Saturday, March 07, 2015

Where do you sew?

One of the conversations that I had at The Expo was with Shams, Myrna, Sue and Sarah B., about sewing rooms.  Yes, that's right we were sitting around a table discussing sewing rooms. But Myrna had just taken a class with Diane Erickson about sewing rooms and they shared something that really stuck with me. 

Diane said that your sewing room should be one part of your past, one part of the present and one part of your future.  Then I spent Sunday in Gaylen's amazing sewing room and it made me think about how I view my own sewing space. 

I've called mine a sewing room and a sewing studio but favor sewing cave. However, if I'm honest I truly think of it as a well stocked workroom. I came to that conclusion after reading an interview by Koos where he talked about being a journeyman who sewed. So here are some pics of his workroom:





It made me realize that those lovely pinterest sewing rooms are not what I aspire to. I want and thrive in a well stocked workroom. The rooms that remind me of my garment district roots. 

Why did I bring this up? Because I had a request to share what items I stock so that I can sew anytime. It would have been easy to put together a list and bullet point it here. However, I thought that explaining the backstory was just as important.

BTW, this Koos quote sums up my feelings exactly:
"I think of myself as very basic. I am a craftsperson and I sew like that. I sew beautiful clothes. I am nothing more than a worker sitting behind a sewing machine. That's where I feel most comfortable, that's where I am the best. That's what I do the best and it is very basic."
As a craftsperson I need to have supplies on hand to create.  Those supplies are:
  1. Thread
  2. Lining Fabric
  3. Silk Organza
  4. Zippers
  5. Buttons
  6. Elastics
  7. Trimmings
  8. Piping
  9. Rayon Seam Binding
  10. Seam bindings
  11. Interfacing 
  12. Tracing Paper
I wrote a post about this in April 2013. Not only does it talk about what I stash but it also lists suppliers, in case you're looking for something. FYI, my suppliers are all US based.

Lastly, here are some pictures of my workroom as it appears when I sit down to sew ...








...all those pretty clean sewing rooms are nice but I'd rather see where people really create. So tell me...where do you sew? In a beautifully well-appointed sewing room, a sewing studio, or just in a portion of your bedroom, dining room or family room?



51 comments:

  1. I refer to my sewing room as my studio; it's a workroom, not a pristine picture perfect space. I have trouble keeping it neat, much less pristine!

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  2. I'm working toward well stocked workroom, but really it's a pretty sewing space. I always have thread but rarely have the right zipper even though I have tons. It's a work in progress and after many, many years working at the craft, I'm starting to up the ante, so to speak. It feels good. Thanks for always being so encouraging and supportive. g

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    1. You have an amazing sewing room that I enjoyed sewing in. You just need to stick it up a little!

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  3. I love this question. I sew in my basement family room. There are no windows, and the atmosphere is decidedly retro, right down to the green shag carpet. There's bean bag chairs for the kids, a futon for my husband to flop down on, and the tv my husband was given by his friends when he graduated from high school (before flat screens were a thing). I have plenty of storage and my laundry room table around the corner doubles as my cutting space. I do spend quite a bit of time alone down there because I often sew past my bedtime, but there's room for family too. Even though is not the kind of space that most would aspire to, and wouldn't garner a bunch of repins on pinterest it's perfect for me.

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  4. This is a great twist on this question. I love that Koos has his inspiration all around him; I enjoy that sort of cluttered visual stimuli.

    I had what Cari has, now I'm splitting the big room with my teen son. He gets half, I get half. It means I don't get to sew late at night, and I have to behave myself about floor space. I miss the cave.

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  5. Workroom here made from 2/3 of our garage with an added window for south light. The room does duty for sewing ( 7 various machines 5 always in use), digital & occasional 'real' art, with desktop computer plus a Cintiq, 2 printers, 2 scanners and part laundry room.
    No door because I always needed to hear what the kids were doing ( all grown now) or listen to what was cooking on the stove. I would have lost my mind years ago if I didn't have it since I'm the kind of person who needs an 'away' space to do things.

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  6. I don't have a designated spot as our house is too small, and only buy what I need for each individual's project. Sadly I only get to sew once the baby is in bed on an evening. I see in the living area so I have to lay everything out and pack it all away afterwards. It's a bit of a ball ache, but totally worth it! The house is now on the market and I'm dreaming of a little space to myself...

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  7. Wow - fab room. Love all of that fabric.

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  8. I often wonder how many of us have these large workrooms for domestic sewing. I have a bedroom corner now; my corner has a dresser next to the SM, and a blanket box at the foot of the bed for messy things. My notions are neatly on the shelf in the hall, and my stash is in the Guestroom closet. It isn't perfect, but I can sew there.

