrap each one in acid free tissue paper I guess. Humidity is a big issue with it warping; paper absorbs moisture. But, you are air conditioned now!
    Enjoy your wonderful new room!

  13. wow, I’m jealous of that awesome setup. 🙂 I agree that storing your fabric in drawers is a good idea, especially if it’s arranged so that you can still see everything. 🙂

  14. Re the Featherweight: I think stores like The Container Store generally sell lucite boxes for display, storing papers, and such. You could probably find one big enough (measure the size you’d need) and simply put it on top of the sewing machine; that way dust wouldn’t be an issue. Great looking sewing room!

  15. totally envious of that gorgeous sewing room, it looks so great and also very practical. Can’t wait to see what you turn out next. Not envious of the organizing ahead of you – something I can always find a reason to procrastinate 🙂

  16. Serious covetous-ness going on here right now. That’s such a beautiful space and everything fits perfectly! I have a legal file drawer for patterns, and put them in hanging file folders. I also have a large almost floor to ceiling bookcase that has books, folded fabrics, button boxes, yarn, and various notions on top. For dust free storage, you can get the ones from IKEA with the glass cabinet doors so you can see it and it keeps clean.

  17. What a lovely room it is already! My sewing room has been a great consolation to me during times of great stress and grief and I hope yours is too. I know your wonderful mother would want you to keep sewing and be happy. My dad just passed away over Thanksgiving, and sewing Christmas decorations has helped me stay calm and focused.

  18. I was so sad to hear about your mother. My condolences to you—I can’t imagine. If you are any indication, she must have been a wonderful lady.

    An alternative to foam core is corrugated plastic in response to Oona’s comment about foam core disintegrating. Also, I use an upright legal filing cabinet to store my much smaller collection of patterns (I’ve given myself a limit of one drawer). I fit two across with a space in between where printed off patterns in larger envelopes have found their way. It’s not perfect, but it can work–especially since legal filing cabinets of the second hand variety seem to be plentiful.

    Beautiful sewing room. Seriously amazing.

  19. Nix happy for you…I’m pea green with jealousy cause that is one amazing sewing room! I would go in there and stand and smile too! I’ve seen other sewists use legal cabinets for storing patterns so if you go that route, I’m sure it will work well for you. Even though it was the worse week of your life, truly I can imagine your mother smiling down on you happy that you were getting the sewing room of your dreams.

    Oh and I am really happy for you…still pea green though! *LOL*

  20. Renee, there used to be a state surplus store in Annapolis Junction. If I’m remembering correctly it’s off Route 32 near Odenton. Prices were reasonable and furniture is in good shape. You’ll probably find what you’re looking for there. We’re still praying for you. Continue to treat yourself gently.

  21. This is such a great room! Just think of all the things you’ll make in here… I’m so glad you jumped on this opportunity and ended up with such a great room so quickly!

  22. I must have missed your earlier post about your mom — I’m so sorry to hear that and my heart goes out to you. I love your sewing room — perfection! Be nice to yourself — I think grief and heartbreak takes a lot of time to recover from and everyone has their own process.

  23. Wow, what a great space to work in! I’m so glad you had a bit of a distraction with this installation, too. Can’t wait to see it when it’s all finished– I’m sure you will have many happy hours stitching in your awesome gal-cave!

  24. Lovely! I like how it is coming together. I’m envious of all the space dedicated to sewing! I’m glad that you are getting more outlets–you might want to explore task lighting under the cabinets and near the machines (I would work in that room wearing a headlamp!). Droool! Drool! 🙂

  25. Oh, how fabulous. I can just imagine the delight walking in there .. what a pleasure it will be to be cutting and sewing in there… your own little snug haven. It’s just perfect, and you’re right: it is like a corner in a shop! Congrats .. and ENJOY!

  26. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I can’t imagine. Your sewing room looks beautiful. To avoid dust on my sewing machines, covers work for me. On storing patterns, I use filling cabinets. The tissue and instructions are stored in a 5×7 envelope (by numbers) and the pictures (outer envelopes) are stored in binders. Keep water bottles inside your room so you always stay hydrated. May you sew beautiful garments always

  27. It doesn’t look like a studio, it IS a studio. So very pleased for you. Your own, organized space to create. Wonderful.

  28. I’m jealous!! Your sewing studio looks wonderful. One of these days I plan to redo one of my bedrooms with better organization for my sewing too.

  29. Though I didn’t post specifically on your last post, know that you have my condolences. I can’t even begin to imagine being in your shoes. I have to say though, this sounds like an excellent way to help work through the heartbreak, and it looks AMAZING!! I love the setup, though now I’m wondering where all the babies are going to sleep! 😉

  30. When I was living in Greenville, SC in the 90’s, the store Piece Goods was closing. My husband bought me a Vogue pattern cabinet for $40! I’ve moved it up and down the East Coast many times. Can’t believe they are that expensive!

