Archive of ‘studio tours’ category

Where I Sew :: My Sewing Studio Tour

Where I Sew a sewing room tour a happy stitch

Hey, today seems like a good day for a sewing studio tour!  Want to see where I sew? I personally love snooping around creative spaces so my stylish, sewing friend Kelley and I decided to give a tour of where the magic happens for us.

Remember six months ago when we moved? Well, we have been slowly but surely settling in and that, of course, means I have a new sewing studio space. In truth, it was one of the first spaces I established in the new house (yes, it still feels new, very new).   Truth be told, this lovely house we moved into is over a hundred years old and it came complete with creaky windows that rattle in the wind and holes in the hardwood floors big enough to let lights on in the basement shine right through.  It came decorated with musty lace curtains and dust-filled doilies and old brass fixtures and the feeling of holding onto a stuffy, long-ago past.  We were eager to open windows and let in as much clean, pure light as possible.  This desire has translated into longing for a playful, fresh, but minimalist aesthetic.  That feeling has definitely translated into my sewing studio.  If you remember my old sewing studio (discussed here) you know that I had a room to myself and I filled it with color and art prints.  Well, the new sewing studio is a corner of our (rather large) bedroom.   (more…)

where I sew

Where the hell did May go? For real.  Is it actually June 1? I truly did not intend to turn into an absentee blogger but it is hard to frame it any other way.  In my defense, we are selling our house and buying another house. We are moving within the same town…in fact, on the same street because we are kooky like that.  It seems like that would make it easier but, truthfully, buying & selling is buying & selling and it just gets nuts!  My husband is still settling into a new job that requires him to travel a good deal (about 25% of the time).  My teaching is in full swing and with the end of the year for the boys we seem to have landed ourselves in full nutso mode over here and I haven’t found the time for the kind of quiet reflections I prefer to post here.  I miss this space.  One bonus of moving, however, is that we’ve really had to clean up the place and my sewing studio is now presentable.  So, lucky you; you get a peek into where I sew. I won’t sew here for much longer but it’s nice to share it anyway. I mean, it is all fancy and clean and all. where I sew - sewing room tour

I’m a big believer in having a dedicated space for creative endeavors….whether you engage in them every day, like me, or not.  Setting aside a space makes them accessible when inspiration strikes, even if you only have a few moments.  It took me a while but I eventually took over the smallest of the three bedrooms in our house when the boys decided they wanted to share a room.  Setting this room up felt like a real statement to myself.  I was taking my making seriously.  It’s my work after all, doesn’t it deserve space? Of course it does! And, here it is:

+The green cabinet holds all of my fabric, out of the suns glare. We found it at a town-wide yard sale and I love it’s yummy retro feel.

+ Most of the furniture is stuff no one else wanted except for the two white tables and the teal rolling cart.  Those are both from IKEA. The rolling cart holds all of my needles and pencils and other clutter-y items.  I can roll it out when I need it but don’t have to see it when I don’t. Plus, what blogger worth her stuff doesn’t have that rolling cart! Under the tall table is a Pottery Barn shelving unit that was meant for toys but never worked well in the boys’ room.

where I sew - sewing room tour

+ The wall next to my sewing table is my inspiration wall.  I have framed prints from Heather Ross and Strawberry Luna, art from friends, framed children’s book covers, prints of my own and, a big pink M that my son bought for me from what he calls “the girl store” and what I call Anthropologie.  It’s hard to see but I also have some embroidery hoops up. One from Kelley Gilbert, she made it for me in a swap.  And, the other from my always-inspiring friend Melanie Tuazon. That one says “Dare to Be Awesome” and I keep it really close to me…pretty much at all times. I love this wall.  I love how full it is.  I like creating next to a space chock-full of so much inspiration.

where I sew - sewing room tour

+ Can you see the ironing board tucked against the wall to the left? It takes up the whole room so I have to put it away when I’m not using it.

+ On the other wall are my books, magazines (Mollie Makes and Uppercase, my favorites) a wee bit more inspiration and my chest full of notions. My cutting mats usually sit on the tall table.

where I sew - sewing room tour

where I sew - sewing room tour

You might recognize the mini quilt up there from this post. and tucked in between the bookshelf and the cabinet are my chalkboard canvases used for my daily chalk writings.  The chest of drawers was given to us by a neighbor and we spruced it up a little.  The bookshelf is  an IKEA Trofast shelf turned on it’s side.  Again, a reject from the boy’s room.

