Thursday, August 11, 2022

Sewing Room Construction - Doors!

The main purpose of separating out my sewing room was to have doors I could close - doors to keep people out, doors to keep the mess in, and doors for some small sense of privacy despite the glass panels. To keep with the aesthetic of my house, I ordered two 24" doors, craftsman style. All the window panes were tempered glass, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised at the cost: we live in the midwest and it was less than $500 for the set. 

And again, renovating through the holidays actually turned out to be a boon for my timeline: my supplier was able to build the doors in just under three weeks! They arrived right before Thanksgiving, and spent the holiday tucked away from my nephews inside the sewing room. The following Monday my contractor installed them, and by the end of the day they were framed. Here they are freshly installed, without any hardware:

Hardware was a ball-and-catch mechanism to keep them closed (it doesn't lock, but I can live with that), and stationary knobs that don't turn, but help push/pull the door open when the user passes through. 

It was almost sad to see them stained to match the rest of the house, but I have to admit that with hardware and baseboards, they looked pretty good!

Doors and paint were the final touch, so here's the end product of our sewing room renovation. Here's a panoramic view from the door:

And here's a view from the of the renovation itself.

Now, to put all that stuff back!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Sewing Room Construction - A Thanksgiving Adventure

In November 2021, contractors were hard at work adding the wall that would eventually separate my sewing room from the dining area. We'd lucked out, and the electrician (typically the long pole in the tent) came and went the weekend before Thanksgiving. We had lighting:

new outlets, and a dimmer switch: 

But the inner walls were still bare, leaving plenty of exposed electrical. 

This wasn't anticipated to be a big deal: We'd just move Thanksgiving to my MIL's apartment. We have other family in the area, but typically they visit *their* in-laws on T-day, leaving our Thanksgiving to be a cozy 5-6 person affair. Well, not *this* year.

3PM on Wednesday before Thanksgiving - as I was taking my kids to to local library for some unstructured play time - my husband got a call from his sister. Having just had twins 2 months prior, she confessed that she wasn't feeling up for the long drive to her husband's family with three kids in tow. So, she wanted to see if they could join our family's celebration instead.

Of course she could! We certainly weren't going to turn down an offer to celebrate Thanksgiving with her and her family (did I mention baby twins???) but... My MIL's apartment was *not* going to accommodate all of us. Soo... back to the drawing board.  

Or more accurately, cue epic panic.

My SIL's son was 3 years old. The sewing room had exposed outlets, and no doors. There was paint, and ladders, and construction supplies and random sewing implements EVERYWHERE in our dining area. Remember, the sewing room is right next to the dining room.

My husband called me, and I rounded up the kids to go home. The first thing we did was send my MIL to the grocery store for an extra ham, but then the next thing we did was tackle the sewing room. 

Fortunately, we had a pet gate that we usually use so we can leave the front door open without letting the cat out: it was JUST wide enough to cover the opening to the sewing room. Phew. 

And then, we had to get everything that was OUTSIDE the sewing room into the sewing room: here's how it looked when we were done:

Thanksgiving that year was lovely - and with the lights off in the sewing room you could barely even see the mess that was in there. But oh boy, was that a memorable holiday, and not just because of the twins!!!

Friday, August 5, 2022

Sewing Room Construction - Framing it all in

In summer of 2021 - 9 years after we moved into our house -  I developed a plan for renovating my sewing area to be an actual, closed-off room inside the house. Given the post-COVID home improvement boom, it took a few months to find an available, qualified contractor. It turns out most (sensible) people *don't* want home renovations interfering with their holiday plans, so my contractor was available starting... two weeks before Thanksgiving. Oooof. But, having waited this long, I was not about to let another delay slow me down: Christmas sewing schedule be darned, I signed on the dotted line and we started the renovation!!!

Here's the early stages, where you can see the framing for the wall going on. Then came drywall - one side only, so I could keep kids out of the area under construction, but the electrician could still work.

Here's the lighting I chose for the sewing room: can lighting seems to be the big recommendation for work spaces, but since this sewing room is doubling as a second TV area, I wanted something dimmable. I also suspected I wanted daylight color, but I wasn't sure. These lights - purchased at Home Depot - let me decide after installation, because have a switch that goes into the ceiling and lets you select a different "bulb" color at any time (if you're willing to pull the light back out again). 

Meanwhile, my machines were chilling up in my master bedroom, ready for all that Christmas sewing I  was planning (more on that later).

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Planning for an Improved Sewing Room!!!

