Planning a new sewing space

Morning, morning monchichi’s! You’re so cute and cuddly!!

What a weekend. Was it a weekend for you wild plush monkeys as well? Here in Minneapolis U2 was in town, where they played a giant outdoor show in the rain, establishing their rock-star coolness for 60,000 fans. I was not one of them – neither at the show, nor, truth be told, a fan. Although I do appreciate that watching Bono sing that Sunday song in a deluge was probably a defining moment for some people. Also on Saturday there was a Minneapolis fashion blogger meet up – of which I WAS an attendee!! It was super fun to meet 20 other bloggers (all so well dressed! The shoes, monchichis, the shoes!) Lori, our host was gracious and lovely – and has a BARN IN HER BACKYARD! I want  barn in MY backyard! And then on SUNDAY, the warrior dash was in town – Mr. Bug ran it. I was nervous that he’d break a leg in the mud. Lucy and I didn’t go to watch, but he ran three miles through rusted out cars, mud, hurricanes and fires and placed 15th out of, like, 30 million people! I’m so proud of him. He’s covered with rope burns and various other abrasions.  When he got home from the dash we packed up and headed out to Ikea because, guess what?? I’m moving on down into the basement – at least my sewing stuff is moving. Behold the future home of snugbug sewing central…

All y’all are swooning from the jealousy, aren’t you?? (seriously, I wish there was a sarcasm font!)

So, ‘long-time’ readers may remember that it was just last September (I think) that Mr. Bug and I set up a sewing space in our guest room for me. Prior to that, it was sewing machine on the kitchen table, ironing board in the living room, thread, pins and fabric everywhere. The guest room sewing space has been nice, but frankly, I’ve outgrown it! I think the proverbial straw was getting the serger. My current sewing desk is wonderful, but it’s not large enough to hold the serger AND the sewing machine, and it’s starting to drive me nuts swapping them out constantly. Also, I continue to have sewing stuff spread throughout the house. Currently, the china hutch in the bedroom is packed with notions and fabric, I have a cutting station for quilt pieces hanging out on the kitchen table, most of my fabric and pattern stash is in basement and the guest bedroom is not recognizable as a guest room, as the bed is piled with material!

We have a very small unfinished basement and are getting quotes from a few contractors on completely finishing the space, but Mr. Bug and I are in agreement that doing the whole project at once is more than we’re comfortable with – that’s lots of money out the door! But we’d like the guest room back NOW, and I’d really like all my sewing stuff in one space, so after some compromise and a bit of plan-making we’ve decided to just set up shop in the basement. My main concern is that the basement is COLD, but we’re going to invest in a super-duper space heater (you know, the kind that look like real, live radiators??) that should be enough to get me through the long, cold Minnesota winters. So I’m super excited, we’ve claimed the space, bought the furniture and are finishing up painting! One of the best parts about the intended space is that it gets an amazing amount of afternoon sun through the teeny window! All that light in the picture is from the outside!! Want to see my plan?? OK! {click to see it a bit bigger!}

