and accessories. Oftentimes we’re amazed by the clever use of space and savvy layouts many sewers and designers have created for themselves in their studios. This chapter will introduce you to your new accomplices in creating your very own customized wardrobe. and we aren’t ashamed to admit to adopting some of their great ideas in our very own sewing areas. we experience a certain voyeuristic thrill. . In many sewing rooms. If you’ve never even touched a sewing machine. supplies. this section will provide you with enough ammunition to begin with confidence.chapter 1 GETTING STARTED Every time we see a great sewing space. you will find an arsenal of sewing tools. and will break down exactly what you’ll need to get started.

Though it is not mandatory. which deserves your undivided attention. flat surface for transferring patterns and for cutting out pieces in fabric.” she urges you to put away any other projects you’re working on in order to have a more fruitful experience. Alison’s sewing mantra is “clear the clutter” before you begin a new project. Alison recommends delegating a large. and pegboards attached to the wall can make a small space feel larger while creating easy access to your sewing tools and accessories.THE SEWING STUDIO Over the years. to begin with. For sewing room “feng shui. but your focus will be on your current project. having a space designated for sewing can help you stay organized and better accomplish your sewing projects from start to finish. flat surface makes for an ideal patternmaking and cutting table. don’t fret. Not only does this create a nice clean slate for you Above: Hanging shelves. 10 The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook . If you don’t have the extra space for your very own sewing room. but really it’s the preparation that requires the most space. you can get by with setting up your sewing machine on a small desk or tabletop. you just need to get creative. We know not everybody has the extra space to spread out. a thread rack. No matter where she’s setting up shop. from windowless closets to her current studio in the former maid’s quarters of her home in Brooklyn. When it comes time to sew up your creation. and the drawers can hide unwanted clutter. Alison’s sewing spaces have progressed from kitchen counters to shared art-school spaces. A clean.

Getting Started 11 .Baby bottles and old jam jars make for the perfect rickrack and notions containers. BurdaStyle member Ophelia K’s sewing supplies stash—old shoeboxes—work great as storage containers for all of her sewing needs.

12 The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook .Scouring thrift stores and flea markets for vintage sewing supplies can add a retro touch to your sewing space— and get you some good deals! Vintage jars and old glass dishes make fun storage vessels.

And everything has a specific place. before I start on the next project. ADORED AU ST IN AN D M ADE T H IS / LOVE T H IS “ My space generally becomes total chaos while I’m working on a project.“ Since I’m a beginner. so I don’t waste time looking for something while I’m working—assuming I’ve put it away and it’s not hiding under a pattern piece or something. I use a vintage desk and a bookshelf for everything: fabric is in neat stacks. DESIGN ER. F OU N DER. OLIVER + S AN D LISET T E Getting Started 13 . I don’t have a lot of supplies.” —IN DIAN A ADAM S.” —LIESL GIBSON . and tools go in the wrist drawer of the desk. notions are in a big salad bowl. but I do make a point of putting everything back when I’m finished.

A bright overhead light. Alison once helped sew part of a garment for a friend whose sewing machine was set up on her bedroom floor—by the time Alison was finished acting as seamstress-cum-contortionist.For starters. You’ll notice that most sewing machines have a little light that turns on when your machine does to illuminate your stitches—but you’ll definitely need more light than that to sew. Many BurdaStyle members clear off their dining-room tables to spread out their sewing projects—this surface is ideal for transferring patterns to paper and for laying out fabric for cutting. but look out for your spine. lay a cutting mat down on top of it or on the floor. flat surface for tracing patterns and cutting out fabric. If you’re afraid of damaging a nice tabletop. we highly recommend setting up your sewing machine on a desk or table and adjusting your seat so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle to your body. we recommend finding a clean. her back was killing her! To save your spine. Spread out your patterns on a diningroom or kitchen table for a makeshift patternmaking studio. 14 The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook . desk lamp. large enough to fit the pattern sheets included in this book. or natural light will help you see those tiny stitches and seam lines more clearly.

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