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Sewing At Night
blugirlami21
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blugirlami21
Intermediate
Maryland USA
Member since 7/8/04
Posts: 22
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Date: 10/30/11 1:05 AM

Hi, I just had a strange sewing experience and I guess I need to vent somewhere. Anyway I am making three costumes for Halloween and I do my best to sew as long as I can until a somewhat reasonable hour. I am a total night owl so that may be one or two in the morning but that happens very rarely. I work and sometimes late at night is the only time I have to work on my sewing.

My sewing at night does not bother my Mother or my sister who have rooms right next to mine and I have never gotten any complaints from the neighbors about noise. We live on the top floor of an apartment building.

That being said I was trying to finish up a second costume before I stopped for the night, this is about twelve thirty-ish when I heard loud noises coming from below me which I soon realized was banging on the ceiling from the apartment below. I stopped immediately of course but I feel funny about it. Llike I'm being controlled in my own home.

I have never complained about any noise that anyone else in my building makes or the loud music that comes from the apartment next to ours, I don't think it's my place.

Does that mean I can never sew at night again? I understand that we are sharing a space but at what point do I curtail my apartment living to fit in with what a neighbor thinks it should be?

a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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Texas USA
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In reply to blugirlami21


Date: 10/30/11 1:31 AM

Bummer, blugirlami21.

Perhaps you have a new neighbor with better hearing. Or, in our area, there is a very distinct increase in sound transmission when the weather gets nippy.

Do you suppose you could work with your sewing area to cut noise transmission? Move away from windows, maybe from radiators or ducted heating vents. Anti-vibration mats under your machine?

Sometimes you just have to finish your projects It would be great if you and the neighbor could communicate so you could find out the success/failure rate of each remedy you tried so you would know when you hit the sweet spot.

Really, if you are up to it, talking with the neighbor would be a good starting point. It could be just the walking around and vibrating the floor. A small area rug with a good pad might keep everyone happy.

We were in a downstairs corporate apartment when my husband was on site for a bit. It was just a given that the upstairs neighbors with 3 young children would create some bouncing around. You could sure tell when they were particularly happy and they were obviously very cooperative about bedtime as the noise level abated at the same time every night. It's hard to complain about happy kids. But, just so you know, the noise transmission is definitely there.

See if you can speak with the neighbor. We don't all sleep at the same time. Maybe they will be willing to have some white noise in their apartment if you are willing to see what you can do to reduce the transmission. You may also find out about their apartment layout. Could be you are sewing immediately over their sleeping area and a switch to another area for the late, late stuff would help.

Good luck and best wishes. And, you've come to the right place, there is even a full out Rant thread that's getting close to 700 pages Just jump on it anytime.

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

Elizabeth made this
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Elizabeth made this  Friend of PR
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Colorado USA
Member since 8/8/07
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Date: 10/30/11 9:59 AM

That really stinks. I can't imagine a machine making that much noise. I'm sorry you're feeling limited in your own space.

I had the unfortunate problem of having a professional drummer live above us for a year. He did pad his room to make things less noisy and it helped considerably. I agree that talking to your neighbor would be a good start. My neighbor did work with me to figure out where he needed to put the pads to minimize the noise too. Now if he wasn't having knock down drag out fights at any given hour with his girlfriend, he might have been a better neighbor, but that's another can of worms.

I hope you can find a solution. Good luck.
-- Edited on 10/30/11 10:02 AM --

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The best project you could be working on is the one that's on the table right now.

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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British Columbia CANADA
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Date: 10/30/11 10:21 AM

Noise transmission is an interesting thing. Our kids used to sit up late when they were teens and watch TV. If the living room couch was pushed right up against the wall, which is the same wall the head of our bed is on, we could hear almost all their conversations. When I got them to pull it just off the wall the difference was amazing.

Do you have carpet on the floor where you sew? That would make a big difference. Some padding under your machines and also under the legs of whatever table they are on would help as well. Don't forget to pad the foot pedal of your machines, too.

Good luck!

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

MBMc
MBMc  Friend of PR
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Florida USA
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Date: 10/30/11 10:48 AM

Even my old machine doesn't make enough noise to keep someone awake at night. The noise a machine makes is basically white noise anyway. I second the idea of padding underneath your machine and perhaps an area rug underneath the table. I once lived in an apartment next door to someone who called me every time I dropped a spoon in the kitchen or moved a piece of furniture a few inches, even in broad daylight. I would do what you can to be considerate, and then not worry too much about it. Some folks work all night and sleep all day. Should everyone in the building have to be totally quiet during the daytime because of their sleeping schedule? That's unrealistic. A relative of mine who lives in an apartment building and sometimes works nights and sleeps days, always puts ear plugs in when she goes to sleep. You could give them a package anonymously. Some people do have a lot of stress in their lives for reasons we don't know: an impending divorce, a job loss, a life threatening illness. You could talk to other people in the building who may know them and find out if there is something like that going on, and do something nice for them. My neighbors next door suddenly complained about my dog barking at night. I was shocked because they had a dog that barked at night too. It became an issue where it hadn't been before because he had cancer and found it diffcult to sleep.

