Where Do You Do Your Sewing?

My mother had a dream sewing room. She had it expressly designed for sewing, with huge closets to store fabrics and built-in cabinetry to hold her notions, supplies and machines. It was called The Project Room and was located in the heartbeat of the home, where everyone came and went and hung their hats, which suited her just fine.


My new sewing space … for now.

My sewing room, on the other hand, when I started sewing again, consisted of a TV tray folding table positioned in between a couch and a TV. My husband “read” (a.k.a. pretending to read while catnapping) on the other couch, our two goldens dognapping at his feet, and I cut out my patterns on the little floor space that was left.

I sewed for years that way, and while it was murder on the back, I loved that we could all be together while I did my favorite thing.

When we moved from Brooklyn to Long Island, I finally had a dedicated sewing room, which I, too, designed from the studs up. I had my sewing machine tucked into a cozy corner and my fabrics neatly stored on shelves and best of all, an adjustable table where I could do my cutting without breaking my back. If you have a dedicated sewing space that needs some attention, we have a free eBook with sewing room organization ideas.

Fast forward two years, and the cat had managed to scatter fabrics into a disarray that only cats can manage, the cutting table had become stacked with stuff, and the sewing room had transformed into a junk room. In turned out I didn’t like sewing away from the heartbeat of the home. Once again, I was back to sewing in front of the TV, seated on one couch and cutting on the floor, while my husband and dogs snored on the other.

However, I did attack that sewing room recently, and I am trying a new approach. While the China doll my grandmother made supervises from her window seat, I use my sewing machine on the big cutting table that was formerly holding piles of stuff. It does mean that I sit in a tall captain’s chair (which I plan to paint white) and have to reach to the floor pedal, but I am thinking it will work. We’ll see.

My grandmother had a neat little 1950s Singer that tucked away into a table and I always assumed that one day I would sew just like that. But that day is here, and for some reason I have never liked sewing at a desk. Maybe I just feel more comfortable with a TV tray and the floor. Maybe it’s just my favorite way to sew.

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Where do you like to sew? I would love to know!

Happy stitching!

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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

51 thoughts on “Where Do You Do Your Sewing?

  1. I sew with a 30 year old Kenmore my mom gave me after she used it for years! At a desk I got at a garage sale tucked in a tiny spare room, connected to another make shift table that my husband reloads ammo on! LOL After I use the machine. I drag everything out to the living room and sit on the couch or the floor and put my projects together! Old habits die hard Amber!

  2. I had a sewing room which was great but then I had do to retiring move to a one bedroom so now I sew on my large computer table. when not sewing I stash machine in a great pantry. I dont mind though. I think the sewing room became too much and did get messy at times. I dont get as messy and I like that.

  3. I sew between two rooms, part of the office and a recently converted game room. I am still getting organized and find the disorganization a deterrent to getting started. But, I will keep plugging away to keep my projects moving forward.

  4. We bought our current house 5 years ago, and the 2 big selling points were the enormous kitchen and the craft room. I spend days on end in my room. It has built-ins on two walls. I use my machine on a dining room table I had made and put in there when we bought the house. The table has a cutting mat to cover it’s surface. I sit in my old desk chair from my teaching days (bought by me for my classroom). I think I would rather be there than anywhere, and my whole house is truly lovely. It gets very messy in my room, but I clean it up once a week so my wonderful housekeeper can do her thing. I bought some lovely filing drawers, etc. from Ballard Design for one end of the the room (the only empty wall). I’ve added some cute personal decor. It’s just cozy. . .and it’s all mine.

  5. In the olden days, I cut my patterns on the kitchen floor (no carpet) or the kitchen table (ow my poor back) But NOW, I have a fold away six foot laminated top table that I put up on raisers that I got at a yard sale. and there was an inconvenient bar in the house that we bought that I cut down for a sewing machine table that IS in the middle of the living room, facing the window for light (doesn’t much help at one in the morning, though. and now that I unfortunately live alone, The entire twenty by 16 living room is my sewing room and the spare bedroom holds 90 percent of my fabric. 🙂

  6. I too hate sewing away from the heartbeat of my home. I have two small children, and need to keep an eye on them. So my “sewing room” is used solely for storage of all the sewing and other art/craft supplies I use, and I sew standing up in my kitchen. We have a large kitchen, with a beautiful large breakfast bar, and granite counters. It overlooks the living room and the tv. So I sew, while my kids play in the living room, and a friend or my husband can sit and chat from a barstool at the counter.

