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15 Sewing Room HACKS to have a more frictionless workspace! // Sewing room organization + tools

Hey friends! Today I want to chat a little bit about different sewing room hacks. So I'm going to give you a tour of my space and show you all of the little things that I felt a little bit genius about when I came up with them... These are sewing room setups, tools, and organization hacks that help me work with less friction, flow smoother, and save some time, space, and money in the process.

sewing room hacks


My studio is down in my basement, and it's not a Pinterest-worthy space, but it's a place where I truly love to be and to create and have just a lot of fun inside of it! I will be moving out of this space in December of 2023 and moving to Philadelphia. So I want to make sure I capture what this space looks like and all of the different problem-solving "hacks" that I've put into it. And then maybe in 2024, I can get on here and share an update about how I've set up the new space and what that next configuration looks like!


 

If we're just meeting...👋 hey, I'm Leah! And I have a handmade clothing business called Charlie Darwin Textiles, where I take an ecosystem approach to fashion. I make made-to-measure linen clothing, dyed with pigments from plants! I also supply plant-dyed linen fabric to other makers, and I even started selling sewing patterns of my clothing designs so that you can try making them too!


 

A Journey Through My Sewing Rooms 👣

Here's a little bit of context about the space that I have been sewing in. I started sewing clothing probably when I was 13yo in my parents' house, but I'm going to fast forward to about 2019. I was sewing more clothing, probably as gifts for friends, and actually started on the dining room table that was located within the living room. I moved in 2020 to a new apartment where I had this small office room that I shared with my boyfriend, and it was all of his guitars and his music, recording gear, and his entire wardrobe. And of course, he'd get pissed every time he'd go in there because he was always stepping on my pins!


So I quickly realized, Ooh, I don't love sharing my sewing space with people, and other people don't love sharing it with me either.


The next year I moved (yeah... I move a lot) into another apartment and this time I got the second bedroom to myself and used this as my sewing office (not shared with anyone! woo!) And then in 2022,

I moved my business here to Pittsburgh and there's a whole basement that I have all to myself for sewing and dyeing, which has been so, so nice.


The Dream Sewing Space 🌈

Ultimately, regardless of size, I feel like we all really want from our sewing space is a spot that feels frictionless, that you don't feel like you're like doinking into crap, tripping on stuff, and burning yourself on your iron because you're reaching for something else. Essentially, a place where you don't get just pissed off from being there :)


The dream is to feel fluid movement throughout the space. That's something I've been really trying to work on in each different sewing studio that I've moved myself into.


 

Here's what you came for!

✨15 SEWING ROOM ORGANIZATION HACKS:✨

Here are a few of the most unique tools or setups that have saved me time or space or most importantly, just felt better to use. I've wrapped these into a blog post and video so you can choose your own adventure below! (although I think the video tour is the primo experience!)


These sewing room organization tips make the workspace more efficient, organized, and enjoyable, helping you streamline your creative process.


1. Multi-Purpose Sewing/Cutting/Ironing Table

(that folds down!):

I absolutely love my Sullivan's Home Hobby Table from Joann Fabrics. I've paired it with the separate ironing pad that has a one-inch grid printed on it. The best part is that the table's foldable legs save me a lot of space when I need to restructure the room's layout for other projects. I can ALSO CUT out my fabric on this table because I use an electric rotary cutter with a guard... see hack #2!

sullivans home hobby table

2. Electric Rotary Cutter:

One of my favorite investments has been the Hercules electric rotary cutter. It makes cutting fabric a breeze (even around tight curves), and the best part is that it doesn't damage my cutting surface (which doubles as my ironing surface!)


hercules electric rotary cutter

3. Cord Management with Shower Curtain Hooks:

I've hung my iron and rotary cutter cords up above my table with a couple of shower curtain hooks that can slide side to side on a little string that runs across the length of my table. The cords run along the ceiling and plug into the nearest extension outlet. This simple trick keeps them out of the way while I work.


iron cords to ceiling

4. L-Shaped Sewing Desk:

My L-shaped sewing desk (thrifted), is a game-changer. It provides me with ample workspace to switch between multiple sewing machines with ease.

l-shaped sewing desk

5. Armless Chair for Mobility:

I use an armless chair (thrifted) to easily move between my sewing machines and cutting table, ensuring quick transitions and comfort.


armless chair

6. Hide Machine Cords Through Drilled Table Holes

To keep my sewing machine cords out of the way of my sewing surface, I drilled a large hole (big enough for the clunky cord end to fit through it) near the back of where my sewing machine sits on my desk, and fed it through.


table holes for cords

7. Foot Pedal Velcro for Stability:

To prevent my foot pedal from sliding on my carpet, I've added self-adhesive Velcro strips to the bottom of it. They work like a charm and help keep my foot pedal in one spot.


velcro on sewing machine pedal

8. Thread Spool Holder:

My thread spool holder from WAWAK is a fantastic solution for keeping my threads organized and preventing them from tangling.


thread spool holder

9. Pegboard Tool Organization:

I've set up a double-sided desk-attached pegboard in my sewing space as a way to keep my scissors, tapes, and other sewing tools neatly organized. This one is from IKEA, it's called the SKADIS with the desk connector attachment. I didn't like the cost of IKEA's hooks, so I got dishrack hooks on Amazon instead!


ikea skadis pegboard

10. Magnetic Pin Wristband:

I can't imagine sewing without my magnetic pin wristband. It's a comfortable way to keep my pins at hand, eliminating the need for a separate pin cushion. I have pretty sensitive skin, but I don't find that this one irritates my wrist at all.


magnetic wristband for pins

11. Drawer System for In-Progress Projects:

My organizational lifesaver is these storage drawers from Michaels. I use these to keep my ongoing projects organized and labeled for easy reference.


plastic drawers

12. Accordion-Style File Folder for Sewing Patterns:

I've found that using an accordion-style file folder is an excellent way to store and organize my sewing patterns. With labeled sections, it keeps my patterns sorted and easily accessible. Plus, it's a space-efficient solution that helps me keep my pattern collection neat and tidy.


accordion file folder

13. Hanging Rack Area for Patterns:

To keep the sewing patterns that are currently in use more organized and in good condition, I've thrifted a hanging clothes rack that has hanging hampers below, which are perfect for neatly storing my fabric scraps!


hanging rack for sewing

14. Labeling Sewing Machine Parts:

Adding labels to my serger, has made referencing specific components way easier if I'm ever changing a setting to try out a new function.


labeled serger

15. Hanging Up Rulers:

I've kept my rulers within easy reach by hanging them on the wall with a simple nail. No more searching for misplaced rulers during cutting tasks.


hanging rulers

On being proud of your space...

It's been so fun to share these tips with you! I’ve always been quite nervous to share images of my sewing space with people out of fear of being exposed that I am not some high-end upscale production space that one might imagine a professional design studio looks like— but this is the real deal for me! So, if you were wondering what an independent designer’s sewing studio looks like inside, you now know that some professional sewing studios look like a finished basement with lots of projects going on and that’s cool too.

There are messes and fun and problem-solving, and this is my favorite place to do all that and be all that :)

Perhaps you have a space like that too- a spot where you bring things to life and have fun… no matter how big, small, or ugly!


Leah Widdicombe of Charlie Darwin Textiles

Want to see what cool things I've made in this sewing studio?

Check out CharlieDarwinTextiles.com, where you’ll find plant-dyed linen clothing, plant-dyed fabrics, and deluxe digital sewing patterns to help you...

🪡up your sewing game,

📐get a better fit,

and 🦄 have fun in the process!


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