Keeping It in the Family
One of the great things about sewing is how it's often passed down through generations. Many of today's sewists learned from watching their mothers or grandmothers sew, and they will in turn pass that knowledge on to their own children. Sewing knowledge can be cherished and passed down in the same way as precious handmade garments, gaining new life as we pass them on to a new generation.
In her editor's note in the Spring 2010 issue of Stitch, Tricia wrote about her very inspiring grandmother, whose closet was full of handmade garments with impeccable tailoring and timeless style. My grandmother was a crocheter, not a sewer (I think that watching her crank out afghans at the speed of light as a child was one of my first crafty inspirations), but I'm grateful to my mom for enrolling me in a couple of sewing classes when I was a kid. Without those early experiences, I might not be the crafty person I am today.
Lisa Cox and her daughter, Sarah, in their Perth, Australia, studio.
Lots of storage keeps everything organized in a studio that also functions as a guest room.
While some people learn from their parents or grandparents and then go their own way in their crafty endeavors, there are also a great number of mother-daughter teams who continue to create together. The Summer issue of Studios magazine has a great feature on mother-daughter creative teams, including Stitch designer Lisa Cox and her daughter, Sarah. Here's what Lisa had to say about their crafting adventures and how they keep a clean and organized dual-purpose sewing studio:
Sugar + Spice: Twice as Nice
We are a mother-and-daughter crafting and baking duo. We love to bake treats for our family and to create individual sewing projects with fabric, thread, and paper. We recently converted our guest room into a sewing/craft room so it is easy to spend even a few minutes at a time on a project, as everything is set up and ready to go. We have two workstations: one for sewing and one for paper crafting. This works well when we are both in the studio together working on our projects. Occasionally we set up a third table for my son to paint his models. It is a lot of fun when we are all in there creating together.
We love to give homemade gifts to friends and family, as you can put your love into the project to show them how much you care. We enjoy giving gifts from our kitchen: jams, cookies, etc., as well as small sewn projects. Christmas is our favorite time of year and is a great opportunity to make up special decorations and gifts to put some spirit in the season.
Our craft studio still doubles as a guest room several times a year. The worktables are folded up when guests arrive, and the guest bed is disassembled and stored in the adjoining en suite bathroom when not in use. It only takes an hour or two to totally transform the room. We have kept the room fairly uncluttered so it is easy to set up the bed. All the rest of our supplies are stored in a built-in cupboard in a nearby passageway.
Our space also works well for the wide variety of crafts that we dabble in: sewing, quilting, paper crafts, jewelry making, candle making, glass etching, decoupage, embroidery, knitting, and crochet. The sewing machine and Cricut cutting machine can be easily removed from the workstations to give us more room to spread out our supplies.
Lisa's childhood dollhouse keeps favorite fat quarters dust-free.
We use IKEA Expedit shelving to house most of our growing collection of books, magazines, and supplies. This shelving works well for guests, as we clear a few sections for them to store their clothing and personal effects. We have very eclectic taste and have combined modern colors with some vintage storage items. Old wooden cigar boxes house rubber stamps and masking tape, an old suitcase holds a collection of quilts, and a dollhouse stores fabric. We have framed some of my grandmother's vintage sewing patterns to fit with the sewing theme.
We use Lisa's childhood dollhouse to store favorite fat quarters of fabric. The doll house is fully enclosed, which keeps the fabric dust-free. It works well to have an inspiring stack of fabric close by the sewing station. We have travelled extensively and love to pick up craft/baking supplies on our journeys. We have a collection of Japanese Kokeshi dolls, Japanese masking tape, fabrics from many countries, and an enviable collection of baking cups and papers from all over the world. Our family is used to us searching out fabric, craft, and baking supplies when we are on holiday.
Lisa + Sarah's Hints + Tips for Sewing Room Organization
1. Make creating a family affair.
2. If you're sharing a studio, two workstations make it much easier.
3. Use fold-up and quick-assembly furniture to make a studio multifunctional.
Check out the Summer issue of Studios for more great mother-daughter crafting stories. And if you sew or do other crafts with your kids or your parents, tell us about it in the comments below!