  7. I sew in a palm frond roofed “palapa” open-air structure here in Guatemala. As I live on a sailboat there isn’t really room aboard to spread out. My set up is a wood table, plastic beer advertising chairs, a lamp, my Elna Lotus 37-year old portable sewing machine and my trusty fan.

    The bonus is that I am by the swimming pool and get to chat with other cruisers all day as they use the pool or wander the grounds of the marina. Social sewing!

  8. since my children have grown and gone, I do have a dedicated sewing room. Sometimes I have to make an appointment with myself to actually get in there and start, but then I end up in there for hours. I have two desks with two machines each (plain sewing, embroidery machine, embellisher, and of course a serger), and a tall cutting table. The only thing on a tv tray is a television I can watch sewing dvds on. I removed the closet doors and also have two tall bookcases for my fabrics, notions, and patterns. I do my hand sewing, or clipping and turning, in the living room watching tv.

  9. Since I started a home clothing alteration business in 2009 I have set up a very small sewing room and that is where I have everything all organized and handy for my use. When I can I love to use my oversized ottoman as my work table while watching TV. Anything I can do such as pinning, measuring or hand sewing I like to sit comfortably in the chair. I have a small basket sitting close by with all the sewing essentials handy for use. It seems to work quite well for me. I am hoping next summer to add on a garage and make the one bay a larger sewing room where my customers can walk in rather than coming through my house. This will give me much more space to lay out fabric and possibly offer sewing lessons in the future.

  10. After 30 yrs I bought a new sewing/quilting machine. We moved all my quilting, sewing, and mixed media out of the dining room and converted the office to a “woman’s cave.” Now I have spaces for cutting fabric, stenciling, fabric painting, yarns, books, ironing, and my new machine. Soon I will have a custom-made oak sewing center. Best of all, my machine sits in front of a window with an inspirational view of a wonderful range of snow-capped mountains where I can see the glory of the changing seasons.

  11. I sew in what was our old office. Keep in mind it is also a huge pantry, exercise room, music room (practice my flute) and other storage. However it makes me use the space I have in more expedient ways. My husband just added more storage on the wall for more fabric, I added an antique wall curio cabinet for my ribbons, etc. and just finished a homemade (fabric w/clear plastic) wall storage for my fusibles. My machine is new (Janome 8900 which I’m learning to love) on my mother’s old sewing machine cabinet which still houses another much older exceedingly heavy pfaff sewing machine. Of course I have ironing boards, one standard and one lg. square one I made for pieceing. I would love to have a window and more room. But it’s amazing what I can accomplish in this crowded room and just be in my own little world. Jody K.

  12. When we bought our forever home. There was a room designated as the office with the previous owners. My husband declared that as my sewing/craft studio. I thought it was the sweetest gesture. It is still an “in process”, but, since then he has built me a cutting table (I used to cut on the floor or on our dining table) and he will be building me built ins/seating area around the windows, etc.

    Happy Holidays!!

    Alisha @ Craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.com

  13. Before I moved in with my husband I have always had a dedicated sewing room to myself where I can make a mess and shut the door. However in his house there was only a small attick with no power or heat and although I tried to work there is just wasn’t good.
    So I put my sewing machines away for a few years until I got the urge again last year!
    Now I use the dining table in our lounge/diner room and have completely taken that end of the room over!
    We now eat on trays on our laps in front of the TV (bad, bad habit!!) But I’m having a ball re-discovering my skills and also all the wonderful resource and shopping that’s available on-line since I was last regularly sewing!
    my dream would be to have my own room again – but until we get round to moving I know it’s not going to happen 🙁

