A sewing room makeover (1972)

A sewing room for Hilary

by Helene Brown

Everyone’s sewing — or so it seems. Big girls and little girls alike are spending more and more time at the sewing machine and finding it a rewarding, relaxing pastime.

Thirteen-year-old Hilary has been sewing for two years now. At first, she set up her machine in a corner of her bedroom. Then as her interest and expertise grew, she prevailed upon her parents to transform a tiny, unused back room into a light, gay, super-efficient sewing room just for her.

First, the room needed brightening: The walls were treated to a helping of cheery yellow enamel, and a matching wet-look vinyl floor was installed. Then the ceiling — much too high for such a small space — was visually lowered. Wallpaper in yellow-orange and white-striped vinyl was applied in a tent effect to the ceiling and upper walls. A double tier of fabric-paneled shutters was added to windows to mask a dreary view.

Like any sewing enthusiast, Hilary wanted lots of storage space close at hand for stashing all her gear. The simplest solution was open industrial shelves painted in shiny white enamel and stacked with yellow and white plastic bins. Over her sewing table — a Formica-covered shelf spanning the entire window wall — two pegboard panels went up as catchalls for spools of thread, scissors, ribbons, sewing things of all shapes and sizes. Hilary’s cutting table, mounted on casters, rolls easily wherever she wants it. Luxo architects’ lamps clipped to both work tables provide effective and adjustable lighting.

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In Hilary’s bright, new sewing room, everything is stored in the open — in bins on shelves or on conveniently placed pegboard wall panels. Above (right): “young designer at work” on her Sears Kenmore “1040” sewing machine, designed especially for teen-agers.

At her cutting table (right), Hilary pins the bib of a jump suit. She does all her measuring and cutting here – inspired by the super-ruler on the wall.

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