Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sewing in the Sewing Loft

I know I said my next post would be a finished garment but I wanted to write about my experiences sewing in the Sewing Loft.

See everything is new.  New sewing machine, new sewing tables, new sewing arrangement...new, new, new! And my sewing muscle memory is for another place and time. So everything is moving slowly as I'm adjusting to all the newness!

First, as a Janome Maker, I am sewing on my new Janome 9450QCP.  While I've been a loyal Janome sewing machine owner for decades, this one is significantly different than all of the other machines I've worked on.  Every process, every consideration, even every foot, has been examined to make the sewing as simple and easy as possible. Now I know it's a quilting machine and even most of the YouTube videos are based on the machine's quilting capabilities. However, I've been using a "quilting" machine for garment sewing for decades - starting with a 6600P, moving onto the 8900QCP and now the 9450QCP.

Another reason I like this machine is because no eyestrain. The lighting is AMAZING. I had an Ottlite behind it and moved it because I just didn't need the additional light. It's all supplied by the machine and the extra overhead needle lighting.

My eyes are older now. It's a fact...so good lighting is a requirement. Just like the automatic needle threader which took me a minute to learn but is one of the main reasons for desiring this machine - ease of use. I have the feature on my 8900 and never quite got the hang of it.  I am having to rethink ingrained sewing processes because they're incorporated in the machine.

For my new make, there is some gathering in the body of the dress/jacket. I did it the way I've done it for years.  Lengthen your stitch, sew two rows of stitching, leave long tails and then pull the bobbin stitches to gather the stitches evenly. As I was reviewing my new Janome Workbook, I realized that there is a button for that. I want to use my sewing machine to its full potential...so I'm going to have to "unlearn" a few things!

See new...

Then there is my sewing machine table arrangement. I sew barefooted. While my sewing machine has a knee lift and a start/stop button for sewing, I still like using my foot pedal. The new table has so many pieces to stabilize it that I don't have the open space under it I had using a folding table. Learning that I can't kick my sewing pedal far out from my machine has been interesting.

Presently - my iron and ironing board are still at the bottom of the loft stairs. I'm making the trip up and down the stairs for now. I'm sure this will get tiring at some point. I do have some other options for ironing on the cutting table upstairs. As I try them out, I will share them.

Added a hook to the utility closet door for hanging projects

More space ~

I have more space to lay or hang pieces of my garments in progress including on Daphne my dressform. This is new. I had run out of space in the sewing cave and operated in very tight quarters with few clean surfaces. Not having my computer in the space definitely helps but the new layout is the real winner. The space astounded me as I worked in it last weekend.

Lighting ~

This refers to the room lighting.  Even as I worked in the sewing loft with natural light (astounding), dimmer light because of cloudy and rainy days, and darkness at night, the light is fantastic.  I still haven't figured out how to photograph things at night but during the day nothing beats the natural light.

I'm presently finishing up a Dover maxidress/jacket and that will be up on the blog next.  However, I really wanted to document this feeling of newness. So I can look back on it in several years, when I've acclimated to the loft and remember when!


...as always more later!




27 comments:

  1. Love reading about your new sewing area and glad to hear how well it seems to working for you. Congrats again on the new Janome. I still love love love my Pfaff 7570 but that light is amazing. I am envious of that. Jean

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  2. Very nice and organiser. I envy the lightning on your sewingmachine. It is so important!

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  3. Wow, more of your great ideas and going to flow from that space! Way to take care of yourself. Beautiful job!!!

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  4. I love your sewing loft! And you are going to LOVE the 9450, I bought the 9400 mostly for for the light and the open toed feet and the walking foot that works on pretty much any stitch - it is a delight to sew on.

    Think again about moving the pressing area - having to get up and move is a good thing for your body. I live in what is essentially a four story house - combining that with my bad memory is the basis of my fitness routine. I don't think I'd care for doing stairs for every. single. seam. because it would break my concentration, but the idea of having to move in order to do the next step is often beneficial.

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  5. Carolyn, so much good stuff. I'm loving your new space! The features on the new machines do making sewing more fun. For 30+ years I sewed on a Pfaff Creative then upgraded to a Pfaff Performance 5.2. I could not sew without the needle threader which my old machine has as well. I just can't see well enough to thread the needle. After two years, I'm still getting used to not having to lower the presser foot. Can't tell you how many times I reach around to do that :).

    Enjoy the newness :).

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  6. Your new sewing loft and machine are fantastic! Thank you for letting us live vicariously with you. The sewing machine light and other time saving features on your new machine make looking at a more modern one so tempting.

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  7. Oh, boy, I hear you about that light. Why it is taking sewing machine companies so long to realize that lighting is an issue is mystifying. Congrats to Janome.

    Running up those stairs is good for fitness.

    I've sometimes thought I should move my sewing room to my large living/dining room. It has wonderful light and space. Have to figure out new arrangements for Thanksgiving dinner, though.

    Your new dress hanging on the door is sure pretty!