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  9. Great post Carolyn! I do have a room designated as an office/sewing room. However I never use it to sew! All of my sewing equipment except fabric, is cordoned off in a small corner of my living room. I know that sounds weird, especially seeing that I have an actual sewing room… But since the kids all grown and gone, it's a way for me to spend time with my husband while he's watching TV. Once I retire, (which will be very soon), I will move back into my sewing room. I assure you mine is not a glamorous one either, but one that I feel extremely comfortable working in! I love your fabric collection and aspire to get one just like it!

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  10. I sew in our finished basement. It is a small and busy space because we use every inch of the living space in our bungalow. I have a desk for my serger and a few feet away is a small table for my sewing machine. I am right next to the laundry area doors and sort of under the stairs. My stash is upstairs in a wonderfully large armoire in the living room. I relate to your post. I now realize I would much rather have a workroom than a crafting/domestic pretty home sewing area.

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  11. In truth, I have a larger creative space (that is what I call it) than I need right now. I had set about at the beginning of the year with visions of a pinterest like space dancing through my head, but soon realized that the chaos of my space fuels my creativity. I did manage to get my fabric all up of the floor though!

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  12. I am fortunate to have a large sewing room. I sew in a sunroom that runs the length of our house. My husband paints, so it is a studio, too. However, it is a mess. Like all the time. I kind of enjoy the fact that I don't have to clean it up frequently since it is cut off from the rest of the house. It's not connected to the heat or air either, which is another story. It's nice to have a designated space.

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  13. Seriously, as junkie as I am, I'd loose my mind in Koos sewing area (lol).

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  14. I have my own room in a small spare bedroom. I call it my retreat and it is my private space. It is a functional workroom which could use some decluttering at the moment, lol. I have shelves on all of the walls and they are full. My fabric is stored in another room. I like the look of a cute room but having a room with everything handy is more important. Right now, my DGD is playing with her dolls on the floor. She is the only person that is allowed to leave anything in my room.

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  15. I also sew in the basement. An uninspiring, dark, poorly lit retro basement. The floor has this relish-orange shag carpet and the walls have panelling. Yeah. My kitchen table hold my sewing machines and my Ikea table top holds me up, standing tall, so that I'm not cutting fabric on the shag carpet. My fabric stash is pre-washed, folded and stored in plastic bins. It is a pain to try to find a fabric sometimes by then again I tend to find treasures that I have sometimes forgotten about. My sewing patterns are stored in a wooden filing cabinet. But my sewing notions could use some storage help. I picked up a separating zipper the other day that I already had in the stash and forgot about. That meant another trip back to the store to return the uber-expensive zipper (when did zippers hit the $20 + mark?)

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  16. I sew in the basement with a west facing window. The room was totally gutted almost 6 years ago and has been done to what I wanted it to look like. Neutral coloured walls and laminate flooring. Accent colours are blue, yellow, and green in soft shades. I have worked on the basis that everything has its place and everything is in its place.
    This winter I took everything out of the room, purged out the rodeo queen fabric and notions, painted the walls and set it up to sew for us. I haven't sewn a stitch in there since it has been done. We are busy finishing up the renovations, painting the whole inside in preparation of a house evaluation with a possibility of selling it and moving away. Everything will be staged including the sewing room. That means putting away all sewing at the end of each day. A pain yes, but this is not the first time we have had to do this.

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  17. You have a wonderful space -- very organized. An extra bedroom is my sewing room -- of course, my mom would rather see a grandchild in that room than my sewing machine!

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  18. I call my space the cave...it's a little odd shaped bump on the other side of a narrow laundry room; about 8 x 8. Just enough room for an ironing board, a serger and a sewing machine.

    It is the same ugly wallpaper and carpet remnant that it was when we moved in ten years ago and It has been a total wreck since I sewed costumes for Pippen back in 2009. I want to fix it up...but it would take 1 - 2 months and I don't want to shut down the production for that long. And there are other, more pressing, home improvements in the queue.

    So I quietly move the piles of stuff around as need be and somehow manage to crank out some stuff in the chaos. But it is getting increasingly annoying and I may have to Do Something... ;-)

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  19. I sew at our dining room table, which means each night I have to pack up my little sewing "studio" and tuck it away so we can have family dinner. The bulk of my fabric is in our storage container in the back yard. Current project fabrics, plus the machines and my essential supplies are tucked away in the closet of my oldest's bedroom. I cut in the living room floor, or on the large oversized coffee table. I plan projects in blocks, cutting out several projects so I can grab a packet, a machine and go.

