My Creative Space

by This is Carrie on January 24, 2011

This is my creative space.

It’s neither big nor beautiful, but I’ve produced many things in this humble corner of our family room/living room/dining room (when your house is 1500sq ft all the rooms must become multifunctional). I’ve owned my “sewing cabinet” (from Ikea) for about 6 years.  It’s made it though a cross country move from NYC which is something I never expected from a “cheap” piece of furniture.  I’m glad it did, because it’s been perfect in every place we’ve lived.

1. Vintage Sewing books I’ve collected over the years.
2. Baskets of clothes waiting to be refashioned
3. All my homemade pattern organized in envelopes.
4. Cut and bagged projects just waiting to be sewn including a whirly twirly skirt, a pair of silk butterfly wings & a newborn wtap dress.
5. All of my smaller pieces of fabric. Ready for appliques.
6. Inspiration/design boards created by installing cork on the inside of the doors.
7. The vintage tin sewing advertisement my mom gave me.
8. A child dress form used for draping patterns.
9. The homemade thread catcher I can’t imagine living without.
10. My beautiful Bernina Sewing Machine and my trusty, old, Juki Serger (which was a HS graduation gift from my parents).
11. Sewing supplies consisting of but not limited to buttons, elastic, binding, trim, safety pins, my “bad” thread, seam rippers, velcro, snaps.
12. My “good” thread.
13. Baskets full of more projects and mending.
14. My favorite sewing resource books.
Disclosure: This is the cleanest this cabinet has probably EVER looked.  Usually there are bits and piece of a million projects scattered about, stacks of fabric falling over, thread bits all over the rug.  I am starting the year off with much organization and purging, so this is documentation of the organized creative space which, when I am done with all my organizing & purging, will become messy with beautiful creation. Can’t wait!

In the corner behind the dress form sits my mobile sewing bag.  Full of scissors, rotary cutters, rulers, and pattern weights, it gets taken over to my dining room table when I’m ready to draft a pattern or cut out a project.  It also includes everything I need to take with me for a sewing night with friends. Underneath it sits all the supplies for fabric scrap paper dolls, a favorite activity for the kids while I am creating.

This bookshelf (from Ikea) not only houses some of my favorite sewing books, but also hides unfinished projects in it’s baskets.

I love finding old sewing books at the thrift store.

New sewing books are fun too. The crate holds cones of thread for the serger though it mostly stays either black or white.

The inside doors of the cabinet were unused space just calling out for the addition of cork board.  It is the perfect place to record my latest ideas lest I be distracted by another trip to the thrift store.

When I’m not waist deep in projects, the cabinet closes up so nicely you might not even notice it there in the corner (except for the rulers and large roll of marker paper).  But, then you might enter the garage and it’d beome very apparent that a sewer (or fabric hoarder) lives here.  But that’s another story and another organizing project for another day.

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Quoteable | This Mama Makes Stuff
February 23, 2011 at 4:46 pm

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Pamela January 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I love a well organize crafty/sewing space, yours just beckons to get busy making something. Love your serger. I was given a serger a few years back….I really should use it more often.

1500 Sq. Feet. Now, that is inspiring!!

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This is Carrie
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After living in a 700sq ft NYC apartment with two kids, I feel like we have tons of space!

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amber January 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

i love the sewing desk. something like that in my tiny house would be so awesome. thanks for sharing

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This is Carrie
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Last time I checked, Ikea was still making the cabinet. It came in a natural wood color too.

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Sarah M. Reply:

They do still have it! It is called a “secretary”. I have the black version and we use it for our office things. I have to admit that I want to turn it into a creative space like yours! ☺

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Marie-Anne Reply:

I checked on Ikea’s web site for the secretary, and I was wondering if the cabinet you have is in one piece, or you fixed the shelves on it? I find your corner to be interesting, and I’m looking forward doing something similar one day.

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This is Carrie
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When we bought it, the desk and the top cabinet were sold as two separate pieces (but they are meant to go together).

Joy January 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

wow, that’s impressive and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

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jonita mortensen January 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’m impressed and inspired. I need to redo my sewing closet and fabric “basket”. It’s a disaster after all my sewing projects.

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This is Carrie
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That’s what my space was like after Christmas. It was like a tornado hit that corner. Nice to start the year fresh.

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Tran
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January 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I love your creative space.. mostly because it’s clean and organized and completely functional.. but also because you always seem to create such fabulous things for your four kids… I think I’d need a whole sweatshop to do what you do.. and it still wouldn’t be so neat! I’ve also been inspired to be able to have a small creative space in my home.. some day.. when my home consists of more than my 10′x12′ bedroom…

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This is Carrie
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Thanks Tran! I love it because my machines and projects can be “out” but not really “out”.

