Where the Sausage is Made: traverse ceiling rods to the rescue
Honestly, I never even thought about the appearance of the sewing room before I started making YouTube videos. Over the years, as my little artistic sewing business grew, my sewing room hopped from room to room, eventually landing in the sunny room next to our front door. As it went, I cobbled together a functional—even fairly efficient—collection of tables, mismatched shelves, and see-through storage bins. And that system worked for me for years.
Then I started making sewing tutorials. Early on, I spent an hour or two clicking around YT to see what was out there and how sewing channels were presenting their information. What confronted me instead was a collection of lovely sets, light-kissed sewing spaces, and nicely decorated but sparsely appointed environments reminiscent of quiet basement corners. I saw open wicker baskets of sparkling fat quarters and nifty wooden racks brimming with well-behaved spools. Exposing my heaping mounds of “creative clutter” and bins full of jumbled, but dust-free, sewing supplies mortified me.
So we shot tight, filling the screen mostly with the project and the process, and Zazu’s Stitch Art on YouTube was born. The style of the videos also naturally evolved around my desire to really teach sewing that looks handmade, not homemade. I have a long-standing pet peeve with tutorials that gloss over key details in a way that could break a real world project. So extreme close-ups seemed necessary for my videos, if I really wanted to inspire viewers to follow along. As I focused in on the sausage-making itself, a side benefit was to naturally downplay all the clutter in the sausage factory.
Meanwhile, my husband helped me revamp the sewing room, area by area, with appearances in mind. We bought a glass shelf for my grandmother’s featherweight and hung it above the t.v. We had replaced my ugly particle board shelves with ones he fitted in the corner, facing the front edge with narrow molding. I finally put up a permanent design wall. My shelves were still pretty unsightly. Then I realized how they looked from the street. I needed a solution that was attractive, inexpensive, and easy to use—hide the clutter one minute; access all the storage the next.
We already had a traverse ceiling rod with batik curtains covering the door of our upstairs laundry closet. Tucked into the eaves of our roof during a major upstairs remodel, this laundry closet was a game changer for me. (No more laundry in a 1930s basement, a.k.a. the Dungeon.) But it is kind of an eyesore without doors. The ceiling rod was my husband’s idea. He found the rod on extreme clearance somewhere, because we thought bi-fold doors would block access to the machines too much, since they are a little cramped in there. Like most curtain rods, these rods telescope to adjust within a certain range. Here’s what the laundry looks like. It could be a lot worse!
We searched the internet for ceiling rods, looking for a 12-footer. I didn’t want to spend too much. Ultimately, we bought 2 rods. One telescopes to 10 feet; the other to 5.5 feet. We spent about $60 and got free shipping. I felt it was a $60 problem. The rods telescope with a male part and a female part. So we used the two female pieces on the ends of one male piece in the middle to span the width of the room with one continuous track. These install fairly easily, similar to regular curtain rods, although if you can’t find your ceiling joints, you’ll need to use plastic anchors, or similar, in your drywall or plaster.
Color always matters
My ceilings are 9′ 4″, so I had to make my own curtains. In another location, you might use a pretty sheet. For my project I rescued a bunch of completely dissimilar fabrics from the back of my stash. I decided to make three panels. I pieced 20-22 inch wide strips to the height of the room, adding a few inches for hemming. Then I serged these 9 1/2-ft strips together to create the panels. Next I serged all the edges and pressed them over for a quicky hem. My sewing room has a metallic copper wainscot (see top right picture), so I used the fabric in the biggest picture to tie my color scheme together.
Put these handles in the handiest location and deal with all those little clips:
The handles are somehow appealing in your hand and have easy action as you open and close your curtains. The tiny clips are a pain, but what are you going to do…? A divide and conquer strategy might be helpful in putting up your curtains. The picture with the clips shows one of my three panels.
Some related links:
These are like the rods I used, on Amazon. (Other brands are available. I don’t have any association with Amazon or Levolor, but I think this is a viable solution to everyday screening/dividing problems):
- The shorter rod: Levolor 7004244491 Universal Curtain Track Rod
- The longer rod: Levolor 7004244493 Multi-Use Track System, 66-to-120-Inch Width, Satin Nickel
A few videos on installing similar rods:
- How to Ceiling Mount a Traverse Rod–Bracket Usage
- How to install a hanging room divider: Ikea Kvartal Track System
Thanks, Beth – Zazu