The Blue Gardenia

Sewing Spaces: Forget Eva Peron. Don't cry or grieve for Anne. June 29, 2012 01:43 4 Comments


Who doesn't love a woman who allows  her little canine friends the run of her sewing room? And if that woman writes one of the funniest sewing blogs around? Well, call me gone over Anne of Pretty Grievances. Completely.

So. Come along, beautemous ones, let's ogle the space where she creates her gorgeous garments. (Darn it. Alliteration. Again. I'm telling you, readers, it's cheap and easy, and, yes, I should be ashamed, and I am. But it's not stopping me!)

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I do! I am one spoiled gal — the husband and I each have our own little rooms for our hobbies, thankfully — I can't get inspired with all his Legos and business all over! It also lets me watch movies that I can only be semi-distracted by while I work. I don't think the muse would visit me often if I was stuck watching Star Trek reruns with him!

What do you like best about your sewing area?

I have a huge window on one wall and the natural lighting is so helpful — I'm very near-sighted. It really helps! I also have a big foolish loveseat that makes it seem Inviting — at least Bruder thinks so. It even has a little hut for Katze when she wants to hide and sulk.

What would you change about your space?

I would love more closet space and more mirrors — I don't think I could convince the husband to push a wall out for me. I think that’s shockingly unloving on his part, don't you?

I do indeed. Don't you, readers? And how is your space organized?

Well, it's sort of organized by convenience. I love little boxes and drawers and files. I have some particle board shelves stacked on top of my sewing cabinet with little drawered boxes in them, so the Items I use regularly are grab-able. Rising from her perch too often makes her cranky!  If the cats had thumbs, I'd be in serious trouble — they'd have all those little drawers gone through in short order. 

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

I pre-wash and hang everything that is over a yard on hangers in the closet and keep the current season in the front. I like to feel like when I reach in, I'll find a forgotten treasure that Vivienne Westwood dropped by with.  . . .

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How are your patterns organized?

I have them in low-sided boxes by type of clothing and genre — on a baker's rack that is feeling the strain, I'm sure! I like to be able to run in there and reach for something easily.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

As I use them, I put them in clear plastic sleeves with notes and a swatch on a cardstock insert. I also love to put my new buys on Pattern Review, so I can see what other sewists did with them. That really inspires me. 

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

Wellllll  . . . I have padded out my girl Twiggy and thrown a t-shirt over it, but I'm learning that that may not be sufficient — she's even lumpier than I am right now.

 If so, do you find it helpful?

I like to leave projects on Twiggy and look at them until I figure out what is not working for me. Just being able to see how something lays on a figure and hand-stitch details while watching Jean Arthur movies is a big help, too. Twiggy and I are very close. We've logged a lot of DVR time together.

What do you cut out your patterns on? Do you use scissors or one of those wheel thingies?

Well, if I can get a few minutes to myself without dachshund intervention, I like to put my Olfa mat on the coffee table and go from there. I have a rotary cutter and never use it. I need to put it out where I can remember it exists — hmm. I wonder where it is ….

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

Hmm . . . a Purina Busy Bone. It totally gives me two hours without canine assistance. Oh, you meant actual sewing tools, didn't you?  OK, then, I love my silly purchase of 2011 — the sidewinder bobbin winder. It saves so much time. I also love a good set of forceps for turning and holding things. I also have a long wooden spoon I use for some seam ironing.   

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

Good pins, a good pair of scissors and fearlessness.

Are there any books you recommend for the novice?

Singer manuals — I got mine from Time/Life books a million years ago through the mail. They have all those wonderful basics that you think you can skip, but really, you just can't!

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Singer Perfect Touch (Lillie) that I use for everyday and a Singer 160 (Clementine) that I use a little less — she has a great buttonhole setting; I need to love on her more! I have a serger, but I have to admit I use the overlock foot on Lillie more than anything.

What do you like about them?

I always thought that fancy stitches weren't necessary, but I have really come to depend on some of the hemming and zig-zag stitches my newer machines have. Also on a shallow note, my Singer 160 is sooo pretty! 

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

I have one, and I must admit, I like the overlock stitch so much on my regular machine, I never use it. I also have serger threading phobias.

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

It's really been a work In progress since I moved in four years ago. I just got a long mirror recently and a ceiling fan, and it's really a haven now for me. I can go start to finish on a project without leaving the room now. If I add a fondue fountain and a dessert bar, I'll be unstoppable!

And when she gets that fondue fountain and dessert bar, I know she'll invite us over. And we'll all say yes. Won't we? We will. Indeed. I'll hog the chocolate. And y'all can fight over the cheese.



Sewing spaces: Vintage inspires Lady Shelley's stitching. Indeed. June 16, 2011 02:04 2 Comments

Shelley is a vintage seamstress. Totally. She only uses vintage patterns. Is that cool? Yes, indeed. This New Vintage Lady has been kind enough to show us where she creates. I'm excited. Aren't you? Of course you are. I know it!

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Alas, I don't. My sewing space is the table in my kitchen nook. The area beside it I have made my sewing storage area.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

In most of the other places I've lived, I had to cut my fabric on my drawing table. Now, I can cut it on my kitchen table. That makes me very happy.

What would you change about your space?

I wish my sewing had its own room.

How is your space organized?

Not very well. I have my boxes of patterns on the floor beneath an industrial shelf. I keep my thread in one box, my vintage notions (well, most of them) in another box, and odds and ends in another. All my sewing books and reference are on a shelf above the boxes. My button stash is a whole other story.

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

My fabric stash is my entire hall closet. It has six compartments. The bottom one is all my scraps and muslin and sheets for mockups. The second shelf is my 'work' fabric. Denims, wools, cords and the like. The next are excesses from projects cut neatly and bundled. Those make for great two-tone projects. The middle shelf is reserved for cottons and light silks. The next one is reserved for linen and vintage fabric. The top is for my synthetics and odd fabric too large to store in its appropriate place.

How are your patterns organized?

My patterns are sorted roughly by year and placed in marked boxes.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

Each pattern is counted for pieces, and a note saying if something is missing is placed with it. I trace off all the patterns I use, and the tracings are stored with the originals.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

Onda is my duct-tape dress form.

Do you find Onda helpful?

She can be a drama queen, but she is monstrously helpful in fitting.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

My kitchen table, after I have traced them off.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

My snippers. I LOVE those things. Cutting tails of thread or chains on a serger with your sewing scissors dulls them quicker than necessary. My snippers are small spring-loaded clips that I always grab right after I sew a stitch.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

Scrap fabric, a midrange machine (around $200-$350), good thread, glass head pins, an iron and board, an X-Acto knife, a good pair of sewing shears.

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Singer 5932T.

What do you like about it?

It was my mother's.

Do you use a serger?

I have a five-cone Singer serger from the '80s that I love.

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

Few weeks. I planned it out when I moved in. :)

Do you love the pictures of her mother and grandmother from the 1940s and 1950s? I do. Shelley likes to have vintage things around her when she sews. Now. That is one fabulous idea. Truly.



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.

Sewing spaces: Lauren wears history in her room. March 27, 2011 16:20 4 Comments

Sewing-spaces-whmainToday, we visit Lauren, self-proclaimed costume history nerd, and the author of the fabulous blog, Wearing History.  She also has a line of patterns. Check out her newest pattern, the Moderne. Gorgeous. Absolutely.

Sewing-spaces-whoverv.jpjDo you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes, I have a room that is a sewing space/library that I keep everything in, and I have a cutting table in the garage. I have just resituated myself, so I'm so excited about my newly organized workspace!

What do you like best about your sewing area?

I like that everything has a home. I have things organized by what they are and/or project type so I know where to go when I'm midproject and don't have to halt the creative process to go hunting for things. I also like the natural light that comes through the window. It does wonders for the creative process and mood to get a little sunlight!

What would you change about your space?

There's still quite a bit of organizing to do. Eventually, I'd love to have little shelves around the countertop and a wooden rod I can thread spools of thread or rickrack through and shelves overhead to store my pattern boxes. In my head, it looks like a tool workbench, but take away the tools/nails/etc. and put sewing things in its place.

Sewing-spaces-whpins How is your space organized?

I try to keep it organized by type. Next to my machine, I have oil, needles, tape measure, scissors and other things I need while sewing, and I have a fishbowl I can throw my thread spools in to keep them from skittering all over the table and getting lost. My patterns are organized in comic book boxes for the most part, my fabric is in cupboards or stacked in the back of the closet in clear bins by fabric type, so I can see through them. I also have a collection of vintage ephemera (like magazines, catalogs, etc) and sewing books that I keep in archival covers by type, year or maker (though it gets disorganized pretty quickly).

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

Yes, I have a stash of doom. I've been sewing since I was a kid, so I've had a quite healthy fabric accumulation over the years (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it). I have them organized by type in plastic bins — so all the wools in one, vintage fabrics in one, and then I also have one for trims and one for scrap. I roll up my scrap and tie with strips of muslin to keep them organized. I love seeing through the plastic bins so I don't have to go hunting through boxes and boxes before I find the fabric I was looking for. 

Sewing_spaces-whboxes How are your patterns organized?

I organize my patterns by type and decade. I separate womens, mens, childrens, crafts, costumes, etc., then sort by maker and date. I keep my modern patterns together, my repro patterns and vintage pattern tracings together, and I keep the patterns I made in manila envelopes with labeling, size and a picture (if I have one) on the outside.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

My vintage patterns are stored primarily in archival comic book boxes, and each individually is stored in an archival plastic sleeve.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

Not made to measure, but I have a Wolf special occasion form. It's my baby, and I love using her for draping. She was a gift to me from my dad after I graduated from fashion school.

Do you find it helpful?

Very helpful for pattern making and taking pictures of clothing! I don't do my fitting on dressforms at all. I worked in theater for several years and found out how different body proportions can be even if measurements are the same, so I find fitting on myself better than fitting on a form. I know I have a short torso and high hip on one side, so have better luck trying garments on myself and pestering my husband to check the back fit for me.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I have a cutting table out in my garage that has a corkboardlike surface I covered in muslin. I roll my fabric out on it, pin through the fabric and pattern and straight onto the board to keep things all lined up on grain.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

Hard one! I think my sewing machine is honestly my best tool. I fought with machines growing up, and as soon as I got a decent machine, it was amazing how quickly my sewing skills progressed, because I didn't have to fight with a fussy machine.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

There's so many good tools out there, but I would say make sure you've got plenty of machine needles, machine oil and use good thread. So many projects don't come out as well as they could have because of dull needles and cheap thread. I think we forget sewing machines really are machines and need maintenance, just like you would give a car. Oil and care go a long way!

Are there any books you recommend for the novice sewer?

I really like the Singer Sewing Book from the late 40s. It's a great reference for vintage sewing. In school, we used Guide to Fashion Sewing by Crawford, and I still pull out that book, especially for pockets and zipper insertion techniques.

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Pfaff Tiptronic 6270 for my sewing machine.

Sewing-spaces-whmach What do you like about it?

It's a serious workhorse. My mom bought it for me used, and I've had it for ten years, and it's still going strong. I love my Pfaff.

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

I have a Pfaff Creative serger which I use all the time for basic things but I still haven't used the "Creative" part. I will never go back to unfinished seams again. I can throw things I made in the washer and dryer and not worry about them looking a mess inside. Love it.

Sewing-spaces-whdressHow long did it take you to develop your sewing space?

