I Work Here

When I decided to take the plunge and buy a new sewing machine and serger (and then my first cover stitcher), I knew I needed to revamp my sewing space before I moved in my new machines.

I think I’m like a lot of other folks when I say that I made do with what I had. I started out sewing in my dining room. That worked when I sewed only occasionally but quickly became a hassle when that pace picked up (and a serger on the table didn’t lend itself to mealtimes). We actually use our dining room, so repurposing it was just not going to happen. Instead, I decided to take over ask Honey if I could use his desk/office area, since he rarely used it anymore.

Our downstairs has been largely unused since we bought our house 4.5 years ago. It’s a pretty big space but oddly shaped (a big L) and poorly lit. My sewing space is at the right-most side of the L’s bottom leg, running along the wall between the door to the garage and the door to the laundry room, right at the bottom of the stairs.

Originally, the space had an L-shaped arrangement of desks (a regular sized desk and a laptop desk), with my serger on the small desk and sewing machine on the big desk. This didn’t work for me for a couple of reasons:

  1. Lots of wasted space on the corner of the large desk adjacent to the small desk. It just would end up buried in piles.
  2. The rolling stool I used would lower with each spin, so I’d have to get up and raise it every 20 minutes or so.
  3. Add in my cutting table, and the space just seemed really claustrophobic.

Here’s my new, improved sewing space (as seen from the stairs)!

Left: My cutting table was a sale purchase from Joann’s, as was my cutting mat. The little “paint can” on my cutting table came from Archiver’s. I cut some of the paper I used for my sewing table so it would match. The inspiration piece for my revamped workspace is actually on the floor underneath my cutting table: my vintage sewing box, which I won from Lisa’s blog. It’s roomy and fun, and now I actually have a place to put it! LOL!

Right: We have a few 6-foot folding tables and I pulled one out of storage to use as my main sewing table. One of the great things about having lived near a university (while Honey was in law school) was being able to pick up stuff like that on the cheap when kids graduated. I think I paid $15 for one table and dragged the other two home from the trash at our apartment complex. I bought a roll of adhesive-backed paper at Target to liven up the table. It wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole table top, so I overlapped it by rolling it along the long edge on one side of the table and then the other. (There are close-ups of the tabletop further down.) On the left, behind my cover stitcher, is a basket I bought at Michael’s; it stores the patterns I’m about to use, plus current reading material.

Here’s kind of an overview of the space from the other side of the room. You can really tell from this photo how poorly the area is lit. I actually need to go shopping for a new light fixture soon because I can’t stand the cave-like feeling that’s down there.

Continuing the tour … To the right of my sewing table is a trash can. Big deal, right? Well, it is for me! Until now, I’ve relied on the trashcan in the laundry room. It’s actually not that convenient, so I often would just make a pile on the floor while I was working. It’s so much nicer to have a dedicated trash can right there.

For most of the past year, I’ve been using a stool I bought at Ikea. I love it, but the previously mentioned problem with it lowering makes it less-than-ideal for my needs. The replacement is not only more comfortable, it’s also a little taller, which means I can actually sit at my cutting table now (instead of under it).

Underneath the table, you can see my cheapie Brother sewing machine, which is set up for shirring. It handles it better than my old sewing machine, although I have not tried it on my new Janome. Regardless, I do it enough that it’s nice to have a dedicated machine for it.

The door on the left, behind my cutting table, is my hobby closet. There’ll be a tour of it later.

Welcome to Janomeville!

I picked up this two-sided bulletin board on clearance at Hobby Lobby. The right-hand side is a corkboard. I unscrewed the backing, pulled out the corkboard and covered it with a piece of fabric (a Japanese Little Red Riding Hood print), then slid it back in and closed up the back. Easy peasey! The chalkboard side is magnetic and the new home of the cute magnets Amy sent me (she made them!). I plan to use this as a to-do list and inspiration board, but right now I’m just enjoying looking at the pretty fabric.

I have managed to avoid hanging any artwork downstairs and am glad to say I’ve rectified that now. The frames were picked up on the cheap from Big Lots. They needed to be cleaned up a little but were otherwise perfect. I was delighted to not only find these two pieces of art on Etsy but also that the artist (KJ of The Dreamy Giraffe) was able to accommodate my request for same-sized prints. I need to get some matts cut to fit, but that’s easy enough to obtain. Right now, I’m enjoying having such beautiful things to inspire me every day!

