A sewing spot

This was the scene in my sitting room last night.

Sitting room sewing
The famous bins peeping into shot on the right. I also feel I need to point out that what appears to be a cage in the left of the photo is just a fire guard…

Friday evening, the baby’s asleep, my partner’s home from work for the weekend: the perfect time to get on with sewing some of that quilt I’ve been working on forever* while having a chat and watching some Attenborough on the TV**.

The trouble is, my sewing machine doesn’t have a permanent spot in the sitting room. (Room too small, baby too rambunctious.) It has a lovely dedicated permanent spot in the third bedroom upstairs, but therein lies the rub. It’s in the third bedroom upstairs.

It’s great for nap-time sewing, but in the evenings I don’t want to sequester myself in a completely different part of the house.

So instead I resort to this little makeshift affair: the machine precariously resting on an extremely wobbly upturned waiter’s tray that was my Granny’s, wires trailing across the floor because it doesn’t reach a plug socket, a fold-up uncomfortable Ikea chair to sit on as the sofa is too low down…

And it takes a good 15 minutes to create this little set up (okay, hardly the end of the world, but an offputting amount of time, nonetheless).

As a result, I do far less machine sewing than I would otherwise like.

As a relatively new convert to the joys of the sewing machine after a few years spending all my time knitting (a very portable, chattable and TV-watchable activity) I’m not sure if I’m missing a trick somewhere along the way.

So tell me, more experienced sewers, what is the answer?

What’s your set up? A permanent space for your machine in the sitting room? Less square-eyed TV time than this goggle box? Sewing reserved for day times only?

Any advice gratefully appreciated!

*Yes, that is the same quilt that I started as a 2012 Christmas present for my sister and her husband last November and still haven’t finished this July… What of it?

** If that all sounds a bit hopelessly Stepford Wives, I should mention that the sewing / Attenborough-watching / chatting was rather aborted by getting into a short-tempered row for about 30 minutes. Or perhaps that just makes the whole thing even more Stepford Wives-esque?

16 thoughts on “A sewing spot

  1. I certainly empathize with your sewing space dilemma. I am retired and have all the daytime hours I need to sew and have a dedicated space that was supposed to be a dining room for those who dine. But, when evening comes I like to join hubby in the living room and watch TV, too. I try to save any hand-stitching I need to do then.
    I worry about the safety of you and your machine on that tray table. Do you have access to a card table? Not sure if that’s what they are called in Britain.

    My mother sewed for a living and spent most of her time in the living room with the machine just around the corner in the kitchen. It used to drive us kids crazy because when she would run the machine it would cause the TV to go into spasms of interference. This was before cable.

    1. Yes, I think daytime sewing is probably the answer — and bringing the knitting back out in the evening. I have an unfinished baby blanket for a baby who is due in about, ooooh, two weeks, so I should definitely get on with the knitting as well!

    2. Whoa! For a second there I thought you were announcing another baby but then I realized you meant someone ELSE is having the baby in two weeks! Annie sewing on the floor does seem difficult. My daughter has been putting her machine on a coffee table and I thought sounded hard.

  2. So, I sew on the floor, it is more stable and takes two minutes to bring the machine out. It is a little odd at first but you get used to it. It gives you a ton of space. I always sew in front of the telly, much more fun that way.

  3. I have never done so much sewing since my OH installed the side piece of a tall cupboard from the kitchen we ripped out, into the alcove of his study ( for study, read box room). The pleasure of having my sewing machine set up permanently and all my sewing paraphernalia in plastic wheeled storage units underneath hidden by a red and white gingham curtain is one only other crafters can appreciate!
    He is away a lot during the week and my daughter shares her time here and over at her dad’s so I definitely save my hand finishing and crochet for those times when we are all home together ………until Freya disappears upstairs to watch her soaps and my OH goes up to check his emails.

    1. It’s sounding like the general consensus is definitely pro daytime sewing! I actually don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to just sew in the daytime and knit in the TV time, but I think that’s how I’ll divide it up from now on…

      I also love my little sewing spot upstairs, when the machine is in place and all you need to do before you begin is just press the “on” switch. Makes it so much easier to do a few moments here or there, if a few moments is all the time available…

  4. We like in a tiny 2 bed cottage but as we don’t have kids and very rarely needed the spare bedroom for anyone to actually sleep in, we converted it to a ‘studio’ (kind of a joke name – we always say it in a silly voice!) when I took voluntary redundancy in December and set up my own handmade business. My sewing machine lives there now and I use it during the day and save evenings for hand sewing, crochet and knitting. Must admit that I’m not a big machine sewer, do much more hand sewing than anything, but very glad to have it when a job needs doing!

      1. Oooh, Debbie, I’ve just been looking through your site, what beautiful things you have for sale! And also, I think, the best product descriptions I have ever seen…

        Yes, I think I’ve decided to leave my sewing machine in its designated spot upstairs now and just pick up the knitting in the evening.

        It’s great to hear about everyone else’s set up; helps focus the mind somehow! I think before this, I genuinely thought everyone else managed to somehow sew and watch TV and have a conversation (and maybe even cook supper) all at the same time, and I was the only one who hadn’t figured it out, ha ha.

  5. I am a living room sewer! Husband and I find it works best if we’re watching something we’ve both seen before, and sometimes he puts the subtitles on. I think it helps that all my stuff is set up in the living room (not suggesting you do this!) and once the machine is out, it can stay out (on the dining table) until I’ve finished with a project.

    But, in your case I think what you’ve come up with (daytime sewing, night time knitting) is the best solution – and there’s always hand sewing the binding on the quilt! That’s a great TV activity.

    PS. Just found your blog because we pinned the same thing on Pinterest, and I love it.

    1. Hi Annabel, thanks for your lovely comment. (Well, most of it was lovely, the sentence “hand sewing the binding on the quilt” made me shiver with terror, ha ha…)

      I really do prefer the living room sewing as well, I have to say, but can’t really set it up in there permanently… In an ideal world, I think I would have the sewing machine in a little dumb waiter system, maybe on a wheeled sewing trolley within that, so I could just transfer it between the two rooms as the whim took me. Just another sensible addition to the list for home improvements!

  6. my sewing machine spot looks very much like yours! in front of the tv in the living room. need to get my mother in law to teach me how to use it properly! one day i will be a domestic goddess! 🙂

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