It’s not exactly a showstopper but I adore this space.  It’s mine to work in and I hope that some of that creative spirit has soaked into the walls and will grace the new owners.  Soon, we will be taking all of this down and boxing it up and walking it down the street to reconfigure it into a new space.  I won’t have my own room in the new house but I will have lots more spaces that can get messy and a whole dang house to remake for our little family.

I’m of two minds about it all.  I get pretty attached to spaces and we’ve loved this house pretty well.  It’s certainly hard to say goodbye but we need a bigger yard and a house we can grow in. So, off we go.

Do you have space for your creativity? A room? A desk? Good craft organization tips I can bring with me to the new house? I’ll be set up at one (beautiful) end of our bedroom so I need it tidy but still inspiring and very much my own.

Visit to Michael Miller Fabrics

I have a little blog collaboration coming up with the awesome people at Michael Miller fabrics so I got together with them in order to brainstorm and meet each other.  I will be sharing more about the collaboration itself soon but also really wanted to chat about the experience of a visit to Michael Miller fabrics.

Visit to Michael Miller Fabrics

I mean, seriously.  It’s Michael Miller! And, it’s me in their offices in the heart of NYC! It’s not every day that you get to glimpse the inner-workings of a fabric company.  So cool. This is me with Kait, the amazing woman behind the fantastic MMF blog, Making it Fun.

First of all, this place is in one of those old New York buildings with beautiful, creaky wide plank, wood floors.  The type that looks like any other building from the outside, with a doorman and utilitarian elevator.  This is one of the things I love about New York.  So many of its magical, inspiring spaces are hidden inside everyday-looking buildings.  It always feels a little bit like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, going from black and white into technicolor.  MMF is one of those places.  It’s a big, open office crammed full of color and fabric.  They told me they often yell across the room at each other.  It looks like true, full-on constant action and activity.  It’s a very vivid place.  You can see the creativity seeping out of every corner. Ideas, fabric, paper…everywhere.

Visit to Michael Miller Fabrics

Visit to Michael Miller Fabrics

New ideas and collections and color, color, color seeping up out of everywhere.  It’s honestly a little chaotic and obvious that all aspects of making a collection somehow involve everyone around on any given day. Everyone is so super nice! It looks like a blast.

And, of course, the fabric.  I mean…the fabric.  It is everywhere and all over.  It’s under desks and covering one end of the room and under a massive cutting table.  Rolls and rolls of glorious, beautiful, super fun fabric.

Visit to Michael Miller FabricsVisit to Michael Miller FabricsI’m looking forward to sharing more about the blog project but enjoy these rolls of colorful goodness for now! I hope you can mentally roll around in all that yardage!

making space monday :: organizing and beautify-ing a la *rock, paper, scissors*

if you have ever visited rock, paper, scissors in montclair, nj then you already know…the store is beautiful, inspiring and peaceful.  the kind of environment that makes you want to sew and make your own beautiful things but also gives you the feeling you can do it, seamlessly and with ease.  the owner, Beth, is obviously an expert in organizing but there is also something more…it’s as if she knows how to breathe fresh air, creativity and serenity into space.  so, I really wanted to get a peek into her studio on this–the final monday of *making space mondays*.

but, Beth insists that her studio is a ‘mess’ (not sure she has seen my studio!).  so she oh-so-kindly volunteered to discuss how she works her magic in the shop.  and, did she ever!  Beth is chock-full of wonderful ideas and has taken gorgeous photos.  she told me “I may have gotten carried away!” and lucky for us, she did.  she calls it organizing but it is really so much more and I’m hoping that some of it will rub off on me. (really, this woman throws around terms like haberdashery and antique egg basket…with seductive language like that she could control my brain if she wanted to!) here is Beth:

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Hi, my name is Beth and I own Rock Paper Scissors, a little neighborhood craft store in Montclair, NJ.  We carry supplies for jewelry making (the Rock), card making, scrapbooking and the paper crafts (the Paper), and fabric and other supplies for sewing and embroidery (you guessed it … the Scissors).  We have a little bit of lots of things (and lots of fabulous fabric), as well as classes, groups and other fun stuff.

