Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Sewing Space - Where dreams come true!

How to create a sewing space

As a seamstress, you should have a space that is dedicated to sewing. You may choose to set up a space inside a closet, use a desk in your living room, or you may even be lucky enough to have a whole room devoted to sewing. Wherever you may choose to do your sewing, it should be organized and free of clutter. If you can keep that space strictly a sewing area,  you will find it less stressful.

I used to use the kitchen table for sewing on when I was young. It was a terrible spot to sew! My family was constantly getting in the way, or someone would spill their food or drink on my material. It was utter chaos. I eventually moved to the basement, but that wasn't much of an improvement. It was very dark, cramped and cold. Although it was more spacious than the kitchen and had less traffic, it was far more uncomfortable. Today I have a room dedicated to sewing in and it is a very comfortable and functional space. These are some of the things I want to discuss today: the fundamental tips for creating a sewing space. You may have seen very elaborately decorated sewing rooms and spaces on Pinterest, and although they may look cool much of what you see in them isn't necessary. You don't need five bookshelves, or thirty cubby-hole organizers, or specially crafted spool holders, you just need the basics. A simple sewing space is the best sewing space!

When developing your sewing space, there are a few key things to consider: What goes into making a sewing space? What are the most important things to consider when selecting a space? How can I improve my productivity? How can I make my sewing space more comfortable?

What goes into making a sewing space?

It may seem obvious, it has a sewing machine, right? It's more than just that! Your sewing space should have a good solid desk or table to work on. Some advise having two separate desks, one for sewing on and another larger desk for cutting on. If you don't have space for a second table, you might consider a folding table so you can store it when it's not in use. In your space, you should have a sewing basket, drawer or organizer in which you can hold all your notions, tools and patterns (see photo below). You should keep all these things separate and organized. 
Many of these items can be purchased at sewing supply stores, department stores or hardware stores. Tool organizers (top left) can hold lots of items and can be mounted to the wall. They are great for small spaces! Standing organizers (right) are perfect for storing patterns and larger tools. Sewing baskets (bottom left) are ideal for storing standard sewing notions and tools - sometimes you can purchase them with notions and tools inside!

In your sewing room, you should have a chair that you can comfortably sit in for long hours. I do not recommend wooden chairs as they are often too hard. I recommend a good ergonomic office chair, if you can get one, or at least a chair that has some padding to it. Lastly, you should have a good lamp to light your work area. You may consider using a drafting table lamp because they can easily clip onto your desk or work table. I used one for years and it helped tremendously when doing fine detailed work.

What do you consider when selecting a space?

There are a few things to consider. First, what kind of lighting does it have? Is this the brightest space you can use? Working in darker conditions can be more stressful because you might not be able to see what you're doing. I can tell you from my experience with sewing in a dark basement that it is much better to be doing your work in a well lit area. The second thing to consider is is this a high traffic area? If you can help it, you don't want to work in a space that your family members frequent. It should be off to the side where you can work undisturbed. Third, is it spacious enough? Is the space big enough for you to do your work in? You'll need to have an area to cut material, set up an ironing board, and have enough elbow room to sew. Try to find an area with optimal space. 

How can I improve my productivity?

Improving your productivity in a space is simple. You should have all your notions and tools organized, but you should also keep them within reach. There is nothing more obnoxious than having to dig through bins to find a notion or tool. When you're working on a sewing project, take note of the tools that you use most frequently. Choose to store those tools close by, like in the drawer of your sewing desk or in an organizer beside the sewing desk. These things should be within arms reach at all time! You will find that sewing can be a breeze when things are well organized.

If you are using a sewing machine and an overlock it is suggested that you have more than one work table. Not everyone has the space to do this, but if you happen to use both machines frequently it pays to have them out together. L-shaped and U-shaped desks are great for this! You can easily go from straight stitching on your sewing machine to serging hems on your overlock.

How can I make my sewing space more comfortable?

Other than the obvious need to choose an area that is bright, clean and healthy, there are things you can do to make a space more enjoyable. I have adorned my room with items that make me happy. I have cute stuffed animals, books that inspire me, a beautiful tulip lamp, potted flowers and a gorgeous chandelier. I'm sure this isn't how other people envision their sewing rooms. The point I'm making is this; make the space your very own. Bring in inspirational paintings or photographs, have your favorite books on hand, or paint the area a fun colour. It doesn't have to be the Taj Mahal (unless of course you want it to be)! Just decorate it the way you like. 

Did you know that my sewing room doubles as my meditation space? It does! I use a tabletop fountain to drown out the busy noises from the street outside. I will also play ambient music and light candles. This is contrary to what many people will tell you to do when meditating. Generally people will advise you not to meditate where you work. Workplaces are often regarded as high-stress environments, and therefore are not seen as ideal places for relaxation. However, I believe in the total opposite! I think bringing peace and relaxation into a workplace is a very positive thing. Think about it, meditation is all about relaxation and focus. In order to sew well, you should be relaxed and focused! The real bonus here is that when you become frustrated with your sewing, you can put it down, turn on some music, light some candles and meditate. It has worked wonders for me! When I enter my sewing room I am instantly at ease.

I'm sure this isn't the most perfect guide to developing a sewing space. I'd love to hear more tips and tricks from other seamstresses, but I believe I have covered the most important aspects of the sewing space. If you have any tips you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing. 

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