Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sewing Can Change Your Life

Color week about did me in. It wasn't that hard, but with the 365 project I'm doing this year it made for a lot of images to look for and photograph each day. From now on, I think I'll limit myself to only one photography project at a time.

I live in a 1950s ranch house. You know the type - brick house, 2 car garage, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, and a living room. Boring, but the yard is flat, everything is on one level, and all of the floors are hardwood. Some time ago, a former resident turned the garage into a step down den with small laundry room. Two residents ago added a master bedroom suite onto one end of the house. The house is much larger now than when it was built and much longer too. A strange space was created during the master suite addition - a tiny L-shaped room with a brick wall along one side (the former outside wall) and a built in shelf where a window used to be. The people we bought the house from used this space as a home office, and we figured we'd do the same. For a long time, this space housed unpacked boxes, my unused darkroom and photography equipment, and our ironing board. At the beginning of 2008, we finally cleared out the room and relocated our office/sewing room from one of the bedrooms. The baby-was-coming-soon-and-the-rooms-needed-to-be-shifted project was in full effect. The perfect shade of lavender was chosen and the walls and trim were painted. Somehow we figured out how to arrange two tables (one for the computer and one for my sewing machine) and a bookcase in the small space, and still leave enough floor space for 2 people to work and 2 kids to play all at the same time. I quickly took over the bookcase and built in shelves with my sewing and craft materials and books. A bulletin board and art were hung on the walls, and the room looked pretty good.

However, there was one ugly spot in the room - the circuit breaker box for the master suite. We could have painted it, but they never end up nice with paint chipping off at the hinges and handle. The people we bought the house from had hidden the breaker box behind an armoire which looked great, but to access the box you had to move a large and heavy piece of furniture. Not so good in an emergency. There was always the option of hanging a piece of art over the box, but the art never hangs flat against the wall and my behind the scenes museum experience would not allow such an atrocity. When flipping through Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing, I realized I should sew a fabric wall organizer, and hang it over the breaker box. The ugly box would be hidden but remain easily accessible, and the wall organizer would be a great addition by the computer.
Will came up with the idea of putting button holes in the top section, and using the screws in the top of the breaker box to secure the fabric organizer to the wall. Lotta has a tube at the top of hers and uses a wooden dowel to hang it. I left the open tube, so I could use an alternative hanging system if the wall organizer was relocated. Besides the addition of the button holes, I adjusted the overall size slightly so the breaker box would be entirely covered. This was a simple sewing project, but did require hemming a lot of small pieces, then lining up and pinning the pockets on the large background fabric piece. It tuned out great, and the only thing I wish I had done differently was to put a heavier interfacing in the top tube as the edges of the caddy tend to curve outwards when the pockets are filled with paper, pens and other accoutrements. Sewing the pockets on through both layers of fabric would prevent the pull as well, but then the back side would not be seamless.
The day I hung up the caddy, I was so happy that I knew how to sew. A few years ago, this perfect and easy solution could not have happened.