Friday, May 6, 2016

Sylvia's Sewing Studio, plus a pattern giveaway!

Hello quilting friends!  Today’s blog post will be a little unique, in that my quilting friend Sylvia and I are asking for your help!  You see, she’s on a mission to relocate and decorate a new sewing space in her home, and we sure would love to hear your best creative ideas for storage solutions, space organization, or cute decorating ideas!  We’re thinking there may even be a free Carried Away Quilting pattern given to Sylvia's favorite comment or suggestion!  So check out Sylvia's dilemma, put on your creative thinking caps and give us some feedback!

Meet my quilting friend Sylvia.  She's a retired teacher who loves teaching and young people so much that she hasn't really retired.  She substitute teaches so often she's almost back to working full time!  Sylvia is also a terrific quilter, home decorator and one of the sweetest women you'll ever meet.  Here we are at Sylvia's lovely home!  She's holding one of her favorite quilts.


And here we are inside Sylvia's lovely home.  She's sitting by her "Farmhouse" (Fig Tree & Company) version of my "Crossing Petals" pattern.  I just love how it looks on her beautiful piano!


Sylvia's current sewing room is in the smallest bedroom on the second floor of their home. As you can see by the pictures below, she's pretty crammed in there!  There's not much room to cut or press, let alone lay out her pretty blocks and project ideas, especially when it serves double duty as a guest bedroom.  The twin bed has become a work station.  





Although she's thankful she's had a dedicated sewing area in the corner of a guest room for a few years, we both think it's high time she took over an entire bedroom in their home and make it a true sewing studio, completely devoted to her passion for quilting!  With husband Dan's blessing, this is Sylvia's plan . . .

Just down the hall from the current sewing spot is a larger guest bedroom with two big windows bringing in a lot of natural light, as well as a large closet for storage.  Yes, it's a lovely bedroom, but wouldn't it be a FANTASTIC sewing studio?




Right now Sylvia's plan includes completely clearing the room, removing the carpet and installing hardwood floors.  She may also repaint.  Beyond that, she's open for your ideas and suggestions! She has budgeted to find proper sewing room furniture as well, although we both like the idea of repurposing old/vintage items.  She mentioned to me that this room was large enough that she could put a twin bed in the corner for occasional extra guests, but I put my foot down to that. (It's easy to be bossy when you're helping decorate someone else's space!) This will be Sylvia's Sewing Studio . . . and she deserves it! Besides, there are plenty of other beds (and couches and floor space) in the house for overnight guests! ;) 

While we were visiting about her new sewing studio, Sylvia also pulled some quilting treasures to show me, and I know you'll enjoy seeing these too!

First up are some unfinished vintage pieces.  Sylvia's mother is also a quilter, and over the years she has been given unfinished tops and blocks as gifts.  Some of these pieces are several decades old and hand pieced.  Sylvia has plans for each of them and I can't wait to see what she comes up with!







She also showed me two of her favorite quilts that she made a few years ago. These quilts were made as gifts for her daughters.  I think she may be having a hard time parting with them (the quilts) as both daughters are nicely established in their own homes!  Aren't they beautiful? 







Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!  I'll be sure to keep you up-to-date on the progress in Sylvia's Sewing Studio.  

In the meantime, I'd like to give away one Carried Away Quilting pattern (of your choice) to a reader who offers a decorating, storage, or other sewing room suggestion for Sylvia.  Leave a comment below with your email address and you'll be entered! Comments are open through 5:00 pm (CST) on Wednesday, May 11.  At that time, Sylvia will select her favorite comment and I'll announce the winner.   *Only one comment per person/per email address.  Email me if you are having trouble leaving a comment and I will leave a comment on your behalf. (carriedawayquilting@gmail.com)

 ~Taunja



61 comments:

  1. I would have shelves built in along the longest wall thus giving her lots of storage!

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  2. My suggestion is similar to Annemarie. My sewing area is shared with the washer, dryer, sink with cabinets above washer and dryer and above/ below sink and a closet. I had shelves made in they closet stoping about 30" from the bottom. The shelved closet is my best suggestion, store books, magazines, patterns, baskets for fabric,etc. The space at bottom is for large baskets or clear boxes stacked.
    patsystitch@gvtc.com

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    1. Good suggestions! I wish I had a closet in my sewing room to organize things I don't want to look at every day!