Here it is! There’s lots of good stuff, but the two things I’m MOST excited about are the new 6’5″ long sewing table that will hold BOTH the serger and sewing machine so I can just slide back and forth and my new storage-laden cutting table! I’m copying this design almost exactly for the cutting table and think it’ll be awesome! A question for you wild jungle animals, though. The original poster of this idea seems to have ‘upholstered’ the melamine table top with a few layers of batting and fabric, which she then uses to cut AND press. I certainly have used a towel on the counter top as a make-shift ironing board in the past, but I’m not so sure about sustained use – do you think it’ll warp the melamine over time?? Also, is anyone else a rotary cutter fan and if so, what are your thoughts on setting the mat over layers of batting (probably 1 to 4 layers, not super squishy.) I laid a quilt on the kitchen table with my mat over the top of it to test and it seemed fine, but it just seems…. weird. I may leave it as melamine, but it would be such a space saver to have it double as a pressing table!
Since I’m I’m an OCD planner, I OF COURSE have 3D planning software! Here’s some ‘before’ photos and ‘after’ renderings of the space… the angles are strange, I wasn’t very thoughtful when I took the before photos.
The cooky china hutch against the far wall is my grandmother’s secretary that’s currently dark green and chippy. I’ll be scraping a bit and giving it a coat of white paint. Also, the final space won’t have this interrogation room lighting scheme – it’s HARD to get a decent light level for these renderings – they get washed out super easy!!
In real life, that sad looking bookcase against the wall on the right will be the good ‘ole Ikea Expedite - that just seems MADE for fabric stashes, doesn’t it??
After our shopping trip yesterday we have lots of furniture to put together! We came home with one 58″ x 58″ Expedite bookcase, 3 Closetmaid cube units, two Antonious basket units with desktops and one 79″ long Vika table. In addition to all that assembly we have one small part of the wall left to paint (two more coats) and Mr. Bug really wants to paint the floor (two coats.) I’ll be keeping my eye out for one giant floor rug. The main space (where everything but the cutting table is) is 8 feet by 11 feet, so I’d love a rug that’s at least 6′ x 9′ ! I also have the secretary to paint, as well as a childhood dollhouse which will go into service as additional shelving and one little bookcase which will go into the guest room as the bedside stand to replace the small Expedite bookcase that will come down to the sewing room. Last night we made a bit of progress – we cleared out the space and Mr. Bug got coat #1 on the small part of the wall he hadn’t gotten to painting. And oh! I did a fun little side project!
This area used to be tool central – this space is the where my new sewing table will go…
I’m going to re-use the pegboard in the new space! I’m so excited! We cleared off the board and put all the tools in their new home (we got a toolbox for them) and I brought the board outside for the spray paint treatment. I two partial cans of flat white – it wasn’t quite enough so I’ll have to recoat once I get more supplies. It has a camoflauge feel right now!
So there’s my new project! Luckily, I’m working in the shop a lot this week, so you’ll still see some sewing posts, but until everything is in its new home this is project #1 – I HATE having things half done!
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52 Comments
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  • Patty The Snug Bug
    July 25, 2011

    OK – you guys are all so SMART!! About this cutting/pressing board… here’s what I’m thinking…

    1) leave the table top melamine for cutting
    2) make upholstered boards that are removable for pressing
    3) make from masonite (so it’s light), cork (to stick pins in, wool (I’m thinking wool quilt batting – thoughts?) and a cover of cotton (either duck or ticking)

    some things I’m still puzzling out. (1) how to affix the covering? Bean girl uses duct tape and I’m WAY too anal retentive for that, although it’s the best solution, I think! I was thinking of elastic (like an ironing board cover, sort of) but that seems like it get too loose and as Bean girl points out, you want it to lie flat. Any other ideas? Just stapling COULD work, but wouldn’t the staples scratch up the surface of the cutting table? (2) on that note, I think there needs to be some way to keep the ironing boards from sliding around on the melamine. Thoughts? I was thinking of something along what you stick in showers to not slip or the stuff for the feet of footed pj’s…. but neither seems like it would be really effective…
    Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..{project}My Profile

    • Debra
      July 25, 2011

      I stapled batting and fabric to the plywood. I chose plywood because of low cost and covered the stapled areas with duct tape. I used 1/2″ plywood. Gluing fabric swatches (Ultrasuede or corduroy pieces) to the stapled areas would be an option. I’ve used several fabric glues with success if duct tape is not desirable.

    • Debra
      July 25, 2011

      What do you think about using Insul-Brite the ironing surface vs. cotton quilt batting?

      • Patty The Snug Bug
        July 26, 2011

        Yes! I mentioned (below) the heat proof batting in response to Taran – it’s insul-brite that I was talking about! I wonder if there’s a preference wool batting versus insul-brite in terms of how it reacts to steam…
        Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..A mixed Macaron. Fitting, part 1.My Profile

    • Tanit-Isis
      July 26, 2011

      How about staple the surface fabric, then adhere felt or something to the bottom?
      Tanit-Isis recently posted..Slow and steady…My Profile

  • K-Line
    July 25, 2011

    Patty: This is awesome. And your basement, pre reno, is so much nicer than mine, it’s scary. More to the point, my basement is really scary :-)

    I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. I know it’s going to be fantastic.
    K-Line recently posted..New Fave DrinkMy Profile

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      my husband is an accountant and brings that attention to detail to home decor. You could probably eat off our garage floor if you would like. I am NOT part of this – it’s his thing! He cleans the bathroom too!

