Need Sewing Room Ideas? See My Renovated Attic

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

Are you ready to rearrange or maybe even renovate your sewing room, but need some fresh sewing room ideas? I know the feeling! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have sewn in A LOT of different spaces. I was 15 when I learned to sew which means I've set up shop in my parent's spare bedroom, in dorm rooms, in rented studio apartments, in tiny condos, in my own spare bedrooms, and now finally, over 20 years later, in a dedicated sewing room. It's been a journey!

I can't wait to dive in and show you what we did to make my ideal sewing room. Spoiler alert — my top three priorities were LOTS of natural sunlight, LOTS of cabinets for storage, and LOTS of wide open hard wood floor space for moving projects and furniture around.

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My Sewing Room Renovation

In 2017 we bought a 90-year-old home in Oak Park, IL, just outside of Chicago. When we bought it, I didn't even consider the attic as an asset — mostly because it looked like this...

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

Yikes! It wasn't even safe to be up there. There wasn't enough insulation to keep it heated, no safe flooring, and basically no natural light. It was kind of a nightmare. But after getting pregnant with baby #2 in the summer of 2020, I got desperate to figure out a way to not have a crib in my sewing room (a.k.a. our spare bedroom).

After meeting with an architect, we came up with a plan to remove a hallway closet from our second floor to create a staircase up to this attic. Currently it just had a pull-down staircase. We figured out how to raise the horizontal beams, move HVAC, and basically make it a useable space. As soon as the plans were rubber-stamped and permits granted, we got our builders on the job!

My son, Desi, LOVED having builders pounding around in our house every day. To get him used to the idea of a future a new baby in the family, I got him a baby doll to play with. He named his doll after his favorite builder, Tony. To this day both of my kids still love baby Tony. 🙂

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

It felt like the clock was ticking to get this finished, because as my excitement grew to have a beautiful sewing room, so did my belly! The photo below was taken in early February 2021 and I was due on April 4. Tick tock, Tony!

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com
Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

Once the insulation and drywall were installed, the space really started to take shape. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel! Because of the slope of our roof, we decided to add storage cabinets along both sides of my sewing room. The cabinet space wouldn't be huge, but there would be a lot of it.

Some of the cabinets were left open behind the doors, like you see here, but about a fourth of them had pull-out drawers installed for fabric and sewing supplies.

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

John and Scrappy liked to make nightly checks on the progress...

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

We were getting so close! I finished this Voyage quilt just weeks before having my second baby, Joanna. Scrappy was loving all of the warm sunlight in the new space.

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

My Top 3 Sewing Room Priorities 

I mentioned this before, but I want to break down and explain my top 3 priorities when designing this sewing room.

Sewing Room Priority #1: Natural Sunlight

Aside from all the joy and Vitamin D sunlight brings to a room, I also needed good lighting for the photos I would be taking. Most of the photos and videos you see here on the Suzy Quilts website were taken right here in my home.

Cloudy Chicago doesn't have many sunny days, so I need to maximize the sun when we do get it and take as many photos as I can by these big windows.

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

Sewing Room Priority #2: Cabinets for Storage

You don't have to sew for very long to realize that it's easy to acquire STUFF. We have sewing machines, fabric, batting, notions, tools — the list goes on. It's really important to have spaces to organize and store all of the stuff we need to make our beautiful creations!

It's also really important to store fabric and quilts out of direct sunlight. On the blog we have A LOT of great resources on folding, organizing, and storing fabric and quilts. Here are some of them:

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com
How I store fabric in my sewing room | suzyquilts.com
How I store fabric in my sewing room | suzyquilts.com

Sewing Room Priority #3: Flexible Space for Moving Projects and Furniture

Since I've been sewing for well over 20 years and in many different places, I know how needs change. Sometimes a space needs to be an office, then a guest room, then a nursery, and all the while a sewing room!

Even though I designed this attic to be the headquarters for Suzy Quilts and my personal sewing room, I also knew that my family was growing and my kids would be in and out constantly. I wanted to be able to move furniture around easily and be flexible in how the room was laid out.

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

I started off with this large dining room table as my computer desk, but quickly decided that not only did I miss standing while working at a computer (see my old standing desk sewing studio here - New And Improved! My Standing Desk Sewing Studio) I also wanted to reclaim that space for photos.

Suzy Quilts Sewing Studio | suzyquilts.com

As things were currently laid out, on one side of the room was my desk and ironing board (photo above), and on the other side of the room was my cutting table and sewing cabinet (photo below). Since my sewing cabinet was on wheels, I was constantly rolling it off to the side so I could take photos on the floor.

