Hello, readers! We’re taking a quick break from Swimwear Month to continue with our ongoing series journeying into the sewing spaces of our CSC community members. Today, we’re visiting Jennifer’s sewing room.
Tell us a little about your sewing space.
Two years ago, we moved into The Manor, a beautiful money pit built in 1907 and set on a 2 acre farmette. I converted a sunroom on the second floor into my sewing space. It’s about 150 square feet, with big windows on three sides. I get lots of natural light, but struggle with temperature control because of a lack of insulation, drafty windows, and—you know—built in 1907.
I use a Janome sewing machine, which has been a workhorse for the last six years. I’ve sewn on it almost daily and never had it serviced—oops! I also have a Brother serger, which single-handedly opened the door to apparel sewing for me. I have them both set up on a long desk table from IKEA, so that I can easily switch between them. I long for a coverstitch machine, but don’t have the budget or space for one in the current configuration.
What is your favorite part/feature of your sewing space?
The fabric. I love the fabric. I often sit on the couch and just gaze at the fabric, occasionally getting up to pet it gently and whisper sweet nothings. I may have a bit of a problem.
I spent a week this winter getting all of my fabric sorted, folded (using comic book boards – purchased from Amazon in bunches of 500), and stored in my IKEA bookshelf. I fold fat quarters into neat ninths and stack them up. In all, I have more than 700 yards.
Discussion question: I’m currently struggling with the fact that I have a LOT of quilting cotton and home décor fabric, which I still enjoy looking at (so preeeeety!), but am honestly never going to use up. I suspect I’m not alone – what do you guys do with fabric that has passed its “top tier” stash status?
How do you organize your fabrics, patterns and notions?
I’m a bit of a neat freak, and I’ve tried to make the most of my limited space. I keep my rotary cutter, scissors, measuring tape and various sundries in the drawers under my cutting table (also from IKEA – sensing a trend?) and keep my PDF patterns stored upright near my bolts of interfacing. Another bucket underneath the cutting table stores pillow forms, and a fabric box on the right side of the cutting table holds mending.
I have two plastic sets of drawers (from Target) that house my thread, zippers, elastic, hardware and other notions. The drawers sit on a cabinet (also from Target) that stores my unfinished projects, along with paper patterns, sewing books, rulers, candles and various other items—like dozens of mystery keys that came with our house.
I have two IKEA trolleys that move around my sewing space as need dictates. The gray one houses extra fabric remnants, with smaller strips sorted by color on the top and larger pieces stored in the fabric cube below. The blue trolley holds my current projects. I like to cut out 3-4 projects at a time, and the trolley is a great place to store them (with accompanying thread and other notions) until their time in the queue arrives. Right now I have a red herringbone flannel Itch to Stitch Mila shirt and a navy double-gauze Hey June Cheyenne tunic popover, along with another pillow cover and two hats in the waiting list.
Two storage ottomans (again, Target) hold yarn and my serger thread cones. Plus, they are extra comfy for propping my feet up when I abandon sewing and decide to indulge in a little Netflix. Bonus points if I burrow in homemade quilts, with my head propped on pillows that I sewed myself.
What is your favorite thing to sew?
Right now I’m sewing almost exclusively for myself. It drives me crazy that my kids are so hard on their clothes, even as I want my daughter (especially!) to never feel like she needs to stay pretty and pristine. So the most satisfying compromise (ha ha) is to focus on a me-made wardrobe while they play in the mud.
I still occasionally sew a bag, or a quilt, or a CD organizer, or hand towels for the kitchen, but the main focus is currently on apparel. I’ve recently discovered rayon challis (life changing!) and high-quality knits (Art Gallery Fabrics, you complete me) and am gradually upping my techniques. I’m especially pleased that more pattern designers are including larger sizes and cup sizes, which prevent the need for a dreaded FBA. I’m a lazy sewist, so I appreciate makes that look professional but can be done without a lot of adjustments.
What changes would you like to make?
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my sewing room. I need to do a better job of sewing up my stash, since right now I’m at capacity. I *really* don’t want to expand into other rooms of the house. I’d also like to make a cover for the bookshelf, since I’m a bit worried about the sun fading the fabric. I keep the blinds shut except for when I’m actively sewing, but I’d feel better with some kind of easily retractable curtain. Maybe this year. Maybe not – there are so many other fun things to sew first.
Check out Jennifer’s blog, We Bought a Manor, to see what she creates in her lovely sewing space!