Tips for Sewing in a Small Space: We asked and you answered!

Tips for sewing in a small space // Closet Case Patterns

As many of you know, Closet Core has a very beautiful, very plant filled studio space here in Montreal. We have a suite of top of the line Pfaff machines and giant cutting tables in addition to a ton of fabric and supplies. We have multiple dress forms and a whole station just for pressing. But alas, our studio sits empty as we are also at home these days, trying to work and keep up some semblance of a sewing practice. We are in our dining rooms, guest rooms, whatever corner we can find, out of practice at this McGyver sewing and we were like, geez, this is tricky! It’s not that we are spoiled normally (ok maybe yes) it’s just we had kind of gotten used to having a ton of room to spread out and now… not so much. And since we’re all in the same boat (and that boat tends to get a bit cramped) we thought we would crowdsource some ideas from you brilliant sewists as to how to get the most out of your hobby if you, like us, are sewing yourself into a corner, both literally and figuratively. We asked and you answered! All kinds of great ideas came pouring in, from clever storage solutions to double-duty furniture ideas, but none of these tips and tricks surpassed the most important adage of all: KEEP IT TIDY.

PUT IT AWAY (FLEXIBILITY IS KEY)

“I have a 4′ table for cutting that’s easy to put away when not in use.” – @saraparilliv

“I keep my sewing machine in a rolling case so it is easy to put away and take out.” – @jenniferlachman

“Adjustable/fold up trestles with ie. 6ft x4 ft. MDF tabletop and you’re good to go!” – @rochadstudio

“I set up a folding table when it’s time to cut and put PVC tubes under my table legs for height.” – @ohgnomegirl

“Keep a project in a big zip-locked folder or storage box so it can be brought out quickly.” – @stitchedwares

“Card table or fold away table big enough for a cutting mat and adjustable in height.” -@jodyrebecca

“Large cardboard to increase surface for pdf and fabric trace/cutting. Bonus, it spins!” – @fontenrose

“A box to store sewing essentials and current project so you can store the other things separately.” – @plaid.magnolias

“Put a wood board on a bed to use as a cutting table. ” – @andrea.s.a.f

Tips for sewing in a small space // Closet Core Patterns
This is Amy’s studio set up. An antique ironing board on the bed and a tabletop can be moved if a guest comes to stay. The mattress is double-height, which saves your back. You could also use bed raisers to get it to a workable height.
Tips for sewing in a small space // Closet Core Patterns
Having multiple areas for separate tasks means I can move through sewing a garment without having to set up everything again.

STORAGE IS EVERYTHING

“Convert a wardrobe for storage” – @vintageshabbyoneofakind

“Storage is key! Having a spot to easily put everything away when you’re done. “- @professional.seam.ripper

“I keep my tools in a chest of drawers on casters so I can move it around as needed” – @couturious

“Pegboard is your friend. Folding fabric on magazine boards.” – @sewoncentral

“Organize with baskets and boxes.” – @anabelfitness

“The love to sew podcast on sewing spaces had a lot of helpful tips/Ikea hacks!” – @ritavantassel_studio

“I use clear acrylic stackable Muji drawers to store my sh*t.” – @_zaytun_

“Under-the-bed storage with drawer dividers for findings.” -@makeitsewcreative

“Invest in a sewing cabinet with tons of storage. Preferably one that can be closed up.” – @vdevito1

Tips for sewing in a small space // Closet Core Patterns
An old vanity does double duty as a sewing desk and thread spool holders can also hold tools.

STITCHIN’ IN THE KITCHEN

“I use a mini ironing board on my kitchen work-top. I also use my kitchen table as a cutting table.” -@kathleensews

“Blanket on the stove to iron, sewing on the kitchen table, ALWAYS clear the space afterwards.” – @decon_project

“My sewing ‘room’ is a 1sqm corner of our kitchen. A hall table is perfect for two machines.” -@kat.makes

GO VERTICAL

“Pegboard- keep all your stuff up and out of the way.” – @sarahboddey

“Use vertical space as much as possible: shelving, desktop organizers hanging from the table.”-@hannahwins

“Keep everything well organized with drawers or pegboards to use all the free wall space.”- @lizstrut

“I mounted an over the door ironing board to the wall! Full-sized board and easy to fold…”- @neverseamless

“Use the vertical space if you can! Shelves, hooks, pegboards etc.” – @jillianisabel_sews

“A place on the wall to hand stuff! For example, the Ikea Skadis pegboard!” -@fabric.swagger

“If you can put up shelves do it! It creates more space on the ground where it’s needed.” -@blissjoybull

“I use a wire mesh screen with s-hooks, it gives you more flexible options than a pegboard.”  -@kat.makes

“Go vertical with storage. Use those walls baby!” -@smallfatadjustment

“The famous Ikea folding table, a big shelf for books and patterns and sewing one project at a time.” -@sandra_mhc

“IKEA! I organize everything into one small corner with a wall unit and a pegboard.” -@pippiannshirley

“Use the height of the room for storage.” -@megroseblade

“Hang pattern instructions on a wall.” – @anne.makes.things

“Vertical storage helps. Put most critical/often used tools in a grab bag for easy stash/grab.” -@makeitsewcreative

 

Tips for sewing in a small space // Closet Core Patterns
I keep my loaded bobbins with my thread spools so when I go to change colours, everything is together.

