My Sewing Room
ears and years of sewing in the dining room or at the kitchen table, getting everything out, then having to put it all away (even when the project wasn’t finished yet) — never having a sewing room of my own, finally changed last fall when Joe and I went to the Brimfield Flea Market and found the perfect table for the space I had in mind, brought it home, and set up my first real sewing room.
t’s upstairs in a place we’ve always used as a sitting room, at the top of the stairs, between two bedrooms and now filled with fabric, my sewing machine, sewing baskets, the scissors I never use for anything but fabric, my pin cushions; everything in one place. I can get out my projects now and just leave them out until they’re done! You who have sewing rooms (and also, those who don’t!) know (or can imagine) the glory in this.
hen I was young, all of my “artist ways” went into sewing. I remember being perched on the big green armchair, next to my mom who was forming my fingers around needles and yarn, showing me how to knit; or how to sew, on the old black Singer that was always up in the corner of our kitchen; how to crochet, and embroider, all the needle arts…but the sewing and the embroidering really took with me. I took my babysitting money, and walked to the dime store where I bought those stamped fabric things; the pillowcases with the bluebirds stamped on them, the babies bibs with duckies, and embroidered them. I never developed the knack of crochet — just ran out of time. I’ve always loved hand-sewing best; for me it’s a hobby; I love to sit and knit with my girlfriends in the winter, and then of course, it’s wonderful to be able to make things I can’t get anywhere else. I love to walk though my house, look around, and hear myself say, “Made that; made that”… etc. My little score card.
y great grandmother used to embroider flour-sack dish towels and sent a box full of them to my mom every year for Christmas. She made all those Sunday – Monday ones you can still sometimes find in antique stores. She was the inspiration for this dishtowel I appliqued and embroidered for my mom when I was around eleven. I still love to make dishtowels. They take so little time, are almost instant gratification — a quick kitchen pick-me-up. By the time I was in the 8th grade, I made all my own back-to-school clothes — went to summer school just to take sewing classes. Can’t say too much for my ability…but I was fast. I remember the teacher saying she didn’t understand why something that looked so bad on the inside, could look so good on the outside. I chose to take that as a compliment.
ut where sewing really started to get fun was when I began making things for my house… sewing and embroidering curtains and pillows, dresser scarves, potholders, tea cozies, and pin cushions, I made everything…I made bedroom curtains out of old lace table cloths. I stitched my first patchwork quilt when I was about twenty — no lessons, as I’m sure you can tell by this photo of the quilt I made for friends for Christmas, when fabric could be had for twenty-five cents a yard, if you knew where to shop.
hen I was in my early 20’s, I thought I’d go into the pillow-making business. No one bought any, but I was in pillow heaven for years.
he best thing in my sewing room is my grandmother’s sewing basket. I wish I didn’t have it, because then it would still be on top of the armoire in her bedroom, but I do. The second best place. It’s not especially remarkable, except that it was hers, and still smells like her perfume. It’s filled with half-used packets of pins from the 1950’s; hooks and eyes sewn onto a card, packages of rick-rack, every color of thread (on wooden spools); buttons in a jar, her red pin cushion, her silver thimble. Like a family recipe box, it has has a history, essence of Grandma, and her years of button sewing are there; mending and hemming, probably collar turning, and I bet alot of day dreaming went on over that basket. So it’s mine now…and my grandma is in my sewing room.
f I hadn’t discovered painting, had done more sewing instead, and if I’d been lucky, maybe by now, I would be a clothing designer. I still get the urge, believe it or not. I have files full of these drawings….
very so often I go on a spree, drawing the things I wish I could find in stores; ideas for clothes I know I’ll never get around to making. This is what I mean when I say I wish they’d get ON with the invention of cloning. I would love to be in nine places, at least, at once. Is this asking too much? Apparently the answer (so far) is yes.
light of fancy — flight of fancy, I do so very much like those words.
My grandma’s sewing basket.Art and Content for Susanbranch.com is protected by registered copyrights.
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What a special time for me to read this. I am going through boxes from my late Mother’s attic and finding boxes and boxes of patterns and supplies. I am washing my canning jars for button storage and putting the wooden spools on a special shelf. I just discovered some half done house dresses that my great grandmother must have started in the 1930’s – all “hand done”. You are so lucky to have such a special room for your memories!
What a treasure trove, Maryellen!
The colors in that “first quilt” are screaming 70’s.
I remember they sure didn’t have much else other that Olive green, Brown, Gold, and Orange in those days…
They also scream 25 cents a yard at the “dime store.” 🙂
I absolutely love it! I remember those fabrics well. And sewing with my mom. Happy times.
Such a lovely connection. xo
Susan did you collect all your red spode a little at a time or did you buy a certain pattern? I have a few pieces but would love more.
When Joe’s great aunt passed away we were able to buy most of it from her estate, and then whenever I saw a little bit of it, I would add it to the pile. One of those things it’s fun to hunt for!
I share the wonderful peace of having all your sewing and craftin items in one location that does not require moving for dinner or quests. My husband and I recently re-modeled a workshop space separated from the garage by a barn-style door. Beyond the door is a curtain separating a small freezer and a rack with my fabric and notions. I have a folding table to cut on, a table with my sewing machine (old Viking), a CD player, a comfortable chair for handwork, lamp, and a handcrafted cabinet with a small frigerator behind stained glass doors. It is cozy and I love to escape to my new craft room and sew into the wee hours of the night. Soothing music and my mind drifts off to future creations. It’s our gifts of love! I also am in my “happy place”.
I bought a summer cookbook you wrote and I love it! Thank-you for your gift of creativity! Have a great summer!
Warm regards, Deanna
A craft room is such a luxury! How wonderful for you!
So nice to just close the door and leave things “be” I think! It is certainly a luxury to have a sewing room! Mine is a mess right now and in need of some real organizing!
I loved reading about your sewing room. It brought back many wonderful memories of my grandma too. She loved to sew and quilt. I have her old sewing machine with some of her sewing treasures that include cards of buttons, needles and a few other sewing items. I also have some of the machine attachments of her old machine. It’s wonderful to have her share my sewing room with. I love your website and blog, your recipes and just reading about you and your days. Thanks for sharing it with us! Have a great day!!
