Transforming a sewing room
Happy belated New Year to all my readers – I hope that 2011 brings wonderful things to everyone!
This time Sandy will tell a story of what we have been up to the last 11 days or so. It has been fun; the outcome is terrific.
This is Sandy’s story:
I’m retired. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I am a Jack-of-all-Trades. I grew up under the guidance of a man who made his living building homes, grain storage buildings, churches, grocery stores, and even HOT DOG stands. I was taught, from a very young age, that working brought you not only material things you needed for survival, but happiness.
I am a cook, a plumber, a laundress, a homemaker, a gardener, an electrician, a lover, a woodworker, and I sew – I am a quilter – an embroiderer – and a crafty person. I am a reader, a student of the arts, a person who needs to constantly learn. I am one of those people who must stay busy to be happy. I cannot sit still unless my fingers, my mind, or my eyes are moving.
When Al and I discussed our retirement years we both agreed that we needed to stay busy. Since we shared a love of wood – all it’s aspects – we decided that we’d spend our time caressing the substance that made us smile. We’d saw, we’d build, we’d apply finish, together we would create. Fate had different plans. As predicted, my knees gave out on me and I needed to have first the left, and then the right knee replaced. The recuperation took a lot out of me and I found it difficult to get back and forth to our shop. And, after recovery, I found that standing on the concrete floor – even with ¾ inch padding and a rubberized base – was difficult. Though my heart is still there, I sneak in once in a while just to smell the saw dust, I found I needed another creative outlet.
So I started sewing. I learned to sew at a very young age, being taught by my mother. I found there were many things I could make . . . with cotton rather than wood. My craft grew, and grew. As I added to my ‘stash’ of fabric I also added to my ‘machines’. The other night Al asked me how long it would take for me to use all the fabric I have. I answered with a question: “How long will it take you to use up your wood stash?” And we agreed we wouldn’t complain about the other.
We have found that there are many correlations between woodworking and sewing. There is the demand of precision, the tactile satisfaction – the smell, the feel, the vision. There are special tools built for different applications. There are tools for measurement, tools for cutting, tools for finishing; and, there is always that satisfaction that comes when a job is completed. And even more satisfaction when that job is admired by others.
I was asked to do a guest column for the Sandal Woods blog. I resisted as long as I could because I felt Al’s readers would find my thoughts boring. Then I realized that he had been preoccupied recently and maybe, just maybe someone missed him. So this column is his excuse for not writing on his blog recently. I had a dream. I dreamt that I needed more room for my sewing if I were to really be creative. And I told this dream – before breakfast – and Al listened. Together we decided that we had the space available in our family room; and that room was underutilized. The past 10 days or so Al has been busy helping me move furniture and rearranging shelving, cabinets, tables, chairs, storage units, toys, and loads of machinery. He has been my prodding partner, encouraging me along the way, supplying the muscle power, the suggestions, the maintenance help, installation of new lighting, and all the comfort required after a muscle-aching task.
He wants to share pictures. I’ll let him. I’m sure this is boring to his blog followers, but I am most pleased with the outcome and I am even more pleased that I have a mate who supports me and understands all my passions. If my plans work out, I’ll be back in the woodworking shop sometime soon. Maybe then I’ll be asked to do another column and share some of my band saw boxes or lathe work.
— Sandy Navas
A bit of background is a must; even if you read the blog, you might have missed on some of the details of the earlier sewing rooms. I will share the start of Sandy’s sewing room, followed by the large upgrade to what was our computer room of old. I will then show the transformation that took place in the last few days.
Several years ago we converted an old storage room into Sandy’s sewing room. She was busy in it, making projects, and for many others. The following photo shows how crowded this first room was — I took this photograph shortly after building the large table on the right, using walnut for the legs and the top, and quarter-sawn white oak for the aprons:
The first upgrade — we decided that the living room was grossly under-utilized. So we moved the computers upstairs, and the old computer room became Sandy’s new sewing room. This next photograph shows a bit of the expansion (for all the details, I invite you to read a previous article):
The following gallery of photos will show the old family room now transformed into the new sewing room.The photo sequence starts as we head North in the basement, along the aisle toward the sewing room. It continues along the West Wall, with some details in the Northwest corner; then we turn East, along the North wall, and continue clockwise,showing various internal shots of the room along the way.
In case you wonder why Sandy has so many vintage machines in the sewing room, here’s the secret: they work great! How cool is that? One of the machines is the very rare 1892 Singer with pheasant decals; and the one with…I have no idea what else is there; just gorgeous vintage sewing machines – many of them.
I hope you will enjoy this special post, by LOML — that is Internet-speak for “Love-of-my-Life”. 🙂
Please click on any of the images to enlarge them; the navigation buttons on the bottom of the image, and also the left and right arrows on the keyboard, will allow you to go from one image to the next, in sequence:
— Al Navas