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February 4, 2011

Guest blogger: Studio tour by Megan Nielsen

Happy Friday! Today I'm having an Australian designer, Megan Nielsen as a guest blogger. 
I always admire people with well-organized sewing studio, and when I saw her post on her blog about her sewing room, I knew I had to ask her how she does it! My sewing room is such a mess, and I really needed some advice on how to organize it well before the baby comes. 

In addition to having a successful clothing line worn by Jessica Quirk of What I Wore and Kendi Lea of Kendi Everyday (two of my favorite daily read!), she is a wife and a mother of two young children. She also sells sewing patterns, including some maternity clothes sewing patterns. I've been wanting to make her wrap maternity top so bad! 

Enough with my rambling, and here is Meg

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Hi everyone! My name is Megan Nielsen, but you can call me Meg! I’m an independent Australian designer, and Chie has asked me to share a little with all of you on how I have my studio set up.

I’ve worked hard over the last few years to hone my studio arrangement to it’s most efficient point. It’s been such a journey, and I’ve gone through so many iterations that it’s kind of hysterical – but I finally found what that works perfectly for me! You see I have 2 small children (both under 3), so the time I get to work on my sewing projects is limited - which means I need to be able to find everything immediately when I get a second to work. Added to that, sewing equipment is pretty dangerous for little kids, so everything needs to be out of reach, and I need to know exactly where it all is so I can tell if it’s missing! Actually you’ll find a lot of the way my room is set up (and the fact that it’s neat at all) is because I have little ones running around!

This is the basic arrangement:
I have a very long desk against one wall which has my sewing machine and my serger/overlocker. On that wall I also keep my peg board (which is like, the best thing EVER!). On the peg board I keep all the dangerous stuff, scissors, pins, needles, small buttons, rulers etc . It works really perfectly for me, because as I’m sewing on my machines I can reach up for whatever I need – but things are also well out of reach of little hands.

I then have a smaller desk round the side that houses my little office area – computer, printer, stationary and shipping supplies. Packing up orders to ship can sometimes take a while, so it’s really great to have a designated area. Above my computer screen, is my inspiration board. I normally keep my main sketches for the current season, as well as the fabrics I’m use and whatever inspirations I’m drawing on – it really helps to keep me focused!

In the middle of the room I have my cutting table – it’s really perfect here because I can access it from all angles, but also means that while I’m at my sewing station I can easily swivel my chair around and work on my cutting table. I keep a huge self healing mat on here at all times so that I can use my rotary cutter really easily. I like to use this table for pattern drafting too, since it’s so big and I have the grid underneath.
I keep my patterns in plastic drawers, organized by season, or type, whichever is more appropriate – and each pattern is housed in a large zip lock bag – just in case sticky little hands get access!
On the other side is my ironing board, which is always set up. I think anyone who serious about sewing will always have their iron on when they sew! I honestly think the difference something looking amateurish or professional.

You may have noticed there isn’t any fabric anywhere – that’s partly because I don’t want it any place that my kids can get to it, and partly because I have so much that it needs it’s own room to be stored (if fabric hoarding was a disease, I’d be a terminal case). There’s nothing fancy there, just lots of large plastic tubs and shelves.
The last things in my room are my 3 dress forms. Which are generally just scattered around depending on what I’m working on!

So there you have it!! That’s just a little bit about my studio space, and why I have it the way I do – it works so well for me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tour!

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I was also inspired by her blog post "how I do it all" - full of wisdom for a mother-to-be, like me.  Her "Meg's maternity wear survival guide" was very helpful as well.


Red said...

Thank You!!!!!

I'm currently torturing myself over how to arrange my sewing room now that I finally have one, and there are so few resources for arrangement.. Or at least my google skills are failing on the topic. This was really helpful to me.

Ashley said...

Oh my goodness, this space is amazing!!

Mama Violet said...

Beautiful space.

Casey said...

How fun! I have been following Megan's blog since I discovered it late last year (perchance after spotting a picture of her maternity wrap top pattern... that is on my list of "must buy" when I get to that point! ;) and it's so neat to see how she's got her space organized. I was wondering if she might tell where she purchased her dressforms? I am in the market for buying a new one sometime this year, mostly for just displaying finished pieces and photography purposes, so I'm curious to know where she got her's. :)

♥ Casey

kelsey said...

I love Megan and her blog! How adorable is that little diagram? She is so amazing.

megannielsen said...

Hi Casey - I can answer that for you!! One of them is vintage, and was a gift from a friend (luckily it's perfectly my size), one is an adjustable singer dress form, which I use for pattern drafting, and the last one is my display form. Which I got from Ebay, and is really quite good for displaying things - though it's not useful for sewing. I couldn't find the exact one, but this one looks pretty similar. I hope that helps!

vivatveritas said...

thank you again megen for writing this post:) i learned so much! now i really need to put it to practice and clean up my room!!