My sewing room has always been evolving. Right now it is a bedroom for a daughter and grandson that lost their home. When it is a sewing room I am constantly drawn to creating things my mom and grandma would have loved. My mom was an extremely talented, sewer and painter. So was my grandmother, boy could she create! I’m drawn to everything you do, Susan, so adorable and so much my mom and grandmother. Thanks for being there!
I found your wonderful blog tonight and have enjoyed reading and looking at each section. I am a FACS Ed teacher and always looking for fun websites to share with my students and for different sewing and cooking ideas! You will be the highlight of my Oklahoma classroom this fall! Thanks for being a great inspiration!
Thank YOU, say Hi to the kids for me!
I now have my very own sewing room or “Mama’s Cave” as the family calls it! I call it my retreat, my happy place, my place of solitude, MINE. My husband came upstairs to see my sewing room after I had rearranged it one evening, looked around, and decalred, “This looks just like your classroom”. I’m a retired teacher and when he said that I looked around and realized that indeed it did look like the area in all of my classrooms over the years that contained my desk, file cabinet, bookslef, etc.. You know…that little cubbyhole the teacher retreats too when the students are quietly reading or you need to grade papers, etc… My classroom simply evolved into my sewing room in retirement.
I LOVE your sewing area…looks very comfortable and inviting…like you, Susan!
Thank you for the pics. Your sewing room is charming, as are all your other rooms that you’ve shared with us! I like your clothes designs. Perhaps you could design clothes for those of us in our 60’s with shapeless, shapes or too much, shapes? Hurry though, I’m getting closer to 70’s as we speak! And my 50th class reunion is in one month (no pressure though)!!!! 🙂
LOL, if I only had that Bewitched nose thing, we’d be in business!
…how’s about the Magic Wand sweetie?
I’m having such a nice time reading all of this … I think the wand is turning its magic onto me today!
Thank you for sharing your art studio and sewing room. You have such beautiful places to work. I have enjoyed all your cookbooks, and have purchased some of your fabric when it was available in any quilt store that I visited. You are very inspiring. I love your work and hope you continue for a very long time.
I enjoy reading your blog, too.
I love the pictures of your sewing room. It looks so warm and inviting. I am now in the process of creating my “Nana Cave” where I can have my sewing machine up and ready to go at all times and my 7 year old grandaughter (who is just learning to sew) can sew with me.After years of owning and operating a tea room (and not ever having time to sew) I was fortunate to be able to retire in March and have spent time sewing for and teaching my grandaughter to sew. It is such a warm feeling to see her so proud of what she makes on the machine or by hand and so much fun just to spend time with her. Hopefully we are creating memories that she will have for a lifetime.
Your books have always been a source of joy and inspiration and I even used several of the recipes on a regular basis in my tea room. I once made 750 of “Annnie’s Butter Cookies” for a wedding reception. I used to look forward to receiving WILLARD in the mail (and have kept every one since the beginning) but over the internet is even better because we hear from you more frequently. Thank you for years of wonderful books and sharing.
I think you have me beat on the butter cookies! So nice to hear from you!
Dear Susan, I read your blogs daily! I’d pick up & move to Martha’s Vineyard in a minute, “if” I could move the rest of our family with me. I’d miss my grandchildren too much to be away from them. You are a wonderful public relations person for Martha’s Vineyard. Your pictures of the summer events were fantastic. As I watched the videos, I thought of all those lucky Americans who live such a wonderful life. Very patriotic spirit. As for your love of home…….that’s why I love reading every single thing on your website. I too love home, & appreciate all the details that bring joy & comfort to the people who live within. Home is comfort, especially to those of us who value living in spaces full of loving care. Although you don’t know it, you’ve inspired me in so many ways, bringing the love of home, family, & community into my own home. I thank you for that. Peaceful days to you & yours, Sandy
I found a lovely quote about sewing although I think it could be said of all women whenever they are creating something whether it is sewing, gardening, cooking, drawing, etc.:
“It is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied”
The Marble Faun
Your sewing room is so sweet! I LOVE the ball fringe curtains….there is just something fun and cheery about ball fringe…don’t know what it is! And I adore that little spool of thread painting with the Jemima Puddleduck and Peter Rabbit and straw hat pins! Did you “invent” those or do you, seriously, have pins that cute?! That might be a cute product idea…hmmmm???? xoxox…kp
I did invent those! But wouldn’t they be cute in real life!
“Invent” was not quite the right word…duh. more like “dream” but I’m so glad you knew what I was talking about.
My mother taught me to sew at her old Kenmore machine when I was 12. I made flannel pajamas. She signed me up for lessons at Sears, taught by a marvelous, formidable woman named Mrs. O’Reare (who was shaped like a pear.) I sewed garments for myself, and my family, plaid flannel shirts for boyfriends, my prom dress, many bridesmaid dresses, my (1st) wedding gown, all my daughter’s Halloween costumes (she’s 19,) and now quilts and doll clothes.
I’ve turned our dining room into a sewing room but rather than look like a studio, it comes closer to an episode of Hoarders–boxes and bins piled hither and yon, fabric trimmings and thread tails all over the floor. But I love it.
And now, mom and I have come full circle. Since January of this year, she’s been coming over once a week and sewing a queen-size quilt for her and dads bed. I’d been after her to try quilting; that the straight line sewing, the logic, the pressing (mother loves to iron) and the process in general would appeal to her. She finally said yes. I had her look through all my books and magazine clippings and she chose a Shoo Fly block inside of an Ohio Star (rather complex for her first time but she loved it so I wasn’t going to steer her in another direction.) We shopped for fat quarters in her favorite jewel tones and I wouldn’t let her buy anything she didn’t love. It’s now September and she’s made 81 blocks and is now adding the sashing. Her quilt is just beautiful and my 76-year-old mother is so proud of herself, just as I knew she would be.
I am so lucky that I have gotten to share this time with her, side by side at our sewing machines, listening to NPR, grilled cheese or chicken salad sandwiches and tomato soup for lunch, chatting about everything and nothing.
You ARE so lucky, and then, the quilt!!! How wonderful!
I would love to see a pic of your quilted ironing board cover mentioned. Maybe I can create one! 🙂
I’ll do that when I get back home! Ask me again, OK?
I’m not a big sewer (just hemming), but I treasure my Mom’s sewing basket items. She made me a winter coat once! I like just looking at her old things in my craft room. Like your grandmother, I feel her with me there.
