Sunday, 14 April 2013

Let Me Show You Around My Sewing Space


Once upon a time, long, long ago, Chrissie lived in a house in the English countryside, happily enjoying her own work room and drawing up plans to have a studio built in the large garden.  Then one day a handsome prince/terrible ogre (delete whichever you feel appropriate!) made her pack up all her crafty belongings and move them to a two bed apartment across the pond.

The truth is not many of us city quilters have sewing rooms and we can only dream of owning a long-arm so I thought you might enjoy seeing how I'm managing my quilting and other crafts around apartment living.  I'm really fortunate that my apartment is larger than most and my family are incredibly supportive of me and my quilting passion so I've been able to create a great work area.


Let me start by saying that we brought some of our furniture over with us from England and as we're only renting the apartment I've been keen if possible not to buy anything to accommodate my crafts - I'd rather do that when we're finally living somewhere permanently, so there's a lot of mixing, matching and making do furniture wise.

I've been sewing with a sofa alongside me in my work area but I've finally given in and decided to get rid of it (we really don't need four sofas) and this has opened up my work space and allowed me to reorganise - and while the area's looking spotless I took some photos to share.  I will admit to being incredibly organised and a very tidy worker but these photos are a rarity as you can't usually see the floor for thread ends.

I have invested in a SewEzi table which I love to pieces - my second favourite item after my Bernina 440QE sewing machine which I brought over from England with me.  Can you spot my drop leaf 'tea trolley' table?  This was a fab buy from an antique shop in Hungerford, England and you can see I've removed the wheels (don't panic I've kept them for when I can restore the table to its correct use!) and I'm now using it as an extension to my sewing area.
Check out that quilt pile under the 'tea trolley' - lots of scrummy quilts waiting patiently for me to set up my Etsy shop!
My basket of solids and some print fabrics that I'm about to start working with.
A close up on those solids.
My wonderful, fabulous, can't sing her praises high enough, Bernina 440QE sewing machine set inside the SewEzi sewing table.
My fabric stash boxes, divided by colour and my scrap tins on top.
Selvedge Edge Tin.
Scrap Tin.
Wire cage shelves for all my work in progress, threads and tools.
The majority of my projects are kept in clear plastic wallets - keeping all the materials for a particular project together came about after I accidentally used a fabric for one project that I'd meant to use on another - didn't want that happening again so I started this system. 
I buy these wallets at The City Quilter (as you can see!), they're clear so I can see exactly what's in each and the plastic stacks nicely - it's sticky not slippy.  I've pulled the pile out so you can see them a bit better, there's plenty projects on my 'to do' list there - probably best if we move on quickly ...
more projects waiting for my attention - oh dear, Flicky's Uni quilt is in there and becoming a bit more urgent!!!
More quilts for my Etsy store just waiting to be sandwiched, basted and quilted!!!  And can you spot the white dog gate on the right - there to keep that Tatty dog out of my space, she's very partial to a spool of Aurifil thread, it's doggie caviar and just as expensive ;) .
And this monster pile is so large it's stored in a cardboard box.  It's the Skill Builder BOM - can you spot my 6 completed QAYG blocks under the box?  I'm looking forward to watching the box emptying and the block pile growing over the next 9 months :)
My cutting and pressing area.  There's my June Tailor Shape Cut Plus Ruler (tutorial here) against the wall and under the desk are baskets full of papers for my Art Textile work, a crochet project, a cross stitch project and a bag of solid scraps.  I bought those flags on the desk for a project last year - I only needed one Union flag and one Stars & Stripes but had to buy a huge pack of each, I quite like how they look though.  Standing behind the desk in the window you can just spot 2 bales of quilt batting.
Pots full of tools, sellotape, masking tape, starch, water spray, sticky roller, basting spray and my favourite pin wheel pin cushion made for me by my great friend Sarah @Quilt Candy.
A drawer full of batting scraps ready for piecing (piecing batting tutorial here).
And this is how I set myself up for a quilting session.  I extend my 'tea trolley' table to its full size and put my ironing board alongside to extend my sewing area as far as possible to allow the quilt to lie flat while I'm working.
Another shot of how I set up my area for quilting - I'll do anything to defy gravity when I'm wrestling with a quilt!!!
This is my view down the rest of the living room so you can see that while I'm working I'm still very much part of family life.  Can you spot that white sofa at the far right end of the room?  Well it's not normally there - that's the sofa that's going but I'm leaving it at that end of the room just for 1 week to be sure I don't start to regret agreeing to let it go.
And this is the view out of my window earlier today.

