Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tops, tops, tops

I'm thinking about tops. The pressing table is easy: plywood, covered with wool and muslin/duck. But I'm worried about the other ones.

I hate melamine. Really, it annoys me to no end. In case you don't know, Melamine is what a lot of bookshelves are made of, the interiors of drawers, even lower quality office furniture. It's basically a white plasticy-paper glued onto some particle board. I don't like it because the top layer often ends up tearing off, the top is also easy to scratch, and the board often cracks (they even sell it a little larger than plywood b/c the edges are almost always messed up).

I did some research to see if there was a better quality melamine and here's what I found out:

  1. Melamine is the resin in the top layer, not the sheet of "wood product" itself.
  2. Laminate countertops often have melamine in them, just more, and thicker layers.
  3. In fact, laminate could be used for a lot of things: we laminate sheets of paper with plastic, melamine coated particle board is a laminate, as is laminate countertops. The difference is that the countertops are High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) as opposed to low-pressure. The best description I found is here:
So, I don't really want melamine. I would like something like laminate countertops, but I'm not sure if it's worth the extra expense.

I talked to a person at Home Depot last weekend, and to do my sewing table only, it would cost $170. While the top could also be made out of one sheet of nice plywood for about $40.

I think I'm leaning towards plywood and good finishing for the pressing table (it will be covered with a rotary cutting mat most of the time anyway) and still deciding about the sewing table.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Vertically Challenged

This week at work has been crazy busy, but I'm finally getting a chance to look at things again. Now that I've got my layout from the birds eye view the way I like it (thanks for the comments, ladies!), I'm trying to think 3d.

I've heard for years about having one's knees and hips at right angles, but I can never get that to work for me at the office. I feel like a kid at the dinner table, so I end up needing a footrest, or simply sitting cross-legged in a chair.

BUT, since I'm making my own table, I got to let the chair go down until I was at the right height. I feel bad for anyone much shorter, because I took the chair as low as it could go before I got it to the right height.

Then I used my ironing board as a way to figure out the height of the table. When I put my machine on the board and get it to the height where my arms are perpendicular, the table was only 23" off the floor. But, my machine bed is rather high (4.75") and my other machines are a little closer to 3.5" to 4." So, I tried pushing the table up to 25.5." That still felt much better than my current set up, and at least the table isn't below 2' tall :)

Here's a pic dh took of my sewing table height:

The pressing center is supposed to be 3-4" below your mid-elbow (thus bending your elbow at a 90 degree angle when pushing an iron). This felt really odd to me, so I lowered it a bit to be 6" below mid-elbow (34" for me). Here's a pic:

You can see that my elbow is at maybe a 100 degree angle. That felt good to me for both ironing, cutting with scissors and rotary cutters. So, both my pressing and cutting tables will be at this height.

While I was fiddling around, I also placed the ironing board at a depth that would match the depth of the cutting table. And I moved my current cutting table to where the pressing table would be. This gave me a good feel for the layout of the room. I had good clearance everywhere I wanted it, and the space inthe middle felt really spacious. Huzzah!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Layout possibility

Here's my attempt at a new layout

The Pressing table is the same size as what I have now, and the cutting table is a little longer to accommodate Olfa's largest mat. Don't know if I'll ever get that, but hey, it's only a few more inches longer.

I thought about using my sewing table (the one with my grandma's machine in it) as a table for one of my other machines, but the height really isn't comfortable. Plus, without a machine on it, I can use it as a "landing zone" for my pressing aids.

Both tables will be on casters, so I can rotate them 90 degrees if I need to. Comments on the plan are welcome....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My current room

Here's my current room's plan (This was created on dh's laptop using omnigraffle pro... of course, it was before I found their stencils :)

Clockwise from the upper left:
  • Chest of drawers for storage (and top for catching pressing aids).
  • Ironing Board
  • Old computer desk for sewing machine
  • Cutting table form Joann's
  • Grandma's old machine (inside table) and sitting on top is my serger
  • Two closets (nice for storage, but lots of doors)
  • Main entry into the room from hallway
  • bookcases
  • Opening to "buddy bath" (sink)

This is looking from the serger table to the other corner. What you can't see well is that the computer table is meant for, well, a computer. "A" being the operative word. When I got my coverstitch machine, I found myself having to straddle a filing cabinet because there wasn't room.

From the computer table to the closets.

My messy (and unmatching) bookcases. The door to the left is the hallway. To the right is into the buddy bath.

So, things I like about my sewing space:
  • It's a room... my room... my precious!
  • Hardwood floors (I ruined a vacuum cleaner at our old house)
  • Color: Where else in my house will I paint a room peach?
  • Decorations: While hodgepodge-ly put up, these things that are only for me.
  • Table space for my machines to be out.
  • Natural light
What I don't like:
  • Not enough leg room.
  • I have to take off the pressing mat to put on the cutting mat.
  • Not comfortable sewing.
  • Cutting table rickety (They didn't include enough screws so I had to make do... it rattles)
  • A lot of storage room wasted
  • Not the best light placement.
  • Furniture made for people with longer legs.
  • Wasted space in the computer desk L.
So, that's where I am. I'll post my thoughts for the new space soon.

Forgot to post the room dimensions: 188" (15' 8") x 141" (11' 9")

Monday, January 7, 2008

And so it begins...

Hi there! I'm Marcia, and I'm going to be using my not-so-wonderful woodworking skills to make the sewing room of my dreams. Here's where I'll post my planning and progress.