Oh Susan! I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the sewing basket on the right hand side of your sewing table! If it is indeed pink, I have the exact same one. It was my Mother’s. She passed away in 1967 of breast cancer. She was only 44 at the time. This basket is a special one and oh so pretty!
44! So young! How wonderful you have her basket.
Susan, I love your sewing room. I have a small cozy Sunroom which is now being used by my Grandson as a bedroom. When my daughter, her husband and grandson move …next summer, I plan to make my Sunroom into a Sewing Room. I’d love to have all that beautiful fabric in full view maybe in a pie safe or a glass fronted cabnet. So inspirational! I love how you decorate your spaces. Were you always so good at that? Oh, and as for those awesome sketches keep them in a binder in clear page protectors. Keep them for someday… inspiration for your nieces, maybe they would be interested. I know I would love to keep such things.
I don’t know how good I was at it, but I always loved decorating my bedroom as a child. Will be wonderful to have a sunroom as a sewing room!
I’ve just seen your sewing room and it looks warm, beautiful and peaceful, I love it. I’ve just got my first sewing machine and although I’ve never sewn much and not very well, I am dying to do things with it. It is wonderful you have your grandma’s sewing basket, I’m sure it’s one of those things worth having around . My mother still has and uses her mother’ big black Singer sewing machine. I’ve loved this post.
Thank you Ana, congratulations on your first sewing machine . . . I think you’ll love it!
I am looking for the GREAT vintage apron pattern I saw in a websearch. Is it still available somewhere?
Go to the very bottom of this page to where you see the girls in the APRONS . . . click there for PDF . . . So cute!
Love the entry about your sewing room. I too have a cozy, pastel sewing room. Your picture looks great. But the wicker chair for sewing would be uncomfortable, impractical…….and and not very good for all the moving around, and up and downs sewing entails. Try a wheeled office chair, spray painted white, slip covered with a vintage cutter quilt or pretty fabric. Looks great and much easier to sew….Cheers. Lauren
Can I just say how much I LOVE sewing notions?! Have a slipcover project going and I am loving my new long glass head pins.! It’s the simple things in life that bring joy! Love your organized sewing room! So cute!
After starting the toothbrush story and being totally drawn in to your life in the 50’s, which was remarkably similar to my own past, I then visited your sewing room and am wiping the tears from my face as a result of the mention of your grandmother’s sewing basket. We all have our special memories of our grandparents, don’t we? They lived a simpler life but oozed with love and the knowledge of how to make their grandchildren feel so treasured at every visit. I inherited Grandmama’s button box while my sister was able to find a spot for the old Singer machine that was operated with a treadle. (I think that is the right word.) My mom did all of the sewing for my sister and me and that has transferred to us now. My sister has taught herself how to do slip-covers and the finished products look almost like a newly-upholstered piece! All of this makes me wonder what my daughters will take into their lives as a result of this great lineage. I am going to add cut-out cookies to our Christmas this year….with our 31, 29, and 24 yr olds! The kid in us never really grows up, right? XOXO
Never! Loved that Betsy!
What a wonderful room! I even love to read the words — sew, knit, fabrics, sewing machine — and am determined to learn to knit, perhaps with my mom, who also wants to learn how (we’ll leave it at “simple wearables” and the more difficult stockings if we get there). I’m abashed to say, however, that while sewing Christmas aprons recently, that I moved my sewing machine from the sewing/treadmill room to my dining room table, as it’s just me, the dog, and my 22 year-old when she is home from school, for the purpose of reminding me that I need to sew MUCH more than I do. Your sewing room is warm, inviting, and beckons the hum of the machine stitching or the sound of thread pulling through fabric. I’m excited about redoing the treadmill/sewing room as a bit-by-bit project in the upcoming months, so will end up moving my machine back in there to join my baskets and drawers of supplies. Your sewing room and fabrics have given me some wonderful inspiration and ideas — thank-you!
So happy for you, I love that little room! What a good New Year’s project!
I just read Lauren’s comment to you about your wicker chair, DO NOT REPLACE IT WITH A WHEELED OFFICE CHAIR!!!! I don’t believe you sit in it long enough for you to become uncomfortable in it. The wicker chair just screams “charming” and looks wonderful at your table. I love your room, thank you for sharing it with us. I’m so happy that you found a place in your lovely home to fit in a sewing room, it’s so well organized and adorable!
Kathy from CT.
p.s. your house should be in Country Living Magazine!
Don’t worry, LOL, I sort of felt the same way!! 🙂 I love that chair! Thanks Kathy!
I had no idea there were so many places I could “leave a reply”. If I started. I would be writing all day. Everything you do is so homey and warm – it’s as if we were sitting before your fireplace and enjoying tea and conversation. It is very cold here today and your messages have warmed “the cockles” of my heart. I have only “known” for a few years, and so wish we could have “met” sooner. When I (we) retired (13 years ago) someone from CA. sent us a cheque and it was taped inside your book “Heart of the Home”. For one reason or another when we moved 10 years ago that beautiful little book got lost and everytime someone mentions it or I read of it in your blog, I am saddened. I know I have missed much of your wonderful inspiration, but I hope I can catch up sometime. I am a quilter and some several years ago bought some of your fabric and perhaps you will remember I sent a picture to your website of the placemats I made with it. I still have a few small pieces left and hope to make some potholders etc. Love, love, love your cozy sewing room. I, too, use a bedroom (sometimes I wish I could also fit a bed in it) I am in the process of going through my “stash” and reorganizing. You have encouraged me.
Thank you Betty! And I do remember the placemats you sent! Nice to hear from you!
My two Sisters were visiting me yesterday and Sue couldn’t wait to show us your website. How amazing you are. I, too like all of the crafts you do (I do like to crochet) But took a painting class and don’t have that talent. I turned the basement into a sewing room when the kids got tired of playing pool. You’re so right when you say it’s nice to have a place you don’t have to clean up and can come back to a project later. Sure enjoy your website.
Happy to see you here Beverly! Hi to the sisters!
After raising four daughters and spending many years stocking their dresses, cross stitching,
And quilting, I learned to knit! Now that all the girls are grown, I have captured a bedroom for myself and turned it into a sewing room. I have 2 walls of yarn! My grandmother’s treadle machine is there as well.
I love that I have found this blog! You will be hearing from me quite a bit!
That should have been smocking their dresses!