I've only shown you my sewing area - I still need to store all my other craft materials elsewhere around the apartment - I guess some women collect shoes or handbags and hide them in the bottom of their wardrobes - well I hide anything artsy and crafty.

This is one of my wardrobes - my painting easel is on the left and these plastic boxes contain many art textile materials.
The top shelf of the same wardrobe has a pile of clothes that I'm intending to turn into quilts and the plastic boxes each contain a different art media - oils, acrylics, watercolours, gouache, pastels (chalk and oil) and inks.
Simon's sharing his wardrobe with my beautifully labelled, metal, art drawers containing felts, tissue paper, foam board, sketch books, wood, metal and much more/
Another wardrobe drawer containing pens, charcoal, modelling paper, canvases, brushes, Caran D'ache Neocolor ii and Brusho.  I'm surprised to spot some space in that drawer - I'll have to see what I can do about filling it!
A second wardrobe drawer with a felting box, non-fire clay, pair of compasses and set square, watercolour pencils, paint tray, sketch book and much more.
Flicky's room hasn't escaped my crafts either - these cupboards are perfect for storing wool.
A second cupboard with more of my wool stash
Oh and as I'm coming to the end of writing this post I've just remembered there's a suitcase under Flicky's bed that's full of all my dark room photography equipment.


And it's only right to finish this story as we started in true fairy tale tradition ...

... and they all lived happily ever afte
... at least for now ;)


Wow, that was a much longer post than I ever imagined it would be! 
Hope you've enjoyed having a look around my sewing space and other stash hiding places.
I wonder where you store all your crafting goodies? - I'd love you to leave a comment and share your stories :)



Follow on Bloglovin


Related Posts:
TEXTILE ART
WOOLLIES
IN THE DARK ROOM
Tutorial: Charm Squares - An Easy Way To Cut Multiples Quickly
Tutorial: Piecing Together Batting Scraps To Make A New Batting Sheet
Here's My Skill Builder BOM Posts All In One Place
An Unexpected Trip To Mood

Linking To:
  Stitch by Stitchmop it up mondays Keeping It SimpleOur Delightful Home


62 comments:

  1. It was so much fun touring your sewing space! We have the identical Bernina and sewing table!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess you love yours as much as I do? I wouldn't be without either! :)

      Delete
  2. You are lucky to be able to leave all your stuff set up all the time. I don't sew as much because I have to set it all up before I use it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be the same if I had to get everything out - Simon asked if I wanted to move apartment when this year's lease runs out but I love my set up here so for now I'm staying put! :)

      Delete
  3. I enjoyed the tour and I love the blue/gray quilt on your sofa too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you dropped by and enjoyed it. That quilt is one of my favourites, it's a variation on Cluck Cluck Sew's Juice Boxes Quilt - I just sashed it. It's the same quilt in my Blog Header and, if you interested, I did a post about it a while back that you can read here :)

      Delete
  4. What a beautiful space with lots of great sunlight. And what an view! Now we can all be envious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so lucky. Moving here I had the choice of a Manhattan or Jersey City apartment and I chose Jersey City because I could get the space and the light that is rarely available in Manhattan unless you're a multi-millionaire! My analogy is a shoebox in Manhattan or a boot box in Jersey, mmmmm, the boot box won and I'm still only a 7 minute subway ride to Greenwich Village and 11 minutes to Macy's - can't beat it :)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the tour! Your view is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's cracking Boo, a joy to look out at the changing weather and light and all the river and air traffic - it's certainly never boring! :)

      Delete
  6. Wow, this is a well organized and wonderfull sewing and living place with such a great sigth. I have two tables next to me when I quilt just like you. I love it when quilters show their home and tools etc. Great!

    Nana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great to pick up ideas from each other isn't it, there's so many work arounds out there that us quilters have created. I loved getting the tip about the ironing board - I'd never have thought to use it as an extension table if someone hadn't told me but it works so well! :)

      Delete
  7. It's always such fun to see the spaces other crafters use. Thanks for the tour - you have a lovely sewing area and you've made really clever use of the available space. Love the table that flaps out. I'm in awe of your tidiness and organisation!

    Tell me - with your solids - do you label them in some way? I have started a small solids collection and have noticed that(with the moda ones anyway)there is no info on the selvedge. I learned the hard way because recently I needed a certain white for a project which I knew I'd bought but when I looked for it I realised I now didn't know which of my three whites was the "snow". Aaagh! If the collection is to grow I'll need a system.