I am really flattered that Melissa asked me to share some thoughts on organizing crafting and sewing stuff.   She actually asked me to share my studio space and I had to say no.  See, my home studio space is really a disaster –  scary, messy, piled too high, behind a locked door kind of disaster.  So, Melissa graciously let me write about some storage ideas and I took the photos in our lovely shop instead of my disastrous studio at home.  So, thank you, Melissa, for letting me keep the inside of my studio a secret!

I have a few simple rules for organizing my stuff.

Keep it handy, keep it visible, and keep it beautiful.

  • I think most people can figure out the handy part.  No one likes looking for a tool in the middle of a project!
  • Keeping everything visible does two things.  One, it simply makes everything easier to find.  Two, it helps to inspire creativity.  Who doesn’t love gazing at their fabric or button or paper stash, imagining all the possibilities.
  • Keeping it beautiful?  That is all about making your space yours, in whatever way makes you happy and makes you want to be in that space.  It matters not the size or location of your studio.  It only matters that YOU love being in that space!

In the organization of our space, both in the store and the workshop,   I follow my little rules above as best I can.  I love walking through antique stores and yard sales and such to find little treasures for storage.  What follows here are some ideas but mostly inspiration to make your space all your own.

Let’s start with the big stuff  ….

I was lucky enough to find this fabulous old haberdashery cabinet from a local antiques store, Little Cricket, here in Montclair.  It is not in perfect condition but who cares when it is full of gorgeous fabric!

One of my favorite things for storage are cubbies!  They store everything oh, so perfectly, from books to fabric and yarn.  You can get doors and baskets and all sorts of things to keep you nice and organized.

Now these drawers happened to be an antique piece from the Naval Observatory that we bought years ago but you can still get old card files from libraries as they get taken over by computer systems.  Fit cardstock on the bottom and you have the perfect storage for fat quarters and zippers and adhesives and all sorts of stuff!

These drawers that house all of our embroidery supplies are the best!  From Ikea (who doesn’t love Ikea for inexpensive storage stuff), they run about $120 each (2 are pictured here) and are sturdy as heck.  Stick labels on them and you have some fantastic storage in the graduated drawers.  They also have a smaller and wider version with flat drawers that are great for paper projects.

Don’t forget to look up!  Utilize your wall space!  This craft shelf happened to be donated to us by a wonderful customer but you can make a storage system out of any combo of shelves that suit you.

And don’t just go to the “home storage” section of a store.  These great wall rails were designed for a kitchen (from Ikea also).  The movable hooks can hold tons of different things.  From scissors and hoops to strands of beads, they are super fabulous!  Install one on the side of your cutting table and they become a great rack for cut pattern pieces, freshly pressed fabric, or partially finished projects.

Buckets, buckets, buckets!  Need I say more?  These little pails from the dollar store hold all of my little tools for marking, tracing, writing notes on my patterns, etc.  I love the color and can move it directly on to my work table when I need it.

We run lots and lots of classes here so we have a gazillion crafting tools and supplies.  These galvanized flower pots  came from the gardening section of Ikea.   We use them for workshop tools, as seen here, as well as in lots of display throughout the store.  They are super handy and come in lots of different sizes!

Pattern control has always been one of my downfalls.  Here’s a few ideas … place them in labeled and sorted plastic containers.  Photo boxes also work well.  Finding your favorite pattern gets easier if it is labeled!  Can’t get it back in the envelope?  Slip it into a clear Ziploc and strop struggling!  We also have a clear bin of all of our templates that we use for the many, many crafty projects we do here!

Since I trace all of my patterns, I use baskets to store them, all rolled and labeled with pattern name and size.  When you are done cutting, reroll and store all pieces together right away.

A trick I teach all of my new sewers …. Wind a bobbin all the way up.  Then store it in little plastic bags with the spool of thread.  These all reside in the “thread box” (another clear plastic bin).  Always have a bobbin wound, no more hunting for the thread-to-bobbin match, and no messy threads at the bottom of a basket.

