Sewing workspaces to be precise! You are in for a treat today, because this is the closest most of you will ever get to a tour of our house. Charlotte took photos recently of all our workspaces in varying stages of… well… use, and today I am here to share them with you, as well as talk about being organized/unorganized in the realm of having a workspace.
This is Charlotte’s workspace. She has a cabinet Slinger Slant-o-Matic from the 1950s which doubles as a worktable for the projects she is working on. Since her sewing machine’s bulb recently went out on her, Charlotte has a table lamp to help with lighting. She keeps her thread and bobbins near at hand as well as the attachments for her machine. On the right hand side of her machine she has bins for her fabric and current projects.
Jessica’s workspace overlaps with Charlotte’s somewhat, as they both share an empty sewing machine cabinet for extra storage, and both of their sewing machines are in the basement. Jessica sews on our “family” machine, the Elna Diva 9000, which sits atop a machine cabinet that holds an even older Elna machine that is currently not working. Let me tell you, cabinet machines are the best. Not only do they afford some extra table space, but they also sometimes include drawers and such for extra storage.
My workspace is up in my room, so I don’t have as much space to spread out for storage and such. But this, my dears, is my “studio” in all its cluttered glory. I have my 1960s Kenmore cabinet machine by the window, and various means of organization and piles of projects sit beside my work-table. In the suitcases and bins are fabric, patterns and sewing notions. It does make me cringe a little to see my un-organized mess of fabric piles, but I was in the middle of a project when these photos were taken, so I really couldn’t help it.
I think all of us have dreams of beautifully organized spaces where everything has its place, and there aren’t piles of half-finished projects. But the truth is, a workspace is exactly that: a space in which to do work. It isn’t meant to be kept all nice and shiny all the time. I do like things to be organized and in their proper place (thanks to a wonderful Mom who taught me that “everything has its place” as I was growing up), but I’ve come to realize that my form of organization is a working organization.
My workspace is constantly in use. That means my table is constantly cluttered, fabric is moved from box to sewing machine to closet, patterns are spread out and packed back up again… everything is in a constant cycle. But, as I am learning how to manage my workspace better I have started a routine of having a clean-up day at the end of every project, where I make sure that all of the supplies I had used for that project are put away in their proper place, the thread bin is cleaned out, and everything is in a state of organization again before I put all my tools back to use. Otherwise what ends up happening is what I would call the “flood” effect. Layers of leftovers from previous projects get piled on top of each other, like layers of sediment in a flood, until you have to dig to find what you are looking for. I have had my workspace get to that stage before, and it drives me nuts! At that point I just have to stop what I am doing and clean everything up before I can move forward.
So to conclude, remember, workspaces are meant to be worked in. Each tool and notion should have its place that it should return to when you are finished with it, but in the middle of a project, workspaces get messy! Embrace the mess while you are in it, and when the project is finished, embrace the clean, organized space you can create once your work is complete.
How do you organize your workspace?
What type of sewing machine do you use?
Do you prefer cabinet or portable sewing machines?
Brigid, the Middle Sister and Singer