Couture, DIY Sewing Room Projects, Sewing, Sewing Patterns, Vogue 8543

Vogue 8543 – Part 1

Current works in progress: this list is embarrassingly long:

  • a couture Chanel jacket a la Claire Schaeffer, muslin is cut and stitched, I just need to make corrections to the fit – since this is a sew-a-long for the Sutura Club I’ll be finished by Christmas (I hope!)
  • three pairs of slacks (I cut them all at once to save time and then stitch when I am have time)
  • my black evening ensemble – I actually fooled myself into believing I could get sewing done on a busy Saturday – silly me! The muslin for the corset is done and a new pattern is drafted but I need my Pfaff to pull it off – see below
  • Vogue Pattern 8543 – I am making this in a fun wool tweed from Mood Fabrics – changes will be made to the sleeve. I have long skinny arms and a trumpet sleeve just makes matters worse.

Vogue Pattern 8543

The tweed is a pink-grey color and has a lovely drape to it – you can check it out here Pink Wool Tweed.

The great joy of sewing is that there is never an end to what can be made there are always new ideas, new fabrics, notions etc – sigh. That said, my sewing time has slowed somewhat – here is a look into my crazy sewing world.


It’s been just 2 short years since I set up the living room/dining room as my designated sewing space. I loved the bright natural light in there so much more than the dark, gloomy basement! After two winters however, it has a single, major drawback – all the walls (except the one above) are grey. The room feels chilly and dark during the cold months so, before the snowy days arrive the walls are getting a paint job.

Here’s what my studio looks like at the moment:



Drop cloths, and shambles! Oh well, it can be put back quickly enough. And the color, which appears white in the photos is actually a very pale pink with a tiny drop of yellow to warm it up. Much brighter for winter sewing!

In the meantime, Nina Rose is still going strong in her little corner:


allowing me to keep up with some sewing whilst the work is under way.

All in all, sew much to do and sew little time!

Happy Sewing!


Craft Room, DIY Sewing Room Projects, Hobby Spaces, Quilting Room, Sewing Room Makeover

DIY Sewing Table under $70

The weather has turned nasty here in Indiana. No surprise at this time of year, but it has caused a delay in the creation of the new notions storage, since I need to work outside. Instead, I am working inside on a new sewing table.



Bernina 932 Record


The machine is a Bernina 932 record and it weighs a ton. Online, cabinets strong enough to support my Nina Rose are pretty pricey. To get this project done within my limited budget I am using an old computer desk. This desk has a long history in our family, it was originally purchased for my son when he was in elementary school (he’s now in his mid twenties). He used it all through high school and even for his first year of college. So it’s a keeper for this sentimental Mom. I remember how happy I was to get it for such a good price! It was on clearance for around $20 and then as now, I was really keen to stretch the family budget. A few weeks ago it looked like this:

This machine needs a new table!


My goal was to keep the cost of supplies for this DIY Sewing Table under $75 but managed to get everything for just $70. Here’s how it all added up:

Old wooden computer desk.  (These can still be bought on Craigslist for very little if you are patient, sometimes even free if you pick it up) $20 back in the 90’s :))

120 spool thread Rack $25, available from Amazon

Paint: $13 One can of Rustoleum 2X Paint plus primer and 1 can of Rustoleum Automotive Paint & Primer for plastic.

Fabric for Skirt: $7

Wood scraps from the local home improvement store for shims and shelf: $4

Total :$69

Common items from around the house: I also used rolled on one coat of Valspar primer first that was leftover from a previous job. It wasn’t necessary, it just reduced the number of coats needed from the Rustoleum and I used a piece of sandpaper to smooth out the surface as well. I used a bit of glue to shim the shelf that the machine is sitting on.

Tools: The hole was actually cut using a drill and a circular saw. This isn’t the ideal way but I can’t afford to buy a scroll saw right now. If you are lucky enough to own a scroll saw or can borrow one from a friend then you will likely get a much smoother cut than I did! Those are all the tools I used.

To get started, I carefully cleaned the whole desk with plain soap and water to remove any grease or grime. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the soap residue and left it to dry overnight. Once it was all dry I used Valspar primer for glossy surfaces left over from a previous project. This meant that I did not need to sand although I did smooth out some of the rough spots from the circular saw hack job. It proved to be an unnecessary step as the Rustoleum 2X was more than sufficient. To keep the spray paint from making a mess, three drop cloths were hung to create a little painting ‘tent’. Suffice to say, I won’t make that mistake again!  It’s better to wait for good weather and work outside IMHO. 


