Sewing spaces: Karin does it all. Beautifully. May 23, 2011 13:41 4 Comments

Karin sews. She cooks. She takes pictures. She has a lovely blog, The Mrs. Today, we visit her sewing studio. And guess what? It's as pretty as she is! I know you'll agree. I do. 

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Just recently, we renovated our garage and changed it into a sewing studio, with the help of our two very talented fathers. I know. I am a spoiled daddy's girl.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

Above all: The light. It's painted white, the floor is white-wash wood, and there are some large windows. Besides that, it's a completely separate part of our house, with its own entrance. When I am in the house, there are always tons of things that I think I should be doing that distract me from being creative. But when I am in my studio, where everything breathes 'me', I can feel the inspiration flow immediately. It's a creative haven. 

What would you change about your space?

Nothing! Of course one could always dream of new things to add, but to be honest, I am completely in love with my studio right now and wouldn't change a thing. Although, there is one thing after all: We are thinking about adding some daylight lamps. But other than that, it's perfect to me.

How is your space organized?

My sewing I do on a large, rounded desk with enough room to place my machines next to each other. The rest of the studio is filled with cabinets and of course my drawing/cutting table. As for storage: I have lots of drawers in which I can store all kinds of stuff, but most of the items I use daily I have on my desk. I have an étagère on my sewing table on which I place my scissors, pens and pencils, pins and needles, measuring tape and chalk. Ribbons and buttons I put in different containers and bins, where I can look at them. I love to see all those various colors and shapes. It makes me happy

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

My fabric is stored in a glass cabinet, which helps me to be motivated to keep it neatly folded all the time, which can be a challenge, because I tend to get the fabric out, touch it, drape it on my dress form and put it back again all the time. The fabric is organized by function and color.

How are your patterns organized/archived/stored?

I don't have many single patterns, like the ones from the big four companies from the USA, but I love to flip through pattern magazines for inspiration. I store them in folders I put on my desk, and they are archived by brand (Burda, Knipmode, Ottobre) and year. The few single patterns I own I have stored in a box in a drawer, without any order I am afraid.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

I have three dress forms. One is exactly my size, I only had to use a bra and stuff it a bit to match our sizes completely. When I opened up this new studio downstairs, instead of sewing in a bedroom, I decided to put a little top on her, because I felt a bit awkward to let her show off all of her (and my) curves in her underwear when the neighbors came dropping in all the time. Then I have another one that I once got as a present from my husband. She looks a bit naughty in her bright red lingerie, and unfortunately, although she is almost my size, she misses some curves that I do have. So right now, she is mostly decorative. And then there is the little children's dress form. He just came to join us a couple of days ago.

Do you find them helpful?

Yes, I use them a lot to drape, fit and pin and wouldn't want to work without them anymore.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

We put together a drawing/cutting table at Ikea, by combining two kitchen cabinets with one large counter top. We placed the table on wheels, so I can pull it to the middle of the studio. This has multiple reasons: 1) I can walk around it, which comes in handy when I am drawing or cutting. 2) The counter top sticks out on the back side, and we placed some stools behind it. When the little ones are joining me in the studio, they can sit there and draw and color while I sew. 3) I use the space behind the drawing table as my photo studio. The spot is perfect with its white walls and lots of light coming through the window next to it.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

My rotary cutter. I used to be a bit scared of it, but since I mastered the rotary cutter I think it's much easier to make beautiful, sharp cuts and curves than when I use scissors.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

A seam ripper. Everyone makes mistakes, and there is nothing wrong with that. But when you don't do it over, I found that in the end there is nothing more annoying than a finished garment with a seam you are not satisfied about. And a good iron. Ironing the seams during your sewing makes all the difference in the final look of your garment.

What kind of machine do you use?

I use the Pfaff Creative 2134.

What do you like about it?

Everything. My Pfaff and I are great friends. I used to sew on an old sewing machine that used to have hiccups all the time and wasn't able to go slow. It was full speed or nothing. Since I sew with my Pfaff, I know what it means to have control over your sewing, and she does everything I ask her. It's a true gem!

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

I have a Babylock Imagine and a Janome Coverpro 1000CPX. Yes, a serger and a cover-stitch machine. Didn't I say I was a spoiled brat before? The serger I mostly use to finish seams, when I don't do French or Hong Kong finishes. I can't stand it if my seams are unfinished, it ruins a whole garment for me. Doesn't matter if nobody can see it, if I know it, it's bad enough. Sometimes, when I want to make something quick and dirty, some children's pajamas for instance, I use only the serger and don't touch the sewing machine at all. The cover-stitch machine is perfect for neat hems in knit garments.

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

Uhm . . . I think it was the end of July when my father for the first time mentioned the idea of making a sewing studio from the garage. All in all, the building and decorating took about a month. What can I say, patience isn't really a family trade.

I am as green as her coat over her photo skills. Such fabulous composition. Absolutely.

Do check back, dearest readers. This week, another Sew how? And a giveaway. Yeeeoww. I think you'll be ever so pleased. I do.