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  3. I'm all for Sylvia claiming her own sewing space! My suggestion is all about fabric storage. Particularly fat quarters- I have a lot of those. I bought some clear plastic bins that are the perfect width of a folded fat quarter and long enough to hold about 40 or so. The lid is hinged on one end so the fabric is easy to access. Then I organized all of the fat quarters by color, one color in each bin. I love being able to see my fabrics so I can easily shop my stash when I'm working on a new project. Good luck on the new space, I'm excited to see it finished!

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    1. I love organizing by color too! Often I keep things by designer or fabric line because I hate to "break them up" but in the end it just makes more sense to organize by color when I'm really trying to create a special quilt! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Make it a sewing studio...no time for sleep! By dedicating it to a quilting studio - you don't compromise that, if it's also a bedroom then a Work In Progress would be picked up for a guest. Make the old sewing room the guest room. Best thing I did, after 26 years of quilting was recently putting up a design wall, reserving that BIG space on my wall is an expansion of my brain-it has allowed layouts to "percolate" and 'pow' resolve because they were visual. It also decorates and warms my wall! Lucky girl-now makes it yours!

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    1. Thanks Melody! Sylvia and I will definitely talk about the design wall idea. I need one too!! A design "floor" is just hard on my knees!

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  5. I would position a cutting table station by the big windows so that you have great lighting for optimal precision cutting.

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    1. VERY good tip! My cutting table is does not have enough lighting, and you are right, that is so important when cutting!

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  6. Wow - this is exciting! A whole room just for sewing :) - and a total new remake for it! One thing that I have found absolutely useful and love in my sewing room, are the 'mini' laundry baskets from Walmart. They come in two sizes (that I've seen) and are stackable. Enjoy decorating!

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    1. Thanks Sigi! Can't wait to see Sylvia's space transformed!

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  7. I would invest in some storage shelves from IKEA - I use their Billy Bookcase and use boxes of the same size. Also buy a label maker and label where everythign is!

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    1. I've only been to IKEA once, years ago, but I'm thinking if Sylvia goes, I need to go too . . . and bring my checkbook! ;)

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  8. I'm doing the same thing. Swapping bedrooms since I hv a tiara 2 machine now. Only one window though. Hope to clean out the closet so I can use it but the other room doesn't hv one so there may be a prob 😂😂😂 my need and yours prob too is try to make cutting and pressing stations a good height for the aching back. I want to put flannel up to for design wall. Hv some vintage pieces to use too.

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    1. Yes . . . stations at the right height are SO important! Good reminder!

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  9. Sylvia and I have some things in common: retired teacher; currently substitute teaching;empty nester; love to quilt and sew. I love the idea of repurposing older, vintage furniture pieces to use as storage and to display supplies. I would dedicate the room's closet to her "stash" with an organizer system of shelving, drawers,hooks, etc. purchased from IKEA, or Home Depot. Be sure to protect the new hardwood floor with a carpet or jar plastic office mat if she uses a chair to sew with (some folks stand). No bed!!! A small, comfy chair would be nice for hand-stitching though! Most of all, have fun with decorating!

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    1. All great tips Kathy!! This will be fun!!

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  10. I'm loving these comments so far people! Exciting!!

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  11. Great suggestions! Here's mine. I have the Ikea adjustable sawhorse legs (with bottom shelves) and the large table top set at the highest level for my cutting table. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S09047296/ Love it! It's large enough to hold a good size cutting mat, directional lighting, rulers to the side, containers for other "stuff", and those shelves on the bottom hold a my individual containers with the work in progress items. Lucky you to have those beautiful hand stitched quilts from your mom - glass cabinet to display them would be nice. Your quilts are lovely too! Have fun!!!! Keep us updated!

