I am so excited for this blog- mainly because it was a great excuse to clean up my sewing room! My daughter even walked in and said “Mom, your room is so clean!” Clearly, I am notorious for being a messy creative.
Months ago, I started working on a little athletic capsule for myself. I stocked up on great athletic fabric from ALD and here most of it is still uncut. Ha! But I did manage to cut this Blade tank from Lavender Mist Sportivo Swim (all swim fabric is on sale this week here) and you’ll be seeing it as I share some of the things that make my sewing life easier.
So this is it! My relaxing and peaceful sewing space. Let me take you through a few of my favorite features. This cutting table! This is actually a work table from a home improvement store (my husband found it for me) so it’s sturdy with a very nice thick wood top and is a great height. I had previously used an old cheap desk, which was too low, and my back constantly told me I wasn’t as young as I used to be. This has been a definite improvement!
Here is my fabric storage, which I have already outgrown. (There is actually fabric still stored in my garage from my move a year ago as my previous sewing space had a huge amount of closet space.) These are basic Swedish bookshelves which work great for fabric. Fabric is loosely organized: All solid knits together, woven fabrics on this shelf (somewhat organized by their heaviness, lightweight on top and bottom weight near the bottom), a couple shelves of cotton lycra with slippery swim, mesh, and stretch lace in the boxes. The other side is all knits: One shelf of lightweight rayon spandex and ITY, lots of sweater knits, french terry and liverpool types, and this section in particular might look familiar to everyone- lots of ALD fabric love here!
Everyone needs a place to store all those little notions and odds and ends. I actually have two. This one, which is comprised of individual stackable drawers, is full of lace, fur, shoelaces, twill tape, and other bits and bobs. I spy a little ALD stretch lace in this very top drawer- always fun for adding extra fanciness to projects (notions are also on sale here)! My other is much messier and not photoworthy, but contains buttons, snaps, zippers, and some fabric scraps.
Here is my actual sewing station. This is a great little table that neatly fits my serger and sewing machine together. I love the compactness of this table because I have no space to clutter around my machine, a struggle with a bigger desk. I keep very few items here besides the machines- pins or clips and a couple little scissors, maybe a seam ripper.
These thread storage racks were a present from my kids for Christmas and I love them! It adds a pretty element of color and it’s so simple to grab and find the exact colors I need for my project. The only downside is some of my older thread does not fit on the spools- so it’s a great excuse to buy more of the large spools online that end up being cheaper than the type I can get locally.
While we are exploring my space, I’d like to share some items that have made my sewing life easier.
Up first is binder clips. These little things are so wonderful for keeping paper patterns clipped together. They also work well for securing binding to thick fabrics and I just love that they have little faces!
I couldn’t live without my rotary cutter, pattern weights, and cutting mat. These pattern weights are homemade with just large washers I purchased at a local hardware store. I stacked three of them together with some hot glue and wrapped with colorful yarn. Very simple, though next time I would skip the yarn in favor of something more slick. Lint sticks to these things like crazy! They are a bit worn out, but they’ve served me well for at least 5 years so far.
Another favorite is resealable plastic bags. Great for keeping small pattern pieces together, but I mostly use them to put fabric pieces in after they are cut. There is nothing worse than losing the neckband to a shirt and needing to recut it. This way everything stays together and I can pull one piece out at a time as I’m sewing. Plus, I can cut several projects out at once (cutting is my least favorite part of sewing) and then just sew, sew, sew! I do reuse the bags until they fall apart so I constantly have them floating around.
Small scissors and thread clippers are the best for quick snips at machines or getting that last inch of thread from a seam. I keep several on my table because I’m always misplacing them. These adorable polka dot ones were an ALD VIP item! (learn more about VIP access here) They are perfectly sharp and easy to get into tight spaces for clipping.
I also recommend getting a great bunch of rulers. This grid ruler is excellent for cutting straight lines and bands. The curved one is mostly for altering paper patterns, but makes grading between sizes a snap. And this smaller one is excellent for ironing hems. It is very flexible and has a felted texture that helps grip slippery fabrics (like this Sportivo Swim) and makes ironing a consistent hem so much easier (action photo below).
One thing I recently upgraded was my ironing board. My previous board was a wedding gift (making it 20+ years old) and, while it was functional, it wasn’t great. I researched a bit before buying one and wow- what a difference. This ironing board is super wide, making ironing large pieces of fabric much quicker. Plus, it has an adjustable height, which helped relieved some back discomfort from hunching over a too-short board. And it’s so sturdy! It was completely worth the upgrade.
Two last things to share. I also dislike ironing, but to get a nice result, I accept its evil into my sewing process. I have discovered this clear spray starch is excellent to make creases in slippery knits, like this Sportivo Swim. Actually it works well on all fabrics to get a nice crease or remove wrinkles. A while back, I accidentally ironed fusible interfacing with the glue side up. I thought my iron was ruined! I tried all sorts of methods to clean the black gunk off until I finally found this iron cleaner. This stuff is AMAZING! You use it while the iron is hot and it smells terrible so open a window, but my iron looked brand new. Not just clean- brand spanking shiny and new! So if you ever find yourself in that predicament, try this stuff.
And here is my brand new Blade tank, ready for my new sweaty endeavor! I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my sewing space. Tell me in the comments, what are some items that improve your sewing experience? I’d love to learn about new ways to enjoy this hobby! Don't forget both swim fabric and notions are on sale this week here and here.