My Little Sewing Space Part 3

sewing-area-pt3-2I covered in detail all the within-arm’s-reach items on and in my sewing table a couple of days ago, and today, we move onto the cutting table and ironing station.


I purchased the cutting table from Jo-Ann’s about four years ago, and I have to admit that I’m not happy with it. The screws keep falling out, and the surface is badly scuffed and portions of the MDF coating are peeling (I have a piece of packing tape on those portions, which I’ve cleverly hidden under the cutting mat). But it’s been doing its duty, so I can’t complain too much. One day I hope to make a customized cutting table that’s narrower and longer.


I have more tools on top of the cutting table. Are you getting the sense that I love gadgets? You would be right. In my little white basket, I stash my various scissors and rotary cutters (some for fabric, some for cutting paper patterns), my trusty chalk Chaco Liner plus other tracing tools, pencils/pens, and an assortment of rulers. This, though, has been the major game changer for cutting:


The Gypsy Gripper on a 24-inch quilting ruler. This has made cutting bias tape (which I do a lot) and knit fabric in general about a thousand times easier with a rotary cutter; it’s also useful for drafting patterns and sometimes, I use it as extra weight.


Underneath the cutting table, I store bins of fabric that I plan to use right away. A lot of the fabric in these bins will probably end up in the book I’m currently working on. That oversized laundry basket on the left is my scrap basket. As you can see, it’s filled to the brim. I also have a bolt of cotton muslin I use for pattern drafting resting on one of the bins.


To the right of the cutting table, I keep my beloved Swedish tracing paper and some rolled up patterns from prior projects. That cool vintage wire organizer holds a bunch of props we used when we shot the cover of the book, and I haven’t gone through and organized them yet. The white IKEA bucket is my trash can that normally sits right beside the sewing table, but I moved it there to take photos for some reason. That wooden suitcase is a treasure of mine. My mom used to store her acrylic paints in there, and it fits perfectly on top of a cheap little table I used to use as a nightstand before it became a supplies-holder.


And then we have the ironing station. Please excuse the corner that I failed to tighten properly. I use the ubiquitous Black & Decker D2030, and I love it. I’ve tried a few models, and this one has treated me very, very well. And the fact that it’s not outrageously expensive adds to its allure. The ironing board is an extra-wide one — I got it from Amazon, I think, though it might have been Bed, Bath and Beyond and I never use the little metal stand for the iron but balance supplies there instead. I always keep the mesh pressing cloth (so awesome) at the ready. The ironing board cover is a recent discovery and it’s pretty great: the Brabantia Ironing Board Cover. The discolorations on the cover used to drive me crazy, and on this one, it’s barely noticeable. I’ve been using it for a couple of months, and I can only marginally detect the offending discoloration.

What else do I keep near my iron? Well, there are seam gauges, of course. I don’t know why I have to have multiples of everything, but I do:


And then tailor’s hams are essential for apparel pressing. They’re not my favorite things in the world, but they work. The little containers with the spout are for refilling my iron.


And then my bias tape makers in every imaginable size. These are so, so great. The Clover brand is the only kind to get, as far as I’m concerned. I also keep the iron cleaner (I can’t remember where I got it from), which I don’t use very often, but it’s fabulous.


To put it all together, this is the whole set-up in my “atelier”:


What do you think? I’m always looking to make it more effective, so all suggestions are welcome! I’ll keep dreaming of my Pinterest-worthy studio, but in the meantime, I’m making do just fine.

P.S. I need to let you know that I included Amazon affiliate links – it’s something I’m testing out because the husband keeps begging me to make more money and to at least give this affiliate thing a shot. I promise to only do this for things I absolutely adore. I can’t imagine earning more than a few pennies off of this, but it’s important to keep marital relations happy, people. This is my first time ever doing it, so it’s very likely I’ve messed something up…oh well, it’s always good to try new things, right?



21 thoughts on “My Little Sewing Space Part 3

  1. Thanks Sanae for these fabulous peeks. Like I said I am organising, and it helps to know how my sewing hero organises her space. And I hear you on the multiples part 🙂

    The gypsy quilter is entirely new to me…I have never even seen or heard of it before. And one question, do you find these seam gauges helpful? Is there a brand you recommend?

    Oh, and one last question-where is the window in the room? the arrangement looks good to me, but I am just curious 🙂 I hope you are getting a nice view as you are sewing!

    1. Oh! I meant to include windows and I forgot. Yep, there’s one overlooking the cutting table, though the view is so-so. It does get nice north-facing light though. 🙂

      I’m full of errors/lapses today – I originally posted the Gypsy Quilter but it’s actually called the Gypsy Gripper because it grips onto quilting rulers. It’s awesome and I’ve updated.

      As for seam gauges, I default to the Dritz one (the black and blue) though I’m not a fan of any of them. Someone needs to come up with better seam gauges! The green ones are a little tricky to maneuver and the metric measurements on the Dritz one is difficult to see. Thanks Asmita, and good luck with your sewing room organization!

