Sewing Turns Me Into A Vampire

Fabric In The Kitchen

I can’t be the only person who doesn’t sew in a clinical environment. I sew in a home – a messy, multi-tasking home where the ground floor is largely open. I sew in this space and I also cook here. A Sewist has to eat sometimes, you know!

But lately my routine has left me scratching my head. It goes something like this:

Bring freshly laundered fabric in off the line, chuck it on the table by the kitchen window, spot the fridge, hear tummy rumble, start cooking, throw garlic into oil, inhale aroma, turn round, spot fabric, scoop it up, toss it into the living room or run upstairs with it, hope freshly laundered fabric doesn’t now smell of garlic

And so it continues. Every time I cook a meal, I glance at the fabric sat by my sewing machine, metres away from the pan. It isn’t easy having a multi-tasking home. It must be even more trying for those of us living in studio spaces – which will be pretty much every Sewist residing in a city.

Any hints or tips? And if I’m learning to hate garlic this much … does that make me a vampire?

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29 Responses to Sewing Turns Me Into A Vampire

  1. catdownunder says:

    Pot pourri?

  2. I have a desk on my landing, space only for my machine and overlocker tucked underneath but at least its away from the hubbub. Only downside it has no natural light, but thats ok as I can leave it set up all the time ready for when I feel inspired to sew.

  3. Colesworth says:

    Reminds me of when I lived in a studio apt in NZ and dried my clothes inside in winter. My ex’s mum would bring me lamb to roast from her workplace. Sometimes I’d be at the gym thinking oh no I smell like roast! And I often have to clear my sewing off the table (or shove it down one end) so we can eat dinner.

  4. I cannot abide seeing food or drink near sewing. Cups of tea and sewing machines to me do not mix. Garlic would be tricky, although I am a fan. I don’t think there is an answer. This may amuse you: http://www.hipstercrite.com/2015/05/22/dear-people-who-live-in-fancy-tiny-houses/

    • Pamela Dungar says:

      Love this article, I see the appeal of a small home, less cleaning and lower costa, but here has to be a limit. perhaps 240 sq ft per person. I have downsized but have a sewing room that is 13 x 13 ft, it holds a machine quilting frame, a sewing station, 4 sewing machines and storage shelves and cabinets. The biggest room in the house and I could really do with another 3 ft both ways.

  5. I worry about this because my washer and dryer are in the kitchen when I cook and I worry about the freshly laundered clothing picking up cooking smells. But then the clothes I am wearing pick up smells too and I don’t notice it on me. My sewing room is upstairs, but I usually cut out my fabric on the table in the kitchen, I think I am resolved to smelling like cooking/baking!

  6. racurac2 says:

    I hate smelling like the food I just cooked, but now I live in a house with my own sewing space. I try to maintain my clothes and sewing stuff as far as possible from the kitchen area. As soon as I wash the clothes I fold them and put them away. I try to not mix cooking with sewing-knitting, when I put down my craft of the day I use a plastic box storage to keep everything out of the way. I like garlic, but not in my fingers or fabric/yarn/clothes!!!!

  7. litcoach says:

    A sign of a well rounded person. Well done on getting the freshly laundered clothes upstairs before everyone is running downstairs in a towel to look for it. By the time clothes that you have made, you will have washed them, and pressed them because it is so pleasing to do that with clothes that are hand made. Life is to short to not smell the garlic!

  8. Joy says:

    I don’t have a solution, a tip or a trick from experience (I usually sew smaller projects in the evenings and either finish or pack it up). Would it work to wash the project after its completed?

  9. Jen (NY) says:

    Just keep the kitchen window open and if possible, look for a small exhaust fan to put in it. It’s fine as long as the air keeps circulating.