  14. Oh how I relate to you… I too used to sew in the hubbub of my home, on the kitchen table while my young sons played at my feet. I did this for so many, many years and was thoroughly happy cutting on the dining room table or the floor in the living room. Then a divorce created a new scenario and I was sewing in my bedroom on a makeshift desk positioned so I could sit on the bed, cut on the table in the dining room and press in my living room (I had a very tiny apartment at the time). I eventually worked my way into a dedicated room for sewing and have had one ever since. I sew on a Viking Rose in a Koala cabinet that I absolutely cannot live without. It’s a long way from my old trusty Singer on the dining room table. Now, since my new husband and I have moved into a new home, my sewing is scattered all over the house, cutting in the living room, sewing in the office and the sewing room, because I am not happy with the sewing room I have. Not near enough room, or it needs to be rearranged more to allow sewing, cutting, and pressing in the same room. So we are now re-thinking how that room should be arranged. I love having a dedicated room that I can stow everything away and out of sight from visitors, but I still do ALL of my handwork (hemming, buttons, etc.) in the living room in front of the TV with my husband on the sofa and me in my recliner rocker. It is more fun that way and my husband gets to see my latest work in progress. BTW – he’s now learning to sew and we are having a blast! – Darlene

  15. I have sewn in many spots, depending on the house. This house has a small family area w/fireplace so when hubby said “Go get a new machine and somewhere to put it” I was out the door! Armed with a Baby-Lock Serenade and new put it together sewing table (with SHELVES!!) I am happily sewing, cutting, singing along with Pandora and listening to the crackling fire. Color me a Happy Girl!

  16. I now have the former garage as a ” woman’s cave” ( i liked that expression) ,that’s where my sewing machine and all my stuff is …but …. in the summer I always end up on the terrace and in the winter next to the fire place :)… But .. I feel very lucky to have a special room dedicated only to my stuff… so when I tidy , I tidy up all the rest of the house, and eventually maybe sometimes my room …and I remember that … Those who mind my mess don’t matter , and those who matter don’t mind..

  17. I have a sewing room in which I have a Horn cabinet holding my sewing machine and serger. A closet that has shelving for fabric and project boxes. It has a window and a skylite which gives a lot of natural light. It is upstairs so shutting the door is all that happens when visitors arrive! I am retired and this works wonderfully well for my lifestyle.

  18. I used to sew in the dining room, but as my material and habby collection expanded, we had to move house and buy one that had a room just for me. My hubby is great, he made me a raised table for cutting out and a large work surface that holds both my sewing machine and serger. Over the years I have bought bookcases and boxes to hold my various bits and bobs and have draws for oddments – all colour coded. I love the fact I can see the garden and watch my dog sleep in the sun, but, mainly I love the fact that I can keep my current projects out and not have to put them away so we can eat! We both work shifts, so I can hide myself away when hubby is sleeping and he can’t hear me. But when we are together I revert to knitting in front of the TV.

  19. TV tray table with a Singer 201 hand crank in the living room in front of the TV and pellet stove! It’s a mess, but more entertaining than being banished to the sewing room!

  20. I used to sew in my bedroom with a l-shaped computer table and a chair on rollers. I loved having my sewing machine and sewing machine side by side and the rolling chair made moving between the two so easy.

    We moved downstairs to another room and m computer table did not make the move.

    Now I sew in the kitchen because it is the hub of the house and I don’t like to separated from the others. I also paint and do papier marche in the kitchen.

  21. I have two sewing…fabric rooms….I love them both
    One is red and grey with a brick half wall-
    The other is light colored with containers of fabrics on shelves
    They have different organizational compartments.
    They both make me happy to be in them…..

  22. I have two sewing…fabric rooms….I love them both
    One is red and grey with a brick half wall-
    The other is light colored with containers of fabrics on shelves
    They have different organizational compartments.
    They both make me happy to be in them…..

  23. I have two sewing…fabric rooms….I love them both
    One is red and grey with a brick half wall-
    The other is light colored with containers of fabrics on shelves
    They have different organizational compartments.
    They both make me happy to be in them…..

