FAQ #9- Can you really sew in your RV?

Since I just purchased a new fancy-schmancy sewing machine (oy, the indulgence of it all), I thought I’d answer this question that was posed a while back by one of you’all –
If you sew in an RV … you have to clean up your mess and put everything away each and every time you sew! That is too awful! How do you manage that? I have a sewing/embroidery machine combo plus a serger. Six thread boards (and that doesn’t count the bins full of overlock cone thread!). Ironing board and iron. Drawers filled with supplies and tools. Two coffin-size plastic bins filled with fabric hanks and scraps. And you really sew in an RV?
Well, the simple answer is – Yes, you really can sew in an RV. You can also knit, crochet, make jewelry, design cards, scrapbook, or even paint. Almost any hobby that you love doing you can do in an RV. It’s just going to look a bit different. And probably on a smaller scale.
For example, instead of a design wall, you have a bed –
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I’ve laid out a good many quilts on that design bed.
Instead of a free standing ironing board, you might choose this approach –
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It’s pretty portable, so you can always move it when you need to make lunch.
The cutting table and the sewing space – well, share and share alike, I always say!
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And when the computer chair isn’t being used for overflow supplies, it can also double as the table extension when you’re working on an extra large project.
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Of course, there are always some storage issues in any hobby. Sewing/quilting is no exception. We’ve taken the space that could have housed a washer/dryer and built in deep sturdy drawers with a sliding tray at the bottom.
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(Supplies – recently organized)
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(Fabric – not so recently organized)
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The thread lives on the wall, and the bins on the floor hold (you guessed it) more fabric and supplies. Not pictured are the two “under bed” size containers in the closet and any number of boxes of odds and end (fabric, batting, t-shirts waiting to be made into a quilt, etc.) under the bed. And sometimes, the little bit of counter space that I have in the bedroom also falls prey to a bit of overflow sewing stuff.
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(Don’t judge me, it’s a flat surface after all!)
While some folks have managed to carve out a designated sewing area in their RV’s, (check out this post from a fellow quilting RVer) I have not figured out just where that spot would be. Pretty much, when I’m sewing, the whole RV is sewing!
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And yes, I do need to tidy up at the end of each sewing day in order for us to actually eat dinner. But I really only need to put it ALL away before we move the house down the road. If I know that our life is going to be very busy, I just don’t get the machine out.  I wait until I see a quiet weekend ahead, have leftovers in the fridge (or know it’s time for a pizza night) and THEN I get out the machine and start a small sewing blitz.  It also helps to have a patient husband. As long as he can find a spot for a nap, we’re usually good!

I like to think that quilting/sewing (painting, beading, knitting, scrapbooking, whatever hobby makes you happy) in an RV is like eating frozen yogurt.  As long as you don’t think it’s going to taste like Blue Bell ice cream, you’ll like it just fine!

6 thoughts on “FAQ #9- Can you really sew in your RV?”

  1. We were in Florida over the winter, I took a small machine and one box of fabric and thread, ruler cutter, scissors, etc. And yes I used the table for sewing and kitchen for pressing, and had to clean it all up everyday, but the projects I took I cut out at home and had them all ready to go with the patterns, this saved some space, and no extra fabric, brought everything home and finished it

  2. That’s a great plan! I think I just need to be really intentional about sewing. Like you were on your winter projects. I often figure if I’m making one of something (small project!) I might as well make two. I have a twin size quilt waiting in the wings to start on (it’s cut and ready to go), but I figured I’d start on a couple of small things as I got used to the new machine. So far, so good!

  3. Thanks so much for the pingback to our blog. Carol’s space is just that. When we hunted for an RV, Carol’s space was just as important as ‘my garage’. We’ve managed to make it work for 3+ years now.

  4. We just bought a Discovery 40G coach, it has bunk beds, which will become my sewing room, once we go on a long trip, like when we winter in Florida. It was a requirement, the new rig had to have space to sew. This bunk area has it’s own room and doors, so I can leave things out and go back to work the next day, and not need to clean up the dining room area. I can’t wait to actually sew in there, I dream about it. I am giving up a garage size studio for the RV life style, but am ready.

  5. What about power supply. Does a sewing machine draw a lot of power? Will I have to choose between A/C , fridge and/or sewing?

  6. Hi! I’ve never had any problem with the sewing machine competing with the A/C, fridge, etc – but I have run into some trouble with the iron! Now that’s a power draw! Not with the fridge, but sometimes if the A/C or heat is going and I have the iron on AND I try to microwave something…Yes, that’s trouble! We do have a power management system, so everything gets regulated eventually. Hope that helps!
    Thanks for stopping by!

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