MAKE IT PRETTY

“Make it cheery- light, plants, whatever sparks joy!” -@neverseamless

“Tables that fold! Decorative vintage suitcases for storage!” – @ecbmurph

“If you can hide stuff put them in pretty boxes.” -@fabric.swagger

“Shelves, PDF patterns, incorporate sewing into the decor.” -@nuttathelditsground

“Consistent colour scheme= less spools of thread, buttons, etc.” – @impossydney

“Using pottery canisters to hold notions and as pattern weights or a weighted tape dispenser.” – @laprunminta

“Buy an old sewing machine desk that you can hide everything in. Bonus if it’s a cool retro one…” – @nickyboiss

Tips for sewing in a small space // Closet Core Patterns
Writing this blog post from my “office area”.

EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE

“Make the best out of it!”- @Iveilleu

“Enjoy it and keep it moving!” -@liketabitha

“I wish. I explode all over the house!” -@fredsauntie

“Use the floor as a cutting table. Squat so you don’t hurt your back. ” – @letstweed

“Move everything.” -@snakeeastsmoon

“Batch cutting when my floor is clean!” – @jillhuntress

“Sewing at a cutting table is more comfortable than sewing at a desk.” -@megroseblade

“Put your sliver of a sewing table in your tv space to enjoy family time, movies and sewing.” – @erikagut168

“Make a huge mess>regret everything>dig yourself out>admire your new shirt.” – @lannimals

KEEP IT SMALL

“I have a mini iron and a mini ironing board.” -@prettyladiesprettybabies

“Mini ironing board on top of a storage cabinet, small shelf on a wall next to it for iron.” – @libbybot

“Pare down your sewing tools to only the high-quality essentials.” – @impossydney

“Keep your stashes (of everything from fabric to notions) small.” – @impossydney

“A small cutting mat on top of your ironing board. A great flexible standing height work surface.” -@toiledunord

Tips for sewing in a small space // Closet Core Patterns

CLEAN AS YOU GO

“Tidy as you go, otherwise post make is a nightmare.” -@asmaridge

“Clean up as you go. Every time. Remember it’s shared space.” -@bohobluestocking

“Just try to keep it tidy. On the bright side at least everything is within reach!” – @opinionatedcarrot

“Keep it clean and organized!” – @lapuentes

“Clean up after each session and use a project box for keeping pieces together. ” -@erniekdesigns

“Tidy up regularly!” -@sewing_kat

“Keep organized! Clean up scraps and threads often. It makes your space feel bigger.” -@oliviaharr_

“Clean up frequently. Only store essentials nearby. “- @zakalia

“Clean up after each project. Just a quick tidy to put everything back where it belongs.” – @nicoleflanagancreations

“Always clean up while sewing. Don’t let stuff just lay around, everything has its place.” -@vi.freya

“Clean up the space after you’ve done for the day even if you’re going to come back to it.” – @unevenstitches

“Always keep the necessary thing ONLY on the surface of the table.” -@churpina

“Keeping tidy is essential. I put off so many projects when my space is messy. ” – @paisleycarrots

“My space is super tiny- my best advice is to completely tidy the space after every single use.” – @madashaklove

“Clean up after every sew!” – @unpickerqueen

“Sort and organize often. Keeping it tidy helps.” – @wzrdreams

“Clean up frequently. Put fabric pieces and notions in a container to keep them together.” – @anne.makes.things

“Don’t over stash! And keep things tidy as much as possible.” – @zazou_chic

“Tidy as you go and one project at a time.” – @suzanne_sews

“Make sure it’s tidy before you start.” – @gemsaysstuff

“Work in stages: complete one task fully and don’t move on until you’ve cleaned up.” – @littlerachpap

 

Let us know in the comments if you have any ideas you didn’t see here!

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Hi! I'm Heather Lou, a pattern designer and sewing educator for the modern maker. At Closet Core Patterns, we transform your imagination into step-by-step implementation that helps you create a wardrobe you love - not one you're limited to buying off the rack.

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