The Sewing Space

Remember when I was working so hard to get my sewing room clean?  A while before that, I had filled out a survey for McCall’s Quilting regarding Baby Boomers and our quilting habits.  One question was “Would you be willing to share a picture of your sewing space?”  I answered yes.  McCall’s contacted me and wanted a picture of my sewing room which meant days and days of cleaning.  The magazine is now out, though I’ve just subscribed and haven’t received the issue, nor have I seen it but I think it’s just a small picture that’s included in the article.

After a bit of soul searching, I’m going to share the pictures of my sewing space.  Every single day I realize how blessed I am to have  what I have . . my family, my husband’s job, living in an area where real estate prices are extremely low, my sewing area . . and so much more!  When Vince and I married, my sewing room had been a small bedroom in my house in Louisiana.  My stash fit on a 3 shelf book case that was about 48″ long.  In KY, my sewing room started out in a room that was about 6′ x 8′ and basically a storage room.  It had no windows and the furnace was in a corner.  It was pretty miserable for the amount of time I spent there.  When I got the longarm, I put it in the family room that was downstairs. Chad was about 10 at the time and that was his space!  Chad did not welcome the longarm into his room and it was a hostile environment for a while.  That little bit of history is just so you know I haven’t always had a big, nice room and I appreciate my space tremendously.

So, before anyone starts comparing my sewing room to your sewing room, remember:   I’ve sewed on the kitchen table; I’ve stuffed all my sewing stuff in a tiny closet and quilting is a business for me . . it isn’t only a hobby.  It isn’t about the space we have, it’s how we use that space!


This is kinda what you see when you walk into the room from the stairs.  The Bernina 1230 and a Singer 301 are always set up.  Underneath the longarm, where that log cabin quilt is . . there are two twin size mattresses stacked up there.  If we have company and run out of sleeping space, we pull those mattresses out and make room for two more.  There are a lot of doors in this room, and that post in the middle.  The post is a support beam and can’t be moved.  The door directly past the longarm goes to a handicap ramp that leads to the garage upstairs.  The door to the right of it is to a storage room, which is all concrete and where we run for tornadoes.


The stash, ironing table and cutting table.  The stash is stored on metal shelving units from Sam’s Club.  The ironing table is a piece of plywood attached to a pine book case.  The cutting table is a workbench type thing with drawers, also from Sam’s Club.


The design wall is behind the sewing machines.  What you can’t see but just to the other side of those storage containers (which contain UFO’s), is my desktop computer.  The door right next to the design wall is another storage room.  The door next to that is Chad’s bedroom.  See why it’s so hard to sew when he’s home and sleeping?


If I’m sitting at a sewing machine, I’m kinda facing the longarm.  There’s a TV there.  The door by the TV leads to the downstairs garage.  I would love to put the longarm in that garage.  It’s heated and cooled but . . it’s also a storage room right now and it’s pretty full of “stuff”.


There’s a wet bar with a fridge (Dr. Pepper, you know!) and a little space to have a table and chairs but we have bookshelves with quilt books!  The door leads outside so Speck can go out and do his business or I can go check on the chickens.

Now when I’m sewing, you’ll know exactly where I am!  🙂  And . . I only wish the sewing room was still this clean!



  1. 1

    Just Me says

    What a great excuse to clean the room!! I too have sewed on the kitchen table, felt privileged to get a sewing table a few years later but it was not until my husband retired that I got my own sewing room. That’s putting the empty nest to good use!
    Congratulations on getting into McCall’s Quilting!! If I heard they were even on the street—I might clean my room.
    (fat chance!)
    I will look for the magazine when I am out.

  2. 2


    You have a lovely sewing room, Judy. I was just showing the pictures to my husband. He didn’t understand what he was looking at, and he thought you were sewing in a bowling alley! I think it was the long-arm machine he was looking at — he’s never seen one before. I’m still laughing. Bless him. 🙂

  3. 3

    Toni says

    I sewed many a year on the kitchen table and thought I was really “uptown” when I lucked on a card table at a thrift shop for a few dollars. Now my sewing room room is the former double garage.

  4. 4


    Most of us have “paid our dues” when it comes to our sewing spaces. I certainly love mine and spend more time there than any other place in the house.
    Judy, love your organized stash!!! I know it can’t possibly be that way all of the time—sure wish mine would.

  5. 5

    Linda H says

    Thank you for sharing your studio pics with us, Judy. Now I will have a more accurate image in mind when I read your blog. My quilting set-up is rather fragmented in this house, more so than in any of our other homes. I have quilt stations in 4 separate rooms! Ah well, it affords me lots of exercise running from one to the other.

    I’ll be looking for a McCall’s copy!

