You may have seen me make mention a couple of times of a group that I’m part of called the WSBN: Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network. We’re a group of somewhat
single like-minded women who share a joy of sewing. In the middle of winter, Gemma from Sixty Six Stitches suggested that we kickstart our mid-winter blogging again with a tour of all our sewing rooms. Most of us acquiesced, the tour started on the first day of September (the first day of spring!) and now we’ve arrived at the end (slightly behind schedule, I will admit (and it’s all my fault).
If you want to start at the very beginning, pop on over to Gemma’s post, which was the first stop on the tour, and follow us all the way through.
Now, when I signed up for this, I knew I had a holiday booked, and a market to prepare for the day after I got home (and for the two weeks before I left) but I was feeling confident that I could still make it happen, as long as I had a couple of days grace after my return. So I was scheduled for the 22nd.
For your titillation, I actually did take some photos on the 21st, while my workroom was in full post-market chaos.
WARNING, it ain’t pretty.
Pretty much chaos everywhere. But hey, this is a working workroom. Or something. AND, this was immediately after a market, and I never have much stock just sitting around these days.
Anyway, after taking those photos, I couldn’t bear the thought of posting them and having everyone thinking that that is what my work area looks like all the time (err, even if it is true, most of the time), and so I set the alarm clock and settled in for an hour of cleaning.
Two days later, and my husband walked in and congratulated me on how tidy everything is looking. 🙂
So let’s start the tour of my workroom again, properly this time.
My sewing room is mainly the entire ground floor of my home, or the basement, depending on which side of the house you’re looking at it from. We do like our hills around here. We do have a little room set off the main space which houses our bikes and gardening gear, and we do also have a bunch of other random stuff down here too: camping gear, extra kitchen equipment that doesn’t fit, that sort of thing. But I’ll skip past all that…
This is what you see when you walk in the door.
As we come in through the door, we first pass my bookshelf. On top are boxes of visual diaries and notebooks, then coming down through the shelves we have:
- reference books and cutting templates for my smaller products
- a shelf full of random stuff, like paper bags and ziplock bags for projects
- Burda magazines, my paper patterns, and the entire first series of Golden Hands, and a significant portion of the second, which my mother decided needed a good home
- a shelf full of random stuff, especially art supplies that I’ve had since High School (that’s more than half my life ago!)
- more Burda magazines.
If we take a few steps forward, we’ll find fabric storage and my ironing station to the right. I feel like this is the next natural stop of my tour, because every project starts with selecting and ironing the fabric.
For some reason my actual iron is absent from this photo. I think I saw it upstairs before, so the mister must have been ironing his shirts. I have an elna press as well, which is an absolute must for me. I fuse a lot of interfacing!
The turquoise mannequin’s name is Lucy. I may have forgotten to take a proper picture of Betty, who is made from green cardboard, and is a dead ringer for A Charm Of Magpies’ mannequin (who also seems to be playing hide and seek in her post).
This photo also is pretty representative in the way it shows what goes on with my stash organisation. Some of it is highly organised: there is fabric in all of those filing boxes. This is my latest method, and has proven to be the most effective, as I can take the fabric to the cutting table, then fold it up once I’ve done cutting and put it back in the filing box, then post it back into the shelving. In the past I’ve also experimented with hanging bolts on the wall (there is some serious defying of gravity going on with some of those bolts, I’m not quite sure how they’re staying up) and then there’s the other method. Put it in a box/bin and hope I find it again at an appropriate time. Mainly that is either fabric that I’ve bought from the op shop, or new fabric that I haven’t got to washing yet. There are other similar boxes and bins stashed around the place that have fabrics in various stages from washed to cut to completed project with usable scraps. Or depending on how long it’s been around, unusable scraps, because I didn’t used to be so good at getting rid of those.
Oh, there is also a suitcase just beside my ironing station with the craft cottons that I use for a lot of my products. It looks kind of chaos-y at the moment, but there is a good underlying base of organised fabric beneath it all. Don’t ask me what’s in the bottom suitcase. One day I’ll get brave enough to lift the top one off and look. I know it’s fabric. What more do I need to know?
Right! Now that we’ve found our fabric and ironed it in preparation, let’s move through to the cutting room. Yes. I have a separate room for that. For some strange reason it has an external tilt-a-door, but I can’t think why anyone would want to drive a car into their cutting room, can you?
