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Sewing in a Small Apt.

Diane_I. | Posted in The Archives on

Hi everyone!
I’m looking for tips on sewing in a small space. I live in NYC, and don’t have very much room for making sewing a regular part of my life – but I’d like that to change! My machine is a portable (White), and my supplies are kept in a container. Everything has to be put away and taken out easily. Basically, on the increasingly rare occasions when I sew, I usually cut the fabric on the floor and have to do everything in the living room. I used to do it on the dining table, but now we have a desk. However I don’t think it’s configured very well for sewing. If anyone has space-saving suggestions on storing fabric, notions, & supplies, and working on a project, please post here! One idea I had was to work on two garments at once (same pattern, different fabrics), just to see what that would be like. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!


  1. Stacey_Smith | | #1

    Hi Diane understand your problem well. We traveled around in a 30' travel trailer for about 3 years. There were 5 of us with 4 being seamstresses. things we learned were do things one step at a time. Don't plan to get the whole project done in a sitting. Cutting out is one job sewing together another (Sometimes the sewing is split up even further Bodice today skirt tommorrow.) When you get one job done clean up after it and decide if you have enough time to start the next. This keeps the project from migrating to every available flat surface. We use project bags or tubs everyhing goes into the bag or tub. I particularly like the rubbermaid tubs with the snap on lids. I use them still to store fabric in, they are a good way to contain everything and stick it in the closet. Also you can use a press board, like they use for qilting, for most pressing, that takes up lots less space than an ironing board. My sister made us a small pincushion with velcro on the back and stuck a piece of velcro to the S Machine it worked great for us and is very portable, sticks to the arms of most furniture. It is a bit harder to sew in a small space but if your motivated to get it done it will happen. Another thing you can do is have a freind sit with you while you sew and make suggestions about making things more efficient. How bout a picture of your sewing space for everyone to make suggestions?

    1. Linda_H | | #2

      *I went to Staples (I'm sure the other office super stores must carry them, too) and bought a wonderful six drawer roll-around unit. I can roll it out so it's right next to me while I'm sewing or can roll it away in a corner or the closet when I don't need it. I put all of my supplies in it, needles, scissors, tools, etc. For my thread I have a wooden rack tacked to the wall next to my sewing machine. Hope this helps.

      1. MAGD | | #3

        *I also sew in a small apartment. Among my favorite sewing tools are two inexpensive cardboard cutting tables. These tables make it possible for me to cut fabric without stooping. They fold flat so I can store them under a bed or behind a bookshelf. The Sew/Fit (TM) table is very strong, although it is a bit frustrating to assemble unless you have a helping hand. I also have an older model (manufacturer unknown), not quite as sturdy but very easy to set up. Both tables have held up well through lots

        1. CassandraGray | | #4

          *I also sew in a teeny tiny apartment. I found a big wood-laminated board (34" x 8') which I place on my bed for cutting, pinning, etc. When I'm not sewing, it leans up against a wall or under the bed. And tubs, tubs, tubs! Under the couch, under the bed - stacked up with a cloth over them, they also make side tables.Needless to say, I can't wait to move to a larger apartment and have a dedicated room for sewing!

        2. NancyM | | #5

          I remember collapsible cardboard folding cutting tables and I could have sworn Dritz made them, but they know nothing about them, does anyone know who the manufacturer was and where I can find one.  I don't what the expensive $140.00 ones, because I have no storage.  I have gone to all fabric stores, needlework shops, etc. and can't find anything about these.  Help.


          1. Jean | | #6

            Dritz makes these folding boards but you put them on a table or on the floor to use.

            View Image

          2. NancyM | | #8

            Thanks, Jean.  I have one of those, but what I really want is a stand for that.  I guess I could use a card table.  I am just tired of messing up my dining room while I am sewing.  The collapsible cardboard cutting tables were sturdy and folded flat for easy storage. 



          3. edgy | | #9

            The folks who wrote Fit for Real People sell what you're looking for. It's in the book somewhere if you have that or google them for the website. I got the 40" high one so I could use it standing up. I can use it from all sides or push it out of the way w one finger!nancy

          4. MaryAnnD | | #10

            Nancy,  you may be looking for the Sew/Fit collapsible cardboard table.  It is now available through Quilters Rule.  I don't have the link handy, but it you go to their web site look for the tables/furniture area.


          5. NancyM | | #11

            Thank you so much.  I just ordered the table.  I have been looking for about 5 years for this table and because I discovered the Threads Gathering message board, I finally found one.

            Thanks, again.



          6. mem1 | | #7

            I think that i have seen these in a Mccalls catalogue here in Australia

  2. HelgaPataki | | #12

    sewing in small spaces

    Hi, I dont sew much any more but when I did, I lacked space( and time) as well.  I used to plan my steps.  I dont follow the instructions step by step but construct all the main pieces first, before I put all the pieces together.. like I'd fuse all my interfacin pieces before hand as a day project, and another day I might sew all the smaller pieces together like constructing collars and cuffs.   I find this method much easier to clean up and store. I would also rearrange my notions and supplies regularly so it would correspond with a project and have that prepared as a kit for the specific item I am planning to make. in one sense, its like placing all my necessary supplies into one shopping cart and working from there. 

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