My Studio Tour


Today is a day of new beginnings around here. My youngest started kindergarten this morning (all-day school for the first time!), my older daughter started second grade, and my husband is starting a new job today, after a bit of time off. It’s been an emotional day already, and it’s only 9 a.m.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said a part of me hasn’t looked forward to this day for years. All that time to myself! The quiet! Finally, I can have my coffee and sew in peace! But then I walked the girls to the bus stop this morning, and the bus pulled up, and on they got, and they waved goodbye to me through the windows, and I waved and blew them kisses, and the bus pulled away, and I watched it until it turned the corner, and I walked back into the house, and … it was quiet, all right. Just me and the dog. And my entirely-too-peaceful coffee.

But you know what? I have my sewing. And I have all of you. And I get to turn over my own new leaf today. My new studio is finished! I’m sewing in it for the first time today, and I can’t wait to show it to you guys!

So, as a reminder, this is supposed to be our formal living room, but we’ve never used it that way. It served for many years as the girls’ playroom, but we recently moved the girls’ toys down to the basement and I took over. You can read all the details—and see some “before” pictures—in my first post about the new studio, right here.

The cutting tables are from Improvements and the stools are from Amazon (click here). The stools are easily one of my favorite things in this space. The surface of the wooden seats is a little rough and could use some sanding, but other than that I have zero complaints. The color of the wood is much darker than it appears in the Amazon listing, but I like them even better that way!

The Improvements cutting tables were such a bargain, I actually purchased two of them and placed them end-to-end, for loads of extra space to spread out fabric and projects. These tables are not fun to put together, and the finish on the corner of one of mine was dinged up pretty badly (I was able to mostly hide that with my end-to-end configuration). But they seem very sturdy (once I managed to put them together correctly), so overall I’m pleased. I was even able to turn two of the bookcases around and install them facing in the opposite direction, so that when the tables are placed end-to-end, I have hidden storage underneath. Love it!

And yes, there’s my Ikea Knodd aqua trash bin. It got lots of love on Instagram last week. : ) I’ll be throwing my scraps in there for sorting later.

The shelves at one end of the tables are for scrap storage. Eventually I’m planning to make some storage cubes that fit better in the cubbies, from this tutorial by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.

And the WIP storage area is at the other end. Look, I have room for more WIPs! : ) Gonna have to work on that.

On top of the table: Cutters, rulers, and marking tools galore.

Here’s my machine, sitting pretty in the center of it all. I have the Arrow Gidget II sewing table with a custom plexiglass insert. The table is just okay—it doesn’t seem as steady as the drop-in table I had for my previous machine (which sadly only fit that machine). And I wish the Gidget didn’t position my machine in the dead-center of the table. A little more table space to the left of the machine would be perfect. The mini quilt above the machine was made for me by Kaelin of The Plaid Scottie!

Above my machine is a magnetic knife rack for scissors and other tools, plus storage components, all from Ikea’s Fintorp system.

Unfortunately, there are very few drawers in this studio, but I remedied that with this aqua (of course!) Raskog kitchen cart from Ikea. I can pull it up next to my sewing machine if needed, or it can be pushed out of the way underneath the cutting tables. And look: Mason jars of Aurifil! That’s what happiness is made of. : )

The bookcases are (yep, you guessed it) Ikea. I wanted something inexpensive and relatively shallow. I searched high and low and couldn’t find anything better for my purposes than Ikea’s Billy bookcases, which are just 11″ deep, only $60 (in white), and well-made for the price. I bought two of these that are entirely dedicated to fabric.

I have far too much green and blue fabric. Please make a citizen’s arrest if I buy more anytime soon.

Here’s my little bookcase full of quilting books and magazines. This is the one piece of furniture I had from before. : )

Up above, more Fintorp storage, for my color cards. And my handy Kona swatches, a gift from a guild friend, are dangling from the hook.

One of my favorite things about this room is that it opens right up to our screened-in porch! We can’t use this porch for very many months up here in Wisconsin, but I plan to have these doors open as much as possible until it gets cold.

Next to the porch doors is another Billy bookcase, this one dedicated to my inventory of printed patterns. I can’t tell you how happy I am that these are no longer in a jumble of boxes all over the floor. But two or three more patterns and I’ll be out of space again! The pillow on top of the bookcase was made by my friend Anne Marie of Gen X Quilters.

And of course, here’s my design wall. This part’s a little janky, I admit. It’s just a piece of batting nailed onto the wall. With chunks cut out at the top so as not to block the clean air returns, per my husband’s instructions. : ) But it does the job. By the way, that reindeer up there is part of my Nordic-inspired Christmas quilt pattern, coming soon. (And no, I didn’t paint the doors yet. But deadlines are looming, so I had to get this studio functional and get moved in. Those doors will get done eventually. I hope.)

