This is what my sewing room looked like at the beginning of 2018. Many things have changed, both in- and outside the sewing room and these changes will all affect my sewing in the coming year.
I'm not much of a planner so I thought that instead of doing a #makenine or show a list of patterns I want to make any time soon I'd tell more about those small and not so small changes to picture the context of my sewing choices for 2019.
#1 Changing the layout of my sewing room
At the beginning of the year mr Foxgloves helped me create a cutting table by changing the legs of one of my tables for Ikea Skarsta sit/stand height adjustable legs. More on that here.
This makes me more productive as my back doesn't need a few days to recover from tracing or cutting.
What else could be improved? I'd been using this room for six years and I decided it was time for a comprehensive evaluation. I started by moving the furniture around.
The L-shape worked much better! I always thought I wouldn't like looking at a wall but I was wrong. It feels like my workspace has doubled, since I can use the cutting/handsewing table for extra bits and bobs while I'm sewing.
I also moved my sewing books. They were out of reach behind the ironing board, not the best place for easy access. So I moved some wooden boxes with older pattern magazines to that spot and now have my reference books right where I need them. It only took me six years to come up with this brilliant plan.
Next. Well, you can't overhaul the sewing room and ignore the fabric collection, right? So I took everything out.
#2 Sorting and measuring my fabrics
Back in the days when the systems weren't as refined as they are now, I had my colours done and one of the things I took away from that was that blue was a good colour for me. Over the years I bought all kinds of blue fabric. I loved them all, but they didn't all love me back. I found out the hard way when 100+ hours of handsewing on a Chanel jacket ended in a garment that looked better on the hanger than it did on me.
Last year I scheduled a new appointment with a colour consultant who asked me to bring a few garments. I bended the rules a little by bringing a suitcase of potential garments in the form of fabrics. She had never had a dressmaker come in for a consult before and we had some interesting discussions about the freedom to create your own style and the challenges that come with making a garment from scratch. She acknowledged it was a waste of precious sewing time to work with fabrics that did not fully suit me and we tackled that suitcase, one piece at the time. At the end of the day I knew the distinction between warm and cool blue, muted, bright and dark blue and what worked for me and what didn't. And of course I learned a lot about other colours, colour depths and levels of contrast as well.
I used my newfound knowledge to sort my stash. I put fabrics aside to use for toiles and donated a few pieces to friends with different colourings. Some of these fabrics had been there for two decades and I knew I'd never use them. Can you picture me in beige? Me neither.
While all the fabrics were out of storage I thought I might as well measure everything before it went back into the closet. I now have a binder with swatches, lengths and other relevant information of all pieces. After 42 years of collecting fabrics the penny finally dropped.
My fabric cabinet is an old baby dresser that is 60 cm deep. I fold the fabrics over a piece of cardboard to make the best use of the limited space.
The curated collection. Not perfect yet, but slowly getting there. (These are all woven fabrics, there's also a smaller cabinet with knits)
#3 Joining Susan Khalje's Couture Sewing Club
Then, at the end of the summer, I realised I didn't challenge myself enough sewing wise. As nice as it is to have well fitting tees and cardigans in my wardrobe, making them hardly gives me a sense of accomplishment. I wanted to learn new skills and make better use of the skills I already have. Right at that time Susan Khalje launched her Couture Sewing Club. I jumped on board immediately!
So far it's been wonderful to be part of this group and I have learned a lot, both from Susan and from other members. The reason I have not started my first project, a couture skirt, has to do with yet another set of changes.
#4 Weight loss
In July I made a few lifestyle changes. As a result I have lost over 10 kg/22 lbs during the second half of 2018. Although I don't think I look that different, I can go in and out of my jeans without using the zipper. I have put off using my best fabrics for a while, but now I really need to make a few things that don't fall down when I move. The question is: will I make a fitted skirt, at least one that fits temporarily, or shall I wear wrap dresses until I know where my waist measurements will end?
#5 A new sewing machine
While I couldn't decide on what to make next I made another big change, at least for me it is. After sewing on my (mechanical) Bernina 1030 for 31 years I bought a new Bernina 570 QE.
Here she is, right after the unboxing ritual. Protective plastic and all, oops.
It's my first computerized machine, and there most definitely is a learning curve. We gave each other the side eye more than once, but after a few weeks I can say we're bonding.
I've made a start on creating a stitch library and am now exploring the endless possibilities of this beautiful machine. Dual feed, adjustable and automatic presser foot pressure, the pivot/hover function, it's all new to me. I'm working my way through the manual and I found a workbook and plenty of videos online, which is a nice way to get acquainted with this machine at my own pace. My dealer suggested I'd schedule my lessons at a later time so we wouldn't waste one-on-one time on the basics that I could easily find out myself. Sound advice! I'm creating a little list with subjects I'd like to delve in deeper during my lessons. I will write a sewing machine review, as some of you have asked for on Instagram, in a few weeks time when I hopefully master all ins and outs.
Now how will all these changes influence my 2019 sewing plans?
With the improved sewing room flow, sorted stash and new machine everything is ready for action!
The weight loss means I need to take in my clothes where possible and start building a new wardrobe later on. Ideally I'll alternate quick and practical projects to fill wardrobe gaps with more involved projects and I aim to use couture techniques on a few timeless pieces.
I'm really excited about this new sewing year!