    I think I might spend too much time looking out of that window...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a great question about how I label my solid fabric - I use masking tape.

      As soon as I get a new piece I cut off my selvedges and then I stick a small piece of masking tape on the fabric with the colour written on it. The masking tape peels off easily and can be moved around the remaining fabric as needed each time you cut some off. You just need to be sure not to accidentally iron over it as it creates a sticky mess.

      I also have the Kona Solid colour chart that I can match a piece to (though it's not always accurate) but I find my masking tape method works well for me.

      You have no idea how time flies by when you're looking through that window, some days I have to snap myself out of it and tell myself to do some work! :)

      Delete
  8. Lovely to see your sewing space! It is amazing! That view is gorgeous! English countryside or NY?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. English countryside or NY? Oh Nat they're so different I can't start to compare them! I love the view here sooo much but interestingly when I got back from my recent trip to Scotland for the first time it looked terribly industrial and gritty and I found myself missing green hills topped with snow. I think the answer is to travel more frequently between the two and have the best of both worlds! :)

      Delete
  9. Oh my goodness look at all that craft!!! I think my husband would murder me if I took up our whole house. Not that I'm not trying :-)
    I love your tea trolley and your table + trolley + ironing board combo. Is definitely a winning idea for quilting. I haven't tried to quilt anything on my new table, just piecing, so we'll have to see how we go.
    E xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it my wonderful Erin, get quilting! And just drip feed your crafts into your home over the years, your husband won't even notice until it's waaaay too late. Softly, softly, catchee monkey ;)

      Delete
  10. Thank you, ChrissieD, for sharing your happy place with us. Love the windows and the view. And great to see all your projects. Wish you good fortune with the Etsy shop when you decide to open! I fell in love with your tea trolley, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In England I was a great lover of antique/junk shop finds and this one was no exception. The family had no idea what I'd turn up with next but this one became my sewing table the moment I brought it through the door. It was downgraded to an extension table last year when I bought my SewEzi and I look forward to the day when I can put it's wheels back in place, but not just yet! :)

      Delete
  11. I'm not sure I would ever get any work done with that view out of the window! Thanks for the tour, I'm sure it's inspiring to a lot of Space Challenged quilters (like me!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a tricky one Linda, the changing light on the buildings is stunning, especially as the sun is setting and they turn a fabulous pink gold and I can watch the sky changing for hours! :)

      Delete
  12. I'm incredibly nosey so I love these kinds of posts! You do seem to have a pretty big apartment, I've got a sewing room but don't think I've got much more space than you have! Those wardrobe shelves are perfect for yarn. You are much more organised than me though!

    and it was lovely to read Union Flag for a change rather than the (WRONG) Union Jack which is bandied around so often!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Wendy I decided to fore-go the Manhattan zip code and went for a Jersey boot box over a Manhattan shoebox. Commute time to downtown and midtown is less than if I lived on Upper East Side (7 to 11 mins) so space and light won out and I get to look at that Manhattan view instead of being part of it! The shelves that I have wool on are Ikea DVD shelving units with doors added, absolutely perfect and take hardly any space. We have them in our hallway here in the apartment too.

      Wonderful to meet someone who feels as I do about the misuse of the term 'Union Jack' - though my understanding is that it has been misused for so many years now that it has become correct to use the term on land as well as at sea - which really gets my back up! Urggghhhhh!!! :)

      Delete
  13. Wow...you are super organised. I really enjoyed spending some time in your sewing room...and the views! BTW...love that white sofa. Maybe keep looking at it for a while longer...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really am super organised with a place for everything and don't ask my husband about what I'm like with spreadsheets and lists, I must be hell to live with but let's just keep that between us!

      Getting rid of the white sofa is upsetting me so much but things are working much better with the new set up. The sofa's had it's day and I'm going to keep all the loose covers as 'spares' for the other sofa so for once I'm going to have to give in and let it go :(

      Delete
  14. OMG, I love your natural light and your view! I have space, but no light.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My English home had little natural light coming in to the north facing kitchen as there are many trees in that part of the garden and it upset me to have to keep all the lights on even on the brightest summer day so I put natural light at the top of my 'must have' list when we were looking for apartments.

