Tagged: sewing

blue birdie shirt on the brooklyn bridge

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

I made this little tee last summer, and it’s one of the simplest shirts I’ve ever made. No sleeves to set, just two pattern pieces to stitch together and then hem. Despite this shirt’s simplicity – or possibly because of it – it is my #1 most worn me-made garment, hands down.

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

The ultimate test of wearability for me-mades is simple: does it make it into my suitcase? This shirt passed with flying colors, and has traveled as far as Thailand! But these pictures are from another one of its journeys, when I met my favorite Marie in New York for a weekend of fabric shopping, dessert eating, and general exploring.

What’s extra special is that I bought the fabric on another Marie adventure, at the Türkenmarkt in Berlin. The fabric was cheap, and it’s not great quality, but somehow it became an extremely comfortable shirt with the perfect amount of drape and stretch. After a year of nonstop wear, it’s starting to thin out, especially where the shirt ends up rubbing on my belt buckle, but I think I have enough fabric left for a clone.

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

Trips with Marie always include blog photos for us both, like these where we crossed the Brooklyn bridge and I said things like, “am I walking too fast? is it blurry? how’s this?” and she patiently snapped shot after shot.

NYC garment district - fabric bolts

Of course, I can’t neglect to mention the fabric. Mood was the queen of eye candy, as always (and winner of both our wallets…), but there were plenty of stores, like the one above, that provided loads of inspiration. Finding fabric is a joy in itself, but the best part of this trip was discussing future projects with a fellow crafter. One of us would spot a fabric similar to one already in the stash, and we’d talk through a planned shirt, skirt, or bag… so many ideas, so little time!

For Marie’s much more timely documentation of our New York trip, check out her blog posts: Day 1, Day 2.

sewing room tour, 2015 edition

Hi friends! It’s been 7 months since I posted the first tour of my sewing room, and a lot has changed. With every project, I tweak the room a bit to make it work better for me… it’s so fun to see how little changes can make my sewing organization so much better! A few things have stayed the same, but the changes have added up, so I hope you’ll enjoy spotting the differences with me.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

The view from the doorway has gotten much fuller with time. I’ve been trying to take advantage of the high ceilings: walls are precious real estate for storage and inspiration. Of course, the biggest difference is the bookshelf in the corner, a gift from my friend Katie. I visited her at her new apartment soon after she moved in, and commented on the bookshelf that was standing in her entryway. “You like it? Take it,” she said. “It’s on its way to Goodwill.”
It was meant to be… the shelf fits perfectly on that wall and it makes a world of difference in my supply storage. It even has cubbies!

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

Coming in from the door, first we’ve got a full-length mirror. Crucial and so convenient. I’ve added a little handmade corkboard to the next skinny little wall to accompany Hannah’s cross-stitch. My second favorite souvenir ever (first here of course) is that handmade ostrich marionette, purchased in Barcelona circa 2007. It shares a wall with the doggies.

My Husqvarna Viking is back in her rightful place. I love the million-pound Adler, and sew with it frequently, but it’s too heavy for this little table. And, of course, the Viking does things like zig zags and buttonholes.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

The serger corner is looking far less bare than in the previous tour. I hung a small pegboard rack for my scissors and cutting tools: I’ve learned that having scissors within reach is crucial to my sewing happiness.

A quilt hoop with muslin stretched over it becomes a simple pinboard, and a garland of felt beads hangs from the ceiling. One of my tape spots came down, so the garland is drooping; I’ll have to have Brad (the tall, helpful one) tack it back during his upcoming visit.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

The shelf of glory. It fits perfectly on this wall and holds many of my must-need items, freeing space on my cutting table for, well, cutting. Serger thread, colorful tapes, patterns, pattern books, pattern binders. And, of course, narwhals and a party turtle on display.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

I picked up these awesome green drawer things at an estate sale last weekend for $1 each. Yep. And they fit perfectly in this cubby of the shelf. When I bought the drawer units, they were already being used to store sewing supplies, so it makes me happy that I’m continuing the legacy of the previous owner. I cleaned out the drawers (unfortunately, no great treasures: just a few old buttons and straight pins) and sent all the drawers through the dishwasher so they’re sparkling clean.

