Posted in Life, sewing

One reason I’m not sewing

Today my mom asked me what I’m sewing. I laughed and said, ‘I’m not, because my sewing room is depressing me”.

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I beg of you. Please tell me that your sewing room, at times, resembles this nonsense.

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Here’s underneath my  cutting table. Please don’t tell me if I put something back after I use it then everything will be neat. Because, I don’t know that I have it in me. Hence, the vicious cycle.

I didn’t sew on Saturday because of this:

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Yeah. No water pressure in my bedroom shower. I let it get worse and worse until  I was unable to wash the conditioner out of my hair on Friday.  The plumber was here most of the day fixing it. And, it required moving most of my  clothes out of my closet (the left side has access to the faucets and pipes) to the guest room.

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Sigh. This is sad. I haven’t used a roller, hot or otherwise in about eight years. Yet, I found both sitting at the bottom/ back of my closet.  I really need to let this stuff go.

And, I didn’t sew on Sunday because I was in the office for about six hours interviewing students for our office summer fellowship. I need to write a post and solicit your opinions on how people should prep for an interview and what questions should and should not be asked. I was so mind numbingly bored by the end that I took myself out for burgers and mimosas when we were done.

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75 thoughts on “One reason I’m not sewing

  1. Of course my sewing space has resembled this, or worse! And it does disrupt actual sewing. I’m also one of those people that just cannot put things away right after use, so I completely hear you.

    Two tips:

    I do find that it helps to actually have a space for everything – one big reason I’m messy is that some things just don’t have a good spot, and so things end up lying around.

    2. Since my sewing space is also my dining room, it does get cleaned atleast once a week or thereabouts. That helps keep the mess under control, somewhat.

    Cheers!

  2. My sewing room resembles this often :)) Like Reethi said; it helps having a space for everything but that does not mean I put it back right away. During a project things tend to accumulate, and you can add two playful cats to the mix :)) I usually do some spot-clean up during construction and then a thorough overhaul before starting a new project.

  3. I just had to laugh because my sewing room looks like yours right now!

    And the plumbing…older houses have charm but they also have numerous issues! I know because I live in a house built in 1953 and it’s always something! Maybe it’s time to watch the old movie The Money Pit to get things back in perspective!

    Hope you can get some sewing time in soon.

  4. I don’t mind cleaning my seiwng room, because I always find something I’d forgot about, or misplaced. As I put things away, my mind is working on a project. I do not feel the same about cleaning the bathroom though.

  5. Yes it did. Yes it does. Yes it depresses me. YES! YES! YESSSSS! Isn’t there some sort of “National Clean up Your Sewing Area” Holiday? If not, we should start one! But let’s make it on the 8th day of the week, or the 32nd day of the month, cause all my other days are full!

  6. My sewing room is also my office, and YES it does get messy. So messy that I had to stop sewing and take two entire weekends to organize things and I am STILL not done. The problem is that I just don’t have enough room for my stuff (heavy sigh). But soon it will be all clean and then I can mess it up again.

  7. Yeah, I’ll join the masses in saying that if by “at times” you mean “most times” then yes, I suffer from sewing room pandamonium too. My problem is that every time I go in there with the intention of cleaning it up and organizing it once and for all, there are tons of projects in there begging me to get done RIGHT NOW. And usually I just wind up sewing them up despite the chaos.

  8. Phew, now I won’t feel bad about you seeing my sewing room/guest bedroom after PR weekend, because my area isn’t *that* bad LOL! I tend to get out of control making stacks and piles of things everywhere, and eventually I get to the point where I can’t handle sewing until I put stuff away.

  9. OMG!!!! Mine looks just like yours! And mine is a sewing room and my office too, I’m studying architecture, so it’s a completely chaos here, fabrics and books, neddles and models, sewing machine and computer, everything is a nice friendship! But I find everything I nedd!

  10. No you not the only one!My sister has a sewing room and her’s gets so bad that I have to help her clean it up. This has happen many many times!! LOL!

