New and Improved! My Standing Desk Sewing Studio

Standing-Desk-Sewing-Studio

Let me preface this standing desk / sewing studio post with this: sit, stand, squat, kneel – work however feels right to you and don’t feel bad about it. I hate when self-help bloggers tell me how to live my life and that’s the last thing I want to do here. (Can you tell I'm a bit of a rebel?)

Just remember that this current infatuation I'm having with my standing desk is my perspective, right now, in this moment. It might change! And it’s not “right.” Just because you’re reading it on a highly credible blog ;), doesn’t mean that it’s scientific fact and you need to buy one ASAP. Maybe saying all of that is totally unnecessary, but, I just wanted you to read this post with that thought in your head. Moving on!

sewing-studio-tour

As you may have seen on social media, my sewing studio has transformed into standing room only. That’s right, people. I am now computing, designing, cutting, ironing and sewing all while standing up. I had various reasons for this change and now that I’ve made the jump I have a few tips as well.

Sewing while Standing: To Simply Feel Good

Let’s start with a very deep and complex quote from author, Neil Gaiman, about writing and staying focused, “[When struggling with writer's block, I ask myself] Have I had enough sleep? Have I eaten? Would it be a good idea to go for a short walk?”

Did you catch that? It was some seriously high brow philosophical reasoning. Let me break it down. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our creativity is to not create – it’s to take a nap or eat a snack or stand up instead of sitting down. After listening to a podcast with Tim Ferris, I heard this wonderful little nugget of truth, “To live a slightly better life today than yesterday is to simply eat, sleep, and move better than you did the day before and avoid people who drain you.”

If great lives are composed of great days, I want to try my best to maximize each moment and feel my best in those moments. So. Here we are. Standing. Is that the answer to all of life’s problems? No. But could it cause a positive ripple effect in my life? I hope so!

oliso-ad
Standing-Desk-Sewing-Studio

Sewing Studio Tour

To give you a clear picture of how this standing desk fits into my sewing studio, let me take you on a quick tour. In that tour, I'll also share with you some of my favorite things, and possibly, where you to can get them.

First, we walk into my second floor sewing studio. It's a snowy and slightly overcast day (very classic Chicago in January.)

Suzy-Quilts-Sewing-Studio

The first thing you see on the right is my Gingham Spring quilt, which was showcased at QuiltCon 2017.

Creative-Studio

If you read my post on creating a design wall, you will have seen that previously that entire wall was covered in cotton batting and used as a creative design wall. After working in my studio for half a year, and understanding my workflow better, I decided that I didn't need to have one of my four walls permanently dedicated as a design wall. I do a lot of work on the computer and only quilt a couple days a week. Wouldn't I rather have a pretty quilt hanging?

Read my How to Hang a Quilt tutorial to see exactly how I did it.

Modern-Sewing-Studio

Products: IKEA curtains, CB2 plant, fully desk, Bernina 770QE, Olga rug

Let me also add that these Command Cord Clips were a lifesaver when trying to wrestle down all of the cords hanging from my desk and throughout my studio. After posting about my cord problems on Instagram, one of you amazing people told me about these. THANK YOU!

This sewing studio tour would not be complete without a cameo from my furry co-worker, Scrappy...

sewing-studio-thread-wall

Note about the table: I know someone's going to ask in the comments where to get my cutting table. Unfortunately, I looked on the IKEA website for a link to this table and couldn't find one. It may be an in-store-only item or it may be sold out. Since IKEA rarely changes up their inventory, and I just got it in 2017, I would guess that you could still find it in the store. I found this in the kitchen department and it was labeled as a kitchen table with matching high-seated chairs.

EDIT: The table has been found! Thanks, for the fabulous sleuthing, Kristin! Here is the link.

Fat Quarter Shop Daily Flash Sale

Sewing while Standing: Some Thoughts and Tips

What I recommend if you choose to get a standing desk:

  • Wear sneakers or shoes with cushion and good arch support. Currently, it’s cold here in Chicago, so I wear fuzzy slippers when prancing about my house. Sadly, those cozy slippy slips cause my feet to ache and legs to fatigue if I try standing at my desk for more than 45 minutes at a time while wearing them. Enter sneakers! Wearing cushioned gym shoes is a fantastic upgrade and dramatically prolongs my standing stamina.
  • Get an anti-fatigue mat. This basically does what sneakers do – gives your feet cushion and support. If you’re a fashionista, and can’t be caught outside the gym wearing sneakers, this is a great option. My one (major) drawback with these mats is that they are total eye sores. Like Ugg-o-ly! (See below for a pic of mine.) I really like the added energy and the way I feel after a day of standing compared to a day of sitting, so I’ll deal. But I just finished styling my sewing studio and this mat is a bummer to look at. NOTE: If you aren’t ready to invest in another gadget after purchasing a standing desk, try folding a yoga mat and standing on that. It might be enough padding.
standing-desk-home-office
  • Keep it fun by changing things up. I'm not big into tech toys. My husband is the one who's all about that. However, I do love gadgets and accessories – especially exercise related ones. Below you can see that I got a funny little rocking balance board. By standing and balancing on this (and trust me, it's not that hard to balance. You won't fall off.) you can work your core muscles ever so slightly. I haven't done it enough to see a big difference in my core strength, but it's still nice to change things up and rock out on it for a while every day.
Standing-Sewing
  • Give it time. There’s an adjustment period. I was smiling and giggling to myself like a fool on day one. The novelty of standing while working was so exciting! By day two...oy vey! My lower back was sore. My feet hurt. And the novelty was gone. Where’s my chair?! It was then that I realized that standing vs. sitting was not always going to be an easy choice. I changed my mindset to (now don’t laugh) that of an athlete training for a goal. (Did you laugh? I told you not to. OK OK, you can. I’m laughing too at the picture of me decked out in sweatbands and tube socks training for the big day I can stand without sitting.) When one trains for a marathon, they don’t start off running 26 miles. No! Sometimes they start off just running 3. So in the beginning, if I could only stand comfortably for a few hours a day – that’s still a win. Also during my mindset change, I realized the importance of walking around, shifting from side to side, randomly moving my body around and periodically practicing my kegels. TMI? My target audience is 95% women – you can handle it. 😉
  • Take breaks. No matter what shoes you wear or how many cushioned pads you stand on, you will eventually get tired of standing. To counteract aching feet and muscles, I do random stretches on the floor (aka Quilt Yoga™), lay in corpse pose on the ground for a few minutes, or even sometimes, lower my table and just sit for a while. If you search for “quick yoga” you’ll find some great videos to guide you. Here's a nice short one I have enjoyed...

Sewing While Standing

After posting about this on social media I've gotten a few questions about sewing while standing.

  • Does the table shake when you sew? A little bit. If I slam on the gas, and sew at max speed, the table will shake a bit. I have not found it to be a problem, however if that is a deal breaker for you, you should look into getting a sturdy sewing cabinet. See this article for more info. When sewing at a steady pace, the table does not shake at all.
  • What brand is your standing desk? The brand is fully and the design I have is called Jarvis.
  • Is it hard to move the table up and down? Nope! I just press a button and the table smoothly lowers up and down.
fully-table

Let me know if you have any more questions about sewing while standing or how I utilize my sewing studio. If you have a standing desk and have any tips for us, please share in the comments! I hope you enjoyed my tour and happy sewing! xo

EDIT: In the comments and on Instagram many of you have asked where I keep all of my "stuff." I prefer to work in a tidy space, so as much as possible, I hide my stuff in a walk-in closet. I posted this pic of that closet on my IG stories a few months ago, but here it is again. I call this closet my panic room and sometimes take my laptop in there and work. Being surrounded by my fabric and quilts relax me. 😉

Sewing-room-storage

This post contains affiliate links. For more info, check out the FAQ page.

Craftsy-Class-Ad-25

Suzy Quilts

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

62 thoughts on “New and Improved! My Standing Desk Sewing Studio

  1. Becky says:

    This is awesome!!!!! My husband adopted the standing desk for computer work 10 years ago. He needs that anti fatigue mat. Lately I have struggled with neck pain due to my sewing seated position but hadn’t thought to try standing. So very helpful!!!

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Oh I’m so glad you found this helpful! You could try sewing at your kitchen counter or island to see if you like sewing while standing. It takes a little bit of time to get used to it.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Here is the link to my new collapsible design wall. I really like it, however, it’s not what I expected. When I first ordered it, I assumed that it popped open and folded closed. Unfortunately, it takes a bit more assembly than that. The rods have to snap together and then slide into sleeves on all sided of the felt. The first time I put it together, it took me about 7 minutes. Now that I have the hang of it, it takes me about 4. Yes, it is surprisingly sturdy for being free-standing. I really wanted a design wall that I could fully put away, so this does the job well.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      You found it! That’s the one. 🙂 Well, if you hit the table top with your rotary blade…which is inevitable if using it as a cutting table, it will scratch. I’ve had mine for about 9 months and it probably has about 6 small scratches on it – which, in my opinion, isn’t noticeable. I love the look and size of it!