      I can’t wait to get it DONE!! Yay!
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..{project}My Profile

  • Nicole
    July 25, 2011

    What a wonderful space! I had to chime in about the ironing/cutting board. At school we have small (maybe 18×24″) ironing boards that we use on the counters. They are 1/2-3/4″ plywood covered with two layers of wool, then cotton fabric. Stapled on like as though it was upholstered. They re-cover them every few years, but they’ve been using this concept for decades.

    I was inspired to make something similar for myself. I have a 2′x4′ rolling baker’s rack that I first made a wooden cover for, so I can use that solid surface for something, and to create the offset I needed (I’m going to have to make a blog post with pictures) for my upholstered ironing board top (3/4″ plywood, cork board to make it pin-able, old army blanket for steam, then cotton cover). I can out a 24×36″ cutting mat on top and cut (though I usually just use the other table) AND I can iron 44″ wide fabric in 2′ swaths.

    Hope that gives you some ideas!

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      That is SUPER clever to add the cork! awesome! It’s nice to hear others are doing it…
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..{project}My Profile

  • Amy
    July 25, 2011

    A secret club house for sewing! My favorite part is the large cutting table with storage underneath it. The only space I have large enough to cut fabric is the floor…
    Amy recently posted..An Angelic GownMy Profile

  • Caroline
    July 25, 2011

    Just an idea about the floor : my in-laws have put those giants foam puzzle pieces on the floor. Its realy good for insulation and springy. Moreover, needles wont be buried into like with carpet. Its not too expensive. Like this :
    http://www.greatmats.com/products/foamspecial.php

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      That’s a great idea! The colors sort of bum me out, though – I don’t want primaries, and all the ‘neutrals’ will show off Lucy’s fur like CRAZY!! I sent the link to Mr. Bug to see what he thinks…
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..{project}My Profile

      • Debra
        July 25, 2011

        Our foam puzzle flooring is primary on one side and gray on the reverse. I found some foam puzzle flooring in gray on both sides at Sears.com. I was to be for my husband’s workshop…oh well. We purchased the primary color puzzle flooring at Sam’s Club.

  • Tanit-Isis
    July 25, 2011

    Oooh, this looks exciting! My sewing room is now in the basement, and yes, the heater is a must (even in the summer… is that bad of me?), but it is nice to have everything together and out of the rest of the house.

    Beangirl (link on my blog if you’re not a reader) did a post a while back about covering pressing/cutting boards for on top of her tables, you could check it out.
    Tanit-Isis recently posted..Slow and steady…My Profile

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      oooooo… I’ll go check that out! Useful info AND I bet I’ll be giggling. She always makes me giggle!

      I just remembered that we sell some heatproof batting in the shop, that might be part of my answer!
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  • Jill
    July 25, 2011

    SO nice to meet you on Saturday! Good luck with your new sewing space – goodness, are you ambitious!

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      Yay! I had such fun chatting with you! Hope to see you soon!

      And not ambitious – driven crazy by the amount of clutter in our teeny ranch house!
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  • Laura
    July 25, 2011

    I love the plans for the new studio. I have a pegboard hanging above my sewing desk. It is the most wonderful thing ever! It is 4′x4′ and I only wish I could have gone with the whole 4′x8′ (we cut it in half and the other piece went to the garage) because I have so much that I could put up there. Alas, we can’t take up that much wall space. It is definitely a great way to store things!
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  • Liz
    July 25, 2011

    It looks great patty! Can’t wait to see it all finished.

    I’m not sure if I’d press anything over a melamine surface though. I heard that when melamine gets too hot it releases a toxic gas…
    Liz recently posted..Crepe StabilizationMy Profile

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      That makes sense – I have a melamine coffee cup with a silon cover and I’m not suppposed to microwave it! I’d love to save space, but I think ironing boards are made the way they are (metal with vent holes) for a reason!!
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..Planning a new sewing spaceMy Profile

  • Claire (aka Seemane)
    July 25, 2011

    Loving the new plans Patty!
    I agree with Sarahjane above re: pressing – make yourself a seperate board, or maybe find a spot to have an ironing board attached to the wall that you can fold up/down when not in use :)
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    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      I can just put my ironing board in there – there’s lots of room! I’m trying to avoid attaching anything to the wall – it’s so hard with concrete block! Mr. Bug is game, but REALLY hates doing that!
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      • Debra
        July 25, 2011

        There’s always Liquid Nails to adhere something to the concrete….it’s permanent!

