Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Little Project, Big Results = Happy Dressmaker

~A clean and organized attic~
My home was built in 1908 and there are wonderful things to be said about old homes, except closet space. In the whole of my house, I have four closets, two of which are approximately 15" deep and three feet wide. Because these two closets are too narrow for modern hangers, any garments I hang must be on hangers with rotating hooks so that I can turn them on an angle in order to shut the doors. The other two closets are 4' x 3' boxes with deep and high shelves. Indeed, the middling Edwardian homeowner was modest in clothing and large on hats; I possess no such modesty and have a separate armoire to store all my business attire. Never mind my shoes...

My mundane (or Muggle) wardrobe has always taken priority space in my closets while costumes have been relegated to the attic, folded neatly, and stored by era in large plastic bins. It's worked for years, except when I go to pull a costume for an event, I do it knowing I'll be standing in front of an ironing board for a while. 

But, one of the best attributes of my 106-year old home is that it has a very large walk-up attic with a 10-pitch roof and 2" x 6" oak rafters; in simpler terms, Angie's very large costume closet. I've wanted to install clothing racks for years, but it wasn't until recently that I've had the opportunity to clean out the attic (the benefit of chicks leaving the nest and taking their things...). Over the week, I tore my attic apart, cleaned and organized it, and installed my racks! Whoot!

I didn't do anything fancy.  I used 1-1/4" x 6' wood dowels for the racks (they are very strong and can take a lot of weight without bowing or splitting), and 1-3/8" half-moon straps to anchor the dowels to the rafters. For added support, I drove a large nail on one side of each rafter and wrapped picture frame wire around it and the dowel - a failsafe never hurts! Installing the whole thing took less than 30 minutes and cost $25!

~Dowels and straps~

~How the straps fit on the rafters~

~Racks successfully installed~

I am very happy with the results! Costumes can take up a lot of space, and if you have very little to spare, ingenuity must come into play (Of course, plastic bins definitely kept my costumes safe and in good order, and for some, it's the only real option for costume storage - whatever works!). FYI: Attics aren't the only structures with closet potential; basement floor joists are a marvelous option for installing a hanging costume rack or two. Are you getting ideas? Yay! 

Blessings and happy sewing!


  1. I have ours hanging in a wardrobe in our storage building. not the greatest but better than no storage

    1. Loree, sounds good to me! I imagine a visit to the storage building to pull costumes can be a bit inconvenient at times (unless your building is adjacent to your home).

  2. I know how you feel! I live in a 1913 home and we've only got two small closets. Wish I had an attic or basement so I could do this!

    1. Only two?! I'm not sure if this lack of storage space says more about the Edwardians or us? ;)