Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My new sewing room

One of the best parts about moving to our new house is that I get to design my sewing room from scratch. How awesome is that? Even better, we've decided that we'll tackle my sewing room first. Yay for me!!!

I've chosen the slightly larger of the two basement bedrooms for my sewing room. The room isn't huge at 13ft x 13ft but I think it'll be big enough if I don't waste the space. If I have to, I can put my books and magazines outside the room in the common area. There's a window facing the backyard in that room so there will be lots of indirect natural light coming in through there.

Right now the room is carpeted and the walls are the same dark green paint that's everywhere in the house. We'll change both the carpet and the paint colour. The green is an ok colour for most rooms but it's too dark for a basement sewing room. While the carpet is nice and in good shape, it doesn't belong in a sewing room because pins and thread and fabric bits get all over the floor and are hard to clean off of carpet.

We'll start either by painting the walls or by taking the carpet out and putting in some kind of new floor. I want the walls to be a light, neutral colour to brighten up the space. One or another warm shade of white is probably the best choice, but choosing the actual colour might be tricky.

As for the floor, we'll probably go with a laminate or vinyl tile floor or something else easy to install. I definitely don't want a tile floor or anything that needs to be grouted because I want the smoothest floor possible. I want to be able to just sweep up the floor without pins and thread getting caught between the tiles.

I think I want a ton of lighting in the room to keep it bright and so that it doesn't feel like I'm in a basement. I'm not sure what kind of lighting would be best, though. I'll need task lighting at the sewing tables and over the cutting table and ironing board, but I don't know what would work best in the whole room. Track lighting? Wall lighting/floor lamps? There are no pot lights in that room and I don't know how easy it would be to put them in, or if they're the right choice. What are your thoughts on lighting?

I'm also going to need a ton of storage in the room. I want all of my fabric sorted and in closed cupboards or wardrobes so that it doesn't get dusty and I can find it easily. I also want places to store remnants and trims and threads and bobbins and sewing notions and patterns and books and magazines. I'd like to organize my fabrics according to use (upholstery vs fashion), fibre content, and colour, if possible.

I need to figure out how I want to store my fabrics, too. Because I tend to buy my fabrics in two- or three-yard lengths, I'm sort of leaning towards winding the fabric on a bolt and storing them upright. Other options could be to fold the fabrics flat (or wind them around bolts) and stack them flat on shelves or to hang non-stretchy fabrics and do something else with stretchy fabrics. I'm not sure which method is best. What are your thoughts? How do you store lots of fabrics?

Once I've figured out what I want lighting- and storage-wise, I'll need to work on the layout for the room. In addition to all the storage I want, I also think I want a really big cutting table (with possibly one end of it used for ironing)I expect that I'll use the tables I currently use for my sewing machines and. I'd also like to have a tv with DVD player in there and a radio or something else that plays music. And of course I'll need places for my in-progress projects as well as a mannequin and a mirror :)

Starting with a blank slate like this is exciting and a bit intimidating. Designing a functional sewing room is a big project and I've never done anything like this before. Still, my excitement at the idea that I'll have a sewing room that's perfect for me far, far outweighs my nervousness. I can hardly wait to move in and get this room done!


Anonymous said...

Wow! It must be exciting to be able to make a sewing room to your own specs! I have a couple of suggestions:

As far as lighting goes, I would put in a centralized ceiling light (not pot lights) for good overall light. And then I would have the task lighting that you mentioned. A ceiling light of around 150 watts shouldn't throw shadows in a 13x13 room with light coloured walls.

And for storing your fabric, I would put it on rolls if possible so that you don't have creases. Some fabrics develop a permanent crease where they are folded and some even lose their colour on the crease if they are printed - I found that out the hard way :( After xmas sales would be a good time to get lots of rolls cheap. Leave the wrapping on the roll for stability and cover it with brown paper or white banquet paper so there would be no chance of colour transfer.

Love, Mom

Robin said...

Well I can tell you that I know nothing about fabric storage (although mom's idea of rolls seems excellent).

As for lighting, I don't know how to light the room specifically, but I would definitely go with daylight bulbs. They are easier on the eyes and make the colors in the fabrics stand out more and have truer color representation.

Choosing a paint color can be tricky too. White is best because then the colors in the fabrics won't be altered depending on the reflection of light off the wall. The best way I've found to test wall color is to pick up the paint chips and tape them to the wall. Then look at them in every light imaginable. You will easily see which color is best for you, and not always the color that you thought was best standing in the store :)

Allison said...

The site apartment therapy has some really helpful stuff about lighting... let me see if I can find a link. Found one, but I think it might be worth going and finding the book (Apartment Therapy: The 8-step Home Cure) and sneaking a read of the Lighting section in a bookstore.

I have pot lights in my current flat and they are great for spreading out the ambient light, without creating shadows or one bright area and other dim areas. However, you'll obviously was at least a couple task lights too. Think about the warmth/colour of your light if you plan to do a lot of sewing at night!

Anonymous said...

I've lived in basement apartments and the best things I found for giving a good working light, that don't involve structural changes are torchieres. So long as the ceiling is white, they give a nice even, bright light and you can get bulbs that are fairly full spectrum. That the light goes up and bounces back down means that you also have less problems with shadows and uneven light.
It's great to have the problem of having to figure out how may a space your own!