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Thursday, April 07, 2016

25 Day Sewing Room Transformation

~~~~~~~ An Intrinsic Challenge ~~~~~~~~~~

We have lived in this house in rural Iowa for over 30 years.  With six children in the household, my sewing/craft room has moved from a storage room, to a basement corner, to a restructured bedroom, and many places in between.  Long after the children have left home, and three years ago when we did some remodeling of our lower level, I claimed the restructured room tucked behind my office area.  Next to my office area in the fireplace room (adjacent to the "new" room) would be my cutting table (a Formica® topped dining room table re-purposed as my craft/sewing table when we put a new maple dining table in our family dining area).

The room, however, was not given much attention, but in went my sewing machine -- and myriad of other "not sure where this goes" items.  The room became a catch-all, not conducive to peaceful sewing, but somewhat serviceable.  Well to be honest it became a junk room with a sewing machine in it.
On March 12, 2016 I attended a regular meeting of the Cedar Rapids Chapter of the American Sewing Guild.  Kristine Larson, the first vice-president and program chair had put together a program focused on organizing one's sewing area.  She featured sewing rooms from Guild members -- and shared organizational ideas.  I came home from that meeting feeling that perhaps I should take stock, and I did.  What a mess!

~~~~~~~ Before ~~~~~~~~~~

See what I mean -- a hot messy mess!  Not a fun place to be and certainly made it difficult to find what I needed -- when I needed it.  But inspired as I was 25 days later -- on April 6, 2016 I am writing this to share what can be done with a small space.  My cutting table remains.  But come with me and see what my sewing/craft room looks like now.


 I choose to use black, grey stripe, blue, and blue chevron storage cubes to provide some contrast and interest.  Basically the black cubes (15 inches deep) hold my fabric stash.  Generally I tend to buy project specific fabric but do purchase book motif fabric in anticipation of projects - and there are large pieces that can be incorporated as an apron pocket, and so forth that I want to keep.
 The white shelves with the blue and black cubes hold my yarn, crochet hooks, and related supplies.  The chest of drawers (a nursery item purchased decades ago for my first child) was repainted white to match the shelving, and now holds fat quarters, bindings - cut strips for quilts), and larger scraps that might be used to piece in a quilt block or for a appliqued figure on an apron or towel, and so forth.
The white baskets hold sewing notions, silk ribbon, and my rotary cutters; the blue cubes hold craft items, card-making blanks, and some gift items to combine with a thematic sewn item.
 This shelving unit holds finished projects -- just waiting to find the just right recipient.  The books along the side are books that complement some of the finished projects.
 I really do have to get a more attractive ironing board cover.  Some day...  The re-purposed wardrobe has been in this room but now stores my table cloths, cloth napkins, napkin rings -- I have thematic linens for most seasons of the year. 
 On the side of the wardrobe I was able to use the 3-M adhesive hangers to put up a 72 spool holder.  On the wall I put another 32 spool holder (this one is for those spools with matching bobbins) and a sewing collage that Mr. PEB and I constructed.  Underneath the sewing collage sits a holder made by my granddaughter from a pallet.  It holds my acrylic cutting guides.  A small peg holder holds some of my scissors.

~~~~~~~A Few of the Details~~~~~~~~~~

I love the "new" space and especially because I was able to incorporate some reading references into this room.  I wanted this room to be one that Mr. PEB (a cute little three-year-old who frequents our house) will view as a "reading" spot.  And there are subtle (and not so subtle) nods to reading and books in many corners of the room.
 This collage glued and decoupage includes copies of jackets from three books that have a sewing theme.  In each of the titles, a garment wears out, and the tailor/seamstress fashions a new garment out of the salvageable portion of the previous garment.  The books featured are:
Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman (Scholastic, 1993), 
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (Penguin Viking, 1999), and
My Grandfather's Coat by Jim Aylesworth. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Scholastic, 2014).
The buttons are included to mirror the button motif on the clock on the other side of the room -- and simply because Mr. PEB likes to categorize objects and buttons are good objects for that.  Fabric being sewn are remnants from the quilt made for my Beatrix Potter Room
This corner tabloid shares some references to some favorite books.  The picture on the wall are framed ephemera that accompanied a signed print that I have framed and hanging in my art gallery on the first level.  This is a silhouette of Red Knit Cap Girl - a character that is featured in several books by author / illustrator Naoko Stoop.  Stoop's most recent book is Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree (Hatchett Group, 2014).
Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree
Above the shelf on the north wall is a montage of items that touch on literacy.  The Green Frogs pay homage to the gift shop that I create items for.  Green Frog Gifts features such items as pillow cases made for fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, items featuring characters by Dr. Seuss, and other books such as crayon motif pillow cases to accompany a copy of The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywait (Philomel, 2013) and The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywait (Philomel, 2015).  See those items on the Green Frog Gifts or on Green Frog Gifts Etsy site.
This piece of art is a signed print, Peace of Art,  by Peter H. Reynolds author/illustrator of many popular books including The Dot (Candlewick, 2003) which inspired Dot Day.  Find out more about his books on Reynolds website.  The clock was decorated with colorful buttons; and the frog is a wooden pull string frog created by Levi - Italy Südtirol, a gift from author/illustrator Jeni Reeves.
These three pictures pay homage to reading and life.  The blue framed collage has been created with images that refer to a favorite book by Paula Wallace, Choose Your Days (Cinco Puntas, 2016).  The old bear in the book reminds Corky that she has the keys to decide whether or not her days will be sunny or gray.  The red framed collage pays tribute to Beatrix Potter and the fact that England is commemorating the 150th anniversary of her birth.  Peter Rabbit on Monday (Feb 29, 2016) became the first character from children's literature to appear on British coinage.  The black framed collage is a picture of Mr. PEB "Reading is our thing" - and a sewing neme "And sewing is our game."
And finally some prints from art created by illustrator Claudia McGehee. Owl, Cardinal, and Fox Reading.  Find out more about McGehee, her art, and her books on her website.

1 comment:

  1. Kris Larson12:37 PM

    This is LOVELY!!! I am so proud of you!!
    Kristen Larson