        • Patty The Snug Bug
          July 26, 2011

          They’re THAT permanent? We’re still planning on remodeling the whole basement -just not in the next two months – but that’s good to know, too. We have a garage with concrete block that we want to hang stuff up in??!!
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          • Debra
            July 26, 2011

            Most any construction adhesive, like Liquid Nails, is permanent, to a point. It comes in a big tube, like caulk, and apply it the same way with a caulk gun. Over time, it is possible to chisel it off-eventually. It’s tough stuff. Many bathroom mirrors-the large wall size mirrors are attached to walls using construction adhesive. Will you be finishing the ceiling or leaving the floor joists exposed?

  • sarajane
    July 25, 2011

    Oooh! Lovely new space!
    My thought on the pressing surface is to have a separate piece of (thinner) plywood, cut to size and padded to fit on top of the table (maybe just half, so you don’t have to be Superwoman to lift it on and off). You can take it off for cutting and other projects and then just set it back on top when you are sewing and pressing?

  • Debra
    July 25, 2011

    Have you tried the new ‘gel’ floor mats? They are perfect for standing on hard surfaces. I have one in front of my long arm quilting machine in the basement. They are pricey but worth it when standing on concrete for any length of time. Also, I do not like carpeting in my sewing rooms. No matter the pile type of carpeting, pins find their way down into the pile. Vacuuming them up is hard on vacuum belts, too. I’ve waved a magnet over the carpeting to scoop up pins before I vacuumed. I opted for a cork floor as it’s soft and pins don’t get imbedded in it like they can in plush textures. Laminate is also a good option for basement flooring.

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      I’m not too concerned about the comfort – it’s the warmth factor that I’m worried about!! It’s COLD down there in the winter, and I don’t like sewing with shoes on!! I’ve heard of those gel mats, but I’m sure they’re way more than we’d want to invest in – I think we will be finishing the basement eventually and we’ll be using floating laminate fake-hardwood then…. Until then I just want my feet to not freeze off!! Are gel mats warm at all?

      On a separate note – we have an el’cheapo vacuum – the stick kind – that uses a filter like a dustbuster and does not have a belt- it’s GREAT for sucking up sewing debris as it just sucks straight into the dirt chamber that you then empty right into the garbage – no bags, belts, brushes, etc. that get messed up by yards of thread, fabric scraps and pins!
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..Planning a new sewing spaceMy Profile

      • Debra
        July 25, 2011

        Mats are better than bare concrete. It all depends on the covering of the mat..some are vinyl and some have covering similar to commercial carpet. Not to sway your decision, but we do have laminate in our entryway. It is installed on sub-floor, not concrete, and I can tell you it is cold in the winter. I’m in mid MO, so we have winter weather but not as long as places north of us. It could be the brand used by the builder that makes ours cold; it’s pretty but not barefoot friendly in the winter. Have you seen the foam exercise mats that pop together in puzzle piece form? They do give some insulation for your feet from cold and hardness, are inexpensive, can be temporary, and are better than walking on concrete.

        • Patty The Snug Bug
          July 26, 2011

          the laminate won’t go in ’till the basement is very insulated and cozy, so it shouldn’t be worse than the other parts of our house (which, mid january are NOT barefoot friendly – specially the slate!!) I really like the puzzle piece idea. I generally live in uggs in the winter, but they are SO hard to sew in!!
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          • Debra
            July 26, 2011

            Yaowza! Those would be hard to sew while wearing!

  • Kathryn
    July 25, 2011

    I just started reading your blog a couple of months ago and I really enjoy it. Something must be in the air because my husband and I spent Sat morning at Ikea buying some the very same pieces for my new craft room. It’s fun to see how you’re using them. I got the Vika Amon for my sewing table too for the very same reason as I wanted the sewing machine and serger side by side. Good luck with your redesign!

