I've had requests to show my sewing space and I've shown it in bits and pieces before but thought it was time for a better tour! My daughter was home this past weekend and she spent a day helping me clean it up so it was presentable to share. We made a video and posted it to youtube and I'm sharing that here. I'm also giving a little more info on some specifics of my setup and things I use.
This space has gone through a lot of changes and rearranging. When we first moved into this house this room was carpeted and had wood paneling on the walls that had been painted a peachy color and turquoise formica cupboards and counter built into the end wall. Those came out. We put in drywall and wood floors, but after water damage downstairs, years later, we moved everything out and the room was tiled. I've rearranged this room many times and at one point it had 5 large desks in it, along with numerous bookcases, chairs, boxes of samples, etc. My husband has commented that I couldn't possibly get more furniture into the room. Of course that is when I decided to add a longarm. I was determined. I can make it fit. That whole plan and journey is really deserving of it's own blog post, so I'll just say here that this is the new and improved layout with more things moved to the walls (and my daughter's room since she is at college), leaving space in the center for the longarm. Welcome!
I spend a lot of time at this desk. It is actually a dining table from Ikea. It is the "TORSBY" table and I see they have it now with a high gloss white top. My table has a glass top which is painted white on the underside. I like having a larger desk surface by using a dining table, plus I like the clean modern look of this. This table measures 53" x 33 1/2" so I can spread out. I like the fact that the top surface is glass because sometimes I do watercolor painting here (or in the kitchen) and when I do, I can clean off the surface of the glass easily. I tucked a Ikea Alex drawer unit under the table/desk. This holds my pens, envelopes for orders, postage, packing tape, plastic bags for kits, office supplies, etc. It fits really nicely. I also have some holders on the desk top for my notebooks, calculators, business cards and clip boards. The magnet boards are also from Ikea. Just so you know now- I have a LOT from Ikea. I love their creative solutions with furniture and all the options they have.
In the corner I have an antique chest that was my Aunt Doris'. She was the only relative living out here when I moved to California so it seems appropriate that I use it to house things that feel like sentimental treasures to me. I've got the fat quarter bundles and jelly rolls for each of my collections with Moda. I also keep some Christmas giftware little critter figurines I did for One Hundred 80 degrees and lovely pincushions. I like to hunt for vintage sewing things so old thimbles, spools, rulers, sewing machine oil and parts, along with buttons and some vintage cameras live here. When you close the glass door it makes a creaking noise, like the chest is talking to you. I covered the shelves with some removable peel and stick wall covering in white with gold metallic animal spots because it felt fun and fresh (by Valspar and found at Target). I also rotate the vintage sewing machines I display on the chest. The brown one is my newest and I got that from Aspire Sewing in Anaheim at the Road to California show. I love the two-tone tan. Under the sewing machine cover I have a beautiful hand crank Singer that my husband gave me as a gift. How great that I can machine sew even if the power goes out!! Add in some artwork on the wall from Crafted Moon and a sewing notions clock from Moda and I'd have to say this is a really happy corner of the room for me! By the way, the quilt on the wall is STARLET in the medium size, made in Dear Mum fabrics. And the sewing machine cover is a pattern in Jenelle Kent's FARMHOUSE FRESH book using her toweling fabric.
When planning out the rearranging to fit the longarm, I knew a priority to me was to have a longer cutting space. I used two desk tops from previous desks with a cupboard that was left over from our kitchen renovation (I mentioned water damage...well, it started in the kitchen and we had to redo that too) and a Kallax shelf unit from Ikea as an end support. This gives me storage and cutting table support and is a good height. I can measure out over 2 1/2 yards at once from a bolt on this surface and that is a great help when I am making kits or doing backings for quilts. Having a longer cutting table is a great thing to have in a quilting work space! Since my longarm is right behind me when I am working at this cutting table, I can always turn and use it as a counter space for compiling kits too. This area has become a very efficient work space.