  11. It took 2-1/2 weeks in January to do a full clean-up and find/make a place for everything in my room. I’ve since figured out that I’m no good at putting things back right away either – it’s time for another clean-up 🙂

  12. Umm, well, I have to say that your photos do NOT shock me. I have seen that view before in my own home. Here’s the problem: if I have enough energy to clean, then I have enough energy to sew. And if I have enough energy to sew, then I am going to sew instead of clean. So I keep pushing stuff out of the way and the mess just migrates outward. Here is what I do: once a month I pay someone to clean my house. Which requires me to put my sewing stuff away, so she can actually vacuum the floor and clean the countertop. It is the best money I spend all month!

  13. I feel your pain. I recently got a new sewing table – much larger – and I was thrilled because it made the mess underneath look smaller. Until the mess grew. I’ve been having a clean-a-thon in the rest of the house lately, but I can’t bring myself to deal with the Room yet.

  14. Funny that my sewing or knitting stuff never gets out of hand, but the “beauty” products in my bathroom look just like your sewing room. Reading the comments I realize that it’s because my craft room has space for my things but the bathroom is tiny and there is no real space for anything. So now you know what to do: every thing in its place and a place for everything. Or not. Whatever makes you feel creative.

  15. Not so much anymore. My studio, office space and sewing room are all in one and I just couldn’t function in the mess. I now have a place for everything, so while it gets messy it is pretty quick to clean it up. I do it more frequently than I used to because it’s easy and it looks good when its clean and that makes me a whole lot happier. I did have a secret weapon when I started organizing it: my dd. She was born knowing how to organize everything. She drew up a plan for me, using photographs of my studio and proposed changes. One of the things that she did was re assign things to point of use. I also have basic things like pins and measuring tapes, scissors at my cutting table, sewing table and ironing table. I never leave anything on my sewing table any more so it’s always ready to sew. Projects go away in drawers that fit in rolling cabinets stored under my ironing counter. You get the picture. It’s not perfect, but it is functional. You can see my sewing room at PR under the pinned topic, Sewing Rooms. There are a lot of good ideas there.

  16. Yes…I’m having flashbacks…My sewing room used to look just like that. Now I live in a smaller place and can only sew when I have time to drag everything out to the kitchen. So, be thankful for the mess. I used to only clean it every once in a while and it was fun to revisit some of the scraps. I see scraps from your sun dress…Did you get it finished???
    This is my 1st post…but I often lurk. I really enjoy your blog!

  17. Ah I feel you…I do the prelim interviews for the summer interns and I am totally amazed at some of the behaviour…I am SURE we could swap stories!!!! *LOL*

    As for the sewing room…I have.no.words.

  18. I am in the process of returning my sewing room to being close to serving as the guest room that is intended to be. When one has to manage magazines, fabric and fiber it gets a little out of control….

  19. You’re just a free spirit letting the creativity fly…some of it just made it to the floor. Hee, hee. Don’t even worry about it, if you enjoy yourself, who cares. Wee!

  20. This used to happen to me a lot back in Toronto, living in apts where I had no place to cut but the floor – and then only if I moved furniture around. The one mitigating circumstance to my hatred of living in Edmonton, Alberta is that I have a good sized apartment; and since I’m a grad student, I have no real life. These combine to form the situation that instead of a living room I have a sewing studio. I also purged about 2/3 of my possessions when moving from Toronto to Hel-I mean Edmonton, so there was a lot of space and not so much stuff. In the 4 years I’ve been exiled here I’ve acquired a lot, but much more carefully than I used to so that I haven’t outgrown my space.

    So, I guess maybe the point of this otherwise pointless ramble (other than to express ad nauseum my distaste for this overgrown truckstop someone had the audacity to call a city) is an extension of what others have said: find a place for everything + perhaps consider a purge, it can be a really cleansing experience and feeling! It also helps you to identify the things you *really* love.

    I’m moving back to Ontario in a couple months (where I belong!) and it’s unlikely I’ll get lucky/spoiled again with a place this size, so unless I can manage another purge (harder this time round, I had so much utter crap before) I may be in your situation again soon!