  6. 6


    I’ll look for your photo when my McCall’s arrives. (I thought I just got it last week, though…better go look.) I was going to ask how long the room stayed that clean….but I’m thinking I already know the answer…and it’s “Not very long”. LOL

  7. 8


    You know what struck me? I’ve become rather “jaded” to the size of your stash. When I see your stash pictures, it’s just simply “Judy’s Stash” in my mind. It’s not too much, it’s not too little, it’s who you are.

    I’m a little surprised that you don’t have more flat surface around your sewing machines, but with a long arm, I doubt you need the L-shape table set up that I have. I just can see a quilt dragging a bit when you sew on borders and such.

    I think you’ll find most quilters started off small. I grew up with sewing on the dining room table or folding table set up in the family room. And even when my parents built their own house, they only set aside a small corner of the laundry room for sewing. When I got married, my old bedroom eventually became the sewing room – something that I’m happy about! 🙂 It’s still a pretty simple set up, a folding table for the sewing machine, ironing board, cutting table and a dresser that holds all my mom’s fabric. Half of her stash is my fault, from our dyeing sessions.

    When I got married, I started off with with a corner of the living room, used the dining table as a cutting table and most of my stash was in the bedroom. Talk about scattered! Next place I had my own room, but I had to share it with my books and computer. At least I had a closet for my stash. Now at my current place, the entire second bedroom is dedicated to quilting. No books, no computer, no distractions! 🙂

    Judy… if you were able to keep your basement clean all the time, I wouldn’t want to be your friend! 😛

  8. 9

    Joyce Barham says

    I saw your sewing room in McCall’s quilting. I received my copy last week. Congratulations!

    I’ve quilted in small rooms, an unfinished basement, and on the dining room table over the years.

    However, when we built our new house, I asked for a big sewing space and the builder fit it into our plans. It’s 20×40 and also a 10×10 space for my stash. It also has its own electrical box. So, it looks like a backwards seven. I’m so lucky to be retired and have this big room and new machines.

    I enjoyed looking at your room, Judy. Joyce.

  9. 10


    I really miss my space in Marietta but even if we were still there I would have expanded out of the space we’d converted for my studio and into the entire downstairs.

    Keith and I were just talking the other day about how much more space I need now that I’m not just quilting for myself. With all the HeartStrings stuff coming in and going out and tons of quilts in all different stages of being done it’s just too much for the spaces I have but I make do. One day I’ll have a larger space again (I hope).

  10. 11

    Linda says

    What a lovely, roomy sewing room. You’re lucky too that there is plenty of other storage space in your house. Someday I’ll post a picture of my former sewing room on my blog. They were taken for a “messiest sewing room” contest so just use your imagination. I’m in a slightly larger room now, but it has a set of bunkbeds in one corner so there really isn’t a whole lot of space to move around in and part of my stash is still in the basement.

  11. 12


    I got my copy yesterday and yours is the only sewing room in the article!! It looks really nice!! I have a smaller space in this house than I have ever had. I wish it would stay clean, but I give up…

  12. 14

    quiltbea says

    I got my McCall’s today and its on Pg 43 with a nice picture showing all your machines plus your stash wall.
    As for your quilt studio, you’ve earned it. You need that longarm and that space since you do professional work.
    I quilt on a Viking that does great quilting with its “Q” foot so I’m pleased. I don’t do anything professionally. Mine are for gifts and charity and for me so I’m pleased with my quilt studio.
    As said on Fons and Porter, anytime you don’t have to put away your sewing machine, you’ve got a quilt studio.
    Most of us started with a machine on the kitchen table, and no stash at all.
    Love your studio. Enjoy.

  13. 16


    I’ve always had a machine set up somewhere since I was about 16 and bought a machine from the school. It had its own cabinet which it folded down into, so was not very large. It traveled quite a bit during my 20’s but my cutting has always been done on a dining room table until just this past August when my older daughter moved out and I got a sewing studio in her tiny room. Still, it is a blessing to have one room to go to and just play. I am spending a lot of time there! Your space is great but as you pointed out has a lot of wasted area with all those doors and needing clearance for foot traffic. Isn’t there a room upstairs Chad could move to?

  14. 17


    I rec’d the magazine this week and saw your space — but of course I was jealous! I have a room all to myself, it’s about 11 x 10 and I have outgrown it.

    someday, maybe I’ll have a bigger space – no interest in a LA, but I do want a bigger space!

    and if the elves that come and clean your room have time,, please send them my way!

    Beth in Dallas

  15. 18


    I knew it! …. well almost knew it 😉 I actually thought that photos were being taken for your next book.

