The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Arranging Your Studio

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this before, but doing a quick search – nada!!!  Considering how importance of the arrangement in your studio to the work and time spent in your studio is vital to the output of what you do.  This doesn’t even consider the attitude your sewing space can have on your work.

This all started when I began to look online at the many sewing studios and how they all seemed to have one thing in common:  they all had the work areas up against the wall with usually a view of the wall and most of the time the sewist’s back was facing into the room.  This sounds OK and nothing’s wrong with it, but once you’ve had a room professional arranged, you find out this is not good at all.  But in a search on Google image search engine, you would be surprised how many times sewing spaces have the machine against the wall.

I started looking at the most famous office in the world, and that office doesn’t have the desk up against the wall.  As a matter of fact, that desk is on the other side of the room from the entrance to the room and it looks out over the room – sort of like a commander in chief would look out over the room.

Then I started looking at movie sets and how they arranged offices.

This office looked great, but again the desk is not up against the wall looking at the wall


And these two offices from the TV series, “Suits”, are the same thing…both cases the office desk is looking out over the office – toward the backside of the office.

So why are sewing studios set up like some sort of prison, while professionals set up offices like some sort of master looking out over his/her office realm?  Well, I didn’t like that at all, so a few years ago when I moved from my 3-level monstrosity into my one-level dream home, I had the chance to completely redo my studio.  Before everything was built into the walls in my studio and I would never do that again.  I was more or less relegated to using the same machine with the same size/template or else I would have to rip out the main part of the studio so as to accommodate another model machine.  Yikes!  I wasn’t about to do that.  But now that I moved, I get to start all over again, smarter and wiser this time.

I arranged it according to the way the pros do.  Using the same techniques and guidelines, I laid out my office just the way they recommended.  I did a little re-adjustment, but basically I adhered to all the rules.

I don’t even think I can begin to describe the difference in my attitude, how I feel in the office, how much more work I get done and what a fabulous environment, mentally and spiritually, it is to work in this room.  The amazing thing is that I have the same square footage in this one-level dream home that I did in the 3-level monstrosity, but my studio is way bigger, and my kitchen is way larger.  There’s really no accounting for how much space a staircase takes up, and when you don’t have one, you realize how much more room you have.  One of the many great joys is that my 2nd office/studio door is across the hall from Walt so that I can hear what’s going on in there (he finds the best movies on Netflix and Amazon), and so we can chat back and forth – usually him asking me to come in and fix his computer or me asking him to reach up high and put up some curtains I’ve made or some other task for a tall person.

I don’t feel separated from him nor him from me, yet we have our own workspaces.  I feel active and love coming into this room in the morning and love working here all day, but this didn’t happen by accident.  Want to know more?  In the Resource Center, is a great resource on not only what I did for my own studio, but for other students and clear directions on how to layout your own sewing room or space so that it works for you.

Some comments from students I’ve worked with:

Omg. I love it! I’m much better about keeping my patterns close and organized. So I don’t spend any time trying to ” find that top pattern I did a month ago. ~ Susan, LA


I can’t wait to go into my studio and work – it’s so inviting now. ~ Susan, OK

These are techniques used by the pros and there’s no reason we can’t use them to create our own dream spaces.

  1. I once worked for a garment manufacturer on the sewing floor. No sewing machines were up against walls. I have industrial machines. They are arranged in a ‘square’ so I can easily slide between them. My sewing ‘studio’ is always a work in progress. Love your articles.

    • Joanne – glad you like these little commentaries – I really enjoy passing them on. Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me that commercial would arrange their work area this way. This is what I found in my research is that pros always have a “commander position” and everything else is arranged around that.

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