My desk area is over here. The desk was another bargain Amazon purchase. (ETA: Well, at least it WAS a bargain Amazon purchase, at only $99 – the price has jumped up to $210 since last night! Is that because I linked to it? Curious.)

Here it is from another angle. I adore the combination of the yellow lamp, aqua file cabinet, and beautiful mini quilt made by Jessica of SewCraftyJess. The file cabinet is from CB2 and the lamp is from West Elm.

Last but not least: I bought this gorgeous rustic ladder on Etsy for displaying a few of my quilts. That same Etsy shop has a wider ladder that was a little more expensive, and I wish now I would have gotten the wider one—this is just a bit skinny for quilt hanging. Still, it’s darn cute, and I love having some of my Vintage Quilt Revival quilts displayed in a way I think they were meant to be!

I feel so lucky—blessed, actually—to be able to spend my time while the girls are away at school doing something I love so much, here in this beautiful space. This is 100 percent my dream space and my happy place, and I can’t believe it’s mine! But it goes further than that. I guess I’m not one to sit still for very long (or possibly ever). So without this hobby and this blog—and all of you who read it and cheer me on—I think I would be a mess this morning. Directionless. But instead, I have a job that I created for myself that is creative and fulfilling and as flexible as I want it to be. Not many people are can say all of that. I guess that’s the real blessing—this room is just the icing on the cake.

P.S. You can hop over to my “Sewing Spaces” Pinterest board to see pins that served as my inspiration for this room. 

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  1. diane
    diane says:

    I hope the girls had a great first day of school. Your studio space is just beautiful. You've done a gorgeous job planning and arranging all your pretties.

  2. Shirley
    Shirley says:

    Your room is so functional and beautiful at the same time. I love that you pointed out gifts from friends because that is such a big part of this wonderful quilting and sewing community!

  3. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    Oh my goodness! What a gorgeous sewing room! If I had a space like that to sew in a team of wild horses wouldn't be able to drag me out of it. lol
    Seriously…..it is a beautiful space. And all children grow up and go off to school. You will get used to the quiet coffee time. 😉

  4. Lubna Omar
    Lubna Omar says:

    Love it! It looks like the perfect sewing studio. Love how everything is organized by color and the old-fashioned vibe of the French doors. And the fact that it opens to your on-screen porch – what a dream!

    One day is all I'm thinking. I'd love to have a sewing design similar to this, thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

    Lubna | http://www.ellevox.com

  5. Susan Williams
    Susan Williams says:

    Lee, thank you thank you for sharing your beautiful space and for including the many organizational ideas and even the sources. It is absolutely stunning! This is my first visit but I am now hooked and will be back frequently. Again, thank you so much.

  6. QuiltCandy
    QuiltCandy says:

    Oh wow this sewing space is every quilter's dream! You are so lucky and I'm sure your creativity will flow even more readily now you have a perfect space to call your own.

  7. Sonia
    Sonia says:

    What a lovely room, what a fantastic space to sew and create in!!! I just saw my youngest off today – like you I've been looking forward to some peace and sewing time but am not quite sure how I feel about it yet! Hope the kids & hubby all had a good first day! x

  8. pandchintz
    pandchintz says:

    This looks like THE Best Sewing Place Ever!! I wish you many happy hours of creating and enjoyment in it. The porch area looks like a lovely spot to do some hand stitching in. Just beautiful.

  9. FlourishingPalms
    FlourishingPalms says:

    Your room looks lovely, Lee. A great place for inspiration and to just do. Your design wall… I'd recommend getting two sheets of Owens-Corning or Dow (pink or blue) insulation, duct taping them together, and wrapping them with online-purchased wide white flannel (duct tape the flannel to the back of the insulation). Though I thought it would be enough to have a design wall of just flannel, with the "sticky" for holding blocks, I didn't know how handy it would be to be able to pin into a heavy finished quilt (to take a picture), a pattern, whatever. My design wall is 8' X 8' and I fill it up all the time! You deserve one that big too. Oh, and I even cut out a hole for the electrical outlet, so you could do the same for your fresh air return.

  10. Lindsay Conner
    Lindsay Conner says:

    I absolutely love this! I'm sewing in a basement of our rental house, and I know it's not our permanent space, but I know I can do some things to spiff it up! Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

  11. Laura
    Laura says:

    I love everything about your space! I just emailed the link to this post to my boyfriend, as we're in the midst of redoing his office to become an office/sewing studio and we have been struggling with storage ideas!

  12. Helen in the UK
    Helen in the UK says:

    Thanks for sharing how you've created your wonderful sewing space. We've just moved into a new house and I have my own new space to design. Mine isn't as spacious as yours, but I'm thrilled to have it and have picked up some ideas for storage and design 🙂

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