Category Archives: Sewing Room

Busy three months

I know it has been more than three months since I posted. My life has gone into overdrive.

  • School ended, which meant I had to pack up all my personal belongings from the classroom to bring home, and all the rest for the summer. My teaching job has ended in favor of a big move to Michigan!
  • I took online classes for enough credits to renew my long-expired Michigan teaching certificate, just in case.
  • We have made two more trips to Michigan with loaded trailer: at the end of May and at the end of June. Now that most of our things are in Michigan, we know there is just too much for a small house.

I did have time to work a little bit on the maze quilt in June, posted here. I was able to get two more rows done, and work on another, before I had to pack up my whole sewing room and put it all on the trailer. Talk about withdrawal!

In March 2011 we had an auction. Here are some of my lovelies that had to sell at that time.

Several of my sewing machines

Several of my sewing machines

Three of the four you can spot in this picture actually ran well enough to be used daily. The one in the blonde cabinet was from 1927 or thereabouts and once it was oiled it worked very well. I’m a sucker for old, mechanical machines without electronics.


To the left of the hide you can see a treadle machine in cabinet.



Here is another treadle machine, electrified. I believe the same gentleman bought all the sewing machines.

Now I am trying to sell one more. It’s clean and a beauty, but I really have a very small sewing room where I’ll be living.

Singer 99K

Singer 99K from 1955

My next blog post will be as a Michigan resident. I promise some updated pictures on the maze quilt soon. I’m anxious to get it completed!


Restricted by the landlord, Inspired by my husband

We are renting short-term, and the landlord absolutely forbids anything on the wall. I can’t have shelves that would organize things so well in the sewing room, and I can’t give up a lot of floor space. We have several bookshelves that are doing duty as a pantry because of the shallow (and few) cabinets in the kitchen. I don’t really want to buy more furniture, even used, so a comment by my husband inspired this sewing room makeover. “I could even use boxes as furniture for a while.” So I will.

inspired temporary storage of fabric

I have some plastic bins on the floor with various craft supplies that I can’t seem to live without, but never open the box to access. Anyway, I decided to tape together some of the boxes we have saved for the next big pack-and-move, and use them as fabric storage. All this is supposedly set aside for doll clothing and accessories. I keep going to thrift stores and stumbling onto fantastic sales so I come home with another bag full of tops, tablecloths, and fabric remnants that I just know I can turn into something absolutely cute for a doll.

I stacked the boxes in the corner, and it also inspired me to rearrange most of the rest of the room. I think I can walk through it again. Even though I resent using valuable sewing time to clean, fold, and reorganize, I know I’ll appreciate it the first chance I need something and can immediately put my hands on it.

Big Changes ahead

This has been a busy and amazingly smooth several months.

First, we decided the acreage and a 5-bedroom house is way too much for the two of us with no livestock. In January we met with an auctioneer and scheduled the auction, to sell off the house/acreage and most of our furniture and belongings. We spent the next 2 1/2 months boxing up belongings and moving a lot of it into the garage.

Auction was in Mid-March. We call it a success in our minds, though the house didn’t bring a high enough bid for us to sell. It’s a dizzy high to see all our unneeded furniture, books, toys, tools, and dishes leave in the span of a couple of hours with people from all over two counties. We then listed the house for sale and it was put on the multi-list.

I needed surgery, and I scheduled it for right after the auction. The day after, I was home and my husband was showing a realtor through the house. A week later he wanted to bring a couple from another state to look. We signed their offer on April 6. The closing will be less than 30 days, so we started to scramble again.

We knew our plan was to find a place to rent for about a year. We started driving through neighborhoods in small towns between where my husband works and where I work, so we split the commute. We found a place and completed the application.

And now I come to the reason for my post. I dismantled my sewing room this morning. I’m glad it was so organized to begin with, so it was a simple thing to move plastic tubs of fabric to the empty bedroom closest to the front door. I disassembled the racks that held all those tubs and I have a pile of poles and shelves. There is just a little more stacking and moving, and the whole sewing room will be ready to move next weekend.

We plan to move in two stages: first non-essential items, then a week later the essentials like bed, clothing, kitchen, food, etc. Can you believe that my husband claimed the sewing room was non-essential??

But you can only use one at a time…

I know it has been a few days since I’ve posted. I have been working in the sewing room, just nothing very exciting so I didn’t post about it. I hemmed some pants, designed a paper piecing block that represents a sewing machine, and made a mini wall quilt for myself. That wall quilt is now my Gravatar and it hangs over my sewing machine.

I have a new project to start with a short deadline, so I decided to do a little cutting for it today. I cut white cotton into squares, 5 1/2 inches per side. The person this is for (cannot say, it’s a surprise) likes different shades of blues and browns. fabrics for wall quilt

On two opposite corners I will sew a triangle and when it’s together, it will resemble a twisted star. You’ll just have to trust me on this if you don’t believe it. I managed to get 45 white blocks cut and I located all the reasonable fabrics from my scraps that I will use for the corner points.

I’ll be on a vacation trip, beginning this week, so I may not be posting unless from the trip.