I have been reading this site for hours. I am not the first Lauren here. But I am the Lauren who will say PLEASE don’t give up on the wicker chair. You might have all eady changed it out.
No way. 🙂
I am so wanting a sewing room, I loved your wood table idea. JUST awesome and antique looking too.
Yes, we went on a road trip through western MA and found it in an antique store for a pretty good deal.
I, too, have been needing a dedicated sewing room for a LONG TIME. I used to have one in the den downstairs, but things change. Right now I am sewing on the dining room table, leaving everything there and sewing when I have a few minutes between dinner cooking and life. Not ideal, but I am close to action. My sewing table is in the garage at the moment, behind boxes and baskets from my mother’s home. I would like a new table, maybe someday…
I have lace that my maternal great-grandmother made. Even though she died long before I was born, I always think of her when I see that jar of lace. Funny how certain mundane things take on special meaning. I hear myself saying “I can’t get rid of that. That belonged to Aunt Pauline.” Aunt Pauline is gone now; I wonder what she would say. Oops, sorry, getting too depressing now. She would say “Let’s go watch “Star Trek” or go shopping at a nursery”. Good idea! Thanks for all the wonderful vignettes.
I have spread my things out on many many dining room tables in my time! 🙂
Susan, I love your Blog. I am looking for your book Baby Love and was told that it is no longer in print. I can’t believe that. I love to give it to my daughter’s when they are having a baby. Please let me know where I can purchase it.
Thanks, Kay Lynn
So sorry, I just found out, it’s out of print!
It’s me again Susan, After reading about your sewing room, I wanted to tell you about my pin cushion addition to my sewing room. I go to quilt shows & see all these wonderfully clever pin cushions. I decided to start a collection. I went to an antique store, bought this adorable little shelf that I hung on my sewing room wall, & “WALL-AH,” (pronounced exactly like that “wall-ah”), one beautiful place to display each of my unique pin cushions. I’d never stick a pin in some of the pin cushions. They’re just very precious.
There are so many darling ones these days!
I am always intrigued that my maiden name is the same as your last name…. Could we be related distantly? I love getting Willard, reading your blog and seeing your great ideas.
Stephanie in California
Branch is my ex-husband’s last name, my maiden name is Stewart. I kept his name, because I had signed all of my artwork with it!!
I just stumbled on to this post. What a nice surprise. Both my mother and my grandmother were skilled seamstresses. Me, not so much. But I enjoy the connection I feel with them through making my quilts. The quilts are not exactly “show” worthy, but they wrap up all my dear ones with love. And I feel that the love has been passed down from these women who have influenced me so much to their great and great great grandchildren. It just keeps on giving. Thank you so much, Susan for reminding us that memories live on in the things we create with love.
Nice to see you here Marsha!
Bless you for your joy of life; as an adult I always had a corner
of my bedroom for sewing (even a whole room at one time) and
love to sew and do crafts.
Makes such a difference to have a little spot dedicated, a place you don’t have to keep cleaning up!
I have that same sewing basket….and I bought it myself way loooong time ago!~Love your room!
Thank you Sandy!
I resurected a 2010 quilt magazine that featured your “Baby Love” collection.
I will be a new grandmother this coming December and your design is just perfect for what I want. Please tell me where I can purchase it. Thank you so much!
Congratulations Donna!! Write to Kellee at the Studio and see what she might have there . . . firstname.lastname@example.org/~susanbs3/susanbranch/
Loved your sewing room. I need the inspiration to organize my sewing corner in my bedroom. I too like to sew pillows and have sold a few at holiday bazaars. However, I would like to start piecing a quilt this summer. I’ve enjoyed your blog entries from England. Have a wonderful summer, Debbie
Thanks Debbie! You too!
Absolutely love your sewing room. And the green wicker chair! That’s a keeper. It’s the first thing that caught my eye. Now I want one too for my sewing room. I too, love to sew, cook and fuss with my home. I enjoy reading your blog (first time I’ve seen it). Love your ideas for decorating the home. Everything you do gives a warm and homey feeling.
Fuss with my home, perfectly said, just playing house!
susan….really? that’s not a sewing machine. you need a new one. i work for husqvarna viking. now that is a sewing machine. you should consider one. just sayin’.
LOL! I won’t tell her you said that! I know you’re right, but then I would have to learn a whole new computer, and this one I’m typing on right now keeps me busy enough!
Have been working on my room most of the day arranging, rearranging, just can’t get enough space for all my things. Oh well, will keep trucking along. Nice to take a break and see what you are up to. Love your blog, and all the beautiful things you share with us.
Growing up, all the sweet women in my life were Heavy into the needle arts, and were good! My precious mother tried to teach me to embroidery, but gave up after my first lesson, or maybe I gave it up, I had worked so hard on a little flower project and when I needed a break I found that I had attached the whole project to my little shorts that I was wearing! I was a cowgirl at heart anyway! Always at the barn hanging out with my Wonderful Dad ( everything he did always seemed more interesting than sitting around with a needle and sewing things to my shorts!). Well now that I’m older (much) I Love needle art! I’m passionate about my creative outlet! I’m still a cowgirl… So miss my hero cowboy., my Dad! I so love your web sight… I check it out daily for inspiration… Happy trails toyou and as always, blessings from the Pastures of Texas !
Thank you, love the sewing to your shorts story!
Congratulations from Carolina, Puerto Rico.
I loved a vintage apron that referenced you but the link is not working. Is it still available? I loved it!
I just went there, try HERE again . . .
se pueden comprar sus libros,y diarios en españa,estan traducidos al español,donde lo encontrare,gracias un saludo
Hi Susan, just adorable your sewing room, I ALREADY see your photos from your blog and your house see so adorable and charm, I send you a huge and have a nice and happy holidays and a good new year. recive our blessing with love matty.
Thank you Matty! xo
You had an free apron pattern at one time, do you still have that available? with instructions?
Yes, click on the shopping section at the top of the blog … then look on the left for LOVE TO SEW and click there, then scroll down until you find PROJECTS … it’s in there, it’s free so help yourself!
I am new to your site & I love everything about it!
My favorite thing in my sewing room is a lamp with a clear glass base that you can fill with whatever you want. Mine has the contents of my grandmother and great-grandmother’s sewing kits. I rubberstamped the shade with sewing related stamps and also glued some of the buttons from their kits on it.