    Hope you can get back to your sewing soon, I’m looking forward to seeing the yummy summer dress!

  21. Ha-ha! I’m laughing in recognition of a kindred soul (and many other kindred souls, judging from reading the comments). 🙂 Last week, I was explaining to a another sewer that my apartment (1 bedroom, 1 large open living/dining area) resembles a fabric warehouse, complete with boxes, bags, and piles of clothing, and boxes of buttons and notions that I purchased off of ebay. If I ever get my dream home, I’m going to have a separate room for sewing that I can close off. Thank you sharing the pictures!

  22. LOL about the interviewing. Yikes, don’t you HATE interviewing? And legally you can’t ask anything interesting. Maybe you can come up with some wacky hypothetical situations and ask how they’d handle them. For laughs.

  23. My sewing room use to look just like that. Then I cleaned it up and now it is all on the dining room table. Now I need to clean up the dining room table.

  24. It does get to be a bummer. Stuff just everywhere. I know my husband is tired of all these little strings all over the carpet in EVERY room of the house that I am bringing upstairs on the bottom of my feet from my sewing area hahaha!! Not to mention one of my sewing machines being a permanent ficture on the dining room table cause I don’t know what to do with it.

  25. My guest/sewing room usually is in a mess when I sewing something. I’m not that organize and like leaving it as is until I’m finish, then and only then is when I clean up. Unless, I having company.

  26. We are renovating our bedroom and my sewing room is the staging area. I can’t use it right now, and it looks like yours with more tools on the floor.

  27. My sewing room is worse than this! I have a queen size bed, a large sofa, a dressing table, an ironing board, three bookcases and a solarium – yes a solarium – in my sewing room as well as my sewing tables and two large cupboards. Every one of these surfaces is covered in sewing debri. Oh, I forgot to mention the drum kit and two dummies that get shuffled around as I run out of floor space. I leave piles of fabric out because I’ll make something out of that this weekend’ and I leave piles of patterns out because, ‘í’ll trace those off tonight’, not to mention the clothes that need altering or repair that ‘i’m going to do before I sew this weekend”. This Sunday when I was downstairs sewing, my dog Molly decided to come and do some redecorating. She pawed the rug on the floor into a ball so she could sleep on it. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that both of my dummies had their legs on the rug so they fell over, knocking two piles of fabric that had been perched on the arms of the sofa onto the floor. In my attempt to grab them, I knocked my scrap bin over and now there are scraps and thread ends spread from ‘ársehole to breakfast’ as we Australians say! Don’t be ashamed of your sewing room – I think it’s pretty tidy!

  28. I really wish I could be one of those people that puts things back right away. Or ever. All my life I’ve struggled with not being neat, and somehow, I feel like I should be. I am very organized, and I love them to be that way, but they never stay that way for long. I think the reason I am organized is because I could never find ANYTHING – EVER- if I weren’t. Right now I have two rooms totally messed up with my sewing stuff. sigh.

  29. My sewing room is your room’s twin!!!! I know the feeling though sometimes I spend more time looking for something I just HAD in my hand than sewing and I just have to spend a few days cleaning.

  30. I don’t have it in me to leave stuff unorganized for long. Usually, if I’m working on a big project, I can stand disorganization for a week…MAX. By the end of the week, I can’t stand it anymore so I clean it up. My area must be straightened up in order for me to work. I do have multiple items like seam rippers and scissors for different areas because I hate not having a tool I need where I need it. This is just the way I work.

    Do you need to have your sewing room disorganized in order to sew? Some people do. If that’s the case, don’t fight it. If that’s not the case then you probably need to rethink how your sewing room is laid out. Your sewing area should inspire you to sew.

    CarlaF-in Atlanta

  31. Oh, how I wish Ohio was closer to Baltimore! I love to organize–especially fun stuff like fabric–and would be so happy to get my hands on your sewing room. 😉 Of course as anyone who has lived with me has had to learn, part of loving to organize includes making a good mess to start with. Plus organizing makes me feel like I have some kind of control in the universe (but cheeseburgers and mimosas probably work for that too).