And the reason for the post title: I counted all the sewing machines that I own. First, in my defense, let me say that it’s addicting to pay so little at an auction or garage sale for a machine that I value so highly. For many, I paid only $15 or less, and several in the $3-10 range. Okay, out with it, I have 15 sewing machines. Makes you wonder what my house looks like, doesn’t it? In my sewing room itself, I have a non-working Elgin in a cabinet that holds up my stereo so I can have music as I work. I recently put up for sale two of the Singers: a 401 Rocketeer in a cabinet, and a 1923 model 127 in an art deco cabinet. I have the Singer 306W built into a small table, the new electronic Singer Professional 2010, and the Brother small home embroidery/sewing machine.

Singer 401

Singer 127

On the upstairs landing I have two treadle machines, both Singer, but neither has a cabinet or table. I haven’t bothered to see if they work. I have two other treadle machines, one has been electrified with a pedal bolted to the treadle pedal, and I have a Wheeler and Wilson. I have Kenmores in the dining room (being side tables) and one in the guest bedroom (ditto). I have been in “purge” mode for a while now, so in addition to the ones I have listed for sale, I’ll see if I can give away (non-working) or sell more of the others.


When the room gets messy…

When the sewing room becomes a mess, it means I have been working hard. It also means I’m not paying attention to my environment. I know that organization makes the sewing go so much faster. Take, for example, my search for a zipper for the pillow I made last week. I knew I had a small box with several zippers in it, hoping to find one long enough to use for the pillow cover. I ended up making it a fold-over instead of a zipper closure. Sure enough, the next thing I did was to come across the zipper collection.

I spent about an hour to begin with today, moving, sorting and putting supplies away. I have a great start to fantastic organization, but somehow I just don’t keep up with it by putting everything away between projects. Not cool.

Afterward, I got the urge to complete the seashell evening bag I started yesterday. I had glued the side gussets to the book cover, and needed to figure out what I was going to do about the handles. I finally came up with three holes in the book cover. I threaded gold-covered thread through the hole twice, and dangled a gold-tone teardrop bead at each site. The thread then looped over the wooden handle and tied near the hole in the back, to be covered by the final fabric part of the purse. With all the wet glue that needs to set, I found an appropriate sized book to insert in the purse, closed the cover, and laid heavy books on top. Now set, here is how it looks, for sale in my Etsy store.

Seaside Date Evening Bag

Seaside Date Evening Bag

I wanted to start another book purse, and got this lovely specimen out.

book for purse

I adore the patterns and colors on the cover. I started cutting away the pages and I lost all interest in continuing. I will, another day, but today I was already done for.

I have an appointment with a boutique owner in a little over a week, and I hope to have plenty of lovely book purses for her to stock her shelves with. Can you imagine coming across the collection in a retail center? I have about 12 purses at this time, and hope to have at least 4 more by then.


Sewing in cool comfort

I’m from the north, but I’m here in Southwest Missouri. It’s hot and humid these days, and I typically hide indoors most of the summer. Excellent choice for someone whose hobbies include quilting and sewing!

I got a couple things done in the sewing room today. Two pages of the mystery quilt were waiting to be completed, so I got busy. This involved cutting some rectangles, sewing some 4-patch blocks, and some half-square triangles. I’ve decided to keep the parts of this particular quilt in a shoe box and set it on a shelf when I’m not working on it, so I have more clear space on my cutting table for other projects.

mystery quilt pieces

I was going to make some book purses next, but while I was looking through some of my notions, I came across my gold crochet thread. I found a large-eye needle, threaded it from the back of the toe design on the pillow front that I made for my stepdaughter, and used monofilament thread to zigzag over the gold. Instant toe rings! I made one as a triple-wide band, using a multiple stitch zigzag, and  one double-wide, and one toe has two thin rings.

toe rings

I’ll have to work on book purses another day. My stepdaughter has offered to sell them in her boutique in KC, so I need to work up an inventory now.

Day 18 of 50-Day Challenge

Day 18 of 50-Day Challenge

Summer, Day 1

I know, it’s still spring officially, but I work as an elementary teacher and today is the first weekday I didn’t have to report for work. All morning I half expected a phone call from the boss asking where I was.

This summer will be very different from other summers. I am not taking college classes, organizing and creating new teaching materials, working summer school, or tutoring students. I’m going to take this summer just for me.

I figured out the number of weekdays I am free is 60, and that includes Memorial Day. If I subtract 10 workdays for my vacation (but I’ll actually be gone 12), the number remaining is 50. So, my challenge for myself is to be productive in the sewing room for at least 50 days this summer. If I work on the weekends, I’m ahead of the game. There is nothing like the feeling of being productive to make everything else feel so good.

Let me introduce you to my sewing room. I’ll have to take more pictures, since I lost some great ones when I first set it up. I’ll show you a few things for now.

Low loft polyester batting on a roll, 48 inches wide. I have a lot of wall space and my idea was to make it easy to get to my batting and take just what I need. I used a simple curtain rod, attached to the wall. I recently used up the first roll of batting I bought this way and had to change rolls, and I was able to do that without help!

My newest machine, a Singer Professional 2010. My husband talked me into purchasing it. It has a lot of built-in stitches. I’m a mechanical girl, preferring something I can oil, adjust and repair myself, but it’s a very nice change to work in the current century sometimes.

Now that I’m off for the summer, I’ll have plenty of time to add to this blog and keep current. I’ll also be posting what I’m doing to be productive, and keep track of the number of days I’m successful.