Sewing Spaces: Ah, what a dream, to work in Colette's studio!

Sarai-studioShe has amazing windows in her studio. She has beautiful touches, like hatboxes and jars filled with lace. She has a purple velvet couch. Purple velvet. Yeeooow. Who is she, this blessed woman? She is Sarai, owner and designer of Colette patterns. So pour yourselves a cup of tea and take a seat on the luxurious purple velvet sofa. Relax. All is well. For this moment. Really.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

I have a dedicated studio for my work, which is about a mile from my home.  I bike there daily!  I only moved in a couple months ago, so it's a work in progress . . . still a little bare.

Factory-windowsWhat do you like best about your sewing area?

My studio is in an old industrial building, and there are floor to ceiling factory windows along one of the long walls, so the room practically glows with natural light, even on the gloomiest Oregon days.  I also love that it's spacious, at least compared to the tiny room in my house I was operating out of before.  I also love that it's outside of my home, which helps me separate it from the rest of my life a bit.  It's like a peaceful haven for me when I come to work.

Lace-jar What would you change about your space?

The floors are concrete, which is not good for the back. I'm still acquiring sturdy rugs.

How is your space organized?

We have a cutting table pretty much in the middle of the room.  The ironing board is usually set up next to it, so that we can place fabric on the table while ironing or pressing it, so it doesn't drag or trail on the floor. A separate sawhorse table holds the sewing maching and serger, and next to that is my desk. I have cubed shelving for fabric, which I organize by color, and a tall bookshelf for books and sundries. Lace and trims are kept in drawers or collected in large jars. I also have a small couch, which I use for breaks, meetings, working on my laptop sometimes, or just staring out the window!

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

It's pretty disordered at the moment, but it's separated by color, which makes it pretty easy to find things. My stash is nice but not enormous.

How are your patterns organized?

I have them organized by decade in file boxes. I have mostly vintage patterns, since I used to collect them a little. I spend most of my time coming up with new patterns, so not a lot of time sewing with them!

Pattern-boxes Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

I have most of them in clear envelopes or bags.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I purchased an architectural drafting table from a firm that was getting rid of them.  It's fabulous, just the right size for my cutting mat, and fully adjustable so my assistant and I can raise or lower it to be at about waist level.  The top also folds down when it's not in use.


What is your most helpful tool? Why?

Other than my sewing machine, I'd say my Rowenta iron. Pressing is such an important part of the sewing process, so it's something we use constantly. It's fabulous. I love how much steam it produces and the sharp tip.

Ironing-board What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

An assortment of needles for various fabrics, good quality thread, a steam iron, pinking shears, a good tape measure and a good, sharp pair of sewing shears.

What kind of machine do you use?

I use a Bernina Aurora 430.

What do you like about it?

I adore my Bernina. The design of the machine is impeccable, they really pay close attention to usability and making sewing more efficient. I love the variety of stitches, the sturdiness of the machine, the multiple ways to raise and lower the presser foot. It's just a joy to use.

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

I use a serger for knits, of course, though I don't sew with knits all that often. I use it for finishing seams on most garments, though not all. It's great for neat, long-lasting seam finishes, though I sometimes prefer something a little fancier for finishing.

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

I've only been here a couple months, but some of it was transferred from my former, much smaller sewing space.  That did help me keep things organized.  It's not exactly how I want it yet, for sure. Most of my stuff is organized, but the walls are still a little bare. But it's well on its way to becoming the studio of my dreams!

Friday, meander through the Sewaholic's studio. Tasia, lucky woman, lives in Vancouver. Are you green? I am. Oh! There's more: Don't forget to enter to win the Lady Grey coat pattern, kindly donated by Sarai. It's bee-yoo-tee-ful. Yes, indeedy.