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    1. I looked this up Pam and it's darling! Now I want one too!! ;)

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  12. I think Sylvia needs an old vintage buffet in her sewing room. I always dreamed of having one in my sewing room and was fortunate enough to find one in great shape and the right price last fall on Craig's list. Its great for storing fabric and whatever else we quilters need to do our job.

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    1. Great idea Pam! And a buffet would provide a nice top work surface also. Excellent!!

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  13. First of all - get a cubicle/wire grid system for that closet! You can go floor to ceiling and have 12x12 cubbies for sorting/storing your fabric! I have some cubbies that I got at Costco a few years back, not wire grid, they have the connectors at the corners but the 'wall' of each section is a translucent plastic. You can change the configuration for what works for your space. These babies hold a LOT of fabric and organized just how you like it - by collection or color or project.

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    1. Excellent! We'll have to get Sylvia's husband to work on that closet organization system! ;)

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  14. When I updated my sewing "studio", I was fortunate enough to my sons make lots of cabinetry to store fabric, freezer paper, fusible web as well as a book case to hold all of my pattern books, magazines and patterns in binders. The most important thing for me is lots of great lighting over my cutting area and sewing area. So excited for you, Sylvia!

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    1. How nice of your sons! That makes it extra special. Good lighting . . . yes, so important!!

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  15. I love the vintage quilts and unfinished tops she has. What a treasure and a great opportunity for decorating with them. I am an Elfa girl. I have Elfa drawer systems along one wall. You can fold fat quarters to fit nicely in the drawers. They are in different size drawers. Some sized are perfect for patterns, small ones with divided liners for thread and notions. They are easy to label to see in a flash what you have. You can also use the top of some as a cutting table depending on your height. I purchased box store book shelves that were a not so pleasant color so I sanded and painted them white to hold my flat folds. I currently have an antique drafting table I use as a cutting table and my great grandmother's rocker in my sewing room in which to sit for stitching. I have old sewing notions for decoration and on the walls. Just remember to make it your own and a happy place in which you love to spend time. Have fun.

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    1. Oh boy, your sewing room sounds lovely! Thanks for all of these great ideas!

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  16. I would take a short wall and have shelving installed. Not to deep, is it would be a great storage and organizational ares..floor to ceiling!

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    1. Thank you Linda!! Not too deep is right! I have an open faced storage cabinet and it is way too deep. Things get "lost" in the back.

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  17. Such beautiful quilts. Have fun with the rooms and do it your way.

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  18. 1. A Murphy Bed - I know you said no bed but she's someone who likes having people visit. The Murphy Bed goes against a wall with shelves built in around it. Plus this gets rid of guilt and frees her mind for designing quilts.
    2. When the bed is stowed, there is a portable design wall against the stowed bed. This design wall is a large batt type material which is strung and can be rolled up and stored when guests arrive or folded and put away.
    3. One of the units next to the Murphy bed is a hanging area with a pole. Pole can be removed when not needed. She can hang finished tops on hangers in this small closet area. When guests arrive, she takes the wuilts on hangers and moves them to another area temporarily.
    4. She must have a large ironing surface preferably on an island so she can move around it to iron quilts. This same area could be used for basting the three layers together for her quilt.
    5. There is a fabric folding demo at a quilter's web site. It shows how to fold any size of material so it's the same width and length and is easily stored. I think her first name is Jen. She has a new book which is all about half sqaure triangles and she has a bunny, a black bunny. Find the tutorial, fold some fabric, and then make the drawers the size to accommodate the fabric.
    6. Use the wall space in creative walls which will free up the area so it doesn't appear cluttered. For example, if she has to have a picture on the wall, think of a medicine type cabinet space behind it. Perhaps this area could hold thread or patterns.
    7. Buy an ergonometical chair.
    8. Install daylight lamps which can be adjusted.
    9. If she is doing any machine quilting using her domestic machine or a small quilting machine, check Becky Goldsmith's web site and install hooks with clamps in the ceiling so the weight of the quilt is lifted away from her when she's quilting.
    10. Enjoy your new sewing studio.