  24. Like you, I sew near family and dogs! I have the dining room table and various plastic bins all around. It is near the TV and the kitchen. I can put a on pot of soup or whatever, let the dogs in and out, and generally be in our living space, doing what I love. The table is cleared for the Holidays, when I have quilting groups here or when my book club meets here. Otherwise, I love being in the midst of life. I have a nice outbuilding, actually an old log cabin, which I could use, but it is too far from the living activities, so I just is to store my fabric and yarn.

    Happy sewing!

  25. We RV fulltime, so I sew with the sewing machine on one TV tray, lazy susan cutting board on another & pressing board on the kitchen counter. A 4’x8′ felt covered sheet of foam insullation is tucked behind the TV as a design wall. It works for me and every few weeks I have a brand new view from my little sewing studio on wheels!

  26. Amber, If I need to raise my seat, instead of reaching down
    for the pedal, try turning a dresser drawer upside down to raise the
    foot pedal up. They often have a convenient lip so you don’t push
    the pedal off. This scenario often occurres at quilt retreat or workshops.
    It works really well and I always keep an eye out for a ‘curbside’ find.
    Sometimes the furniture is damaged but a drawer is in good condition.
    Felt pads on the drawer edge protects your floor. Happy sewing!

  27. In the winter months we move our “living room” to the cellar to sit by the wood stove. It’s cozy with a couple of stuffed chairs and a TV all set up on an old rug! I set up a card table and by the time the winter is through it is heaped with sewing materials! I do a lot of sewing by hand, so there is pins, cloth, block printed cloth, all colors of thread, Quilting Arts magazine, Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine, my laptop with down-loaded tutorials, etc. But I love it! That’s where I sew!

  28. My sewing machine is, like your grandmothers, one that tucks away into a cabinet. With my 1985 model machine, I have the option to make it portable, which I did to save space in this over-stocked apartment. The cabinet remains in storage and has not been used since about 1989. I liked having that cabinet and would use it were the situation different than it is here.

    So, I bring out the machine and set it up on the dining table… which is also a game table, crafts table, what-have-you table, which is also used to lay out my sewing projects and cut fabric – done before the machine comes out – because it’s the only decent sized table in the apartment, and just about the only flat space that’s not piled high with something. I dream about having my own crafts/sewing room so I won’t have to use the dining table for those things, but it’s not going to happen in this apartment.

    Cutting the fabric on a 35 inch round table is the biggest challenge to getting anything done around here. That isn’t much space to work with… but I manage. Using the floor is out of the question because I don’t have a large cutting mat; but rather a small one only about 9 X 12 inches. The other drawback is that, because I use that multi-use dining table, my sewing can’t be left out for any length of time. I often need to put the UFO into a project bag and the sewing machine back into its plastic case when we need the table for something else. 🙁

    Unlike others, I’d be extremely happy tucked away in a remote corner with my sewing and crafts projects… I just wish I had that corner.

  29. I am new to sewing and loving it . I have 2 sewing machines , and older singer I got at the savation army for 5 bucks ( tucked away in the closet ) and a white sewing machine that my mother inlaw bought back in 1963 for almost 300 bucks , its in a built in table. So I sew in mt dining room, our table is big but breaks my back lol but I have a hutch with almost enough storage and a hope chest .. some very nice picnic baskets and a closet.. I have a open floor plan house so I can still be involved with my family .. we have 4 boys. So I need to be right there… ( oh no mommy took over the dining room again )

  30. Where do I like to sew? In my sewing and craft room (which also serves as an infrequent second guest bedroom) in the basement. Aside from the fact that ALL my sewing notions, fabric, patterns, cutting table and both machines are there…..I don’t have to pick up and put away my latest project every time I stop sewing. I just walk away, knowing everything will be ready to continue when I go back! No one sees the mess I leave and no one bothers the work in progress. It’s my refuge!

  31. I used to sew at one end of the kitchen table, with some shelves behind me for fabric and supplies. It was never ideal, but I needed to multi-task. Then major life changes: divorce, becoming disabled, slipping out of the middle class. And now I have a studio that my wealthier friends envy: a big table for the sewing machine, and an even bigger one for cutting, with storage underneath both. Shelves of fabric along one whole wall. Design wall on another. Though disability has eliminated one passion after another, I refuse to give up sewing! But I need the cutting table at the proper height, and a proper chair at a proper table in order to do it. My studio is truly a dream-space and I work in there nearly every day and love it! What I don’t have is a living room, but my visitors gather around the kitchen table, and otherwise I live in a recliner in the bedroom. It works for me!