  31. That is one amazing sewing studio, the new furniture works perfectly and should inspire you to make some great things in 2014. I like the snow on your website!

  32. Do haunt the store closings…they will practically give those pattern cabinets away – I got two humongous ones for $25 if I would haul them off!!! The store wasn’t closing they were moving (go figure when they could have moved them for way less than purchasing them) – it was a Joann’s so stay alert – that’s really the best way

    Your studio is DREAMY!!! I can see many, many years ahead of utter bliss, enjoyment and fulfillment! Ok, maybe a little frustration, but just a teeny little bit!!! 😉

  33. I can see so many wonderful garments coming out of this space.The organization and great design will be inspirational. Once my new sewing room was done my output increased tremendously. It made it easy to sew.

    May I suggest something for your electrical needs? I had the the carpenter put holes in the countertops with a router, just two. Home Depot sells nice plastic circles that slip right and look professionalally finished. They are in the area where electrical stuff is for computers. Then my cords slip down the holes to outlets underneath behind cabinet drawers. Keeps the cord misery down to a minimum and looks cleaner.I am really glad I did this. It’s prevented a sea of cords from floating around the top of the counter.

    Your room is gorgeous. I am glad you have had this focus while dealing with such horrendous grief. Every day I wish my mom were at my side and in a way she is as she is in my heart. I wish the same comfort for you.

  34. Habitat for Humanity Restore locations often get old store fixtures donated to them. Also, steel filing cabinets, which are easy easy easy to clean up and spray paint with jolly colors. (Well, relatively easy.) If you find something that appeals to you, they’ll dicker on the price most usually. So glad you have a lovely new space to focus on during the winter months to come.

  35. I use a letter sized file cabinet for my patterns (because I have a million of those), and legal sized might just be wide enough to fit 2 side by side. I put one row of patterns in the file drawer to the left, with magazines and soft-covered books standing on the right, spines up so I can identify them. It works well.

    I also use a heavy duty surge suppressor for my machines. I didn’t need to have more outlets installed that way, and since I can’t run more than one machine at a time, I’m in no danger of blowing a fuse. Just a thought.

    Have fun organizing your beautiful new sewing room!

  36. I’m so very sorry. I’m in tears after reading her obituary. The world is very much a poorer place in your mother’s absence. There is a prayer I love to pray for those who have gone on to the next world and I will be saying it daily for the next few weeks for your mother. Here it is:

    O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions!

    Verily, I beseech thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.

    O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.

    (more prayers for the Departed can be found here:

    back to lurking…….

  37. Your studio looks very nice! I know you will enjoy the new space.

    Sorry to ask, but is there a way non-Facebook users could view your mom’s obituary?

    • Of course. Thank you for asking, June. I’ll send it soon. I was hopeful that having it ‘public’ would make it readable, but that didn’t work.

  38. Your sewing room is wonderful!!! I’m sure your mom would approve. Hugs to you from a mostly lurker.

  39. Condolences for the loss of your mother. I hope your are finding comfort in the good Lord. Regarding pattern storage, have you considered an antique Japanese Tansu? They’re quite utilitarian and priced reasonable (<$500). They come in many configurations. I purchased one with 3 sections that are stacked. The middle section was for kimonos, thus it had 3 shallow pull outs. This is where I store my thread so it doesn't get dusty. I do machine embroidery, thus I have 100s of spools. The bottom section is 2 drawers where I store fabrics and the top section for miscellaneous items. Plus, it turns out to be a very nice piece of furniture. You have access to the big city so you might find something.

  40. And all that light – you must love the light!!!! OMG, I would have those blank walls filled up with ideas so quickly….you can get one of those erase boards and it’s a great place to keep lists (want/wish/need lists, idea lists, things to do so you don’t forget them)! You will have so much fun in this room!!!

  41. First, I am so sorry to learn of your mother’s passing. It is so hard to loose a parent; both my mother and father have passed away. Here is a cyber hug for you!

    The sewing room looks great and so organized. I am truly jealous!

  42. Renee, you and your family are in my prayers. The sewing room is brilliant and seems to have come at the perfect time. Please be extra, extra gentle with yourself.

  43. Hello Renee. Condolences on your mothers passing. When my dad passed almost 20 years ago someone told me there is never a good age to lose a could 100 and it hurts the same as if you were 18. Mums are precious! Your sewing room will be fab once finished. Hope you create lots of great memories in there.

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