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    1. Wow Mary! So many great tips. Love it! Thank you so much for providing this for Sylvia!

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  19. Definitely leave room for a design wall! Looking at your blocks on a vertical surface really helps with quilt lay out. Fons and Porter has a smallish one that is easy to hang with Command Strip hooks. There are many tutorials for different tutorials for design walls in blogland, so if you want a bigger one, google for directions.

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    1. Every time I hear someone say anything about a design wall, I think, I NEED ONE TOO! ;) Thanks Amy!

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  20. I think a sleeper chair would be prefect for the room, for her to relax and think on and also pull out in to a bed when she needs it. A design wall would be a must. I bought almost everything in my sewing room furniture wise at our location habit for humanity store. I took a table top off a table and put in on top of the those cube boxes units. Also making a large ironing board that will fit aleast a half yard makes ironing so much easier. Enjoy your new room!

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    1. All great ideas and a nice BIG ironing surface . . . yes . . . a must!

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  21. What a wonderful room it will be . Makes it full of happy memories .

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  22. I do think you need a nice comfortable chair to relax, hand sew and plan in. I would also suggest that above your cutting table to put a peg wall . Did you know that you can cut down the i4" rounds from the craft stores, push them into the peg holes to hold your thread, it works great. I like under my cutting the shelves that hold small baskets, so as I cut I can drop my scraps right int my colored bins. A nice tall shelf works really great to show your fav fabrics and some more decorative things to make. But I wouldn't make that shelve too wide or you only end up putting so much fabric on it and forget what is there. Lol either way, make it all about you. You will love your space and how it makes you feel. 💞

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    1. All of these tips are excellent Mindy! Thanks so much!

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  23. Oh how I would love to have the opportunity to redo my room. I have so many idea running through my head but I know my wallet wouldn't handle everything I'm thinking. The most important thing is storage. I would build shelves that would accommodate baskets, so that each color way could have its place and it would be easy to find what I need. It would have to take up a whole wall probably but it's the only way to make sure every beautiful color way has its "home on the shelf". And a large center table, that is the right height and you can walk all the way around it for cutting. It would also have a spot that is for ironing. I would love to be able to incorporate the sewing machine in that table so that its sits down in the table and you have this huge area for the quilt to rest while you are sewing. I could just keep going but I know your bored by now so I will end and just wish you all the luck in the world making you a relaxing space to create so many beautiful pieces. The quilt tops you have are just beautiful. You almost want to put them in a frame because they are definitely master pieces. Enjoy your new room!!!!!

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    1. I like that idea of a center table that you can walk all the way around! Good point!! Thanks so much Pam!

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  24. I think my biggest suggestion is to scour Pinterest and Houzz for ideas about what you want your room to be long-term and then plan for that. Don't plan around what you have today, but what you want your room to look like at the end. For example, if you like the look of fabric organized by color on comic book boards, don't wait until you feel your stash is "big enough" or "colorful enough" to implement that. If you wait, starting from scratch can be daunting and overwhelming, so figure out what you want the end to be and work toward that now! Thanks for a chance to win. Good luck! I can't wait to see what you come up with!!

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    1. Also, spend some time thinking about whether you're a person who is more or less creative when you can see everything. If you're bothered by the "busyness" of it, then find storage solutions that "hide" everything (solid boxes, for example). However, I tend to not use things I can't see, so I need storage I can see through. if you're that type of person, find open baskets or clear plastic boxes to store things. Also, I think if I were doing my room over I'd use more pegboard - it's such a great way to store things on the walls where you can see and easily access them, and it can help keep your work surface clear.