  32. I don’t necessarily like it, but I sew in our basement. I can then keep everything set up, and the cats aren’t allowed down there. Our basement flooded a few years ago and was never re[aired, but at least it is my “alone” area!

  33. When our kids were out of college we bought a farm which had interesting outbuildings. Close by was a grainery which my husband repaired and reconstructed into what has becomeI a studio for my sewing, weaving and doing other things. It has its own kitchen and bathroom. it has doubled as the canning kitchen, extra bed space for grandsons and meeting places. I have set up my new Bernina downstairs where there are cabinets up cycled by my husband from equipment sold at school sales. It has an upstairs which provides office space for an old computer and printer, a cutting table,storage and home to Ringo our 12 year old cat. In the laundry room in our “real” house, I have set
    up an old Bernina 1090 which I can use for mending and straight stitching while
    watching a meal cook! I sew wherever I am. What fun to be retired and doing things I like! It is like heaven after years of sewing on the dining room table!
    Shirley

  34. My sewing room is also the spare guest bedroom. I have book shelves lining one wall for all the books I love to read. I found my sewing cabinet at an estate sale for $35.00!! It’s solid wood which is hard to find these days. I love that it has a toggle switch that lower’s my sewing machine out of sight. That way I can hide it from little fingers. I’ve always cut out projects & clothes on the floor like so many have mentioned. About a year ago I realized I could cut out on my dining room table!! Why had I never thought of that before I don’t know! I still lay out quilts on the floor to piece blocks together and to layer and pin. Old habits do die hard!! My closet is full of tubby’s of fabric labeled clothing, flannel, quilt, Christmas quilt & children quilts. That is about as organized as I get. Oh I do have drawers of patterns & quilting & knitting/crocheting magazines. There were too many to put on my bookshelves!! I remember a time when I didn’t have a sewing room. I had to pull out my vintage machine from the closet and sewing on my kitchen table. Then I would have to put everything back so I could cook & serve supper. Small spaces is not an excuse to not sew for those of us who love to sew!

  35. I can relate to the sewing area. We lived in a house where my sewing room was upstairs away for it all. I was not happy, although a sewing room really is a good thing. Now we live in a different house and my sewing room is closer to everything. I spend a lot of time here and am much happier. Leslee

  36. I have a small 1,000 square foot house. I use to cut on the dining table, sew in the bedroom, iron in the bathroom, and do handwork in the living area. Now, since all have moved out of the house, the two remaining bedrooms are the Creativity Zones. I also do paper crafts. I have a couch in the smaller room. I make it known that I don’t do guests anymore unless they want to sleep on the couch. Otherwise it’s a motel, hotel, or inn. I’m 64 and have decided that I want to be able to do my thing and not have to worry about making people happy who only show up every now and then.

  37. My two bedroom apartment has a very generously sized living area. Since I live alone and don’t really entertain, I utilize part of that living area for sewing. I love having it out it an open area like that.

  38. When I opened my biz in 2007 I started with a small Kenmore sewing machine, and yep I used a vintage tv tray to hold it, lol…I thought up until now I was probably the only one who sewed that way!

    I had my machine set up in the living room in between my computer desk & the couch, that way I could look out the windows & have the natural sunlight. I sewed like that for 4 years!

    The in 2011 I rented a apartment in house, we have 2 bedrooms here so I turned one of them into my work studio/office space and sew in here. In the process of moving so I have been cutting patterns out on my kitchen table, it is back breaking work, but I still love it!

    Happy sewing!~

  39. Oh, how I dream of a sewing room all my own….but it’s not possible when you live in a one bedroom apartment. But I carved out a space in our bedroom that works really well for several reasons. I found an antique kitchen table with an enamel top and put it under the window for good natural light. I also have the space on the hardwood floor to put down a cutting mat..not the best for my back, but at least i can spread out. Then I have a shelf full of organizer bins, antique sewing and tackle boxes and bins of all sizes so everything has it’s place. I like that I’m away form the tv and computer, and I can shut the door if things get too messy and I don’t want to look at it anymore !