  2. Di Ross says:

    Interesting. Been looking for a yoga routine for the mornings will check this out. Thanks for sharing . Love your work , you always make me smile 😘😘

  3. Helen says:

    How old is your house? I lived for 20 years in one that looks the same age as yours: built in 1933. Loved the woodwork and floors!

  4. Kate says:

    The cutting table is standing height as well, yes? The hunched-over cutting is killing me so I reverted back to cutting on the floor. It’s…not any better.

  5. Joy says:

    Hi Suzy, I love your studio it is beautiful and functional. I love the standing tables.. they would have been awesome to have when I was still working in an office all day also. There is sweet Scrappy watching momma work 🐾 thank you for all your tips and tricks for making things easier in our studios. 👍🏼

  6. karen s says:

    Such a great idea to change things up! I was a little worried about the height of your chair vs. the table–WHAT?–until you explained how the tabke goes up and down 🙂 Swanky! We’ve had great success in our kitchen where we always seem to be standing and chopping, slicing, etc. with a gel mat. It’s made a world of difference on feet and backs. We have a Gel Pro–they come in all kinds of sizes, designs and colors. Check ’em out!

  7. Teresa Doyle says:

    I am a fairly new quilter, and I’ve been quilting standing up for about a year. I have had low back pain syndrome for many years and cannot sit in a regular chair without severe discomfort. But I so wanted to machine quilt the tops that I made with EPP. My solution: Standing at the kitchen counter! I keep a tall stool handy if I want to “sorta stand” to rest my feet. I’ve also raised my cutting table; no more back and shoulder pain. For me, this is a matter of quilting or not quilting; but I encourage other quilters to try this method.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      I’m so happy to hear that you’ve been standing while quilting for a long time now and still love it! And the stool is a great idea if I get tired and want to lean or perch a little bit. Thanks, Teresa!

  8. Lisa says:

    I’m trying to get through reading this but the number of ads and pop ups, including the one that won’t clear at all going all the way across the article made me give up reading it. And I love your style, I’ve already devoured the first Craftsy class.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Oh shoot! I’m so sorry to hear that. Is it my newsletter pop-up that’s giving you trouble? I admit, it’s pretty annoying, however I think if I turned it off, people would stop signing up and then I wouldn’t get to have these great blog discussions with fellow quilters!

      • Lisa says:

        That one is fine. It’s this patchwork quilt blue banner that goes all the way across that moves up and down and flickers when scrolling. On my iPad it takes up about 3/4 of an inch and doesn’t gi be much room to read.

      • Lisa says:

        And that design “wall” is the bomb. I bought one years ago at a show. I went in with the thought that I was going to buy something to help me use the fabric I had. It’s the cutest older couple that own the company. Sometimes at a retreat I only prop it against a wall to save space.

  9. Jamie says:

    We bought my mom a similar style desk from Ikea for her sewing area, and she LOVES it. She sits to sew at one it, but loves that she can easily raise to stand up and cut on the other end!

  10. Jodi says:

    Interesting idea. It certainly does make sense. I stand to cut, sit to sew, then stand to iron…not very efficient. I will think about this when ever I am able to create a studio. Right now my supplies and tools are in different areas of the house, and my machine is kept in an armoire. I have to get all my things out when I am working on a project then put it all back to eat dinner on my workspace (some people call this a kitchen table). Thank you for the inspiration.

    • autumn says:

      hmmm….i like that one! it looks like it could solve my problems, but i have a question! right now, i DO sit to sew, and i had my ikea table shortened so i could sew at a better height, as i’m short. anyway, i read that the stool doesn’t go high enough for some tall people, but would it go short enough for a shorter table, do you know? i see the reviews keep talking about it being great for the standing desk. thanks for any thoughts!

      • Suzy Quilts says:

        Autumn, are you wondering if it would be a good height for you to sit on it at a regular desk? It looks like the minimum height is 20″, so I think that should work. You may want to get out a tape measure, though, and take some measurements before buying.

        • autumn says:

          fo’ sho’. i think i will try and hit up IKEA next week….i have been using a stepstool….like, with STEPS….for painting, aha! i don’t mind it much, but it clearly doesn’t glide, LOL. and in my case, “regular” desk is the basical IKEA table…shortened by a few inches. i think i’d like to try the standing thing, too, but i’m never sure what’s best. i have a bum back from some accidents, and i wonder if it’s good to mix up my standing and sitting, to balance things out. never sure! thank you, lady!!

  11. Vivian says:

    What a great sewing studio! And I’m so glad to see your little furry friend has a special spot just for him. Even on a cold overcast day the light is beautiful and bright. Happy creating!!