      I do have the best ever lamp here though that may interest you as it gives me daylight into the night time so I can carry on working and even choose fabrics, etc as the light is so accurate and good. I got it from Staples, here's a link, and I love it, worth every penny. The bulb is a bit unusual, Staples don't stock replacements but I picked them up easily at Home Depot. It guess there are other styles of lamps out there using the same bulb also - it really is just like daylight and incredibly bright and powerful. :)

      Delete
  15. Its a wonderful set up! I love how you are part of the family area! My room is off the bedroom, down the hall from the living room and kid's room. So I must remember to come out of cave and check in on the family every now and then! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the best position to be in Ann, I think I mentioned before that Flicky suggested I move to her bedroom once she's gone to uni but Simon and I would never see each other again - let's face it, night on the sofa watching telly with snoring husband or pouring over scrummy fabrics and having lots of fun joining said fabrics together in weird and wonderful ways using a sewing machine, mmmmm, not a difficult choice is it!!! :)

      Delete
  16. You have created such a wonderful space. You are super organized! I love all the natural light that you get and the view is fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Martha, almost 2 years in it's starting to feel like home. I want to lease for at least one more year (starting to get anxious then as at some future date they're going to build a 45 storey to the side of me that will take out my view of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings)as I don't want to move out this August, enough to think about at that time with Flicky moving over to Scotland and I want her to come back to somewhere that feels like 'home' at least for her first year away. For as long as I can be sure to keep that view I'm staying put!!! :)

      Delete
  17. Wow - you have a lovely home! What an amazing view out your window! I'm a little jealous of your stash. I always feel like I've got a decent amount of fabric stored up, then I see these blog posts and realize I've got a long way to go! ;)
    p.s. I saw your comment on my feature over at I Dig Pinterest (thanks, by the way)! Christine is an old friend of mine, and I was surprised to see you there! It's a small world! How did you find her blog?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, don't be too jealous of my stash, it's been building for a good 30-40 years so I imagine you've plenty of time on your side to catch me up! I came across Christine on many of the Monday links - she's linked to a lot of the same parties that I have for this post and your Quiet Play books are, of course, the linky picture she's used, I recognised them straight away! How funny!!! :)

      Delete
  18. You have made wonderful use of your space. It looks very attractive AND efficient. I'm so thankful that my dog doesn't care for thread. If you think Aurifil is expensive ... just wait until Tatty eats it and you see your vet bill!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat, I have a friend whose cat ate some thread and she had a terrible vet bill as the cat had to be operated on to remove the thread - it doesn't bear thinking about. Tatty's first love is plastic - any plastic - it's the plastic spool that she's really after, she just attacks the thread when she needs to get it out of the way to get to more of the plastic. Now that sounds like a very cheap habit Tatty's got for herself but it's amazing what's accessible to a small dog around the home that's made of plastic but actually costs a bit to replace, phones, spectacles, umbrellas, computer mice, remote controls and pens ... we go through so many pens ... !!! Tatty can smell plastic at 100 yards, if you turn your back for a millisecond it's too late, there's no escape and we do have a nickname for her - Plastic Fantastic! :)

      Delete
  19. Your space looks so organized and cozy! I really like it, not to mention your fabric stash! Jealous!! :-) I like the way you extend your table, very clever! We have a saying in Afikaans that goes like this "'n boer maak 'n plan" translating "A man 'makes' a plan" but I always say, A WOMAN A L W A Y S HAS ONE...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've so got me sussed and for once my husband would be in total agreement - I always have a plan!!! That's made my day :)

      Delete
  20. What fab photos Chrissie! And what a view from your sewing room. I doubt there are many people in NYC who have such a lovely sewing space. The English countryside will be here waiting for you if ever you tire of it ... although I don't know why you ever would!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it Gertie but since that last trip to Scotland starting to feel homesick for a bit of green! Maybe the summer and the beautiful blue skies that are just around the corner will make me feel better. I think I'll have to pop across and see Flicky frequently once she's in Scotland, that has to be the solution!!! I do like your comment that the English countryside'll be there waiting for me, I haven't looked at it like that before and it's an incredibly comforting thought, thank you :)

      Delete
  21. What a fabulous area! And the view is amazing! You are a lucky person!
    Cheers
    Silvana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved my work space but now that I've had so many wonderful comments Silvana it's starting to feel even more special! Thank you :)

      Delete
  22. Wow Chrissie! What a wonderful space you have! One day I'd love to have a whole room dedicated to my sewing and crafting!! :)


    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't really give anyone any choice Jill, it started out as a study area with my sewing machine on a side table ready for occasional use. Then I got the SewEzi table and the machine moved there and became a permanent central fixture. Bit by bit I added the stash boxes and ironing board and the next thing my family were suggesting to me that maybe the sofa should go to give me more room - how thoughtful of them, they never even spotted my long term plan creeping up on them!!! :)