DIY Sewing Table Under $50

It took two coats of the Rustoleum 2X to get the whole thing ready to go.


Glossy paint makes a slick surface for the fabric to float on.
Glossy paint makes a slick surface for the fabric to float on.

DIY Sewing Table Under $50

Here I have shown a thread rack attached to the side of the table.


And this is how it looks now.

Happy Sewing!


Atelier, Fabric Storage, Hobby Spaces, Paris Couture, Quilting Room, Sewing Room Makeover

Sewing Room Makeover Continued – Project and DIY Ironing Board Cart

Yes, it’s true. My PCP (Pfaff Creative Performance) has a name, Prince Pfyodor. The pretentious, over-the-top name suits him to a tee. Compared to the other machines in the studio he’s pretty spoiled and, since he is much to heavy to move around, I decided to put together a press and project cart for him so I can keep his table clear and the iron close by. I adapted the cart from an Ikea Bygel cart which you can check out here:


The ironing surface is made of a piece of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) that is covered in one layer of reflective heat proof lining and 1 layer of muslin, attached with a staple gun. I tried, as mentioned in a previous post, to spruce it up a bit with pink buckets for project notions etc and a floral gift bag. But to my eyes, it was still lacking so off I went to JoAnn for some sticky hook and loop tape so I could make a skirt to cover up some of the clutter. Here’s how it looks now.

Paris Rose Cart Ironing Setup Paris Rose Project Cart

TADA! Lol! That looks so much better! And the cute fabric goes with the Paris Couture theme. I added a rose pattern button to cover the space between the two edges of the skirt.The messy stuff is still inside but at least I don’t have to look at it now. Equally important is that I already had the cart so I stayed within my budget. Yay!

When I looked at this cart, it made me reflect on the tiny apartments I have lived in. I keep thinking that it would be the perfect sewing cart. Just add your machine to the second shelf, reorganize it and presto! Instant sewing space. It slips away into a closet or, if covered in a home decor fabric, it could blend in nicely just tucked into a corner. I set the cart up with sewing needs just to try it out.


Just an idea for anyone who is living in a small space, or has limited sewing space. I empathize.

Next post…the pressing station for the commercial iron and the cart.

Happy Sewing!


Atelier, Fabric Storage, Hobby Spaces, Quilting Room, Sewing Room Makeover

To the wall or not





I am, truthfully in a bit of a quandary. The front section of the room is coming along nicely. I figure I am about 70% done. All that remains is the design wall/embroidery station with shelving. It is the most difficult project to assemble but once it’s done the front section will be too. But it has to wait for sales, time and a pair of helping hands. So for today, now that the walls are looking a little nicer, I am trying to figure out whether to put two sewing machines front to back so Mom and I can see each other or push the Pfaff against the wall, move the serger table over and create a second, independent quilting station for MDM.

The pictures above are just a mock up. I will not be using these tables for the Pfaff at all. The sergers actually go on one of the desks and the second one is for another machine. I am planning to build a special table for the Pfaff that will allow me to sew on a flat surface, needle to the nose as I was taught. I took the pictures with the drawers open so I could be sure that they can open with me sitting in front of the machine. What do you think? One quilting station or two?

Atelier, Fabric Storage, Hobby Spaces, Quilting Room, Sewing and Embroidery, Sewing Room Makeover

Adding a touch of spring to a wintery view






I have moved some pictures around and added little pink buckets to my press/project cart to keep project notions sorted. I am adding little dashes of pink here and there to help my wintery cool space feel a little more like spring. At the bottom of the cart, I reused a gift bag to hold my next sewing project which is all cut out and ready to sew. The binder, beside the bag, is a sample workbook so I can remember how to do the multitude of stitches one learns over time and which attachments to use (there are so many!) I loved the fabric on the binder and actually tracked it down at Hancock’s. Now if it would just go on sale!!!! My task today was moving the desks and setting up the front (north) facing wall and getting some of the wall decor done. Nearly there.

It’s nice to be inside on a snowy, cold day. Just thinking about spring is making it better and the forecast next week is for weather in the fifties. Yay!

