A dedicated sewing room is the dream of any serious sewer, but until that extra room materializes many of us (and our significant others) will just have to deal with the fact that the sewing supplies live in the living room. Luckily, a lot of our accoutrements are really pretty. Check out these sewing supplies that do double-duty as decor elements.
• Dress Forms — How often do you look through a house tour and see an exquisite old dress form and think, "Man, I could put that thing to good use!" Good-quality dress forms are almost indestructible, so don't balk from a vintage one from companies like Wolf and Global. New forms like that can be seriously pricey, but stalk craigslist long enough and you're almost certain to find one. Sewers in New York are especially lucky: Stalk craigslist in the spring and fall, when design students and fashion companies sell off their old ones, and you're pretty much guaranteed to find a deal on whatever size you want.
• Thread — Is it modern art? No! It's a thread board. Spools of thread seem to move in with every project, and yet you almost never have precisely the color you're looking for. Arrange them by color and mount them upright on the wall, or frame them so your storage solution doubles as a work of art, like blogger Grey Luster Girl did. Note: Spool shapes and sizes vary from company to company, so you'll get a more uniform look if you pick a favorite brand of thread and stick with it.
• Sewing Machines — Vintage machines may not have all the functions we're used to, but if you can deal with a straight stitch that only goes forward, there's nothing prettier.
• Sewing Basket — Plenty of people keep wood boxes and wicker baskets around for decor, yours just happens to be in use. Ditch the pillow-topped granny basket for something shiny and modern; the metal boxes makeup artists use are fantastic for sewing supplies. Or go vintage with a sleek accordion-style sewing basket. If you're into DIY and want something really unique, you can always paint your own.
• Old Irons — The lead fluting iron above was used to pleat fabric in the 1860s. It'll still work, too. Just heat up the bottom piece in the oven and roll your fabric through. When it's not in use, just imagine how cool it will look in an alcove on your bookcase. (I can see it now, in a cube in an Ikea Expedit). People have been sewing forever, and that means history is littered with cool old sewing tools like this one. If you find something you love, snap it up. Even if you never use it, it'll still look cool.