Category Archives: Sewing studio

Climbing out of the shambles

Since finishing my Fade to What Now? quilt, I’ve been restless. I’d been working on it for a long time and once I was done, I wanted to sew all the things, but couldn’t quite settle on one thing. I don’t tend to work on more than one or two projects at a time, so even though I had lots of free time, I’ve not been able to settle into any kind of useful sewing.

It didn’t help that my studio was a shambles. I’ve stopped calling it the living room. Since two of the cats live in it and the Germ has cat allergies, we rarely spend any time in there together, and we certainly never entertain in it, so it’s now officially my sewing studio. My 450 square feet “studio.”

Keeping it real, y'all

Keeping it real, y’all

That box on the floor is one of the places where the cats like to hang out, so it’s staying for now, but I’ll probably move it behind something. There is certainly no lack of furniture to stick it behind, that’s for sure.

The table behind the ironing board is a sewing table with a built-in Singer machine dating back to the mid-seventies. The machine isn’t working but it’s a workhorse so I’ll try to get it fixed at some point. I’ve moved it into a spare room for now.

The glass-front shop cabinet is where I store the bulk of my fabric and notions, but it too is a bit of a mess. (This photo is from when we moved in over a year ago and so nothing is where it was in the first photo.)

Vintage shop cabinet, scored an eBay from a fabric store that had closed.

Vintage shop cabinet, scored an eBay from a fabric store that had closed.

The other glass-front cabinet behind the shop cabinet is where I keep all of my Thomas Knauer fabrics, my sewing books, and some odds and ends. You can see it hiding in the far back corner of the first photo, next to the Singer table. I’d like to move those fabrics into my main collection in the shop cabinet, and use the empty cabinet for my notions. This cabinet sits in a bit of a nook (see next photo), and I’d like to move it to build shelves across the nook for my scrap boxes, which currently sit on the floor along the design wall. I have an idea of where I want the cabinet but will have to test it out before I commit to anything.

The teak cabinet next to the shop cabinet is a sewing cabinet with a sliding shelf to lower a sewing machine, but it’s for a standard-size machine so my Janome won’t fit in it. With the machine on top of it it’s way too high to use comfortably, plus I sew on another surface now. I’ll either find somewhere else in the house for it or *gasp* sell it.

SO – THAT NEW SEWING SURFACE? In April, my lovely carpenter brought over my new, custom sewing table. (Yes, that is how much light I have in my sewing room. Does this explain why my photos are such crap? Anyway.) In the photo, it is in its fully extended state, but the back legs fold up so that it’s usually about a meter wide. I think it’s about three meters long. It’s typically up against the window and it is mostly a dream to sew on, because I can pretty much have everything I need on the table as I sew, including scrap boxes, cutting mat, tools, etc. That said, the table top gets messy while I’m working, so I’ll either need a tool organizer to sit on top of it, or some sort of sliding drawer unit under the table where I can keep my tools while I’m working and when I’m done.

Table

Dreamy sewing table.

There are a couple of bugs with the table, but nothing that can’t eventually be fixed. The weight of the table has turned out to be too much for the back wheels, so they bent. I’ve removed all wheels until we can sort out a solution, which means I can’t extend the back  since the legs holding up the extension are now too long. The surface of my Janome isn’t entirely flat, so it’s not fully flush against the surface of the table, meaning that if I’m piecing, things jam up at the back end of the machine surface. This one isn’t a biggie since I’m aware of it so I know to hold things up until they’re over the bump. There’s also no hole for the knee lift, so I can’t use it at the moment, but that’s a small fix and I don’t use the knee lift enough for it to be troublesome.

Not pictured is a huge sideboard where I keep magazines and such, but I’d like to move them elsewhere so I can make better use of it. Maybe they could go on the planned book shelves. Or maybe I’ll get a Kallax from Ikea to stick in that nook instead? Ideas, ideas.

All this, and a longarm coming into the space in the next few months.

Can you maybe see why I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the space?

This past weekend I got a start on sorting out the space. We moved the sofa to the front room so we can now sit on it with our feet up while having a coffee and watching the planes go by. In summer we do this outside, but winter is coming (Har har! I don’t even watch that show.) I’ll keep the armchair in place for cat cuddling, but I’m not entirely sure what to do with the coffee table. It’s a gorgeous mid-century teak table, but I don’t really have much use for it, nor anywhere else in the house to put it. I’ll think of something. Definitely *not* selling it.

Then I picked up all the scrap bins and piled them up in a corner and gave the room a very deep cleaning. I took almost everything off of the various surfaces so I don’t have to keep shuffling things from side to side to find things. I’ll spend this week plus next weekend moving things around an reorganizing, and then show you some after pictures.

As for sewing, there’s a different kind of sewing going on in the studio right now.

Garments

I want to sew all the clothes. When did that happen?! This book has amazing (if sparsely written) patterns.

Pressing Matters

I went to another quilt show on Saturday. I spent money. A lot of money. Money I don’t so much have right now because I’ve just quit my job (I QUIT MY JOB! THE ANGELS REJOICED!). Let’s not talk about that right now, mmmkay?

On Sunday I spent the entire day quilting the Loulouthi Tiles quilt. I have a bruised finger and an oddly cracked nail to prove it. The quilting is done, and I’m mostly quite pleased with how it’s turned out, but the whole process has reaffirmed that my least favourite part of quilting is the quilting. I still have to bind it but I was too drained to do it on Sunday night and didn’t really feel like taking out my ironing board to get the binding fabric ready, so it’ll wait for some time this week and I’ll probably finish it off next weekend.

Hey, speaking of ironing boards, this is mine:

Delightful.

Delightful.

I know, right? Can you blame me for not wanting to take it out to get the binding fabric ready? I bought it (along with my not-so-fantastic iron) when I first started sewing, at some discount store that has since gone out of business. Probably because it sold crap.

While I was at the show on Saturday, I found this fabric (I know I said I wouldn’t talk about it just now, but this is my blog, mmmkay?) and immediately knew what I would make with it.

So stinkin' cute!

So stinkin’ cute!

It’s from the Wash Day line for Makower and hi! It’s flippin’ adorable!

I didn’t follow a specific pattern to make this, but loosely followed a few of the tutorials online. I had three quarter-yards; two with the polka dot irons and one of the washing line. The iron fabric pieces were just a smidge narrow to do the job, so I pieced those together, and then added the washing line fabric to the bottom.

Fabric_Sewn

I then sewed a casing along the edges and pulled sewing elastic through it using a safety pin. I placed the whole thing right over the existing cover, which was a single piece with elasticated edges, rather than making a new lining as well. I stretched it out until it was smooth and then knotted the elastic.

This almost makes me want to iron my clothes! (But not really.)

This almost makes me want to iron my clothes! (But not really.)

I absolutely love it. The whole thing took less than an hour and it upgraded my sewing corner by about a squillion percent.

I also worked on another fun little something last night, but I’ll write a separate post about it when I get a bit more of it done.

Sneak peak