However, while I'm completely excited by the idea (to the point of not being able to sleep entirely well some nights!), I have occasionally come across people saying that they'd love to sew more, but they don't have anywhere to do it, so I feel enthusiastic to share how entirely possible it is to sew without the luxury of a dedicated sewing room. (Although I'm aware that if you live with someone, then you may need a ridiculously indulgent partner to sanction all that you're about to read…).
I should preface this by saying that my husband really dislikes mess and clutter and that I'm a surface neat freak (surface, because I'm far less fussy when it comes to the inside of cupboards!). Although small piles of clutter occasionally form on my desk, it would be illegal in both of our minds for us to go to bed in a room strewn with fabric, so I've tried to store things in a way that's relatively easy to pack up from - I think this is the only way a multi-purpose room could have worked for us long-term.
First, the fabric. My storage for this has changed frequently, but it currently lives in two plastic boxes on wheels beneath our bed. I have one box for quilting fabrics and another for dressmaking fabrics.
Quilting needs a large amount of floor space, so the bed is placed against a wall, beneath a window to maximise floor space. I quite like sleeping next to a wall (it's cosy and perhaps because at some level, I feel further away from any potential burglars!) and the window sill is fine for a glass of water and a book.
This is my version of a design wall. It causes problems when my husband needs to walk across it to get to his sports clothes (that seems to be the main thing he'd come in here for, other than actually going to bed!), but otherwise it's fairly effective. If I need to pack it away to get back out again another day, I just gather the pieces back up and label the different rows with pieces of paper.
My cutting mats and perspex grid rulers all live standing inside the wardrobe next to my husband's shirts and my Hasbeens.
Because my only real work space is the floor in this room, when I take my rotary cutters out, they come out with the plastic box, so that they're never left unprotected on the floor where they could cut my husband or children's feet.
In my desk drawers, I keep tiny boxes filled with sewing machine needles and feet. These are both old Liberty gift coin boxes.
Very occasionally, mid-project, I'll need to store something assembled in groups. In this case, under my desk seems like a good place…or in the throat of my sewing machine.
I'd say that the biggest problem of working in this way has been not having a cutting space. I find cutting out - whether it's dressmaking or quilting - takes hours and is often more time consuming than the actual sewing. For years I felt entirely happy spending hours sitting cross-legged on the floor, but since December, the moment I sit down in this way, my back is in pain and starts to complain. Due to the extent of my obsession, this doesn't actually stop me from doing it, it just isn't quite as enjoyable and involves the use of painkillers to facilitate it. My parents were actually going to have a bespoke cutting table made for my birthday which would flip down from the wall and fold back up again when not in use, which seems like a really good option for a multi-purpose room (they didn't do this in the end, as we decided to convert our loft shortly after they'd suggested it). I'd also considered one of those fold out wall-papering tables that people use at craft fairs, but you'd need somewhere more cavernous than our airing cupboard to store it.
I'm always really fascinated to see how other sewers set up their work spaces, so I hope you've enjoyed this post, despite the fact that it includes the inside of my wardrobe and airing cupboard! Our builders and carpenters arrive on Monday, so for the next few months, my sewing storage may be more about dust protection, but hopefully it will be worth it.