We moved into our current house in 2013, and it took us a year or two to settle on a use for the giant room at the back of the house. One half of it was the Dining Room:

And the other half of it - intended to be a den when the house was built in the 80s - became my sewing area. Slowly, we added an area for my rulers, a design board, a rolling cutting table and a LOT of fabric. We figured it out, and we had a space that (mostly) worked for the purpose. 

But... it was always awkward to have whatever creative mess I had laid out visible from the dining room. Forget sewing to surprise a family member around a birthday or Christmas. Plus as our friends became parents around us, more frequent were the times I had to "hide all the sharp things" (and my machines) so we could host someone. 

We'd talked about separating the rooms for a while, but after a few particularly harrowing fabric-scissors-and-running-toddler incidents, We figured now was the time. I came up with a plan: 

A new wall, some craftsman-style french doors to match the rest of the house, new LED lighting to replace the track lighting that had forever been driving me crazy, and lots of new outlets so I could plug everything in. It took me over 3 months to line the contractor up, but about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, we were off to the races! Committing so close to the holidays was kind of scary, but after so much time I was not about to push the project back any further.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Chokobo Tee

Wanting to be a good supporter of a well-loved fabric host, I posted a glowing review with this picture to the fabric host's facebook feed... or so I thought.

In actuality, I accidentally posted it to my *own* facebook page, where the people it was supposed to be a surprise for promptly complimented it (d'oh!) and I also found out that one of my Brothers-in-law (to be clear, I have 6) was a heretofore undiscovered Final Fantasy Fan. Whoops!

This led to a mad scramble to figure out which fabric I had not already committed to another project. Fortunately, with two boys to sew for, and a 3-panel set, I did have a panel (and some main... I hope) to spare. 

And thus, the birth of this Tie Dye Diva Zee's Tee, with a Chokobo on front. My nephew is one year old, so I was *just* able to squeeze the back of the shirt out of the bottom of the panel. 

And I'm still addicted to my own modification that adds ringer cuffs to the completed tee. It's about the same amount of work as hemming, and I love the look. 

This shirt was gifted to my nephew in Jan 2022, and although he likes it fine, the most excited recipient was his Dad!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Thankful Amanda

This year for her Birthday party, my daughter picked a birthday invite made with clip art I recognized immediately: Karamfilas' Halloween Please, which I better recognized as the Ghoulettes Collection run by Kammie Lou Lou. I headed to the BSTs to see if I could by some Ghoulettes fabric, but I found something even better: a shop owner who had fabric on hand and the time to sew it up for me! 

That freed me up to do something equally exciting; Sew a shirt for myself! I am still loving the Tangled Amanda I made for myself last year, and on the heels of my recent spat of seasonal sewing, I thought it wise to strike on my Thankful & Grateful collection while the "iron of fall" was still hot. 

I only had about 24 hours left before the party when I made this decision, but I did manage to pull it off. Here I am modeling my self-made "Thankful Amanda" a few days later: 

And here I am the day of the party, showing off my newly made shirt, and being incredibly grateful to Jude & Joseph for creating the Ghoulettes top my daughter is wearing at my side! The craftsmanship was superb, and my daughter wore the shirt plenty even after halloween!

I look forward to wearing my shirt for years to come as well. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Christmas Train Set Complete!

After completing the Halloween Shirt for my brother with... 2 weeks to spare, I decided it was probably wise to get a leg up on Christmas. This particular artwork has already been featured on a shirt for my dad and a shirt for my brother, but I wanted to get my Mom in on the action. I had a package going to her house anyway, and I'd been hoarding this fabric for about 2 years.

To make this holiday beauty I chose the Patterns for Pirates Basic (Now Favorite) Tee. I had already test-driven the pattern once for Mom's Small World Top, but this time I elected to go with 3/4 sleeves for the winter. I only had one yard of the double border print to work with, so I had to be particularly careful with my fussy cutting. Fortunately the pieces *just barely* interlocked without any overage on my 58" wide fabric. For the sleeves I used a PurpleSeamstress Solid. 

Overall, I was very happy with the way this turned out - initially I worried that the "featured" part of the print didn't go high enough (it's a 14" border an my mother is 5'4"), but my mother accessorized with a nice necklace and the height of the print was perfect. I also really liked the effect of the contrast sleeves - it really makes the train pop, and it differentiates the look from all the storebought stuff out there.

This tee went out in October 2021 alongside my brother's Halloween tee, but it took a month or two before the timing was right to wear it. Here my mom is sporting her new Christmas tee alongside my Dad, whose train shirt I made in 2019. Quite the matched set! Next year we'll see if we can nab a picture with my brother in the shot as well.