Take a tour around my sewing room
When you walk down a street in the evening, are your eyes drawn to those homes with the lights on and the front rooms all lit up? I cannot help taking a sideways peek to see how the front rooms have been decorated.
Similarly, when I read sewing blogs, I love to see the spaces where people sew. I feel I know them better if I understand their sewing room (if they are lucky) or the area where they keep their fabrics and work in progress. And I’m keen to pick up good tips on stylish storage or favourite tools.
With that in mind, I thought I’d invite you into the room where I sew. The first thing that hits you is that the room is green. Very green. It’s the colour of the fig tree in the pot just outside in our little courtyard. From my desk I can look out and see Neptune’s head trickling water into the trough below. I like to imagine that I’m in a zen-like state, sitting in a sunlit woodland glade.
My favourite colour
Some people are a bit funny about green, but it is my favourite colour. Green is restful, mysterious and sophisticated all at the same time. After we refurbished the house my room was bare plaster walls and a desk circled by packing cases for about three years. Luckily, Mr Ginjer pushed me to turn it into a space I would enjoy rather than endure.
To start, I had just one idea – my room had to be green. I spent a fortune on paint sample pots and nothing looked right. Finally I turned to wallpaper. After some false starts (and lots of samples later), I found the exact shade in a rather extravagant wallpaper gilded with lucky charms. After that, the room designed itself.
I work from home and my room doubles as my office, so having a space I love makes it much easier to go to work. But I didn’t want all the detritus of my office on display. I wanted to reflect my creative interests. Now, when I need some inspiration or a break from earning a crust, I can peruse all the delights on my shelves and daydream about sewing projects.
Mr G masterminded the transformation. He created most of the furniture to maximise the 12 sq. metre floor area. He made a built-in cupboard, tucked into the corner behind my desk that hides all the office electronics and stationery. My paperwork is stashed in a vintage French roll-front teak cupboard. During the working day, the only give-away that this room is an office is my iMac and the notebooks on my desk.
The most pleasing elements of my sewing room are the two free-standing, floor-to-ceiling shelves, designed and made by Mr Ginjer. They are painted a warm mole grey and lined with William Morris “Strawberry Thief” wallpaper. They house a mountain of stuff, from maps, dictionaries and design reference books to my DAB radio permanently tuned to Radio 4. Mostly though they are home to all my sewing interests.
I have several deep shelves for my fabric stash, which I have divided between those fabrics I have already pre-washed and ironed and those awaiting prep. I’m trying to discipline myself to wrap the prepped fabric around cardboard guides salvaged from old boxes to keep everything neat. Despite these efforts, my fabric haul still gets out of hand.
I have a weakness for baskets and vintage tins and nicely shaped jars as these make great storage for tools, accessories and notions. I recycle old mustard and anchovy jars as I love their bulbous shape. They house my button collection. A couple of old flat irons double as book ends and fabric weights. The ironing board is hidden behind the door.
Ginjie, my dress form, lives in the corner between the two book cases. I have customised her to my shape using bits of foam and curtain interlining. She usually wears a work in progress or a toile as it is a bit freaky to have a constant reminder of my lumps and bumps.
My Brother sewing machine sits under my desk during the working day. Adjacent is a roll of hessian pelmet buckram that acts as a stand for metre rules and rolls of paper.
I have also managed to squeeze a cozy but battered armchair into one corner. Re-upholstery is definitely on my to-do list some time in the next year or two. But it’s a great place to sit and read or hand sew and it also turns my sewing room into a social space. Mr Ginjer pops in for a chat over a cup of freshly ground coffee (he’s the barista). If I am really lucky, one of our two cats may deign to join me and take to the chair for a snooze.