A Space of Your Own

      Many women say they don’t have space for a sewing area. Amazingly, they  have all managed to find space for a computer desk they didn’t have ten years ago. Finding space depends on the value that you place on the object and the activity. Why are computers valued more than sewing machines?

      Papers, pens and post-it notes can cover the computer area. Why can’t patterns, pins and thread be left in plain site on the sewing table? Sewing is an art form. Some artist paint pictures. Do they hid everything away every time they take a break? Why is sewing devalued as an artistic creation. As if fabric projects and accomplishments are not as worthy as those of other artists. Stitchers are their own worst critics. 

      Keeping the sewing machine in the closet is the worst obstacle to sewing. Hauling that heavy thing out to the dining room to set up on a table that is the wrong height is hard on your back and shoulders. The chandelier  lighting causes eyestrain and headaches. The improper chair is bad for your knees and hips. Then you have to put it all away for the next meal. You need to have a space to pursue your hobby in comfort.

      The book Dream Sewing Spaces by Lynette Ranney Black is the perfect guide for anyone who is looking to make a sewing area in their home. It has design ideas for every size space from a closet to a garage. Included in the instructions are suggestions for light and electrical outlets. Once there is a space to sew, you can take advantage of every spare minute.

      The book 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew by Nancy Zieman is an organizational guide that will help you find sewing time. Even if you just do one seam it will give you a spark of creative satisfaction. Thats one seam closer to your new dance dress. It is very hard to find all day to sew but it is easy to chop the project into manageable pieces and sew a few minutes at a time.

      If your sewing machine is over 15 years old consider getting a new one. Just like cars, the gears and motors can wear out. They will not last for ever. Many women are reluctant to give up their old machine because it has been a fun toy that they are familiar with. I sold a machine to a friend and she left it at the shop after a class because she had another class in a couple of days. She thought she could use her old machine at home. She called me late that night and said the old machine was like driving a truck, with standard transmission, and flat tires on a dirt road in the rain.

      Over and over I have heard women say, “I don’t sew enough to justify getting a new machine.” Have you ever heard men say “I don’t hunt/fish/camp enough to justify getting a new rifle/boat/tent.”? To tell the truth it is not the fault of the guys. Several times I have seen husbands buy a new sewing machine for their wife because they can see that she would like one with new features but she feels that her old machine is ‘Good enough for what I do.’  You would do more if you had a machine that is easy to use. 

Buying a machine is a costly investment. When looking for a new sewing machine or serger there are a few basic things to check.

 Number One - Service after the sale. It may be a great machine but something could go wrong. Where is the service done and what is the usual turn around time? What is the warrantee? Get the service contract in writing. Check the Better Business Bureau for the business rating. 

Number Two - Instructions/ Classes. With the new computerized machines it takes more than a couple of classes to learn all of the things that the machine can do. If you are not using all of the features of the new machine you are not getting your money’s worth. Some people put off buying a new machine because they ‘would not use all of that fancy stuff’. Once you learn that the fancy stuff is as easy as pushing a couple of buttons you will use it. 

Number Three - Test Drive. Once you fine a machine that has the features and is in the price rang you are interested in sew on it. Don’t just watch the sales clerk sew. Bring some fabric of different weights and types. This is just like driving a car. Are the buttons in a place you find convenient? They will be different than your old machine but that might be better. Feel the vibration and listen to the motor. Test drive several brands of machines until you find the one that suits your style. 

                                Sewing is a creative activity.
        If you get enjoyment out of playing with fabric - then sew. 

                           The possibilities are endless and
    the rewards are artistic satisfaction and personal accomplishment.