Happy Sewing! Natalie

Atelier, Cutting Table, Fabric Storage, Hobby Spaces, Paris Couture, Quilting Room, Sewing Patterns, Sewing Room Makeover

Sewing Room Makeover – Paris Couture Dream Theme


I found these cute boxes at Hancock’s Fabrics. I love them for a lot of reasons, partly the color scheme, but mostly the Paris Couture theme. When I was a girl I dreamed of becoming a great Haute Couturier in Paris, with a shop on the Champs-Élysées. I sewed and dreamed. I worked and dreamed. I studied and dreamed. I took Fashion Arts at High School. Worked for fabric stores, and studied the Singer Sewing Reference Library until the books fell apart. I went to college and studied Fashion Design. Won competitions and really believed that I could make it. But the cold, harsh reality was that my dream world was dying. With the advent of the fax machine (yes I am that old) design specs could be sent to off shore factories in minutes and a sample could arrive in days. The internet made that timeline even shorter. And we could not compete. The cost of living in North America meant higher wages and higher wages mean higher costs of production.

So I am creating my own “Paris”, right here at home. A beautiful place of perpetual spring where I can design and create and teach and learn and grow and laugh and maybe even cry. Where the customer is always right, because the customer is always me. It may not be geographically correct, by my tiny atelier is a dream coming true for me. My sewing room is more than just a hobby space. It is a dream world preserved and well worth every penny I spend and every moment I have in here. After all, what price can we put on a dream?

Fabric Storage, Hobby Spaces, Quilting Room, Sewing Room Makeover

Sewing Room Makeover

Just before Christmas I began working on converting our living room and dining room area into a sewing studio. Our nest is empty and we just don’t need a formal sitting area. Our friends come by and we all hang out in the great room/kitchen area anyways so it makes sense to use the space for something practical. I had used it as an office before and the study was my sewing room but I don’t need that much space for using my computer, editing video etc. and am really keen to have a proper set up for my home based pattern making and sewing school business. The problem with the old space is that is was cramped and I could only have 1-2 students at a time. This space will allow me to comfortably hold classes of 6-8 participants, which is the maximum number I can give personalized attention to.

My biggest challenge is to get all this done on a pretty tight budget. I have just $1200 to spend on the whole room, and that isn’t much considering the size of the space. Wherever possible, I am up-cycling, reusing, and building/assembling the various furnishings and decor for the room. I want it to be pretty, comfortable, bright and welcoming but most of all, functional!

Here is how the room looks so far. I was pretty desperate to get on a flat surface with the Singer! That cardboard/painters tape job has got to go!






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The room measures about 28' x 12'. Here are my first diagrams for the living room area makeover.



I made a list of all the functional spaces that I will need including storage and work areas. Because I do quilting, pattern making, embroidery, digitizing and sewing, most of the spaces will have to be multi-purpose. This is what I have identified so far! :))

Storage for:
Threads: embroidery, quilting and all purpose
Tools and Rulers
Paper and supplies
Pressing equipment
Quilt Frame storage

Work Areas to include:
Pattern drafting
Cutting table with mat
Embroidery machine station
Free Motion quilting table for use with frame
Sewing tables
Pressing station
Serger and blind hem station
Computer/printer/drawing desk
Men’s and women’s fitting areas
Waste and recycling
Quilting design wall

I have finished setting up the glass cases with my sewing and quilting fabrics, shown in photo 4. I plan to put a full length mirror behind the dress form for fitting. Still lots of planning, building, buying and work to be done!! The cutting table does yeoman service as pattern storage, pattern drafting, storage for tools etc.





I still need to do some work but I managed to put together the whole thing by using cabinets that I had purchased before for other things. It is made of an old 60″ bathroom vanity, two 24″ deep base cabinets and a couple of garage style cabinets that are 16″ deep by 24″ wide. I managed to pick those up at my local home improvement store for just $15 each on clearance. The total cost for the cutting table, including the mat and pressing surface, would be around $250 if I had to buy all the parts again so I am thrilled to have saved that much from my budget!

Here’s a shopping list to go by if you are interested.

Bathroom vanity – available from your local Restore or buy a damaged on from your local home improvement center. I paid $25 at Lowes for mine when we were thinking to redo the basement. We never wound up using it for that as it quickly became my sewing storage unit. The best $25 I have ever spent!

Garage cabinets. I bought these brand new at Lowes for $15 each. I used 2

1 sheet of MDF board cut to 37″ x 96″. I paid under $20

Instead of painting the board, I covered it with a piece of white muslin that I had lying around but a pint sized tin of white paint is under $10

The cutting mat is from Joann. I used my coupon off sale items (it took some patience and waiting for this) and paid under $30 for the Sew Essentials cutting mat. I don’t use the measurements on it, I use a ruler. On a mat this size, accurate grids are unlikely so I have never bothered to try.

The two 24″ cabinets were purchased new at our previous home and I forget how much we paid back then but we’ve hauled them around and they are still going. Check your local Restore for used ones. A can of paint can do wonders!

Lots of work still to be done!

Happy Sewing! Natalie