Here are additional ideas:

  • Little spice jars, canning jars, any jars at all become cute little holders for buttons sorted by color.  Keep the jars small and sorted for the best results! No more hunting for button matches through piles of buttons.  And could they look any prettier?
  • Think outside the box (or basket) … an old cheese box turned vintage tool box becomes a seam binding holder.
  • An antique egg basket holds ric rac.
  • Beautiful old coated wire baskets hold small pieces of fabric or rolled wool felt.

   

For my embroidery friends out there, here’s my last hint of the day.  I buy my most commonly used colors of perle and other threads by the spool.  I store them in little metal cans that I have punched holes in.  Thread comes out cleanly, without knots, every time.  Who can ask for more?

Thanks again to Melissa for giving me the chance to write and get to “chat” with all of you through her blog!  If you are ever in the area, we hope you stop by to see us at Rock Paper Scissors!

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and, there you have it.  our month of peeking at sewing studios is done (waahh!).  I hope you are as inspired as me to spruce up your sewing space or even set aside a little room for the creative work you do.   I have had such fun exploring the spaces and places where making reigns.  I happen to think highly of studios…they not only make it easier to answer when inspiration comes calling but they also assert that there is indeed a place for the fun of invention and creation.  enjoy!

making space monday :: creating with *ten finger workshop*

another monday! another peek at a studio!
this week our making space monday visitor is Lily Hoyer-Winfield.  Lily is an inspired and eclectic artist who lives inside the creative enclave that is Madion, WI.  as you can see below, her art celebrates the beauty of everyday life and everyday events with a playful whimsy.  she is most well-known for her painted dolls, which are handpainted and sold on etsy. she is also a friend of mine and I never walk away from time with her (as rare as it is) without feeling full of new ideas and laughter.  her home and her chicken-filled yard are a living testament to the varied and lively life she lives…filled with tiny sculptures, musical instruments, bits and pieces of all kinds of projects.

 
Lily is also the mother of 3 fantastic boys and wife to a guitar maker. she’s currently on a bit of a sabbatical as she cares for her third little man but that doesn’t stop her from baking, knitting, sewing, painting and even making her own…well..everything including I believe proscuitto. I thought it would be nice to peek into her studio because her process reflects an out of the ordinary and highly inspired creative style. She’s also committed to remaining inspired and has great tips for us on how to shape a sewing space around your individual needs and work style (versus feeling like there is a cookie cutter approach) as well as how to continue to seek and find inspiration in the people around us.  let’s get started:

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Hello, thank you Melissa for inviting me to do this post ! I’m Lily Hoyer-Winfield from ten finger workshop, on etsy and a little blog, both have gone by the wayside due to baby #3 but there is good stuff in the archives. So, onto my sewing space. After much thought, rearranging & tidying I realized that there are 2 things that are vital to make my sewing space work, #1 surface area & #2 knowing my process.
I used to think having an organized or coordinated workspace must be the ticket ( thanks pinterest ); did that, didn’t help. I also thought having everything rite in front of me was the ticket, but it cluttered so fast. So now I found that my process is more like that of a baker ( which I am by trade ) I sew in batches. I make 6 shirts for my boys vs. 1.  3 pillows at a time; 8 lunch bags, etc.  I prep and then it’s a sewing bonanza.  As a result, I have a few spaces for working and it always evolves; one of these spaces is my dining room.
 It’s accessible, cleans up easy. It’s like a hold table plus the dining table is rite there for more surface.
The other space I have dedicated to making is a studio in my basement.  I keep fabric, my large ironing board and other materials in my studio, waiting. When I’m making a project I tend to prep by bringing the necessary materials up from my studio into my dining room space. Planning, cutting, pinning throughout the week in spurts. When the magical moment appears to sew I have it all ready and if the stars align I can sew it. When the project is done I tidy up & put materials back into my studio in their proper place.
In addition to having space in my home for sewing the other essential part is having a community of other sewers/crafters.  Having people I can turn to with design or process questions moves me forward in a way I couldn’t do myself. I find I store up projects for a regular weekly/monthly craft group and afterwards I come home totally inspired to finish & move onto the next idea. I’m fortunate that in my craft group there are a lot of different work styles and disciplines.  It ranges from the ‘ follow the pattern’ sewer to the renegade – shove-it-through-the-machine sewers/ knitters/ crocheters. We make time (with kids and without) to work, encourage each other and get a lot of shit done.
I would love to have a hutch-like piece that would house all my sewing things, look beautiful and be neat all the time. But that doesn’t exist, nor will it in my home, I like what I’ve got, I just need to use it better. I did find this handy dandy little sewing side table last summer, it houses a ton of necessary notions & accessories. It also travels, sometimes by the TV, sometimes by my machine.
I love that my sewing space reflects the week/month I’m having, all projects are a direct reaction to my daily life.
One day it’s strewn with boys shirts and appliques for summer wear, the next day it’s vintage scraps for place-mats, mending pants and making a quick skirt for a dance. My family runs through my machine and all is functional. I also love that my children, home, husband have an appreciation for mending and making rather than buying new.
My tip for anyone else out there who is trying to find more time & space for sewing?  Look at what your process is.  Is it a basket by the tv for mending ? Is it a closet that can be transformed into a small sewing area & closed off ? Is it in your spare room or dining room ? Within a family life I’ve found that if I’m going to make room for their toys than they have to make room for mine.
Happy spring cleaning !
next monday is the final making space monday! (sad sounds) check in when we hear from Beth, owner of Rock, Paper, Scissors fabric shop in Montclair, NJ.  she’s got great tips and tricks on organizing and making a beautiful space.

