Spring Fever & Studio Visit


Patternmaking Rulers | Cloth Habit

Where does March go? It often feels like such a river of activity. Some of you may know that our fair city turns into almost two cities during South by Southwest (in numbers of people, traffic jams, and restaurant openings). And it is always the same week as my man’s birthday, which also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. Then there is the nonstop everything-is-greening up and I become obsessed my wildflower garden and keeping the weeds out, which seem to be on steroids this year.

The last couple of weeks I have been trying to catch little snippets of time to sew, for the most part I’ve been using my sewing time deep in the hidey hole of drafting and grading bra patterns (I’m really working on large cup sizes–which has been a huge learning curve but I have the assistance of a very helpful fit model). So I thought I’d share some snippets from my new studio! Wanna see?

Studio Visit | Cloth Habit

On the left are fabrics I’ve dyed for lingerie samples. My friend sold me some bonafide store racks so I could hang and see all the fabrics that were normally squished into a closet.

After a month of begging my husband let me buy this amazing vintage hardware store cabinet. We’ve always wanted an old library card catalog to store “little bits”, and this is the next best thing!

Studio Visit | Cloth Habit

I was torn about whether to put this at home or in my studio but now I have a place to store all my elastics, findings… or old bras that I keep to either investigate and salvage findings…

And the icing on the cake: a new machine!

Studio Visit | Cloth Habit

You may remember that a month or so ago, I busted my Juki F600 topstitching a pair of jeans. It is still in the process of repair so Derek gave me his blessing to hunt for a new one. At first I was looking for a rental to tide me over, but after spending an afternoon at Austin’s Northwest Sewing Center trying out the Juki TL-2010, I was sold and bought the floor model right off their hands (better price).

Studio Visit | Cloth Habit

This is a straight-stitch only machine. It is traditionally marketed as a quilter’s machine, but I think it makes an amazing dedicated dressmaking machine if you already have another for zig-zag stitching. I have always wanted an industrial machine and could certainly fit one in this space, but I think this machine makes a great substitute. It doesn’t go as fast as an industrial but at 2000 stitches per minute is much faster than most home machines, which do about 800 stitches per minute. It also takes industrial machine feet and attachments, which is a big bonus for me as I’ve collected quite a few.

I started moving into this space two months ago but it has taken me some time getting used to organizing sewing and project time outside the house. The positives: It’s HUGE. Way more space than I needed, actually, but it’s so great to spread everything out. And it makes the possibility of hosting open studios or lingerie sewing workshops (a goal of mine) much more imminent. And when I’m home I don’t obsess (as much) on sewing and get important stuff done (taxes. laundry. see how easy it is to sew instead?). I spend more time in my garden. The negatives: I can’t just get some wild idea and run over to my sewing machine or cutting table with my pjs on. And I still would rather work on fitting projects in the privacy of my home.

But… if you have tried to start a business or art practice from home, I’m sure you know how difficult it is to separate the personal household work from business work or “studio time”. My hobbies, creative work and my household keeping are all blended so I have always struggled with time management, and having a separate physical space is helping me organize.

My other big issue is light–there are no windows with natural light. But I love taking pictures in the privacy of my own space so much more than “location shooting”. I was kind of shocked at how cool my iPhone photos turned out, even at their usual jacked up ISO, which inspired me to join Instagram. Maybe it will force me to practice impromptu photography a bit more. Anyone have tips for a newbie Instagrammer?

Happy spring!


  1. Naomi says:

    The space looks great! Congrats on the new machine. I own a Juki TL98E. You’re going to love it. Excited to see what the future holds for you.

    • Amy says:

      Oh cool! I didn’t know that’s what you were using. They are really great machines, aren’t they? I love all that arm space (is that what you call it?).

  2. Lindsay says:

    Your studio is lovely! I’ve been interested in trying bra-making, but I’m not sure where to start. I live in Austin too, so if you hosted a workshop that would be amazing!

  3. Ann says:

    I don’t live in Austin, but visited once and loved it…if you had a bra-making workshop it could be such a good excuse for a vacation!!

  4. maddie says:

    Amy, your life is dovetailing mine right now. I’m not sure if you saw the photos from my last project (polka dotted). I shot it at an artist loft warehouse in North Philly. It’s an old loom that was turned into little studios and is now chockablock with fiber artists, musicians, etc. It’s a very creative place to be. I’m going back and forth between renting a space that would be great for both photographing and sewing. I’m not sure it would be worth it for the time I’d be there.

    • Amy says:

      I did see! Maddie, that is such a beautiful space! My dream space, actually. We don’t have cool bricky warehouses here in Austin (it was never an industrial city). You are so right in that both have their challenges. Having a dedicated creative workspace gives you physical and mental room to grow. But if you already work long hours elsewhere it can become a challenge finding time to use it. I consider this all an experiment and I’ll see where it goes!

  5. Michelle says:

    Amy, so many congratulations! On your new space, your new machine… and did you say bra patterns in larger sizes? There’s not much out there in patterns for larger cups/smaller backs. Is that what you’re working on? Enjoy that new space & machine!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks Michelle! I’ve been following your fittings on your blog ;). I have been working on some very basic patterns from which I can use to make bras for others. And fitting large cups with smaller backs is definitely one of my frontiers!

  6. sallie says:

    Gorgeous space, Amy! Thank you for sharing!! It’s super challenging to have a creative practice in the same space that you live. My husband and I both struggle with this. For me, sewing is much easier to do at home than my art practice was. I think it’s mostly a psychological thing, but I’ve always felt that it’s healthy to keep your ‘lives’ separated!

  7. oonaballoona says:

    drooling over my 2 x 4 desk. and that hardware cabinet is what i’ve always wanted a library catalog to be!!

    i think you’ll find instagram shockingly easy once you start. you have an eye for beauty.

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