You know how people joke that the rite of passage in order to self-actualize as a blogger you have to have a cat? And photos of your cat being abnormally well behaved in the presence of your projects? Catlessness aside, I think there's also a very real rite of passage that is a sewing blogger writing about their sewing space. I'm finally ready for you to meet mine.
There's two parts to this, I think. First, I feel personally obligated to introduce you to my sewing machines... my babies. Second, we all spend a lot of time in our sewing spaces, so of course the way they are set up is important to us. I've spent a lot of time organizing and reorganizing so that everything I need is within reach and in a sensible place.
Jon and I live in a very small half-house. A bedroom, a bathroom, and the kitchen-dining-living-room. In the living area, in the corner between the fold out couch and the dining table, directly opposite the kitchen, is the smallest, cutest little sewing area I've ever had in my life.
Before I moved here, I was using my bedroom in my parent's basement as a full-on studio and sleeping on an air mattress in the living room. I left a lot of tools and supplies behind. I come from a crafty, stuff-keeping family, and let me tell you it has been quite an experience to downsize this much after having such a big play space.
Let's have a little tour, shall we?
My main sewing machine is a 1959 Elna Supermatic - picked up on Trade Me almost as soon as I arrived here. At home, my primary machine was a Bernina 830, and if you'd told me back then that I'd ever love another machine as much as I love the Bernina, I'd have laughed in your face, but there it is. Her name is Peggy, and she has handled with grace, poise, and a purring motor everything that I have thrown at her - from lingerie lace to denim to coated upholstery fabric - with surprising ease. She isn't without quirks, though. She does not enjoy generic bobbins, and needs a new tension wheel to stop the helicopter noise that Supermatics are known for, but I haven't gotten around to it yet and it's mild enough that it doesn't effect the sewing. At some point I'd like my Bernina to come live with me here as well, but this isn't really a three-machine table...
My Serger is a Bernette - a recent and wonderful acquisition with a great tension sensitivity, easy threading diagrams, differential feed, and my personal favorite- an adjustable cutting blade. She came complete with all her parts, right down to the spare Bernina-branded needles. I had to do barely any tuning up before she was ready to sew, but the tension disks were a bit rusty from the salty air and they were quite a pain to clean up. Her name is Doris, after the lovely old lady who bought her new in the 80's.
Both of these machines are vintage. I know everyone has different opinions about this and I have seen a lot of lovely modern machines, but I'm very firmly on team 'they don't make them like they used to' and I think I always will be.
The sewing area itself is built around the table: It's a native New Zealand hardwood called Rimu, and I believe it was originally intended as a hall table. It's exactly and precisely the perfect size for my space, and I love it very much. It's pretty narrow (about a foot deep) I always think if I'm sewing larger projects I'll just pull the machines out for the day and put them on the kitchen table, but I've never actually needed to do that. The three drawers hold hand sewing bits, machine sewing bits, and patterns respectively. To the side of the table on the right, there's a box with bramaking fabrics, and on the left is cube storage with most of my stash.
Above the sewing machines, we have my interpretation of the mythical Pinterest-Perfect Pegboard. I wanted a pegboard, but that wood paneling is original to the house, so even if it wasn't a rental I wouldn't be putting holes in it. Fortunately, the mesh is a lot less heavy - and a lot less intrusive. The coat hooks below the window were already there when we moved in, and I've secured it to the wall on the bottom with a pair of Command hooks. Because of that, it's on a slight slant, but it's actually really useful for keeping my tools from tangling with the mesh.
My avocado pincushion is a fairly recent addition - I made it a week or two ago (blog post eventually...probably?) and it hangs in the perfect space between the machines so that I can stick pins in it as they come out of my fabric.
The hooks on my mesh board I've made from leftover bailing wire - the ends are filed down with the same file I use for my underwires. Each item has a designated place with a hook of a special size to accommodate it, and it's easy to make new ones as my needs change. I also made the little basket and a pencil cup at the bottom to hold bits that I didn't want to hang.
Next to the mesh board is a little hand-lettered quote I made to brighten the space up a bit.
Here's the full corner:
When I'm sewing, I set up the ironing board on the dining table. I think out of all of this I'm happiest about is that the ironing board is the only thing I have to get out and put away when I'm sewing: Everything else is just out waiting for me! Since the Elna has a knee lever instead of a foot pedal, it's a bit difficult to get out of my chair once I'm sitting down to sew. I knew that going in, so it's all very consciously organized so that everything I might possibly need once I'm sitting at the machine is within easy reach without getting up.
My last sewing area was sort of a dimensional collage of available items: This time, I've managed something a lot more thoughtful. Not only is it a nice little nook of a playroom for me, it's also pretty nice to look at, and blends in with our space well. Since it's not its own room, I can't just close the door on the mess and pretend it doesn't exist.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around calling my space 'done' - and I imagine I'll keep on adding to it over time, but I think it's pretty close now at least! Next week (gosh, it feels like it's been a while!) I've got a finished project to show you guys, and I know I always say this but I think you're really going to love this one - we're going to do some in-depth drafting!