Sewing spaces: It's a sewing life, and it's a nice sewing room. Very. September 10, 2010 08:53 3 Comments

I didn't sleep well. Bad dreams. Nightmares. Bank account perilously low. Five-alarm low. Red-level low.  Woke up this morning. Still anxious. What will make me feel better? I wondered. I pondered. I puzzled. The answer came to me: probing someone's sewing space! That's it. That takes me out of my life. It provides a mental vacation. It stimulates. It inspires. Absolutely. So. Today, Elle, of It's a Sewing Life, has graciously invited us to peruse her sewing room. Come along, dear readers. Enjoy.

Sewing_room_elle_mugDo you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes, though it is part of a guest room. The bed comes in handy for storage.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

That it's in a room of its own, that only I use, unless, of course, we're expecting guests.

Oh, I also love my sewing machine table which is a Horn sewing cabinet with a hydraulic lift and a little serger table. When I'm using my embroidery module, then I put my laptop where the serger is now.

What would you change about your space?

Not really anything, although on second thought, would it be bad to move my cutting table into the room, and queen size guest bed into the storage portion of my basement? Would the guests mind?

How is your space organized?

I've got my sewing machine cabinet in one corner, and over to the right, by the window, I have my ironing board set up. I have bookshelves with my sewing references and those fabulous cabinets that are actually filled with jewelry making supplies, leftover from a time when I thought that might be fun to do. On the wall opposite my sewing machine is the queen size bed for guests, that doubles as a fabric holding area when it arrives from all those great online fabric stores. I also have a television in the room, but I find it hard to sew and watch TV at the same time.

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

My fabric stash right now is primarily quilting cottons. I find that my sewing interests have evolved over the years, and this year, I have come full circle and am making apparel for myself again. My quilting cottons are stacked in the "cutting area" on shelves, and organized by color. Right now, my apparel fabric is stored in the mailing boxes it comes in or in one of those large Rubbermaid bins. That needs a bit of work.

How are your patterns organized?

Interestingly, I have patterns I've purchased this year and those I purchased prior to 1994. The new (and some vintage) patterns are stored in a Target Liberty storage box on my shelf. Prior to 1994, I had an elaborate system where I cut up the envelope putting the contents in a large mailing envelope. The envelope was then glued to construction paper, placed in a protective sleeve and put in a binder, organized by type of pattern. We moved overseas at the end of 1993, and I got rid of the majority of my patterns, keeping only the non-Big 4 children's patterns and home dec patterns. I'm kicking myself today, as I had some pretty fabulous patterns from the '70s and '80s.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

The patterns purchased this year are not archived. The pre-1994 patterns are still in their mailing envelopes in a box, and I keep the binder handy. (I only saved one binder's worth of patterns.)

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

No, I have one of those adjustable mannequins that is not really my size. It's kind of a mystery as to why I bought the one I did. I'd love to have a made to measure one though.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I have a 3'x6' table that I made myself from sawhorse style legs that I bought at Ikea and a 3'x6' piece of MDF board I bought at Lowe's. I covered the table with a self-healing cutting mat, and I LOVE IT! I have the legs raised up high, so it's the perfect height.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

Good question. I think my cutting table may be my most helpful tool. Cutting out is a chore that many sewists simply endure, and I'm getting too old to get down on the floor, and even using the dining room table (what I did before . . . covered with one of those cardboard cutting boards) is quite uncomfortable, not to mention on the wrong floor of my house.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

A decent sewing machine, a good pair of scissors and access to a friend that knows how to sew (or alternatively, a good local, sewing/fabric store that offers classes).

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Bernina Aurora 440 QE (Quilter's Edition) with the embroidery module.

What do you like about it?

What's not to love about a Bernina? It's well-made, sews like a charm and has all the options a sewist could want and then some. Will I ever use all the stitches? No, probably not, but I still love it!

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

I do use a serger, a Bernina 700D, but I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it. I like finishing my seams with it, because then my garments look more RTW, but I feel a bit out of control when I use it, and don't get me started on the threading or the tension. Perhaps I just don't use it enough.

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

When we moved into our current house 5 years ago, the room I'm in was dedicated as the guest and sewing room. I haven't made a lot of changes to it, other than a massive clean out of the basement storage area to set up my cutting area (that was about 3 years ago). I think I'm due for another clean out, as things seem to creep back into that particular area.

Be sure to check back tomorrow. We'll begin a giveaway for Erica B's favorite sewing book. And next week, we'll check out two more sewing spaces. Yup, two! Including science administratrix and red-headed bombshell Gabriella of Sewing Is Hard. So, to twist what some sage once said: Be here or be square. I mean it. I do.