Every hobby sewist, and probably professionals too, started with a sewing machine on the kitchen or dining table, or some equally multi-purpose place that required cleaning everything away frequently, if not every time they sewed a stitch.
I have vivid memories of cutting out on the floor of the living room, with kids and animals having fun with the tissue paper, me cursing inwardly every step of the way. I had fantasies of a ‘cutting out service’, or of paying a friend. Needless to say the friend hated cutting out as much as I did and there was no such thing as a cutting out service. Desperate to save sanity and my knees, if not my back, I graduated to cutting out on my bed, only a marginal improvement which came to an abrupt halt after I accidentally cut into the sheet. Ouch!
Then rotary cutters and self-healing cutting boards arrived in my life and cutting out on a table became quick and simple, no longer the most hated task of the whole sewing process.
And thankfully things kept on improving, when in the last 10 years or so I actually had a spare bedroom which could be used as a sewing room. Yay! Except that the sewing room in the last house was a black hole, full of surplus furniture and other junk, which left very little room to move once my sewing gear was installed. On top of that I am super messy when I create, much too much in a hurry to bother to stop to clean up after myself. Some people say they can’t start a new project until they have cleaned up after the last one. Well, I certainly can.
But things are looking up. We bought a new house early this year and it has a self contained granny flat attached which we don’t actually need except for holiday times when we have a house full of visiting family. The kitchen and eating space of the granny flat is ideal for a sewing studio. I don’t even have to move anything out when people are staying, because we cook and eat together in the main part of the house. Outside visiting times I have the whole space to myself. Perfect, isn’t it?
I put a fair bit of thought into my new studio before we moved in. The kitchen area with its many drawers and cupboards is ideal for storage of sewing stuff, fabrics, art materials, my jewellery making equipment and a thousand odds and ends creatively inclined people tend to collect.
The breakfast bench is great for my machines, with the added bonus of a big window that lets in lots of light. Because it is kitchen counter height it is too high for a normal chair, but that is easily fixed with a drafting chair and a foot stool for the sewing machine pedal.
The drafting chair has the added bonus of wheels, which lets me roll back and forth from my sewing machine to the overlocker or to the drawers on the other side, as needed.
I have three overlockers (thank you Aldi!), threaded in black, white and grey, which do most of my garments. To change colour, I unplug the overlocker on the bench, take the one with the appropriate colour out of the cupboard, and plug it in on the bench. They are all the same model, re-badged Janome, so I don’t need to change the power cord or foot pedal.
The other side of the room contains my cutting table and a newly installed built-in for my fabrics and anything else that does not fit into the kitchen cupboards.
Having got to really appreciate the benefits of drawers when we renovated the kitchen in the last house, I opted for lots of drawers in the built-in. Unfortunately they only make sense up to a certain height, once you can no longer look down into the drawer you need to revert to shelves. Being a short person is a disadvantage there, but it balances out because normal table height is fine for my cutting table without giving me a back ache. Win some, lose some, as they say.
I keep my PDF sewing patterns, clipped together, on the bottom of the built-in, below the first drawer/basket. So far that works fine, because I use only a small number of TNT patterns, so don’t have a lot I need to store with easy access. Any I use only infrequently can be folded and put into a drawer.
The glass fronts and open baskets make finding a specific fabric easier.
And the view is fabulous, what a bonus!