Sewing Studio Hunting

In December, I came to New York. I design women’s clothing and happily manage the entireprocess from fabric picking to pattern making and sewing. I was new in the city, had none of my machines, and needed a nice studio to work on a few samples for my new collection.  

What I'm looking for is a shared space with sewing machines, a serger, cutting tables and irons. Windows as a must — sewing requires a lot of light. My top budget is $300 a month. Fortunately, New York isn’t short on options, I’ve done a lot of research and am going to share it for those of you on the same mission. 

I started by making a list of all co-working spaces with sewing equipment that came up in a google search and called/emailed them for more details. The drawing below is a sum of what I got.

An envelope sign means no visit, just email chatting. 

An envelope sign means no visit, just email chatting. 

#1 Soul Collection

It costs $1300 per month and looks nice and cozy in the pictures, but too pricey for me. 

#2 Better Than Jam

I was invited to visit the place. Awesome name and a great location made me excited. My daily commute could be a nice 20 minute walk through great coffee shops in Bushwick. The studio is really beautiful, there are big windows and a lot of natural light. The setup isn’t fancy, but decent: brother home machines, but no industrial serger. $650 monthly.

#3 Maker Space

It costs $150 if you pay month-to-month and even less if you make a commitment for 6 months. They’re located in a former factory in Staten Island. There are metal/wooden workshops, a 3D-printing lab, a tiny sewing room (without a window) and 24/7 access with your own copy of keys. I met a wonderful guy Scott who showed me around, promising to fix the ancient Overlock machine and made me feel truly welcomed.

There are plenty of crazy people working around, too! Like a guy whose job is to repair old typing machines. People still need them for decorations or movie props! 

But it has a huge BUT, it’s too far from my apartment. I took a subway (with one change), walked to the Port Terminal and took a free boat, then I rode Staten Island Subway and walked to the place. I came home exhausted and was asleep in ten minutes. Nope, this won’t work for me!

#4 Esaie Couture Studio

The price is $1500 or $500 if you’re ready for 6-month lease. I wasn’t. 

#5 Workroom Social

They don’t list their studio for rent but I emailed them anyway. And I was invited to join the lease until October.

#6 Make Workshop

It’s what tiny & cozy means in real life

It’s what tiny & cozy means in real life

The owner of the place is a charming lady who runs weekly sewing classes. I vistied during the middle of a Sunday workshop where a few girls were making small pouches.

It was the sweetest place, tiny but cozy and I liked Diana. The price wasn’t affordable for me, unfortunately.

#7 Mom’s Selling

A funny coincidence happened! I met a girl at the party whose mum was selling a bunch of sewing equipment including two machines, a stamper, a table,  two compressors and die inks. So some really serious stuff are just for $2000. Not an option for me, but definitely a great deal!

#8 Dry Cleaning

While I was doing my email research I got a response from a studio whose name I forget. They were out of space but a few minutes ago I got a letter from a Dry Cleaning Service who is renting out their place. 

I was curious enough to learn details. $600 per month and a crazy timing. Probably not the most comfortable place to work but a good option!

#9 Art Textile Center

They cost $200 per month and have a studio in Gowanus, one of my favorite neighborhoods and home to one of the best New York Ice Cream and yummy American pie shops. I was happy to find this place!

First of all, it’s just beautiful! There’re several heavy duty Singer machines (really good ones!), big cutting tables, huge windows and plenty of small but important sewing/pattern making tools. They have one serger and it’s a Pro Finish model which is famous for threads tension problems. It took me a while to get used to it. 

Besides sewing equipment there are looms, as well as everything for dye and machine knitting.

 

It would be too perfect if not the schedule. Open hours for this studio are better for small personal projects than a full time working. But besides that the studio is awesome!

I'm happy to report that I’ve been working here for a while, with no regrets! 

Happy sewing! 

Post by Elena Zaharova

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