Monday, 29 June 2015

Sewing space downsize

You guys, you guys. I'm hurtling towards the end of term in a blur of LAST MINUTE EVERYTHING mayhem. Was it a good idea to be leaving on holiday just one day after school finishes? Probably not. But it's too late to change plans now, and I have a bikini and a dress or two to finish (to start!! omf*$%g!!) before we pack ourselves into the car on Saturday morning. Thank the lord I know there'll be plenty of wine when we get there.




Needless to say - because isn't it what all sewists do before a holiday? - I have been making things like a maniac. Of course, I have no photos and thus there is no finished-garment blogging today -  I shall be photographing them on location in sunnier, beachier climes OBVS. No, instead, today I would like to present to you - ta dah!! - the attic sweatshop where it all happens. Welcome to my new, improved and radically downsized sewing space!

Now, I'm not actually grumbling about the downsize.  I knew it would come at some point, and I still have my own, now permanent, room. NOT COMPLAINING at all. But, here's the old one, bird's eye view from the mezzanine:




(I blogged about it previously here, btw). It's now my daughter's bedroom. Fair enough, that was always its destiny. But I hadn't really realised just how much of that luxuriously huge surface and floor space I'd been using, until faced with moving all my stuff to a 2x3 metre box room. If I wanted to be able to get any yardage spread out on the floor in the new space (let alone all of it with space to walk round, sob!) I had to think creatively. Likewise the ironing station. There's no room for just putting things to one side: the room is all sides and it gets clogged up mighty quick.





The answer of course has been to put things on walls. The shelving isn't exactly earth shattering, but can I just say that I have been BLOWN AWAY by the utterly brilliant usefulness of that rail with hooks (now much more cluttered than when this picture was taken)?  I'd always thought hanging your paper patterns would involve a space-hogging rack, like this:


click for source
click for source


But no! Ikea to the rescue - and they hang flat against the wall! As does anything and everything else I might want to hang on it! Leaving me room for manoeuvre at the desk, and space to move my little cutting table (in the first pic above) around to wherever works best.  The cupboard under the window is where current projects and supplies live, nicely hidden behind a wax fabric curtain thank-you-very-much. Patterns are in a separate cupboard downstairs, but I keep a queue of the ones I'll be using soon on the shelves where I can get at them easily.





I always wonder how we all fit sewing into our lives as well as our spaces, so here's a step back to show you the bigger picture. This is the top level of our house, and the two doors to the right are the kids' bedrooms:




I'm not sure why, but this arrangement of rooms suits both the kids and me much better.  Perhaps I've neglected trained them thoroughly enough, or maybe it's just what happens when they get big enough, but these days I get to spend a lot of time not actually really doing things with them. It works well for all of us that I'm there next door, and we chat while they do their various things in and between their own rooms, as well as mine. Sewing no longer seems the big deal activity it used to be when it took up so much more room, and I'm suddenly finding it easier to fit in odd minutes here and there while they're doing other stuff.

Moving the kids to rooms of their own now has also brought them a definite understanding of personal space, which is really interesting to see. When they're very small, that's one of the biggest things you lose, and I think we'd almost forgotten what boundaries were like! (They're 6 and almost 8 years old now). But they've seemed to instinctively work out that if I'm in my room, I'm doing my thing, just like in their rooms, it's their thing.  It's been a surprise and a pleasure to find us all respecting each other's space quite so harmoniously!

Plus, on those occasions it gets less harmonious, we can just shut the doors.




Ah, bliss!

(Genius wall-mounted iron stand is also Ikea. Of course).

How does the place you sew affect the way sewing fits into your life?  Do family meals happen in front of the TV so as not to disturb the dining sewing table?  Or do you hardly see your close relatives, only emerging from your remote sewing cave for food and water?  And if you have children - how do they handle your sewing time (or don't they?!)


19 comments:

  1. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.comJune 29, 2015 3:14 pm

    "stop sewing Mum, we cant here the TV!" is often bellowed at me! I sew in the lounge and long for a room of my own. But the kids (there are 3) seem to know to back off and leave me alone if I'm deep in concentration. They can see if my mind wanders and they are in! Great to see your sewing place thanks for sharing.

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  2. Mother of ReinventionJune 29, 2015 5:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and sewing space. You are so organised and have incredible light. Good that you are getting some respected sewing time. I have found that it is not Sprogzilla that moans. :) I had to move for work and now I have no sewing space in the house at all. I have had to rent external studio space which has meant an exponential increase in random stuff as I have the room. Heaven help me when I have to move it all home again. Hope that you will be very happy and productive in your new space. Xx

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  3. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.comJune 29, 2015 5:18 pm

    hear obvs

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  4. My kids generally potter around the dining table while I sew on an old teachers table. I wonder how many sewists are teachers...there seem to be lots of us.