It's still developing! I think as long as you sew you'll be thinking of new ways to do things and ways to make life easier when sewing. Sewing for me has become my way of relaxation and is my "me" time, so I want my sewing space to be as stress-free as possible. It's taken me years to figure that out! For a long time, we couldn't even eat at our kitchen table, because I took it over, so it's nice to have things in their own home and where I can get to them when I have a spare moment.


Sewing spaces: The room in which to stitch a garment a week. March 24, 2011 04:35 9 Comments

Sewing-spaces-sw Lovely Mena of  The Sew Weekly can sew at any time — even at 3 a.m. Marvelous, isn't it? And though she insists she's a total slob, I don't believe her. Look at her space. Then tell me: Do you?

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes. Before I started my personal sewing challenge to myself (sewing a garment a week), I had half of a wall in the room we watch television. That didn't last long since I'm a complete slob, and my mess was spilling over into a common area of the house. I then took over the guest bedroom we have in our house. In fact, I sold the queen bed we had and downsized to a futon from Ikea. My mom is our main guest, and I did ask if she minded before I did that. She said she didn't as long as she didn't have to step on pins on the floor. I can't guarantee that so she slept on the couch in our living room during her last visit!

What do you like best about your sewing area?

As I mentioned, I'm a complete and total mess. Therefore, I love that I can close the door and, for the most part, not have my mess spill into the rest of the house. The guest bedroom is on the basement level of our house, so I can sew at 3:00 in the morning and not disturb my husband or my daughter. It's pretty great to be able to have a space all to myself. As far as the room itself, there's a lot of storage thanks to the Ikea Expedit bookcases that I keep buying.  Sewing-spaces=sw

What would you change about your space?

Not so much my space, but myself. I just can't stay tidy, so most of the time the room is a complete mess. I just happened to clean it before this interview, so I was able to take photographs of it looking somewhat tidy. But even then, I didn't want to clean it up to a level that's not maintainable because that's not what I'm about. Having a perfectly tidy sewing room is not possible for me, and instead of trying to be something I'm not, I just need to embrace a space that I actually enjoy sewing in. Of course, I'd love to have another wall of storage. I bought the perfect cabinet from Ikea for all my patterns, but its drawers collapsed under the weight of my patterns. So now, all my patterns are in random boxes throughout the room.

Sewing-spaces-swfs If you have a fabric stash, how do you impose order?

Despite the aforementioned slob in me, I actually keep my fabric fairly organized. My fabric is organized by color, mostly. I have one shelf unit that houses all the fabric that's really dear to me ­– my vintage pieces mostly. There's another unit that's the fabric that I've either bought new or that I'm just sort of moderately interested in sewing with. Finally, I have an area for my crafting fabric. Just this weekend, I took photos of all my apparel fabric, so that I could easily reference the pieces and have an archive of what I bought. Like most sewers, I'm a major stasher.

Sewing-spaces-swpat How are your patterns organized? Are the archived? How are they stored?

Just this week, I forced myself to finally purchase plastic bags to store and protect all my patterns. In all, I have about 700 vintage patterns that I used to store in an Ikea dresser. As I mentioned, when that fell apart, they were moved to storage boxes – about five in all. My first step was to put them all in bags. My next step will be to purchase more long-term containers and put them in numerical order. Putting them in numerical order only works because I use a photographic archive to browse my patterns. The biggest problem with that is when the archive isn't up-to-date, a pattern is pretty much out of sight, out of mind. I wrote about this more here.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

I have a dress form that's just a generic measurement model. 

If so, do you find it helpful?

When I first started sewing, yes. It helped me get a better idea on how pieces fit together. Now, I pretty much just use my dress form to take photographs of the finished garments. 

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I have a collapsible dining table that I also bought from Ikea. I actually love this piece of furniture quite a bit! 

Sewing-spaces-swbook What is your most helpful tool? Why?

The seam ripper. Because I make mistakes constantly.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

Marking tools, seam ripper. A good light. A rotary cutter with a self-healing mat. 

What are your most invaluable sewing books?

I tend to utilize vintage sewing books because many times the terms that are being used in my patterns are slightly archaic. The Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book is one of my favorites. However, I really don't read them that often. When I am stumped or have a question, I usually search online for the answer. I think every question I've ever had has been already answered on someone else's blog.

My favorite sewing books are actually source books (like the Sears catalog collections) and vintage magazines. I love looking at them for inspiration –especially for fabric inspiration.

Sewing-spaces-swmachine What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Brother SE-350.

What do you like about it?

My Brother replaced a Singer machine I received from my parents when I was seventeen. Unlike a lot of folks, I like the bells and whistles of a computerized machine. I specifically searched out a machine that also did embroidery, because I knew I wanted to incorporate machine embroidery into my clothing. I have no complaints about my machine other than the auto-threader fell off, and I don't know how to fix it!

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

Yes, I recently bought a serger – another Brother machine. I really wanted the finished look of a serged edge and was tired of the old pinking shears and zig-zag stitch method. But when people tell you that sergers are temperamental mistresses, they aren't kidding! The threading takes forever, and the results are so dependent on doing it right. That all said, I love how much time it saves me. I couldn't live without it now!

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

I'm kind of insane in getting things done quickly, so I would say a week to get it to where it is today. That said, it takes a week to clean it once it gets really messy.  But I guess that's part of the fun.

 So. What's your answer? Mena looks rather neat to me. Absolutely.

Sewing spaces: Tilly's unbuttoned March 22, 2011 04:15 2 Comments

Sewing-spaces-tillyTilly sews marvelous garments. She wears cute glasses (sometimes). And she authors the oh-so-fun blog Tilly and the Buttons. She has graciously invited us into her sewing room. So. Pour yourself a cup of tea, butter a scone and let's enjoy the tour.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes, I just set one up the other day! We have a massive kitchen table which is great for cutting out fabric and spreading out, but I was getting frustrated at the clutter at dinner time, having to clear away when we had guests, and having to sprint into the other room every time I needed something from my stash. On a whim, I moved a spare table into a corner of the sitting room, and now I feel much happier!

What do you like best about your sewing area?

I like being in the sitting room as it’s bright and cozy, and I feel like I’m spending time in the heart of the house. Oh, and the best stereo speakers are in there, too.

What would you change about your space?

It would be useful to have a storage system for all my patterns and notions. I’m going to go to Ikea soon to get some boxes, but eventually a shelving system would be good.

Sewing-spaces-tillyhouse How is your space organized?

Not very well at the moment! I keep lots of stuff lined up on the table, including my machine, serger, sewing box, reference books and pot of pens. I have a wonderful tiered wooden sewing box (a gift from my old school friends), which stores little bits like needles, tape measures and thread. And for Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law gave me a supercute felt house sewing box, which I’m going to dedicate to embroidery supplies as that’s next on my list of things to learn.

Sewing-spaces-tillystash At the moment, my patterns and fabric stash are kept in another room (my partner’s office), which is probably a good thing, so I don’t get distracted thinking about future projects!

Sewing-spaces-tillyfsIf you have a fabric stash, how do you impose order?

My stash used to be ordered by color, pretty but otherwise useless. Now, I have one shelf of large pieces of fabric, which are sorted by priority – the pieces I plan to use the soonest are on top so I can access them (and fondle them!) easily. I have another shelf, which is in turmoil – old clothes I’m thinking of upcycling, cut-offs that I’m keeping for little projects, and samples for future reference.

Sewing-spaces-tillypatHow are your patterns organized?

They’re not! They’re currently sitting in half a shoe box, vaguely in the order I’d like to make them in. I really need to sort this out – by getting a sturdier box and ensuring all the vintage ones have a plastic sleeve to preserve them. I do have quite a few patterns, but not so many that I need to classify them by manufacturer or year or anything  . . . yet!

Do you have a mannequin made to measure? If so, do you find it helpful?

Ah! Well, actually, I made a clone of my torso using brown paper tape, a wet sponge and some pillow stuffing. I wrote about it, if anyone is thinking of making their own. It’s handy for adjusting tops, but if I had the money, I’d get a full size one in a sturdier material. It’s quite embarrassing having a replica me in a color not too far off flesh colour — I’ve seen men’s eyes widen when they’ve spotted it on a shelf in our house, which made me feel like I was standing there stark naked! I should really make a cover for it to make it more decent . . . 

Sewing-spaces-tillydfWhat do you cut out your patterns on?

The kitchen table — it’s an extender! I bought a cutting mat recently, but it’s about a tenth of the size of the table, so I don’t use it very effectively.

What is your most helpful tool?

My seam ripper! She who bears a seam ripper fears nothing. If in doubt, rip it out.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

For the first few months, I was perfectly happy with my machine, fabric scissors, thread scissors, pins, needles, tape measure, washable marker pens and an iron. And not forgetting the beginner’s best friend — a seam ripper! I’ve written a more detailed post about starting out sewing on my blog.

Are there any books you recommend for the novice?

The Complete Book of Sewing is a really useful reference guide which I keep handy whenever I’m sewing to look up techniques or terminology. It has lots of photographs and diagrams, so it’s very user-friendly.

Sewing-spaces-tillysmWhat kind of machine do you use?

I use a Janome J3-18. It’s pretty basic but perfectly fine if you don’t need millions of fancy stitches. I’d definitely recommend it for a beginner looking for a good value machine to start out on.

What do you like about it?

It’s simple, cheap and does the job! I might feel the need to upgrade to a more snazzy model as I become more experienced, but for now it does everything I need it to do.

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

I just got a serger and have only used it once or twice so far. I’m still trying to get the hang of it and am a bit terrified of all those hazardous parts! But I get the impression it’s going to become an invaluable tool for finishing seams speedily, which is my least favorite part of sewing.

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

It took me a year to realize where I could put it, but once I’d figured that out, it took two minutes to set up! I’m sure it’ll evolve a bit in time, but for now, it’s such a delight to have my own dedicated sewing world. Yay!


Sewing spaces: Bunny's room is gorgeous. Period. End of story. January 16, 2011 16:16 7 Comments

Dear readers, dear, dear readers. Yes. I have been off the blog map lately. Grieving. Totally lacking in self-discipline. Completely unable, it seems, to pick myself up and shake myself off. But. I beg you, please don't desert me. Please. One day, I'll be a dedicated blogger again. I will. 

IMG_2200 (Small)
Meanwhile, you are going to love this Sewing Space. It is just bee-yoo-tee-ful. Totally. And who does it belong to, you are surely asking? Well. Bunny of La Sewista! (Bunny has been ever-so-patient with me as I have procrastinated since early December. Do not blame her. Do not think her sewing room is not totally top-notch. Because it is. As are her tips. Absolutely.)

Anyway. enough blathering by yours truly. Enjoy Bunny's space.

IMG_7681 (Small)Do  you have a dedicated sewing space? 

I have always managed to have a dedicated sewing space, some not very nice, in nearly every home we have lived in. That first newlywed rental was the only exception. I had to sew on the dining room table there and nearly gave up, but at that time I worked in a clothing factory and got lots of free fabric.   Today, I am blessed with a pretty room built to my liking about 3 years ago.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

My favorite thing about my sewing space  is the window. From it, I can see the shade garden with its boulders, bird bath and bottle tree. I watch the tiny song birds flit in and out for their food. The local band of wild turkeys comes to visit nearly daily, scratching up what the songbirds leave behind. And when the apples are on the apple trees, I can watch the deer munching away. There is never a dull moment!

