Life as a Quilt

Barefoot in the Sewing Room

by Jessica

August 18, 2020

I drive fast and barefoot

You will most often find me barefoot in the sewing room. Sometimes wearing socks but never shoes!

I think it’s because I feel more in control. With a shoe on, I feel so clunky and awkward. Like I’m going to accidentally “floor it” and go out of control, careening over some high cliff and ending only when the needle has broken itself or tangled to the point of snapping on my furiously moving fabric. The feed dogs can’t keep up with me now!!

I like to sew fast once I get going so I need to keep as much control as possible. Especially when I get to long borders. At that point, I can see the finish line and taste quilting victory! No need to spin out and ruin the whole thing. 

I also don’t wear shoes in the house. So it’s not natural. My family never wore shoes around the house, except for the occasional pair of slippers. And if I’m ever hunting for one lone slipper, you can bet it’s under my sewing table where it was kicked when I sat down to sew! 


Another fact, my current sewing room is in the sun-room of our house which is not connected to the central air. In Florida. I do have a window AC unit, but it is unfortunately on the same circuit as the iron so I can’t use both at once or the fuse blows. So barefoot is also a necessity as it gets pretty warm back there during the afternoon. When we eventually upgrade to a larger home, an air conditioned sewing studio will certainly be on my list! But for now, I am thankful for what I have.

There is an inherent risk involved with barefoot quilting- fallen pins and the occasional pair of flying scissors or nippers. Though I haven’t managed to draw blood this way *yet*.

And I am clumsy. So I'm always knocking over tins of clips or pincushions. I just make it a habit to always stop what I'm doing to pick up the mess before I move on. I'm sure the day will come where I end up with a pin in my foot (knock on wood!).

Tip: a magnetic pincushion is a great investment! Minimal spillage in the event of a clumsy moment!

This is one that I have!

Toby also likes to go after my toes on occasion from the opposite side of the table. I’m sure Teddy will too, but he hasn’t been given the green light for hanging out in the sewing room yet. He’s still too crazy of a puppy and I know he will try to chew everything in sight!

Toby under sewing table

He's up to no good!

Have you tried to switch between sewing with and without shoes when you are used to it one way or the other? It feels a lot like writing with your opposite hand. Cumbersome. Inefficient. Sloppy.

This brings to mind a quilting class I took a few years back. I hadn’t anticipated this problem but it was real: I had to wear shoes. It hadn't dawned on me that this would be an issue until I started sewing the first piece and thought, “Oh my gosh this isn’t going to work.”

I tried to persevere but ended up resigning myself to the fact that most of my sewing would be done between classes as “homework”. I sat there fumbling around with the pattern, deciding I would get some cutting done instead. Then I happened to meet eyes with the girl at the station next to me. She looked uncomfortable as well. Much to my surprise and delight she whispered, “Do you wear shoes when you sew?”

I was so relieved I wasn’t alone! We decided, on the down-low, to each remove one shoe and proceed. No one would know! What rebels we were, going barefoot at the sewing machine- in public. Hahaha.

I found an amusing thread in a forum on Missouri Star Quilt Company called “Sewing Barefoot is not for wimps”

GuitarGramma says: “You know, I prefer to drive with shoes on, but sew barefoot. You'd think they'd be the same. I'm just a funny little duck, I guess.”

Don't worry GuitarGramma, I'm a funny little duck, too. Or rather a "silly goose" as my parents used to call me.

I bet GuitarGramma drives (sews) fast, too.

What do you prefer- socks, shoes, or baring it all?

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