Thank you for all the wonderful pictures and inspiration. I also have a huge crush on Jack.
Thank you Carmel!
Do you watch “Project Runway?” Wish we could see you on there someday as a contestant!
I’ve always thought that would be fun. I would make such different things — my favorite clothes are the ones in Out of Africa — all that gorgeous linen!
Susan …just ran across this posts and want to add mine. I LOVE the Out of Africa clothes. My all time favs:-)))
Mine too! Would you just love a store where that’s all they sold!?
I loved those clothes too. I do have some from that time period. I keep them in my cedar chest.
Happiness is indeed Homemade. After reading your new book, and seeing the pillows on this post…I must say that I would have bought one of your pillows!!! I was always going to make one myself with the ruffle all around. I found my clipping from SEVENTEEN magazine about decorating with pillows from that time (early 70s), while I was cleaning and packing my office/sewingroom this Summer.
I do like your stars pillow. I heard the town I am moving to is good for stargazing.
That makes it all worthwhile right there! “Good for stargazing!” yay!
I am SO inspired from your sewing room, Susan, that I am going to make Thanksgiving/Fall potholders tonight! (and tackle the huge sewing pile I have been putting off; I do not have a dedicated sewing room, so it’s an eye sore!). Printed our the patterns, will make some nice chamomile tea and I will be set! Thanks ~*AGAIN*~ for the inspiration! Happy Monday and safe travels home!!
Have fun creating Michele!
i love your sewing area especially the table by the window .I HAVE A TABLE BY THE WINDOW i have a sewing machine on it,and iam going to decorate it like your,smile I love it
xoxo Too cute Jessie!
Thanks so much for showing us your sewing room. I too have a sewing room tucked in a nook upstaris with a beautiful gateleg table that according to my grandmother came down the Erie Canal with my father’s family. I have my sewing machine set up on it along with cutting mats. Alas, I have had a bad year with the loss of central vision in one eye and knee surgery which didn’t go quite as planned ( getting old sometimes sucks). I needed a little inspiration to get myself back in the groove and seeing your sewing room made me realize how much I was missing mine. So this weekend, we are going to be adding more inches to our 48 inch plus snow count and it will be a perfect time to look through my sewing projects and see which one I want to do first. So enjoyed your new book. Can’t wait for the next one.
Thank you Jayne, stay warm and have fun!
In one of your pictures (cats) on your blog I noticed a cupcakes rug. Can that still be purchased – did you make it? Could I have a little more information on it? Thank you. Love your blog & pictures too. Our cat, Gabrille, lets us know when its bedtime & herds everyone around (sits and stares at you or meows or both) & insists on her bedtime treat – how this got started I’ll never know!
I did design that rug, but I believe they are all gone. We had a whole line of hooked rugs, pillows and chair pads not so long ago, but almost everything is gone now.
Oh! I JUST LOVE THE SEWING ROOM!! It’s so cozy and sweet. I have a similar room for scrapbooking which sat there for awhile because I couldn’t seem to read enough books. If I wasn’t at work, I was reading. I’m slowly learning that I can partake in more than one hobby. I have so many hobbies that when people tell me they are bored, I just can’t fathom. My mom taught me to crochet lapghans this past November and I’ve had a blast making them. I now raffle off one a month at work and all proceeds go to different charities. It’s been so fulfilling. I have always wanted to learn to sew. I hate to admit this here, but I don’t even know how to thread a machine!! When I was in school they offered cooking OR sewing. So, I picked cooking which I’ve enjoyed doing ever since. I sometimes think if I had learned to sew the same time if I would have the passion as all of you ladies here do. I hope it’s not too late to learn to sew and make some of those beautiful quilts I’ve seen. I would love to make the one’s that have pictures on them. Kind of like a scrapbook quilt. Anyways, where do I start??? Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated….Love your blog, website, home, books…..ok cut to the chase, I LOVE EVERYTHING!!
Go to a local quilt store, they have classes! So fun. xoxo Thank you Mamey!
Your sewing room is just lovely! My husband and I are lucky enough to have a room in the house we call the Chill Room. He keeps his guitars there and we have the computer in there, too. I have only recently started sewing and I am really enjoying it very much so am very pleased that this room also houses my crafting and sewing things. It makes such a difference to be able to leave my machine out all the time and not worry about leaving a mess. I make tote bags, have made cushion covers and crafting, granny chic aprons and I hope to embark on my first item of clothing soon. I am liking that I can alter clothes if when bought they are too long or I can mend work clothes of my husband.x
Love the chill room!
Mamey it’s never too late to learn anything. I taught myself how to quilt several years ago. I decided to start sewing again when my youngest went to school. I hadn’t sewn since junior high school. never made a quilt either. i bought an inexpensive sewing machine, chose a beginner quilt pattern and have been quilting ever since. i always have a quilt in progress. so much fun! give it a try you’ll love it.
Thanks Cindy! I did go to a gorgeous sewing shop in my hometown and they were the nicest bunch of ladies. They are offering another beginners class in September. I’m hoping to be able to enroll!
That’s great Mamey! I would love to hear how you like it.
Susan, what a dear you are to share the story of the sewing basket. My Nana, the closest family member I had, always carried a basket with her. It was clam-shell shaped, and contained a pincushion, a “beanbag” style ashtray (sorry, but true, she smoked Chesterfields!), a nail file (she had beautiful hands), an orange stick to push back her cuticles, and other miscellaneous stuff she considered necessary for her daily life. She was an invalid, having been run over at the age of twenty-one by a bicyclist in 1922 on the streets of Chicago, which broke her back, leaving her unable to drive or hold a real job. She supported herself and two daughters. Wore a back brace, and walked with a cane. She lived with us her whole life, and taught me how to knit, embroider, and quilt. Also how to cook! She loved cream of celery soup and (yuck) fried liver (I didn’t share that love with her). She was a tiny woman (I am tall on the other hand). But I have that basket now and it sits by my side of the bed, in her tall narrow bookcase, alongside my Gladys Taber books, my Susan Branch books, my Tasha Tudor books, my Beatrix Potter books, etc. It is pretty special and holds special photos of our daughter, dogs and cats, and my pincushion, a silver needle holder, and other tiny things. I find baskets, bowls and vases are special things – meant to contain and collect and gather other special things. To hold and keep. Thank you for sharing your story – it helps bring out the stories we all have.
