QA Class 110 Lesson 1: Sewing Setup

Class is in session! We’re starting off in Quilter’s Academy. It’s my freshman year. I’m taking the class by correspondence from the comfort of my cozy home. The book arrived and I’m opening it up.

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Quilter’s Academy Vol. 1 Freshman Year

Class 110 Lesson One: Setting up a sewing area

It says I need just the bare minimum to start. That would be a good description of where I am starting. Bare. Minimum.

Sewing Machine Area

I have a kitchen table with a sewing machine on it. The sewing machine is the first one I’ve owned and was a gift from my mother. It’s a basic Janome, no frills. I am already missing the machine my aunt was loaning me. An Elna 3001.

Borrowed Machine
Borrowed Elna 3001 and my sewing companion underneath. I’m working on a pinwheel quilt top I adapted from a magazine. (More on that later)

Ironing Area

I’ve got a fluffy ironing board, a mini iron, and a spray bottle. Turns out my materials are far below the requirements. But it’s so cute! Harriet says I need to go shopping. A girl can follow instructions like this, no problem! I make a note to look for a new heavier iron and suitable ironing surface.

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Mini-iron setup

I promptly find out my fellow quilters have very expensive taste in irons and ironing boards. I flip to p.39 of QA where she talks about minimal holes in the soleplate.

I re-read the reviews and complicate everything with over analysis. I finally decide to try Target for a Rowenta Professional for around $90. I find a Rowenta Effective for something like $60. I spend too much time browsing the throw pillow aisle while I debate my options. Effective now, or Professional later. I decide to go with the Effective for now and hope it lives up to its name. I call my man to tell him I just saved us $30.

I decide I can make a suitable ironing board table, thanks to pinterest. I follow this tutorial and end up with a heavy, rectangular ironing board.

A few tips on the ironing board project: The guy in the lumberyard at Home Depot helped me source a chunk of plywood from the pre-cut area. The more expensive, pressure-treated plywood was necessary because I will be applying heat and water, but I got an excellent discount when we found an already-cut piece that would fit. We also found some already-cut extra pieces of trim board to use for the smaller wood pieces. He even helped me pick out the right kind of screws to use for this project. I love a helpful hand!

After I  put away the handy-dandy power drill, I break out the staple gun and cover it with a thin layer of batting and then muslin, per Harriet. I heave it up on the ironing board legs and love how minimal it looks, and how substantial it feels.

Hand-made ironing board and Rowenta Effective iron
Hand-made ironing board and Rowenta Effective iron

Cutting Area

My cutting area is also my kitchen table. I skip to the lesson on p. 39 that talks about cutting table ergonomics. I should not be leaning over to cut, Harriet says. I am leaning over to cut when I use my kitchen table. I decide to try the kitchen countertops.  Well, they are tile, so the grout grooves make my cutting mat bumpy. They’re also slightly too high. I get into a rabbit hole of pinterest and hours later decide that the ideal custom cutting table will have to wait. The kitchen table will do for now.

Lesson one complete.

What about you? What iron do you love to use? Do you have a great cutting area? What is your sewing space like?

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