I have the window dressed with a toile pattern of children playing and an old lace doily made by an elderly sewing friend. I love the soft colors of the window dressing.  I picked this toile because of the relationship to my love of sewing children’s clothing.

What would you change about your space?

Like most sewists, I would surely want something bigger. Don’t we feel that way about everything? But instead my area of control has expanded. I have a 12x3 foot closet that is well lit and stores most of my fabric, patterns and books.  A door on the opposing wall opens onto a large room in the back of the basement that I have consumed as well.

How is your space organized?

I love organization. My mind functions so much better with it. Disorder makes me insane and totally squashes my creativity and strangles my productivity. If I want a blue bead or a salmon colored button I can find it in a heartbeat. I don’t suffer misplaced items well. I touch nearly everything.

IMG_7678 (Small)In the room, there are  cabinets to the left and right of my machine kneehole. There is a drawer on either side that has all the things I need when I sew at the machine, markers, pinkers, buttonhole chisels, etc. While I sit at my machine I can open the drawer, pull out what I need, leave it open and put it back when I am done. I always put back. I keep my basic thread colors in various weights in the drawer to the left. That way I don’t have to go digging for black thread. My colored threads are all organized in boxes by color in a cabinet below.  Am I driving you nuts yet? The large lower cabinet holds my recently used patterns, laces, ribbons, threads and larger tools. Under my cutting table is a white wicker basket with my ironing tools. I have an old pine jelly cupboard that I painted green on the outside and ivory on the inside. It stores my hand dyes and also is the queue for the next fabrics to be worked on.  It holds photos of my mentors, my Mom and my grandmother. I feel like they are watching over my skills. Recently, I have taken to putting a padded board  on top of the cutting table to iron on.  In conjunction with my sleeve board, it is quite adequate and convenient as well.

The pink room has double  doors opening on to that large closet with my stash. I don’t buy much stash and often shop for fabric specific to the project. The back room off of that holds LOTS, from many more books, fabrics given to me, patterns I have traced off, and my luxe fabrics that I won’t fold. Most of what is in the back room I inherited from a dear friend who bequeathed me her most amazing stash. There are DMC cabinets loaded with every color ricrac and binding you can imagine — all arranged with each color in its own drawer.  More little cabinets hold countless buttons that last winter I divided by color and type. I can see the color and just pull out the drawer to “shop”.

IMG_0890Medium (Small)If you have a fabric stash, how do you impose order?

My fabrics are sorted by type and then by color within type. I fold them  so they  line up and are mostly neat. I love looking at neatly folded fabric. It inspires me. My stash really isn’t that big. I don’t have any totes with fabric. I have to see my fabric to visualize what I want to create. Digging in a tote doesn’t inspire me, it just means I have too much.

How are your patterns organized?

Patterns are in those Joann's pattern boxes separated by type, blouses, suits, designer Vogue, etc. I always have two little baskets, however, that hold my patterns that I use the most or have recently purchased. I reuse patterns a lot and will make oak-tag copies that I hang in the back room.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

I archive nothing. I went that route some years back with my fabric and patterns and eventually decided that for me it is a time waster. I had my notebook that I could shop with and found it took all of the wind out of my shopping sails.

Sewista_dummyDo you have a mannequin made to measure?

My dress form is not made to measure but is pretty close to my shape. My BFF and I just “taped me” for a new one.

Do you find your forms helpful?

I love my dress form. I love having something to drape on or work out trims and buttonholes on. It is always in use. I also like the sense of satisfaction I get when I put a completed garment on it. Makes me smile inside.

IMG_7686 (Small) What do you cut out your patterns on?

I use the Joann's  white melamine table. You really can’t beat it.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

My rotary cutter and mat!!! I roto-cut everything. It has improved my accuracy and speeded up the process.  I love that I can hold that long acrylic ruler against a piece of silk charmeuse and cut a perfectly even on-grain line. Scissors for me are for trimming.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

I do think a new sewist needs to get that hang of working with scissors before jumping into roto-cutting so I recommend a really quality pair of shears. A great iron with prodigious steam is a must. And very important, learn your needles! Get to know all the different types and change them with each project and/or fabric or thread. It will greatly eliminate some of the biggest frustration a beginner runs into.

What are your most invaluable sewing books?

Right near my machine, I keep Sandra Betzina’s Fabric Savvy book. It tells me exactly the correct needle/thread/stitch combo for nearly any fabric. I also keep close by Carol Laflin Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing. I refer to it often when doing my heirloom sewing. I also use frequently Nancy Zieman’s fitting books with her Pivot and Slide methods. 

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a ten-year-old Pfaff 1472 for most of my sewing.

What do you like about it?

It has all the heirloom stitches that I love to use. The dual feed is priceless, and I use it proactively depending upon the seam and type. It has proven to be a real workhorse for me but has the bells and whistles I need. I am not crazy about its buttonholes.

For buttonholes, I like to use my 30+ year-old Kenmore. It makes killer buttonholes.  Also part of the menagerie are my little white Featherweight, a Felter, and my most recent acquisition,  a Morse, circa 1950s.

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

I would be lost without my serger. It is an old Singer 14U234, and I only use it for seam finishing. When sewing linen, which I do a lot, or sewing children’s clothing, I like to serge the seams and double-needle them on top for a finish. That makes a very strong seam that is quite attractive, but generally, I use it for seam finishing and that’s it.

IMG_0923Medium (Small)How long did it take you to develop your sewing space?

All of the sewing spaces I have had previous contributed to my designing this one. For nearly 35 years, I have a my dedicated space either next to the hot water heater, the washing machines, the snow blower or the power washer. I would carve out my own private getaway amongst these basement inhabitants and actually set up some quite functional spaces, ugly, but functional. When we added to our home a few years ago, part of the deal was my getting a real room all my own set up like I wanted. I worked with a cantankerous contractor who did nice work but could not think out of the box. He thought I was nuts to put French doors to enter my abode!  Eventually we got there, and I have my feminine, colorful, brightly lit room. It is very important that my room be pretty as well as functional, and I think I have achieved that here. That makes me smile, too!

I am so in love with Bunny's pink walls. So feminine. So cheerful.

And did you notice the Armani knockoff jacket last seen on Erica B.? I know you did, you sharp cookies.

Sewing spaces: The tea leaves say we have a winner! December 16, 2010 11:24 2 Comments

Tilia Linden of the blog Linden Blossoms in My Tea has won Colette's fabulous beginner pattern, the Crepe. I thank all of you for your comments. I appreciate them. Each and every one of them. Absolutely. 

Sewing spaces: Elaray's room is another organized creation. December 15, 2010 14:22 10 Comments

You, dear readers, have spoken. A resounding majority of you want to see more Sewing Spaces. And that makes me very happy, because I do as well. Yes indeedy. They inspire me. They do. 

I do have another trick or two up my sleeve. I will do more Channeling Catherines. And. I do have another new series that will debut this week. And two more new series coming up soon. Very.

100_1932But now, let's open the door and peer into Elaray's sewing room. Elaray authors the blog Another Creation. I so enjoy reading it. I do. So. Got your beverage? Ready. Set. Go.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes, the smallest bedroom in my house is my sewing room.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

I like the fact that I have it!  I don't have to share the room with any other activity.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I sometimes have to use the sewing room as a guest room when family or friends visit.

Machines What would you change about your space?

I would love to take up the carpet and have hardwood or laminate floors.  It's much easier to sweep up pins and threads than to schlep the vacuum cleaner up the stairs.

How is your space organized?

The room is so small, some type of organization is mandatory! Given that I can't get rid of the bed, there are few options for furniture placement.  I have a Horn cabinet that holds my sewing machine and serger.  Most of my supplies are stored in a bookcase.  Because the room is so small, everything is within three steps of everything else.

Stash-1 If you have a fabric stash, how do you impose order?

Sewers who have a "real" stash laugh at my measly little stash.  I call it a "queue". I seldom have more than eight unsewn pieces of fabric.  I honestly don't have room to store fabric.  I keep my fabric in two little bins in the closet of the sewing room.

Burda mag storage
How are your patterns organized?

This is where my Sewing Related OCD really shows!  I use Burda Style Magazine patterns almost exclusively. I made an index of the Plus sizes from each issue.  I download photos and line drawings from the French website (since the demise of the English website) and put them into a word-processing document.  These pages are arranged by month and kept in a binder.  This may sound like a huge task, but keep in mind, I only use the plus-size patterns in each issue, so the job was doable.  The magazines are kept in pocket files and stored next to the index.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

I built a simple box/drawer that fits on the bottom shelf of the bookcase.  I store my patterns there.  I put all patterns including traced BurdaStyle patterns in plastic pattern storage bags and arrange them by garment.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

I don't.  I know it would be very helpful in fitting, but it would be a constant reminder of how out-of-shape I am.  My self-image issues are way too deep! ;)

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I'm very proud of the cutting table I designed and built!  I used a hollow-core door as the table top and sawhorses as legs.  The table straddles the twin bed that must stay in the room.  I'm able to take down the table when I need to use the bed for guests.  Last summer, I made improvements on my original design so that the table can be disassembled and reassembled by one person — namely ME!

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

It's hard to name one most helpful tool.  I use a compass to add seam and hem allowances to Burda patterns and that simple tool has proved most helpful. I use the edge stitch foot on practically every garment I sew.  I also love the large and luxurious wrist pincushion (from Susan Khalje's online store) I recently splurged on. 

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

A good pair of scissors!  Threaten to stab anyone who uses your sewing scissors on paper — and look like you mean it!  If a beginning sewer chooses to use a rotary cutter, I recommend as big a cutting mat as is practical. 

Are there any books you recommend for the novice sewer?

The Sewing Book by Alison Smith is very good.  It covers just about everything and has hundreds of clear photographs illustrating each step.

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Bernina 430 that I love!  It's definitely not the top of the line, but it does everything I need it to do.

What do you like about it?

The 430 is basic without lots of bells and whistles, kinda like me!  It suits my personality.

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

I don't think I could sew without my serger.  I have the Babylock Evolve.  Eight threads make it a very versatile serger.  I like the look of serger-finished seams on the inside of a garment.

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

I claimed a dedicated sewing space when I moved from an apartment to my house.  It's been a work in progress for over twenty-five years!  I first had a "sewing area"  in a room that served as an office, guest room and sewing room.  After major renovations (due to a house fire) I moved my office to the basement and set up my current sewing room.  I'm currently dreaming about using my daughter's larger bedroom as a "new-and-improved" sewing space when she graduates from college and is on her own!

Don't forget to enter the Crepe contest. If, that is, you haven't already.


Sewing spaces: Haven't bought your Crepe yet? Click to win one. December 12, 2010 15:16 98 Comments

Dress-back-close Sarai, the lovely, talented and generous designer-owner of Colette patterns, has donated a beautiful Crepe pattern to celebrate Sewing Spaces. Now. You know that Gertie is having a Crepe sew-along. You know that Crepe is a beginner pattern. So. If you haven't purchased one yet, here's your chance to get one for the great price of free. Just leave a comment, telling me if you want see more Sewing Spaces or if you're (boo hoo) tired of the series. Be truthful. OK? You MUST leave your comment by December 16 at noon PST. The winner will be picked by random number generator. So. There ya go. All the details you need. At least for this giveaway.

