To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
When Carl and I first discussed buying a house two years ago, one of our major needs was a separate sewing space for me. The reason was half because I really wanted it, and half because he really wanted to be able to hide my mess creative endeavors behind a door when company came. Now, the problem with moving from a city where housing is some of the cheapest in the nation to a major college-inflated housing market is that finding (and affording) that extra space was hard—especially when we had to factor in an official office space for Carl, since he’s going to be working from home.
So, in a 900 square foot apartment, with just one official bedroom and one den that now serves as a guest room and office, where does the the sewing space fit?
In the walk-in closet!
Lucky for us, we both have mainly foldable clothes, and the remainder will fit in the hall closet. The closet is decently sized, so I don’t feel too cramped, and there’s enough storage that I only have one storage bin elsewhere.
The only thing missing is my sewing machine. It’s a long story, but in summary, I sent my machine to get cleaned and tuned up, but four weeks later, I’m still waiting for its return (and terribly unamused about the whole thing). I hope it is back by next week, so that Carl can pick it up when he goes back to Utica on business.
This may not be a new WIP, per se, as I’ve been thinking about it for as long as I’ve been quilting and had the “fabric” for longer, but it’s now made it to the cutting table: College t-shirt squares for a t-shirt quilt.
I got tired of the storage bag taking up space in my closet (I’m not much of a patterned t-shirt wearer these days), and cut the shirts all apart the other day. The blocks will probably stay in this state for quite some time, but at least they take up a lot less space now.
I didn’t count, but I think there were around 20 shirts, some with front and back printed, some with just front, some with smaller logos on the front and full back, etc.
Part of the reason I don’t want to piece this yet is that one notable shirt is missing. I probably wouldn’t care, if not for the fact that I designed it. At some point we had two, because Carl also had one, but neither are to be found, either in my bag of shirts or our dressers. I have no idea how both disappeared! I know those two weren’t donated at any point. Maybe one’ll pop up sometime soon.
But, I have plenty of other projects to work on anyway and am very happy to reclaim the closet space!
Fuse on the interfacing before you cut. Interfacing is a must, even just a light-weight one. Cut it larger than your planned squares, fuse, then cut. It makes life much easier.
Pick block sizes that work together, especially if you don’t have a final layout planned. My shirts were mostly men’s smalls and mediums, with a few women’s larges thrown in. I was able to get a 12.5″ square from each very easily (which was great, because I have a square ruler that size). Some shirts had smaller motifs on the front, so I also cut 6.5″×12.5″ and 6.5″×6.5″ pieces, which will all work together well.
Unless there is something printed on the side seam, cut up each side, all the way through the bottom of the sleeve. This will let you open up the shirt and lay it flat, while keeping as much fabric in place to position your interfacing and ruler.
Have you ever made a t-shirt quilt? I’m kind of making up this process as I go along…
My mom’s Christmas gift was a matching set composed of a quilted cosmetic bag, eyeglasses sleeve, and curling iron sleeve. Unfortunately, I may not have photographed it. I also promised to make a matching zippered bag for her purse, but didn’t finish it in time for Christmas. It’s suddenly the end of June, but now it’s made!
I was in the groove, and made a few more small storage pouches for myself; they’ve been on my to-do list for a while. I wrote a tutorial about the first ones I made over a year ago.
Since I still had fabric to match my mom’s set, I made one for her too. Because I used the last of my Velcro on mine, I improvised by adding a flap that closes with a button. There’s also an inner divider in hers using up the last of the yellow contrast fabric.
Not bad for about an hour and a half of sewing time!
I don’t want to sound prideful, but I’m proud of myself—I’ve made a good dent in my WIP storage lately. This photo is from Sunday:
At the beginning of the month, all twelve cubbies were full. Since the photo, I’ve also cleared out a small one that held Mom’s fabric; cut apart the pieces for my Miniatures Nine-Patch (one of the post-it marked ones); and migrated my EPP stuff to its new home in my new bag. Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta WIP finisher. Granted, that’s not my only WIP storage, but it’s a good feeling to have finished some projects, made progress on others, and organized even more.
Did you make any resolutions to tackle WIPs this year?
… or Mini Mid-Week Montage. Whatever alliterative title floats your boat.
It’s not my design wall, this time, but another one:
This hand-pieced and hand-quilted variant of Contrary Wife or Steps to the Alter is another block done by my grandma. Because it is quilted already (I don’t know if she was trying out a technique, or learning QAYG, or what), I didn’t want to keep it for use in a future project. A 12″×12″ picture frame turned out to be the perfect solution. I don’t know if I’m sold on the white frame, but it seems to just be primed—easily paintable in the future.
My focus continues to be cleaning and organizing, lately. I did start up my sewing machine the other night though.
See what my dog did to our brand new guest-room sheets?
A bit of stabilizer and my machine’s built-in darning stitches later, and it’s fixed—in the other three places too!
Yes, trimming his nails would also be good. We’re working on that one.
Speaking of this cleaning spree, have you ever had fabric go missing? In theory, I should have a whole stack of quarter yards from this one fabric line. I cut a couple of strips off of each at one point, and know where those are, but I cannot find the remaining pieces of yardage anywhere! I am positive I didn’t give it away, but it’s nowhere in my sewing room.