    I’m so happy for you Judy that you have such a spacious and nice sewing area to enjoy. I only hope that one day if we ever live in a state that homes have basements that I can have a set up half as nice 😉 Until then, I’ll continue to use the dining room table 😉

    Love from Texas! ~bonnie

  16. 19

    pdudgeon says

    that is a beautiful quilting space!

    the smallest area i’ve ever had for quilting was a 3 x 5 ft space.
    it consisted of a recliner rocking chair, a TV tray which held my sewing machine, and a stack of 4 plastic boxes for my stash and notions. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  17. 20


    Hurrah for a beautiful room! I am blessed to have a room approximately 10’x13′ and think it’s heaven. Of course, I have a lot less fabric than you and no long arm, but I am thrilled with what I have and am happy that you love what you have.

  18. 22


    what a nice neat sewing studio! I love how you have everything organized … one day my things will all have a place too. Great photos thanks for sharing your space with us!

  19. 23


    We have a 4 bedroom house but where do my kids have to sleep when they come home to visit? (The couch in the living room)

    As soon as bedrooms became available, I claimed them. I now have a sewing room and another room for my longarm/midarm quilting machine and fabric stash. I feel so blessed. It is wonderful to be able to leave the sewing machine out.

    It was always so frustrating to have to pack everything up so people could eat at the table.

    My husband has started talking about building on an addition upstairs so I could have a real (larger) quilting studio and we could turn one of my rooms back into a guest bedroom. Hmmmm. Sounds good to me!

  20. 25

    June Piper-Brandon says

    Judy, it looks like just maybe we’ll start working on my corner of the basement this week. Only because I have been sewing in the corner of the living room where the Christmas tree goes and I have been sewing a lot. So, Skip is going to borrow my car this week and bundle up all the newspapers he has been hoarding and take them to the recycling depot, then I’m going to paint the walls off white and put up shelves so I can move all my fabric from the family room onto shelves. Ryan is staying at our house Christmas eve so he has to have somewhere to sleep and our tree has to go somewhere so hopefully I’ll get my corner!!
    Yours looks so nice and clean. I’ve been putting my scraps in a scrap bin for charity quilts. I made 15 charity quilts this year!! And, more in progress!!

  21. 26

    Norma says

    Judy, I saw the article in McCall’s magazine a couple of days ago. I was so proud of you! Especially your stash being folded so neat and so organized. Of course it can’t stay that way if you work in that wonderful room but isn’t it nice to have a picture of what it was all nice and cleaned up? Norma in BR

  22. 27

    Jackie Warren says

    Hi Judy. A friend gave me a subscription of McCall’s Quilting and I recently received the first issue. And there was your sewing room !!.. How exciting for you. A great place to work. Hope to see you again soon. Your friend in Fort Scott.

  23. 29

    Evelyn says

    My space is very portable – I often move it, especially depending on weather and where the heat is! But – my machine always stays set up, no matter! My DH knows this! Once the only available space was a narrow hallway and he brought home some used narrow door and put it across some cinder blocks for me – viola – instant sewing area! With a 6 year old, I really prefer to sew in the living room or on a small table in the kitchen corner so I can be central to the household. I can sew and keep an eye on dinner at the same time! Once DH wanted a new piece of living room furniture and I said no way – if we put that in there it will take up all the floor space and I won’t be able to lay my blocks out on the floor! If quilting was my profession, I am sure I would want a different arrangement, but for me – this usually works. People who go to jobs afterall have adequate work space, and so should a person who works out of the home. My own office is the biggest room of the house – would make a lovely sewing room, but that is not my profession so the office takes first place. Working from the home can be solitary and if you aren’t disciplined – it can be easy to get side-tracked. Having a nice work environment helps you stay on track! What a wonderful space you have!

  24. 30

    Denise says

    Happened to pick that issue up in the store yesterday and as I was flipping through it saw the photo and even before reading the caption thought – Hey, that’s Judy’s sewing room. LOL

  25. 31

    Kathy C. says

    Way to go! I recognized the room before I even read the caption. My room is half of the laundry room, but so far, it works for me. Hardly anyone bothers me in there! 😉

  26. 32

    Sharon says

    I subscribe to McCall’s and didn’t know you were going to be in there until I opened my issue the other day. How exciting to see your room in the magazine. I have just recently taken over my daughter’s room. I too have sewn in my room, in the utility room, at the dining room table and even in the hallway of our small mobile home when I first started sewing. My two daughters have left for college in the last few years and I have a room all my own finally. I am in heaven. I love it in there.

  27. 34


    Great sewing room. Mine is 10 by 10 and I just spent most of the day cleaning and sorting through stuff. You make me feel less guilty as I have no where near as much as you do! LOL. I will have to look for that magazine. I am a new visitor, BTW.

  28. 35


    Hi and Thanks Judy. You are an inspiration and I love checking out what goes on in your life routinely. I love your quilting space photos. I would love to go down and polay in that room and you could always come up and play in mine. It still is quite messy though I am getting bettter I still have a long ways to go.
    Love your designs, recipes, and family stories. Thanks again and the Happiest of Holidays to you and yours.