My (almost) sewing room

From this...

From this... (MMJ 8)

On Saturday, the last day of his visit, my brother and I braved the rain and Canadian Tire in springtime to procure me a shelving unit and a stacky-plastic-see-through-drawer-kinda-thing (like my technical terminology?), in the hopes of helping to transform my basement catacomb into something more closely resembling a functional sewing room. I won’t say I couldn’t’ve procured said items myself—I could have—but it’s nice to have a partner in crime for once. (Also Hubbykins recently made some less-than-well-considered bike-related purchases so I’m feeling psychologically if not actually fiscally justified in my splurge.)

... to this. (MMJ 11)

As a result, I spent the bulk of Sunday getting the mess under control.

This was done mostly in fifteen-minute bursts, as that was about all I could manage before being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the disaster nearly two years of neglect had wrought in the room.

To my surprise, however, only about three grocery bags of actual garbage came out of the room. Everything else was either fabric-scrap or actually usable in some way.

My stash, which looked pretty overwhelming on in the top photo, all fit neatly on the shelf, although I would’ve liked to have a bit more shelf-space for sorting purposes. The only shelf that is really approaching capacity is the one holding the coating fabrics. Go figure. The patterns are now all tucked in the bottom drawers of my rolly thingy, while the notions are filing (and overfilling—I really need more room for them) the upper drawers. I hadn’t quite realized how much space zippers and bias tape can take up. The buttons and snaps are still fairly out of control.

The view from the doors. The bags under the table are all fabric scraps.

But anyway. Although I haven’t actually sewn a stitch in it yet (or even plugged the machines in), the floor has been found, the scraps wrangled into bags (I am saving them to stuff cloth chairs for the kids. Hush, I’ll get around to it.), and the non-sewing crud mostly confined to one end of the room. There may even have been vacuuming* Β There were a disturbing number of loose pattern pieces lying around on the floor in various piles, which I still have to sort out and decide what’s worth saving and what will be consigned to the rubbish.

Above is the view from the doors. Yes, my sewing room has French doors. Unfortunately, rather than opening into some lush and elegant European garden, they open onto the rest of the basement, which principally functions as a play room for my children. Sweet, but not terribly scenic, especially when Hurricane Syo has been at work.

To the right of the door

As you can see, I have failed at keeping my “cutting table” clear through the tidying process. Also the ironing board. I maintain I am allergic to horizontal surfaces… they make me break out in clutter. That being said, this is eighty million times better than the view a couple of days ago, so shut up. With any luck I’ll be sewing in it tonight!

To the left of the door

All right, this is not the room’s best angle. There’s a fair schwack of boxes of old journals**, fine china*** and wrapping supplies. Not to mention a bit of stash overflow (for sorting, not space purposes). But I am not one of those people who can’t work with a bit of clutter about. My husband would be much happier if I were, I promise.

Anyway, I think my first few tasks will be some little bits of mending and hemming, but I promise I’ll get to a real project soon. I’m thinking 70s Week won’t be complete without making up one of those blouses I posted a while back…

*A whole ‘nother adventure, I admit… I’m a firm believer that children should vacuum their own mess, but occasionally have cause to regret this, like when I spend twenty minutes trying to dislodge entire paper towels that are thoroughly blocking the vacuum hose, resorting to hot-dog-roasting-sticks and eventually my husband’s computer-repair grabby tool to get it out.

**Scientific, not personal. I’m not quite that prolific in my navel-gazing. Quite.

*** Yes, I do have a porcelain set. Yes, it’s been in a box for almost four years now.

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “My (almost) sewing room

  1. oh, organizing is painful….but looks like you have made a lot of progress. It really helps to corral zips and other bits and pieces together, I always find stuff I didn’t even know I had. Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

  2. Susan

    Congratulations on your lovely sewing room! Every room needs a bit of clutter IMHO, or I think I’m in a show home and am frightened to sit down.
    My ironing board is permanently out, and is used as a worksurface! ( In fact it’s held up by an extra nut and bolt or it falls down by itself.) What else are horizontal surfaces for?
    I brought up my children to vacuum, My DD kept an immaculate room, when my DS left home I had to put on a face mask to clear out the dust.

  3. How wonderful to have space dedicated to sewing and all things related! I hope to… someday… πŸ™‚

  4. Nice looking sewing room! I think we have comparable stash piles, except I throw out certain amounts of fabric scraps every few months. I’m afraid they would take over completely otherwise! I only keep the ones that are the right size/weight for pocket linings and facings and the like.

    I have one of those drawer thingies also and probably need another one. They are AWESOME for organizing. Also, shelves and jars can be used to display/store buttons, trim and zippers. I have a shelf and I just found some jars and really need to get some organizing done — right after some sewing, of course!

