Confession time: I love websites like Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. I love browsing Pinterest for gorgeous photos of enviable sewing rooms, spacious living rooms and immaculate bedrooms—all of which don’t have bikes in them.
I start to think that everyone else lives in a dream land of tidiness and organization and space. And you know what happens when I spend hours and hours looking at other people’s beautifully photogenic lives?
I get really jealous.
I always thought coveting was one of the more innocuous of the famous deadly sins, but I’ve started to notice something lately about what happens to my general satisfaction levels after a wistful daydream session on Pinterest.
I think about how much more creative I’d be in a better space, and so I have a hard time being creative in the space I have. I imagine how much happier I’d be if I didn’t have to move a bike to get to my dining room table, and so I have a hard time not resenting the bikes for being in the way. And so on, and so on.
So the idea came to me the other day that I’d like to take you on a tour of my sewing space—because it’s actually quite amazing that I can have a dedicated sewing space, given the size and bicycle infestation levels in our apartment. It’s a rather nice little creative sanctuary, despite its size, and I want to do a better job of being grateful for it.
I also want to push back a little against the idea of a perfect dream space that seems to be floating around the blogosphere. Yes, I love to see everyone’s light-filled spaces with their reclaimed furniture and quirky paint jobs and massive cutting tables. But I also want to see the basements and spare closets that most of us sew in.
So here’s mine. (I tidied, but did not vacuum. Kindly do not look at the floor.)
I share a spare bedroom with generally 5-7 bicycles. Rob’s a master of real-life Tetris, so he’s managed to make the bikes take up as little room as possible—about a third of the total space.
Sewing stuff colonizes most of the shelving and the closet, although there’s a fair amount of random stuff that should probably be sorted through and taken to Goodwill hanging out in the farthest reaches. Red’s wearing a silk charmeuse dress that I draped the other day. (It’s embarrassing to think how long ago “the other day” actually was….)
This is my sewing/writing table. When the Pfaff is pushed all the way to the back and it’s tidy, it actually is kind of spacious. I generally cut things out on our bed, on top of one of those big plastic cutting mats (thanks, Mom!). It’s a pretty doable arrangement, though after an hour or so my back starts killing me.
My cutting mat table has been a total wreck for many months, but I recently waged war against the clutter and got it into this shape. In a space this small, having another table surface feels like a miracle. Yay for miracles!
I set up a filing system to capture the pieces of paper that used to wind up here, which helps a ton. The best thing I ever did on this front was label one folder “To Be Filed.” That’s where I put everything I don’t want to deal with right now but should probably keep. Whenever it gets full to overflowing, I pull out my actual filing box and sort through it all. SO much better than my previous method of moving a stack of random papers from one surface to the next and back.
Fabric is in bins all over the place. Kind of by type, but mostly I’m the only one who could ever find something. I have stacks of fabrics that I actually intend for a project sitting out on the shelves so I can see them and be inspired.
I set up some files for self-drafted patterns, etc. I did actually cover them with pretty paper in an attempt to spruce things up.
And this is where I iron:
Knock on wood, I’ve yet to get bike chain grease on anything I’m ironing. This little corner is the one place that I really do need to change up a bit–mostly I’d just like to add a light over the ironing board so I can actually see what I’m doing.
Thanks for the little indulgence!
So, tell me. What’s the strangest thing that also lives in your sewing area? Anything more irritating than a bevy of bicycles? I’m all ears.