Sewing spaces: Just keep sewing? Kristine does!

Kristine, of Just Keep Sewing, finds that by having her studio in a family area, complete with toys and TV and perhaps a bit of non-Martha clutter, she is able to get quite a bit of sewing done. So. She can sew. She can supervise. She can be a dressmaker. She can be a mom. All at the same time. Is that smart? I think so. I do. I bow to you, Ms. K. I think my oh-so-appreciated readers will as well.

Do you have a dedicated sewing space?

Yes. Our finished basement (about half of it!) serves as my workspace. I have most of my machines lined up for easy transitioning and a huge covered pool table to layout patterns and plan projects.

What do you like best about your sewing area? That my kids can play or watch TV while I sew, so we can all be together and having fun in one room.

What would you change about your space?

I would love to paint it a girly color and decorate the walls with fashion photos! But, since it's a shared space, I'll keep my pictures over my sewing machines and learn to live with the beige walls.

How is your space organized?

Fabric stash is out of sight, stored in labeled Xerox paper boxes nabbed from work. Patterns are in plastic drawers underneath my machine tables.  Burda issues are kept in plastic accordian binders with the line drawings copied and kept together in a 3-ring binder for easy reference (two years worth). My favorite storage pieces are my antique wooden thread boxes I got at a neighbor's estate sale last year. The numerous drawers house all my threads (both all purpose and embroidery), zippers, needles, and notions, and are just an arm's length away! Sewing_spaces_kristine_shel If you have a fabric stash, how do you impose order?

Fabrics are stored by content (silk/cotton/knit) or purpose (kids/career/pj's). I can usually find what I'm looking for within a few minutes. Usually . . .

How are your patterns organized?

By garment type (skirts/pants/tops/wardrobes) in plastic drawers. Ideally, it would be nice to log them all, putting the empty envelopes in binders and the patterns in a file drawer, but if I ever have that much free time, you'd find me sewing instead of organizing!

Are your patterns archived? How are they stored?

Only the Burda issues are "archived".

Do you have a mannequin made to measure?

No, I have the adjustable dress form that my parents bought for me when I was in high school (20 years ago!). I've found that with the help of a padded bra, she's pretty darn close to matching me.  I think DH is considering a more professional version as a Christmas gift (shhh . . . ).

If so, do you find it helpful?

I would love one, but since I sew so much for clients, the adjustable form is pretty useful.

What do you cut out your patterns on?

I usually move my cutting mat upstairs to the kitchen counter to cut paper patterns, so that I can be more accessible to my family and still be productive. The rotary cutter makes it very, very speedy!

What is your most helpful tool? Why?

I love my finger-sized rotary cutter. I got it at Joann's, and it makes cutting paper patterns so fast and easy! I also couldn't live without my carbon paper and double-tracing wheel. The paper (big sheet of blue and big sheet of white) came from the FIT bookstore in NYC, and the double-tracing wheel makes quick work of tracing Burda patterns and adding various seam allowance widths. It used to take me hours to trace those patterns, but now . . . such a huge time saver!

What tools do you recommend for the beginning sewer?

Really great scissors ? I use 8" Kai for cutting fabric and a small, supersharp and pointy embroidery pair for removing stitches ? and the right machine needle for the job. They might all look the same to the naked eye, but they really make all the difference in the world! Change them often, too!

What kind of machine do you use?

OK, here goes . . .

1. My first machine is my portable one, the Kenmore my parents bought me when I started sewing about 25 years ago.

2. My main machine is a Viking Iris, my first mother's day gift from DH. It also led to the next machine . . .

3. My six-thread Brother PR-600II, the embroidery machine that brings in money to pay for my fabric addiction.

4. A Simplicity serger.

5. A Janome Coverpro 1000 Coverstitch (Craigslist find, yay!)

6. The antique 1926 White Rotary electric (the best machine for leather!)

What do you like about them?

I love them all. They each have their area of expertise in my sewing space and make my projects beautiful, inside and out!

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

Yes, I use it on almost all of my projects, knit or not. They make the seam so clean and finished, help tremendously with narrow hems, and minimize the bulk of typical seam allowances. I've learned to change the thread quickly and easily by tying on the new color and pulling it through, so I'm ready for a new project in minutes!

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

About six years. It's slowly grown and gotten larger, but also become better organized and fine-tuned lately. When you don't have much time to sew, you have to make the most of your time. Don't waste it looking for stuff, make it easy to find what you need, when you need it. Make it comfortable to be in, so you really enjoy the time you spend there ? temperature, lighting, radio/iPod/TV.

And in other Sewing Space news, we visit Connie of Couturesmith on Friday, Peter of Male Pattern Boldness on Monday, and tomorrow, dear readers, a giveaway inspired by Sunni, The Cupcake Goddess, complete with a luscious treat added by her goddessness.

I am loving Sewing Spaces. I am, I am, I am, I am. It is so much fun. It is. Absolutely. I hope you like it half as much. I do. Yes indeed.