Welcome to the 9th post in our series of “Sharing Our Sewing Spaces”. In this series members of our Facebook Group will be sharing their sewing spaces with us!
Today we have Barb Glasscoe, sharing her space with us…….Over to you Barb:
Thanks, Christine, for letting me share my remodeled sewing studio. I feel funny calling it a studio. It’s always just been my sewing area because there was nothing really defined but I’m trying out the word studio to see if it feels right.
So a little bit about me. I work full-time as a Project Manager in the IS Department of a health insurance company. I also am on the support staff for the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps where I coordinate the sewing crew. In addition, I play clarinet in two professional groups in Rockford, IL.
I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager. My mother was a wonderful seamstress and I definitely inherited the bug from her!
So – this whole remodel process began one day when I was downstairs in my basement sewing area and it just occurred to me that I had really blocked myself into this small spot and I was constantly having to walk around things to get to the ironing board, to get to my fabric shelves, etc. Plus I had put up this large pegboard wall several years ago and a while back I turned it into a sort of art display. But – all of the art was mostly to my back the whole time I was sewing. Didn’t make a lot of sense!
Here are some BEFORE pictures.
You can see a portion of the art wall behind a very messy sewing desk. And on the left you can see my tall blue sewing cabinets. Those cabinets actually created a wall and behind that wall were my fabric shelves. I used to have to walk behind the cabinets to get to the shelves and then I would find this mess greeting me.
I almost always have the tv on while I’m sewing and here is a BEFORE picture of that. And yes – that’s a little heater set up in front of the little tv because it can get darned chilly down in that basement. Oh yeah – you can also see another messy shelving unit with fabric piled on it.
Finally, here is a BEFORE picture of my cutting area. The table itself is good as far as cutting space. But it isn’t the ‘deluxe’ table it was advertised to be. It is beyond flimsy and rickety. Despite tightening every screw available, it still wobbles at the slightest touch. You can also see that I was operating with very poor lighting. I was relying on floor lamps because the only other lighting I had were the kind that the builders installed 16 years ago when I had the house built – the kind that are just a raw sort of outlet to plug a bare lightbulb into and you use a pull string to turn it on.
So I just wanted to open up the space and turn things around so I was facing the art rather than sitting in front of it with my back to it. Well – sounds simple, right? Not so much. Yes, I live by myself and I have the entire basement to use for whatever I feel like. But, over the years I have collected a lot of stuff!! Too much stuff! To be able to move my sewing area to the other end of the basement I first had to clean out that end of the basement! And to move the stuff out of that particular end of the basement I had to clear out a different space. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
This resulted in 5 trips to the Salvation Army with lots of donated items. I decided to establish one area as a storage area and I set up tall shelving units to try to organize things. Full disclosure here – there are a lot of boxes now stored on those shelves which still need to be sorted through, thrown out, donated, etc. But – at least they are all in one organized location now.
As I worked through all of this it also became more obvious how poor the lighting really was. The spot that I wanted to move my desk to had the one bare lightbulb fixture right smack over my head. The pull string literally hit me on the head if I sat down at the desk. So – this little idea I had of ‘just’ moving my sewing desk to a different spot took on a life of its own and turned into a huge project.
I had electricians come in and put in all new LED lighting throughout the entire basement. My brother helped me figure out the best types of lighting and where all of the switches should go for all of the various lights. It has made a ton of difference to brighten it up down there. He also had a very smart idea to install an extra strip light over and in front of the main sewing area. But the best part about it is that it is operated by a remote control that I have sitting at my sewing desk. So if I’m sewing and find the need for more light I can just hit that button and presto – more light!
So let’s head to the AFTER pictures! When I look back on this I get a kick out of how many different furniture and fixture pieces are things I have picked up from various stores that have gone out of business over the years. There really aren’t that many things in the room that were bought as brand new items yet they all work together quite well. So let’s start the tour!
Here is a good overview of the sewing desk area. You can see that I’ve moved the blue cabinets to the back wall of the basement so they aren’t cutting my space in two any longer.
Here’s a view as I would sit at the sewing desk. I can finally see the art wall. (I was still in the process of putting things back up on the wall at the time of this photo.) And you can see I upgraded from the little tv.
View of the new cutting area. I was at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago at the beginning of April and I was able to buy this brand new cutting table as a demo model. They had used it for the 3 days of the show and that was it. So I got $200 off of it! It is SO much sturdier than my old flimsy table. I have two 36 x 24 Olfa cutting mats on it. I also bought non-slip mats to put underneath the cutting mats. Never had heard of such a thing and didn’t think it would really matter. But wow – they really make a difference! No more sliding around on the table.