What a treasure trove of memory . . . thank you for sharing Annie, that was lovely!
I loved Annie’s story, too. In fact, I loved all the stories. But I am the illegitimate, red-headed stepchild (as we say in N’awlins) in all of this. I was a straight “A” student, all the way through grad school, but I FLUNKED (yup, big fat “F”) home ec. I went to Catholic grade school, and once a week, the boys and girls in 7th grade walked several blocks down the street to the public school for home ec and shop. I could not make those baby doll pajamas, or even a pillow, to save my life. Instead, I spent my time trying convert the teacher to Catholicism, which I thought was a more worthy cause. And, when I (the oldest girl of 10 kids) tried to sew at home, I always caused smoke to come out of my mom’s machine! Yes, I was the “Betsy Ray” of the 1960s, better at entertaining friends with stories while they tended to their needlework. And no, I was no better at knitting or anything else that involved hand dexterity or a needle. I managed to get a special dispensation from the nuns to not return to home ec for 8th grade. Instead, I and 3 other home ec dropouts helped them clean the sacristy during that time. One day the nuns left us alone to finish the task and returned to find four 13 year olds marching around the altar of God, carrying their 12-foot mops like rifles, and singing — straight out of the Wizard of Oz — “Yo ho, Yo ee o!” They were NOT amused and we were never left to our own devices again. Years later, when I was a ballet major at Tulane University, I was required to take “theater lab” which involved several hours each week of hand sewing in the costume shop. I was heard to mutter while pricking my fingers, “Yeah, I’m so SURE this is making me a better dancer … NOT!” BTW, Susan, did you ever see “The Trouble With Angels” with Hayley Mills? The trouble maker that Hayley Mills portrayed in the movie became a nun … and later on the very same English teacher who inspired me to become a writer! It has been a wonderful life as a “dancing author” … but never a seamstress!!! Thanks for all you do to inspire and cheer us every day, Susan. Such a kindred spirit, indeed.
Hahaha Cristabelle . . . and I’m really not much of a ballerina! Thank goodness there is both of us ~ for balance!
You’ve inspired me to get back into my sewing room (also doubles as a walk in closet) and see what fabrics I have and what I’m going to do with them. My cousin and I were at a book conference and one of the young publicists said something about not being as young as we thought she was and my cousin Debbie said “I have fabric older than you!” I think that’s my favorite thought about sewing/fabrics. Stay safe and warm in this winter weather!
Hi Susan, I have just discovered your website today and I am in love ! Your art is beautiful as is everything else. I found your site and learned of you from an apron pattern I discovered. Its a Retro style with binding on the edges. Could you possible tell me if this is still available and if so how I could purchase the pattern ! its beautiful !
Hi Debbie, nice to see you. That apron pattern is a freebie . . . go HERE ENJOY!
OH thank you !!!!!!! I can not wait to make this ! I have some wonderful fabric that says “shop local and support local ” in a soft colors…Project for tomorrow ! thank you so much ! This will be so much fun !
Thank you again
Hard to believe it’s been 4 years since you first shared this wonderful post! Where does time go? I love to read about what brings joy to your heart. It seems that all of us girlfriends love the same things and I guess that’s what makes us kindreds! xo
I know! Four years since I started the blog! Pretty wonderful!
love your sewing room ❤️ love that your home is filled with love made by your own hands
Gorgeous….it’s so YOU-ey!! xoxo
Oh Susan…What a wonderful post!!! As long as I can remember I have had sewing/craft/needlework projects in the works…and have had assorted sewing rooms over the years. My latest is in our PA farmhouse and it is the very favorite guest room of my granddaughters and nieces…I have a wedding photograph hanging in the room of my very creative Swedish grandmother who also embroidered the corners of feed bags and was a weaver of rag rugs. I have a collection of vintage sewing notions, supplies and sewing baskets I’ve collected from 3 generations!
My friend, Alice, says after taking a 5th grade home economics class I said, “This is what I want to do when I grow up!”…and that’s exactly what I did! I loved every day of teaching high school home ec in the late 60s/early 70s…Today, I have so many projects half finished or in my head that I will have to live until I’m 120!!!
Thank you for your inspiration over the years! We are kindred spirits!!!
My favorite teachers were Home Ec! Thank you!
I am a sewer since I was about 9 years old and made doll clothes out of the scraps that my mother made. I have sewn just about everything, quilts, pillows, all my clothing including all undergarments and also my children’s clothing when they were growing up. Fortunately I have a sizable bedroom that I sew in, there is a drop leaf table to cut on and a long table for my sewing machine and serger. I have boxes of craft items and sewing items and containers of fabric. I am always trying to use them up but end up buying more to make the item. Now I am combining embroidery and beading in my quilts. It is nice to have a place that you can make a mess in and close the door until the next time to your on it.
Your sewing room sounds wonderful Pat!
Oh my gosh — your first quilt looks just like my first quilt! Same colors, I think I see a couple of the same fabrics. I tied mine at the corners of each square. I’ve lost my passion for sewing — trying to get it back. 🙂
Talk about good timing. Less than 4 weeks until I have One adult child out and the Other graduating from college and most likely not returning to the nest. I will finally have a sewing room! Got my desk and paint colors all picked out. Maybe I will go to the fabric store today. I am inspired.
Is that a wooden darning egg in the basket? I am in the process of making a sewing room for myself! So fun!
It is! Have fun Peggy!
I also got a sewing room last year. I have a few things from Grandmas and a great grandmother. A much worn silver thimble, the sock darner, my mother’s pin cushion, etc. When I had to clean out my parents house I found a couple of curtain panels my mother had made. I had forgotten about them. After the room was painted I found them. The color is a really good match.
Love your sewing room. It’s a lot neater looking than mine. I think every woman should have a space where she can be creative. It is so good for the soul!
Just neater for the pictures! 🙂
When we retired and moved to a new little house we had the builder put doors on what was meant to be a dining room. We just par-tay in the great room. My 12 year old grand daughter had a bold comment as we toured the model home and then our unfinished cement and 2x4s. ” Grandma! You aren’t going to put those GLASS doors on your sewing room, are you? ” The spare/sewing room in our old house was seldom worthy of being peeked in to. I assured her that my Quilting Cave would have solid doors and I would be more tidy in a dedicated space. And these past two years I have been tidy and content. Thank you for sharing your photos. I hope someday to get instruction from that same grand girl on how to put pictures on my computer.