  40. I have a sewing room on the second floor of our house that used to be a bedroom. I have four large, opened shelf units that hold sewing books, craft, crochet,and knitting books. Large gallon pickle jars that are full of spools of thread for my 25yr.old Singer sewing machine and my 20yr.old Jaquar serger. There are pickle jars full of buttons (mine, my mom’s and granma’s that I inherited). I recycled baby wipe containers that now hold needles, etc. A year ago I added a peg board to the wall beside my machines table where I hang scissors, tape measures, and pattern instructions. For cutting out patterns and quilt blocks, I covered a hollow door with very thin batting and muslin and placed it on an antique dining room credenza that I also inherited from my mom.

  41. I sew in the Living Room on a Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter left over from a long arm machine I had a few years ago. It is on a table with a handy hole cut in and supported underneath to make a nice flat surface for sewing. This is a powerful straight stitch machine and great for tote bags and thicker items. I also have a Brother 2002D machine with embroidery features. That one is in my sewing room amid my “stuff”. I go from one to the other as needed. I, too, must empty the sewing room for more space to cut and assemble fabrics for quilts or crafting.

  42. Like you, I sit on a settee (couch for all you Americans) and sew on a fold away table in our living room. The only difference is instead of a TV I use my laptop, and I have no dogs but the snoring husband in the other chair is very often a comforting presence.

  43. My sewing machine has always been atop a small wooden desk my parents bought for me when I was just a little girl about 8 years old. The desktop is about 18″ x 24″ and has four drawers on the right-hand side. In the center where a drawer would normally be, there is an open space that I have used for stashing various things over the years–and I’m 63 years old now. Actually, the desk is too high to comfortably sew on it, but I’m used to it now. This Christmas I hope to purchase some cube-ical items and flat boards to connect them for a proper, larger sewing space. Then I will have more places to stash scissors, threads, bobbins, and other sewing paraphernalia I’ve accumulated over the years, along with assorted knitting needles and crochet hooks. But I will keep my old friend, the desk, probably to pay bills on. We could really use a central place for stamps, stationery, pens, and bills (the dreadful things).

  44. Right now I sew on top of a big desk in the bedroom (in the window niche between the closets) I cut fabric on one of those drop leaf sewing tables, which I pull out of the corner to use and fold up again afterwards. Over the years I have sewn in a on a desk in a corner of the dining room, in an alcove off the kitchen, on the dining room table and probably other places. It depends on which house we were living in at the time. When I started sewing we found a discarded table, cut a hole in it to fit my first sewing machine, added legs to it, and unfortunately we left it behind when we moved across the country. Since then I have upgraded my sewing machine twice, we have moved about 10 times, and I still miss that table (my daughter has the original machine, but sews with it on her desk). Many years ago I needed to cut out some garments, but it was too nice to be inside. We hauled the table (made from a simple door from the lumber yard clearance bin) and some metal legs so I could work outdoors while the children played in the sunshine. No holds barred, I guess. Lee

  45. I am lucky to have a whole room to devote to my sewing/crafting – FINALLY!!! I’ve been sewing for over 30 years, and it’s only been in the last year that I’ve got a whole room all to myself! (Well, and the ferret – LOL) I have 2 large tables – one to cut and one to sew and I have room to keep out the 4 machines I use most!

  46. I am a lucky ducky when I relocated. I have a room 26′ x 18′ that is insulated and has 2 huge windows and one double huge window both with fabric shades and screens. Wish it wasn’t carpeted, dropped straight pins are a hazard with bare feet. I have bookcases to hold fabric, yarn, books, DVDs, chest of drawers for projects, and
    a brand new sewing/cutting table with hydraulic lift and rollers. I am in heaven! Now to find the time to use it as it should be. Thanks for asking, Anita

  47. I have converted my sunroom into my sewing studio I have lots of natural light and a separate entrance from the outside so my clients don’t have to enter my main house.

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