Working on Big Projects in Small(er) Spaces

2014 is officially here, and with it came a few deadlines! First up, a fun quilt I designed that will appear in Quiltmaker this Spring. It is a twin size quilt and the first large project I have worked on in this new home, so I thought I would share some tips for making large projects in small spaces.

Somehow I scored the bigger of the two rooms in our apartment (Todd's idea, I swear!) so, I have plenty of space to work. It's no Orange Studio, but it is amazing and I am one lucky girl. 

Planning - Use the Space You Have

Fabric choosing happens on the floor now, which works great. I can spread the fabrics out, group and move them around. If you have a large table space, those are perfect for planning and arranging, and you don't have to sit on the ground! But, make do with what you have! Here are my fabric choices for my current project. I was completely inspired by Kelsey's amaze-balls Manly Plus Quilt for this color scheme. And yes, I just said amaze-balls =]

Piles, Piles, Piles

Cutting out quilts can really spread out and take up a lot of space, especially scrappy quilts. I make a large stack of fabrics to be cut. Then as I cut them, I move the extra fabric to a new pile (already cut) and place cut quilt shapes into a separate pile. Here is a pile of triangles for my current project. 

Laying Out the Pieces

Large projects are always tough to lay out. Unless you have an entire wall covered in flannel, you have to improvise. I have a tiny little flannel wall to lay out the blocks. I overlap the pieces so I can get an overall idea of colors and fabric placement. I can only lay out about half a quilt at a time, so the final result will always be a surprise! Below is a photo of that. Other great places to lay things out are large kitchen tables and the floor. 

Keeping It Organized While Sewing

It is a pain to get up and down while sewing the quilt together, especially if your quilt is laid out on the kitchen table! My secret for keeping rows organized is labeling! I gather the pieces from left to right of each row and pin the row number to the entire pile. This makes it easy to sew them together without messing it up and getting up and down a million times. 

Make Room For Visitors

Okay, this might just be a personal one. I have recently gained a cat. Never having indoor animals before, it has been a little tough to get used to the hair everywhere. (The vacuum is my new best friend) Kit has learned quickly (due to a spray bottle) where she can and can't be in the sewing room. She really loves being close to any heat source and in my sewing room, that is the iron. I covered a small space on the edge of my ironing table with a towel for her and it is her new favorite napping spot.

Keeping Projects Wrinkle Free

Once you've started to sew your quilt together, it is tough to keep things wrinkle free especially as it gets larger and larger. I have seen quilt tops draped over couches, televisions, tables, etc. Basically anything that will keep the quilt from getting squished and wrinkled will work. I have used my fabric storage system to keep my in-progress from getting all wrinkles. It seems to be working decently. 

Well, those are my tips. I hope this is helpful! I will try to get some shots of sewing space soon! Maybe I will pick it up a bit =] It is sorely lacking orange walls, but it works!

I can't show you anymore of this project for now, but I will when I can! It is a fun and quick scrap buster and I am loving how it is turning out! Thanks for stopping by!

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