Sewing spaces: Patty's as snug as a bug in her neat, green room. December 1, 2010 17:21 5 Comments

Patty has a delightful blog, a delightful sewing space, a delightful wardrobe, and a delightful dog.( Ahhhh, alliteration rears its pesky head!) No delightful or dreadful dustbunnies, though. (Darn it. Alliteration. Again.) Warning: Do not feel inferior if your sewing room isn't this spotless. I wish my sewing area was so Martha-white-glove-ready. But, alas . . . 

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes! Yes! Yes! After ignoring the clutter on the kitchen table and eventually letting it take over the house and drive my husband (and me) crazy, we finally went to the big blue and yellow Scandinavian store and got a giant white desk to serve as a sewing table. Additionally, there’s a sewing china cabinet in our bedroom for storage and a nook in the basement for backup storage. A three-tiered storage system. Did I mention we live in a tiny house?

What do you like best about your sewing area?

It’s sunny. Everything’s in one place (sort of.) There are hooks on the wall for hanging rulers and projects and my tape measure, which I don’t lose as much now. It’s the toastiest room in the house. There are roses outside the window. It’s a pretty color blue. The full length mirror is right next to the sewing machine. It’s not the kitchen table.

What would you change about your space?

Well, I daydream about removing the guest bed and replacing with a nice island-type cutting table. But we really DO like having guests, so the bed stays. For now. Other than that, perhaps a bit more light for evening sewing. A non-hideous task light would be so nice.

How is your space organized?

Hmm. My sewing room-slash-guest-bedroom has a large desk with shelves and doors instead of drawers and room to stash the sewing machine away when it’s not in use, something that doesn’t happen often. I have a giant collection of perfectly-sized coffee cans, glass jars and such that hold pens, rulers, markers, scissors, pinking shears, my rotary cutter, thread, sewing machine oil and needles, and bobbins along with a little hand-sewing box with small scissors, silk thread, chalk and a few other things.

There’s a small cabinet mounted on the wall with trim, binding tape, elastic, and buttons organized in more coffee cans and glass jars. Inside the desk, I use baskets. One basket for everything for my current project (all the thread, matching hem tape, pattern pieces, fabric.) One basket with interfacing organized so it’s handy and another basket of odds and ends. All the baskets fit in the desk perfectly and slide in and out easily, so that I don’t lose stuff in the back of the shelves.

I have a row of hooks in the sewing room where I hang current projects, larger rulers, my tape measure and sometimes pattern pieces. My mat is tucked behind the mirror.

Additional notions and my ‘right now’ fabric and patterns are stashed in a china cabinet in our bedroom. In my ‘nook’ in the basement, I have more fabric, more patterns, more notions – more everything.

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

I don’t have that large of a stash, so it’s pretty easy. All the fabric that’s spoken for (has a pattern already assigned) lives upstairs in a china cabinet that belonged to my grandmother. It has glass doors, and I like to be able to see the fabric to let it simmer a bit before I start working on it. Additional fabric that I bought with no particular project in mind, or had a project and was downgraded, lives in my ‘nook’ in the basement. I get rid of stuff that doesn’t work. Occasionally, I become convinced that baby blue is the perfect color for me or some such nonsense (Anthropologie is usually to blame … ) and I will give to friends or donate to a thrift shop.

How are your patterns organized?

Again, I don’t have that much, so they’re only organized in terms of ‘current’ projects upstairs in a magazine file, and other patterns in the basement – they were all in a basket at one point, but they’ve started overflowing a bit. I like to put cut and used ones in a ziplock bag so I don’t have to struggle to refold.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

I don’t really have an archiving system – I am lazy, so I keep my PatternReview account updated, so I can flip through all of them online if I’m looking for something special. At some point, I’d like to come up with something better, as it’s getting a little unwieldy to just scroll through pages of patterns.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

Nope! Wish I did, though. Hemming skirts would be so much easier!

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I cut the paper pattern pieces out while watching TV – it’s a fun sewing task to do while hanging out with my husband in the evenings!

I cut out fabric pattern pieces either at my very small kitchen table (only 42” long!) which works alright – I have an elaborate chair system to hold the fabric up, and make use of cans of tuna as weights. Sometimes, I go to the sewing shop close to my house and cut out projects on the huge cutting table there. Fun and easy, plus usually there’s people to chat with while cutting.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

My Dustbuster. Also, I love my rotary cutter and mat. I had these around from quilting in my 20’s but didn’t try them out for pattern cutting at first — I thought it wouldn’t handle the curves. Once I finally tried it, I never went back.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

A tailor's ham really does help with almost everything – no amount of rolled up towels will come close. Good measuring and marking tools are also very helpful — I use my little seam allowance ruler (the little metal ruler with the plastic slidey thing!) all the time, and I LOVE my chalk marking set — different colors of chalk and a penlike holder for them. Also, buy good pins. I like the all-metal dressmaker pins — they’re thick and don’t slide out of the fabric and since they’re all metal, you can iron over them (probably not good for the fabric, but helpful!)

Do you keep a sewing library? Any books you find particularly helpful for beginners?

I am a book nut. For fitting, I use Fit for Real People for bust, shoulder and sleeve issues. For fitting skirts and trousers, I tend to use Pattern Fitting with Confidence (the pivot-and-slide method) more often. I think these two books compliment each other well when learning how to fit patterns properly. I also really loved Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques for some more advanced methods as well as a good history lesson! Finally, I like Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket and just got The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns by the same publisher.

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Singer 7430 — a midrange machine with a bunch of decorative stitches and a basic alphabet font set. It’s alright. I don’t hate it, but I dream about getting a purely mechanical machine — I don’t really need all the extra stitches and generally distrust computerized gadgets.

What do you like about it?

I like that it sews. I like that I can disengage the feed dogs and lift the presser foot extra high for working on thick fabrics and lots of layers. In theory, I like the one-step buttonhole options. Speaking of buttonholes, I’ve actually used the blanket/buttonhole stitch a lot, so I guess I like that, too.

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

No serger!

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

We just put together the ‘sewing room’ recently — partially inspired by this blog series! I’m relatively new to obsessive, sewing-machine, garment sewing, so I lasted almost a year with the machine on the kitchen table, before we made a dedicated space.

Do not miss the next Sewing Spaces. We'll visit Elaray of Another Creation. You don't want to miss it. You don't. 

Also, do enter our giveaway. If, that is, you like the luscious fabric, provided by Michael's, and the pattern, lipstick, nail polish provided by The Blue Gardenia, aka moi. And how could you not like it? How could you not love it? How?

Sewing spaces: A legal eagle and a talented sewista. It's not fair! November 28, 2010 11:30 4 Comments

TIM11556 (379x640)I am sure Kay, The Sewing Lawyer, is the most fashionable female in the courtroom. Her clothes are lovely. They are. Don't you crave her safari-style jacket? I do. And her space is so organized. (Yes, Kay, I do call that organized! Absolutely.) And her blog is so informative. I always learn something when I read it. And one day — one day — I'll put that knowledge to use ... I promise.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I do.  I have taken over the third bedroom in our bungalow.  It's small (8'x10' approximately) and crammed and usually looks like a tornado just ripped through, but it's all mine! 

What would you change about your space?

I appreciate having my own space, but I don't love the space I have.  If I could start from scratch, it would be about twice the size.  It would have a low window,  which I would face when sewing. I would love enough space to have ALL of my stash and books easily accessible.  I would like to have my computer in there, too.  Maybe when my son moves out permanently I'll take over his bedroom, too — I've already got my Singer 127 treadle machine in there.

How is your space organized?

"Organized" is not the word I'd use.  I have my sewing machines on an L-shaped desk top which sits on two two-drawer filing cabinets.  My cutting table is on the window wall.  My ironing board is between the cutting table and my sewing desk, with pressing tools in a cupboard next to it.  There are high wooden shelf units on the fourth wall.  Basically every inch of wall and floor space is occupied!

DSCN1764If you have a fabric stash, how do you impose order? 

Much of my fabric stash is in my sewing room on deep shelf units in plastic Rubbermaid boxes.  However, my fabric stash is taking over the rest of the house, too . . . There is a large cupboard in our bedroom that's pretty full, and two underbed storage boxes from IKEA.  Oh, and there is also fabric in the linen closet, and some in the basement.  I think I have a problem.

I try to store the fabric by type i.e. cottons, wool, linen, knits.  I keep a record the size and content of each piece as well as where I got it and what I paid.  However, I don't try to record the location.  Between my binder of swatches and my loose filing system, I can usually remember what I have and find it without too much searching. But occasionally, I am surprised to find something I had forgotten about.

How are your patterns organized?

My patterns are crammed into a two-drawer metal filing cabinet.  They are filed in hanging folders by garment type, i.e. suits/separates, coats, dresses, tops, pants & skirts.  However, I desperately need more pattern storage!

I have my Burda magazines archived, sort of.  I scan the covers and line drawings, so I can browse through them on the computer.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

>My husband and I made a duct-tape double many years ago.  She is tremendously helpful to check fit and proportion.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

My cutting table is  a hollow-core door which sits on table legs from IKEA at a good height.  I have a cutting mat on top and only use a rotary cutter.

DSCN1827 - Copy (480x640)What is your most helpful tool? Why?

I think my iron and ironing board are the most valuable tools I have because having a great iron makes everything look so much better.  I have a Consew gravity feed iron and a Reliable ironing board with a built-in fan to draw steam and heat down and out of what I'm pressing.  It's great for tailoring with wool.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

The absolute basics are a good sewing machine, a good iron and a good pair of scissors. 

What kind of machine do you use?

My main sewing machine is a Pfaff 2042 which is about eight years old.  I have a Featherweight which I often use for topstitching (heavier or contrasting thread colour).  I recently bought a Singer 127 treadle machine, but so far haven't used it for garment sewing although I have used it to construct muslins.

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

My Pfaff 4852 (five thread & coverstitch) is about ten years old.  I use it all the time — to finish seams (two-thread overlock), construct stretchy garments (four-thread overlock), and occasionally for rolled hems.  It is not difficult to switch to the coverstitch, which I like for T-shirt hems and neck edges.  The serger really makes my garments look more beautiful, inside and out.

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

I've been in my sewing room for about 10 years and it's still a work in progress . . .

First Sewing Spaces stop next week: Patty, The Snug Bug. She has a cute lil canine pal, and you'll be able to admire him in her room. Adorable? You bet. Her sewing space is rather cute as well. Absolutely.

And don't forget to enter my celebration giveaway. If I do say so myself, it is fabulous! And I would not lie to you. I would not. 


Sewing spaces: Sewing by the seat of her pants? I don't think so. November 24, 2010 09:30

Ssseat-brown Karen, of Sewing By the Seat of My Pants, wants what she wants when she wants it, and this Thanksgiving, what she wants is a replacement model for her Singer 7426. The one you'll see in her sewing studio is resting in peace. Thank goodness: Another one is winging its way to her abode while you're out buying a turkey or a bean bird. So. Before you put the cornbread on to bake for the dressing, pour yourself a doubtless much needed cup of joe, relax and enjoy Karen's room.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes.  I have a small spare bedroom that I took over so that I could keep my work out and not have to tidy up at the end of every sewing session.  I get a lot more done that way, and I don't have to worry about my cats prancing through the patterns when I'm not there to supervise.

What would you change about your space?

I'd like more wall space, so I could put in more organization.  The room has three windows, so they take up a lot of space that could better be used for shelving.  My house is really close to the neighbors, so I tend to keep the curtains closed anyway.

How is your space organized?