On my cutting matts, I have acrylic stands that hold my numerous rulers. They are from A. T. Enterprises and I found them at Road to California. The grooves make the rulers stand up straight. I have a lot of Creative Grids Rulers. No matter what others I try, these seem to be my favorites that I use the most. I use Bloc Loc for trimming my half square triangles and flying geese units, but Creative Grids has become my GO-TO rulers for cutting. When I have blocks that need eighth measures, I use the Primitive Gatherings Creative Grids Itty Bitty Eighths Square and for most of my general cutting, I use the Creative Grids stripology ruler (designed by Gudrun Erla) and 3 1/2" x 12 1/2" ruler, 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" ruler and the big 8 1/2" x 24" ruler for cutting width-of-fabric cuts. So I keep these handy and at the cutting table, vs the other specialty ones that I keep on the wall shelf. I have the perfect 10 ruler too and use that for layer cake projects, but the ones I just mentioned are my normal daily rulers ( the 3 1/2", 4, 1/2" and 8 1/2" long one). For rotary cutters, I usually use Olfa Splash or Martelli Ergonomic (Ergo 2000 which is kinder to my wrist) rotary cutter.
I try to utilize space under my furniture as much as possible. A little further down, under the cutting surface, I keep plastic bins of my fabric stash that I have collected through the years. I keep the stacked bins with fabrics by color and genre, so mid-century fabrics are together, batiks are together, woven plaids together, etc. I can pull out the tubs as I need them.
I also keep my scraps for projects in some tubs and containers I can easily access as I'm doing sewalongs and other scrappy projects. These Variera containers from Ikea provide a nice space to fold up and store my Thatched Basics fabrics in scraps as I work on numerous projects. I keep some of these on shelves or on rolling carts, where they are easily accessed. I put the colors in according to the rainbow ramp of colors I have used. It is easy to pull out a bin, use scraps, put the remaining back, and keep some order to the studio.
This Raskog cart holds the bins of fabric scraps well and I like how it can roll over to the table or cutting surface easily. I have another cart for other sewing notions but I keep this one for fabrics near the cutting table. I can take the tubs of fabric out and replace them as needed and roll it to where I am working. This is where I pull most of my fabrics for my Moda Blockheads3 blocks each week. Since I am doing a quilt with rainbow bands of color for this sew-along, keeping the scraps in color groupings makes this very easy to assemble and play with the options. One of my quilts will be made in all Thatched basics and the other in Thatched plus prints so I like to keep that Thatched bin very handy.
Speaking of Moda Blockheads, I am making 8" blocks (with occasional smaller blocks for other projects) and I found these great project boxes at Target to store my blocks. I love them because they are 11.8" x 11.8" so if you are making any blocks that are 10" or smaller, the pieces and finished blocks fit really well! These boxes are only about $2 or $3 a piece so they are very affordable and I stack them on top of bookcases with other projects in progress. I've got about 9 or 10 of these boxes for my different WIP. The box to the left of the Blockheads blocks above has my Moda Village #modavillage blocks for Christmas and Abby Rose versions. This pattern is from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company by Carrie Nelson and is lots of fun! Want to read more about that? Check out my blog post on my Christmas village.
I think as the Moda Blockheads progresses, I'll need to get the taller versions of this box. There is also a 10" high one and I just might have to go for that taller size to hold my growing blocks!
In the corner I have a lovely corner for sewing and piecing. Some nights, when things are dark in the rest of the house, this little corner is glowing and humming with the activities of late night sewing. The cupboards along the wall hold various cans of spray basting, paint brushes, stationery, and color swatches. The shelf below holds containers for strip piecing, extra rulers, magazines and works in progress. My sewing corner is lit up by a light from Costco with multiple brightness settings and a little fan to blow cool air on me on hot summer days. The corner desk is from (again) Ikea with a curved side that gives me extra space for a desktop ironing board, my Oliso iron, a bulletin board, and my peg board with notions is on the wall in front of me as I sew. I love sewing at my trusty sewing machine, my Juki TL2200. This straight-stitch machine is my daily helper and workhorse. I also have a Bernina 125 for classes and a Juki HZL-F600 for other fancy stitches. But this Juki TL2200 is my bestie in the sewing room.
I got this machine at the Quiltcon in Savanah from SewingMachinesPlus.com and it has run like a dream. I recently ordered more bobbins and needles from them and have had excellent customer service from Sewingmachinesplus.com. I've also faced this machine perpendicular to me and put an extended table on the desk and done free motion quilting on this machine with great results. I love my Juki!