    • If I wasn’t “saving” these scraps, I would chuck them, too. But the kids’ chairs will take a lot, and I don’t want to buy that much fibrefill! πŸ™‚

      Shelves with jars would be nice… maybe some day πŸ˜‰

  5. Your sewing room is taking shape! We redid mine a couple years ago and I just love it! Its nice to have a room dedicated to sewing :O).

    I didn’t know it was 70s week but I think the top I just finished over the weekend would work for 70s week!
    I used the elastic thread and did a shirred top. Turned out pretty cute.

    • I just made up 70s week as a personal segment of my Me-Made June, but if you want to join in please do! πŸ™‚

      There is something very 70s about shirring, isn’t there…

  6. *applauds* Way to go, getting this organized! I too am allergic to cleared flat spaces too – including floors – and will pile stuff willy-nilly everywhere I can find room. Until I reach a critical point, and then I MUST CLEAN ALL. But that just starts the cycle all over again. πŸ˜‰

    Looks like you could use a shelf or table near the ironing board for all of your ironing toys!

  7. This looks like it will be a great sewing room: white, bright, doors ! I can’t wait to see what comes out of it. I’m “organizing” my stash right now, so my bedroom looks like your room– Ackk.

    As for the vacuum hose, an old coworker taught me a trick: drop a heavy table knife down the hose handle first. It almost always works for me.

    • Oh, that’s not a bad idea! Although I’m not sure it would’ve worked this time… that paper towel was really wedged in there!

      It is bright, thanks to the oversize commercial-type fluorescent lighting. Probably not so good for the power bill, but I shan’t complain.

  8. Congratulations – it’s looking great, & doesn’t it just FEEL so much better?

    Regarding those plastic drawers….honestly, I never thought I would love plastic furniture so much. Lightweight, easy to move around, you can see what’s in them, relatively inexpensive, keep the dust off much better than shelving. And if/when you need more, you can just find another that sort of kind of matches. You, too, may just find yourself growing fond of them ;^)

  9. LOL! It’s like my sewing room’s long lost twin! Actually, since I’m relegated to only one room (instead of the entire basement), my mess has kind of worked itself out. I have to keep it neat now, or I can’t do anything. BTW, I’m totally allergic to horizontal surfaces too, my hubby has a chair in there that he’s not yet been able to sit on because it’s always piled with stuff.

    Anyway, your room is starting to come together, so hang in there! πŸ™‚

  10. Hey, hey , hey…. your re-vamped sewing room (+ new to you table) ‘s lookin’ good *high five!*. I reckon another one or 2 of those metal shelf thingies would help you de-clutter your non-sewing stuff? Shame you don’t live in London ‘cos I’m chucking out 3-4 smaller versions of those plastic drawer-units (that’s if i can prise them outta hubbies fingers – he’s secreted them into out loft when for the day he gets a new garden shed haha!). Can you attach anything to the walls? I’m thinking you could screw some large cup hooks into the wall (with rawl-plugs of course so they don’t fall out). Then get a big rectangular bit of fabric (old sturdy curtain fabric maybe)? Make a casing for a long thick wooden dowel rod at one end – cover the fabric in pockets of different sizes – to hold your “must have it on hand quickly now notions/ gadgets“. If it flaps about at the bottom a bit make another casing and stick another bit of dowelling-rod into it to keep it straight ‘n’ lovely πŸ™‚

    You could even stick a pinboard / magnetic board up on the wall for keeping swatches/ inspiration / planning projects ;)?

    • P.S. I’m slightly envious I know you’re gonna churn out even more lush stuff now you’ve got a proper space to work in :)! My spare beroom (soon to be sewing room) is on hold, I’ve been sick with nasty colds the last 2 months (off of work for 5 days 1st time, and last week I was off for 3 days – should’ve been 5 really more the fool me!!) and no progress is being made re: DIY/painting/cutting table *sniff sniff wallows in a small puddle of self-pity 😦*

    • As usual you’re full of great ideas! Although I could hang stuff, we’re probably moving in a year or so so I’m not inclined to bother (I know, but somehow that doesn’t seem very long…)

      Hehe… good luck with the hubby! πŸ™‚ Hopefully you’ll have smoother sailing (and more creations of your own) soon! πŸ™‚

  11. Mercy

    Oh well done! and don’t worry about the porcelain, it would only get chipped. My stash is hidden under the bed (where it is damp- yuck) and in the bottom of the dresser. Otherwise the cat will nest in it. And I bought my first ironing board at the weekend, to save the heirloom table from the pain. I still have yet to use it- but I own one so there.

