Winston-Salem, NC, United States • Visit Website »

Come behind the scenes at May Chappell for a #CraftRoomTour and see Lee's sewing studio in North Carolina.

My favorite part is definitely the wall of fabric. That is where all the quilts start so it's full of possibilities. My other favorite thing is hidden behind the door next to the fabric. It is a built in sewing table that is original to the house! It is covered in fifty years of contact paper, but I hope to restore it soon. When I bought the house, there were a lot of jokes about buying the most expensive sewing table ever.

Tell us about your space

My house was built in 1929 and the sewing room was intended to be the dining room. I left the original light fixture, but added lots of additional lighting! My sewing machine looks out the front windows which makes for a great place to sit and sew the day away. This is just the room for creating! My computer is in the living room, but the laptop has been known to make an appearance. A girl has to binge some tv!

What have you done to make your space cosy, beautiful or inspiring?

I love reusing old things so I've filled the space with lots of vintage goodness! I try to make the cool things have a function. One of the cutest parts of the room is my pincushion collection. It always makes me smile. Many of the pinnies were gifts or purchased during a trip. It is a whole collection of memories.

How do you keep organized?

There is so much stuff! It definitely can get messy, but after each big deadline, I make sure to get everything put back in its place. Making sure that everything has a place helps too! It is a working studio, so I don't panic when my cutting table is full of projects!

Any tips & tricks for organising supplies?

Everything that I use frequently is in the wooden toolbox by my machine! By keeping everything at my fingertips, it makes it easy to grab and to put away. I also edit out things that I don't use frequently. There is a full studio purge at least once a year. My fabric is organized by color and on comic book boards to make each piece like a mini-bolt. The fabric is also at my fingertips because I need to pet the pretties:)

Which are your favourite possessions and are there any of your own creations on display?

One of my most treasured things is my best friend's grandmother's button jar. She was a big part of my childhood and I treasure it. I use her buttons a lot too! There really aren't any things that I made in my sewing studio- other than A LOT of works in progress. There are lots of things that were gifts from sweet friends and awesome students. I store my quilts on ladders in my living room! It's an easy place to keep them all and definitely adds to the decor.

How do you organise your inspiration and ideas?

I always have a sketchbook nearby! You just never know when inspiration will strike. I start out on paper when I'm designing a quilt. Once I have an idea I like, I head to the computer to layout the idea in Adobe Illustrator. Never stop sketching! I also hoard all my old sketchbooks. Sometimes an old sketchbook can be a great place to find inspiration!

Where do you look for inspiration?

EVERYWHERE! You never know when the mood will strike. I look at everything from vintage tile to the skyline. A walk through nature can bring fresh ideas! A lot of my quilts draw at least some inspiration from traditional quilt blocks. I like to bring a new look or a modern twist to the traditional.

If you had three wishes, what would you do to make it the dream space?

1. A magical fairy would strip off the old contact paper and refinish the vintage sewing table.
2. I would find the perfect useable vintage ironing board that somehow fits perfectly in my space.
3. I'd magically have a room that is twice the size and there would be a BERNINA longarm in the other half of the room.
Any of these would be awesome! Somehow, I feel like number two is probably the most likely...

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