    My advice is that it has to be easier to be organized than to be not organized. So in addition to the wise words above about having places for everything, I like to have a place for the things that I’m not ready to make a decision about or just don’t want to deal with at the moment. Sounds like a trap, but it gives me an excuse to put things aside that would otherwise become clutter. Then I can sort that bin or just do the boring picking up when I talk on the phone to my mom (she’s usually sewing while we talk so she doesn’t mind, but my machine’s too loud to sew back).

  32. My sewing room is currently occupied by my 17 year old nephew and I promise you it looks far worse than yours. And he’s only been here 2 days……

  33. All I can say is … at least you have a sewing room! My “stuff” is spread out in the dining room, living room, guest bedroom and study. I have “pockets” of projects all over the house. The worst offender is that silk wrap coat I’m working on — some of the cut pieces are lying on the carpet between the dining and living rooms, while other pieces are on the dining table. My husband suggested that I take a photo and blog about it — it is that bad!

  34. My sewing room CAN’T look like this because it’s more of a sewing “nook” than “room.” If I’m not organized, there is no hope for me. And then I couldn’t complain about my husband’s crap being everywhere.

  35. This is funny (or is it spooky?). I just blogged about this myself! I’m right there with ya! And, it sure does put a damper on the ole Mojo.

  36. About the interviewing. My dd was a senior interviewer at Sarah Lawrence. Now one of the requirements at SLC is that you write, you write a lot. Every class requires papers of at least 20 to 30 pages for the semester or the year, plus smaller papers. For the most part there are no tests. She was supposed to spend at least 20minutes on each interview. Now what do you do when the first thing a kid says is that they don’t like to write? Hard to go on from that! Those she hated, but she loved talking about books with her interviewees. She liked seeing what they were or had read.

  37. my room looks exactly like this!
    I try and try but I can’t get it perfect like alot of other people.
    I guess I don’t have it in me.
    I try to make the rest of the house (except my bedroom) look nice and neat.

  38. I feel your pain about the sewing room, and it’s hard when you have to work in a small space because it will easier get cluttered. You are not alone because when I come home from work the last thing I want to do is organize. Here is a suggestion, see if know any teenagers who want to make some cash helping you sort out your sewing room, then look for some organizing tips on realsimple.com. Once you get all that done, your space is organize, mind de-clutter, and you will be mentally be ready to sew.

    As for the interviewing, I think you should do more of a conversational interview. I think those questions about what you do want to do with rest of your life is meaningfuless and not very useful. Ask them more about their interests.

  39. I feel for you–a chaotic sewing space will really kill your sewing mojo and turns a relaxing hobby into more stress and effort than it’s worth (says the voice of experience who struggles daily with clutter stress).

    Dear one, don’t you keep your boxes from mail order fabric purchases? *That* is where you’re supposed to shove all that ephimera until you’re ready to deal with it. Doesn’t solve the problem, but neatens it up a bit temporarily and will relieve a little of the depressing feeling. When a number of boxes accumulate, drape a table cloth over them and call it an end table.

    And that big space above your cutting table? A few *STRONG* book shelves and a magnetic pegboard/bulletin board combo beneath would go a long way (I’d take a pic of my setup, but it’s only just this side of embarrassing at the moment).

    From the comments, it’s clear that we need to do something as a community to help the hordes of us afflicted. How about a “progressive clean up” (like a progressive dinner)? We’ll start at your place, then make our way across the country (with a stop in Central Texas, of course).

    In all seriousness, one of the best investments I made a few years ago was a little time with a professional organizer. Treat yourself and boost the economy in the process!

    Best wishes, friend, I really feel your pain.

  40. Mine looks pretty much like this already & I’ve only been sewing for a week! But i’m generally pretty messy anyway…

    I’ve just started to learn to sew & i’ve started a blog to record all my disasters and hopefully some triumphs too. It’s at http://non-crafty-sewer.blogspot.com/

    Jess

  41. Oh. My sewing room can’t look like that because I’d just take up something else instead, something outdoorsy, like biking . So I’d never have to see it again :-).