Is it organized?  That's a matter of opinion, though I'm always trying to organize it.  I have several small dressers which hold interfacing, linings, leather, vintage patterns, etc.  There's an Ikea chest with wide shallow drawers for zippers, scissors, machine needles, tailoring supplies and other frequently used items.  I have a few racks for thread, separate small tubs for trim, ribbons, etc.  And then there's the stash organization, which is a whole other story.

Ssseat-overall How do you impose order on your fabric stash?

There are several stash locations in the room.  The biggest by far is the wall unit, which is woven and stretch woven garment fabric.  There's a knit section in two smaller bookcases, and home dec fabrics are stored in a tall wardrobe closet.  My remnant stash is in a plastic clothes hamper.  When it gets full, I sort through it.

How are your patterns organized?

I categorize them by garment type: jacket, skirt, pants, etc.  Most of my patterns are traced, so they're in single-garment envelopes.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

My Burda magazine collection is archived by year; I have a smaller collection of Ottobre, La Mia Boutique and Patrones, which all live together in one section. The traced patterns and regular envelope patterns are stored by category in magazine organizers which live on shelves behind my sewing chair. 

Ssseat-dressDo you have a mannequin made to measure?

Evelyn is more-or-less my measurements, the measurements just don't fall in exactly the same places, so she's been fluffed out a bit with a bra and some fiberfill, and she has a bit of batting around the waist, right about where I have a bit of batting around the waist.

If so, do you find it helpful?

Not as helpful as I would like.  At some point, I would really like to learn draping, but I haven't found the time to experiment.  It's still very helpful when I need to work on something three-dimensionally instead of flat on the table, or when I can't fit it on myself and pin at the same time. 

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I have two 24 x 36 cutting mats linked together on my table.  Unless the table is covered in stuff (which it generally is) that's more than enough room to cut and trace just about anything.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

My iron, hands down.  It's not even a good one right now, but it's still the most necessary thing in the room after the sewing machine.  I think the biggest sewing epiphany I ever had was when I realized that you can't sew well without pressing.  

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

An iron that doesn't spit on your fabric.  Good scissors and/or a rotary cutter.  Rotary cutters are invaluable for cutting knits, especially, and it makes the whole process go so much more quickly.  Sharp pins, extra needles and replacement blades for your rotary cutter, because they're always more dull than you think they are.

What kind of machine do you use?

My standard workhorse machine is a Singer 7426, not a particularly spiffy machine, but it does everything I want it to, and it makes nice buttonholes.  I also have a Juki (which needs repair right now, so we're not on speaking terms).  I have a Janome CP900 coverstitch machine, which was the best Christmas present ever, because I hate twin-needle sewing on knits.  I have a vintage Singer with attachment that I use as a dedicated buttonholer. 

What do you like about them?

My Singer 7426 was purchased about six years ago as a stand-in until I could get a really good machine.  Surprisingly, by the time I got my really good machine, I was really attached to the Singer.  The only thing I didn't like about it was its very inadequate light, but I got an Uber light last year that I can point directly at the sewing surface, so that solved that problem.

Do you use a serger?

I don't have one, and I don't have any plan to get one. (At this point, I don't have room for one, anyway).  I sew a lot of knits, but I've never had a problem sewing them on my standard machine using either the stretch stitch or a small zigzag.  And now that I have the coverstitch, my only reason for wanting a serger is moot.

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

It's still under development, as far as I'm concerned.  The alcove where the Coverpro and the Juki are situated is a recent addition.  It used to be a shallow closet that I couldn't really use, and last year I tore it out and put in a shelf and the counter as an extra work surface.  The wall of the alcove also serves as an inspiration space where I can tape up all the pictures I tear out of magazines — this way, at least I'll be able to find them when I want them.

This weekend, take a moment out from holiday festivities to tour The Sewing Lawyer's studio. Also, I'll be posting a new giveaway. And you don't want to miss either post. Do you?

Meanwhile, dear readers, have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving!


Sewing spaces: Steph creates 3 hours past the edge of the world. November 21, 2010 08:56 2 Comments

Sewing_spaces3 Meet Steph of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World. If you haven't already. She's an American. Who lives in strange land that is not the United States. (I do believe we have become one of the strangest lands around in the last year or so, a land best approached with a sea-to-shining-sea dose of humor. I love this country. I do. So much. But I would love to see sanity and tolerance and respect restored. "You go, then I go," to quote Jon Stewart. But that's another story. Heavy sigh. It is.)  To get back to today's topic: Steph sews. She creates splendiferous garments. She blogs. Don't miss her post on candy stripes. A delight. Absolutely. But  now, let's tour the space where she creates her gorgeous garments.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I have half the study. My machines and ironing board stay out permanently. Occasionally, my sewing/experimenting takes over the house, but I do try to keep it contained.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

The cork floor tiles on the wall. I pin up all the little bits that used to clutter my sewing space. Extra pockets, samples, scraps, drawings, pictures of family, orphaned patterns, pretty colors.

What would you change about your space?

Right now I "share" with my "darling husband": his fishing gear, entomology projects and computer. Eventually, I'll have a room of my own: natural light, glass-fronted cupboards for fabric, an outsize cutting table and a kitchenette.

How is your space organized?

I have a comfy desk chair, and I barricade myself behind the ironing board.  My sewing machine sits on a computer table, my computer sits on the pull-out tray beneath.  My overlocker sits on a desk to the right. 

It works pretty well to have the ironing board lowered to sitting height. I can pin, sew, finish and press by just spinning my chair.  I used to think that was lazy, but this set up greatly improved my sewing speed. 

I have a wooden tackle box next to my machine.  Everything for a current project lies within arm's reach that way, no stopping to fumble around finding bits or fugitive tools. 

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

I don't tend to stash, except fabrics of a particularly flattering tone of blue. My sewing goes through phases — I buy a nice pile of fabric, then work on the patterns, then cut, then sew, then buy again.

My stash, such as it is, consists mainly of scrap, inheritance and reclaimed fabrics.

How are your patterns organized?

I keep them in labeled manila envelopes along with any notes or scraps of fabric or whatever I think might be useful the next time I open the pattern. I have an accordion file which holds patterns for my little girl, my husband, crafts and my mother-in-law. I have a few others for my personal patterns, divided by decade. I store them in a little shelf by my sewing machine, sometimes stuffing them under the overlocker desk.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

Since I work primarily from vintage patterns, which are in dwindling supply, I tend to copy a pattern and release it back into the wild via ebay. I never do that for patterns after the early 50s. I have a file on my computer of envelope scans, then I rummage through accordion files until I find it. When I am in the middle of a sewing frenzy, I often end up with orphaned pattern pieces. They go on the cork board until the pattern envelope turns up. Call it controlled chaos.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I use kitchen counter or "bench" as the Aussies call it. I keep polytrace (for copying patterns), scissors, and some patterns in a commandeered cabinet beneath. My drafting tools hang on a board next to the fridge.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

Can I name three if they all go together? Quilter's rule, rotary cutter and mat. I use it for quilting (obviously) as well as cutting bias strips, for squaring up, for cutting welts, some kinds of cuffs, bags, etc.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

I teach beginner sewers. I know at the beginning, it seems like you fork out a lot of $$ to set up, but try to get the best tools you can afford. It's hard to do good work when you have to fight with your tools.

Scissors: They don't have to be expensive, but they do need to be sharp and dedicated solely to fabric.

Pins: Glass head, so they won't melt.

Chalk for marking.

Seam ripper: Once again, a nice sharp one is easier to use.

Measuring tape

Quilter's ruler: I'm so not kidding about how great they are.

Quality thread: Inferior thread creates inferior stitching. A branded thread is a safe bet, avoid generic like the plague.

Magnetic pincushion: not required, but many end up with one because they're so convenient.

What kind of machine do you use?

I use a Janome 4900 for my sewing and a Husqvarna 905 for my overlocking (serging).

What do you like about it?

I like the way it trills an electronic greeting when I turn it on. I like its get-up-and-go motor. I like the stitch quality. I like its bartacks, eyelets, hemstitching and range of decorative stitches. I like all the crazy feet it came with. I have to be familiar with all those functions as part of my job, so I constantly use the feet and stitching in my own sewing.

My machine is reliable, too. I don't have to stop sewing to fix some machine issue, which is a motivation killer for me.

Do you use a serger? Why do you like it?

I do use a serger, but it's not the be all and end all in my sewing. I use it mostly for casuals, little girl clothes and knits. I find it invaluable for that. However, I like to line garments, I like felled, French and Hong Kong seams, and I find they usually wear harder in the long run.

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

I've been working on my corner of the study for about a year now, but it only recently started feeling "right."

Mmmmm. Note to self: When setting up my space, consider the technique of Erica B. and Steph to keep things within arms' reach.

Next on Sewing Spaces: Karen of Sewing by the Seat of My Pants and Kay of The Sewing Lawyer. Don't miss 'em. Be there, be square. And all that.

And. No. No. I have not forgotten that I promised to update you, dear readers, on my own forays into the world of needle arts. I haven't. Maybe later today. Maybe. It could happen. Absolutely.

(Meanwhile: You go, then I go, she chanted.) 

Sewing Spaces: Kristin of k-line's room is as pretty as she is. November 16, 2010 15:57 5 Comments

Oh my. In fact, oh my, oh my, oh my, oh my! Kristin of k-line has only been sewing for a year. A year! I feel totally deflated. Yet inspired. There is hope for me. Somewhere. Somehow. But. Enough about me. Enough about my lack of dedication to learning the craft. (Just do it, Denise! Do it.) Let's go see the stitching area of a dame with the pluck to go the distance. And how.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I have a "sewga" room — a place I used formerly only for yoga practice (it was zenlike and empty) — which is now shared with my sewing paraphernalia. It isn't huge, but it works very well for its purposes. I am extremely grateful for it.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

Oh, I like so much. It's got great natural light (though not much in the way of views). It's got lovely hardwood floors and a mirror that makes me look skinny :-). I love my table with my machines. I just got these new organizer bins with a wood top that are quite cool and useful, IMO. Oh, and it has a door!

What would you change about your space?

Ha! Well, I'd give it a fantastic view. And I'm working on better task lighting (mine sucks) and a functional chair. I would, of course, love for both of these to be very chic. So it's taking a while.

Kristin_iron How is your space organized?

Within an inch of its life! Well, I use the wooden cupboard for my fabric. The bins for notions and props and my special pattern filing system (stolen from Victoria). I like everything to be very straight, too. What I mean is, I can't stand it when things are off grain. So everything is lined up.

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

I have a stash, and I'd have a store if I could justify it. How I love fabric. All the potential in the universe exists on its surface. My deal with myself is that when I can't fit stuff in the cupboard, I stop buying. So far, so good. But it's close.

How are your patterns organized?

Oh, I have this great system which I mentioned at some length in a blog post. Here's the synopsis: I have a binder containing a pattern index which relates to clear plastic envelopes, also in the binder, that store pattern paper sleeves. The actual patterns are stored in my special storage bins. Index numbers link the pattern to the clear envelope to the index sheet to the binned pattern-content envelopes.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

Oh, I guess my last answer goes with this question too. The pattern contents are archived in the storage bins, after use. So far I haven't exceeded the amount of space in those.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

I wish! I want one of those fancy made-to-measure ones that cost hundreds of bucks, but I'm still paying off my new serger :-) I think it would be very useful to be able to drape. I love sewing with stretch fabrics and knits and using drape styles.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

My dining room table. I use a rotary cutter and self-healing mats. It's not an optimal system. I need a mat that fits the entire table. Haven't got that yet and, truly, I have no idea of where I'd store it —  but I couldn't leave it out.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

I find this to be one of your most fascinating questions, Denise. How can I choose? I'm going to go with my rotary cutter, because it's so much better than scissors, IMO. Mind you, I've only ever used scissors once, so I could be making that up. Of course, I am indebted to my machines.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

A decent machine — which need not break the bank or require Ebay scouting skills. I use one from Wal-Mart (not that I like to plug Wal-Mart, but my point is that it's a really reliable machine, and I got it for 200 bucks). Knowing what I know now, I might have tried to find a great mechanical machine second hand — like one from the '70s. But mine works very adequately. I did add about 100 bucks into the machine in presser feet and gizmos.

