Author Topic: Sewing Shop Essentials  (Read 2018 times)

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BergspitzeCustoms

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Sewing Shop Essentials
« on: May 31, 2017, 07:37:19 AM »
Has been quiet around here lately.  Hopefully that's because everyone is so busy sewing...

I'm in the process of renovating my house and building a bigger sewing room.  For the past 18 months, all three of my machines and all my materials have been in my spare room, which is a whopping 76 square feet.  Even though it's still a side business for me, with the growth that is happening, expansion was necessary.  I'll have close to 300 square feet, plus storage space, when all is said and done.

I have a list of things that I'll be adding, to help improve efficiency in the production process, but I'd love to hear what you consider to be the best "amenity" that you have, outside of any sewing/cutting machines.  (We'd all have laser cutters and automatic-everything if we could).  Is it how you store your fabric?  How you organize your projects?

I'll be adding the following:
--Expanded fabric roll rack.  I currently only have a spot for two rolls, and they are stored vertically.  I'll be building a rack on casters to hold several more rolls, so I can purchase more of the often-requested fabrics in larger quantities.  They'll go horizontally, so I can keep them on the rack while cutting.
--Extended cutting table.  The design has yet to be solidified, but I'm considering a "murphy" design where the table folds up into a hutch.  It is likely that we'll be selling the house after a few years and I want to make sure the room can be easily converted back to a bedroom when that happens.
--Hardware/narrow goods storage rack.  Right now a lot of stuff is in small totes/bins on a shelving unit...which means things are stacked on things.  I'll be building or buying an open bin storage setup so that I can sort things better as well as access things quicker and more efficiently.
--Template storage system.  I scored a large pack of chip-board that has been great for templates.  So I'll be arranging a storage system for those too.

Gear Dynamics

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 11:17:23 AM »
The more organized the work area, the easier and more efficient it will be. Open top storage bins and shelving that is sized for those bins is the best organizational investment for any size work area. If I could I would have more bins to further organize commonly using webbing lengths, cuts of Cordura, even salvageable material cuts. Right now, I only have enough for the most common buckles, in three colours. Other stuff is not so conveniently stored in poly bags, inside totes. Less then ideal.

Another thing to consider is evaluating the office side of the business, not just production. Every order has a certain amount of admin attached to it. Adding a white board for order tracking, paper trays for quotes and invoices, a packaging area to store boxes, bubble envelopes, shipping labels, tape etc.

essal

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 12:25:39 PM »
A cutting board that you can walk around (on all sides) is very beneficial to you if there is room. If it's only accessible from a couple of sides then there is only so much space that can actually be used.

Horizontal rack for the fabrics you use is a good choice, but not every single roll needs to be on the rack. Keep the 4-8 most commonly used fabrics.

Have a dedicated narrow goods cutting area too. It might be a rolling unit with a storage solution unless you have the space for a separate table.

I am really limited on space at the moment, so I keep all my stuff in some bins that can collapse. I keep them organized by color as default, but some of them are kinda all over the place. It keeps my area fairly tidy which is needed since I work out of my actual bedroom...
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BergspitzeCustoms

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 12:46:24 PM »
Horizontal rack for the fabrics you use is a good choice, but not every single roll needs to be on the rack. Keep the 4-8 most commonly used fabrics.
Agreed.  I only have a large amount of a few colors/patterns, the rest are just a few yards I keep on hand for the occasional request, so I have an upright rack for those.  The board game style flat rate boxes flattened down make excellent fabric bolt cores.

Have a dedicated narrow goods cutting area too. It might be a rolling unit with a storage solution unless you have the space for a separate table.
Solid advice! I have a chunk of money set aside for a hot knife press/ventilation/table, so that will be added in short order as well.

Bootcat

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 12:51:38 AM »
I just moved to a 160sq.m. workshop myself  :)

If you're space-constricted, I would suggest to download and have cut the excellent wall-mounted fabric rack that WTFidea shared some years ago on the forum, mount it above table level then place your cutting table perpendicular to the wall under the rack.
You'll need at least 2m of table length for serious work. Build a shelf under the table for roll storage, leave some space below the shelf for foams or big patterns. You can unroll fabric straight to the table with 3-side access.

Next space-saving measure is to put your sewing machines back-to-back with 160x80 tables on both sides.

Storage shelves + Ikea transparent bins: you never have enough of those.

For the narrow stuff cutting area, I've been using a shelf with front-and-back access (where the posts are in the center of the shelves), converted one shelf to a cutting table covered with an Olfa cutting board protected with tempered glass. Some kind of webbing guidance can be made from bike storage hooks and such. For fumes, it's easier to blow air than to suck it - an office ventilator on slow speed will keep the fumes off your nose. Just vent the room regularly.