  12. Xanthe says:

    I am obsessed with your sewing STUDIO! I mean, if there’s a sewing room that deserves the title studio, this has gotta be it, right??? Mine is most definitely undeserving of any title more than ‘somewhere guests stay that also stores fabric and sometimes I go in and make stuff when my kids aren’t watching’. So, if you wake up one day and hear someone whizzing along on your machine… it’ll just be me 😉 Also, KEGELS!!! And, yes, I laughed.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      hahaha! X, you always crack me up! I’m sure your sewing space is just as happy and wonderful as the beautiful things you make. And OBVI, you are always welcome here in Chicago. Scrappy might even consider sharing her rug.

  13. Janice says:

    I love the idea of standing. I worked as a bank teller for several years and was standing all the time. I think it would take a little while to get used to it again now. How do you use the knee lifter on your machine while standing, or do you just ignore it?

  14. katybee says:

    lots of good ideas and things to think about in this post. I’ve been thinking of moving my sewing space from the “guest room” (that now doesn’t work for as a comfortable space guests) to a mostly unused but awkward space. So rethinking how to work and what is really needed is very helpful. I like the spareness of your space but keep wondering “where do you put all the stuff?”

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      I think it’s a great idea for you to think outside the box about how to work and where to sew. Right next to my hanging quilt I have a walk in closet where I keep my drawers and drawers of fabric, hang quilts, store my ironing board and also miscellaneous notions and books. I call it my panic room. haha!

      I posted a pic of it once on IG stories, so I think I have one somewhere…let me see if I can find it and I’ll update this post. 🙂

  15. Jessy says:

    How has no one commented on the kegel commment?! I am sorry to do this to you but someone has to share the hard truth…I will take it upon myself…THEY DONT WORK! Honestly after 2 babies and I didn’t use my bits (C-Section’s as I make big babies) I have to cross my legs to sneeze! If I’m mid stroll I have to STOP walking, cross the ol legs and pray to the high heavens I don’t pee myself. It’s a very humbling experience LOL

    But seriously your space is amazing. You truly make my secret granny hobby cool! Best of luck for the kegels and totally understand if my post doesn’t make the wall!

  16. mary-ellen says:

    I love the idea of a standing desk. I went on FULLY’s website to buy myself your table. What I can’t find are the measurements for the table at its tallest and shortest heights. I am 5′ 10″ and wonder if the table will be high enough.
    Also since it is called a STANDING desk, i was looking for reference or photos of it in its sitting position. Your studio is lovely and a quilter’s dream. Thanks for letting us in to take a peek!

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Well, what I can tell you is that I’m just 2 inches shorter than you and the standard sized desk works great for me. I actually don’t raise it the highest it can go. The standard desk also lowers way lower than you would need it to…unless you are into kneeling 😉

  17. Jazmine says:

    Hi Suzy,
    loved the post and inspiration I gained from it. I would love to have the same storage system that you have in your walk-in closet would you mind letting me know where you got the bins / racks? thank you.

  18. Marilyn says:

    I invested in an adjustable height stand last year for my sewing and it’s been wonderful. I’m very short and found I couldn’t get a table low enough when sitting. I’m so much more comfortable now that my machine is low enough and my posture is correct. I find I can’t sew very long standing, mostly because the leg that supports my weight gets tired. The other leg really doesn’t do much except control the foot pedal, so most of the standing is done with my left leg. But it’s a good break from the sitting. I’m 71 years old so I’m sure you younguns can stand a while longer. I love it for machine embroidery though — I can walk away, come back and change threads and go again.

  19. Susan says:

    Has anyone tried one of those items which can raise and then lower the space for a computer? It looks to be about a width of 24-36 inches or so. I have already constructed my sewing table from a unpainted desk and short bookcase and put a door on top for my sewing table and would hate to loose the drawer space this gives me. I sew my own clothing but also sew a lot of small things like totes and doll clothes and think this smaller space would be enough for these objects. I saw one at Costco last year for about $100 and wonder if anybody else has tried such an item for sewing? Send your comments here and separately to: 4pinkpetals@gmail.com Thanks. Susan

  20. Ergo Jon says:

    Wow, I love your workspace Suzy. I’m a huge fan of standing desks, I like the way you’ve implemented it for sewing. Besides, your decoration is absolutely lovely, seems like a wonderful place to spend time working.

  21. Julia says:

    Love your “stuff” closet as well!! Would you consider a pattern for your quilted wall hangings (the two on the wall with the computer)? They’re so pretty! LOL’ed on the comment about the keigels not working. After two kids, I too can attest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *