Make Space Tour

I’m one of those people who moves stuff around a lot. Organizing and rearranging truly brings me joy. I did a little refresh before Spring Break ended, so I thought I’d snap some pics and give a tour. You can see what the room looked like two years ago on our Apartment Therapy home tour here.

I share this room with my husband, but my making definitely takes up the majority of the space. The table I use the most is part IKEA (FINNVARD adjustable height legs), part Home Depot (painted wood table top), part Joann (cutting mat). The table top isn’t ideal – the original IKEA top didn’t allow the table to fit into that space, so I had to return it and improvise. It’s super bouncy, so I can’t use my serger on it, but otherwise it serves its purpose. The cutting mat is awesome and also spends a decent amount of time on the floor when I need to cut out large projects.

The three lamps are 100% necessary. Doing anything with dark fabric at night is rough, and these lamps have made mistakes a thing of the past. I do prefer working when the room filled with sunlight, but most often that just isn’t when I’m able to.

The pegboard is from a local hardware store and the corkboard is from Muji. I spray painted the pegboard a light gray and recently added the little shelf to display my ceramics. This area is ever evolving as things are easily rearranged and I reassess what needs to be super accessible. Having thread and certain tools within arm’s reach has been a total game changer.

I have two of these RASKOG rolling carts from IKEA. Until recently, both were right next to my table and just crammed with both sewing and painting/drawing/printmaking stuff. I pared things down and now this one is right next to the ironing board. It holds my hams, seam gauge/point turner, distilled water, lint roller, pressing cloth, and some other bits and bobs that are handy to have right next to the iron. The pin cushion pattern is from Noodlehead’s Handmade Style book.

The other cart is adjacent to the table and holds WIPs, printed PDF patterns I haven’t assembled yet, my sewing machine manual and accessories, and block printing supplies.

The ironing board was just moved in front of the window. I’m hoping now I’ll be able to roll right to it from the machine, or stare out the window when ironing lots of yardage.

The ironing board used to be right in front of the bookshelves and I’d tuck things like the hams in between books when I was ironing. I think I’m finally at the point where I’m okay with the ironing board being set up all the time. Before I’d hang it up in the closet with all its knick knacks and need to schlep everything out if I wanted to sew.

The dress form is from a brief stint selling vintage and although she’s a bit smaller than my measurements, I like to throw WIPs on her. I’m hoping that once I take a draping class, she’ll prove more useful. I added a 3M hook to the side of my cart to hang my rulers, which once took up a lot of pegboard real estate.

The previous renters painted a few things with chalkboard paint, but we’ve only kept it on this door. I’m trying out having an illustrated ‘To Make’ list on it. The patterns include:

  1. Kalle Shirt by Closet Case Patterns
  2. Persephone Pants by Anna Allen
  3. Fairfield Button-up by Thread Theory
  4. Making Backpack by Noodlehead & Making
  5. Burnside Bibs by Sew House Seven
  6. Willow Tank (hacked into a gathered dress) by Grainline Studio
  7. Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studio
  8. Lark Tee by Grainline Studio

I guess I’ve sort of solidified my Make Nine plans here!

Behind the chalkboard door is a tiny closet. To the left there is a large boxed in vent that makes the only hang bar pretty much useless. I really wish I could hang up my patterns and quickly flick through them to find what I need, but this closet just can’t do that, or I’d have to sacrifice shelving on the opposite side.

In the closet is my fabric stash, my other machines, and notions/tools I don’t need constantly. The plastic buckets on the black shelf hold leftover fabrics and quilting experiments.

Fabric is mostly contained to the shelves on the right. It’s more or less organized by type and by my overall excitement to use them. The top shelf is thrifted bed sheets for quilts or muslins. The next shelf down in knits for tops and flannels for all those shirts I’ve promised my husband. The third shelf down is knits for bottoms and special fabrics (mud cloth and baoulĂ©) as well as interfacing, which I keep in a bucket. The next shelf down is jeans/bottom weights, linens, and cottons. The bottom shelf is a hodgepodge of canvas for bags, batting, and thrifted sheets that don’t fit on the top shelf.

The fabrics on this shelf are my next up projects. The rope baskets hold pattern weights (vintage saucers!), extra pattern hooks, thrifted vintage zippers, and machine parts. The wooden drawers are a catchall and have bias tape makers, printer paper, and jeans making kits among other things. I’ve had these drawers since college and painted them several times (not recommended), which makes them stick. I would like to replace them with something else at some point. Perhaps a bunch of these?

I’ve been really struggling to find the best system for pattern storage. I tried keeping them folded in drawers, rolled up in drawers, hanging on nails, hanging in the closet (until there were too many to fit in the 1′ hang space), and now they’re on hooks on the doors. It’s still challenging to find the pattern I want and they’re not in any sort of order, but it’s better than the drawer system. Some not quite finished makes also hang on the picture rail.

I’m slowly getting to where each pattern also has a pattern card with relevant info and fabric swatches. The one above is my culotte design from my patternmaking course.

The bookcases are primarily my husband’s but I have three shelves. Most of my art and making books live here. The top shelf now houses a lot of the drawing/painting/printmaking supplies that used to be in one of the rolling carts.

I’m liking that these items are now a little more visible on the shelves.