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a Brother CE5000. (I also have a Singer 185J, theoretically manufactured in the '50s in Canada, but I have my suspicions. I've looked into the serial numbers, and I think the shell was actually imported from Scotland. . . . My MIL gave me this one, which was her sewing machine when she got married. It's a tank — beautifully made and, now that it's refurbished, it works excellently. But I'm a bit intimidated by it still. Oh, and it doesn't do anything other than a straight stitch. So if I'm working on a project that needs multiple machine functions, I tend to stick with the Brother.)

What do you like about the Brother?

It's knowable. And it was easy to learn on. And it sews nice stitches — even with knits, which I understand some machines don't play nice with.

Do you like your serger? If so, why?

Oh, YES! I love this question, because I just got a serger, and it's a Babylock Imagine — the ne plus ultra. I feel a bit like a fraud for owning such a beautiful machine with my level of talent and experience, but I will grow into it. I swear!

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

I started sewing Nov. 1, 2009, and, at first, sewed at the dining room table, sewga room notwithstanding, until the early new year. It took me a couple of months of sewing in a communal space before I felt comfortable enough to cloister myself. I also didn't know if I'd have the fortitude to continue. But here I still am. And my room is definitely a work in progress.

Later this week, I'll chat with Steph of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World. And. And — are you sitting down, dear readers — I'll share what I've been up to. Can you wait? I know it's hard. I do. But try. OK? 


Sewing Spaces: Casey muses and sews with elegance. Indeed. November 13, 2010 14:53 5 Comments

Casey, she of the most Elegant Musings, doesn't just blog about sewing. She shares recipes and pincurling sets and all manner of tidbits. And, of course, they are all ever so elegant. And even though she moves frequently, nothing about her sewing area looks temporary. Nothing. I think you'll agree. (And isn't her green dress gorgeous? Not to mention Casey herself!)

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I currently have a sewing nook along a couple walls of back walls in the extra bedroom in my home ­— which is a considerable improvement from my previous space! (I had to stuff all my sewing equipment in my little room at my parents' house, and it competed with space for my "office", book collection, bed and closet!) I share it with my husband's office, our exercise equipment, the guest room and storage space.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

Definitely the amount of room I have to spread out a bit more — and I don't have to clean up every evening if I'm in the middle of something before I call it a night. Good natural light is also a huge plus; there is a large window next to my desk, and I can never have enough of natural light. It's pretty perfectly situated. I also like that I have the wall space to spread out all my inspiration bits and pieces; surrounding myself with the things that inspire me creatively is very important.

What would you change about your space?

I'd love more space (what sewist wouldn't?!)! Especially storage space — probably a few more shelves, another window and an extra desk to put my computer at (for random inspiration surfing, blogging, email checking and listening to music/podcasts). I'd also love to have the space to have a rolling rack to hang works-in-progress on. A dedicated cutting surface would be lovely too . . . and save my back! Maybe a few places to put my vintage inspiration pieces (both garments and papers) to make them more accessible. I'm also very attuned to making my space really pleasant visually to work in, and I hate having beige walls (the walls in my previous space were a gorgeous shade of blue) and not being able to go really crazy with things on the walls. I'd also love curtains! I did have those up for awhile, but had to take them down due to a water leak problem (right now, I just have a little banner I made from vintage sewing pictures hanging above the window for decoration).

How is your space organized?

One side of the room has the table which holds my machines, basic sewing supplies, notions in a small Ikea drawer set, and my bulletin board (used to hold patterns, inspiration and swatches). On the opposite wall are two Ikea shelves that hold the majority of my larger supplies and where my dress form is usually tucked away. I currently have the shelves set up to hold part of my fabric stash, boxes of notions/trims/interfacings, patterns and some of my vintage lace and embroidery supplies. I also have a few boxes in the room's closet with less-used supplies and inspiration materials.

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

I'm still working on this a bit; it's hard since I only have so much space and need to keep it in check because we move a lot. I also admit I am not the most organized person of the Earth, but am trying to fix that! Currently, I have the larger cuts of fabric (those that are suitable for garments) folded on the shelving units along one wall — I try to keep that to about two shelves. I also have another box of larger cuts, linings and heavier fabrics; as well as a box of random "scraps" or little accent pieces. I find any more fabric, and I tend to forget what I have — and it also keeps me using what I do have since most of it is out in the open.

How are your patterns organized?

Since I work with a lot of vintage patterns, I tend to keep those easily available — right now, they're confined to two boxes I bought at Target earlier this year that are about the right proportions for patterns. I also have another (larger) box in the bedroom closet with all my self-drafted patterns, muslins, tracings and random patterns that are too big for the other containers (like Folkwear and such). I am finding this works out pretty well — although I think I need either a third box or bigger ones for the vintage patterns already!

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

For the vintage patterns, I keep them separated by time period (one box is pre-1950, the other is pre-1990) and then divided by pattern company. (I just made dividers out of cardboard scraps!) Each is in its own clear, acid-free sleeve, so I can flip through the boxes and see what each looks like front and back without having to pull them out. (I've also scanned and created a catalog of my patterns on my computer, so I don't always have to run in my sewing room to look at something!) For the patterns I've drafted or modern ones, I generally keep those in large zip bags and clearly labeled so I don't get confused as to what is in it!

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

One day, I'd love one! But for right now I have an adjustable dress form I purchased at JoAnn's years ago. I bought it as a teenager and saved and saved for that — and managed to get it at a good price, because it was the last floor model in the store! Eventually, I'd like to upgrade to a professional form, if nothing else because it would look nice when I photograph pieces I've made for myself.

Do you find your form helpful?

Even though mine is purely "ideal proportions", I do find it immensely helpful since I have to fit all my garments myself.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I use a large, folding cardboard cutting board on the floor. Not too sophisticated, but it works for the space I have right now. One day, I plan on having a sewing room where I can have a large table on risers dedicated as a cutting surface!

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

Oh goodness . . . it's a toss-up between my serger and pressing tools! The serger has made my sewing so much more efficient and allowed me to create garments that I feel are more professional and finished. But pressing is even more vital to a garment that looks well-made — I am constantly grabbing the various pressing forms and clapper (all have been thrifted/inherited).

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

Good dressmaker's scissors (I've had my Gingher shears for years, and they serve me well!), a decent sewing machine, a good iron and at least a pressing ham, seam ripper, pins of various sorts, tracing paper (always a must in my sewing room!) and good thread (as funny as it may sound). I wrote about my favorite tools and "necessary" items in a post a bit ago.

What kind of machine do you use?

I am currently using both my mother's older Singer (late '80s model) and a Kenmore that my mother-in-law gave me (an early '90s machine). I actually own five machines in total; but two of those are vintage cabinet models, and my parents are currently storing them in their basement until I have the room for them! I am a bit of a compulsive sewing machine collector . . . especially when it comes to pretty vintage machines. It's only my current lack of space that keeps me from acquiring more!

What do you like about your machines?

The Singer is a workhorse — it's one of the older models that is mostly metal workings and the one my mother taught me to sew on; I tend to use it for the "heavy duty" sewing. The Kenmore is a bit fancier with some computerized settings that I have found helpful for the odd project or embellishment. The buttonhole setting works a lot better on that one, too. I haven't fully explored what this one does — I've had it for less than a year — but need to sit down with the manual and try some of the "fancy" settings.

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

I was able to get a serger after last Christmas — it's been on my wish list for the last four years. It's a basic model and cost less than $200, but I found it has improved my sewing immensely. It certainly cuts down on time spent finishing seams. One thing I haven't done as much with as I had hoped is sewing knits — but maybe I'll investigate that more next year.

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

My sewing space is constantly evolving; and because we move a lot, I can't really dedicate a ton of effort and money to customizing a space just so. In many ways, mine has to be portable and easy to move! In its current incarnation, it's taken about one-and-a-half years to get it to this point; I just add things as I have the inspiration, funds and find pieces to suit my needs. That being said, my space has always incorporated many of these basic elements —even when it was crammed into my bedroom. I've always had at least a small table for my machine, my dress form, some sort of storage (it used to be a small side table with drawers) and an inspiration board.

Next stop: K-Line. So. Get your ticket. And don't be late. Okeydoke? 

Sewing Spaces: Sewistas, we have a winner . . . November 11, 2010 12:48 7 Comments

We do. And she is one lucky female. Her name is Marisa, and her blog is beautiful, and I suppose I will have to forgive her for not being a regular reader. Or will I? Some things pierce the heart too deeply, and perhaps this is one. Pass those Puffs, please.

At any rate, she will be getting her prize — the ever-so-feminine Crepe pattern from Colette, luscious royal blue wool crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics, a cute-as-a-mewling-pup pin cushion from The Cupcake Goddess and pretty Cherries in the Snow, both lipstick and nail polish. (A warm-and-toasty thank you to Sarai, Ann, Sunni — and ever-so-modest me — for providing prizes. I bow to all of you. I do.)

And, Marisa, congratulations! Absolutely. And I thank each and every one of you for entering. I am touched and pleased that so many people left a comment. I am. Truly. And, yes, there will be another contest soon. Very.

Sewing Spaces: See where Robin does a little sewing. Or a lot. November 8, 2010 12:59 2 Comments

Alittlesewing dress
Robin is a business analyst in Maryland who enjoys doing A Little Sewing on the side. (It seems to this procrastinator that she does quite a lot of sewing.) She has put her analytical skills to use in developing her sewing room. And — I am tempted to reach out through cyberspace and slap her in a fit of envy — she has a Wolf Dress Form. But. I won't. Because I am so nice. I am. Absolutely. So. Let's tour her space. And ogle the dress form.

Alittlesewing seating area
Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes, and I just happen to be finishing a huge cleanup.  It is squeaky (freaky) clean right now!  I can't wait to mess it up again.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

It is always set up and ready for me to settle in for a nice relaxing and creative sewing session.  I like having a TV and comfortable seating, so my husband feels free to hang out while I sew.   Thanks to him, I have developed an appreciation for motorcycle racing.   When I am sewing something difficult, I block out everything around me.

What would you change about your space?

It would have magic powers to give me more hours in a day.

Alittlesewing setup
How is your space organized?

I like to work in a U-shaped layout with sewing machines on one side, sergers on one side, and pressing area on one side.  I used to press on an ironing board set to the same height as my sewing tables.  A couple years ago, I switched to a larger counter-height pressing center. Although I have to stand up and sit down a lot, I prefer moving around.  If I hunch over my work too long, I get stiff neck muscles. Also, I hate to sew facing a wall.

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

Fabrics are stacked on a shelving unit where I can see them, and I have a closet where I can store some home dec fabrics and other bulky stuff like fleece and batting.

How are your patterns organized?

