My garden studio - By Design Bucks
Before I had my studio, I used a room in the house that was multi-purpose and I therefore had to be thoughtful about my sewing storage. Designing the studio was a chance to create a specific place for everything, so I thought I would share my sewing room organisation ideas, from the design to storage solutions.
My experience over the years means I understand utilising both a small, shared space and creating a purpose built, separate studio, so I hope some of these ideas will be useful, or at least spark some inspiration for your sewing space.
My business was interior design focussed before I got my first sewing machine, so I'm more design-led than craft-led. I noticed that the majority of sewing room organisation blog posts & pins were more craft-led, having lots of colour and being quite busy spaces, which is not to my personal taste.
My priority is always to create an interior that is reasonably calm and neutral, with features (furniture, storage, lighting & decor) to keep the space interesting and practical too.
When planning a space, a bit of forethought can help it look cohesive and well thought out. Having a style plan can be as simple as having a mood, colour(s), or story in mind when making planning and purchasing decisions.
My style plan for the studio (which is in the garden) was to reflect the nature around it, but with a bit of an edge, so British country garden meets botanical jungle sort of idea. This is enough to help focus the mind when it comes to making choices of furniture or décor, even if it’s just in a small corner of an existing room.
The studio decor plan was to have a calm and neutral base, with nods towards the garden surrounding it & a few botanical jungle elements.
Here are my top ten design and storage solutions for sewing room organisation:
1) Sewing Table.
The first thing I purchased after properly falling in love with sewing was a sewing table. There weren't that many options available that were specific sewing tables, but luckily Ikea had the perfect solution for me.
This sewing table has 6 small drawers (3 on each side), plenty of surface space for sewing & cutting, and most significantly, can be folded into a very small console table size (by folding down both sides) - great for smaller or shared spaces.
I had this set up in a family room initially and could fold it almost entirely out of the way when necessary, so it really worked well in that space. I now have it permanently fully open in the studio, so it still works for me and I’d highly recommend it as a very versatile piece.
I use the small but quite deep drawers for scissors, my labels, glues, zips & my sewing machine instructions, so everything is close to hand.
If you are utilising an existing table, perhaps you can invest in a comfortable chair or stool for when you are sewing, or source /make a cushion to make an existing chair more comfortable and to match your style. There is always something you can do to make the space feel more fit and comfortable for purpose.
Sewing table folded out in the Studio - By Design Bucks
Sewing Table Drawers for handy access to tools - By Design Bucks
2) Chests of drawers for materials.
I prefer to have my fabrics & leathers put away rather than on show, to protect them and to keep the look clutter-free.
I have an Ikea white Alex chest with shallow wide drawers for materials and leathers that I want to keep flat.
I then have a metal cabinet of drawers from Maison du Monde for other fabrics, mainly cotton, which can be folded and then easily ironed. I put a scrap of fabric on the front of each drawer (in the name card holder) to remind me which style of fabric is where.
Before I had these drawers, and the space for them, I used file boxes to put folded fabric in; so that's another option.
Metal chest of drawers for folded fabric stock - By Design Bucks
Inside my shallow, wide drawers for leathers and materials best kept flat - By Design Bucks
3) Picture shelves.
Picture shelves are slim and space saving and I use these for storing cutting mats and large rulers, since these don’t easily fit in drawers and it’s nice to be able to tuck them away when not in use.
Picture shelves look great displaying pictures and artefacts to add easy and changeable style to your space. They can also be used to display and store books, particularly useful for reference books you want to use often.
These are widely available to buy in different colours, materials and styles and are easy to wall-mount, making them a simple but effective choice.
Wall-mounted picture shelf used to store cutting mats and large rulers - By Design Bucks
4) Large lidded baskets.
I store my finished bags and accessories in lidded baskets for care and protection and also so they are all in one place. These were actually gift hampers from Fortnum & Maison, so they look good, have happy memories associated with them and I’m reusing something I already have, which is a sustainable choice.
Storage baskets of different styles and price-points are widely available if you don’t already have them.
I also use open baskets or bins for larger rolls of material that don’t fit into any of my other storage options.
Large lidded baskets keep my completed designs protected and in one place - By Design Bucks
Open baskets used for larger rolls of materials - By Design Bucks
5) Small desk top drawers.
I find these desk top, mini sets of drawers very appealing but they are so useful for stickers, stationery, metal bag clasps and tools for example, keeping table tops clutter-free.