Twelve year-olds are very handy that way!
I too share a passion for multiple craft and art pursuits. I have a tiny little nook off of the hallway in my home. I can close the door so my “mess” isn’t obvious to every passer-by. My profession keeps me really busy much of the time and it doesn’t involve any of my obvious artistic inclinations. So I wedge in these things in bits of spare time. Over the years I have done sewing, knitting, embroidery, crewel work, pique assiette mosaics (complete with smashing dishes and the tumbler!), and now needlepoint. But my real love is painting. Unfortunately, I have to put it on the back burner. When I really get going, that is ALL I want to do. It can be a very consuming passion. Work suffers, so I quit till the next urge can’t be resisted. I have always been amazed by your talent. I own your books and I thank you for your blog!!
I know what you mean, it takes concentration. I don’t know how women who have children manage to write books!
Wonderful story!! I had tears.
I’ve visited your web site and blog for several years, but never came across this story about your sewing room before. I don’t know how I missed it! I have thoroughly enjoyed it as sewing is one of my passions too. Oh Susan, I wish you did have a clone who would design some clothing , and hats too ( I love your other post about your Laura Ashley hat and have often thought that I wished that you would design some hats.) I know your designs would be wonderful!
Would be SO fun!
susan you are so blessed to have your sewing room,i love it. my nephew taught me to sew at the age of 8, still love it .right now my sewing area is a corner of my living room which has almost turned into a sewing room.i love sewing,quilting,crocheting and sewing with my daughters, they finally started to sew after i beg and pleaded for 30 yrs. i don’t have a sewing room “YET” but wishes do come true.
I never until today had read about your sewing room! I have had a sewing room for a long time, and always loved having it! This house my husband designed, and we built, in 2001-2002 has the very best view from my sewing studio window! I am a lucky woman, and always enjoy seeing the mountains and the birds and trees from my nest up high! I loved it when you talked about embroidering dish towels, I must have done hundreds as a child, and after my mama died , I embroidered on one she had left undone, just as a comforting thing to do. I have my great-grandmother’s sewing basket in my sewing studio, just for company, with a photo of Mama there. Happy Memories!
I enjoy your newsletters so much! Some time ago, you designed a couple fabric lines that were very cute. I taught a beginning quilting class using them and students loved it too. Any chance you might do another fabric group? Also, You had in your shopping spot, a sewing theme garden flag. I would sure like one and buy some for gifts too. Any chance you may do them again? Thanks so much, Bonnie
I used to license my artwork to different manufacturers, like the flag people and the fabric people . . . I didn’t really make those things myself, and as you know, the economy and the world has changed so much that licensing is a very difficult business . . . I make as many things as I can afford to do myself, because many manufacturers require huge minimum orders, like 10,000 of something . . . I’m working on fabric right now and hopefully will have something to “announce” very soon. Thank you for asking Bonnie!
Did some reading about your Grandma’s sewing basket. Never had anything quite like that, but did have a wonderful mother-in-law who every time she came to visit, she brought out her sewing bag and mended everything in my house that needed to be stitched back together. When she drove off, I felt so blessed to have this sweet lady in my life. If only I could show her today what I’ve accomplished with my quilt making! Here’s another memory for you that you might recall in SLO – a very special store called Sinshimers (I think that was the name of this store in downtown SLO). Every payday my sis and I would toss all our six kids in the station wagon and head to SLO so I could go to that store and buy a piece of fabric. At that time I was sewing little children’s clothes. One day my husband took me to SLO to the Singer Store and told me to go rent a sewing machine! He watched all the kids and I returned two hours later to screaming kids and an irate husband! He asked why it took so long and where was the machine? I told him I bought one and they were delivering it next week! What a riot! Great memories!
Sinshimers. They had a vacuum tube thing they put the money in, and it scooted along a wire up to the cashier, who opened it, made change and sent it scooting back down the wire to the customer! Was a wonderful store!
Oh Oh, I’m in trouble now. Just went to Spoonflowers!! Got your Ribbons and another from someone else (eeek) a reproduction of a Monoco postage stamp showing a cat up a tree CUTE! Had to do it. I’ll be back for more. Such lovely things to choose from. Oh my.
Isn’t it great? I was hoping everyone would like it . . . Watch for today’s blog.
I’ve been blessed to have a sewing room for 37 years — a place of my own. (Office things included, because that’s another hobby.) I don’t do as much sewing now as I do writing, but still have a large stash. With plans! I love opening the closet and seeing all that pretty fabric!
I loved reading your “handiwork” journey. Every time I pick up a needle and thread or sort my fabric stash to start another project memories of my mother and grandmother are ever present. You must have the same special time for remembering when you sit down to sew as well. Peace & Blessings to you and Joe!
I do, it’s a very deep connection, that goes back further than I even know . . . to forever I think, sort of like cooking.
I laughed so hard when you told how your teacher said how could you make something so cute on the outside and so messy on the inside. Sewing has been a way of life for me since I was a young girl. My Daddy wanted us to do music (piano) and sew. He was very mechanical and gregarious and was Chief Technician at a RCA Service Co. He proceeded to buy for 50 cents a yard some lavender with white daisy and yellow centers fabric, bought a pattern a zipper and made my sister and I a dress (to share). Then, he sent us to Singer Sewing School for two summers when I was ten and eleven years old. That did it, we loved to sew. We made dresses and many clothes (got material and zippers and thread at the swap meet. To this day it comes in handy for decorating and for getting a new look around here, pillows, redo of couch, ruffles to bedspread, pillows, tablecloths, curtains. I live in North Idaho in a tiny storybook shabby chic white cabin in the woods with a huge garden 35 fruit trees next to a mountain. It’s our little miracle. I found your blog today and already called a friend to let her in on this wonderful find. Thank-you for sharing your life in suach a magnificent way. I love the beautiful food, flowers, sewing, creativity, gardens. Yes, I sew at our dining table, and cut out material on the floor, with dvds or talking on the phone. I love friends. I love your pretty watercolors and cookbook designs. I just pull it out if I need some beauty and creativity in life. Thank-you for sharing yourself with us. I love it! Have a merry day!!! Hugs, Mary
So nice to meet you Mary~girl after my own heart! I agree, sewing gives you so much power, if you see something you love, you can just go home and make it yourself! Your cabin and garden sounds delightful! It’s something I love about England, how they use so many fabrics to warm up a place. Have a wonderful day!