I don't have many patterns.  I sew the same things over and over, with minor changes to design details.  If patterns fit me straight out of

the envelope, I am sure I'd have a zillion.  Fitting has been my biggest challenge as a seamstress.  My small pattern stash fits into a single drawer in the file cabinet. In my cutting area, I have my own fitted blocks (bodices, sleeves, skirts, pants, etc) that hang from the wall using push-pins.  When I buy a commercial pattern, I don't reinvent the wheel trying to make it fit me.  I take just the design details and morph them onto one of my existing blocks.  For example, I'll trace off the lapels from the commercial pattern, trace a copy of my fitted bodice and tape them together. In a nutshell, I do the Franken-pattern thing.  It saves me from making a lot of muslins.

Alittlesewing patterns Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

I use Ziplock baggies for my Franken-patterns.  I write the pattern name/number and date on the baggie with a Sharpee.  I keep pattern magazines on the bookcase along with my Threads magazines and books.

Alittlesewing dress form
Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

Yes!  I have a very recently acquired a dress form custom-made to my measurements.  That was an exciting purchase.  I visited Wolf Dress Forms in Englewood, NJ, a couple of times over the summer. I just picked up the completed dress form last week.  It is quite remarkable how well my sewn garments fit the dress form.  My only complaint is that my own figure is not as firm and smooth as the dress form.  Boo hoo.

Do you find it helpful?

My expectation is that I will not spend as much time trying on the muslin, looking in the mirror, taking it off, making a change, trying it back on, looking in the mirror, guessing what it needs, taking it off, making a change, trying it back on . . . .

What do you cut out your patterns on?

A hollow-core door laid across a twin-bed frame.  Both the headboard and the footboard are 38〃 high.  It doubles as a guest bed.  It's fantastic.  I love it. I use a large self-healing cutting mat.  The brand is Megamat, and I purchased it online from Atlanta Thread and Supply.  It is nice to measure, adjust and otherwise perform all pattern surgery at a comfortable table before sitting down to sew.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

The huge cutting table is pretty great.  I am a big fan of using pattern weights and a rotary cutter. I find it speeds up the process.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

A beginner needs a trouble-free sewing machine.  In my opinion, it's hard to beat a midrange Sears Kenmore for economical-but-still-good-quality sewing machine.  If I were a beginner with a jones for a vintage machine, I would make sure to plunk down the $90 (or whatever) to get it serviced. I have struggled with finicky machines, and it takes the joy out of sewing!

You'll also need sharp scissors, seam ripper, measuring tape, pins, needles, all-purpose polyester thread and an iron. I also recommend something like a fishing tackle box for storing the pins, scissors, threads and stuff.  I sewed like that for many years. The sewing machine and the tackle box got tucked away in the closet when not in use.

And if you are reading this, you already know about the internet.  My sewing improved a great deal when I started reading sewing blogs. People are so generous with their knowledge.

Alittlesewing sewing machine What kind of machine do you use?

Oh, I feel so spoiled to answer this question because I love both of my machines so much! I sew on a Bernina Aurora 430 and a Pfaff 2042 Quilt Style.

What do you like about them?

The machines have different strengths, so I will compare them and why I like these two machines so much.  The Bernina presser foot applies heavy pressure, and, like most machines, the feed dogs move the fabric.  There are a variety of specialty feet, which are very precisely engineered.  Results are uniform.  That means perfect topstitching every time.

The Pfaff, on the other hand, has what is basically a narrow built-in walking foot and fairly light presser foot pressure.  The fabric is fed from above and below at the same time.  This keeps the fabric lined up nicely with very little effort.  Fussy fabrics glide right on through without getting sucked down into the feed dogs.  Since the walking foot is so narrow, you can sew narrow seams on knits or silks. Of course, both of these machines do a fine job on any type of fabric.

Every sewist develops little tricks to get nice results and avoid pitfalls. For lingerie, swimwear and knit clothing, I adore the Pfaff. For tailoring, shirtmaking, dressmaking and other woven fabrics, I love the Bernina.

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

Sergers are great for fast, easy and consistent results to finish seams. I definitely love mine.  I think I like it as much for cutting the seam allowance as for finishing the edge.  For example, denim will fade over time.  As the edges of the seam allowances start showing through on the outer side, I want those wear marks to be perfectly straight.  It gives a nice RTW finish. But I would not say a serger is essential ­– just nice to have.

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

When I first decided to create a dedicated sewing space, I referred to a book called Dream Sewing Spaces by Lynnette Ranney Black.  I played around with graph paper to pack the most function into the space I had.  That helped me get a good setup right from the start.  I am sure it will continue to evolve.  I try to clean and re-organize about once a year.  Thanks for stopping by!



Sewing Spaces: It looks like a happy sewing place. It does. Indeed. November 6, 2010 10:48 2 Comments

Debi of My Happy Sewing Place sews the most delightful 1940s outfits. And  — sit down — she's an absolute beginner! Yes. A newbie. (Take that, self.) She's a glamorous ex-pat, who resides in Scotland. Let's tour her charming sewing room now.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes, I just moved all my sewing stuff into a dedicated space. I used to do all my sewing in the living room. That worked out fairly well, except that there was not enough space for the sewing stuff, and the living room is also where David has his work desk (imagine trying to work while someone is sewing up a storm! hehehe). So, we ended up moving into our guest room and are using our old bedroom as a sewing room. (Whoot! Whoot!) I am so excited!

 What do you like best about your sewing area?

There is a little nook that has a window and an amazing overhead light that is perfect for my sewing table. I think having the extra light has made all the difference! It gets dark here in Scotland (in fact, I tried to get a picture of the sewing area at a time when light would come through the window, so that you could see there is a really nice view of a tree BUT I get up and leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark now!) Plus, our town is especially bad for light in the winter, because we live in the shadow of a very large hill that the sun struggles to make its way over, especially in December/January. So having extra light is definitely something I need for the evening sewing!

What would you change about your space?

The only thing I want to add is some sort of storage system for current projects (as opposed to piling them somewhere in the room). Any thoughts? At the moment, I am still getting used to my space, and I'm absolutely loving it!

How is your space organized?

I've got my sewing machine and tailor's dummy (mannequin) in one corner. We've got a folding ironing board, so that can be stashed away when not in use. The other part of my sewing room consists of a fabulous settee. (Only in Scotland is buying antique furniture cheaper than IKEA!!) Plus, this beauty needed a bit of work – which we were happy to provide – where I can sit and read through patterns, get inspiration from vintage magazines or where David can come and sit and we can chat while I am cutting out fabric or sewing!

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

I impose order by putting the fabric in the closet and shutting the door! :-) At the moment, my fabric and notions are in a closet in another room. We are in the process of moving all of our stuff around so that the fabric is in the closet right next to the sewing table! In turns, I've stacked my fabrics mostly by type (i.e. wools and heavier fabrics are on the top shelf; cottons and others on the second shelf and slippery ones on the bottom shelf).

How are your patterns organized?

My patterns are organized by year and then by pattern number.

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

I store my patterns in plastic covering (with cardboard backing) in three separate accordion files. Each file represents a year (most of my patterns are from the years 1939, 1940 and 1941) and then I store them by pattern number.

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

I was lucky enough to get a mannequin for free! So, yes, I've got a mannequin. She roughly is the same size as me, but I have yet to get down and actually measure every part of her to tell.

Do you find her helpful?

I find her mostly helpful for seeing how a pattern will come together and also as a way to store/display current projects.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

The floor! I prefer to cut out my fabrics on the wood floor – as opposed to the carpet – so my fabric will often stretch out the door.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

I've found the computer/internet to be one of my most helpful tools in finding information on different techniques.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

A basic sewing machine, pinking shears, good pair of scissors, seam ripper and easy-to-find pins!

What kind of machine do you use?

I have two machines! A Singer 15K who sits inside the table (her name is Betsy) and a Singer 6136 (from the 1980s I believe) that David got me for my last birthday (her name is Lucy).

What do you like about the one you use?

It works great! No complaints! She does a great straight stitch, holds fabric well and is easy to thread.

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

I don't have a serger. At some point in the future, I would like to get one to help finish seams, but for the time being, I take advice from my 1940s books on finishing seams!

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

I've been actively sewing for just under a year, so that amount of time. It took me about a year to figure out I need a truly dedicated space. I love it!

I love the golden glow in Debi's sewing room. It looks so . . . well . . . Scottish! Don't  you think? And next week, when the week is still fresh and new, we'll tour Robin's space. Robin is the author of the blog A Little Sewing. But then, you knew that already, you savvy readers, you.



Sewing Spaces: This giveaway is huge, I say. Huge. November 3, 2010 18:37 312 Comments

Colette_Crepe-1013Here it is: The giveaway that takes the cake. It does. In fact, I want to keep this giveaway for myself. Every single item. Yes, indeed. But I refuse to give in to such a selfish impulse. I do.

This is an amazing giveaway. It is. Totally. Completely. It includes:

Colette's gorgeous Crepe pattern. It's sweet. It's easy. It has that 1940s flair. And perhaps best of all, it's for beginners! Aren't you happy about that, fledglings? I am. 

Next, Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics is generously supplying the fabric to make your Crepe frock. And it's not just any fabric. No. It isn't. It is luscious royal navy wool crepe. Think how wonderful it will feel. 

And Sunni, the Cupcake Goddess herself, has made a cute pin cushion especially for our very lucky winner. It's the cherry size, yes, the one right on the tip top. It is so adorable.

Revloncherriesinthesnow-300x187 But there's more. Really: Revlon Cherries in the Snow lipstick and nail polish. True vintage colors introduced in 1953. This color was a cult best seller in the 1950s, and it's just as glamorous today.

So. You are surely asking: How do I enter? How? Well. It's easier than baking a cake. And quicker. Just leave a comment. Amuse me. Tell me why you want to win. Tell me if you read the blog regularly. Let me know what you like best about Sewing Spaces. Do so by Tuesday, November 9 at 5 pm PDT. Then I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner. And someone will be getting a very fabulous package in the mail.

And a warm-and-toasty thank-you to Sarai of Colette patterns, Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics and Sunni of The Cupcake Goddess for making this terrific giveaway possible! 

Sewing Spaces: Salute the winner, please. November 3, 2010 10:04 3 Comments

SS-Myrna Blogger Sz of Thunderpaws Threads will soon be thumbing through Setting Up Your Sewing Space by Myrna Giesbrecht. Myrna's studio is quite lovely, and I know that dustbunnies would love to call it home, but they are smart enough to know that she would swat their fuzzy butts. So. They will continue to reside in the comfort of my cozy abode. Oh. Well. They know a good thing when they see it. They do.

At any rate, go check out Sz's (so sibilant!) blog and admire the butterfly nightie. Cute. Ever so. And I'll announce another give-away tonight. Check back. Do.

Sewing Spaces: Love her gorgeous fabric. Love her studio. October 31, 2010 15:11 5 Comments

Ann's_pic Ann, of the Gorgeous Things blog, insists she's not a very organized person. Harrumph, I say. In fact, I'll say it again. Loudly. Harrumph!! If she's not organized, she's certainly managed to disguise that fact in our tour of her studio. And how. Ann, who owns the to-dream-for fabric shop Gorgeous Fabrics, looks extremely organized to this clutterbunny. What do you think?

And I don't see a dustbunny anywhere. Not one. And I even got my magnifying glass out. Look closely. Do. I bet you won't find any either.