making space monday:: sewing studio *at the end of this row*

it’s monday and time for another peek at a sewing studio!
this week we have been graciously invited to roam around the beautiful space of Beth from at the end of this row…. Beth is an avid knitter and a member of the brilliant make do and mend collective. she lives in the midwest, is mother to 4 lovely girls and recently got her phD….you know, in between pregnancies, feedings, knitting, sewing and parenting.  yup, she is the kind of person that can seamlessly make it all happen.  this also makes her a master at the art of balancing parenting with getting other things done! those of you that know me know that when asked “how do you get any sewing done with your kids around?” I usually answer with an adamant “I don’t!”.  well, Beth is here to thankfully offer a better answer to that question!   she is also an long-time college friend of mine.  I have always been lucky to know her and benefitted many times from her no-nonsense insight, advice and inspiration.  so, I was thrilled she agreed to let us into her studio.  let’s take a look!

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Hi, my name is Beth.  I blog over at the end of this row… where you will find posts mostly about knitting, but a little about sewing, crafting and making a creative life with kids too.
I am flattered that Melissa asked me to share my studio space – as amateur as it is – with all of you.  So, without further ado, allow me to open the door to my sewing room (cue angels singing, clouds parting and bright streams of light).  I jest, but I am really lucky to have this space.  Especially with lots of kids running around.  We live in a big house in the Midwest, and I quickly commandeered a bedroom for creative purposes the very moment we moved in.  But the kids kept coming and now we are faced with the reality of raising four girls, with one bathroom.
What does that mean?  This room will not be around forever.  In the near future we hope to begin converting some of this room into a second bathroom.  And at that point all my creative materials and supplies will be moved to a recently renovated space in our basement.  This changing reality has given me a lot to reflect on.  Questions like:  What do I need from a studio space?  What kind of sewer am I?  How do I want my space to function?  How much space to I actually need? are percolating around in my brain these days.  As they say, there’s the dream and then there’s the reality.  This post, I hope, will give you a bit of insight into both for me.

 

We call it ‘the sewing room’ but it’s really not.
True, this room does contain my sewing machine, fabric, and notions, but it is also (and mostly) the space that I,
: put piles of too big/too small clothes,
: mend clothes and fix broken toys,
: wrap presents and store holiday decorations,
: store everything that doesn’t have a place in the rest of the house (old picture frames,etc.),
: keep my books from graduate school,
: manage the relentless laundry/thrift store cycle,
: store art/craft project materials,
: listen to the sound of a keyboard typing late into the (occasional) night.

 

In short, this room is used for sewing sporadically, and mostly around holidays.  It is also a space for my husband to work from home.  He doesn’t work from home that often, but when he does he needs a space with a door that can close.  And I think that we accomplish sharing this space successfully because we have two tables – one for him and one for me.  We are free to temporarily borrow eachothers’ table when necessary (fabric cutting for me, laying out books/papers for him), but we always try to return it to the way you see them both now – clean, uncluttered and spare.
  