I’m enjoying the shelves underneath the table too. I think I might have to make some sort of ‘walls’ to hold the stuff in on the shelves though. Things fall off the sides too easily. The purple and pink tables are from Ikea. One is just stacked on top of the other. The steam press came from eBay for about $60. And the latest addition is the wing table extender over on the left. It hinges so it can be folded down against the table if not needed. That was a discovery when I went to Nancy’s Notions Warehouse Sale last weekend.
This design wall is thanks to my brother. He is a professional photographer and he had previously used this as a photo prop. It is two hollow core doors hinged together that he had painted. We bought foam insulation board and covered it with flannel. Then we used heavy duty Velcro to attach the insulation boards to the doors. Since they are hinged it is able to stand on its own. However, right now I just have it propped against the wall so it can be flat.
The set of yellow drawers was a freebie. My late husband worked at a department store and they were using these drawers as fixtures. It used to be two separate drawers. When the store got remodeled they were going to throw these out so we claimed them. He took the legs off of one and stacked them together attached with brackets.
The wire pattern stand on top of the yellow drawers is a recent acquisition from the local Hancock Fabrics store as they were closing.
Last week I found myself at a going out of business sale of a local quilt store. I scored this spinning zipper fixture including all of the little clips.
Here are the blue cabinets in their new location. The magazine racks were from Hancock Fabrics closing sale. Same for the pattern rack which I haven’t started to fill up yet.
The gray unit with the zippers on it is from Office Max when it was closing. It used to be a gift card center. The pegboard was covered with gift cards for sale and then it opens up and the interior is where they stored all of the spare gift cards. When Office Max closed I bought it for – believe it or not — $18.75! Friends helped me haul it home. Then another friend and my brother helped me reassemble it in my basement and we put casters on the base so it can be wheeled around. I have a lot more pegboard accessories that still need to be put onto it. A work in progress.
Another view of the Office Max fixture. And yep — the pattern racks on it are more fixtures from Hancock Fabrics. The metal screen with the circles – yet another store that is currently going out of business. My plan for that is to put fabric on one side of it so it blocks my view of the furnace when I’m sitting at the sewing desk.
Sign on the door
Interior of Office Max fixture
One of the views from my treadmill when I convince myself to use it. Although I must admit the treadmill is slanted more toward the tv to provide more incentive to hop on and walk!
The metal and glass shelving unit started out as a wine rack. A local gift store that went out of business was using it as a fixture and yep – they sold it and I got it. It’s kind of hard to tell but the area that has rolled up interfacing is actually designed for wine bottles. But it works perfectly for storing rolls of fabric and interfacing. Continuing with the theme of closing stores, I got the spinning pattern rack at Hancock Fabrics.
The shelves with fabric bins are still where they always were but they are somewhat more organized. The blue cabinets used to sit where that gray carpet ends so you can see that this totally opened up that space. The area where the yellow table is sitting is a spot where I’m considering having a bathroom built.
We’ve now come full circle back around to the art wall.
I’ve had great fun putting this sewing studio together. While I don’t like seeing all of the stores close, I have really lucked out with some fantastic buys that I wouldn’t normally have been able to buy otherwise. I think it’s always going to be a work in progress which is part of what makes it enjoyable. And it’s now a bright, fun, colorful space that I enjoy spending time in so I’m much more likely to invest a lot more time downstairs working on fun sewing projects.
Thank you for sharing your space with us Barb. WOW you sure have a knack for picking up the bargains! LOVE the transformation! It’s amazing what a bit or thought and re-organisation (and a bit of elbow grease) can do! 🙂
Would YOU like to share your space with us? Please email me email@example.com for more info. Anyone sharing their spaces will receive a FREE pattern of choice from my website shop for their trouble! Come on….be BRAVE! 🙂
What an amazing sewing space. It looks very functional and well organised… Well done!
What a difference good lighting makes! and how awesome is remote control of those lights!!!
I bought almost all my sewing room fixtures secondhand too. With the exception of my Ikea kitchen table with 12 drawers that I use as my cutting table. While I don’t have as much space to sew in, I’d like to mount a tv near the ceiling at some point in the future.
I’m glad you turned your room inside out and all around – it’s looks like you could have a sewing party down there.
Thanks so much, Sass! I surprised myself in that I enjoyed the organization process. Now let’s see if I can keep some semblance of organization! 🙂
Thanks, Kathyh! Funny you should mention that. A couple of days after the lighting was installed I did have two friends come over to have a fun sewing weekend. There is plenty of open space in the middle area to set up more tables. We had a great time and will do it again in the future. 🙂
What a wonderful space. Love the wonderful organization and the lighting. Thanks for sharing. I don’t have nearly the room, but your space has given me some cool ideas.
Thanks, Judith! I’m lucky to have all of that space available. It’s been great fun pulling all of those various pieces together to make it work. Now if I could just find a way to create more time to spend there!!
That is quite the studio! You collected some nice fixtures too. I know you must be enjoying this. Happy creating!