Now, on to the shiny clean craft closet!

The view of my closet from the outside. It’s not a huge space and actually occupies the underside of the stairs leading to our living room and other main living spaces. Fabric is stacked on the left and right side of the doorway. I also store my scrapbooking paper in here, some photography gear (backdrop stand and my formerly lost tripod), rubber stamping supplies, Xyron machines and a few other things.

Honey also uses this closet to store his lawyer books. He is far happier with the renovated closet, since now it’s possible for him to open the door, walk in, find what he needs and retreat without commenting on my fabric stash. (That last bit may be wishful thinking on my part.)

We also have things like big coats down here, plus my tutu-making supplies (gotta keep all that tulle somewhere!). When I need to, I can fold down my cutting table and roll it in here, too.

The fabric is sorted by color, more or less. I separated out the corduroy, flannel, linen, silk and Japanese fabrics (both from Japan and Asian-inspired prints). Since reorganizing it like this, I’ve found it easier to locate specific fabric and also to find coordinates.

But enough yapping. Here are more pictures!


Feelin’ Scrappy

Posted On November 15, 2007

Filed under Confession, Organization, Sewing

Comments Dropped 9 responses

After two hours of work, my craft area looks less like a bomb went off in a paper/textile factory and more like a functional space.

For the past couple of months, I hadn’t even bothered to refold my fabric after I brought it home. Just shoved it in the closet along with any other craft supplies I purchased. Last night, I pulled nearly all of my stash out of the closet and folded or re-folded it, then put it back on the shelf oh so neatly. Shiny!

I still have some things to put away, but at least I can now find my cutting board. And my scissors. And bobbins. Yeah, it was definitely beyond messy.

What’s holding me up right now is my rather voluminous scrap pile. I know there are tons of things to be done with scraps (including perhaps my favorite scrappy tutorial) but I have yet to make anything with my scraps. Instead, I just cram them into boxes or bags and shove them in the closet where they rub up against each other and multiply and plot to take over the world, much like pennies and bunnies.

Sorry. My paranoia took over for a moment there.

Help a girl out. What do I do with all this stuff? Pack it in flat-rate boxes and sell it for shipping costs? Find an as-yet untapped local resource for consuming all my scraps? <whisper>Throw them out?</whisper> Throw some ideas at me folks, because I? Am at a loss.

In other news, I was so proud of my accomplishment last night, that I decided to show off my handiwork to Honey when he dragged through the door near 11 p.m.

Yes, I forgot the first rule of Stash Club: Under no circumstances do you ever show your significant other your stash.

Honey looked the shelves up and down and said, “There’s a lot more fabric in here than the last time I opened the door. I’m pretty sure it would take you a few months to sew through everything in here.”

And then those words no sewist ever wants to hear:

“Maybe you shouldn’t buy anymore fabric until you’ve sewn through a decent amount of this.”


It’s Progress

Posted On June 7, 2007

Filed under Home, Organization

Comments Dropped 7 responses

I am 95 percent done with the craft closet. As the lovely Jessica pointed out, it’s a bit of a Harry Potter closet — but no padlock on the outside. LOL! That tiny space definitely creates some challenges. It’s how I ended up with an overstuffed closet to begin with.

I opted to remove nearly all the clothing from the closet, with the exception of my husband’s coats and my wedding dress. Honestly, he needs his stuff as close to the door as possible and I’m not willing to let my wedding dress take up that much space in my closet.

The remaining five percent will be organizing my fabric by color and theme (because I can’t have florals mixed with stripes mixed with dots). I also need a container to replace one that’s already in there, since it really doesn’t fit on the shelf. And I need a better storage option for my cones of thread. Otherwise, I think I’m more or less set …

Except for the part where some time after I closed the door and came upstairs, one of the shelves collapsed, spewing everything on the floor. Aaaaaaaaaaaacccccccccckkkkkkkkkkk! Yet another “the previous owners were idiots” moment, since the shelf is screwed into the wall but lacks the brackets installed on all the others shelves in the closet. What were they thinking? (Or not, as the case may be.) So I again have things piled on the floor. *sigh*

You can see all the photos on my Flickr. I actually created a set of them with some not-quite-before photos, as well as tags on the “mostly finished” photos. Enjoy!