Well done on your weight loss. I need to do the same this year. I'm looking forward to seeing what you make or remodel on your new machine in your redesigned room. I like blue too. I'm cool, light, soft, muted so a lot of the blues I have in fabrics are too harsh for me sadly. I understand exactly what you're saying - I never would have thought of taking the fabrics to to colour consultant. What a great idea!ReplyDelete
We could have done a fabric swap!Delete
OH! So many great sewing changes! I'm excited for you! And congratulations on your weight loss!ReplyDelete
Thanks! Time to use the new equipment!Delete
Love the sewing room functional makeover! I especially love your well organized stash!ReplyDelete
This Holidays season, I dig out all my stash and put them out in open shelves in my closet so I can actually do something about them. No where near neat as yours though. Can we swap (pun intended)? lol
The neater you fold, the more you can get on those shelves ;)Delete
Your new sewing room is great. Anything that makes the act of sewing easier is a good thing. Congrats on the new sewing machine! And getting your fabric collection sorted out is a good thing too! I'm sure 2019 is going to be full of wonderful sewing journeys for you!ReplyDelete
Thank you. Sometimes the little changes can make a big difference!Delete
Lovely to see your rearranged sewing space and your beautifully organized fabrics. Congratulations on your new sewing machine and weight loss. Look forward to seeing the couture skirt when it's made.ReplyDelete
Thank you. Very happy with the better flow and the new machine! I have a few nice fabric options set aside for the skirt. I'm tempted to get one started soon and go through the fitting process again later this year when necessary.Delete
What an inspiring post, Marianne. Makes a person think that it might be time to evaluate their own lifestyle and make some changes. So, now I think that I'll streamline my sewing room, cull the fabric stash (some of which is 30 years old) and make a commitment to learning new sewing skills. And, I'll definitely commit to losing the 15 pounds I gained in the past year. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Perhaps there is a reason why some fabrics marinate in our stash for decades without ever being considered for a project ;) Good luck with your resolutions!Delete
new machine, weight loss, re-organization of fabric. I see a new wardrobe in your future :) Happy Sewing new year. A few people have brought that Bernina machine to my sewing classes and the feature that impresses me the most is the way you hold the button up to the screen for it to make the buttonhole.ReplyDelete
Yes!! And then there are no less than 16 automatic buttonholes. I still remember how impressed I was in 1987 by the miraculous five step buttonhole!Delete
Whoa! What a newsy, thoughtful post as you look forward to another new sewing year! I’m excited for you as it seems like you have been able to accomplish goals in 2018 that set you up for a productive and inspiring 2019. Thank you for sharing some of your storage ideas, and I’m so glad we are both in Susan’s Couture group! Happy New Sewing Year, Marianne!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Karen. It feels like I'm having a flying start! I enjoy being in Susan's group with you as well although I don't have much to show yet. Quite a dilemma, when's the right time to start?Delete
Right now sounds good! 😊 Just getting started is always the hardest for me....Delete
Perhaps you're right! Not looking forward to go through the fitting process more than once, but wearing baggy clothes till my waist measurements have settled isn't an appealing prospect either!Delete
You've inspired me to tackle my stash! Every time I dig through it I make a surprise discovery�� Looking forward to seeing what you accomplish this year, in all respects!ReplyDelete
That's good to hear! Go for it, you'll love having an organised stash!Delete
Congratulations on all of your changes I'm sure they will repay you!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I'm energised and have so many plans!Delete
I love the way you've described your plans and changes. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story! Have a great 2019!ReplyDelete
Thank you, and a wonderful and creative year to you too!Delete
Congratulations on your new sewing room, machine & weight loss :) I've been losing weight as well (due to a drastic diet change) and this just stopped my sewing right in its tracks since making something for a changing body just doesn't make any sense. Right now I'm making my husband a Wiksten XL Kimono which will give me practice on this pattern (I've read it runs huge which is a little worrisome since my husband is actually broad shouldered but slender) however it's likely something he will wear like a robe around the house or on the balcony. I always thought garment sewers have that challenge! Stable weight is challenging for a woman at any age but post-60 it gets pretty changeable!ReplyDelete
Thank you. Good idea to sew for your husband while your weight is changing. Although I feel it may be worthwhile to sew for yourself as well, otherwise you may get used to walking around in baggy clothes!Delete
All great changes! I am watching these days a course on Craftsy called Sew to flatter, plan your best wardrobe and there, the teacher is talking about colors and depths and prints and all that and that made me think about my fabric stash. I am sure that at least the half of it could go. Going to a colour consultant is a great step, I think is something I should consider too. I moved recently and in the past my L-shaped desk was in a corner but now I have one side free to walk around, so much extra space, I was surprised! Enjoy your new sewing machine and I think you will sew a beautiful new wardrobe this year!ReplyDelete
O yes, Sew to flatter is really interesting and I also bought the book. I learned a lot from that class but I found Nancy Nix's style very classic and matchy matchy!Delete
I had so much fun scrolling up and down between photo one and photo two. It was like those puzzles in magazines where you have to spot five differences! And then, of course, I saw that you made big changes in the next photo. Honestly, I love sewing room posts. I think it's marvelous that you have a cutting table that is at a comfortable height!!ReplyDelete
Love it all. Your stash looks beautiful and it must feel exciting to know the colours suit you!
I have an old mechanical Bernina. I still am not ready to switch to an electronic machine, but you're finding happiness with your new machine?
Yes, I had the same thought! Did you spot the different serger thread for bonus points?Delete
Buying a new sewing machine was a 10 year long search! I put the money aside in 2008 and then never used it because I was still quite happy with the mechanical Bernina. In the end you could say curiosity won. I really wanted to try working with dual feed and adjustable pressure foot pressure, and once I did a test run at the dealer I was also very impressed by those wonderful buttonholes, led lights, needle threader and other magical features. It takes a while to get used to what's basically a sewing computer but it's an interesting journey so far!