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Boston Mamas
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January 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Oh my gosh… LOVE! So inspiring to do a little revamping of my space too.

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Jennifer January 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Love the cabinet. The six of us are in our teeny house (1,100 sq. ft.) and I have been trying to figure out a place for a permanent sewing area, as I really dislike using the kitchen table. Your area looks really nice.

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This is Carrie
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Having a permanent spot for sewing (even if it’s small) is really key.

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Vicky January 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I’m amazed at all you create in that small space, and especially that it’s right in your living space! How do you manage to keep small hands out of your sewing things? I’ll eventually have to move my sewing space out of its own room and into a more public area, and I’m dreading it because my kids are constantly playing with the sewing machine and digging though my supplies. Do you have any advice for sewing while young children are around?

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This is Carrie
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Honestly Vicky, I am really lucky. My kids never really “get into” things. Maybe I should take that as a lack of curiosity and worry, but it’s kind of nice. They know they are welcome to play in my basket of scraps, with the jar of buttons. The pattern weights and a few small magnets with the container of safety pins are also favorites. I have taught them that certain things are dangerous – like stepping on the sewing machine pedal, the rotary cutter, and the pins. I’ve even let them touch the end of a pin when they were really little if they wanted to so they’d know how sharp they were.

I do have a bad habit of holding pins in my mouth when I sew which I am trying to break myself of because I worry they might imitate me. So far, so good though.

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kage January 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm

you’re right, I was JUST there and I can’t even picture it. well done.

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Kate @swimbikequilt January 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I love your space! It looks like it is in the exact same part of the house as mine. I need a large cabinet with doors for sure. Off topic- you tweeted a while back about tri training as a nursing mom. If you still have any questions, send me an email. That was so me last year. Other than massive sleep deprivation, I had no problems…

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This is Carrie
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Thanks Kate!
I had heard about milk depletion, lactic acid making milk turn sour, etc. But after researching, I’ve found it all to be rumors. We are doing great and having no problems. THanks!

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Heather
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January 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Love your creative corner! Very creative use of a small space. And I love that cabinet. Our home suddenly became much smaller when baby #3 came along. I had to move my office to the living/family room and get creative with where to put everything.

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Amy January 25, 2011 at 7:16 am

I love your way of defining a space for your sewing, but making sure that it looks like it is part of the room. In my 1,000 sq ft house, with 3 kids and a husband who does wood working, and me who loves all crafts, including sewing, I really need to find a way to make my crafting more accessible! thanks for a great idea!

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Wanett January 25, 2011 at 7:32 am

I think your space is very beautiful! I actually want to organize/style mine the same way someday. I have a large-ish family and I live in NYC so I know that I will likely always have to share any space I’m in, too.

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Elizabeth Esther January 25, 2011 at 7:43 am

Ooooh, this gave me happy goosebumps! Love the vintage sewing books! I want to just sit in this little corner with you and live vicariously through your sewing projects. I’ll read books, you sew and we’ll chat. Doesn’t that sound like a perfect date?? :)

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Brittany January 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

How fun to see your space, Carrie! I actually remember the cupboard from a couple of refashion nights at your house. Let me know if you move to SLC so we can do that again!

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Misha January 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I just love this! I told my husband a while ago that I wanted to have a sewing space where everything had it’s place and this is just perfect. I thing my husband has some building to do!

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TracyKM January 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I looked at that cabinet a few years ago, never thought about using it for a sewing desk! We turned it down because it was painted wood and we didn’t want to go to the trouble of painting the wood version (which wasn’t unfinished). I still love that style of desk, so maybe one day…

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Susanna January 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Do you happen to remember the name of your sewing cabinet? I love it and have just moved into a new home and am trying to design my space. I have been looking online at IKEA and haven’t come across the desk/cabinet yet. Thanks so much!

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Sarah M. Reply:

It is called a secretary. I recently purchased one myself in black. You honestly have to go to the stores to see what they have. The website frustrates me too much. ☺ You also have to purchase the top portion seperately. I hope you have success finding one, I LOVE mine!

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Anna March 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I love this! I really need to find an awesome cabinet for my craft area. my sewing room is in the process of being turned into a nursery. happy about the baby!…. sad to see my room go :(

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Handmade Artists' March 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Wonderful organization, you are truly putting us all to shame LOL
Andrew

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julie July 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I love this workspace! Not horrifically expensive or too big for my small-roomed house. Looks like Ikea might hade discontinued this particular combination. This one is close though: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S29891425/#/S79891423
I like the support for the drop down your has better though! Nice job!

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Lynn July 13, 2012 at 11:15 am

I’m in LOVE & covet your sewing space. I’ve put the Ikea secretary on the TOP of my wish list & will have one someday for my machine. For now my kitchen table will have to do. Love all your great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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