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    2. Very good ideas Britiney! I am someone who likes things put away. If there's too much out, I get distracted. But I have friends who like everything in sight . . . organized but visible and ready to go. Something for Sylvia to ponder!

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  25. I think that Sylvia needs to paint all of the walls or at least one feature wall in one of her favourite colours so that when she walks in, the colour makes her instantly feel happy. Depending on her budget, I suggest fitting the current wardrobe out with a hanging space; lots of shelves that can be adjusted to accommodate different height items/folded stacks of fabric and some drawers to store equipment such as cutters and scissors, as well as spare bobbins, needles etc.
    Within the room some vintage or retro furniture such as a low buffet, side cabinet or set of drawers would be a great place to store on the go projects in the one place (depending on how many she has). If this piece isn't an overly precious piece, Sylvia could have a new top placed on top that she could use as a cutting station as well as somewhere she could baste her quilts. This piece needs to be at a comfortable height for Sylvia. An area for an ironing board is a must, as well as a smaller board that she can easily move around. A smaller board would be useful to her when pressing blocks etc., and the full board when pressing quilt tops etc. Good lighting is a must - a combination of natural light and built in lighting or lamps that can have its height adjusted, as well as flexible in regards to how the light can be directed.
    A good chair that has back support and promotes healthy posture is a must, as too is an area for Sylvia to make herself a cup of tea or coffee. This only needs to be a small table or old bedside drawers that a kettle, cups, spoons tea/coffee/sugar can sit on so that Sylvia doesn't need to waste time going downstairs to make s cuppa. These drawers can double as additional storage. A small bar fridge would be fantastic as well; not only could this hold her milk, it can keep healthy snacks fresh - carrot sticks, cheese, yoghurt etc. Again this would stop Sylvia wasting time by going downstairs during her sewing time.
    A design wall would be great and should be put on a wall that will get a different look depending on the time of day - important when deciding on a final layout.
    Lastly, Sylvia should put some mini quilts, hoops covered in fabric and colourful bunting on the walls to decorate and help make the space feel happy and crafty. Photos of her husband and children(at least one) should be placed in a position that when Sylvia is sewing, she can glance at it and feel love.
    Whatever she does, I hope she enjoys it.😊

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    1. My goodness Lisa! This is so well thought out and personal . . . maybe you can come and help us transform her room! Thanks for all the excellent sewing room tips, and the reminder about the pictures of the loved ones . . . the ones we quilt for! Thanks much!

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  26. I'm checking in again . . . and all of your suggestions are wonderful!!! Thanks so much people!

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  27. First let me say, your home is beautiful. I recently moved and set up my new sewing studio. Here are some of the ideas I incorporated into my space. Be sure to leave one wall empty so you can hang a design wall there. My hubby used an antique banister handle and added cup hooks to one side and mounted it on a shelf. You can use those rings with clips you can buy at Ikea to hang a felt design wall from those hooks, OR if you are between large projects you can hang a finished quilt from the hooks. Contact me and I would be happy to text you a pix of mine. Another idea I incorporated here was to mount a television in one corner, so it is not taking up any floor space, yet I can still enjoy TV shows or movies, etc. I am hoping to get a dongle for my birthday, and then I can view video tutorials on that television. I would also encourage you to have a designated spot/shelves for all of your magazines and books. Moving was a great time to reorganize them all chronologically and by topic/theme. I used those plastic shoe size storage boxes to organize my collections of pins, scissors, etc and made labels that were easy to read at a glance for each one. Remember I am happy to text pix of any of these ideas, if you would be curious. Most of all enjoy this time with Taunja and treasure the process of revisiting memories as well as making new ones! Kristy AKA quilterkg soardkgatfusedotnet

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    1. What a unique idea about how you hang the design wall. CLEVER! And a small TV in a corner out of the way is a good idea too. When I'm alone sewing, I like to have movies running in the background. Thanks so much Kristy!

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  28. So many great ideas here! What a fun comment thread :-)

    I like having all my rulers easily accessible, so I suggest using Command hooks on the wall nearest the cutting table to store them.

