Monday, July 11, 2011

My Studio and Some Tips

I have had several people email me and ask to see what my studio looks like.   Therefore this post is dedicated to my studio.   Let me first put in a disclaimer, I did not clean it.   I am working on a couple of projects and did not want to put stuff away, only to have to haul it back out a few hours later when I resumed work on it.  Plus, if your studios are always neat, then really, well REALLY?

I also thought I would suggest some tips or things that work for me.   These are just my ideas, nothing out of a book, no surfing for  the perfect studio, but what works best for moi.

1.  Figure out if you use all sides of your cutting table... I used to have mine in the middle of my room, then realized I never used the other side of it, so I backed it against the window.  

2.  Don't clutter  your cutting table on the sides, this is so you have room to drape fabric over the sides for cutting.   Please do not use my cutting table as an example=)

3.  Always keep a sketch pad nearby to jot down ideas or notes as you never know when they crop up.
4.  Use the space under your sewing table and cutting table for storage, it is just wasted space otherwise.  And come on, we all have excess fabric to store.   I get those clear plastic stacking drawers that are on wheels.  Just make sure they will fit under it.  Don't ask me how I know this.  

5.  Keep scissors near your cutting table, not just fabric ones, but paper ones too.   When you need them, and you will, they are available.   I have a little stand I keep my pencils/pens, all my scissors, scotch tape, tape measure and sticky notes on.

6.  Get a design wall.   Seriously, you have no idea what a great perspective it is when you are in your studio, walking by it, or walking in it, to see your work on it.   Mine costs under $20.  It is 1" thick white styrofoam I purchased at my home building store.  I would highly recommend covering it with batting.   I used the cheapest white batting out there.   I have tried the super expensive sticky quilt wall, as well as the backs of table cloths and flannel.   The batting is great, most of my blocks stick, and when the quilt top gets too heavy I have some white pins on the side of the wall that I stick in to hold up the top.

7.  In my closets, okay I have two,  I keep fabric that I don't use often or don't need to see constantly.  For example, my flannel is in there, fabric  I use for backings, and my non cotton  fabrics.   I have them categorized in there, so I know which shelf they are on.   In the second  closet, is my ongoing stash of embellishments.  My yarns, fabrics for kids' costumes, and embroidery thread.  A girl can never have too many embellishments... especially a gal who has to 3D embellish every quilt.

8.  A while ago, I got some old shelving that was once used to store embroidery floss, a store was closing and getting rid of their stash.   I keep my needles,  extra rotary cutters, blades and spare note pads in there.  I also keep my paints and shiva paintstiks and polymer clay on top of the shelves.   (Yep, more embellishing stuff)

9.   On my large fabric shelving unit, I keep my cottons.   They are arranged by colour.  I did this a few years ago and love it.  Okay, now I have on 2 shelves, other fabric in front of the colours, but the colours are back there and I know they are there.   Those fabrics in the forefront are the latest lines and fabrics that I simply must do something with.   Okay, and you probably see the pieces of Tuck tape hanging off the outer edge of one of the shelves and the roll beside it?   Yes, I am thrifty.  (go ahead and think cheap too)  I use this stuff when I put down my backing on the floor.   This tape is the best I can find for letting me pull the backing super tight and not moving while I lay down the batting and then pin the top to it.   I reuse it for a couple of times and when it is too covered in thread, throw it out.   If you have never used it before, go to the hardware store and get some, it is amazing!

10.   Over by the window, I keep a table with my serger and old sewing machine on it.  Confession, I only had 2 sewing machines up until 2 months ago.  I know many that have 3 or more.   I didn't.  I had a 14 year old Janome that works great and my 12 year old serger.   The only reason I bought the Janome Horizon is because I wanted more space under the machine when I free motion quilted.   And honestly, so far the new machine has lots of little quirks that my old machine doesn't have.  Don't get me wrong, I do love it and haven't tried the zillion stitches or different threads through it, and it does do fmq beautifully, but it isn't perfect.

11.  I have my new Janome on the table that it came with and another table behind it so my quilts will lay out and not pull when quilting them.  I am getting leg extensions so that second table is the same level as the table the machine sits on.   I am also going to get a small table on wheels that I can put to the left of where I sit, so the quilt can hang over that too.

12.  I have 2 old dressers, and in one I keep my serger thread, glue gun, glue, zippers, etc.  In the other I keep my sketch pads, entry forms, rejection letters  (that drawer is full=) and samples.

That is my studio!  Feel free to tell me what you think, except to comment on the messiness=)


Candice @ Made With Love said...

I've been waiting for this post, as I love having the chance to peek into other's studios! Oh, and just so you know...I'm totally drooling over your fabric stash! :)

Brooke said...

My favorite things to see on quilt blogs are studio spaces. It is always fun to catch a glimpse of where people spend time being creative, and how they organize their things. You have quite a colorful and fun stash! Thanks for sharing your helpful tips. Looks like you have a wonderful nook for quilting time.

Shiny Green Penny said...

I enjoyed this lengthier post - it made for great reading. Plus, I also feel satisfaction in knowing you are not TOTALLY perfect, messy studio and all - :-)

Natasha said...

Seriously you use tuck tape to tape the backing to the floor?? Not painters tape like everyone else? It does not ruin the fabric? I have tuck tape - but was starting to use it for packing. I will have to use it for the next quilt.

Anita said...

Hi Jackie - thanks for showing your studio. Lots of great ideas. Happy sewing.

Brooke said...

You have some wonderful tips!!! Great job! I feel so much better after seeing where you create - I still say we should get together to play sometime!!

Rolanda said...

And I thought my creative space was small. You have packed a lot of stuff in it...

Mama Pea said...

Your studio is great! Love it! Wayyyy cleaner than mine! :-) I love seeing how others organize their space and getting ideas from them. The idea of using old dressers is great. I was thinking of using curtains to cover my shelves, but I think you've convinced me to somehow rig up a design wall instead. :-) Thanks, Jackie! i want to catch up on the rest of your posts, but I have to run. I'll catch them tonight.