Sewing Spaces: Forget Eva Peron. Don't cry or grieve for Anne.


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.