The Blue Gardenia

Sewing spaces: The Cupcake Goddess stitches in one sweet area. September 06, 2010 11:13 1 Comment

Sure, she's the goddess of cupcakes. But she's also a goddess of stitching. Sunni, The Cupcake Goddess , has been kind enough to open the door of her sewing closet and to let us peer inside. It's so organized! I'm shaking my head in wonder. I am. And, yes, I do covet her red vixen dress. It's made from a vintage pattern. Naturally. All the best clothes are, don't you agree? But enough about patterns. Let's see what Sunni does with a small space. I think you will be very impressed. I do.

Sewing_space_cupcake
Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes, I do. It’s a small corner in a small apartment. My space is right next to a sliding glass door that leads out onto our balcony. Normally, this would be the dining area. However, with our limited space, it turns into my sewing area. There is a small closet in this area where I try to keep all my sewing supplies, fabrics and tools under wraps.  And can I just say, it’s a hard job. I’m an avid stitcher. I have a true passion for sewing that encompasses my entire outlook on life. Having limited space to store my creativity can be hard, but also can lead to spurts of inventiveness as I try to find a home for my tools and give life to my next sewing project.

Sewing Space 2
What do you like best about your sewing area?

The lighting. I am a person who needs to have natural sunlight, and with the sliding glass door next to my sewing area, I receive ample sunlight.

What would you change about your space?

Well, I would love to have an actual sewing room. A room that is always at the ready for my creative thought and energy. I would love to have my computer in my sewing room, along with my ironing space. It would be lovely to have a comfy chair where I went to meditate and think creatively about projects I want to try and techniques I need to work on.

How is your space organized?

I have Ms. Prism, my dress form, in a corner. Opposite this corner is my small sewing closet where I keep all of my fabric, tools, supplies, and sewing patterns. In the middle of this space, I have my sewing table where I keep my sewing machine and cutting mat. My ironing spot is in a different space of our apartment, but not far, so as to make the task of pressing while sewing easier. I’ve found that in a small space, organization is key, so I try to keep everything localized.

If you have a fabric stash, how do you impose order?

I have a serious addiction to collecting fabric. Fabric is my magnificent obsession. In fact, for me, it is more about owning the fabric than actually cutting into it. I love getting my prized fabric possessions out just to look at, though fun as this is, my stash has become too large for my small closet to hold. I keep my stash in a small bureau of drawers and plastic tubs. I try to keep like fabrics with like fabrics and also pick and choose the fabrics that will be upcoming in my next two projects. These fabrics I keep in my “next project box,” a box dedicated to all of the tools, patterns and fabric I need to do my next sewing project.

How are your patterns organized?

I am very choosy about my sewing patterns. I try to pick up patterns that are different from any of the other patterns that I already have. I find that I tend to pick the same pattern over and over again, only it seems to have a different pattern number or possibly is even made by a different company. I try to be very careful about the patterns that I buy and double check to make sure that I don’t have anything similar. My patterns are kept in a canvas bin with no rhyme or reason, and I find it fun to randomly sort through them from time to time trying to find inspiration for a new sewing project.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

I don’t feel that I have enough patterns to actually archive, though now that I’ve “discovered” a new fetish for vintage patterns, it might get to that point.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

Ms. Prism is from Fabulous Fit. She acquired her name from one of my favorite characters in the Oscar Wilde play The Importance of Being Earnest.  When I purchased her, she came with some padding that does help to create a nearer version of me. However, I am looking to create an even more similar version of myself by covering Ms. Prism in a new dress-form cover made from my personal measurements.

Sewing Space 1
Do you find Ms. Prism helpful?

Oh, yes! Ms. Prism is most helpful. I find it most helpful to take a step back and look at the garment's progress, how it’s looking on a body and where alterations might need to be made. Not only that, though she has no head, she gives me awfully good advice on fabric choice, pattern choice, trims and such that I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. Being able to pin fabric onto Ms. Prism is a dream as I get to test certain color combinations together before diving into a sewing project.

Sewing Space 3
What do you cut out your patterns on?

Typically, on my sewing table, but sometimes, it's great to watch a movie while cutting out patterns.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

My cutting mat. I’ve not always had this tool, and I’ve not always believed in having one either. I decided to buy one and a rotary cutter to go along with it one day. A bit of a splurge for me. The mat is incredibly useful for cutting and measuring. I had no idea I really needed one until after I had it and used it for nearly every sewing project. Wouldn’t live without it now. Surprisingly, there are so many parts in dressmaking that have to be cut into perfect squares, strips or other shapes, and this tool has proved unbelievably helpful in this area.

Sewing Space 9
What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

An expensive pair of dressmaking shears, a delightful pincushion, a good iron and ironing board, and a good reference book to get you started. One of my first sewing books was The Vogue Sewing Book. It’s gone through many revisions over time, but this is the book I go to first whenever I have a problem that needs solving.

Sewing Space 7
What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Bernina Activa 230.

What do you like about it?

I love my sewing machine! Silly me, my favorite part of this machine is that the bobbin is a conventional bobbin located below the stitching plate. I’ve found that this type of bobbin works best in helping maintain the thread tension and not throwing the tension into fits.

Do you use a serger? If so, why do you like it?

I don’t have a serger, because I don’t sew with knits all too much. I would like to get one eventually, but for now, it’s pinking shears and wovens.

How long did it take you to develop your sewing space?

I’ve developed my sewing space over only a few years time. It’s been 5 years since I picked up the art of stitching again, and since then, my space and sewing experience continues to evolve.  I find the most important aspect of my sewing space is the ability to create and think creatively in it. I’m able to do that for the most part here. I love the feeling of sitting down to my machine, with Ms. Prism at my side, staring at the beautiful fabrics I’ve amassed over the years. It’s really good to the very last stitch.