Quilting Studio organization

When I first started quilting, I was using a very small desk that I used when I did nothing but make clothes for my nieces & nephews.  The table was located in a corner of our guest room.  Then I discovered my dining room table was a much better option.  When my sister-in-law, http://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/, and I went to the Houston quilt show this past October, we took a class on creating a perfect sewing space, and I discovered ergonomics! On the plane ride home, I sketched out a plan for a total makeover, and my darling, longsuffering husband immediately got to work on it.   As a little aside, let me say that this is the first time he’s ever worked on a project immediately when I batted my baby blues at him…it was a small miracle.  During the class, we also learned the best way to fold our stash, which was the first thing I did, even before I started cleaning out the room.  Here are before photos of the guest/sewing room.



The table with the computer on it was my former sewing table. The white table in the middle of the room is the fold up cutting table. And here is a before and after photo of the stash. I didn't take the before photo until I'd already refolded the second shelf down of the stash.
Stash Before
Of course this photo doesn’t include the bits of my stash scattered throughout the room. Here is the after photo.
The method involves using an 18″ X 24 inch ruler to fold your fabric over as if you were putting it back on the bolt, and then folding the folded fabric in half lengthwise. The ruler is also handy for stacking and pulling out pieces without upsetting the entire stack by inserting it wherever you want to place or remove a piece and sliding it on the ruler.

We found a family that “loved” the plaid sofabed…well, loved might be an overstatment, but they took it away for their family room, and we didn’t even have to pay them to take it. 🙂 I cleaned all the junk out that I didn’t use or want anymore. My husband built this two-station sewing table that’s at nearly the perfect ergonomical height for me. The office chairs are adjustable to make the sewing surface the perfect height.
He has since added these little cabinets underneath on either side to stabilize the table, and there is still room for my machine trolley and some large project bins to slide underneath and the cabinets provide more storage.
The original idea was to use the fold-out, wheeled cutting table along one wall and just build storage to hold up the two “wings” with pull out bins for scrap storage.
Then hubby noticed that the body of the table took up what could be storage space and suggested he could just put a counter all the way across and build another shelf below. He’s not only handsome and talented, but brilliant as well. I’m a lucky woman! He also elevated the sheet of plywood a bit so I have a place to store small, flat items under the cutting surface.
The mats you see in front of the table are anti-fatigue mats that we got at Home Depot. They are heavenly on our hard tile floors! I want to permanently attach some to my feet.
Over the cutting table, hubby installed a shelf between the two storage cabinets that I kept. The idea was to put lights under the shelf. We tried the battery operated puck lights, but they just weren’t bright enough even with fresh batteries. We found these low profile LED lights that plug in tandem to each other and then to a wall plug, which my talented hubby carefully camoflauged. Also on the wall we installed two ruler racks that I found on Etsy. There is also a bulletin/magnetic/white board as well that he mounted on a small crate that we had. He hinged the bulletin board so it lifts up, and there is storage inside. The board is also easy to access to jot measurements and other reminders down quickly without having to reach all the way to the wall.


The last thing we did was take the original sewing table and a small chest we found at a thrift store and build an oversized ironing board on bun feet to go on top of the two surfaces. Impossible to get a photo of, but I made a V-shaped fabric catcher out of muslin with wooden dowels in pockets and hung both dowels from cuphooks installed on the back of the two small chests and and on the wall under the window. The fabric catcher is close to the same length as the ironing board and prevents large pieces of fabric or quilt tops from picking up dust bunnies from behind the furniture. I also got this idea at the Houston quilt show.
As you can see, the bun feet on the ironing board provides yet more storage space!
To complete the room, you can see in the after photo of my stash that we had made a design wall to the right of the stash cabinet, which remains in place. The design wall is a copper rod run through a pocket made on a piece of flannel and hung on the wall on curtain rod hardware. There is also a piece of PVC in a pocket on the bottom of the flannel to keep it from flopping around. There is, of course, the existing closet as seen in the before photos that was the only spot that was organized in the whole room. The room is 11 X 11 feet, not counting the closet. I think we did a good job utilizing every inch and it’s a comfortable spot for two quilters to work. I find I can spend a lot more time working on quilts without as many aches and pains because all the work surfaces are at the right height, and I enjoy just being in the room. I can toss my scraps directly into the appropriate bin as I cut, and its easy to find what I need. Now my only dilemma is where in the world I’m going to put my long-arm quilting machine when I win one. You don’t suppose hubby would be willing to build me an entire quilting house now that he’s experienced in space design; do you?


13 thoughts on “Quilting Studio organization

  1. stitchinggrandma February 14, 2014 / 1:51 am

    Great use of space. Now that I have cleaned and organized my space , it makes working so much easier.

    • oneblockwonderwoman February 14, 2014 / 4:16 pm

      Thanks for coming by again. Organization is a wonderful thing, especially when you can remember which organizational tool you put what you’re looking for in. 🙂

  2. stitchinggrandma February 14, 2014 / 1:54 am

    Reblogged this on stitchinggrandma and commented:
    Enjoy this post about organizing quilting space. A small space can be very functional.

    • oneblockwonderwoman February 14, 2014 / 4:17 pm

      I appreciate you giving me a helping hand and promoting my blog. Hope you’re staying safe with all the bad weather.

      • stitchinggrandma February 14, 2014 / 6:35 pm

        Just fine; thanks. We got a little dusting of snow last night, and because we live in SOUTHERN Delaware, we are not subjected this time around to all that snow. 🙂 🙂
        Glad your blog is taking flight! When you have a chance to “blog hop” Quilt 32 has some wonderful recipes and posts about all things antique!!

  3. linnyjcreations February 14, 2014 / 2:55 am

    What a great sewing area. For the hours we spend crafting it is so important to have benches and tables the right height. I love your fabric storage cupboard. It is inspiring in it’s neatness and colour.

    • oneblockwonderwoman February 14, 2014 / 4:55 pm

      Thanks for coming by! That’s exactly how I feel about my fabric storage…inspiring. I find I use more of my stash because it’s easier to find what I need.

  4. trkingmomoe February 14, 2014 / 8:28 am

    Enjoyed your pictures. I live in a trailer so there is no hope for me to organize.

    • oneblockwonderwoman February 14, 2014 / 4:53 pm

      There’s always hope! It’s certainly a lot harder with tiny spaces, especially if you don’t have a spare room, but you can do amazing things with just a corner of the living room, certainly not as elaborate as what I’m blessed to have. From what I’ve seen on your blog, you do great work in the space you have. Thanks for stopping by

  5. Judy @ GrandparentsPlus2 February 14, 2014 / 11:55 am

    Love all the work you have done but can’t picture the V-shaped fabric catcher but understand its purpose. I don’t know what a machine trolley is – can you explain further. 🙂

    • oneblockwonderwoman February 14, 2014 / 4:14 pm

      Thanks for stopping by again. The machine trolley is my roll around sewing machine carrier for carting my machine to classes and other people’s homes, etc. I’ll try on the V-shaped fabric catcher again. It’s hard to describe. Try to picture two pieces of muslin about 50″ wide by 36″ wide. I sewed the two 36″ dimensions to one another. On each of the 50″ sides, I made a pocket and stuck a dowel through each one. If you hold it up by the 50″ dowels, It kind of creates a loop or V near the floor. I put the dowels into the cuphooks to hold it open, and as you iron something, it ends up falling into the loop rather than laying on the floor. I hope that’s a little more clear. If not, I can always pull it out to take a photo. I’m just lazy. 😀

      • Judy @ GrandparentsPlus2 February 14, 2014 / 6:59 pm

        Okay – I’ve got it now. I’m sure you were LOL at me but I didn’t understand. But, this makes perfect sense.

      • oneblockwonderwoman February 17, 2014 / 1:29 am

        No, I wouldn’t laugh at you….a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s really hard to articulate some things without hand gestures. 😀 Glad I finally was able to make it clear.

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