My favorite feature of the drawers, at the moment, is the fact that most of them are empty. I shouldn’t have to explain how luxurious it is to have empty drawers in a sewing room.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

Here’s the window wall. Much more full than last time, but it’s also much more efficient. Three overflowing bins of fabric under the table, and a small 3-shelf unit on the left-hand side that serves as my ironing station. The shelves also hold some trims, zippers, etc.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

Another quilt-hoop-turned-pinboard. I like them because they’re lightweight and easy to hang on the wall. I included this corner shot so you can better understand the shape of the room.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

The tiny, glorious closet. Not much has changed here, but the fleeces have moved to my vintage dining room hutch and this drawer thing has been reassigned to hold Fluffyland items: patterns, cut-out narwhals, tusks, samanthasnap necklaces, etc. I’m actually learning to like the small size of the closet: it makes it easy to keep the space from becoming cluttered and overrun.

sewing room tour: fluffyland studio

This tiny shelf is almost identical to before, except, again, more full but more efficient. Bins of supplies and the tools I like to keep handy. Up top is a tiny painting I made one day, just swishing a brush around… hadn’t done that before and I’ve kept the painting up there as a reminder to try new things. It’s definitely ugly but it’s also cool and it makes me want to try again.

Full circle! What do you think?

Links and References

wiwo wednesday: fabric storage and productivity

I’m joining Marie for wiwo wednesday (What I’m Working On). I always love to see what my favorite crafters are up to, and in-progress shots often tell an even better story than the finished product.

fabric storage: rolls of colorful fleece in my vintage hutch

This week’s theme is productivity. It’s a never-ending battle, something I’m always Working On, but I’m continuing to streamline my space so that when I have time to make something, I get to make something.

Keeping supplies in plain sight is the best strategy for encouraging myself to sew more often. The dining hutch above holds my Roy G. Biv assortment of fleece, rolled for easy stacking (and easy on the eyes). The hutch also holds a few fabrics I’m looking to use in the near future, and all my spools of crochet thread – something I constantly reach for on little crafts. I call it My New Favorite Crafting Supply.

sewing room light: LED strip around ceiling

Another big issue was the lighting in my sewing room. There was no overhead lighting in the room, so I was operating with three task lamps: one at the table, one at my machine, and one at my Serger. It was barely enough light to sew straight, and this meant I didn’t enter that room after dark since it would be fruitless.

I finally found the perfect solution: strips of LEDs with an adhesive backing. They’re lightweight, yet super bright, and they can be easily removed when I move out. I didn’t use the adhesive backing on mine, Brad used a staple gun to attach them to the wall near the ceiling. My staples were just wide enough to clear the strip on each side and hold it snug. Don’t staple through the strip! I bought two spools, 16 ft each, so almost the entire ceiling of my tiny room is surrounded in lights. The indirect light is perfect for sewing, and obviously I get a lot more sewing done when I’m not restricted to daylight hours.

productivity: blog editorial calendar

Finally, blogging. Again, it’s all about getting myself started. Blog photos are definitely something best kept to the daylight hours, LED lights or no LED lights (although I’m hopeful they’ll help). But coordinating an idea, photos, photo edits, and an actual post becomes an ordeal when usually I only have the time or the energy for one of those.

I finally gave in and made myself an editorial calendar. The most basic calendar in the world, because grays give me room to do whatever I want. I’m sorting post-it flags by post category, and of course the mobility of post-its is their best feature: nothing is fixed, everything is fluid.

february 2015: gray printable blog editorial calendar

If you’d like to download a copy of my February and (most of) March editorial calendar, it’s here in PDF form:

Download Feb/Mar 2015 Printable Editorial Calendar (PDF)

What are you working on? Do you have any productivity tips to share with me?

More LED strip info, for the curious

For my sewing room, I used 2 spools of HitLights Warm White High Density LEDs and chained and plugged them into one 60 watt power supply. I chose the high density because I wanted it to provide light for the whole room, and I’m glad I did – they’re still not too bright (unless you look directly at them). I chained them and plugged them both into one 60W power supply, which worked fine for me, and I noticed no decrease in brightness. The manufacturer recommends using 60W per strip, meaning I should have used two power supplies, but that made no difference in my case so I just used the one.

The reviews make these sound complicated, but you really just have to plug everything together and go! If you want more details or need help, as always, ask away.

(LED links are affiliate links, but I’m telling you about these because I’m excited about them – not because I’m looking for a cut.)