This is where I started the tidying on Sunday night. It was in desparate need. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you may know that for nearly a year we had pink batts stored in there, waiting for our roofer to come and replace the roof, insulating our house at the same time. This has in fact now finally happened, much to our joy! However, in the interim, we’d also had to replace the bathroom floor and shower, and having all those workmen traipse through my workspace meant that everything was just a bit gross. I wasn’t able to clean up from that at the time, because I had no space to move my cutting table in order to clean. Then just as we got the batts out of there, we got word that we could go ahead with the expansion of my shop (Made it), and so that was me tied up for the next month or so.
Anyway, I’m much happier with the way it looks now! I can even walk around all three sides of the table! Bliss!
I bought myself a new clothes rack today from the Evans’s closing down sale, and that’s where my patterns are hanging. Behind the cutting table all my interfacings, lampshade styrene, and various papers, fabrics etc are all stored on metal bolt stands that I picked up a few months ago when another fabric store closed (it’s terrible how many we’ve lost this year). My cutting table is an old-school trestle table with a big old slab of MDF on top for stability. I’m hoping to get a third mat to cover the last section, then I won’t have to reorganise the mats to cut long pieces. I’ve decided that I’ll store my market gear under the table. Beside the table there’s my collection of vintage sewing machines, some more stash, and my unicorn making supplies. Oh, and a vintage nail-polish-and-hair dryer. That’s what’s in the white case. I must try it out some time.
Shall we step back through the door into the workroom, and take a look at the machines? (This is where the photograpy gets tricky). Off to the side of what we’ve seen of my work room so far is a room sized area, which is where my sewing tables and both of our desks are. This is what you see if you’re looking over from my ironing station (this is just my side of the area though).
I swear it is actually a lot neater around the machines than this picture makes it look! There are plenty of storage areas in the main sewing table (which was very kindly donated to me by Nicola), so I can keep all my threads, needles, and sew-in lablels close at hand. As you can see, I also make use of a few sets of plastic drawers. These are full of things like zips, and elastic, and Velcro, and more zips, and more elastic, and more Velcro, and more zips. And more zips. I’m scared to count them. There’s probably around 300, yet somehow I’m always missing the perfect colour in the right length.
If it gets cold in winter, we have big red velvet drapes that we can pull across to close of this area to keep it warmer. But in reality, if I’ve got the iron and elna press going, they’re more efficient at heating the space than the heater is!
Let’s finish the tour with a few wee detail shots.
Now, as well as showing you around my sewing space, there’s a few other things I’m supposed to talk about. Like my stash. I think by now you might have got the impression that it might just be a little bit difficult for me to show it all to you. Let’s just say that the bits you’ve seen in the photos above aren’t all of it. Not by a long shot… For example, there’s a whole blanket chest full of fabric just for me up in our lounge, with mainly wools and a few satins thrown in. And there may be a couple of those “Global Fabrics/The Fabric Store” bags you’ve seen in some of the others’ posts sitting just beside it as well, with more fabric that just doesn’t seem to fit anywhere quite at the moment. I really need to make more time for sewing for me… and I should probably never buy fabric again that’s not for the business, given how much is sitting in my personal stash.
Now, when it comes to patterns, I don’t have nearly the same problem.
I’ve just always had so many problems with packet patterns, that I’ve never really felt compelled to collect them. Admittedly, I did get Burda for a few years, and still pick up the odd one, so I do have a few of those.
I find the Burda magazine patterns tend to fit me better, and I pretty much learnt to sew from them and Neue Mode back in the 80s. Other than that, I like to try and draft things from scratch these days, and I have a couple of pattern drafting texts to refer to as well.
I’ve been sewing for so long that I’m not sure that I have a favourite thing that I’ve made, but I was looking through my photos the other day and came across one of me at my Leavers’ Ball, aged 18, in a gown I made myself.
A couple of years ago I drafted myself a trouser block, and I’m pretty pleased with the way those fit as well. Here I am wearing the original pair of trousers made from that block.
And last, but not necessarily least, I’m to show you something of my view. Now, my workroom window overlooks where we park the car, so that’s a bit boring, but above it is our balcony, from which we get views like this.