Sergers, bobbins and tailor’s hams on pins and needles

Every specialty has its secret language. A serger is a machine which finishes the edges of projects. I think. A bobbin is a wheel-shaped anchor that attaches and guides a spool of thread to a sewing machine. Maybe. And by the time I finished Dream Sewing Spaces by Lynette Ranney Black, published by Vancouver, WA-based Palmer/Pletsch (shout-out for WA!), I would have enjoyed a ham sandwich. But not a tailor’s ham, which wouldn’t taste nearly as good as Taylor Ham (which my sister-in-law, a NJ native and former caterer, and I were just merrily discussing last week). A tailor’s ham is a mold for creating curves in clothing.

quilts and crate

I’ve had and continue to have MANY creative people as Casual Uncluttering LLC clients – quilters, textile artists, multi-media jewelry-smiths. So when I found Dream Sewing Spaces at a library thrift shop – my spendthrift downfall – I had to. I am baffled by the magic of fabric and can barely sew a button on a shirt. But I’m pleased to say I nonetheless understand the tremendous value of Dream Sewing Spaces, which lays out precise, minute, dazzling details for creating hugely practical sewing spaces in a wide range of configurations for the most common sewing practices. For example, Ranney Black distinguishes between hobbyists and professionals, small-scale operations and operations involving specialized staffpeople. Despite its 2010 publication date, the book is essentially ageless, because of its careful focus on elemental design: yes, there is probably outdated information about lighting (LED vs. other options comes to mind); the science of ergonomics may have evolved a bit…. But precisely because Ranney Black had the foresight to consider all such aspects in her manual, all a reader needs to do is confirm anything in doubt.


I would love to have a client say to me “Oh, yes, I used this book when I built this space.”

About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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