One of the most cost-effective hobbies a person can have is needlework. The hobbyist concentrates on a creative, relaxing pastime that produces an attractive, useful item to wear, to use in the home, or to give as a gift. Also, as lifestyles become more and more hectic, these skills, once practiced by members of most households, have become increasingly rare. With time, patience, and practice, these skills can become marketable in this age of mass-produced, mediocre goods. The needlework hobbyist can easily justify claiming permanent space in the home for her hobby, and for collecting and organizing the best tools to practice that hobby. Here are some ideas for organizing your sewing room or craft room.
Whether your hobby is quilting, garment or home sewing, fabric-oriented crafts, or embroidery on fabric, you will need to divide your workspace into areas for specialized tasks, and will need some basic tools for working with fabric. First, organize your sewing/craft room around the following tasks:
* Wash: Designate a time devoted to washing or otherwise preparing your fabrics or other supplies such as tapes or zippers. Most fabrics need to be pre-shrunk before cutting them. All fabric needs to be clean before it is worked. Nothing is more discouraging than having a small smudge that will not come out on a completed embroidery piece or garment. The entire project can be ruined because care was not taken in the beginning. Set aside part of the laundry room for any special soaps, detergents, or spot cleaners suitable for the types of fabric you need to prepare. If the item is to be hand washed only, keep a small bottle of delicate care laundry soap or detergent (along with a couple of towels for this purpose) near your kitchen sink to take advantage of the larger sink and counter space--unless you have a large sink in the laundry room. * Dry: Have an area where fabrics can be blocked on a table or stretched on a rack to dry. This area should be safely away from cooking fumes, pets, children's hands, or anything else that might cause the fabric to be re-soiled. Some fabrics can be dried in the drier, but should be immediately hung or folded to prevent wrinkles from setting in. Other fabrics will need to drip dry, again in a safe place.
* Press: When the fabric is thoroughly dry, it will need pressed to set the grain. This pressing area can be in the laundry room, or in your sewing area, near your machine. Depending on the size of the fabric piece, you can press it on a full-sized ironing board, a table that has been padded with towels and a clean sheet, or a non-stick pressing sheet , which can be laid on a table or counter. In fact, a non-stick pressing sheet can become nearly indispensable near your sewing machine for touching up small pieces such as a single quilt block, or a collar or sleeve that is partially constructed. If this sheet is close-by, it quickly becomes habit to press each seam as it is sewn, rather than waiting until several are ready to press before carrying them all at once to the ironing board.
* Cut: Have an area that is a comfortable height for cutting patterns. This area can be a small table and chair, if you mainly work with small pieces of fabric or it can be a special cutting table. What is important is that it be a comfortable height and that you have good lighting. In the sewing room, this table can double as a pressing area. Be sure to cover the surface with a pad and your pressing sheet.
* Assemble: Whether you are sewing curtains or a prom dress, piecing a quilt block, hand-quilting a pillow, or creating a counted cross-stitch wall hanging, you need space for a comfortable chair, a table or frames at a comfortable height, and good lighting. Keep your tools close-by in a covered basket.
When your workspace is planned out according to the multiple tasks involved, when each area is conveniently located, and your tools are organized and close at hand, you will be able to relax and focus on your hobby. Your family will be able to enjoy your completed projects more quickly because you will be working more efficiently, and they will agree that it was worth the time and effort to organize the sewing/craft room.