My Craft Space Set Up Before

I can say it now we are moving!! We have purchased a unit and later this year will make the big move. To help me remember how I had my set up before I started packing I thought I would share it on here. Crafting can take up a lot of space with supplies and machines. I’m always curious as to how people have theirs set up

I had 4 main areas within my rental unit that I used plus my garage which I kept fabric and my first sewing machine which I called my travelling machine in.

Study

This is where my sewing first started. Before I started sewing in the loungeroom on Mr Sttichnsew’s suggestion I had my machine set up in here in a cabinet, all my craft magazines/books and few craft supplies on bookshelves.  If I was going to sew it would only be when I had enough time to set up and pack things away afterwards. I’m lucky enough I can leave sewing projects out without animals or kids touching them but when I was sewing in the study I was limited with space. I would have to pull my sewing cabinet out into the centre of the room and move things about a bit to use it. It was a nice little room to sew in but it was also very isolating. In the end the study turned a storage area for some of my sewing machines which I wasn’t using and I had a spare sewing cabinet which held my overlocker in it and the top it was used for a dumping ground for patterns. My roles of interfacings and pdf patterns rolled up were kept in there too as well as all my foam blocking mats. My bookshelves contained some craft supplies and my remaining craft magazines and books. By the end of 2019 I had sold 3 of my extra sewing machines and sold my spare sewing cabinet. Once I started clearing out my excess craft books and magazines I had space on my bookshelf to store my overlocker so I sold the cabinet.

Spare Room

This is where I kept all my dress making fabrics, sewing notions, yarn most of it anyway. I had a wardrobe which much to B’s amusement I called the “Craft Wardrobe” It contained a shelving unit full of fabric, containers of yarn, a bookshelf of sewing supplies and a heap of other crafting items hanging or squished at the sides.  In the room I had boxes of fabrics, another shelving unit of fabrics and all my paper dressmaking patterns. I also had my clothes drying airer which often would have fabric drying on it. I would try and keep this room under control but it did get a little crazy at times… ok a lot crazy. Having my sewing patterns and dress making fabric within the same room meant sometimes I would just go and play around with my patterns and fabrics to get ideas on what to make. Sometimes that was all I needed to help me relax.

Garage

In the garage I keep a lot of my general crafting fabric. This is fabric I use in gift making and for making WIRES pouches although I did have a stash of that in my spare room too. My fabric boxes weren’t organised at all and I would have to go through several boxes to find fabric I want. It was fun “shopping” in my mini fabric store but my dream would be to organise it more so perhaps all colours were together or all prints are together. I need to go through as there are a lot of fabrics in there I know I won’t use such as Christmas themed fabric or fabrics which have like a metallic finish on them which aren’t suitable for WIRES pouches. Future me will get this organised and that way I can use it more. In recent times sometimes I have gotten lazy and just brought new fabrics instead of going through it all. As mentioned I would store my travel sewing machine here but I don’t travel with it any more so have kept it as my spare machine instead.

Bed Room

This isn’t one of my main storage areas but I managed to stash a lot of yarn in here. Most of it is under the bed where I also kept my yarn winders. In the bottom of the wardrobe I also had a stash of yarn. This was big lots of acrylic yarn for future projects or scraps from previous blankets.

Lounge Room

This was my sewing area and preparation area. I permanently have my sewing machine and ironing board set up. My machine sits on sewing cabinet by the tv so I can watch it as I sew or I can listen to music. We have no dining table so in the space behind the lounge where most people would use a dining room I have my ironing board and craft table set up. My craft table is actually a cutting table which I think you can no longer buy. It is higher than most craft tables which is good for my back as I don’t have to bend so much. With my mobility issues the higher table helps immensely. The table was my mum’s and it was one of the few things I said I wanted when we were clearing out her stuff. Most times it is pushed against the wall but I do pull it out into the centre of the area when I am tracing out/cutting out large patterns as I can get around all sides of it. When I use my overlocker I used it on this table. My craft trolley used to live under my table but I now keep it near my sewing machine as I can reach over and grab things from it.

I have no idea what the set up will be in the new place but I know things will be different. I won’t have a garage to store fabrics in I know that for sure. The unit layout will be different and it will take me a bit to work out where to put everything but I will get there. As with most things I had just gotten the right set up and balance of things before the decision to move was made. I have limited time off before the move so late December I started packing away things I wasn’t going to use in the coming months. It has been an interesting task. I have had to really plan out what I’m going to knit/crochet during that time to leave enough yarn out for projects. I had to also think about the projects themselves, I didn’t want anything too complex as knitting/crocheting is my relaxation from everything else that is going on. It helps keep my sanity. I decided on a few easy projects and so far so good. With my sewing I have kept out a bag of essential tools and supplies and my projects are again relatively simple or things I need to get done by deadlines which may fall near our expected move timeline. We don’t have an actual move date yet but have a rough time frame. I’m even thinking of gifts for Christmas 2020 and as I pack my remaining craft fabrics I’m happy to even make a start on those knowing I can always place them in a box and know where they are as during my packing I’m numbering each box and writing contents in a notebook.