    It's also a great addition to a quilt studio to have a place to hang both WIPs and finished quilts. I use pretty towel bars and drape quilt tops on them to keep them wrinkle-free. Finished quilts can drape across the bars, too, to decorate the space. There are so many different styles of towel bars that it's easy to find something that coordinates with your decor.

    For a quick way to display finished quilts on the wall, try a curtain rod that uses curtain rings that have spring-loaded clips on them. With 8-12 clips you can hang a quilt fast. Mount the curtain rod at the top of a blank wall rather than above the window, maybe the same wall as your design wall. For permanently displayed quilts you should use a hanging sleeve, but if you want to rotate quilts with the season or just show off your latest finish, the clips work great!

    Best of luck!

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    1. Excellent suggestions Louise! Clips do work great for items you rotate often!!

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  29. I use a corner of an guestroom also. But I have seen an idea on Pinterest for a workstation for the center of the room where you put together 4 IKEA bookshelves together and a board on the top for cutting. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/6403624448971566/ Here is a Pinterest link for the one I liked. The link no longer works but I do remember that it was four bookshelves from IKEA.

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    1. That sounds like a dream to me too . . . a big work station right in the middle. Wouldn't that be lovely! Thanks Gayle!

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  30. My sewing room is also the guest bedroom. I went to IKEA and purchased their PAX wardrobe system because they had such a variety of shelving choices from baskets to pull out shelves as well as standard shelves. I decided not to get the doors but may change my mind. I also placed some large picture hooks on the wall in front of my sewing machine/cutting table to hang my rulers. Love IT!

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    1. Oh my goodness! Another person making me want to zip to IKEA! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas Monica! I am starting to lose focus on Sylvia's sewing room and thinking about changes in my own. ha ha!

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  31. Silvia definitely needs her own quilting room. Four years ago I became a quilter. My sweet husband and I turned our fairly small family room in the basement into my quilting room. We painted and had new flooring laid. I scoured the internet and found an Ikea Hack for a cutting table. We figured out everything we might need for my quilting room and off to Ikea we went. I knew I wanted Ikea's off white bookcases for my new room. We purchased four, four-shelf bookcases, four drawer packs so I would have drawers on one side of my cutting table. I wanted a different configuration then the hack. We did 2, four shelf bookcase in the front and 2, four shelf bookcases in the back butted up to each other. We also purchased their butcher block top for the top of my table. My husband polyurethaned the butcher block top so that it was sealed and smooth. My husband screwed the four, four shelf bookcases to a sheet of plywood, he made a brace for the bottom of the butcher block top and attached it. The bottom of the butcher block table sits on the bookcases and the brace running around the bottom of the top keeps it from shifting. We purchased a separate bookcase for all my fabric storage. I have my sewing table on one side of the room, my large cutting table in the middle and on the other side of that I have the bookcase with fabric. My cutting table sits vertical across the room. At the end of the cutting table against the wall my husband attached an Ikea photo shelf (or ledge) to the cutting table top. This holds my rotary cutters and scissors. Oh, I forgot to mention, we also bought the legs that he attached to the bottom of the cutting table into the plywood from Ikea. If you're interested, search google and you will come up with the Ikea cutting table hack. Because the butcher block is large we made my cutting table larger than the hack. It is a fantastic table and I am so Blessed to have it. For my rulers my sweet husband bought white pegboard and made a frame around the back of the pegboard. It stands out from the wall and I hung my rulers on the pegboard. As I stand facing my cutting table the pegboard is to my left on the wall and so convenient to the cutting table. hope this gives you some ideas for your new quilt room. Without my sweet husbands help I wouldn't have the quilting room that I have.

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    1. Well this husband of yours is a definite keeper! My husband also helped me make my cutting table, which I love! I bet the butcher block, besides be utilitarian, looks so nice. I love the look of butcher block! Thanks for all of the great ideas and details you provided! Awesome!!

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