Ann's studio
Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I have two, actually. One is at home, and the other is a studio/classroom. Let's talk about the studio today.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

It's big! I use it for classes and for hosting other teachers. Also, it's away from home so I can escape to it on weekends if I want, and no one bothers me.

What would you change about your space?

If I could, I'd change the floor. The floor is carpeted, so pins and needles get stuck in it. I would prefer hardwood or laminate flooring. But it's in an office building, so I can't do that.

Ann's studio_tools
How is your space organized?

Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Snort!

What was the question again?

Seriously, I'm not a very organized person. I see friends who have beautifully organized sewing spaces where everything is within reach. I tend to operate in barely controlled chaos that sometimes devolves into down-and-out pandemonium. But once a project is done, I do a cleanup and get things back to barely contained chaos again. I like to say that my space is always very welcoming, but it's never very tidy. Plus, I almost always have some project going, whether it's a project to put up in the Gallery at Gorgeous Fabrics, a sample for a designer, or something more mundane. So it's usually a happily disorganized place.

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

We're talking about my private fabric stash, right? I generally keep that arranged by fabric type and color. I have a big Ikea cabinet (I <3 Ikea!) that I use for storage. I keep it arranged with interfacing on the bottom shelves and fabrics above that. I keep leather on the top shelves, and I have a couple of hides that I keep in a bin on the top. Those are from when I was manufacturing handbags.

I have an even bigger stash at the warehouse, but I try not to raid that too often!

Ann's studio_patterns
How are your patterns organized?

I have a 3-drawer Ikea bureau that holds them. I keep the "Big 4" patterns in the top drawer, smaller independents like Silhouettes, Kwik Sew, J.Stern and others in the middle drawer, and Hotpatterns, Jalie and other large-sized patterns in the bottom drawer. 

Ann's studio_mannequins Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

No. I have three mannequins that are standard size. At home I have Shelley, a size 6 Wolf dress form. I pad her out to my measurements. In the studio, I have Mutt and Jeff. Mutt is a Size 10 full-body (including legs) dress form. Jeff is a size 8 standard dress form with a broken stand, so she's about a foot shorter than Mutt. I am very close in size to Mutt. I just need to pad her at the bust. I use Jeff mostly for display and for classes.

Do you find your forms helpful?

I love my dress forms. They have been incredibly helpful to me in fitting, teaching and design work.

Ann's studio_cut What do you cut out your patterns on?

I have a big cutting table that my husband built for me. It's not quite industrial-sized, but it's big enough for my needs. It's a 4' x 8' melamine board that he finished with banding and mounted on Ikea table legs. It was featured on the website Ikea Hacker! I have a large Mega-Mat on it. I'm a big fan of rotary cutters, so I need the mat.

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

Number one would definitely be my gravity-feed iron. I am an absolute fanatic about pressing during the sewing process. I love the gravity feed because it is heavier than most home irons, so you don't have to push down to get a good press. It also gives a "dry" steam, if that makes sense. The steam is very fine and produces great results. And the 5-liter reservoir means I don't have to refill it very often. I also have a whole set of pressing forms, including hams, sleeve boards and rolls, press cloths, a pressing mitt, and a Press Bock that my friend Els sent to me from the Netherlands. These make pressing and shaping easier and give a great finish.

Ann's studio_iron I recently bought a fun tool at Marshalls. It's a standing magnifying mirror. It makes doing close work much easier. And it's quite funky looking!

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

Beyond the sewing machine, of course, an iron is the most important tool in your sewing arsenal. Bobbie Carr used to say, "Pressing is sewing." That is so true. A good set of shears and scissors is essential. I had a student who came to class with a pair of scissors that looked like they had chopped through lots of cardboard boxes and packing tape. She started to cut into her fabric, which was a nice fabric, and the scissors were chewing it up! I was over on the other side of the room when I saw it, and I ran over to her and confiscated her scissors. I gave her a pair of shears that I had and told her to keep them. I use those scissors to break down packing boxes now. They will never hurt another fabric! I am partial to Kai shears, but there are lots of good brands. I keep a pair of 4-inch tailor's points and several thread snips around the studio.

Other tools that I think every beginner should have: seam ripper (I have several – well, lots), a good supply of machine needles in various sizes, marking pencils or tailor's chalk, hand-sewing needles, thread in shades that can blend with different fabrics and colors.

Ann's studio_machine
What kind of machine do you use?

In the studio, I have a Juki DDL-8700 straight-stitch machine, a Juki 5-thread serger and an antique industrial coverstitch (I call it "the beast"). The DDL-8700 is my workhorse.

Ann's studio_fabric What do you like about it?

It's fast, it makes a beautiful stitch, and it sews equally well through silk chiffon as through denim or leather.

Do you use a serger? Why do you like it?

I love my serger. It makes sewing knits a breeze. It's also great for finishing seam allowances on woven garments. It's fast, and it makes a beautiful seam.

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

I've been in it for two years. It's still evolving. I call it a work in progress.

Did you enjoy the tour? I did. Absolutely. And be watching later this week for a giveaway featuring luscious wool crepe from Ann's online boutique.

Coming up in the Sewing Spaces: Debi of My Happy Sewing Place  and Robin of A Little Sewing. Don't miss these stitching stops.


Sewing Spaces: There's nothing tawdry about Audrey's room. October 29, 2010 14:37 2 Comments

Drat. I'm late. Late, late, late. How unlike me. (His Bertness is snickering. I can see you, dear, and that is not nice. Not one bit.) But. It is still Friday here in Arizona. It is. Am I forgiven? Please?

Audrey At any rate, enough about me. Let's visit Audrey's sewing space. You're probably familiar with her already, because she writes the SewTawdry blog. And you probably just want me to hush, so you can ogle her dining room. So. Guess what, dear readers? I will. For now.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I sew in the formal dining room of our home.

What do you like best about your sewing area?

It is near the kitchen and the family.  I sew in the evening or on weekends. This location lets me keep an eye on the activities of large groups of teenage boys, and multitask between sewing and typical weekend activities like laundry and cooking.   So far, my multitasking has not resulted in too many charred meals. Most of my fabric stash, sewing library and back-up sewing machines live in a cavernous room on the bottom floor of the house. It was originally designated as my sewing room. It proved to be too dark and far from the action.

What would you change about your space?

More light would be nice, especially when sewing at night.

How is your space organized?

Thread is served up on the sideboard and plastic bins underneath hold buttons, zippers and trims. Rolls of tracing and gridded paper, for pattern tracing and drafting, are stored on end in a box, nearby. Scissors, pins and sewing tools like tracing wheels, marking pens are in a container near the sewing machine. A pair of reading glasses, which never leave this room, are stored on a special holder next to the machines. Rulers and drafting curves are shoved into the end of a pattern box.

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

I have a huge stash, which is stored in see-through covered plastic bins; typically by color/season.  Example – a bin of blue winter fabrics, a bin of coral summer fabrics.  Most of the bins are in the storage room.  Bins of recent purchases or seasonal fabrics are in the dining room. I also maintain an electronic database of 15 years of fabric purchases, with info on fiber content, yardage, width, purchase price and source.  This is supposed to keep me from buying similar fabrics. And the value of the inventory is supposed to shame me and inhibit new fabric purchases. I calculate monthly spending totals. However, I have never done the summation of the entire inventory. I just can’t go there.

Fabric stash
How are your patterns organized?

I store patterns in lidded cardboard boxes. Roughly in the order they were purchased. Traced patterns from Burda, Patrones, Mia Boutique magazines, etc., are stored in manila envelopes in the same boxes. I draw a picture of the garment on the front of the envelope and tuck a photocopy of the magazine instructions along with a fabric swatch from the completed garment  inside.

Are your patterns archived?

An archive is both a collection of historical records, as well as the place they are located. Yes, I keep patterns forever.  I have patterns I made as a teen, quite a collection of vintage patterns (my definition is pre-1970’s), and 20 years of Burda WOF magazines. 

Pattern storage
How are they stored?

I store patterns in emptied copier paper boxes I bring home from work. The cleaning staff knows to save the boxes and lids for me. They are just the right size for Vogue patterns on their sides or two rows of smaller patterns

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

I have four mannequins. A half-size one used for draping sits on the sideboard. The others, which I call the “three weird sisters”, as in the witches in the play Macbeth, reside behind the door when not in use. They include a full size PGM for draping, a My Double (which it definitely isn’t) dress form for display purposes, and one packing tape dress form double, which I guess could be described as made to measure.

Do you find your forms helpful?

Yes, I use the duct-tape dress form to pin fit patterns before cutting a garment out. It lets me know right away if alterations are needed and in what area.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

The kitchen table, a large (102" x 42”) rectangular table purchased from Ikea.  If the table is in use, I use the floor.

Sewinng table
What is your most helpful tool

A sharp high-quality pair of dressmaking shears.


They make cutting out any type of fabric precise and enjoyable. They cut through the sheerest silks or the heaviest wools without distorting the fabric or leaving ragged edges. It is less fatiguing to your hands to cut with good sharp scissors. They make short work of grading and trimming seams and are wonderful for snipping into tight corners like bound-buttonhole openings.

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

Sharp scissors, tape measure,  a 3" wide, 18” long clear plastic ruler (found in quilting supplies),  which is invaluable for laying out pattern pieces and checking the grain lines, and a good steam iron.

What kind of machine do you use?

Husqvarna Designer I.

Sewing machine
What do you like about it?

The ease of switching pressure feet and selecting the stitches I use in about every garment; straight, hem stitch, buttonhole.  Also the auto thread cutter. I didn’t realize how much I used that until it quit working because of a dull cutting blade.

Do you use a serger?

Yes, I have two. One set up for overlocking and one set up for cover-stitching.  I bought a new serger with cover-stitch functionality, intending to get rid of my overlock-only serger. However, the new cover-stitch machine proved to be too difficult to switch back to overlock, so I kept my old overlock machine

Why do you like them?

For finishing the edges of garment pieces to prevent raveling on woven fabrics, sewing overcast seams and cover-stitched hems in knits.

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

I have been working in the dining room for about six years.  I expect that to change in two years when both DS’s will be in college. At that time, I plan to rent some PODS (portable on-demand storage) containers, and empty the current storage room of everything, so that my husband can replace the paneling with wallboard, install storage units and update the lighting. Until then, I am collecting great storage and organizational ideas from others’ sewing spaces.

Monday, we'll drop by Ann's studio. Ann, of Gorgeous Fabrics, pens the Gorgeous Things blog. And she is always making something amazing. But then, who wouldn't, with all that beautiful fabric so close at hand? (Well, procrastinators like myself. But let's not go there.)

Oh, and if you haven't entered the contest for the comprehensive book, Setting Up Your Sewing Space, do. You won't regret it.



Sewing Spaces: You want this book. You do. So comment. Now. October 27, 2010 17:28 37 Comments

SS-Myrna Forgive me. Please. I changed my mind. The mega-giveaway with fabric, pin cushion and pattern is next week. This week, I decided to honor Myrna, who wrote the book on getting one's sewing space in order. Really. She did. And it's a fabulous book, jammed with excellent advice. If you read the interview with her and had to get the Kleenex to wipe drool from your lips when you saw her beautiful (yes, I am green!) space, then you'll agree that it is high time TBG gave away Setting Up Your Sewing Space. So. If you want this book — and I know you do — just leave a comment about your own space by Monday, November 1, 2010 before 1:30 pm PST. Got it?

And if you haven't checked out Myrna's blog, do. You will be happy you did. Very.