The New Horizons quilt pattern includes instructions for both fat quarters and limited-color yardage instructions. suzyquilts.com #modernquilt #quilt

Here's that cutting table I mentioned. It's technically a kitchen island. I had a Rhino cutting mat cut to fit the top. Seen below: Cutting table, Cutting mat, Daylight lamp, Storage bins, Trash can

I have found the best sewing cabinet for quilting and crafting! Folding leaves, legs on wheels and lots of storage are just some of the reasons I love my sewing cabinet. This is an honest review with no sponsorship and no affiliate money. suzyquilts.com #sewingcabinet #sewingtable

And here's baby Joanna helping me cut out a New Horizons quilt...

13 Tips for Caregivers on How to Make Time for Creativity - suzyquilts.com

And a year or so later, here she is helping me take photos of an Adventureland quilt! I bought some large vinyl photo backdrops that I throw on the floor for my quilt photos. Because of the slope of my attic walls, I can get better photos if I put the quilt on the ground and stand on a stool, rather than trying to hang them vertically.

Adventureland is the best modern quilt pattern for a beginner quilter. You can use yardage, a jelly roll or scrap fabric! suzyquilts.com

So do you see how rolling my sewing cabinet out of the way every time I wanted to take a quilt photo could get tiring?

If you're wondering, my main sewing machine is a BERNINA 770QE, even though I have a soft spot for the 570QE - click the link to see why! If you would like more details on my sewing cabinet, check out this post - The Best Sewing Cabinet For Quilting & Crafting.

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

So I took out the desk on this side and now have my vinyl backdrops out all of the time so I can easily and quickly throw a quilt down for a photo. My kids also love playing with the huge storage tubes.

That's Joanna in the photos above and below — quite the difference two and a half years make!

Suzy Quilts Sewing Studio | suzyquilts.com

I am using a simple towel rack for quilt storage and magnetic boards for hanging my fabric swatches. These swatches are from Woven and Woolly, but we also have a tutorial on how to make your own — How To Make Magnetic Fabric Swatches For Easy Color Selection. The quilt featured on the rack is the Shining Star quilt pattern.

Suzy Quilts Sewing Studio | suzyquilts.com

Also on this side of my sewing studio is my ironing board. Since my sewing table is on the other side of the room, I move this ironing board based on how much pressing I'm doing. This is a Reliable ironing board with a large wool pressing mat on top.

Suzy Quilts Sewing Studio | suzyquilts.com

And here's Desi showing off his tailor's clapper skills. He's pressing a Christmas Maypole quilt while standing on a Voyage pouf.

Use the Voyage pattern in this quilted pouf tutorial. This square floor pouf DIY is perfect for a living room, playroom or office! suzyquilts.com

Since moving out my desk, I now go back and forth from standing at my cutting table and sitting at my sewing cabinet when working on the computer.

I also moved my bins of scrap fabric out from my cutting table to make room for all of my fabric collections with Art Gallery Fabrics! I'm getting a little bit messy...

Quilting Cutting Table in Suzy Quilts' sewing studio - suzyquilts.com

My Best Sewing Room Advice — Make It Work for YOU

  1. Make a list of your top priorities and then get creative.
  2. Understand your workflow and set up your sewing space to make it comfortable and easy on you.
  3. Be OK with changing things up (frequently.) I've been in this renovated attic space for three years and I've rearranged the furniture multiple times to accommodate my changing needs.
  4. Frequently get rid of fabric and tools you no longer love or need. It took me a LONG time to come to grips with the fact that I was drowning in fabric and I didn't need three of the same ruler and five rotary cutters and...you get what I'm saying. Selling and/or giving away unneeded sewing stuff is a gift to you and the recipient.
  5. Your sewing room doesn't have to be exclusively a "sewing room." If your sewing room is currently your dining room and every night you need to clear out so the family can eat breakfast the next morning, that's OK! Maybe you can keep your sewing machine in a cabinet nearby, bring your ironing board out as needed, and store your fabric and tools somewhere else completely.

There's no wrong way to make a sewing space and I'd hate for the lack of a dedicated sewing room to be the reason you don't sew. I have found that the more communal and inviting I make my sewing room, the more my family and friends want to hang out with me while I sew — which means I get to share what I love with the people I love!

Adventureland is a beautiful modern quilt pattern. It's jelly roll friendly and perfect for beginner quilters or those learning to sew. suzyquilts.com #modernquilt #babygirl

And who knows, maybe all of that sewing exposure will turn them into quilters, crafters, or artists one day. Time will tell!