It might be many months before I do an “After” blog post but once I get settled in I will. Ideally I would like to have it as a similar set up but as for the most part it was working for me in this place but I will have to wait and see.

Cassiy

 

Gifts 2020

In 2019 I had a few issues with my gifts. As I mentioned in a post last year I kept changing my mind on what I would make or I would leave things to the last minute. In 2020 I am getting back to being more organised with my gifts. I have decided on all the gifts I am going to make and I am not going to change me mind so I have a clear plan. A couple I was aiming to make for Christmas last year so they will be given as birthday gifts instead and one I cut out yesterday. Following the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) below is what I am going to make and what I need to have finished by each month.

March – Cockatoo (cut out)
April – Crocodile (half sewn)
May – Toiletry bag (cut out)
June – Book pillows (make size to match pillow inserts already in stash)
July – Superhero doll (use DDD pattern), crochet superhero mask
August – Tea set

Christmas
W – Bucket hats, heart pillows
H – Flower pillow, star pillow, crochet footballs (all blacks)

The good news is that I only have to buy a zipper and maybe some boning for the handles of the tea set aside from those all the other items I already have on hand. This will keep the costs of gifts down but more importantly mean I’m using my stash. I’m actually feeling really relaxed about my gift making this year.

Cassiy

 

Black Poncho

 

This is the second poncho I made from A Beginner’s Guide To Dressmaking magazine. I really fell in love with the poncho is this magazine, it is a really simple project to make it.

The fabric I used on this one is a french terry which I purchased with my discount voucher from February Frocktails from the Fabric Store. One side of the fabric has the french terry and the other side is like velour so it is very plush. It is a thicker fabric than my Brickwork poncho so doesn’t have the same drape but I still think has a nice shape.

I did cut the neckline smaller on this one. Perhaps a tad bit too small as I have to be careful if I’m taking it on and off at work that I don’t mess up my hair (yes I’m vain at times) The neckline isn’t strangling me and is giving me more coverage across my shoulders and back.

Instead of adding bands to the bottoms and side of this poncho I just extended the width and length to the poncho before cutting it. I knew both my overlocker and sewing machine would go into meltdown with such bulky seams that the bands would create. Also adding the extra width meant it was faster sew as there were less construction steps.

On the shoulders I just overlocked the edges before I stitched them together then topstitched them down. To cover all my other raw edges I used leftover bias tape from my Black Dolman top. I stitched the raw edges of the tape and the poncho together then folded it under and top stitched down. Super simple but more machine friendly.

This was one of those projects where I actually spent an entire day sewing on it. I’d cut out the pieces the weekend before then the following Saturday started sewing. Normally I sew for only a short period of time then I get bored or I get sore. My attention span can be very short sometimes. I just kept going back and doing another step on this or sewing another seam and before I knew it poncho was done in the day.

It is too hot to wear this now that it is summer but I did get a couple of wears of it this year. One thing I discovered is that ponchos don’t sit under backpacks easily. I just have to keep that in mind when I’m going to wear one. Most days for work I just have a shoulder bag which easily fits under the side of the poncho. I love this poncho. When I wear it with my velvet York I’m very textural. I walk up to work colleagues and say “Go on pat me I know you want too” because people love the feel of both fabrics, I certainly do. I’m not normally a touchy feely person but I don’t mind in this poncho.

Cassiy

My #SewingTop5 For 2019

Normally in December I do recap or review of my year in Crafting. This year I have decided to take part in The Sewcialists Sewing Top 5.
Here are my 2019 Top 5’s

Top 5 Hits

  • Sesame Street skirt
  • Blue Velvet pinafore
  • Denim pinafore
  • Lego skirt
  • Charity bags

In 2019 unfortunately I never did as much a sewing as I did in 2018 but I managed to make things both clothing wise and gift wise. My most worn items which get worn almost on a weekly basis are my Lego skirt which I made in 2018 and my Sesame Street skirt which I did make this year. They are fun skirts which bring smiles to peoples faces. I enjoy wearing them. My denim pinafore which I made following my trip to Melbourne this year is another highly worn piece, again almost weekly. With the pocket on the front it is really functional and the fabric means I can wear it with dress shoes or sneakers. I am really proud of the bags I made for charity this year so they have made my list. I like using my sewing skills in a practical way to help others. I think these bags turned out really cute this year. I’m proud of my blue velvet pinafore, I loved the fabric as soon as I saw it and it turned out just the way I imagined.

