|This is my Sewing Studio when we first moved in, before we'd finished unpacking|
Which brings me to the current disaster of my sewing studio. When we bought this house with a 21'6" x 15'6" bonus room to completely dedicate to my sewing, I thought I had died and gone to heaven and I was sure I would never again feel cramped for space to create. The previous homeowners even had a full-size pool table in this room. My sewing room has a high vaulted ceiling, is flooded with natural daylight from the beautiful windows, and is located at the end of a narrow hallway on the second floor of our home, so no one traipses through my space on the way to some other part of the house, and I can leave in-progress projects out while I'm working on them. Perfect, right?
|This is what my sewing studio looked like a week before Christmas!|
|Welcome to my Chaos...|
Unfortunately, just like the stuff you "need" in your purse expands to fill your handbag, the stuff I "need" in my sewing room has expanded to fill my room to the point where I don't even have room to work anymore. My cutting table is overflowing with several in-progress projects, new rulers and other tools that I haven't found homes for, and new fabric not yet pre-washed and added to my stash. My bulletin boards are overflowing with project ideas and inspiration ripped from various magazines. My sewing cabinet and several folding utility tables surrounding it are similarly loaded down, and all of my storage pieces are overflowing. It's time for a change, don't you think? Since January is all about resolutions, renewal and reorganization, I'm planning a complete overhaul of my sewing studio for the New Year!
Step One: The Painful Purge!
I've already started the first step, going through everything to figure out what to keep, what to throw away, and what to donate or sell. I have accumulated quite an assortment of high-end drapery fabric and trim remnants from my interior design business, for instance, things that I couldn't bear to toss in the trash because they were so expensive, but they are mostly in pieces that are less than one yard, that don't coordinate with anything else in my own home, and they are all wrapped around tall cardboard fabric tubes so they take up a lot of real estate. What am I REALLY going to do with these? I remember a professional organizer once telling me that you have to consider the cost of storing items that you aren't using -- is that item worth giving up space that you could be using for something else? Well, right now all those bolts of fancy drapery remnants are costing me the ability to run a vacuum over the carpet, preventing me from seeing or accessing everything that is buried behind them, making me feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed, and making it impossible to even consider bringing a comfortable chair or two into my room so my husband and kids could hang out with me while I'm sewing. It's time for them to go!
Step Two: Redesign Furniture & New FloorplanNext, I'm going to redesign my existing custom sewing cabinet, cutting table, and storage furniture to improve their function, ergonomics, and use of space.
Santa Baby did not bring me a new sewing machine for Christmas -- but Bernie and the boys did! My new Bernina 750QE is a bit heavier and has a larger footprint than my previous Artista 200E/730E machine, so it won't fit into the opening of my existing custom-built sewing cabinet without modifications anyway. This is a great time to make changes to the size, shape, and storage options of the sewing cabinet as well. I'm toying with the idea of designing a larger table with two lifts on opposite sides, one for the main sewbaby and the other for the serger, which currently sits on a table top full time, taking up valuable surface space.
I'll do a new floorplan in my design software to come up with the best layout for the room (borrowing some basic principles of kitchen and bath design), and once I know where the main furniture and workstations are going, I can design a new lighting plan for the room. Although this space has great natural light during the day, it's currently lit by a measly four bulbs on a ceiling fan that was mounted way too high to begin with and a few inadequate lamps and task lights scattered around the room. The whole room is on a single electrical circuit as well, and every time I plug my iron in, the lights dim. I keep my computerized sewing machines plugged into a UPS at all times to prevent damage from power fluctuations, but the truth of the matter is that the existing wiring is inadequate for the way I'm using this room.
Step Three: Structural Upgrades, Electrical & Lighting
|"Largo Chandelier" from Currey & Co.|
Step Four: Rebuild Sewing Furniture & Built-In Storage
|Koala DualMate Plus IV: Pricey, Very Little Storage, and Inadequate Support for Large Quilts|
I've ordered a couple of books on sewing room design and organization tips for quilters from Amazon, and I've also been scouring Pinterest and the blogosphere, looking for suggestions and best practices from others. If you know of any resources I may have overlooked, please share them with me in the comments! I'm hoping that, if we can start this project in January, we can wrap it up by the end of March so I can get back to sewing again. Not that I don't plan to commandeer the dining room as a sewing space while my room transformation is in progress... ;-)
So, that's what I'm planning for the new year, once the trees and decorations are all taken down and packed away. Wish me luck!