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  20. In the process of clearing out a spare bed/junk room. Currently I use the dining room table which I hate. I have to clear it off for dinner or when company comes over. I can't wait to have a room where I can leave everything out and close the door.

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  21. Ha!! Finally!
    I find all those pretty, organized, bright spaces encouraging at times.....and while they may be what some aspire to have for themselves.....but....
    My happy space lives in a corner of my humble basement. It DOES have a bit of past, present and future in it......and its me. Happy.
    I've been reading your blog regularly for a long time (quiety). I think you've finally grabbed my hand, and pulled me to the surface with ya! If I could stand up next to you with my hands on my hips.....looking out at the sea of sewers, I'd preach with ya sista! Where are all us "comfy, not-so-neat, but makes me happy" sewing space people!!
    Anyway, thank you.
    If I can figure out how to share a pic if my space later, I'll try to do that.
    Keep on being amazing lady.....

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  22. I have taken over most of our sun room for my own work space, not just sewing but my desk too. I love being able to look out the windows and see large swaths of our neighborhood and my yard (i'm on the edge of suburbia, almost in the forest). It also means lots of light. My husband has the other end and the windows blocked off to prevent glare on the computer screen. The one non windowed walls is all books, then there's my TARDIS armoir full of fabric. I also have a rocking chair and a couple stools so people can hang out here with us.

    I'm very fortunate that I have a lot of expensive sewing gadgets because they were left to me when Mom died (like my velvet pressing board!). And it's in a constant state of flux and often messy.

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  23. I sew in a small extra bedroom, that is most decidedly *not* decorated. I've got fabric stuffed into a closet and some shelves. I have lots of notions and thread, etc. I've spent quite a bit of time lately organizing things so everything is easy to locate. Usually, it's pretty messy though!

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  24. Oh I so relate to Linda!

    I've got a sewing room that has a murphy bed set up for the rare occasions we have a visitor. Everything is in there and I would say it is very well stocked with the basics to sew at any time but storage is my issue, with lime rendered walls I can't put anything on them unless I hang it from the picture rail.

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  25. I am fortunate. I have a big upstairs area with a huge window. It is just one big open space - and includes the bedroom area. But one big portion of it (actually almost all of it) is my "crafting" area. After all, how much space does a bed and two bureaus take up? Not much compared to the 3 machines always set up, ironing board, 10+ totes full of fabric, 10+ sweater boxes full of patterns, and 2 bureaus of notions. It is a bit crowded - I must sew more and use stash! While it is a bit full, and uses leftover furniture, I do have to keep it orderly. I just cannot sew in confusion.

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    1. Oh, and I almost forgot to include the two 6 foot tables always set up - one elevated for cutting and sewing work and one for scrapbooking. We won't even talk about the SB supplies on hand. ;)

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  26. Another fan of the term cave :)

    When we moved here I got the basement portion that includes the laundry room (~60% of the basement space). I don't do laundry so that was no additional benefit haha! But the built in cabinets were nice. But it's still the basement of a 1960s house.

    After a year of watching the huge, well lit formal living room sit empty, I moved my stuff up there. It is temporary as I don't want to have to buy a bunch of stuff to make it work.

    With teen kids I am holding out til I can takeover a bedroom and make use of the closet space.

    My space is not perfect but I really do enjoy where I create. My biggest "problem" is storing my fabric in tubs. I hate that part. I want to be able to readily see it. In time...in time.

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  27. I sew in a room built into the roof loft of our house. I have a nice view of my garden and fields/cows/hillsides from my sewing machine. It's a nice place to sew, except for very hot days when it could double as a sauna after about midday. So I tend to move my machines downstairs from December to February. I've just moved everything back upstairs.My fabric stash is stored in tubs and placed in a cedar wardrobe under the stairs.
    I like my sewing room - it's not perfect, but is well out of the way of the rest of domestic life, so I can be as messy as I like.

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  28. I sew in "The Sewing Center" which is 3/4ths of my basement!! Like I tell my DH: if this room looks like those neat sewing rooms on Pinterest than I'm not creating much! Love my fully stocked work room where I'm constantly producing beautiful things!!!!

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    1. Oh Tee you have an amazing sewing area! I paid close attention when you were redoing it and it's definitely somewhere I could sew for hours and hours!