Top 5 Highlights

  • February Frocktails
  • I love My Fabric Party
  • Spring Frocktails
  • Fabric Swap Day
  • Melbourne Fabric Crawl

Winning a $150 shopping voucher for The Fabric Store at February Frocktails has to be the highlight of the year. I had the so much fun at both Frocktail events this year. It is fun to be around fellow sewing people talking all things patterns and fabric. The fabric swap day where I decluttered so much sewing related items was also a really good day. I came home with empty bags and a weight off my shoulders. Going to Melbourne this year and spending the day on a fabric crawl is an adventure I’m never going to forget. It was relaxing and I was doing my own thing. I met interesting people, touched lots of fabric. You don’t have to leave the house to have fun, the weekend I spent at home for the “I love my fabric Party” was fantastic. It really allowed me to connect to the fabric I had. I sorted my fabrics, culled a lot, saw pieces that were missing. I found fabrics I’d forgotten I had. I was sharing pics on Instagram with others but you could spend the weekend in your stash and not do that and still have fun.

Top 5 Reflections

  • Pockets!!
  • One Step, Two Steps
  • Missing Pieces
  • Do I Really Need It?
  • Relax and Enjoy The Process

Things I have learnt this year that pockets are awesome and they should be on everything. If I’m wearing something and it doesn’t have pockets I’m lost. Which brings me on to missing pieces, I need more skirts that have pockets. At this point that is probably the biggest missing piece from my wardrobe particularly in Summer but I do need to look at my wardrobe before I write my next To Sew List and see what is missing. From now on I want to make items which are missing from my wardrobe rather than making a pattern just for the sake of it or to complete a self imposed challenge. In terms of making things I have learnt that things don’t need to be made in quick amount of time. I need to relax and enjoy the process of making an item. By just doing one step and then the next step I can get things done. It doesn’t matter what I am making whether it be clothing or a gift doing little steps one at a time means the item gets completed in the end and remember if I am not enjoying it then why I am doing it? The last thing I have learnt this year is that I need to stop and think if I really need something before I get  it. This year I saw how much stuff I had that I wasn’t using. Not only did it cost me money in the first place, it was taking up space and causing me stress.

Top 5 Goals

  • Be Realistic
  • Get Organised
  • Plan Ahead
  • Shop My Stash
  • Sew Because You Want Too

Since I started sewing back in 2011 this year was the year I really felt pressure from myself to sew things. I felt really unorganised and I changed kept changing my mind at the last minute on gifts I was making which often resulted in me running to the shops or buying supplies last minute so I could make them. In 2020 I know I’m going to have less sewing time so it is essential that I plan projects for myself and gifts ahead of time. I need to write things out clearly, shop my stash for supplies and give myself enough time to make them and be realistic about it. I have to remember to sew because I want too and not because I have too which is something I have felt this year. I know these are vague goals but they things I need to keep in mind. I might even write them in my diary to remind myself.

So this morning I was inspired to share my Top 5’s for the year. What are yours?

Cassiy 

 

Handmade Charity Bag Extras 2019

For my charity bags this year I did make a few things to add into them.

 

Firstly were the sleeping eye masks. All the fabric and supplies came from my stash. The fabric used was leftover from another project, the elastic and binding were items I had on hand. A useful project made from stash items.

The second thing I made were infinity scarves from the leftover fabric of my Brickwork poncho. These are narrower than the infinity scarf I made for myself but I think are still a good size. They folded nicely to fit in the bags. The brickwork fabric has 3 colours in it – blue, gray and white. I realised I had the same shades of cotton yarn in my stash to match so I had to knit bangles to match the scarves! Knitted bangles are super easy to do. I love that I could make them match the scarves. I knitted myself a set of the bangles to match my poncho whilst I was making these.

I loved adding in handmade items into the bags this year. It is something I will do again for next years bags. I’m not sure what I will make yet, bangles for sure but as for other things I’m undecided at this time. I have 12 months to figure it out!

Cassiy

Charity Bags 2019

Last weekend I donated bags to Share The Dignity for their “It’s In The Bag” campaign. If don’t live in Australia or are not familiar with Share The Dignity they are a charity who support woman and girls across Australia who are in crisis. Each year they encourage people to fill a handbag with essentials that we all take for granted (toiletries, sanitary items, etc) The bags are distributed through local community groups to woman and girls who need them. I made up 3 bags this year. I make my bags as I don’t own any old handbags plus it is a way for me to use my sewing skills and fabric stash.

I used the same pattern I used last year which is McCalls M6338 View D. This pattern is a picnic tote bag but makes a great size handbag. I don’t include the extra pockets on the inside or outside. You make it a little differently to your average tote bag due to the drawstring top section but it still super easy to make.