This is nominally “my space” but everyone comes in, looks around, and hangs out.
So, in actuality it’s not really my sewing room.  This room is used by all of us.  And while there is a door that closes, and we can tell the girls to keep out for a bit, they inevitably work their way in.  When they do, the room is stocked with things to keep them busy and occupied while we are working.  There is an extra chair for them to pull up to watch me sew or iron.  I have chapter books on the shelf they can curl up with in a corner.  And in all the nooks and crannies are little fun toys to play with – buttons, lacing cards, stuffed animals, play figures.  Crayons, tape and paper are here too.  The idea is to let them be in the same space as us, but to encourage them to be independent and creative too.  Does this mean that I often have to stop what I am doing and mediate-direct-chastise-and re-direct?  Yes. All the time.  But it also means that on occasion I can get stretches of 30 or 40 minutes when they are happy and involved and I am able to continue on with what I am doing.

 

 

 

This room doesn’t have many things that a traditional sewing space has.  But that doesn’t mean it’s any less functional.
I am a dedicated hand knitter first, and a hobby sewist, second.  So that means that I dabble with sewing and mostly stick with crafty-type projects like things for my kids and our home and very simple clothes/costumes.  So I don’t have a dress form, or a thread holder, or design wall (three things that I feel belong to every serious sewist).  But I do tape things to the wall to keep me inspired and I try to place beauty in the room and rotate it about.  I have my fabric stash here, and I love looking at it.  I also have space for storage.  There are bins full of misc. crafting materials like paints, dyes, fake flowers, embroidery floss – you name it and it’s likely here in some form or another.  The other thing this room has going for it is space.  There is space to spread out and do what we want.  There’s table space – helpful for winding yarn.  And floor space – incredibly helpful in basting quilts (and an impromptu game of indoor, masking tape hopscotch!)

 

I spend maybe 4 hours/month in this room.  So where do I actually do my work? 
Truly? I work from a basket full of yarn and on the living room couch.  As I noted before, I am mostly a knitter.  And I have four kids.  So in reality I have a mobile studio.  My “studio” is a basket with my current project (yarn, needles adn pattern) and small zippered supply pouch.  I carry them with me throughout the day.  I am able to work on a few rows while the baby crawls from one end of the room to the other.  I am able to knit a few more rows while waiting for soccer practice to end.  It’s not very glamorous, but it’s entirely functional.

 

At the close of my tour I hope you can see the reality of how “my studio” really works in our family.  Documenting my space as it is, and writing about it, has also given me the chance to think about the future home of all this stuff.  For my new space – which itself will be temporary, right?  Because one of these girls is bound to leave home in 12-17 years and I can take over her bedroom! – I know I need a few things.  A bookshelf, a sweepable floor, two work tables and a wall to put things on.  Some storage space and good lighting.  But these things don’t a sewing space make; this much I know.  It’s the heart and soul of a sewist (or knitter!) that makes a space what it is.  And I hope this peek into my room gives you some insight into the creative world of a home hobby sewist, who shares her space with five other people.  Thanks for taking a look!

making space monday :: studio tour of Sewplicity

it’s that time again…making space monday…the month long tour of sewing studio spaces.

this week, Jennifer from Sewplicity has generously offered to take us on a thorough tour of her sewing studio.  Jennifer runs a successful sewing business making beautiful high chair covers and was named one of the top etsy baby sites on babble.com in 2011.  she previously worked in Manhattan but left her corporate job to be with her kids and sew! she balances motherhood and her sewing business while nestled right here in central jersey. she is one very organized gal, though she swears she isn’t as organized as she used to be.  either way, I’m sure she will have lots to suggest about making space (and keeping it tidy)!

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STUDIO TOUR by Sewplicity

Let me preface this tour with a little history.  My current sewing space is probably larger than the space many can dedicate in their house….but it didn’t start out that way. I live in an old house (circa 1920).  While I seriously love the character and detail of the house, space is quite limited.

