The new sewing table

OK so originally I was going to build a nice small 12″ wide folded table that would serve as a sewing machine surface… instead my beloved decided to expand the project just a little bit……WOW! For Christmas week we spent time building the basic table so I could sew presents at the last-minute. My end result was a much larger table that I absolutely LOVE. It is 30″x48″ folded and 60″x48″ with the “wing” out. It is about 36″ tall and doubles as a cutting table as well as being my sewing surface.

sewing table 100_3472-300x225

Anyway here are a couple of shots of it finally completed with the last touches on it…. a pull out shelf for projects and tools. My fabric collection is on bottom and will eventually go in a “Bento Box” style storage system allowing me to have a “neat” appearance to at least my fabric shelf. We’ll see when those get done!

 

Buyer BEWARE!!!

The Sew Essentials Cutting Table you can get at JoAnn’s is a major waste of money. I bought one 3 years ago and the welds gave out on it tonight as I NEEDED it for a project. I bought it because it was at a better height for cutting out projects of which I did cut quite a few out but the longer I had it the more wobbly it became. I kept the screws tight on it but they never held. Finally as the welds have broken it will go out in the yard for the next dump run. It was a WASTE of $60. For that amount I have the supplies I need to build Anna White’s “Sewing Table for Small Spaces” which is for me all wood 3/4″ thick, with large wheels and space to store my machines. It’ll also fold down to about 12″ wide! I can hardly wait to start on it in a week or two as I need it for various projects I plan to attempt to complete by birthday/Christmas this year!

When I complete my new table I’ll be sure to post photos…. it’ll be one of the first projects I do with the new circular saw I now own out of sheer necessity!

 

Please note that the above is PURE opinion but fully the truth as my former table is in pieces! 🙁

Tracking a Project

There are many ways to track projects. Everything from task lists to online trackers to spreadsheets. I use a combo of various methods based on the project I’m doing and if there’s a deadline to complete it.

For sewing projects I tend to use a hand written list occasionally transcribed to a spreadsheet which lets me add information about where I am in each project. I’ve also created custom project sheets that give me more detail right on the project. These project sheets or in the fashion industry are also known as spec sheets. Each page includes a design description, list of supplies along with yardage, a drawing of the design and an area for notes such as construction techniques or rough instructions. Sometimes there is a photo of a muslin sample or even a first try or similar design.

Below I’ve included a free download for one of mine in a MS Word format.

Specification Sheet Form (one from my college years geared towards figuring the costs and general supply list of a design)

Pattern & Samples Planner (revision with two to a page for my Circa Notebook geared towards writing more instructions than a cost analysis of the design)

 

Computerizing your pattern drafting

There are several vector graphics programs out that will work to draft patterns on screen.  Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW are two of the common ones available commercially. Inkscape is an open source free alternative that can also do the job it just depends on your skills and budget.

Personally, I use  CorelDRAW  and have since version 4.  CorelDRAW has come a long way since then and I’m currently using version 12 which I love and fits my budget. The newer versions I’m sure have more bells and whistles but I only need a few tools.

  • Plain lines
  • Plain curves
  • Bezier curves
  • Shapes variety
  • Contours
  • Line thickness
  • Measurement tools
  • Node edits
  • Zoom
  • Layers
  • Colors
  • PDF file formatting
  • Text both art and paragraph

I’ll go into some of these tools in more depth soon. Illustrator and Inkscape have these common tools as well and there are likely other vector programs that I don’t know about. If you have a favorite drop me a line in the comments below.

Places to find fine fabrics

Miniatures and small scale sewing requires fine fabrics and even a small amount of fabric can get expensive. You can recycle various common items into wonderful doll costumes. A linen handkerchief or napkin come with rolled hems usually done by hand or machine. If you can find one that would no longer be useful for daily use those finely crafted hems can become the hem of your doll’s new dress or sleeves!

Silk blouses are also a common item that get worn spots rendering them unwearable but the rest of your former blouse can be used for your next project!

Personally I like to purposefully get blouses and such at thrift stores and second hand shops.  I tend to buy items that are too small for me and usually on a sale rack. Once in a while I find a blouse for myself, wear it for a while and when it wears out use it for a doll outfit.

I keep my nice fabric in totes by color so I can find what I need or want.