Spoiler alert: the storms in our county last night didn’t do any major damage to our house, my partner just thinks he’s funny. Yesterday evening was rather fun, in a “I miss midwest thunderstorms and they appeared in NY” sort of way. We stopped to grab dinner last night, mid-errand running, and got stuck at the restaurant while crazy wind, rain, and hail swept through the area. It was beautiful outside until about five minutes after we walked in the building.
Carl hadn’t looked in my sewing room for a while (though knew it was a mess), but I’d left the door open when we left, so when we got home, he saw the mess it was and said “have you seen your sewing room? There’s major wind damage in there!” Ha ha ha. Funny, honey.
It looked like this:
At this point, I think I’ve posted more photos of my room being a total mess than clean. Probably because 70% of the time, it is a mess, although usually not this bad. In my defense, this is during that “it gets worse before it gets better” stage of reorganizing for the umpteenth time. Those piles of fabric in the foreground are organized scraps from my scrap bin, which was overflowing and is now quite well-contained.
Not as non sequitur as it seems, here’s what’s on my wall right now:
This is a hand-pieced block that my grandmother gave me two years ago (along with the fabric she bought for the quilt) in a bag of various sewing things. She had finally, after 20 years, admitted that she was never going to take up quilting and knew I was hooked. After she passed away last summer, one of my sisters and I also inherited some additional craft supplies (mostly she took the yarn and cross-stitch things while I stuck mostly to the remaining quilting stuff).
My grandmother’s house was always clean, and while she loved collecting, she never seemed to hold on to things that she didn’t have space or use for. This block is on my wall right now to remind me of that as I clean out my sewing space, destashing and tossing things that I don’t need. The hardest part was sorting through the two bags of things that came from her supplies… rulers that I never used because I prefer the brand I buy, quintessentially late-80s calico fabric, a printed cross-stitch/embroidery kit for a quilt top, and more.
But she didn’t give them to me for safe-keeping, she gave them to me to use. And in her honor, I sent most of it on to other people who will use them, keeping the things I do want to use like this block (but not the remaining fabric), a pair of minky quilt kits that will be great for her future great-grandchildren (whether mine, my sisters’, or our cousins’), a couple of cross-stitch kits, and crochet hooks—the latter two crafts she taught me growing up which I’m hopelessly inept at now but plan to find time to regain those skills.
And in that spirit, I cleaned out my scrap bin, throwing out unusable ones, organizing the rest. I culled my stash, selling books, patterns, and fabric at a recent guild meeting.
Now I just need to put everything back together again. And then finish up some projects, because half-finished projects aren’t of much use either! I think she’d be happy with that.
At least from this angle (although I still need to build my new sewing machine desk, but don’t know what to do with the old one until I can get rid of it)…
One of the major problems with the old setup was that I didn’t have any good organization for my works in progress—they’d get tucked away into boxes and what was out of sight was out of mind. Also, while I liked the idea of beautifully organized fabric in little cubbies, in practice, the shape of those cubbies just doesn’t work for me. So now, the old fabric shelves are going to be used for WIPs so they are in sight and easy to access (you can see my sticky note labels on them in the foreground). Meanwhile the old bookcase that had bins for some WIPs, supplies, books, and some fabric is now going to be all fabric, books, and supplies, as will the second one once I build it.
Just don’t look at the other half of the room…
All of that needs to be sorted, filtered, and put in a new home on the bookshelves (or in the trash, as is the case of the giant box on the right). I plan on tackling all that organization after I finish up this time-sensitive project this week (since at least I have a nice workspace again):
Also, is this a good time to mention that since I’ve only gotten as far as partially finishing the divided skirt and that half of a corset pinned to the dress form that I may not complete the Steampunk costume in time for my sister to model it at Christmas? Well, that’s what it looks like. But, maybe some organization will get me interested in working on it again.
I finally gave in and purchased a thread rack to organize my spools on. Previously, I’ve kept them in a drawer (mostly), but have ended up buying the same spool more than once, or losing spools I know I’ve purchased. Looks like I underestimated my stash, though, huh?
It also has the advantage of allowing me to keep the bobbins with the spools, in cases where I’ve wound one to match (bobbin storage is its own beast that I haven’t tamed yet).
I think there are still some spools floating about the room, and in my purse, and who knows where else in the house. It’ll be full in no time. There’s not much organization—specialty threads on the top (fusible, invisible, glow-in-the-dark, metallic, wool), rayon, silk, poly sew-all, cotton, and then all my giant neutral spools.
There’s also still a few odd spools of thread I’ve inherited, bought while clearly out of my mind, or when wanting really cheap thread for one reason or another (along with some skeins of embroidery thread and bobbins from my old sewing machine) in a box. I don’t see the need to keep them out, since I don’t have much use for them (nor will I accidentally buy a second spool).
In the month’s span where I haven’t put my Regency outfit on for photos, it’s spent time stuffed in a bag on the couch, thrown on my sewing room floor, and then finally hanging on the wall mocking me about staying at the office so late recently. (I found the wool is rather forgiving with wrinkles, but the cotton petticoat and ramie chemise are a mess.)
While I still claim that I will get photos, just as soon as Carl and I can coordinate time at home together during non-raining daylight, I realized that I should figure out a storage solution for keeping the gown and accoutrements together.