  10. James says:

    I have that problem with cleaning products. Sometimes when cleaning the smell of bleach or cleaner will permeate and be on my clothes. So now I try and use more natural type cleaners like lemon and borax with a little dish washing liquid. There are no substitutes for garlic but who would want that because garlic is, YUM. My problem with garlic is that when I cook with it the smell often lingers on my hands even after washing. My favorite crafting/sewing space tip, that works for me, in my small bedroom/sewing space is having a couple of large foam core boards. The boards are the type that have poster type board on either side of it but in the middle is a foam core that makes it extra sturdy. They are light weight, sturdy, reasonably affordable and easy to store. I like to have two. Its a great working surface and I often put mine on my bed or the floor. The best thing about it is that if you have the two boards and your working on a pattern or project and you gotta get your project up and outta there quick or your just too plain tired to clean it all up at the moment (often the case for me since I do a lot of late nite crafting). You can simply lay the other board on top of it with your pattern just as it was with fabric and all and use binder clips to secure the boards together and then stash the board aside. I put mine behind the door of my bedroom and there it sits till I can get back to it. Its great when pattern drafting or cutting out. The size I use is 40″ x 32″. You’ve now given me an idea for a blog post : )

  11. Carolyn says:

    I have a clear plastic bag for each piece of fabric. I think I got some which were suitable for storing clothes out of season (from somewhere never knowingly undersold) which I never used to store out of season products….. I then label the bag with fabric size etc. (sad attempt to be more organised). I have discovered by doing this that I have quite a large fabric stash!!

  12. Carolyn says:

    Haha! I just moved out of a tiny studio apartment in which I stored my unmentionables next to the microwave (still can’t get over that!) and where my sewing space, like yours, was just a few feet away from my cooking space. It was unavoidable! I just embraced whatever aromas were emanating from the kitchen and hoped that my coworkers would be understanding, since they too were urban dwellers in tiny spaces. Who doesn’t love garlic, anyway? 🙂

  13. Louise says:

    Extractor fan may help. But I have the same problem sewing inthe kitchen,and the thought never occurred to me!

  14. B-rouchka says:

    Stop cooking with garlic :o)

  15. Patricia Henderson says:

    Sounds so much like me. My daughter says it’s Adult Attention Deficit Disorder! ?

  16. Ally says:

    I don’t have any helpful tips, although you’d think I would since I live with an open plan kitchen/living room too.

    What I do have is a serious case of kitchen envy. Those tiles! That tea towel! Beautiful.

  17. Candie says:

    When I start a new project I pull everything together and put it into either a small plastic tote or one of those zippered bags that new linens come in. In the kitchen when I am cooking I always have the exhaust fan on high because I cannot stand a house that smells of my last meal, especially where frying and garlic are concerned. Good luck!

  18. Eat The Blog says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for ages, and I’ve learned so much from you that I’ll offer up this tip and hope it helps. My old laundry room was in my kitchen and to deal with odours I’d hang a damp towel on the drying rack to absorb cooking smells (obviously not hanging wet laundry whilst cooking). *Most* of the time it helped, though it isn’t perfect, and garlic is tough. You’ll need to wash the towel again, but it should help absorb some of the odours.

    Thank you again for all your wonderful posts.

  19. Jennie says:

    Perhaps you are in fact a vampire slayer and not a vampire! or maybe you need some linen spray or just move to a bigger house, I’m sure if this bothers you that much you will find a solution, sealed laundry baskets perhaps x

  20. Pamela Dungar says:

    I turned the dining room into my sewing space, it opens off the kitchen and to help stop smells traveling I hung 2 curtains, one in each room. They seem to collect all the smells and get washed frequently. So far it has worked.

  21. Jessica says:

    Air purifiers, I hate cooking smells and ours has really helped.

  22. hmmmm, that’s a conundrum, how does one do away with garlic? I must say, your kitchen looks amazing! My sewing station is the dining room table, but luckily it’s an old house, with single-purpose rooms.

  23. coolarama says:

    What a great looking kitchen. I’m in exactly the same situation. When I’ve finished a garment I give it a good steam with my steam cleaner (which has a garment attachment) to freshen it up. I love your blog and all your tips have made my sewing life so much easier. Thank you for a wonderful blog and thank you for being one of the bloggers who have inspired me to learn to sew. Us beginners couldn’t do it without you.

  24. Stephani says:

    Hm… probably no helpful tips here. My dining table–about 2 feet from my cooktop–is currently COVERED in piles of folded or waiting-to-be-ironed tumbles of fabric. Because my sewing room 5 feet away exploded. Or I don’t have enough stash storage bins. Hope for the best!

  25. tinygoldenpins says:

    I use incense…..a lot. My fabric smells like my teenage hippie self. I like it.

  26. When I work on a project, I tend to start early in the morning and not finish until about 12:30am or 2:00am. I also forget to eat I get so focused.

  27. Melissa says:

    When your project is done, toss in a dryer with dryer sheets and run the dryer for 10 minutes

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