This is a mesh black modern design, but vintage wooden ones are also pretty widely available if you wanted to go for a more traditional look.
Small table top drawers are useful for stationery, small tools etc - By Design Bucks
6) Small baskets.
I have a glass cabinet for sewing supplies in the studio, but if you’re tight on space, you can still incorporate small storage baskets onto a shelf in a shared room. I think having a place for everything is the key to making a space work best.
These small numbered baskets look good in any room and hold my off-cuts of materials used for smaller elements of a project. Small baskets like these are readily available from many sources, these canvas ones are from House Doctor. These can also be hung up.
Small baskets for fabric off-cuts or other items easily fit on shelves or in cabinets to help keep things organised - By Design Bucks
7) Hooks and hanging space.
Again, if space is tight or you want to have additional storage space, utilising wall hooks is a good idea. These can be well-chosen so they look attractive and add to the décor. I have this palm leaf hook just inside the studio door for my coat to keep it out of the way (a place for everything helps!) This one was purchased on a trip to the interior shop Packhouse in Guildford.
I also have my ‘wall of bags’, a wooden hanger with 7 peg hooks from H+M, where I hang my recent or current makes so they are out for inspiration and easily to hand.
Utilising wall hooks that complement your scheme or style helps to keep things out of the way and tidy - By Design Bucks
Hangers with peg hooks offer great additional storage and a chance to display your favourite things or recent designs - By Design Bucks
8) Handmade fabric pots & bags.
I made this fabric pot early in my sewing journey after I saw the idea on a course I attended. I put all thread and waste fabric offcuts in the pot and empty it when it’s full. This keeps your sewing table tidy of threads and saves constant trips to the bin. A time-saver as well as way to stay tidy as you go. It’s amazing how many cut thread ends I can accumulate in a project, so I use this all the time.
I also keep my needles, pins, sewing machine feet, seam ripper and so on in zipped bags I’ve made, so they are not just loose in a drawer – another tidy time-saver.
Fabric pots & zipped pouches help keep things tidy & easy to find - By Design Bucks
9) Small metal tins, dishes and magnetic pin dish.
I have a selection of metal tins to keep pins and clips in. I would also highly recommend a magnetic pin dish to keep your pins together (and an instant way to collect up any pins from the table top or floor!) I don’t love the tins on offer for sewing supplies since they are all quite colourful and not to my personal taste, but they are very helpful and I put them in my zipped bags out of the way when I’m finished with a make.
I also use attractive small dishes, trays and pots on my sewing table for cotton reels I’m currently using & my smaller scissors for example.
Perfect size little dish for keeping cotton reels from rolling away - By Design Bucks
Pots, jars & attractive trays in your colour scheme or style offer a perfect solution for keeping small items tidy and to hand - By Design Bucks
In planning your sewing space, big or small, purpose built or tucked in the corner of a shared room, lighting is worth considering specifically. Natural light is of course ideal, but practically speaking, additional lighting is likely to be necessary. I have two specific movable task lights above my sewing table and cutting table in the studio, these are probably the most important lights for working purposes.
I also have ceiling spot lights when overall brightness is needed and a couple of lamps for ambient lighting, to create a cosy and attractive feel and to help zone the space. Zoning makes a room more interesting and creates defined spaces and lighting is an easy way to achieve this, even if the budget is tight.
Task lights where you need directional light are probably most important for when the natural light is not effective - By Design Bucks
I hope that you will find some of these ideas interesting in planning a sewing space. These can work in any size space and really help to keep everything tidy and attractive, as well as practical and user-friendly.
I started with a small basic sewing machine, working on the dining room table and then in a spare room also used as a family room. This is my accumulated experience of sewing room design after many years of building my business and my skills, from complete beginner status, so I hope there is something useful here, whatever your current situation.
About By Design
I’m Suzie Yeulett, the founder, designer and maker at By Design.
I design and make unique, bespoke handmade bags & accessories, as well as creating ‘Happiness Box’ gift sets of handmade products, both made by me and carefully curated. I am always creating new designs and up-levelling old ideas to produce something new.
My aim is to create interesting, timeless pieces that add interest, uniqueness and a touch of luxury to an outfit. I love to involve my clients in creating their perfect bag and always endeavour to package my products beautifully, so they are a special gift, whether for you or someone else. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further details.
By Design Bucks