|My Desecrated Currey & Co. Chandelier|
The best information I found about designing an adequate lighting plan for a sewing studio came from Deb Luttrell, owner of Stitchin' Heaven Quilt Shop in Minneola, Texas. Deb says that sewing requires at least twice as much light as casual reading, and says to plan for 2 watts of incandescent light (or 1 watt of fluorescent light) for every square foot in your workspace -- and that's just the ambient lighting. She suggests a pendant light with a minimum of 150 watts hanging over the cutting table for task lighting, with the edge of the shade 14" above the work surface. Wow -- compare that to the NO light I had over my cutting table before. I also read some depressing statistic about forty-year-old eyes requiring twice as much task lighting for fine detailed work than twenty-year-old eyes need for the same tasks. Ugh -- even my eyeballs are middle-aged, now?!
Of course my husband wanted to just install additional can lights over the cutting table and "be done with it," as he put it, but the vaulted ceiling is way too far above the worktable and light disperses -- you get much better task lighting from a bulb that hangs 24" above your work surface than you would from that exact bulb mounted 8' above your work surface. I'm done using razor-sharp rotary cutters and shears in the dark. Not only was it difficult to get accurate rotary cuts after dusk with my old setup (because I couldn't see the markings on my rulers), but it's also dangerous. I'm lucky to still have all ten fingers! As it happens, it is not an easy feat to find a reasonably priced, moderately attractive pendant light with 150+ watts.
|Rejuvenation's 600 watt Dakota Warehouse pendants|
I found quite a few pendant fixtures from other manufacturers with a similar industrial vintage style (not surprising, since this type of pendant is trendy right now in all sorts of residential settings), but I couldn't find anything that gave me the amount of light I was looking for until I came across the Ivanhoe Sky Chief Warehouse Pendant from Barn Light Electric Co.
|Barn Light Electric Co.'s Ivanhoe Sky Chief Warehouse Pendant|
Next post, I'll share some conflicting advice about ergonomics in the sewing studio as it pertains to the proper height for sewing cabinets, cutting tables and pressing stations. I know you're excited but, please, don't hold your breath -- I'm still working on gradually emptying the studio. I'm hoping Bernie will have time to put in the additional dedicated electrical circuit for my iron (so the lights won't dim every time my iron cycles on and off) and the floor outlet for my sewing cabinet (no more cords to trip over) and complete drywall repairs this weekend so we can start painting. I can't believe I unwrapped my new sewbaby over two weeks ago and I still haven't sewn a single stitch with it -- I want this room finished ASAP!
That's not going to happen unless I get EVERYTHING else out of the room, though. Here's a reminder of what my room looked like just before Christmas:
|My Studio Disaster "Before"|
...and here's what my room looks like today:
|Studio Half Emptied, Today|
See? My sewing room may only be half empty, but my cup is almost half full or something. Whatever that means!
By the way, I did order a finish sample of that Cherry Red pendant shade so I could check that it was the right shade of red for my custom sewing cabinetry, but then I just ordered the fixture anyways, because I'm impatient (and because I have a very good track record with dangerous color-matching like this -- don't try this at home!). If the two reds don't play nice together when my pendant arrives, I'll repaint the sewing cabinets to match the pendants.
Time to get those kids to bed so I can go back to emptying the studio!