    Let me recommend “Organizing from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern, I did a project for a friend a few years back where I read I swear, 15 organizing books, and this one actually got me to make some really good changes. The professional organizer in person would help too, but the book can help while you’re lying on the couch (if there’s enough room on there for you) and eating bonbons.

    That said, do NOT put those rollers back in the closet! Consider the leak a lucky break and don’t put anything back in there that you don’t use -now-. Consider that sewing time is good, but you will actually end up with more clothes if you can get to the contents of your closet. Learn to enjoy the getting rid of.. it can be even better than the getting.

    Courage!

  42. My sewing room looks like that after every project. I hate the cleanup in order to start something else. It keeps me from sewing sometimes too.

  43. Yes, yes, yes! Of course my sewing room, aka bedroom I share with my husband! Yes, we sleep with a very messy corner every night!

  44. I heart you for posting those pictures and applaud your honesty. I get all self-hating when it comes to clutter, so I try to stop and clean a little every week. Not that I’m Miss Tidy, no, I’m far from it. Actually, I’m hiring someone to help me with cleaning, now that I have a baby (and all her damn clutter) to incorporate into the daily drown.

    When you describe interview prep and questions, are you referring to the interviewer or the interviewee? I always enjoyed interviews, from both sides of the table.

  45. My sewing room has been far……………… worse! Especially since I engage in multiple hobbies. What a coincidence that you blogged about this; for the past two weeks I have been cleaning and organizing my space. I’m almost done………If I can do it with 4 sons, ages 8, 6, 4, and 2 months. I have hope for ya……………. Oh yeah. This is my first time commenting although I am a relentless lurker.:) I really enjoy reading your blog.

  46. Every time I finish a project it looks like this, or worse. I too am genetically programmed to avoid replacing items as I use them. It drives me nuts. The only way I can deal with it is that each time I finish a project I have a clean up. It kinda clears the mind, as well as the worktable, ready for the next item.

    Thank you for sharing – I feel a bazillion times better about the chaos at the top of my house!

  47. I had the plumber at my house too! Luckily, he did his thing in an hour and a half. I cut an access panel in the wall, finished it out, and replaced the whole shower mechanism, knobs, head and all! Yay, I have water pressure too, and the knobs actually turn the water off now!

    My sewing area is actually very neat, but I haven’t used it much lately. However, I have a home for everything so it almost never gets messy. I think that’s the key. I put pics on my blog recently if that helps.

    I think you’ll feel better if you do a purge and take it to Goodwill. And in this economy, I’m sure there are even more people than ever who could use your things. 🙂

  48. I used to look at my ‘diasaster of a sewing room’ and feel shameful because I knew I was a pig. Surely no one else let things go as badly as me. So I’m thankful for such honest posts from other sewists who let us peek at their messes. And get rid of those curlers! I finally gave mine to the Salvation Army (and I’d had them for 30 years!!! I kid you not!).

  49. I just spent the entire weekend cleaning up my messy spot know as my room. I don’t have a sewing room, so everything is all over the place. I cleaned so much dust that I had an allergy attack and had to call in sick to work! I’d say you are not alone! lol.

  50. You have to quit showing those pictures, they freak me out. My sewing space NEVER looks like that even in the mist of a project but hey I’ve got issues. I got this book from the library that I think will help, it’s Dream Sewing Spaces by Lynette Ranney Black and it has sewing room layouts for all different types of spaces, check it out and clean that mess up lol.

  51. While there may be a little disorder midstream in my garment making, my little studio has never resembled yours. Call me anal, call me whatever, but I have to have everything in order for my creative juices to flow. Disorder is distraction for me and I just can’t handle it. Every day when the sewing is done, the room gets picked up, swept, counters wiped, etc. Between projects I hit the organizing as well. I vacuum my office chair regularly. I find it EXTREMELY frustrating if something I need is not in its home but that rarely happens. I like my sewing room to be “decorated” not just functional. ( I did interior design for many years.) So my ironing tools are in a crystal champagne bucket. My elastics are in a large glass cookie jar. I like to see things for inspiration. I have artwork on the wall that I love so I don’t want any mess distracting from it. I could go on. You probably all detest me. For me to be otherwise would put me in a nuthouse, seriously. Its just who I am and how I work. I am the first to admit that most creative people do not work like me and that is fine. I totally respect and understand that. I am the weirdo here. I think those with the messy rooms are the norm.

