After having been dressmaking for about a year, I now feel like it’s firmly become one of my main hobbies. I seem to spend so much time thinking about what patterns I want to make, browsing for fabric and reading up about techniques. I can sit and leaf through my dressmaking books for hours, looking at the patterns and planning which ones I’m going to add to my ‘to do’ list. And that’s apart from the entire weekends I spend sitting behind my sewing machine.
So, I’ve decided to take the plunge and spend a stupid amount of money on setting myself up a permanent sewing space.
It was my mum’s idea, she was staying with me for the weekend, and she looked out at my crap old shed and said that I should replace it with a nice new summerhouse, and turn it into a little sewing studio.
After that, I just could not stop thinking about the possibilities. I live alone, so it doesn’t really matter if I leave my unfinished sewing projects out, but it would be so much nicer to have a special place just for sewing, rather than having my projects infused with gross cooking smells if I leave them out in the kitchen, where I currently do all my sewing.
I also have two tortoises, who live in the kitchen, right behind where I sit to sew. On a warm day (my kitchen is like a greenhouse when the sun is out), they tear around their wooden enclosures, and they have no spatial awareness, so all I can hear is the clonking of their shells against the wood. It is VERY annoying when you’re trying to concentrate on sewing in a zip!
I’m sure most sewists will understand the pain of trying to find room to store all their patterns, supplies and fabrics properly, and this is one of my main problems. My battered old dummy is upstairs, and I have fabric stashed in three rooms of the house. How nice it would be to have it conveniently all in one place, alongside my sewing machine.
I immediately started furiously pinning sewing rooms and summerhouses on Pinterest, and doing a whole buttload of research into whether or not I could afford to do it, and I can. With some careful budgeting, I can get the studio in place this summer and have it all paid off by Christmas.
After numerous hours of research, even drawing up a floor plan to see how much furniture I could fit into it, I have ordered my summerhouse. I’m having this style, but in the green and cream colours shown in the swatches. Plus I’ve chosen all this super cute furniture from IKEA, and a swanky new dummy.
It’s not all exactly the same shade of turquoise/green, but I’m going for a general palette, rather than ultra match-matchy, which is a bit of a departure from the way I plan what clothes and accessories I wear!
I’ve had to look into solutions to prevent damp, because obviously the last thing I want to happen to my fabric stash is for it to go mouldy. I think I’m going to get a nifty little thermotube heater. You can leave them on all the time, and they just heat the air enough to remove the humidity, and they only cost about 24p a day to run. My garden is also south-facing with only fields behind, and gets a lot of sun even in winter.
I’ve also been looking at fun ways to decorate the space. I think there absolutely has to be some bunting made for it at some point, and I’ve found loads of images from old dress pattern envelopes which I think I’m going to print out and frame, like these:
I’m trying very hard to stick to the green/turquoise theme I seem to have got going.
As soon as I’d ordered the summerhouse I was wracked with guilt and doubt. Will it be worth the cost? Will I get enough use out of it? It suddenly seemed like such a lot of money to spend on something so frivolous, that was just for me. But I reassured myself with the knowledge that even if, for some reason, I lose the taste for dressmaking, I could convert it into a proper summerhouse with comfy chairs and a TV, or even a super posh reading nook. I’ve always wanted a reading nook.
And anyway, it’s my money, so I can spend it how I like!
Now I just have to be patient until June, when I can start using my gorgeous new Sewing Palace.