Sewing in a Camper

Living in a small space certainly has limitations, but when we were deciding on what to bring and what to leave behind, there was never a question that my sewing machine would be coming with us. My sewing machine, my iron and miniature ironing board, my cutting board, and my box of notions. The essentials. As much as having a dedicated sewing space is a dream of mine, I knew that I would find a way to take my sewing on the road.

Shortly after Will and I got married, I started taking sewing lessons from my mother-in-law (bold, I know, but she is not that kind of mother-in-law, she is the good kind), and it quickly became a hobby that I truly enjoy even if I am only marginally confident in my skills (I am lucky she is just a video call away!). Even though it takes up valuable space, it is incredibly important to both Will and me that we continue to explore our hobbies and passions on the road.

I knew that my opportunities to sew while we are living on the road would be limited (the toddler is way too nosy to allow me to have scissors and needles laying around), but I also knew there would be plenty of projects to keep my busy when I found the time. Also, I knew that something had to be done about the window coverings that came with the camper, because they were not our style!

Even though Will was skeptical, my first item of business was removing the valances. That alone made a huge difference, but getting curtains instead of blinds, that was the goal. We do not have plans to renovate the space, but window coverings can completely change the feel of a space, and I could not wait to see what I could do.

I started small and repurposed curtains from our townhouse for above the kitchen sink and our bedroom. Just seeing the difference those 3 sets of curtains made, I knew I had to do the rest in the living room/dining room area. These windows were much larger than the 3 I had completed and definitely took some creative maneuvering, but the finished product made Cate feel like home.

In the few times I have made the opportunity to sew, I have adjusted my workspace and found a good flow. My first step is to have Will take Little Bird somewhere (usually fishing) for a few hours. Then, I sweep the floor, as that is the easiest worksurface for cutting and laying out fabric. I set my ironing board and iron on the kitchen counter and transform my spot at the dinette from place I eat meals and office to sewing room and set up my sewing machine. This happens to be the only spot that is near an outlet, so it is truly my only option (barring an extension cord). The setup may not be ideal, but it works.

When choosing what to bring with us, I debated on what fabric to bring. As I mentioned above, I repurposed some curtains we had, so I had to bring that, and I have a project for Bird that I had already purchased fabric for, but aside from that, if I decide I want to make something, I have to buy it (darn it!). Unfortunately, the only fabric I have bought so far for a project was a panel for a quilt, which even I have to admit is not something that would go well in our small space. That will be for another time.

We set out on this adventure to get back to what we love, and that includes being able to do the hobbies that we love. I am so happy to have my sewing machine and accessories with us and to be able to show that you do not need a fancy space—or even a very big space—to sew.

Kitchen before and after
Bedroom before and after
Living area before and after

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