      Delete
  23. i LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing other people's crafting/quilting/creating spaces! i think i'll need to try those clear bags for all my unfinished projects - right now they seem to be here, there, and everywhere!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those bags have saved me Whitney, so simple but incredibly useful to just pull one out and know everything for that project is in there, easier to tidier away afterwards too :)

      Delete
  24. Ooh that was so good - it's like permitted noseyness!!! I love to see how others organise their crafting etc. I am lucky to have a whole room - in fact we both have taken over a spare room for our hobbies since the kids left home. Mine is too untidy to show anyone at the moment though! It seems we all have 'unfinished projects'hidden away too!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you on this - a bit of 'Through The Keyhole' never hurt anyone. I checked out your Folksy and Etsy shops, love your work, I see you're from the Wirral - I'm from St Helens originally and it's so great to meet crafty people from my home district :)

      Delete
  25. What a neat quilting space and it is fun to see how well you have used every little spot! Very organized and what a view out of your windows! I would love to see a photo taken from your living room looking toward your quilting area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm on to it Connie, photos taken now - just a matter of when I get round to doing a post with them in :)

      Delete
  26. What a great amount of light! Love your organising 'obsession' :D - and the tip on using masking tape to make notes on fabric is great, thank you, I've been using a safety pin to pin paper notes to mine...think I might change to your method, much quicker! Just wondering, do you find fabric much cheaper in the US? I find it's so expensive here in the UK that I can barely build a stash at all, which isn't very conducive to creative brainstorms!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so much cheaper here Stephie - since moving her from England I've come to realise that in England they just change the $ to a £ and then sell it in England so a $12.99 yard of fabric is £12.99/metre in England - which is actually around $18.99 when converted so 1/3 more expensive given that a yard and a metre aren't that different. Also we get so many fabrics on sale here so all but the latest designs are usually around $8.98/yard and we can get Kona solids for as little as $5.49/yard at Fabric Shack who will deliver to the UK at very reasonable rates - check out their website :)

      Delete
  27. I love looking at how people have their quilting spaces set up. I must say I especially like the view. My b/f is from Bayside Towers and would love to leave Texas to go back. I am afraid of the no room situation and you worked yours out beautifully. Maybe I will be brave and take pictures of mine. I have several UFOs and love seeing someone else having that because then I can tell my father, see everyone has them. haha

    ReplyDelete
  28. I loved looking through your sewing space, Chrissie!!! You are SO neat, tidy and organised and have packed a LOT of things into a relatively small space. It's great that you are still part of the family while you sew. My sewing room opens on to the family room, so I don't feel shut away when i sew. I have the same sewing machine as you and I'm so pleased I purchased it... a dream to sew with!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love being in the same room Pam, Flicky did suggest that I take over her room when she leaves for uni but I'd never see my husband again so I'm staying where I am! I'm crazy about my Bernina too, I think she has to be one of my best ever purchases! :)

      Delete
  29. Found you on "Threading My Way" and really enJOYed the tour through your apt sewing room. Who wouldn't want to work in a room with such a beautiful view. You've done such a wonderful job storing everything you need in your space. Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love your little drop down leaf table, I keep looking for one - thrift shop or where ever, no luck yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so delighted when I spotted it and snapped it up immediately. For a few years it has been my sewing table - my textile art pieces were small and easy to manage but moving on to quilting I needed a much larger, more supportive sewing area and also wanted my machine to be level with my work surface instead of standing on top of it - the SewEzi was the perfect answer and I was thrilled to realise that the drop leaf was the same height and could still be used as an extension to it. Good luck with your search :D

      Delete
  31. That's a great tour! You don't look far from Brooklyn Bridge, is that right?
    I am lucky to have a sewing space separate from the house ... but it's not very tidy at the moment. I see you have had lots of comments about your tables. I think your drop-leaf table is so sweet, I have inherited an old kitchen table with a single drop-leaf, I might think about how this might work in a similar way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm on the opposite side of Manhattan Alison, on the Hudson River rather than the East River. I'm just below the bottom of the High Line. I love that table, I hope you can use the same way. Thanks for dropping by :D

      Delete

I love to hear from everyone, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts. Please leave a message to let me know you visited, it's a great way to get to know you all better too :)

Unfortunately I've had to exclude 'Anonymous Users' from commenting as I started to receive a lot of spam comments via this route. If you're experiencing difficulty leaving a comment why not email me instead - my email button is top right of my blog. :) ChrissieD

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...