The fabric I used was some I found in my stash during my “I love My Fabric Party” Unfortunately due to the way I stored my fabric previously the fabric had fade marks on it. I couldn’t use it for clothing but it was perfect for bag making. It is a flocked denim fabric that I fell in love with when I brought it. I played pattern tetris tracing out all the outer bag and tops from the piece. I just fitted them all on it. As the pattern pieces are straight edges it was easy to place the pattern piece on the fabric and trace around it with my quilting ruler and chalk pen. It didn’t take long at all to do them. Once the bags were finished you couldn’t see the fade marks at all. The fabric is sturdy too which helped the bags hold their shape.

For the handles and inner lining bags I used some blue rose fabric I brought a few months ago. This was fabric I only brought due to my obsession with blue roses. It is a quilting cotton more than a dressmaking cotton. It would have been too stiff for me to wear but was perfect for these bags. I was originally hoping to the handles in the denim but I didn’t have enough. I actually like how I have done the handles and the inner bags the same as it doesn’t look like I ran out of fabric for the handles, design feature! The drawstring is some ribbon from my stash. I needed to use a narrower drawstring than I used last year as the denim is rigid and the wider drawstring I originally inserted make it hard to pull the bags closed. These are my favourite bags yet. I love the colour, the fabrics. They fill up as a nice size.

I start collecting for my bags each year pretty much after I have donated the last lot. I have a box I stash everything in. I filled my bags with toiletries I had salvaged from hotel stays throughout the year, hair accessories/makeup I have brought on sale, socks, stockings, a few things I have made, face washers I have been given. When it come to filling the bags I empty out my collection box and divide it amongst the amount of bags I have.

I already have fabric set aside to make for next years bags. Next year I’m setting myself the $20 challenge. In 2020 I’m not going to be staying in as many hotels as I did this year which means I’m going to have to buy more of the items which I fill the bags with. Frugal me is up for the challenge and will be on the lookout for bargains and freebies throughout the year. I’m going to make a few things from my stash too. I really like supporting this charity and wish to continue for many years.

Cassiy

 

Brickwork Poncho

Earlier this year I picked up a great little sewing magazine Beginner’s Guide To Dressmaking. One of the main reason for buying it was I saw a pattern for a self drafted poncho. Since I brought it I have actually made 2 versions of the poncho. This is the first version I made.

The fabric I brought on my voucher shopping trip. It is a synthetic type scuba fabric. This isn’t fabric I would normally choose but the pattern calls for a scuba or heavy weight knit with drape. This fabric really spoke to me. I like the subtleness of the print. It came in a red and blue colour but this colour looked a little more classic.

The magazine steps you through how to measure out the fabric and cut the different pieces. It is a very simple make. The bland look on my face doesn’t show how much I actually like the finished poncho. Oh and I probably should have ironed it as it had been sitting on my lounge chair since I last wore it to work.

To cut out your neckline you are given basic measurements and instructions. I cut the neckline a little deep on this one perhaps. It does looks a little large and stretched out but I’m not bothered by it. I can easily take it on and off when I need too. You attach bands to the neckline like you do most tops. You can’t see it but on the back I had to piece my band as I ran out of fabric when I cut the original band. At least it is an easy way for me to tell the front from the back.

The back I am really happy with. The neckline doesn’t looks so stretched out and it covers my rounded shoulders which I think are improving. It is nice and long and gives me coverage at the back.

The pattern actually has you sew up the sides from the hemline to a point about ½ – ¾ the way up on the sides. I opted not to do this and have an open poncho. My reason not to do it was to make waking with the crutch easier, it gives me more range of movement. On my free shoulder I can also carry bag over the top of the poncho or underneath it. This works well except when it is really windy as the fabric just flys around. Generally it isn’t that windy so not is not too much of any issue.

The bands that run down the sides and the front are cut in a different direction to the main body of the poncho. With this print I love the contrast in direction to the body. I’m not usually into contrast details but I really like it on this. It is just a small detail but it adds interest.

As mentioned I brought the fabric from The Fabric Store with my voucher. In my head I had to have this poncho finished in time to wear it to the Spoolette’s VIP shopping night that was held in August as part of the Frocktails weekend. One of the girls working the day I brought the fabric was working that night and was excited to see I’d made my poncho. I’m a total dag so I had to pose with the bolt of fabric when I saw it again 🙂

I haven’t done this in a while but things to consider when I’m making clothing

  1. Comfort
  2. Classic
  3. Creative / Quirky
  4. Natural Fabrics ×

This ticks 3 out of 4 but I am happy with that. It is really comfortable and they style is a classic style poncho. The brickwork print is a bit quirky but in a sophisticated style quirky if that is even a thing. Even though the fabric is a synthetic it isn’t hot so wouldn’t irritate me. I wear it with layers so it isn’t too close to my body.

It is possible that I will still wear it this summer when I walk to work in the cooler hours of the day. Working in air conditioning I have my shoulders covered so this would be perfect for that. I can easily take it off if I go outside.

Cassiy