When I renewed my passion for sewing about 3 years ago, my sewing machine and supplies sat on a side table in my dining room (yes, interior designers would cringe).  But it was what it was.  It worked and it was manageable.  Having spent a good deal of time constantly taking out and putting away my sewing things, I would highly recommend setting aside a DEDICATED space for your sewing.  If this means that you need to have a small sewing table on the side of your dining room, or a closet (I’ve seen some awesome closet sewing spaces) do so – there are tons of options for “hiding” away your sewing stuff when not in use.  It will save you the headache of having to continually clean up which interferes with your sewing time and your life.

Ok, so back to my space.  Once I started my business, and it began taking off my supplies quickly took over my dining room, barely leaving us space to eat. (Now I was cringing).  I couldn’t stand looking at the room anymore and not being able to leave my work out was becoming a HUGE problem.  Something had to give….so….I ousted my hubby from the frightening “finished” basement where he had his home office set up.  Although he was not happy about giving up his space, I think he was sick of looking at all my stuff in the dining room too!

A major clean up, replacement of the old, scary 70s dark paneling, the rickety staircase, some fresh paint, some track lighting, a new carpet and the space was transformed into a sewing studio.  MY sewing studio….

The Tour

DOWN THE STAIRS

As you head down the steps you will see my big basket of pre-washed fabric.  To the right I have some rods where I hang wrapping paper for easy access and underneath is a magnetic board to hang my kids’ artwork.

TIP:  Pre-wash your fabric as you purchase it that way when you are itching to make something you can get right into it.  No waiting for the laundry to be finished!

 

THE SEWING SQUARE
I played around with a lot of different layouts and this is what works best for me.  80% of my time is spent in my “sewing square”.  When in my sewing chair, I have access to my sewing machine, my computer, printer, my serger and embroidery machine on the table behind.  To the right is my cutting table.
TIP: If you have enough space for a square like this, you can swap out the 2nd table for your ironing board and iron.
By the way, I purposely choose bright colors for this space (I LOVE my orange wall) to not only inspire my creativity but keep me content.  A basement studio can be dreary with lack of light and bright paint and lights give it personality.

 

ORGANIZATION

Within the square I have all of my sewing stuff nicely organized.  I try to live by the “Everything has it’s place” rule.  It’s a huge time saver.   My embroidery threads are all on a wall rack, my tools hang on the wall and that cabinet houses a ton of thread and other supplies.  Under the table I have a wire rack for fabrics and other supplies.  The shelves to the left of the table is where I keep my mailing supplies, tape, pencil sharpener, files and patterns.

TIP: Regardless of the amount of space you have, organization is key in maintaining a tidy work area as well as your sanity.

THE CUTTING AREA

My cutting table is actually a kitchen island from IKEA (where the majority of my furniture comes from). This table doubles as a craft table for my kids (hence the folding chairs) and is great for wrapping gifts! I keep a table height garbage pail next to the table so I can just slide the unusable cutting right into it.  (I also keep a small garbage pail right by my machine).

I hung some track lighting above the cutting table and my sewing table to provide extra lighting when required.  It really makes everything super bright.  I actually don’t use this all that often, but it is nice to have when I need it.

TIP:  If you have an island in your kitchen, do use it as your cutting table (protect it of course).   The height is perfect for this task and it will save your back.  Another option is to pick up a folding cutting table that can easily be stored when not in use.

THE FABRIC WALL

I purchase the majority of my fabric by the bolt to accommodate my custom business.  While bolts make organizing fabric a tad easier, you can see in the far back left of the photo that I have a smaller shelf for my remnants.  I use fabric organizers to help keep them neat.  This allows me to easily spy what I have and find coordinating prints quickly.  This lovely rocker is typically littered with cut pattern pieces, but I cleaned it off for the picture.  It looks so much nicer here then it usually does!

TIP:  Find a way to organize your fabrics that allows you to view what you have easily.  Fabric left in boxes typically stay that way.  Proudly display what you have!

THE FAR WALL

The final wall in my studio is where I keep my irons (I have multiple) and back-up sewing machine (a necessity with a sewing business).  I also keep my large rolls of batting (empty roll pictured), and “Tess” my mannequin (Yes, I named her!).

