My first big challenge was to figure out what would and wouldn’t fit in the sewing space. The next was to figure out where to keep the stuff that didn’t fit.
What I have to work with is a "formal living room". These are a common trend in homes built in the last few decades. They are typically either near the front door, or, as in this case, share space in common with it.
An acquaintance who is a realtor told me that in her experience, 90% of formal living rooms are used as offices, children's playrooms, or craft rooms, so I'm guessing that having my workspace there won't look as peculiar as I'd feared!
I needed a floor plan. When we went to see the house, the tenants and landlord were there, and I didn’t feel comfortable with taking up their time with measuring. However, there was a real estate listing online left over from when the landlord bought the house, and it had photos.
These photos were taken with one of those fisheye lenses realtors love because they make rooms look bigger, so I knew I couldn't count on them. They were helpful as a rough guide, and with a lot of guesswork I made a floor plan.
I used Illustrator to make a scale drawing, but it would also have been easy to do with a pencil and graph paper.
Next, I thought about which pieces I absolutely need to have in my sewing space:
1. Sewing machine table with spaces for two machines
2. Commercial sewing machine with motor table
3. Two 36" wide, 72" tall bookcases
4. 36" x 40" shelving
5. Flatscreen TV
After a lot of experimenting and moving things around, I came up with a plan for arranging the furniture:
I thought about placing the sewing machine table and the commercial machine in the middle of the room, back to back, to leave the walls for storage, but that seemed cramped and awkward. Leaving the center of the room open means I can set up an ironing board, or bring a dress form into the middle of the room.
The shelves will hold my sewing books, tools, and notions that I want nearby.
The large open corner at lower right will hold a waste basket and at least one of my dress forms.
You'll notice that there is no cutting table. My table is big, and if it were in this room there would only be about 18" of space around it, which doesn't work for a larger person like myself. I'll need to keep it and other equipment elsewhere.
I looked at other areas of the house and came up with an expanded plan.
Just down the hall from the sewing room is the great room, which has a rather odd long narrow shape that results in most the furniture being at one end, and a large open space at the other end. This space turns out to be perfect for my cutting table.
The table will be folded up and rolled into the laundry room when it's not in use. The laundry room will also be home to the ironing board and seam rolls, pressing hams, etc.
Fabrics and other supplies will be stored in plastic bins on utility shelves in the garage.
The shorter bookcase, with a floor length fabric cover, will serve as a foyer table, and the TV will be mounted on the wall over it.
Even though this arrangement spreads out over four rooms, I think it will be an efficient and pleasant place to sew.
Next : Making it Pretty. This may take a few days, because I'm still painting!