Want to see where I sew? Okay!
When we moved into this house, I totally comandeered the “family room” to be my sewing room. Painted it Tiffany box blue and everything. These photos make it look so stark and cavernous, but it’s not, and the color isn’t so garish, either… seriously, the color is so much softer to the eye. I’ve spent about 15 years morphing it into what you see now, with a big overhaul in 2011. I love it, it’s my happy place. Anyway, since I am taking a hiatus from sewing for the summer, it is unusually clean and tidy– a state of being that is totally foreign. It usually looks like a tornado hit it, which is why I’ve never shown it to anyone online before. It feels so weird and big for it to be so clean! It’s weird, I tell you!
Here is the view as you walk in–
My 1940’s clubhouse chair that I found in a back alley in Eugene in 1988. College girl scores! I re-upholstered it myself around 2001. It’s been with me for so long! So many coffee stains!
I used to have two giant Z racks that held everything, but I scaled down and down and down until now I just have hooks on the wall. They are perfect at keeping me from cluttering up the joint.
Also, where I store my fabric rolls. eventually I don’t want any fabric rolls and would like to put my dress form there. USE ALL THE STASH!
You can aslo see a bit of the pass-through that has the laundry machines.
Looking down toward my desk–
A wall of shelves. Up top is my funky 1970’s Light Bulb lamp, display torsos, vintage hat boxes that are filled with stuffing and pads for my dress form.
All kinds of stuff is on these shelves, Tiaras and scepter; Ikea magazine holders filled with officy stuff (catalogs, printer paper, labels, fabric sample cards from vendors); business cards, books, big wooden bowl of miscellaneous junk that has no home, Dalek; More magazine holders filled with more officy stuff– notebooks and the like. I really like hiding it all in the boxes, looks so tidy! Such a cheap solution! Reels of trim, rolls of embroidery stabilizers, kettlebells (I’ll use them! Shut up!) stash fabric, Japanese doll I’ve had since 1987, reels of boning, books, camera gear– yeah, all kinds of stuff.
The view from my sewing pit– I’ll put some art on that blank wall spot eventually.
My big pile of dust magnets. 1960’s aqua princess phone! Desk top computer, modern phone, routers, wifi stuff, printer/scanner/copier thingy. Yes, this is where I’m sitting right now typing to you! (The wallpaper is currently Portofino *dreamy sigh*)
(This is where ‘s embroidred felt critters live– right there front and center! I love them so much!)
Sliding on over to the Sewing Pit. Love the funky 1980’s paintings my mom did. The bar and drop containers hold pens, pencils and scissors for paper. (Ikea) No one dares touch my fabric scissors, a good supply of craft scissors must be on hand at all times!
Sewing machine, serger, iron– work! work! work! Thread rack on the wall, Ikea drawers for all my notions, Ikea wastebaskets for garbage and recycling, power strip that pulls out whenever needed. The sewing machine cases and embroidery gear are stashed under the table.
My babies! Please note how I had to chain my stylus to the machine. I lost it too many times and it made me crazy. Cosmetics bins next to the machine keep everything handy, all my pin cushions, and a sugar shaker that is used as a graveyard for broken and bent pins. Two Olfa cutting mats– one was my very first one that warped after 5 years of hard use– and then the replacement, which was again replaced by my big mat on the cutting table. They are so handy to have under the machines, even if they are old and worn out!
Charging station for cameras, Serger sits on a silicone cookie mat so it doesn’t run away when I’m using it, rod and basket for whatever needs holding, cool spinning brass thread rack that was my grandmother’s (I ususally keep my metallic threads there, but my son cleaned them out and put them on the wall. It’s okay, I like that he’s making decisions.) And my groovy mid-century modern chrome ball lamp. *love* This whole area can be cleared when I’m working on a giant skirt and it needs a place to be while being sewn.
My home-made ironing board that sits on my cutting table. The bars, hooks and hanging baskets on the wall under the window is where I hang pattern pieces and fabric and whatever else needs to be out of the way (but handy) when I’m working on a project. (Ikea– so cheap!)
On the shelf (way up high) are plastic Ikea buckets filled with all kinds of stuff, each labeled. (Lace, Cone Thread, Cords & Elastic, Trim, Ribbon, Fabric Bits, Miscellaneous Crap– seriously, one is labeled Miscellaneous Crap.)
The shelves under the ironing board– spare portable iron, ham, sleeve roll, press cloths, boxes and bins for more notions, sewing machine feet, bobbins, and jewelry bits and bobs.
I totally totally adore my iron, a Naomoto HYS-58. It hurt so bad to fork over the dough for it, but I have not regretted one penny of it. Before I knuckled under and bought it, I was blowing through irons at an alarming rate– sometimes two a year. Cheap Sunbeams, expensive Rowentas and everything in between, They were spitting rust and breaking down too quickly. This one has been performing perfectly for about three years now, and still looks brand new. The sole plate doesn’t even gunk up!
I once saw a picture of a vintage tailor’s shop in NYC, and they had a big steam table and iron that was all strung up from the ceiling and could be pulled down the length of the table while working with big pieces of fabric. I wanted it so bad! This is what I came up with for my little room instead– a Home Depot closet pole and shelf. I string the tank up on the pole and tied the cord with elastic to keep all the pressure off the hose, and it can slide back and forth and reach any part of my big table, which turns into a giant ironing board when needed.
I also wrapped the hose and cord together with a sheath meant to keep electronic cords together– I just knew one day I would fuck up and burn the hose. This protects it all from any carelessness on my part.
I don’t usually need all of my cutting table, but when I do the smaller board and the iron just move off to the side.
There, now I have a big cutting board. I bought the biggest self-healing mat I could afford, 40X72, and that was the size table top I made. It is a big piece of laminated MDF, wrapped with ironing board felt, and then silver ironing board fabric, then topped with the cutting mat.
The actual structure for the table is a filing cabinet, and then there is a desktop hutch on either side of it, forming the base of the table. It is very very high, but it is absolutely ergonomically perfect for me– I am 6’2″– and it just so happened that all these peices fit together to make the perfect table.
The filing cabinets are full of patterns and panniers and petticoats. The leatherette boxes (from Target) are full of tools and current projects and rulers.
Around the back of the filing cabinet is a big cubby where I stash my fabric bolts. That silver circular thing is a pop-up laundry bin (Ikea) that I chuck all my scraps into while working on a project. Keeps the room tidy (Ha! Kinda!) and nothing gets thrown away until I absolutely know I am done!
Here is the big ironing board– remove the cutting mat, and voila! The tank slides over so the iron can reach anywhere on the surface.
On the shelves here is my tool box, eyelet setter, scale, overhead projector thingy, and buckets of patterns. Will I ever use any of these patterns? I don’t know!!
Anything that goes on these shelves has to handle a sprinkling of water, because sometimes the bird goes nuts with the water dish.
Yeeeaaaahhh I’m talking about you!
Here is the bird corner, by the sliding glass door. He’s living the good life! He spends most of his time outside the cage, and keeps me company.
Here’s the hook corner when a project is hanging there.
My lovely dress form. She can go from size big to tiny, and her boobs can be adjusted up or down. I also have the Fabulous Fit system of padding and covers, and between all that I can recreate the shape of anyone. Even me! She was made in Italy and I got her from Ronis Brothers in NY. She was another purchase that killed my wallet, but I have never regretted the expense.
The view from the other end of the room– Bird cage, door to the back yard, Ikea mirrors, photo back drop.
With the photo backdrop pulled down. I can move the chair and roll it out as far as I need. And bonus DOG!
Well, that’s my room. It will never look this clean again!