  52. I take it from most of the postings that we are not alone! I share my sewing space with the the kitchen/dining area and we recently retiled the space because my husband hated all the pin/fabric/thread droppings I was leaving behind. I’m still trying to figure out how to organize stuff better. My biggest issues are cut patterns, work in progress and fabric scraps. I go through different iterations but need to get organized! I say that every week though. I’ll say that Ikea and Target are my best friends.

    Interviews are a tricky thing. I love the questions that are a little out of ordinary and what allows the other person/me to speak more freely. Like, what do I think are most rewarding in a job/position? I’m trying to think what is appropriate but provocative without breaking the law and it is really hard to come up with something.

  53. I have to tell you, my sewing room has never looked like that. If it did the men in the white suits would haul me away in a strait jacket. Now please know that this is just me and I am casting no aspersions. My personal work style is that I cannot be creative if anything is distracting me and mess distracts. Every day when I am finished sewing, I do a cleanup. After a project is finished, I do a big cleanup. I have a place for everything and I get VERY UPSET if it is not in its place, but guess what? That happens maybe once a year. Now that doesn’t mean that the threads aren’t flying and the fabric isn’t all over the place when I am in the middle of a project, but I just can’t abide disorder and would never work in an environment that was disorderly. I understand totally that most creative minds do not work this way at all and respect that. I know that I am the anal weirdo in this situation too. I like and demand that my studio be pretty and “decorated”. I have custom drapery, art on the walls, and use pretty things to hold my goodies. My elastics are in a huge clear glass apothecary. My ironing tools are in a crystal champagne bucket, etc. It’s just the way I am.

    You do incredible work as do most of the commentors here. So what if they do it in a messy room. I say whatever works for you is fine with me, but for me personally, I would go insane in a messy environment.

  54. My sewing room is probably worse than that at the moment and I’m sharing it with DGD who is using it for storage.

  55. My sewing room is probably worse than that at the moment and I’m sharing it with DGD who is using it for storage. So it won’t get organized anytime soon. I have a horror of someone trying to organize my stuff.

  56. First i love your blog, i’m learning so much from your sewing experience. I would like to help with your space.

    Most creative people work in what looks like cluttered spaces, because we are visual people and like to see what we have to work with. But believe it or not there is organization there. The problem usually is finding the right way to store it, so it’s easily accessible, pleasing to the individual, and doesn’t all end up on the floor.

    I would suggest, if your cutting table is always open, get some kitchen floor cabinets to throw underneath it. If you can move it to the center of the room, even better, throw two rows of cabinets back to back. You can use it for fabric for future projects, patterns, and cutting/ marking supplies. Plus its at a good ergonomic height for cutting.

    Also another good idea is to use the vertical space as well as the floor space, so shelves or peg board can be used for books and supplies.

    Good luck, hope that helps.

  57. Ha!! That’s exactly what my sewing room looks like! It looks like a tornado came through more often than it’s neat. I’m still sewing though. I don’t feel like clearing it out at the moment. I will eventually, but it will quickly go back to stacks of stuff staring at me! I do plan to spend some time next week in the closet in my sewing room. I figure if I can give away half of the fleece and flannel that live in the closet, it will make room for the things that are out and about. I think that’s the worse part about my room right now! I have so much stuff in front of the closet door that I can’t get in there to get the supplies that I need! So, have no fear! You are not alone. I’ll get motivated one day, but until then, I’m still going to sew like there’s no tomorrow. Of course, I’m not working on any clothes for me — it’s too messy in there. But I’m burning up my machine with things for my home and kid stuff!

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