Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sewing Room Makeover!

Thank goodness the camera cord saga is over. I never did find the missing original (I stick to my theory that AB threw it into the trash...a few days after it went missing I saw her put a package of new socks in the garbage). It only took 4 orders to find a new cord that worked. And now I can show you all the before and after photos of my sewing room!!

A few weeks ago, my husband mentioned that for Mother's Day this year, he'd like to help me improve my sewing area. We have a three bedroom house, and one of the bedrooms has always been designated as "the library". It has housed two large oak bookshelves, and at any one time a futon, a desk, random junk, and starting last year, my sewing supplies. I'm blessed to have a room dedicated to crafting and sewing, but I certainly wasn't making the best use of my space. I didn't have a great area for cutting out, and I didn't have room for the serger that I'm currently saving up to buy.

Sewing room, before. Notice
fabric stashed on bookshelf.

Sewing area, before.

This is the tiny desk where I used to sew. At least it never got too cluttered! But I knew it wouldn't fit my regular machine and a serger, so I needed a bigger area.

Cutting/crafting/inspiration/pressing, before.

This makeshift desk area is actually an old door (well, not old exactly, it's from the closet in AB's room) laid on top of a plastic 5-drawer cabinet (full of craft supplies) and a metal filing cabinet. Plus a Physician's Desk Reference to make it level. You work with what you got. I liked the size of the "desk" but it was hard to work at because you couldn't move around it. I also felt bad because all my fabric was on the bookshelves, and a lot of books had been boxed up and moved into the garage. It was also awkward when I had to press. I keep an ironing board on a hook on the back of the door, and when I got it out my only option was to jam it against the door desk and pull the iron over from the wall.

As preparation for possible updates, I started a Pinterest board on sewing rooms and also checked out Setting Up Your Sewing Space: From Small Areas to Complete Workshops from the library, which I reviewed here.

After browsing this book, and scouring Pinterest, I thought I had a good idea of what I wanted to improve my room. I needed a large desk/worktable on which I could keep my sewing machine and a serger. I also wanted to have more shelving, for fabric and notions. It seemed that the perfect solution would be an Ikea Expedit workstation:

Sadly for me, the closest Ikea is hours away. And shipping is a JOKE (it would cost more to ship the item then to buy it...they must come from Sweden by way of tug boat or something). Wal-Mart sells a similar item, but for the price I thought I should keep looking. So, I pined away and kept a close eye on Craigslist. We live in a college town, and the spring semester recently ended. That means that all the students are selling/dumping their furniture. Literally, you can drive through campus and grab all kinds of stuff off the curbs. And what appeared on the good ole CL but an Expedit! A HUGE Expedit! Not the smaller version pictured above, but a giant 5x5 version.

So we did the little CL dance of emailing and waiting and waiting and seeing it listed again, and emailing again, and blah blah blah it's now mine! Initially, the original owner was reluctant to sell to me because we would have to break down the whole thing for it to fit in our minivan. Honestly, it's about 6 foot x 6 foot, so unless you have a MOVING van, I doubt it was going anywhere without being completely broken down. But my wonderful husband did all the heavy lifting, and a few weekends ago we took it apart, drove it home, reassembled it in the living room, and then ju-u-u-st barely were able to move it into the sewing room. We only had to remove one door in the hallway to angle it into the bedroom (whomp whomp).

And now I have the little sewing workstation of my dreams!

And I forgot the best part! Direct from Ikea, this size Expedit and desk would cost $250, plus we'd have to drive 3 hours there and back. This little CL beauty that was less than a year old? $80!!! I'm restricting myself to three exclamation points, but in my mind there are about 170 of them.

I know you're thinking that the room looks crowded, and it probably is, but I think it's cozy. Remember I talked about those oak bookshelves? Another Craigslist steal, by the way. But yeah. SOLID oak. I've moved them around that room more times than I can count, and you must remove all the books, all the shelves, and then curse as you push and pull and beg them to be lighter. There was no way I was doing it AGAIN, which is partly why we ended up with this configuration. In truth, I think it's the best setup for the room anyway.

Please ignore my giant scrap box.

I removed one shelf from my plastic craft drawers (it was broken anyway kicked it while trying to force the drawer to close) so it would fit under the old desk. The filing cabinet moved to the corner and now I use that area for pressing and prepping.

Ignore that pile of clothes for Me Made May!

The Expedit desk is certainly big enough to cut out on if I move my sewing machine out of the way.

Now I can keep all my fabric on the shelves of the Expedit, and the books can have their old home back. I've got plenty of space for notions, thread, and pattern storage.

I also have cut patterns hanging on a tension rod against the wall. These are the ones I could neatly fold and put into a gallon storage bag. Not pictured: a zillion other cut patterns hanging in the closet.

And of course, AB has a little basket of toys to play with when we're hanging out in the sewing room.

And sometimes a kitty visits.

There are plenty of little Phase Two items on my agenda (mounting the pegboard, adding a cork board, incorporating baskets on the shelves, organizing the pressing area better) but for now I'm thrilled with the setup. I admit that I go in there and sit and look around and grin like a fool. Any major sewing room updates happening with you? Any small ones? Where do you sew?

Pssst...Today's Thrifty Thursday deal over at Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop is the Pier 49 Convertible Pants! For boys or girls, long pants or short, it's a great pattern for 50% off today only! (affiliate links)


  1. Looks great! I, too, have the Expedit shelf for my craft's the greatest! I recently redid my sewing room and I also walk in there and grin like an idiot. :) Good luck with phase 2!

    1. Good to hear I'm not the only smiling "idiot" haha! Love love love the Expedit!

  2. Looks amazing makeover..I love that expedit shelves which helps to increase the space for storage. I don't know how I missed your poss recently! These are all great; I love all the creative ideas. I started on Saturday with a little redecorating around the house and it got way out of control lol..Thanks for sharing this post.

  3. Do you still love the Expedit? Is the table big enough or do you wish the table were a little bigger?

    1. I still love my Expedit! Sometimes I wish the table area was bigger, but if it were then it wouldn't fit in the room!


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