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  5. Oh good lord if only I had even a broom cupboard! Your space, your gorgeous, gorgeous space! 6 square metres. Ok I'll stop my swooning now, it's only that I have a space 1m x 60cm. Yep a tiny, but very effective hutch (also from IKEA!) on a wall in our combined lounge and dining area. I spill onto the dining table for cutting and some construction where space is needed. But living in a 2 bed apartment means this is the only choice. It works though, and in the end that's all that matters. And interestingly I must erect a force field similar to a bedroom door when I'm crafting at my hutch. My 5 yr old seems to respect that's my time and space as well. Small mercies :)

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  6. what a lovely space! I especially love the wall rail/hook system - so simple but so effective! I am of the "sewing/dining table" camp. It kind of feels like a rite-of-passage as I grew up with my Mum sewing on the dining table (and me learning to sew there too!) and now it is me who has the 2 small kids (boys!), and I'm dragging them to All The Fabric Shops now (as a sort of payback for my childhood? ha!). I cannot tell you how good it was to hear that One Day I might be left in (semi) peace to sew by myself and not in very small bursts once the littlies are fast asleep!!

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  7. A lovely little space to work in! At the moment I'm lucky to have an entire spare room, that I am slowly expanding into, filling with fabric, threads and associated paraphernalia..... The cat shits me when I'm trying to cut things out - sitting on fabric, trying to eat pins etc etc. The husband is ocd about tidiness so gets the Twitchy Eye if I overflow out into the house too much.... I try not to sew whilst he's home, as it's such a solitary habit but often I'll use 'together time' to cut out patterns, glue up PDFs etc - if we are in the same room it's totally together time!

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  8. Helen // Grosgrain GreenJune 30, 2015 2:24 pm

    What a lovely room (and what a beautiful house you have. So much light!!!). I live in a 2 bedroom flat, and our boys (1 and 5) share a bedroom. My sewing space is also our living room, dining room and my husband's office (and mine when I work from home). Sewing only happens in the evening when the boys are asleep (I can't trust them not to eat the pins/play with the thread snippers), and usually only when hubby is working away and I have the living room to myself. I do sometimes sew when he's there, but he complains he can't hear the TV, particularly if I'm using the overlocker. One day...

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  9. Such an interesting post! Sewing space had definitely impact of my productivity. Currently, I live myself and use the living room as my sewing atelier, and my bedroom to store fabrics. I could not complain, really. I can't only admire seamstresses who have children: you girls rock!

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  10. You new sewing space looks awesome!! I currently occupy the dining room. I could probably have my own dedicated room in our basement, but then I fear I would never see my family. At least by being in the dining room, I still feel like I am around and part of what's going on. Although sometimes it might be nice to hide away. LOL

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  11. I totally know what you mean about that! I sewed in the dining before we renovated the attic, and while it did get in the way sometimes, it was much more sociable. It took us a while to figure out routines/habits that mean me being in the sewing room doesn't mean I'm just hidden away all the time. Also, I've found it actually a very good discipline to be able to decide sometimes that I'm NOT sewing, and close the door on it!

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  12. I picked up sewing again after having the kids, because it was a brilliant thing to do without having to leave the house! But it does sound lovely to have your own space and a sewing atelier as a living room - blissful!

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  13. The light is mostly at the top, the rest of the house is MUCH darker! I used to have exactly that problem with sewing in the living room - husband always complained about the noise and I think he much prefers it now that I'm out of the way! It helps though that he has his own hobbies - he's out running fairly frequently, or playing guitar (he can spend hours twiddling around practising). So it kind of balances out, and now we find we decide to spend time together much more deliberately. It took a LONG time to figure things out quite that harmoniously though... :-)

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  14. Yes exactly - excellent way to maximise sewing and together time! Yep mine is a neat freak too, the other reason he's very glad he mostly can't see the mess (the room was only tidy for these photos because I'd hardly started using it!) And I'm pretty glad now that I'm not supposed to be sharing the guest room because it was always such a nightmare to clear it up whenever we had visitors

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  15. Yes, I grew up with exactly the same scenario, and until pretty recently was carrying on the dining room tradition too! Yes, it does definitely get easier as they get bigger - such a relief! The little years are lovely (mostly!) but so demanding aren't they :-)

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  16. It's funny how kids pick up on that isn't it. Good though! Before we moved to where we live now, that's pretty much how I would sew too. Ikea is a wonder for small spaces!

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  17. Yes true! I'm not but there do seem to be a lot of you!

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  18. Oh yes, disturbing the tv (for kids or husband) was basically the biggest reason why everyone agreed it would be better if I had my own space in the first place!

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  19. Wow, that sounds like real dedication to rent space specially! But definitely worth it if it's the only way you get to sew. I know exactly what you mean about expanding to fill the space you've got - I was shocked by how much stuff I'd accumulated when I had to move out to a smaller room!

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