  12. Sewista Fashionista

    How fun getting your sewing room together! When you have it just the way you want it, it will be such a blessing to you. I love my sewing corner.

  13. An actual ROOM dedicated to sewing?! I’m so jealous. And it looks fairly spacious too, good for you! Most importantly, I’m relieved to see you have a case of vodka or vodka based products close at hand! ha ha Seriously, there’s a case of beer under my table at all times.

    • LOL! I hadn’t even noticed that… sad to report that the box has everything to do with salvaging moving boxes from liquor stores and little to do with household alcohol consumption. It has Tyo’s baby-precious-things in it.

      I think. I should probably check.

      Actually, that particular box came from my Great Aunt when Tyo was born, full of hand-me-down 60s baby clothes, including real-fur-trimmed snowsuits. How the heck do you dress a baby in a fur-trimmed snow-suit? Without it being destroyed at the first spit-up, anyway…

  14. wow that would have taken me ages to finish! congratulations and do a little happy dance around the cleared floor πŸ™‚ i swear i’m allergic to horizontal surfaces as well, though it’s worse at home than at lab (by necessity, i need to actually work on my bench…even if it means shoving everything to the side!). secretly, i’m convinced that notions multiply like rabbits even when chucked into confined spaces!

    • Yeah, I’m pretty good in lab, picking everything up and putting it away before I go home (we don’t have our “own” benches, mostly). Home… not so much.

  15. Good on you. It’s such a good feeling isn’t it! Whenever I do anything like this, I find myself spending most of the day standing back and admiring my accomplishment. (I do the same with my sewing projects). I’m not the best housekeeper (and have no aspirations to be) so things like tidying a room are a BIG deal. I’m not sure my mother, who has a tidy house, understands the feeling. I’ve always had a designated sewing space but it’s usually a disorganised mess. I started a weekly sewing class a month ago and now find I’m much more organised. When you’ve got to take your projects along to a weekly class, you also have to take along everything you’ll need to go with it. Now I have a large biscuit tin with all my ‘sewing requirements’ and ‘project bags’. So organised it’s almost sickening!

  16. Looks fabulous! So spacious, and all your own! And I’m super impressed you are saving scraps to fill up kiddy chairs; so minimal-waste and green!! πŸ™‚

  17. I am impressed with your ‘new’ sewing room. I wonder if there is a genetic component to how people deal with horizontal surfaces. My mother uses her dining-room table the same way I use mine. A sort-of filing system, which works like an archaeological site, with the oldest ‘stuff’ on the bottom and the newest on the top. It works for me, except when I try to ‘get organized’ or host a dinner party, and things get moved around, miss-placed and vanish. Things usually re-appear, eventually. I usually blame it on the ‘house-elves’.

    • Nature vs. nurture strikes again… Well, at least I know who to blame ;). And good that I’m not the only one who uses the principal of superposition to keep track of things…

  18. Good job! Creating space for your sewing gives it priority which is very positive. So many women and moms especially don’t give themselves the license to have space/stuff all their own.
    Great message for your girls!
    (Sorry to get so Oprah but it is a positive thing.) πŸ™‚

    • LOL! Well, let’s just say I’m pretty passionate about my hobbies, I don’t think there’s any danger of that. Although having everyone upstairs yelling for me while I’m puttering around in the basement is going to get annoying…

  19. “I maintain I am allergic to horizontal surfaces… they make me break out in clutter” HAHAHA, I have the exact same allergy! Unfortunately Benadryl doesn’t work. Congrats to both you and your husband on having a sewing room (my husband loves not seeing my mess :)).

  20. Marie-Christine

    This looks quite good, I hope you’re proud of yourself! It’s normal to have coat-stash take up more room than other stash. Just think, you can easily get 15 silk blouses worth of fabric in the same volume as a single coat (especially Canada-grade coat). So don’t worry about apparent unbalance.
    However, I hate to break this to you, but fabric scraps as furniture stuffing are horrid. Lumpy, hard, just plain uncomfortable. The ecological aspect of them is very superficial, as the resulting furniture would only lie about neglected. Can I make a suggestion? Obviously you have reconciled to the fact that you won’t be actually using those scaps πŸ™‚ (I don’t blame you, I hardly ever do either). So why don’t you donate them to a school, a nursing home, a seamstress who teaches recycled sewing?? Whoever you know or have nearby, they’d be thrilled with them, and you’d be free to attack the furniture project with better materials, in time. In fact, if you pass the word that you’re happy to contribute fabric scraps but you could really use batting scraps, I think you could find a very fruitful trade with the quilters, best for both sides.

  21. Pingback: Real sewing! | Tanit-Isis Sews

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