Tom P
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Tom P  Friend of PR
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New York USA
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In reply to blugirlami21


Date: 10/30/11 12:07 PM

Sorry to hear about your problem. Perhaps you have a new neighbor downstairs. Also, if he's been running the air and now he's not, that may be why the sewing machine is noticeable.

I second that you should just talk to your neighbor. People are more likely to be pissy with someone they've never met.

I also think (you may not like it) that after midnight on a weeknight the onus is on you to keep it quiet enough not to be noticeable. Some possibilities include adding an area rug to the sewing room or adding a mat under the sewing machine. Even moving the sewing table to another part of the room may help.

That's why talking to the neighbor might help. Maybe he's trying to keep a kid quiet or has to get up at 5 for a job or something. On the nights when he's not working the next day, you might be able to experiment a little more.

I've been on both sides of this sort of thing. Apartment living with touchy neighbors or thin walls can really suck.

KathySews
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KathySews
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Michigan USA
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Date: 10/30/11 12:25 PM

oh yes, do try a friendly chat. afterall, you are neighbors and they have the right to a peaceful sleep. You, afterall were the one making noise late at night. I think the air conditioner masking previous noise might be right on. They may have been bothered for some time and just now deciding they have had enough.

Just stop by or talk to them when you see them. No hostility, more like, "I am so sorry that I bothered you last night. I did not realize you could hear my sewing machine. I was finishing a halloween costume and did not realize how late it was"

Then if they are open to continuing the discussion, talk about what could be done to stop the noise and still sew. Maybe move to another room so you are not right above their bed, or just accept that this is one of the issues with shared walls.

My sewing table was against the wall and it was surprising how much that vibration carried through the walls. Check that out also. The faster you sew, the more the vibration. A rubber mat of some kind under the sewing machine could possibly mask some of the vibrations.

Lots of stories about shared walls....we could hear our neighbors' squeeky bed springs and pretty much knew when the guy got home from work (ackward when our mom was visiting ) My son had same neighbors with no problem, then she got pregnant and seemed to develop supersonic hearing and everything disturbed her.

Here's to finding a neighbor friendly solution.

ETA: oh please do not do anything anonymously (it is never anonymous) or leave notes....that is just irritating
-- Edited on 10/30/11 12:31 PM --

ccris
ccris
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In reply to blugirlami21


Date: 10/30/11 12:34 PM

I hope you won't be offended by my advice because that's not my intention. Working during the day and only being able to sew at night is your problem. Paying rent or a mortgage doesn't give one the right to do what they want, when they want, whatever the reason. Thinking you're being controlled by the tenants who live below isn't reasonable thinking, either, although I do understand how you feel. Many years ago, I lived in a double (downstairs) and I could hear everything (personal) that went on in the bedroom above mine (there's more to the story, but I won't go into detail, and yes, I did talk with the tenants). I put up with it until I couldn't tolerate it anymore. I installed a dropped ceiling in my bedroom (at my expense), but could still hear them, although the ugly dropped ceiling slightly muffled the noise. Eventually, they moved, only to be replaced with a 3 year old riding a tricycle all through the apartment. Grrrr So, I moved.

You have no idea how many times the tenants below you were inconvenienced but put up with it, hoping to avoid confrontation by believing the problem would eventually disappear. Apparently, they'd had enough and banged on the ceiling to let you know you were disturbing them. You really do need to take that into consideration. How would you feel if tenants were keeping you from sleeping or disturbing you with their activities late at night? Age is a factor, too. Keep that in mind. Being stressed is another.

When a neighbor's loud music bothers you you do have a right to complain, and should. You have a right to peace and safety in your apartment. We all tolerate others to a degree. We need to, but we can't and shouldn't tolerate everything all the time.

I agree it's a good idea to talk with the tenants below. It's uncomfortable, but resolving this issue should result in peace for both of you. Since the sewing machine sound doesn't bother your mom or sister, I doubt the sm sound is the problem. Could squeaky floor boards from moving in your chair be the culprit? Extra padding won't stop a squeaky floor board/boards, either. Just a thought. Good luck!

Sweetsong

Sweetsong
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Michigan USA
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In reply to blugirlami21


Date: 10/30/11 12:34 PM

My sister's treadle used to make a mighty racket when she used it upstairs at home. You didn't mention what type of machine you were using. Assuming it's not a treadle. I second the carpeting/rubber padding idea.

blugirlami21
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blugirlami21
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Maryland USA
Member since 7/8/04
Posts: 22
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Date: 10/30/11 3:34 PM

It's fine, I'll just try to keep an eye on the time when I am sewing. It's easy to sew well into the wee hours and not notice how late it is because I'm used to being up all night and I really get into what am I doing. I do respect their right to a proper noise level after a reasonable hour which is why I stopped immediately once the banging started.

I just needed to vent and I was a little frustrated that I couldn't finish the project like I wanted to, I have a lot to do and sometimes it's just nice to finish something before you put everything away knowing you have to pull it all out the next day and continue.

Thanks for all of your thoughtful answers, I will definitely keep them in mind if it happens again. You live and learn.

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