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  29. I've taken over one of the empty bedrooms in our home. It's not the largest but it does have a huge built-in wardrobe, plus north & east facing windows for wonderful light.
    I call it my Playroom. When the football is on the TV, I go in there to play. I don't like to call it work - work is not something I enjoy as much as I enjoy playing :D
    It's not 'well' stocked but is does have several projects packaged up with fabric, pattern & notions, for when I'm ready to go.
    It's also the room where I crochet, knit, spin, make jewellery, make cards, quilt and plan.
    I homestead - grow 90% of our food - so it's really only winter when I get to spend hours in my playroom. During the growing, harvesting and preserving months, I only get to play for about an hour a day.
    It is very girly with lots of fresh white paint and pastel things hanging from the ceiling and on the walls, silk flowers and soft dolls on shelves. That's so it is an alien environment to any trespassing males - they can't stand the femininity so they stay out and don't meddle or dig through looking for 'things'. I can go in there and absorb the serenity, forget about bugs & compost, hot stoves and sterilised jars, and just have some girl time, some me time.

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  30. My sewing workroom is also the gathering room when my friends come over, since that is where we end up migrating because everyone always is so intrigued to know what I am working and and creating. I am lucky I guess to have so much space and the freedom to work pretty much anywhere in the house I choose. But whenever I want to be someplace else it's usually the dining room just off the kitchen.

    I am one who only wants that which is practical and useful to take up space in my house. Ths I only have very sentimental items in addition to items and tools that help me to get my work complete in my workroom/ sewing room.

    I am so comfortable in my space, that at any given visit that's where you will find me.

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  31. Your studio pretty much looks like mine --- BUSY! A pristine sewing space is not inspiring. And if course everyone only want to take pictures of their space after a thorough cleaning and organization. But I like to see how people work in the midst.

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    1. I remember your room but could always do with a refresher *hint/*hint!

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  32. My "cave" is a converted bedroom in my house that is full, full, full. It's a working room, and shows it! I strive for organization--not decor. Many of the rooms I've pinned from Pinterest are very pretty, but I'd rather have a workroom than a showroom.

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  33. Ooh, interesting! My sewing room is in the basement and has a lovely west facing window with lots of afternoon/evening sunshine. I have photographed and blogged about it, and 'when it is tidy' it looks lovely - everything in it's place (I like to stock up as well - fabric, thread, patterns, zippers, interfacing, linings, buttons etc), and I would even go so far as to say that it does look 'well appointed'.

    However, now that I have 'settled in' it looks somewhat different. With two large greyhounds on the floor - for some reason they really like stretching out in my room - alongside half finished projects, new supplies, finished projects, knitting/beading/cross stitch supplies etc., it may not be as tidy and photograph ready but it is my heaven and I LOVE it!

    My only complaint - and really, I am not in a position to complain, is that I do not have space for a cutting table and have to use the dining room. Having said that, if I was able to cut out in my sewing room - I don't think that my husband would ever see me!!! Oh, and it would be useful to have a garment hanging rack for pattern and 'in progress' garments.

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    1. Your sewing room is beautiful and I've always wondered where you cut out at. Now I know! I think part of the reason my room is quite crowded is because my cutting table takes up alot of floor space...but I need my cutting table in my sewing room!

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  34. My sewing room is my home office. You might say it has a split personality, but both are messy spaces, as I'm writing a book (totally unrelated to anything sewing). I flip back and forth between the cerebral and the creative as the inspiration (or the need) flows. Though there are many times I can't do either... And, yes, I cut things out on the dining room table.

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  35. I converted our dining room into a sewing room - well, why not? It's not like anyone uses a formal dining room anymore, right? I love the space - it is off the sitting room/kitchen and looks out over the swimming pool in the back. It is flooded with light (a bit too much in the afternoon, actually), so I have to keep my fabric put away. My husband put the table up on bricks and built a padded cover - voila! Instant cutting table! I do like to keep my room as tidy as possible, however. I could not abide Koos' space. Well, I am a Virgo! Thanks so much for this very interesting topic!!

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  36. My sewing space is a bedroom that I converted. I have to say that my sewing room has evolved over the years. I now have space that soothes my soul and ignites my creativity. I keep it stock with the items I need to sew.

    I have difficulty working in clutter, it becomes a distraction for me. So after I finish a project, I do tidy up my room.

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    1. I've seen pictures of your sewing room - I definitely could sew there! It's beautiful!

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  37. I love this! I have a sewing/craft room that is in my second bedroom (I live by myself so I can do as I please!) but it has been in need of some change-up/reorganization for a while. Partly this is because when I initially setup in there I wasn't really sewing and haven't fully figured out what I need in there. I totally agree that pristine is not my style (lol in ANY of my house!) but it does need some purging. This is totally on my list for delving back into today so this was a lovely little boost! You are so very inspiring and I love your honesty about what goes on in the space. Plus I love your "collection" term. I think it sounds so lovely. Now to consider...

