So February has come and gone and I still do not have a sewing machine. So much for my Fearless February sewing list! While I await the return of a working machine I have been very very busy reorganizing my sewing space, which is a bigger undertaking than the last item on my initial Fearless February list – to purge what I will not use. My current sewing “room” is a 10’x11′ open loft adjacent to our master bedroom. Until a few years ago I was using the spare bedroom as my sewing room and while I miss the large closet and closing door of the former room, the new loft space is larger and the openness makes it easier to interact with my family even when they are downstairs. I definitely do not feel as closed off.
There are a lot of challenges that I have faced in my sewing space in general, but more specifically in this loft space. I’ve taken the opportunity of not having the ability to sew to tackle some of these challenges and I am so thrilled with the progress.
My biggest challenge is always storage. There is no closet in my loft and my fabric is currently overrunning the house. I have it in bags and boxes throughout the spare bedroom, shelves in the sewing room, my closet, and my husband’s closet. It’s ridiculous. I made a promise to my husband that I would get this under control and at the very least confine it to the sewing room and my closet. I have big plans for the spare bedroom and this was my compromise. I have two tall bookshelves and two shorter bookshelves along one wall in the room and a few plastic storage containers and that is about it. So now I have been going through fabric and culling out the utility fabric and the fashion fabrics I love from those that I don’t need/want. My goal is to try and fit all the fabric on the shelves, with a few of the larger pieces (mostly coating fabrics) being stored in my bedroom closet.
A sturdy sewing table
I’ve struggled with this one since I started sewing. My first sewing machine (a dumpster find) had it’s own table. Ever since I purchased my updated machine several years ago I have been in need of a sturdy sewing surface. Something that won’t bounce or vibrate, and is large enough to hold more than just a single machine as I have several now. I briefly had a decent desk, but then it fell apart and wasn’t worth fixing. For a long time I was using a nice sturdy wooden folding table from my grandparents, but it took up so much space and the legs were situated in a manner that I couldn’t store anything underneath it. It just wasn’t practical, but I’ve struggled to find anything as good. For my birthday this year my husband built me an 11′ foot counter that runs from one end of the room to the other on the opposite wall from my shelving. It’s the perfect height for me to sew, it’s long enough to hold ALL of my machines and my computer, and it looks fantastic. Best of all, it was relatively simple to build and it’s STURDY!!!
I’m good at half-organizing. I have lots of drawers that are labeled and generally contain the items that the label indicates. Since I am going through a major purge of, well, everything, I have decided to REALLY organize my sewing supplies and notions. I’m still working out the details of how I will accomplish most of this, but I have a few ideas in mind. Since my new sewing counter/table has a ton of room to store underneath it I have already moved the majority of the bins and drawer units underneath. I’ve made a large dent in organizing patterns and will finish that up once I’ve made it through all the fabric. Then I can move onto the other notions and supplies.
A plan (more or less)
My final challenge has been a decent plan on what I want to sew. I’ve mentioned before, and in comments to other blog posts on the subject, most of my fabric was acquired while I was pregnant with my now 6 year-old son. I had these grand plans of making a transition “back to work” wardrobe. Lots of knits, lots of elastic, and lots of camouflaging styles as I expected to go back to work with quite a bit of baby weight. My reality was totally different from my plan (as is always the case) and I found I had so very little desire to execute any of the plans I made. But I acquired tons and TONS of fabric during that time. Most of it is not anything that I would want to wear today. I have started a grand purge of fabric that no longer fits my taste or lifestyle and anything that I just don’t like. One bag in (out of 7 giant bags and a dozen boxes) and I’ve already found 11 pieces of fabric that will need to find a new home.
Along with this purge of fabric will come a purge of my closet. I try to do this at least once a year. In addition to donating anything that I no longer wear, I have found several items that have simply worn out. I have begun a list of the types of items that I need to replenish and the types of garments that I need to make – those items that will actually be practical and wearable given my more casual, laid back lifestyle. I’ll post about that list once I’ve wrapped my head around it a bit more.