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    1. Carol - the one thing that I love about moving is that you get to choose how you will use your space. So one of my main considerations is where will my sewing studio go. Sewing is as essential to me as a bedroom/bathroom/kitchen is and natural light was high on my list after sewing in a basement for the last 10 years. As for the stairs, right now I'm using them but I am including a smaller ironing space for my cutting table where I can sew smaller seams or collars, etc. I will definitely report back on how this is working for me.

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  8. Wow, thank you for thinking about it this way and sharing it. I've moved from room to room in the same house, but I tend to set it up the same way. "MORE LIGHT PLEASE!" my eyes yell at me.
    Once again, thank you for this.

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  9. Your new loft sewing is so interesting. Learning a new machine and being open to new ways to sew is quite adventurous - kudos to you! Karen

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  10. Good for you. I am glad you have an enjoyable space to create.

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  11. What fun to read you’re loving your new sewing loft. I’m envious of the natural light. I think what I really need is to empty everything out of my sewing space and ask you to visit me and design me a functional, efficient area. I can cook! 😀

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  12. Wow, this is wonderful to read and learn. I have sewn on a Quilters Janome for 15 years, and had no real thoughts of changing - but you have inspired me with your new machine. The lighting sounds fantastic, and as I have early stage cataracts I am struggling to see properly. A button for gathers! so handy and quick. Will look forward to hearing more about your amazing machine. And the sewing loft, which is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Patricia - as an older sewist it's definitely great to have features that make it easier to engage in my hobby. And so glad to know that you love Janome as much as I do! If you can afford it, I would suggest looking at the newer machines...so many features, so many conveniences, so much easier to create!

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  13. Lovely space. Do you batch sew and then batch press? How much up/down the stairs is it? I sometimes go up/down stairs gratuitously to get more exercise.

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    1. Yes, I sew as many seams as I can before I go downstairs to press. And yes, I'm appreciating the exercise!

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  14. ooooh, the lighting is such a game changer, both the natural light, and the one on your machine. Congrats on both!

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    1. Barbara - Thank you and you're right it is a game changer for these older eyes!

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  15. Nice sewing loft and nice new sewing/quilting machine. I still have my old Bernina machine and like it lot. I plan on getting my office area cleaned up before end of Nov now that I'm home more. That includes my sewing area. Add get warmer style curtains up. Have sewing more clothes. I found a nice dress last week I really like finally. Purple my favorite color. It was worth $69.98 all cotton and made in in USA. Take care!
    Becky

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  16. I am envious of your sewing room. Love your new sewing machine, Janome is a great brand! I need to redo my sewing room. I think your room will allow you to be even more creative, if that is at all possible as you are one of the more creative sewists I follow!

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    1. Thanks so much for that! I'm not feeling particularly creative right now. So much going on with moving, wfh, etc. that my sewjo is low. Also, like I said above, everything is new, so adjusting to working within the newness is challenging too!

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  17. Hi Carolyn, your sewing space is awesome. I agree getting exercise and stretching one’s body during a sewing session is especially important to keep us healthy. But going up and down the stairs frequently might be a safety issue. Many injuries at home occur with stairs. What if you switched your cutting table with your ironing board?

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  18. Beautiful sewing area. Inspires me to clean up my cluttered mess! I have a new Janome, also. The switch is in a different place, so I have to feel around. And a knee lift, my mom's machine that I sewed on for many years had the knee thing for starting the machine up. It's taken a while, but I finally don't expect it to sew after I press the knee lift. Talk about teaching old cats new tricks. LOL

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  19. Love your loft. I also just bought the 9450 after using the 8200. I usually use invisible zips but had to use a regular zip last week. Using the screens set up for this gave be the best looking regular zipper ever. I was amazed. Also, I read one time if you move from a 2 story home to a one story you will gain about 7 pounds in a year because of lack of stairs. Found that to be true unfortunately.

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  20. I love your sewing loft setup and especially love that it seems to have helped you get your sewing mojo back! You've got carpet! I have carpet in my sewing room, too....but you can't see it under all the stuff. Your photos have inspired me to remedy that situation.

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  21. Hi Carolyn, I am finding it so interesting to read about your new home and space and your feelings about these changes. I am retiring at the end of June (teacher) and I bought a house in the city my children all live in four years ago. When things settle down after I've retired I'll sell up here and move to my new home. Currently my sewing room is in the basement with a small North Window and there I'll be in a smaller room but with a larger South window. I'm looking forward to both retirement and starting fresh in another city near family.

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  22. Enjoyed seeing your new setup. Lighting is so so important. My sewing 'studio' is in the basement and i have a lot of task lighting. I need to do some redecorating, ie white paint and some new furniture (and possibly some new machines) I have a giant big screen tv and a great sound system. It makes sewing more pleasure. My pressing station has a big wide ironing board and a reliable steam tank iron. I have 2 sewing tables and one cutting table, team bernina is on one table and the janome folks are on the other. I have mucho selving for storing patterns, and my vintage sewing machine collection (which i need to part with since i invested in Bernina) But like you said the most important thing is greating lighting so you can see what you are doing. I have one those task, magnifying lights to help my aging eyes see the work and thread the needles.

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