Connecting memories of your Grandmother’s sewing box and a comment on another page that you made about your own Mother.
Here is a post from my blog about my Mother’s sewing box and her “trip through dementia.” withandwithouther.blogspot.com/2011/01/sewing.html
Nice works! Nice place for sewing too. I remember my grandmother who also loves sewing different stuff.
Dearest Susan I sooooo wish you would publish a book of photos of the rooms of your home. When you do a blog and I get a glimpse of a bedroom or the pretty dining room set for a dinner or the front door decorated with a wreath I sooo want to see more: please please pitch this idea to your publisher: your fans want a book!!! Thru the years I have loved your books, stickers, note cards, you once sold wrapping paper (one had tea cups on it and I used it to line the shelves of my hutch in my dining room and the drawer at the bottom of my old pie safe – wouldn’t get rid of that paper for anything!!). Thank you for all the years of pure joy!!
Thank you back Kathy!! xoxo
Dear Susan ,
Thank you for sharing your sewing space , I love it !
I’m one of those people who have tried all the crafts and am god at none of them ! Sewing , drawing , knitting , crocheting , quilting . My sister and I took a quilting class last winter . It was one square with a star pattern and boy was it a lot of cutting and measuring ! For pete’s sake I’d die of old age before I ever finished a quilt ! We laugh about it now we realize we’ll never be quilters .
I love to look at Mary Maxim books ( we went to the store in Paris , Ontario this summer ) and dream of being able to make beautiful things .
I have a Christmas tea towel that my cousin who now lives in England gifted me with when we were teenagers . Forty years and about 80 washes later it still looks new and I treasure it .
I’m thankful for people like you who share your gifts with us 💕
Everyone has a gift to share. I love you for trying all those classes! I bet your gift is making people laugh! xoxo
Your sewing nook is a wonderful place. My mother loved sewing & made clothes for her 3 daughters, big full skirt dresses when I was in elementary, the styles of the 70s & finally my wedding gown. Her love of sewing did not rub off on me, but I treasure her thimble, my grandmother’s thimble, a jar of buttons, threads, & the wonderful quilts she created. I still have a tub of fabric scraps that take me down memory lane & a box of patterns she used. I just cannot part with them. Reading your post tugs at my heart strings & makes me wonder if perhaps I should try sewing again. We shall see. Thank you for yet another wonderful blog post.
If you do, try a lesson with a local fabric store. It will make it more fun!
Some of my favorite memories from childhood was my Nana teaching me how to sew — I made doll clothes and aprons. I was fascinated with making hand sewn button holes. I still have her antique button collection. My Nana was a loving lady who loved to teach! And she lives on in my memories. Ultimately it led to a passion for counted cross stitch for the last 40 years.
Handwork is my favorite too!
When my husband of forty years passed away, I thought it would be a good idea to use his workbench in the basement for a quilting table.( it works really good because it’s the perfect size for a twin bed quilt). But, I still like to use my dining room table to start my quilts because I don’t like being down in that basement so much. Love your new room, so cozy.
Personally, I like my dining room table the best too! Closest to tea kettle!
I LOVE this post, it brought back so many wonderful memories. My mother and I went through the pattern books and bought all our material, buttons and thread at our local TG&Y. All that gingham! I can picture it now. We made tons of blouses, sun dresses, my prom dress, I even made my bathing suit. So. much. fun.
How I miss her.
My 3 youngest granddaughters are here for the weekend. I made them so fun Halloween pillowcases. The 6 yr old said with a big grin , Nana you can make the most amazing things! Did I get a bit teary, of course! I hope someday she’ll have that pillowcase and tell the story as she hands it to her daughter
I have no doubt she will. Magical childhood never forgotten.
I love the blog post and pictures, and I also love the community of commenters. Such a fun group and I love how your posts inspire them to write about all of their memories as well. In this day and age, this is a nice retreat from all the political noise and gloom and doom, and it reminds us we have many things in common.
Me too, LOVE our community of commenters. Dearest Kindred Spirits. So much in common. Kindness galore. So lucky . . .
Hi, Susan–Thanks for stirring memories of my mother teaching me to sew when I was 12. I have my own sewing machine now but I have gotten rusty. Right now my attention turns to embroidery. I received a pretty little kit from my husband for Christmas. Never have done this before. A little intimidating.
My mom taught me to embroider when I was little. Just a little practice is all you need, after a short time you will be an expert! Did you get a cross stitch kit? I particularly like kits where the pattern is stamped on to the material. Saves the counting … and the many different stitches you can use are so wonderful. I hope it’s enjoyable to you. Another nice calming thing is knitting. And they have so many videos on how to do it, makes it really easy! Have fun!
Oh, how I love your sewing room! I, too, am blessed beyond measure to now have a dedicated sewing space in a perfectly glorious craft room. We moved in 2015 to a 55+ community-NOT my idea, but after a few health scares for my dear husband, I was more open to the idea.The house has a large finished basement, a dedicated space for ALL of my crafting. This certainly helped to win me over. My room is not as charming as yours and has no view, but I’ve made it homey and comfortable. I am so grateful for this space and the ability to leave the mess. The cleaning up before I start, again is always gratifying, too.
I’d love to have daylight streaming in and have even thought about taking over a spare bedroom because houseguests don’t seem to be in our near future, but, no, my room is nearly perfect. It’s exploding with color and memories, filled with an eclectic collection of furniture, some newer, some heirloom. Family photos, dating as far back as the 1800’s but most from the 1930s forward, decorate the walls. My grandmother’s sewing machine is in one corner, a jar of those old spools of thread sitting on top.
I am not an impressive seamstress. I’ve never made tailored suits or complex outfits. In the 80’s, I made most of my five children’s clothes and all of my own skirts and dresses. By the mid 90’s the kids grew too cool to wear Mama-mades and life got so busy with raising kids, teaching, and pursuing a Master’s degree. My sewing machine collected dust.
And now, in the “youth of my old age” too quickly approaching the middle-age of my old age, I’m sewing, again. I’ve made baby quilts for grands and great nieces, doll clothes, a few dresses for the grands, and masks-lots and lots of masks!
I think your sewing room sounds FABULOUS!!! Thank you for the tour!💖