Setting Up A Sewing Space When You Don’t Have A Spare Room

Carving out a creative space in a home where there is not a room to spare can be real tricky . This was the challenge that I recently faced when I had to trade my 6’×9′ sewing nook for a home based office.

After carefully considering every square inch of my 1600 sq ft home, the most suitable space for sewing ended up being our Dining Room which is a part of an L-Shaped Living & Dining Room Combo.

Admittedly, setting up space for sewing in a public space that has to pull double duty is not easy but with a little forethought, planning, and good storage it can work out well.

Today I’ll be sharing a few pictures of my new sewing space along with some of the storage solutions and tricks that I’ve used to keep my creative space functional and tidy.

If you are in a similar situation as mine and you have some tips to share, please drop a line or two in the comment section below.

Why I Chose My Dining Room

Sitting and sewing in this room on a sunny day is the best!

The main reason I am using my dining room is because I like where it’s situated in the house. While I don’t have a door for closing it off from the rest of the house, it occupies the part of the house that I don’t spend a lot of time in. And although it sits near the front entrance to the house, it sits back off to the left side of my living room space, so it’s not readily seen by visitors.

I also like that it isn’t carpeted. Straight pins and wall to wall carpet can quickly become a safety hazard. Having the hard floor covered with a low pile rug eliminates this issue.

As a bonus, the space also sits near a pair of French doors which open to the outside and it has high ceilings, which makes it a really airy and light filled space.

Dispersing & Purging

Before making the move, I took inventory of my sewing machines, sergers, sewing patterns, notions, and fabric stash. After doing so, I quickly realized that there was no way that I would be able to move all of my sewing stuff into my small 10 X 10 Dining Room. To make the space work I would have to get rid of some things and move some other things around .

Because I wanted the Dining Room to primarily look like and also function as a dining space, I needed to keep my dining table, chairs and buffet. But keeping these pieces would mean that I wouldn’t be able to add much more to the space.

Prior to the move I had purchased a shallow 3 drawer storage cabinet to hold my 200+ sewing pattern collection. With no space in my Living Room or Dining Room to accommodate the piece, I decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to reduce my pattern stash.

My former Pattern Storage Cabinet sits in my home office and now holds my other non-sewing Crafting Supplies. I reduced from 200+ sewing patterns down to around 50 – 60.

I decided to take a different approach with my fabric. Although I have purged a few pieces, I decided to keep most of my fabric. I placed off season fabric in boxes that are being stored on a shelf in the top of a bedroom closet. Current season textiles,not planned for immediate use are being stored in my foyer inside a painted black wooden bench and in my office inside a pair of rolling stacking wicker chests.

This is the black painted storage bench that sits in my foyer. I purchased this storage bench unfinished and used it to hold my kid’s school supplies for many years, but now that I only have one kid in school, I don’t need to store as many school supplies, so I am now using the bench to hold my seasonal fabrics.
I found these roomy stacking wicker chests at my local Home Goods. They also hold seasonal fabrics. The most awesome thing about these is that the larger one has wheels on the bottom which makes moving  around my heavy fabrics really easy.

Sewing supplies and notions were moved to my dining buffet after I reorganized and cleaned out the stuff that wasn’t needed or being used. I usually sit right in front of the Buffet while sewing, so it’s really easy for me to get to any sewing notions or tools that I might need while cutting out or sewing.

Perhaps one of my favorite features in the space is my PGM dress form. It’s awesome how what she is wearing matches the room decor.

To accommodate my sewing machine, serger, sewing patterns, and a few notions I was able to add a tall shelf in the corner. To keep my machines from being the focus, I placed them on the lower shelf and placed more decorative items on the higher shelves.

I only made one storage purchase for the space and that was a wicker storage chest to hold fabrics for my current projects.

Here’s the tall metal and wood shelf that I moved from my former sewing nook. The top 4 shelves hold a lamp, decorative items, zippers in jars, and the wicker chest filled with my sewing patterns. My sewing machine and serger are sitting  out of the way on the bottom shelf .

Both sewing and cutting take place on my Dining Table. I keep both of my self healing cutting mats hidden under a protective table pad and table cloth.

I use a table pad/protector underneath my table cloth to protect my cutting mats from spills and heat.

In the Living Room, I use a couple of shelves in a black painted cabinet to store my iron, 2nd serger and sewing machine. I even store some items under my skirted sofa in the Living Room like my over sized cardboard cutting board, pattern tracing paper and interfacing on the bolt.

I purchased this piece from Home Depot a few years ago. It is part of their Home Decorator collection. It is one of the smartest purchase that I have ever made. In addition to holding sewing supplies, it now holds a small library of books, my daughter’s school supplies and a few other random items.

Keeping It Tidy

Perhaps the biggest challenge of sewing in a public space is keeping it tidy. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill to fix that dilemma but good storage is definitely key.

Hidden Storage. In order to make that as easy as possible, I have incorporated a lot of hidden storage. In fact, much of what I use for sewing is stored behind closed doors and I love it that way because the spaces where I sew and store my sewing stuff are also my receiving and entertaining spaces.

Convenient Storage. Because the sewing and storage areas are convenient to one another, setting up and breaking down the space for sewing is relatively quick, easy, and painless.

Additionally, items I use most often are stored in the dining room and items that I use less frequently are stored elsewhere but still close by.

4 thoughts on “Setting Up A Sewing Space When You Don’t Have A Spare Room”

  1. Great tips! I, too, will be trading in my sewing space for a home based office. I’ll incorporate your tips to help me with the transition. Thanks!!!

    1. I tried several setups…but this has worked the best so far. The light and open space really works for me…. My sewing nook was so small and cluttered that I never wanted to sew there. My move was the best thing that ever happend for my sewing. Wishing you much success in your upcoming move.

  2. Hi Angie,

    Great article. I love how you were able to creatively store your supplies without the space looking cluttered.

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