March 26

How To Set Up Your Sewing Area For Maximum Efficiency

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When you are setting up your work space, the most important thing to set up is a work surface for your sewing machine. The best thing to use is the cabinet the machine came in but it may not be big enough or you may have a portable machine.

While you could use the kitchen table or maybe an office desk, this would be too high and you might experience pain in your shoulders and your back. You could cut the legs down to be the right height for you. If your machine came with a cabinet, when it’s not in use, it can be lowered into the cabinet to save space. You can also buy sewing tables designed for sewing machines.

Female fashion designer holding big golden tailor scissors in hand closeup. Creating garment dress sewing service seamstress ready to take measurement and make new suit concept


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A sewing cabinet will probably have side drawers for storage. However, even if it does have some kind of storage, you will need more for all of the accessories and tools you will be using.

An inexpensive option is to buy a plastic drawer set that can be found in most retail stores. You could use plastic boxes that stack upon each other. If you have room, you could make a storage system in a closet. Always be on the lookout for cheap storage, whether it be sales or even, yard sales, thrift stores or flea markets. You can find great inspiration on Pinterest and online websites to create an efficient and organized space.


You can mount magnetic horizontal bars on a wall to store metal tools. They can easily hold your scissors, seam rippers, pinking shears, and other tools and accessories. You can find them at any hardware store for around ten bucks.

It’s important to keep your fabric and your patterns stored properly to keep them clean. If you are short on space, you can store them under the bed in plastic containers especially designed to be hidden and out of the way beneath the bed.

It’s important to fold your patterns correctly so they will fit back into the package. Try using file storage boxes that are for sale at most office supply stores. You can fit two patterns side by side. If you weren’t able to get the pattern back into the original package, a zippered freezer bag will work well.

If you are working on a project and have to put things away before you are done, fold the material and pattern over a wire hanger and then clip a few clothespins to the hanger. You can then hang everything up in the closet and when you can work on it once again, you simply grab the hanger and you are good to go. To keep things organized if you are working on a few different projects at one time, be sure the pattern number or name is facing outward so you can easily see what’s what. You can attach the pattern envelope on the hanger as well for a quick and easy way to identify what you need.


A large flat surface is necessary for cutting out patterns. Be sure that the surface you use is at the correct height or you will find yourself aching later that day or the next. For sitting, the height of the table should be 26 to 30 inches. If you prefer to stand when you cut, a 30 to 36 inch high surface will work best. It should be wide enough to hold most pattern sizes. But if you sit when you cut, you may prefer a narrow table that you can reach across comfortably.

A self-healing cutting mat works best but if you are short on cash, you can create a makeshift cutting surface using corkboard. You can either glue it onto the table itself or use craft foam board. You will find that the cork is resistant to heat too. You can create a grid on the cork board by taping white paper on top of the cork and adding the grid lines with a marking pen. When the paper gets tattered, just replace it.


It’s best to have an ironing surface to press seams on, but if you have to, you can just put several towels on top of your table. Using your cork mat will work too. An ironing board isn’t idea for pressing seams as it’s not usually sturdy enough and in most cases, it’s simply too narrow. When you have to put a lot of pressure on the iron, you may find your ironing board bending or falling over.

It’s very important to get a chair that you are comfortable in. Be sure that it rolls and swivels. It should have support for your back as you may spend long hours sitting and sewing in it. It must be at a height that your feet comfortably reach the ground as you will have to use the pedal of your sewing machine.


The flooring of your room is left to your discretion but there are pros and cons to both hard floors and carpeted floors. It’s important to be able to see pins when they drop and to be able to pick them all up. You can actually buy a magnetic pin holder to pick up any strays.

If you have a hard floor, it could cause the foot pedal of your sewing machine to move around. You can always glue a small piece of rubber shelf paper on the bottom of the pedal. A carpeted floor is more comfortable especially if you have stand for long periods.

If you have children or pets, having a door on a room that’s dedicated to your sewing will keep little ones and pets out. Sewing rooms can be quite dangerous and just click here to read the post I just wrote concerning the safety of your sewing room. If you have pets, you don’t want all their fur and dander on your clean fabric.

You can keep a PC or a small TV and DVD player in your room so that you can listen to podcasts or music while you work. A small window can let the sun shine in and make your room brighter and happier. Be sure that you have enough lighting in the room. You will be looking at small stitches, needles and pins and it’s important to be able to see. There are also heavy duty and large magnifying glasses that you can clip onto your table or sewing machine for those hard to see patterns and needle eyes. You also want to be able to see the correct color. If the room is too dark, you could mistake dark blue for black and use the wrong color thread.

You can customize your room and turn it into a fun and relaxing experience so that you look forward to sewing. If you have a business or take orders for alterations, you want to be as organized and as efficient as you can. Turn your sewing room into a space where you can retreat from the worries of the day and enjoy yourself. Setting up a sewing area will evolve and change over time as your needs change. The most important thing is to make it YOUR space!

Check out this video, where Linda Goodall shares some of her favorite tips to create a space this is functional and comfortable. She shows that you don’t need a huge space and how important the right light is. She also shows some of her favorite accessories that help her to be a better seamstress.


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