Tips for sewing in small spaces

Almost two years ago my husband decided that he wanted to live on a boat. He knew that the boat had to have room for me to sew. Living on a boat means no dedicated sewing room. It also means that you have to get creative with storage sometimes.

Isn’t she gorgeous? A classic 1967 Avenger 39

Recently I have been seeing posts in some of the sewing groups I am in on Facebook about people asking about sewing in an RV because their husband wants to travel. I feel like sewing on a boat and sewing on an RV are quite similar so hopefully this post will help others looking to downsize.

Some of the most common questions that I get from people are:

1. How do you have your machines set up?

2. Where do you keep your fabric?

3. How do you sew?
I have this sewing table with a drop down section that I keep set up in the “salon” I just call it the living room! It has just enough room for my serger on the left hand side of the table.

Sewing table on the left stays set up unless we are under way and the water is rough.

I keep the embroidery machine set up on the “dining room” table. In this picture it is pushed all the way to the back of the table on the right.

I used to keep some fabric in the forward cabin using the bunk beds as shelves but we have had a steady stream of friends and family come visit to escape the cold weather and soak up some of this Florida sunshine.

Embroidery machine on the right set up on the table

My best tip for storage is plastic tubs. Make sure you get all the same brand/shape/size so that they stack easily. Also, make sure that you will be able to pick it up and move it when it is full because when you live on a boat (or in an RV) you have to move things around a lot to get to what you need. Most of my fabric is stored in tubs on either side of the bed in the aft cabin. 

I have a 6 foot folding table that I pull out and set up so that I can cut patterns and fabric.

Folding table for cutting and watching Netflix on the computer while I sew

My sewing machine is my grandmother’s 1978 Bernina Record 930 Electronic. Both it and my serger are able to run off of the power inverter meaning that as long as the boat batteries are charged, I can sew and serge.

We have a generator on board that I have to turn on to use the iron, embroidery machine or print out patterns on my laser printer. Running the generator also charges the boat batteries so that I can sew in the mornings before it’s too early to run the generator.
We are hoping to get some solar panels soon so that they can charge the batteries and I can run the generator only when ironing, embroidering or printing.

Did I mention that I can get some gorgeous backgrounds for photos when I do pattern tests and reviews?

Ninja pants by 5 Out of 4 Patterns in swim fabric from Peek a Boo Fabric Shop

Vienna top in French terry by Peek a Boo Pattern Shop

Vienna tunic by Peek a Boo Pattern Shop in cotton lycra

Feel free to ask me any questions about #yactlife #sewingonaboat or #smallspacesewing 

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