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      ooooo!! Did you get any of the other same stuff?? Fun! Thank goodness for Ikea, right??
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..Planning a new sewing spaceMy Profile

      • Kathryn
        July 29, 2011

        Yes, thank goodness for Ikea! I got two of the Vika Amon tables, one for sewing with a drawer unit http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79885498 and the other Vika table top with adjustable legs for the cutting table. I also picked up a Closetmaid cube mate from Target that I’m just using as a bookcase. I still have some organizing to do, but it feels so great to have things somewhat all together and organized. I had my stuff all over the house and filled up the dining room table before. Good luck with yours – I’m sure it will be fabulous!

  • Debra
    July 25, 2011

    Awesome design! In my old sewing room, I used two Elfa wire rack drawer units, side by side, for storage, cutting, and pressing. The shelf units are 48 in high. I added a piece of padded plywood on top/covered with cotton batting and muslin. The wire drawer sizes were variable so I choose the largest as bottom shelves for each rack and smaller wire shelves toward the top. I did add pieces of stencil plastic to the bottoms of the wire shelves where I needed to store items that fell through the wire. The 48″ system worked very well for me through the years as my spaces changed. It gave me lots of storage for my most used items and immediate projects. I had a separate area for rotary cutting that was a bit lower, as I’m only 5’5″ in height. I also used open shelving to store my notions. All my notions are in plastic shoe boxes and labeled with their contents. I also purchased large divided Tupperware containers at garage sales to house my scissors, tracing wheel, awl, snap pliers, point turners; you know; all those tools that need to be somewhere and don’t have a way to hang them on a peg board. It was divine providence that these used containers fit very well into my smallest wire drawers. I had a small free arm table for my sewing machine and my husband built a shelf attached to the wall for my serger. Having my sewing machine and serger on the same table didn’t work out well for me at that time, and space wouldn’t allow for a 6 ft table. I chose an arrangement in a “U” shape, where stations were at 9, 12, and 3 o’clock in a corner of our basement. My sewing machine in the center, serger to the right and pressing to the left. To answer your question about rotary cutting, IMHO, rotary mats need to be on a firm base without padding to make accurate cuts. If padding is a must, I would not use more than one layer of batting under a rotary mat. The more padding, the softer the surface, the less precise the cuts because the fabric shifts towards the cutter when pressure is applied. You have a wonderful plan. Good luck on getting set up in your new sewing world.

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      That’s what I was thinking re. cutting on a padded surface – i think that the original maker of this cutting table must be more of a scissors user!!

      Did you press on the board with batting? Did it cause you any trouble?
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..Planning a new sewing spaceMy Profile

      • Debra
        July 25, 2011

        Patty,

        I did press on the board with the batting; fused interfacing and pressed pattern pieces, too.

        I did put measurements on my muslin covering with a fine tip black Sharpie pen and when it got yucky from the fusibles or burned from the iron (oops!)…It was just muslin so I had no hesitation to rip it off and replace it with new muslin, transferring the measurements.

        I belong to a quilt guild and several of us have portable ironing surfaces made of plywood, batting, and pretty quilting fabric. These little boards vary in sizes, 18 x 24, 20 x 20, or sized to fit the owner’s sewing luggage. A few of the members have modified their ironing boards by making it larger with a rectangle of plywood, 1″ x 1″ stops that fit around the board. The plywood fits right on top of their ironing boards, also covered in batting and pretty fabrics. All depends on the amount of space available.

  • Laura
    July 25, 2011

    What’s your rug budget? I have a line on a huge wool Calvin Klein roomsize that is totally you and deep orange. It’s super dense pile, so it’d be great for deflecting pins and thread..

    I wonder if padding under a cutting pad might keep one from getting tendonitis from repetitive rotary cutting as well? Can we have cutting parties at your house if I bring the wine?
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    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 25, 2011

      I think orange might be too much – I like WEARING orange, but I like my surroundings to be more neutral!! Well, except for accessories, but a rug is more like a floor finish!!

      Cutting parties it is, but I’m a bit scared of wine + wheel-shaped razor on a stick…
      Patty The Snug Bug recently posted..Planning a new sewing spaceMy Profile

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