When working I set up my ironing board in this area.  I hang it on the door to the wash room when not in use to give my kids access to the floor for playing.  I recently mounted my TV so I could make better use of this space.  This is also where my daughter is learning to sew.  Oh, and that back curtain hides the tiny corner where my kids keep their toys. (Yes, they only have a small corner to store their stuff – but they can use the entire space to play – with the exception of my sewing square that is).

And that’s about it.  I seriously love my sewing space.  I have to – I spend over 30 hours a week in it!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

making space monday :: studio tours…a month of peeking

welcome to making space month at *a happy stitch*! the sun is out and the buds are blooming (over on this side of the earth at least).  it’s spring and that always brings with it a desire to clear out and clean up.  with all this dust flying I thought it would be a good time to show off sewing studios.  with the hope that, perhaps, in the midst of the cleaning and clearing you will find inspiration to clear some space for your sewing habit.  if you already have studio space, maybe these posts will inspire a freshening up.   it makes a huge difference to have a little spot set aside for the making and dreaming.  a space that doesn’t require any putting away when the dinner bell rings.  so, for the month of April every monday will be a making space monday.  that means we will be peeking into the studio of 4 different sewers/artists and the month will cap off with some tips and tricks about organizing from a fabric store owner! it’s going to be great fun.

I’m starting with my own space.  and before we begin I should mention  that I’m really excited about making space mondays.  space is important; it can be a little getaway and it can also be really hard to carve out.  I get that.  I didn’t have a set aside space for a long, long time.  and what I have right now is a sad corner in a dingy basement.  I’m boxed in by two furnaces, a water heater and the sump pump.  yep, pretty fancy.  that said, I love my studio space but I may be the only person that loves it.  when I told my husband I was going to blog about my studio he said “oh man.  everyone is going to hate me!”  apparently, he feels responsible, which is nice and old fashioned of him.  I’ve had friends refer to it as a dungeon.  and it is a little bit of a dungeon but, it’s my dungeon!

so, here goes:

the essential components of my space are the separate sewing table and cutting table.  I can get things done so much more smoothly and precisely because I cut/measure/design on one table and then sew on another. I also have my serger out (the covered blob) on the cutting table in case I need to pull it out and switch between my standard machine and my serger. under the cutting table in plastic bins I store additional supplies and reusable fabric (old clothes waiting for a new life and the like).  I also keep my bias tapes, ribbons, zippers, and buttons in the plastic tower next to the cutting table. I’m not naturally very organized so I like to have bins that I can throw things into.  keeps the clutter at bay without the tedious interruption of actual organization. and because I work in a basement I want everything to stay clean and dust-free.

behind my sewing machine, hanging on the wall, is a handmade tool organizer. in here I can keep the tools I use regularly (like measuring tape, chopstick, pad of paper and pens) so everything is handy when I need it. the white thing on the wall is a strip of white fleece that I use as a design wall (a bit like this one).  it allows me to play around with a pattern idea by sticking it up on the wall.  very handy and this was so inexpensive because it’s just white fleece, nothing fancy. (ten points if you notice the banner hanging there!)

the other side of the room is where I keep the chaos…uh, I mean fabric, thread, books, works in process, and ironing board, iron and general mess.  I keep my fabric in a closed cabinet that I picked up at a yard sale…it keeps everything dust-free and clean.

I have things set up in a u-shape between sewing table, cutting table and ironing board.  this is a pretty efficient set up for those times when I’m sewing like mad. (note the lovely furnace.  ever seen the movie Brazil?  I’m living it!) the small brown table to the right is a handy space for setting things while I’m cutting.

I also maintain an inspiration board…this one is simple fabric encasing cork tiles that hangs on the wall. when I see something that strikes me I pin it up. I don’t use it formally, the way some people use a ‘mood board’ but I just keep up those things that speak to me.

on here right now are (clockwise-ish):

the two things I really like about my space are that I can see everything and I can leave it all out.  I’m a pretty visual person so I like that I can see everything…I never know what I might find inspiring.  also, by having a basement space I really feel like I can leave things out without worrying that a little person might wander over and get themselves caught up in a nest of pins. for good reason, no one comes down to the basement. that has its advantages.

I’ll admit that I dream of a sunlit airy studio sometimes but that is not a reality for right now.  and there is something to be said for subterranean sewing.

see you next week.  we will be peeking in on the inspiring and prolific Jennifer Evans.

 

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