Just before Christmas I began working on converting our living room and dining room area into a sewing studio. Our nest is empty and we just don’t need a formal sitting area. Our friends come by and we all hang out in the great room/kitchen area anyways so it makes sense to use the space for something practical. I had used it as an office before and the study was my sewing room but I don’t need that much space for using my computer, editing video etc. and am really keen to have a proper set up for my home based pattern making and sewing school business. The problem with the old space is that is was cramped and I could only have 1-2 students at a time. This space will allow me to comfortably hold classes of 6-8 participants, which is the maximum number I can give personalized attention to.
My biggest challenge is to get all this done on a pretty tight budget. I have just $1200 to spend on the whole room, and that isn’t much considering the size of the space. Wherever possible, I am up-cycling, reusing, and building/assembling the various furnishings and decor for the room. I want it to be pretty, comfortable, bright and welcoming but most of all, functional!
Here is how the room looks so far. I was pretty desperate to get on a flat surface with the Singer! That cardboard/painters tape job has got to go!
The room measures about 28' x 12'. Here are my first diagrams for the living room area makeover.
I made a list of all the functional spaces that I will need including storage and work areas. Because I do quilting, pattern making, embroidery, digitizing and sewing, most of the spaces will have to be multi-purpose. This is what I have identified so far! :))
Threads: embroidery, quilting and all purpose
Tools and Rulers
Paper and supplies
Quilt Frame storage
Work Areas to include:
Cutting table with mat
Embroidery machine station
Free Motion quilting table for use with frame
Serger and blind hem station
Men’s and women’s fitting areas
Waste and recycling
Quilting design wall
I have finished setting up the glass cases with my sewing and quilting fabrics, shown in photo 4. I plan to put a full length mirror behind the dress form for fitting. Still lots of planning, building, buying and work to be done!! The cutting table does yeoman service as pattern storage, pattern drafting, storage for tools etc.
I still need to do some work but I managed to put together the whole thing by using cabinets that I had purchased before for other things. It is made of an old 60″ bathroom vanity, two 24″ deep base cabinets and a couple of garage style cabinets that are 16″ deep by 24″ wide. I managed to pick those up at my local home improvement store for just $15 each on clearance. The total cost for the cutting table, including the mat and pressing surface, would be around $250 if I had to buy all the parts again so I am thrilled to have saved that much from my budget!
Here’s a shopping list to go by if you are interested.
Bathroom vanity – available from your local Restore or buy a damaged on from your local home improvement center. I paid $25 at Lowes for mine when we were thinking to redo the basement. We never wound up using it for that as it quickly became my sewing storage unit. The best $25 I have ever spent!
Garage cabinets. I bought these brand new at Lowes for $15 each. I used 2
1 sheet of MDF board cut to 37″ x 96″. I paid under $20
Instead of painting the board, I covered it with a piece of white muslin that I had lying around but a pint sized tin of white paint is under $10
The cutting mat is from Joann. I used my coupon off sale items (it took some patience and waiting for this) and paid under $30 for the Sew Essentials cutting mat. I don’t use the measurements on it, I use a ruler. On a mat this size, accurate grids are unlikely so I have never bothered to try.
The two 24″ cabinets were purchased new at our previous home and I forget how much we paid back then but we’ve hauled them around and they are still going. Check your local Restore for used ones. A can of paint can do wonders!
Lots of work still to be done!
Happy Sewing! Natalie