There are definitely things I’d like to change and I’m constantly fantasizing about designing a studio in a house we own… BUT I’m really grateful to have to have this space. For my fantasy studio, check out my Pinterest board: Making Space.

Block Printed Sewing Machine Cover

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, buying my Bernina 530 was a big deal. I bought better thread (never again, Coats & Clark!), learned how to actually clean and oil a machine, and began planning projects just for her.

Although she came with a very fancy carrying case, she didn’t come with a cover. Since her purchase, I have resorted to throwing pieces of fabric over her in between makes.

The scrap fabric was a fine temporary solution, but she deserved something better.

Before my dear, sweet dog bear Ollie died, I had planned to make him a fancy block printed crate cover. It didn’t come to fruition before he passed, but I did make the lino blocks and thought the design would work well for the sewing machine cover.

I didn’t quite get the measurements right on this first iteration so it doesn’t fit with the slide-on table attached. It’ll work until I make a larger one! I’m also scheming a cover for my serger with a different print design.

I flat felled the top and side seams, and left an opening at the top for access to the carrying handle.

I used Speedball fabric ink and although I let the print rest for 24 hours and heat set it with an iron, it smeared while sewing. I had a minor panic attack when I noticed the ink rubbing off on my machine, but thankfully a magic eraser wiped it off. Any seasoned block printers out there have tips for setting prints on fabric?

Pottery + Ceramics as Therapy

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of purging of stuff. Maybe it’s the new year, maybe it’s my making practice, maybe it’s my partner (aside from his books and instruments, he lives a pretty minimal lifestyle). It’s definitely a combination of factors, but the making practice I’ve cultivated since teaching myself to sew in late 2014 has really influenced how I feel about stuff.

Making things with your hands feels so good. And wearing and using things you’ve made feels awesome. Empowering. Dope.

So I got rid of a lot of stuff. A lot. Like a car-full. The haul consisted mostly of things I hadn’t made but did include a few early makes that just weren’t my jam anymore. I thought about selling the good stuff, but the time commitment involved in that made me feel like everything would just end up back in my closet. So out it (almost) all went. The local thrift store got a whole lot of Anthropologie sweaters circa 2011-13.

First mug I made that didn’t weight a thousand pounds.

My closet now consists of handmade garments, ethically sourced and saved up for pieces, and secondhand. I think I’ll talk more about that in another post.

The purging and organization bonanza later made its way into my making space, which led me to realize I needed a way to view some of my favorite me-made ceramics. They had been previously hidden (yet still functional) in an IKEA RASKOG utility cart next to my sewing table.

They all hold making tools that I want quick access to, but I wanted them to also be showcased. So I bought a little plank of wood, spray paint and some pegboard accessories and VOILA. Now they’re in my face when I’m sitting at the sewing machine. I also made the hanging planter on the top left of the first picture. Good feels.

During purge-fest 2018, I listened to the Love To Sew podcast and learned about the Sewing Makes You Love Yourself challenge. Its goal is to highlight how sewing can make you love your own body and how therapeutic and healing the practice can be. And it’s true for me – sewing helped me get through the absolute dumpster fire year that was 2016, but so did drawing and pottery. So I’m changing things up a bit and declaring that making things with your hands makes you happy/love yourself. Not quite as catchy…

Pottery was my therapy during loss. I took an introductory 6-week wheel throwing class in February of 2016. I signed up because our 4 year old dog became mysteriously sick and we had to put him down mid-January. It was awful. And an empty couch on Saturday mornings was unbearable.

I picked pottery because I’d driven past the studio many times, it was something I enjoyed doing as a child/teen, and it seemed just the right amount of challenging to distract me from my sadness.

It worked. 6 weeks turned into over a year of weekly hours spent at the studio. Yes, I still cried a whole lot, but the public crying almost stopped and I didn’t hate my empty couch as much.

During that year and some change, I took the introductory class twice (I really liked my instructor and it’s HARD), a jewelry making class in which I made giant weird things my instructor wasn’t too fond of, and then did several 3 month memberships, which gave me a shelf for my stuff and unlimited access to the studio.

I also became friends with a fellow K-12 art teacher who was taking the class to inform her teaching. We don’t have the set up at my school for ceramics and I hated my job during the 2016-17 year, so the class was ALL FOR ME.

Taking any kind of a making class is such a good way to meet people if you’re new to a location, or just lonely.

Naturally sewing made its way in to my ceramics and I tried to make pattern weights. They were cool in concept and appearance, but definitely need some refinements for function. I believe these ended up in the donation pile…

All the stuff that didn’t get glazed because of my car.

I had to stop my membership after my car was totaled in early 2017. I had every intention of starting back up once school let out for the summer and I had recovered some of my savings that was obliterated by a surprise necessary car purchase. It didn’t happen, BUT this summer I WILL pick it back up. Therapy is expensive, but I’m worth it.

Here we go.

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Hello. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I should have a space outside of Instagram. But the problem is, I LOVE Instagram. It’s a form of expression that’s mostly visual. Creating and maintaining a blog feels like such a commitment. And the words. Oh, the words. However, I’m setting the intention of creating a space that’s sightly less curated when it comes to photographs, better documents my makes and what I’m learning, and helps me connect and interact with other makers and artists. Here we go.