It started, as most projects do these days, with a Pinterest board. Or maybe it started even before that with this room layout tool, mentioned in an Offbeat Home post. Because what’s more fun than screwing around with make-believe room diagrams where you can rearrange things to your heart’s content?
Anyway, it all came down to feeling like my once-organized sewing room had become a crappy mess most of the time. It was hard to get at fabrics when they were all in plastic tubs (no matter that the tubs were see-through) because there were stacks of junk in front of and piled around those tubs. I always had to move something to get into anything in drawers or hanging on the garment rack. Oh and that garment rack, ugh, what originally seemed like a great idea had become an excuse for not putting things away.
And where do you go for organizational furniture? IKEA, natch. Well, some stuff can be had cheaper at Home Depot and the like, but IKEA formed the basis of my inspiration. Thanks to the room layout too, I decided I could rearrange things and open up a whole wall for more shelving. And in small spaces, you always have to go up, thus I needed a floor-to-ceiling unit, and I settled on IKEA’s Stolmen wardrobe system.
Next up, a new color scheme. Or heck, a color scheme at all! The sewing room was one of the very few rooms in this house we didn’t paint before we moved in nearly 15 years ago (this, the kitchen, and the laundry room). So it had the original boring white walls even though the rest of the house has rich, dark colors accented with faux finishes. Since this is my room completely and I don’t have to share it with my husband, I decided to go girly. Gothic girly, to suit my tastes. Pink walls with black and white accents.
Before anything could start, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth … err, sorting through things and throwing crap away! I went through every single drawer, shelf, box, and bin to evaluate whether or not I really needed each item. If I hadn’t used something in a year or more and it wasn’t earmarked for a specific and fabulous project, out it went! Often, straight to the trash / recycling bin. One carload of stuff went to Goodwill, including a bunch of clothes in my mending pile that had been there so long, they either didn’t fit anymore or were no longer a style I liked, LOL. I may have ditched a quarter of what was in the room, maybe more, and that managed to make what was left fit better already.
Painting may have been the easiest part. It took one weekend to get a good coverage on the walls. While I was at it, I decided to paint the bookcase I use in my sewing room — it’s unfinished wood, and I’ve had it since college. I painted the interior of the shelves in the same pink as the room’s walls and the sides and shelf edges in glossy black.
The hardest part was assembling that IKEA Stolmen shelving unit. OMG, the “instructions” did not help one bit. I had to take things apart and redo them multiple times. But I did it, and almost entirely by myself, only getting a little help holding the poles while I screwed them into the ceiling.
This was really worth it — ALL my fabric filled three wide, low drawers (with one more drawer to spare)! Easy to access, all the wools in one drawer, silks in another (and I can *see* all the pretty colors), linens and cottons in the last. Remnants fit into one bin above the drawers, and the other bins hold sewing projects in-progress. Stuff even fits between the shelves neatly.
I really love the floor-to-ceiling expanse of this unit. My hatboxes are stacked allllll the way up. Sure, I need a step-stool to reach them, but that’s nothing new and it’s not like I use those hats weekly or even monthly.
Getting rid of the garment rack may seem odd, given that I’m a costumer and have plenty of things to hang up. But I only want to hang what I’m working on and what needs repairs or cleaning after an event. Everything else should go into the closet (which got cleaned out too). So I added just a small clothes rack into the IKEA unit. Better yet, I put away all my historical undergarments, corsets, and such in the drawers below this rack.
For additional hanging storage, I got a rack that fits behind the door, and I use this for short and bulky items, like cloaks. Which further cleared up space inside my costume closet.
Other additions included magazine racks to hold all my patterns on top of newly organized old wicker shelves, a wire spice rack turned on its side on a shelf to hold rulers and pattern-drafting paper near on a shelf near my cutting table, and a wire under-shelf rack to hold boxes of notions. I also added a corkboard and tiny whiteboard for inspirations, notes, and such.
The last touch was to decorate. I put back up some of the framed art I’ve had in here for ages (tho’ I’d love better frames). Then I added some new framed pictures of me and friends at costumed events because I find that’s really the best inspiration of all.
I haven’t been able to really sew in there yet, because the room is now inhabited by our three new kittens, but I’m not complaining 🙂