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  38. Great post!! My friends say my space is pristine but inpspiring. LOL! I sew in my "home inside my home" It's neat and clean but get's tossed when I do a project. (who's doesn't?) But, I need neat so I clean up after every project as the clean room gets my juices flowing to know I get to "mess it up" yet again. (clutter makes me nervous) My room was inspired by past sewing spaces in my 2 previous homes. It has what I needed and what I now need to get the job done. It's on the other side of my house and is designated the "no males" zone! It really reflects me and how my craft has matured over the years.

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  39. i have a huge finished space over the garage. Lots of windows. I sew, but I also knit, spin, embroider, play with beads, and some etc. So there's lots of storage. Right now there are too many projects going, and it's super messy. I MUST start saying NO when people give me stuff, and stop over-estimating my amount of spare time.

    I love my space. I wish it were a bit more pinterest and a bit less mess, but oh well. The best thing is to think of a project, and go to my space and have everything there waiting. Heaven!

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  40. Your space seems like a great place to work! I love the idea of a workroom and really enjoy the days I get to spend working in a workshop- it's so nice to be someplace where everything has a place and all the proper tools are easily accessible!

    I sew in my living room, and I'm lucky enough that I can keep my machines out all the time (they're on a table against one wall). I try to keep things pristine and clean up after every project since everything is right out in the open, but it's a neverending battle against clutter! I cut on two card tables, which I fold up and tuck away when I'm not working... not the most elegant solution, but it's better than cutting on the floor! :)

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  41. My sewing and I have lived in a variety of places and my current area is one of my favorite. It's in the finished attic also know as the family room, my sanctuary, and when the kids were small the "mommy zone". I love light and here I can see the weather change, snoop on my neighbors and watch as many Doris Day movies as I want while I sew.

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  42. Great space, and great topic, Carolyn! Well, we don't have basements in Florida, so I took an unused bedroom & bathroom as my sewing room. It faces the front of the house, and has lots of windows. I love the light and watching the neighborhood comings and goings while I sew and/or work on projects. It's in the center of our house, so I'm not far from my people, and usually my 4 legged buddies hang out with me. There is a twin bed in the room, which serves a dual purpose. It's great for when my daughter wants to hang out with me while I'm sewing; it's also where my girlfriends sleep when they stay. (You know they have gotta be really good friends to be sleeping in my sewing room!) My sewing room is bright, with lots of color, pattern, and texture. The one area that needs improvement is the fabric storage closet. I generally have multiple projects going at a time, which can create clutter. Clutter is a mojo killer for me, so I tidy up often. However, I do have a growing stack of patterns matched to fabric that are the 'next up' stack, which sits on one side of my worktable as a visual reminder. I also like having a ready supply of sewing necessities. No need to put off a project when you need a zipper right now!

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  43. Carolyn you are so right. A person's sewing "area" is part of them. Mine is a sewing room, office (because I use my computer there) and part time viewing room too. It's nice to get into my room to contemplate what is next on the sewing menu. I do spend lots of time viewing patterns and blogs.... I do so need to stop reading and get to doing!!!!
    But, back to the room.... it's one of those used, rooms, drawers/shelves and containers full of fabrics, notions, and pictures of inspirational things. Enough where you are... and what you do. That's what life is all about. Don't spend your life regretting what you should have done.

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  44. My sewing room is a room that was built as a study off our master bedroom. We've used it as a nursery for our two youngest children when they were babies, but the room is not really very practical as a bedroom. There were no cupboards in the room and because I knew that I wanted to turn it into a sewing room, we installed shelves on both sides of the bay window. It's not very big, but there is plenty of light, a good view and a reasonable amount of storage. I have a computer set up to look at tutorials and blogs online, a TV and all my sewing and knitting books. I'm always very happy to be able to go there and even happier when I can sew unhindered for an hour or two. With 3 small children it is a luxury that I seldom experience, however. :-) I love your sewing room. I'm sure I would be able to just get lost for days looking at your fabric and patterns.

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  45. My sewing room journey has evolved over the years. Lol when we moved into our home 7 years ago, I took over a small bedroom area in the unfinished basement. Then I moved my stuff into the family room area in that unfinished basement. Once we got it finished and the kids moved downstairs, I took a small bedroom upstairs as my sewing room. Now that both kids moved out, my husband allowed me to use the other bedroom also. So NOW, I have 2 rooms to create. Long story short.

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