Suzy Quilts Sewing Studio | suzyquilts.com

And here's my little assistant showing off his TIE fighter Star Wars rocket launchers. Thanks, Desi! We were taking photos of my latest collection of thread with Aurifil. You can read more about that here - Introducing Suzy Quilts 8wt Thread For Aurifil.

Suzy Quilts Aurifil 8wt thread

What Sewing Room Ideas Do You Have?

I'd love to know what you prioritize in a sewing room! If you're new to quilting and have questions about organization or how to use your space the best, ask away in the comments! We'd love to see pics of your sewing spaces if you have them, so please share in the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group!

Need sewing room ideas? I renovated my attic and now it's a beautiful sewing room! suzyquilts.com

19 thoughts on “Need Sewing Room Ideas? See My Renovated Attic

  1. Joy Skibo says:

    Love your seat under the window.I would take naps there everyday since my kids are all grown now and not as busy as a young mom anymore. I have that same white sewing table, got the idea from your article. And the man who built it delivered it to me in Florida. I love it.

  2. elizabeth louros says:

    I have an attic in my 120. year old home and after seeing your post want to turn mine into a sewing room/ hang out room. Now, to convince my husband.

  3. Susan says:

    What brand and style is your sewing table? I have a Horn Quilters Edition sewing cabinet and if I upgrade my sewing machine it wont fit.

    • Laura Hopper says:

      Suzy’s is from Tracy’s Tables, but we highly recommend ordering your next sewing table through a local dealer in your area instead of ordering online so you can try it your new table out before committing!

  4. Joan says:

    Thank you for the tour! I am taking everything in and trying to make mine like yours!!!!!!Complete with kids and dogs! My shelves are currently open and ALWAYS messy looking and all the cabinets with drawers are different colors! Like a Halloween party down here! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  5. SuzyShep says:

    Love, love, love this space. What a magical transformation you guys acchieved. Can’t wait to see what your sewing space will be (and how it might also be transformed) in the new house. My husband keeps talking about making cabinets under the slanted ceiling in my sewing room and I have resisted. But after seeing your photos, I might add a new project to his “honey-do” list.

    • Karen Beatty says:

      yay!!! I am moving into a house with a finished attic and was wondering how to work around those slanted walls. I just have one tiny window, bit I love the clean airy look you created in yours

  6. Cara says:

    Design wall, however simple or crude. I like to see the quilt as it’s built. I’m still using a cheap tablecloth tacked up to a wall (over a closet I rarely need to access). It’s only 60″ wide & 80″ tall, but it works.

  7. Jeanne says:

    I envy you all the sunlight you have in your room. My sewing room is in our basement. I just had new lighting put in, but it’s not the same as natural light. I’m surprised that you don’t have a design wall. Mine is 8′ x 8′ and I couldn’t sew without it.

  8. Lisa says:

    What a great space! I love all of your pictures and the way you share the project. GREAT JOB! I am shopping for a sewing table and really like the one you have chosen. I have a similar model of Bernina (790) and I like the extension capability of your table. What brand/model do you have?

    • Laura Hopper says:

      Suzy’s is from Tracy’s Tables, but we highly recommend ordering your next sewing table through a local dealer in your area so you can try it your new table out before committing!

  9. Lynn says:

    I am in awe of your ability to get so much accomplished with 2 little kids!
    You are amazing! Keep up the good work! And your sewing room is beautiful!
    Just one question- Do you still have to climb the folding stairs to get there or did you change them?

    • Laura Hopper says:

      Isn’t that space just lovely? Suzy does not climb up folding stairs — there’s a brief mention in the blog post about working with an architect to come up with a plan to remove a second floor closet to create a regular staircase up to the attic. Great solution!

  10. Deb says:

    After becoming a quilter 45 years ago, I finally decided to have a dedicated sewing space. I got sick of taking my machine in and out of its case and using a kitchen table. However, at age 72, I do need to move around. So I am in the process of turning in my second guest room into a sewing space. First a new sewing table/cabinet that I can sink my machine into and close up, when a guest stays longer than a week. No more in and out of the case. I set up a dresser as for my fabric storage. ( I have a single bed in this second guest room). There is a closet for storage. I loved the suggestions from your storage cupboards. My ironing board in the first guest room, while working on a project. It requires me to get up and walk around while working on a project. I do my cutting at my kitchen counter, because I like the height. Again, I am moving around from room to room. As I live alone and I am retired, it is easy to clean up the daily mess with making a quilt. But I do love one room for storage and machine access. I appreciate the photos for ideas, as. this room evolves. I suppose I should consider a design wall.

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