You need about 80cm of walking clearance between the furniture pieces. Less than that and you'll keep hitting things.

sssss

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 06:47:06 AM »
It's kind of a little thing, but we got a couple dozen extra bobbins and an automatic bobbin winder a while back for like $50 or so. It's fast and small and we can sit in front of it and wind a shit ton of bobbins in no time without a machine bashing away. I hated winding bobbins (and REALLY hated having to stop sewing to wind one to finish a piece) and now I don't.

And that would be my main advice - figure out which things you hate doing and optimize those. Work on the things that cause you grief. As you're working, try to notice when you start resisting some part of the job because it's annoying or boring or whatever, and make that part better.
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BergspitzeCustoms

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 12:40:41 PM »
...and an automatic bobbin winder a while back for like $50 or so. It's fast and small and we can sit in front of it and wind a shit ton of bobbins in no time
Have you posted about this before? Interested in which model winder you have...I have my eye on one but it is a decent chunk over $100, so $50 would be stellar.

I have a ton of bobbins, but winding them on the machine is a bit inconvenient at times.

Your advice about better ways for doing what I don't like is the basis for the hot knife press and eventually, a dedicated binding machine.  There is a Consew double needle on my local classifieds that I really wish I had the room for right now.

sssss

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 10:12:54 AM »
Have you posted about this before? Interested in which model winder you have...I have my eye on one but it is a decent chunk over $100, so $50 would be stellar.

Kory, I'm sorry I didn't notice your question before now. We have this one, or a slightly older version. Looks like it's about $60 now. https://goldstartool.com/Automatic-Bobbin-winder.html
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BergspitzeCustoms

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 11:40:38 AM »
Thanks!  Bobbin winder is still on the need-to-get list. 

Construction is moving along (behind schedule and over budget is par for the course it seems) and I'm really hoping the new space will help improve things to make up for the delays.  Have changed things as the progress went along.
--Added two more machines (Juki double needle and an old Union Special industrial serger) plus a 10-needle Brother PR1000E embroidery machine to the lineup.
--Acquired a lot of materials and hardware from another sewing machine jockey who was moving on from it.  Most went straight to storage.
--That same guy sold me his table-top hot knife cutter.  Need to build a suitable bench for it.
--Purchased a 96-bin organizer for hardware and small common cut parts.
--Rhino cutting mat on a Murphy-style cutting table/fabric rack is in the works.  Retrofitting an old ping pong table as a cutting table, not sure if I'll use both sides yet or not.
--Found a blueprint flat-file cabinet for $40 on the local classifieds, snagged that sucker before it could disappear.  Will be perfect for storing chip board patterns pieces.

Most all this is still in storage (only machine I have out is my 206RB-1).  But the house is nearly weatherproof externally so we can start on the interior work.

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2017, 11:03:00 AM »
I Love hearing about peoples workspace solutions.

I have a 300 sq feet shop space that is long and narrow. My machines are laid out to maximize open space in the center of the room, which allows the placement of folding tables in various configureations for cutting, sewing large items like tents or sails, roll goods cutting stations and work flow organization. The only draw back to this is that the tables are low for cutting and could be sturdier. I also have a 48' rolling stainless toolbox I got at Costco that holds commonly used parts and tools. I don't move it often, it also serves as my preferred admin desk and intake station. A small cutting mat sits on about half of it for small cutting tasks. Fabric storage is relatively high, horizontally on the wall. A rolling clothing rack has been useful for the repair work I primarily do. I like to keep tools and materials together at stations and to have similar setups at each station. I store nippers on each machine with a magnet, seam tape lives next to heat press, etc.

I also have a 6' x 3' desk that I need to get rid of. It collects too much stuff. I find there is a fine balance of flat surfaces.

I would love to get one of these https://8020.net/xdiy1706
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imcat

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Re: Sewing Shop Essentials
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2017, 12:52:33 PM »
Interested in which model winder you have...

Even though this is an older thread, I have a Luis Sew Bobbin Winder (which there are many versions of). I'm sure I picked it up from atlas levy though its no longer listed there. It was about $60 and for me saved hours and hours. I keep 10 or more bobbins ready to go. You can spool one up in 30 seconds.

Here is a blog post featuring the save version I have:
http://conceptleather.blogspot.com/2014/09/new-bobbin-winder-for-cowboy-cb3200.html

(he made modifications to his and had problems which I did not.)

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