A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Step into my cave

We are fortunate to have several "extra" rooms in our house. In addition to three bedrooms upstairs, there is a main-level bedroom and a sunroom as well as a family room and a living room. We also have a partially finished basement. So when we moved in, it was not immediately clear where to set up my sewing machines.

First I tried sharing the sunroom with the kids and their toys.  That was kind of a disaster (my husband says "I told you so!"). We considered setting me up in the spare bedroom, but it is right next to a full bath, whereas the basement does not have a bathroom.  I didn't want to make guests sleep in the (not very nicely finished) basement when there was a bedroom with attached bath on the main level, so even though our guest room is only used a few weeks a year, I moved into the basement.

I've been down here more than a year now, but I recently cleaned up and moved in some rugs, so I thought I would take photos.

The basement used to have a ceiling, but when we briefly thought we were going to turn it into a guest room, we tore out the ugly tile ceiling to put in recessed lighting and drywall. We then decided that we would like eventually to finish this part of the basement properly and expand the space into half of the storage room that is next to it.  So it didn't make sense to partially wire the basement.  For now I'll just live with the exposed ceiling beams (which aren't near as bad as the industrial fluorescent lighting!).

So, the sewing!  I have a long IKEA table that fits my sewing machine, serger and coverstitch. The drawers in the drawer unit, also IKEA, hold, from top to bottom: machine manuals and extra feet; sewing WIPs;  knitting WIPs and empty project bags; and elastic of all types.

To the right of the sewing table there is a sweater organizer hanging from the ceiling beam, which holds all the knit fabrics that I bought with myself in mind.  They tend to be larger quantities, so they take up a lot of room in the bins.  And this way (I hope) I will be inspired to start sewing for myself again more.

Above the sewing table hangs a shadow box containing bits and bobs from my Babushka's sewing stash.  She was a professional seamstress and made lots of things for me and my siblings when we were little.  I incorporated a lot of her notions into my stash, but chose a few things for the wall art.  I love this little bit of heritage hanging on the wall, and I look at it and think of her every time I am down here.

To the left of my sewing table is my dress form and a random built-in shelf and cabinet unit (the door to the left of the cabinet leads into a closet that contains all the stuff that won't fit into our kitchen cabinets).  The built-in cabinet holds interfacing, fusible web, my bolt of tulle and my roll of Aida cloth - things that are unwieldy and too messy to store in plain view. The binders on the bottom shelf hold my PDF patterns, and next to them are the sewing and knitting pattern books I own as well as my snap press and a bag holding the girls' embroidery projects that need to be finished and hung up. My paper patterns are on the top shelf, and the little bins hold notions. 

Along the back wall is a blue table that was my original sewing table when I first learned and had only one machine and no stash. It now holds piles of mending, a telephone and a small lamp that helps warm up the harsh lighting in the room. The bin underneath holds interlock knits.  

Next to this a large square wooden trunk that is the bane of my existence, and on top of the trunk are my bins of fabric.  

The table on the right wall is our old IKEA dining table that is a perfect size for my 24x36" cutting mat.  Underneath is more fabric and my old sewing machine. I have a (badly installed by yours truly) hanging shelf above the cutting table to hold my cutting and marking supplies.  It helps keep my rotary cutter out of the reach of wayward children, and lessens the clutter on the table (that lump on one side of the table is a cut-and-pinned blanket for G that just needs serging up).

So the trunk (which you can see a bit in the below photo). Basically, it is too big (nearly 4 feet square!) to put in any other room in the house, but my husband loves it.  All it does down here is take up space.  It is not practical for fabric storage for a few reasons.  And if it wasn't so darn heavy I'd have hauled it out to the curb by now but I will need several people to get it out of here.  Then maybe I can get some nice shelving for at least some of the fabric in the bins.

Here's the view from the back of the room up the stairs.  The door on the left goes into the storage room.  The rugs previously lived in our family room because there was nowhere else to put them.  I actually used to hate them.  Both were my husband's - the larger one he bought on a trip to Istanbul before we met, and the smaller was a memento from his time working in Panjshir, Afghanistan, early in our marriage.  I was surprised, though, at how they transformed my space and now I quite like them.

So that's my space.  It is not Pinterest-able or particularly cute or clever, but it is big enough to hold all my stuff, and out-of-the-way enough that I can leave my messes when I have to.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!


  1. Seems much more tranquil than your shared space in Tbilisi. :) Happy Sewing.

  2. Hey, Lady, you have your own sewing space, and I am JEALOUS!! It's so nice and roomy! So much storage space! Drooool. And I like your little personal touches.

  3. What a great sewing room, with so much space and everything so well organised (as opposed to mine, which is disgracefully messy). I love that you have those little reminders of your grandmother on the wall.

  4. I think your sewing cave is perfect! It's close by to where the kids hang out and at the same time away from the eye. It is also a biggish space so you've got room to do whatever you want (maybe bust a move while cutting something at your cutting table) :))) My sewing room right now is tiny and always looks cluttered as I have lots of craft stuff.

  5. What a great space, I love the shadow box of sewing memories.
    xx N


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