I have a new sewing space!

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Things have been a bit quiet here because we moved house at the beginning of the week. We only moved a few blocks, but it was still an enormous production. There was a miscommunication with the former tenant, so we wound up having to move our stuff in two trips, which meant we did not have movers for as much of the process as I’d hoped, & we had to spend one extra night in the old house. We are still slowly unpacking & trying to keep our heads above the water of chaos a 4-year-old can sow (mixed metaphor alert?) when half her toys are in boxes & her parents are exhausted.

But mostly I am THRILLED with the new house! It’s definitely the biggest house I’ve ever lived in with so few people. Like, I lived in punk houses that were as big or bigger, but I had four or five roommates. Here, it’s just me, Jared & Ramona (& Biscuit, who went on an initial territory-claiming sojourn the other day & didn’t come back for almost 48 hours), & we have SO MUCH SPACE. We have room for all of our books & bookcases, real storage for things like extra quilts & Christmas decorations, all of Ramona’s toys (even the big ones, like her play castle)…& best of all, to me, I have my very own SEWING SPACE.

It’s upstairs, which is an open attic area. There’s a little room with sloped ceilings at one end, which Ramona has claimed as a playroom. & there’s an inset room with a wall of windows in the middle, & that is where I’ve set up my sewing stuff. I have SO MUCH ROOM! There’s space for my pressing station, my cutting table, my entire fabric stash, my sewing table, my dress form, my cabinet of lingerie supplies, all of my sewing books, my serger & spare sewing machine…& all of it is in the same space, which is going to make my sewing so much relaxing & efficient. There really wasn’t room for my sewing stuff at our old house. My pressing table was on the opposite side of the house from my machine, so I had to walk all the way across the house & back to press every individual seam. Half of my notions were basically in storage because I didn’t have room for them. Using the serger was this big production & pulling it out of storage, clearing everyone out of the kitchen (the only space big enough for me to use it), setting it up, & racing to get my serging done before everyone got annoyed with the noise & the space I was eating up.

The big windows mean I have lots of natural light, which is really crucial to my sewing success. My sewing machine was against a solid wall at the old place & it often made me feel anxious & sad to be sewing there. I had to have all kinds of lamps on, even in the middle of the day, to see what I was doing.

So yeah, I am THRILLED. I even re-organized things so that all my quilting fabrics are stashed & I’m using the storage piece I originally bought for them to store WIPs. Each project has its own individual bin, with fabric, notions, pattern, everything I need, right there next to the machine.

& best of all, there’s plenty of room to expand, if need be. I joked to Jared that I could start hosting sewing retreats. There’s plenty of room up there for another person to set up a sewing space & a bed, & they’d even have their own half-bathroom. I did a writing residency ten years ago at a space called the Anchor Archive, in Halifax. I slept in a little cabin & I had to staff the zine library for a few hours a week to earn my keep, but otherwise, it was just a workspace for me to write. I wound up writing twenty logic puzzles from scratch & releasing them as a zine at the end of two weeks. It was really fun, & now that I sew, I think it would be so much fun to do something similar with sewing. But this is only the most nascent of ideas. Feedback welcome!

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me on the front porch of the Anchor Archive in June 2007

I still have some more work to do up there to get everything set up. I have some lights to install & a few things to hang, & I need to sort out how everything is going to be plugged in. But I will definitely post photos when it’s finished. I really cannot WAIT to start sewing up there! Ramona convinced me to buy some vegetable print fabric at Ikea yesterday, & I’m planning to make her a pair of pants, & I got some striped fabric to make myself an experimental, structured dress situation. Plus all my WIPS, & a bag to replace my Noodlehead Supertote (which is starting to look pretty shabby after two years of daily use), & curtains for the new house, & something from the Fabric Hamper I won from Minerva Crafts for my Shenai dress…I have a lot of ideas. I just need preschool to start back up so I have the time to execute them!

Incidentally, I have three yet-to-blogged garments that I entered into the Indie Royalty competition over at the Monthly Stitch. I made a striped waffle weave henley shirt, I hacked the Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater into a really cute hoodie, & I made another pair of Sew House Seven’s Burnside Bibs, from heavy railroad striped denim. The editors decided to make all the entrants finalists, so maybe go check it out & kick me a vote? I’ll try to post about the garments in more depth here soon.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow! You sound giddy with excitement and no wonder, I used to love changing my bedroom around when I was a kid and always wanted to go to bed early to enjoy it, your post reminded me of that long forgotten feeling.

    Just be aware that nature abhors a vacuum and it may not stay spacious for long. But yeah, happy days indeed.

    1. Ciara says:

      There is so much extra space up there, I really can’t imagine expanding so much that I’d fill it all up. It’s so nice to have tons of room for laying out/drafting especially large pattern pieces. There’s enough room to baste a king-sized quilt! I’ve finally got things more or less organized up there & have been sewing. It’s SO awesome to have my cutting, pressing, & sewing tables all together in one space. It’s so much more efficient. I still need to put up some more lighting & give the whole place a thorough mopping (the previous tenants never really went up there, so it’s pretty dusty), but I can just lose hours up there. I love it!

  2. Gina says:

    Yay, so happy you have a new sewing room! My sewing room in our new place is very tiny, but I’ve managed to cram in everything I need for sewing – two tables, one for serger and one for sewing machine, and a big cutting table that I can put a tabletop ironing board on for pressing while sewing. My big ironing board will come out for final finished garment pressing and pressing yardage. I’m so happy to have my own room and have everything situated how I want it for ergonomics. Sewing was really taking a toll on my back, but it’s been so much better since getting a lower table for the sewing machine and a counter-height cutting table. I’m getting ready to finally paint in there and I’m super excited about having hot pink walls soon. I can’t wait to see how your room turns out when you have it all situated!

    1. Ciara says:

      A few years ago, I actually tore my trapezius muscle due to cutting out fabric on too low of a table. It was absolutely excruciating. I moved heaven & Earth to find a counter-height table after that.

      I think even in a small sewing space, just being able to cut, press, & sew without having to traipse off to another room is really ideal. Like 75% of sewing is pressing, & having to go to the laundry room to do that at the old house was a big pain in the ass.

      I want to see your hot pink sewing room walls! Mine are this kind of Creamsicle situation, with white stripes. Not my choice, but I guess it gives the space a very warm, friendly glow. My kingdom for pink, though!

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