"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sewing in a Garage in Wyoming all Winter? Yep!

So I thought I would give you a little peek into my sewing room, which is in my garage. I live in Wyoming and yes, I sew year-round. So why is this in my garage? Space. Or the lack thereof. We live in a very nice two bedroom duplex graciously provided by my husband's employer. We are very thankful for the housing, because we would easily have to pay $1500 for this place if it wasn't a job benefit. Crazy housing prices here due to an oil and gas boom and a shortage of housing in our town. As much as we love our house (and we really do) we have a space problem. We have 4 children (yes, in a two bedroom), the oldest of which has recently moved out, making a little improvement in our confinement issues. Besides that, I run a licensed home daycare. So, there is absolutely no space inside for a sewing room. I decided the moment we moved in (several years ago) that I would set up my sewing room in the garage. Well, here it is...

So let me give you a little tour. Starting on the left is my shelving unit with most of my fabric stash in plastic tubs. Next to that is my regular home sewing machine, followed by an antique dresser from my grandmother which houses current projects and supplies. In the corner is my dressmaker form, which I pull out when I need it. Also in the back of that corner is my serger, stored in its box when I'm not using it. Straight ahead in the photo is my industrial machine - which is my go-to machine for almost everything. Above the industrial machine, I have both of my grandmothers' sewing machines. I consider that a treasure because they both had a great impact on my desire to sew. There are several other boxes of sewing supplies on the shelves there. Under the industrial machine is a small 3-drawer cabinet which holds all the things I need to reach while sewing - scissors, chalk and pencils, scraps of denim for repairing jeans, jean buttons, an assortment of my most-used threads, small tape measures, etc. I also keep my hot glue gun there and an assortment of cute fat quarters. All sewing machine supplies - bobbins, extra needles and the instruction book for the machine are housed with the machines. The industrial machine table has a drawer for all this stuff. Moving on to the right of the industrial machine is my ironing board. Two tall cabinets with doors are in the corner. One holds supplies - thread, patterns, elastic and other notions, rulers, etc. and both hold fabric and yarn supplies. Behind that I have a very large folding table which I can pull out when I need it. Next to the white cabinets is my chest freezer. I use this as a cutting table. It's the perfect height. I put a big area rug down, which helps define the space, keeps me warm, and makes it a lot easier to stand for longer periods of time while I cut fabric and iron. Considering the circumstances, I'm really happy with my sewing space!!

This is my main fabric stash. Here's a breakdown of what's on the shelves: top - upholstery fabrics, Christmas fabrics and "girl" fabric (because my one-year-old boy was supposed to be a girl). Second shelf - batting and stuffing, and a too-large box of works in progress (sounds better than unfinished projects, doesn't it?) The third shelf holds all my favorite fabrics - mostly dress making/clothing making fabrics. I only wear skirts (unless I'm skiing or on a snowmobile) so I have a lot of skirt fabric. The big tub on the fourth shelf is dress quality material that I picked up at a mill in North Carolina that was going out of business when we lived there - tons of fabric for pennies!!! My kind of sale. I actually used a lot of that fabric to make costumes for our whole church to do a big Christmas play while we were in North Carolina. Next to that is a couple of bags of fabrics I need to list on ebay. I actually have another large tub and three more bags of fabrics that need to go on ebay. The bottom shelf has a box of denim jeans waiting to be made into a quilt. I picked them up at a thrift store that was having a sale - all you could stuff into a large bag for a dollar. Then there's an assortment of fabric that didn't fit into any other category, followed by a box of nylon and cordura scraps from a bag factory I used to work at ages ago.

This is the messy area :) The dresser has a shelf I need to repair, and the fish tank is not normally stored under my sewing machine table. I bought the small sewing machine table at a yard sale for $20, but my machine doesn't have the ability to hook into it properly, so I built a shelf inside it which my machine sits down on, low enough that the table is at the same level as the sewing surface on the machine. The top of this table folds out to the left, doubling the workspace. I can't tell you how much easier it is to sew with the fabric at the same height as the machine. I don't think I could sew without it!

Lighting is an issue in the garage, especially since the 4-light flourescent fixture in this area needs to be replaced. To solve the problem I put several lamps and other lights around the room. I can't wait to get that main fixture replaced though. When it's nice, I usually open the garage door for more light. But for now, I have a lamp on the dresser, a three bulb free standing light in the corner aimed at the sewing area, and a 2 bulb fixture on the shelf above my industrial machine, in addition to the light mounted on my industrial sewing machine table. I have everything plugged into two surge protectors so when I need to sew, I just flip the switch on each surge protector rather than having to turn on every light individually.

This is the inside of my two white cabinets with doors. They are each about 6 1/2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The one on the left holds all my extra thread, boxes of patterns, a box full of different widths of elastic, trims, seam tape, buttons, zippers, safety pins and other notions, and some of the larger projects I'm working on. The cabinet on the right is all fabrics and yarn, as well as all of my crochet supplies. My sewing books and magazines (I don't have many) are in the top of the cabinet on the left, just out of sight in the picture.

The chest freezer is the perfect size for my cutting board, and is just the right height to keep me from getting a back ache. Between the freezer and the white cabinets are a couple of rolls of upholstery fabric.

When I'm not sewing, I hang the mat and ruler on the wall behind the freezer. Above the freezer, clear at the top of the wall, we mounted a closet rack, which holds off-season jackets and snowpants, and a few bolts of fabric. It's a little cave-like, but it suits my needs. I am so thankful to have a space where I can go and immediately be creative, rather than having to lug out all of my supplies. That way I can use those "few spare minutes" productively, and I can find everything. It may not be as pretty as some of the nice sewing rooms I've seen online, but I think it suits me perfectly. I really do sew year-round in here, and I accomplish quite a lot. Oh, and about heat? The garage is well insulated and finished with drywall, and I have a propane space heater ;) Hope you enjoyed the tour!!

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