This is the Skadis pegboard system from Ikea that holds a lot of my sewing notions. I have pegs for embroidery hoops, rulers and things I want to hang. The little slide-in containers hold my push pins, safety pins, measuring tapes, bias tape makers, pins, thimbles, needles, clips and marking chalks. I find it is so easy to have these things get lost and mixed in with other things that having this wall system really puts some order and structure to my organization. The shelves hold large threads, bobbin buddies, pins, starches and other notions. The cups hold pens, markers, needles, rulers, pliers, and snips. I've got two boards stacked one on top of the other and there is a little extra room. I think if I had one it would have not been enough so I'm happy to have some higher space that I don't use as much to have that extra storage.
The shelf on the wall holds some of my scraps as well as the cart. I use the smaller Samla bins from Ikea for strips that measure 1/2", 1", 1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2" and so on so I can easily pull down containers and access leftover strips for projects. I print out the size labels on my computer and slide a printout into the front side to easily identify my organization bins.
When I'm at the longarm, this is my view. I can see my sewing space and my window. I've got a Daylight Company floor light that also helps to light up my longarm space as well as can lights in the ceiling. Good lighting is important. I'm still learning the Bernina Q24 but it's coming along!
To the side and behind the longarm I have Billy Bookcases that work really well for bolts of fabric. I have overflow of fabric bolts upstairs (as well as bagged and unbagged patterns and other supplies). Most of the fabrics I use for daily sewing and cutting kits are down here in this space. The Billy Bookcases work well in the tall size for two shelves of standing bolts with some middle sections of sample fabric yardage placed horizontally. I store totes and project boxes on the tops of the shelves. My husband also converted a tv nook in the wall into shelving storage for my art supplies and extra quilts. We close it off with curtains to keep the room looking a little neater. When we added the shelving for bolts to the perimeter of the two walls of the room I lost my design wall for quilt blocks. Something has to give, right? I now use the floor of the foyer as a "design wall" and I walk up the stairs and look over at the blocks in their arrangements from above. It works.
This is my space and I love it. It is a work in progress. It continues to evolve and change. If you have questions, let me know. I'm including link below to some of the items here in case you are interested in them. They don't pay me, although sometimes a company will give me something to try. I'm sharing what I use on a regular basis. If you want a walk through of the space, watch my youtube video below and check out more videos on my youtube channel. If you want to be notified when new videos come out, select the "subscribe" button on youtube.
I hope you have a space that brings you as much joy as my space brings me! Keep creating and sewing!
Torsby Dining Table
Ikea Alex Drawer Unit
Kallax shelving cubes
Variera storage box
Skadis pegboard for wall organization
Samla plastic storage boxes with lids for scraps
Raskog rolling cart
Sewing Machine Cover in book Farmhouse Fresh by Jenelle Kent of Pieces to Treasure
Acrylic Ruler Stands
Target project boxes (11.8 x 11.8" square) with lids
Juki TL2200 QVP Mini
Bernina Q24 Longarm
Starlet quilt pattern
Robin Pickens youtube channel
Jenelle Kent has a charming new book out with Martingale, Farmhouse Fresh. The projects are absolutely lovely! They use 16" wide toweling, which Jenelle has with Moda Fabrics.
This Rock Pool Toweling in the seafoam color is such a fun combination with Abby Rose! The modern farmhouse look of the toweling works so well with the cabbage roses and pink, green, orange and seafoam colors in Abby Rose.
The ends are made with patchwork squares that add such a nice mixture of colors. My friend Susan, the Felted Pear (@thefeltedpear on IG), had the lovely idea to add some applique and a label and I think it is such a nice touch! Jenelle has numerous applique projects in the book and her needle-turn work looks so good on the toweling. I usually do fusible raw edge applique and I think that works well on this fabric as well.
This cover ends up being a perfect size for my Juki TL2200 sewing machine! Its my main piecing machine so its always out and definitely deserves a pretty cover.
I also like the way this side patchwork looks from the end of my work space.
If you are interested in winning a digital copy of Farmhouse Fresh by Jenelle Kent, head over to my instagram feed and enter! I'll be drawing a winner from people who follow me @robinpickens, Jenelle @piecestotreasure and Martingale @martingaletpp on Instagram and enter on my IG sweepstakes post in my feed. Jenelle will notify winners on February 25th of the IG book tour!
Other IG posting peeps to check out for the IG book tour:
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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