  2. I have never seen the gypsy quitter either. I can certainly see where it would help! I do not mind the amazon links. If you get paid, I would use it. I buy everything on amazon anyway.

    1. Thanks for saying that Greta — I’m not feeling so hot about adding those links. I have no intentions of adding ads or sponsorships, not that there’s anything wrong with them, but they end up requiring extra steps that I’m not sure are worth it.

  3. Sanae thanks for the tips on new tools! I’m a tool junkie as well. I just discovered cleaning an iron w/ a magic eraser and it’s changed my life!! I am excited about the ironing board cover you showed because it looks like my old school cover…that badly needs replacing. I love sewing room posts-thanks for sharing!

    1. Magic eraser! That’s brilliant! I love that stuff, though I have a feeling they must have some powerful secret ingredient in them to work so well. They look like the kinds of things that future humans millions of years from now will discover completely intact.

      1. Yes I completely agree!!! I love them…but have a proper fear/respect if them. I’ve always said I never want to know that ingredient that gives them their strength–I’d probably never touch them again!

    1. A tailor’s ham is fantastic for collars and sleeves, and the sleeve ham is handy too, Teresa! I believe much cuter ones can be found on etsy now, or it might be a good DIY project…

  4. good on you Sanae! Affiliate links never bother me 🙂 I like your sewing space! I might have to try that cutting mat grip… What a good tip!

    1. Thanks Beth – I’m continually attempting to go outside of my comfort zone – I don’t foresee ads here though, that I know for sure. 🙂

  5. Oh, it’s fun to tour someone’s sewing space! I’m not skilled at organizing, and I still don’t have a great method for storing…anything. It’s fun to see what someone else does. It looks like you have some beautiful light to work with!

    1. I get into these weirdly hyper-organized modes, then slowly, everything goes to pot. And then I start all over 🙂 The light IS beautiful! I really love the cool, bluish-grey tones of the Pacific Northwest winter light. Thanks, Monica!

  6. Affiliate away, Sanae! I agree with your husband – you put so much time and effort in your blog writing that it would be nice to make a few pennies from it:) And when Sanae Ishida recommends something, you know it’s gotta be good:)
    I’ve been using that Gypsy Gripper at the store – we use it to cut the yardage for the customers and I have also been surprised by how much it helps. My only complaint is that when you’re using the ruler for measuring, it makes seeing the numbers a bit trickier. And thanks for the iron recommendation. I’ve in the market for a new one and it’s always nice to hear from others first how it works for them. My store also sells irons – but out of my price range: $230! It’s pretty cool though – it stays horizontal at all times and when you release it, these little “feet” come out and raise it a half inch above the ironing board. Then when you grab it again to iron, the feet retract and you’re good to go:)

    1. Wow Lucinda, you must be working at a seriously high-end fancy-schmancy fabric store. $14,000 machines and $230 irons. Sounds NICE. 🙂

      That’s true about the numbers with the Gypsy Gripper – I have another 18″ quilting ruler that I use in conjunction, so I guess it hasn’t bothered me too much. And thank you for not recoiling in horror with the affiliate links. It feels a little odd and so far: zero pennies. 🙂

      1. ok – so the machines and iron are the most expensive products in our store. The rest of our inventory is pretty typical, price-wise. I”m not a “fancy-schmancy” type person, so probably wouldn’t feel comfortable working in a place that catered to that crowd. Keeping it real over here:)
        And hoping the pennies – and dimes, and quarters – begin to flow in:)

  7. Such an efficient and lovely little sewing space. I’m a gadget collector, too, although I discover some of them don’t always work for me (bound buttonhole maker? never really liked it), but that Gypsy gripper! I think I need this so stop ruler slippage. I had the same cutting table and you are so right, those screws are really annoying! I finally gave it away after the table collapsed one day (for real).

    1. The Gypsy Gripper is fantastic, Amy! Definitely worth it in my opinion. And yes, I’m jonesing to get rid of that sewing table but sadly there are other priorities right now…thanks for you comment!

  8. Hi Sanae, I purchased the Gypsy Gripper, the tailors hams and the Black and Decker D2030 upon your recommendation. I love the Gypsy Gripper and the hams, but I have to report that after a year or more of using the Black and Decker D2030 I was horrified to see that the sole plate has rusted. I have to say I was shocked to see that happen, as in all my 67 years I’ve NEVER seen a rusted sole plate on an iron, and I’ve owned quite a few. I had to resort to my lightweight ‘Quick and Easy’ Black and Decker 300 that I bought at Target about 15 years ago!
    I love your blog and thought I’d just check in with my experience.

    1. Oh no, Marianne! I’m so sorry to hear that. 🙁 I’ve been using mine for several years now and it’s still going strong…I do clean it occasionally. Thanks for letting me know — I’ll keep an eye out to see if that happens with mine.

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