How to Design a Sewing Room

Most home sewists dream of a place where they can spread out and work efficiently and comfortably. With thoughtful planning, a sewing room can be a comfortable, productive and creative retreat. Furniture, lighting, storage and accessories should reflect the kind of sewing that will take place, while at the same time leaving room for versatility and evolution.

Things You'll Need

  • Tables
  • Chair
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Lamps
  • Shelves
  • Bins or baskets
The nerve center of the sewing room.
The nerve center of the sewing room. (Image: Jeff Farris)

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Step 1

Sewists spend a lot of time cutting fabric and should have a sturdy table dedicated to this purpose. The cutting table should be at a comfortable height when standing to cut. A table with adjustable legs is perfect, but even a standard folding table can be raised with 4 pieces of PVC plumbing pipe. Self-healing cutting mats and rotary blades improve speed and accuracy compared to doing everything with scissors.

Organized cutting station.
Organized cutting station. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 2

Once you start using rotary cutters, you’ll soon have a collection of measuring devices. A simple rack with slots keeps them organized. They’re available in sewing stores, but would also be a simple project for a woodworker.

Ruler rack.
Ruler rack. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 3

The sewing machine should have its own table, with the machine at a comfortable height when you're seated. You need space to the right of the machine for scissors, pins etc. and space on the left to accommodate the project. An adjustable chair is a nice option to help prevent back strain. Natural lighting from a window enhances visibility, but can overwhelm at times, too. Adjustable blinds give you control of the light.

Natural lighting and a magnifier are valuable assets by the machine.
Natural lighting and a magnifier are valuable assets by the machine. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 4

Sewists use an iron constantly during projects. Dedicate space to an ironing board, since this essential tool will be used often. Keep it within a step or two of the sewing machine, if possible.

An essential tool for the sewing room.
An essential tool for the sewing room. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 5

A light box makes transferring patterns a simple task. They’re available commercially, but a handy DIYer can knock one together from standard home center materials.

Transferring patterns with a lightbox
Transferring patterns with a lightbox (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 6

After only a few projects, the number of spools of thread in the sewing room starts mushrooming. A case or rack keeps them organized and accessible.

Thread storage.
Thread storage. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 7

You'll need considerable storage for your gadgets, notions, fabric, patterns and books. Shelves built into a closet keep things organized.

Shelf storage built into closet.
Shelf storage built into closet. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 8

Don’t take over the whole closet with shelves. Some hanging space is convenient for projects that are in progress.

Hanging storage is necessary, too.
Hanging storage is necessary, too. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 9

Plastic stacking bins store conveniently in otherwise wasted space, such as under the cutting table.

Use all available space, but keep it organized.
Use all available space, but keep it organized. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 10

Bins also can become part of the décor for the room. Every fabric chicken needs a place to roost.

Stacking bins used as display table.
Stacking bins used as display table. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 11

You'll find ideas, inspiration, conversation and shopping on the Internet. Having a computer right in the sewing room saves time. An older computer can retire to the sewing room, where slower processor speeds are more easily tolerated. It’s a much better use for an older machine than the recycle bin.

Internet access right next to the sewing machine.
Internet access right next to the sewing machine. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 12

A dedicated reading table gives you a place to research and look for inspiration. It’s an ideal place to relax after long project sessions and can showcase your work.

A small table for browsing pattern books.
A small table for browsing pattern books. (Image: Jeff Farris)
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