Zoom Workshop Setup

Behind the Scenes – Zoom Workshop Setup

A few weeks ago when I was teaching workshops with the Desert Quilters of Nevada, my husband took a few photos of my while I was working. I was honestly paying so much attention to what I was doing that I had no idea he took the photographs until later. Since we are making a small 512-square foot cottage work for us, I thought I’d share a look at what it’s like for me behind the scenes when I’m leading a zoom workshop.

Behind the Scenes - Sewing Machine Demo Setup

Behind the Scenes – Sewing Machine Demo Setup

The most interesting part of my whole setup is probably how we rigged up a tripod to hold my cell phone so that I can do demos at my sewing machine. It requires that I look through the screen to do the work at my machine, so it’s a bit more awkward than normally sitting at my sewing machine, but it works! The wooden 2×2’s that we purchased to hang the tripod from just tuck away on top of the bookcase until the next time I need to setup for a demo like this.

Lighting is always a bit of a challenge, but we have found that pointing a strong LED light (that we purchased for doing garage/shop work years ago) up at the white ceiling bounces around lighting without being too direct or producing too much glare on my glasses. The black cord running up to the ceiling toward the left side of the photo above is to power that light.

Demo at Sewing Machine

Demo at Sewing Machine

One of my biggest lessons learned through all the time spent working through zoom is to keep my hair pulled back and out of my face for a long, full day workshop. That way I don’t have to think about it. Small adjustments like that can take a lot of weird mental load off of me and make my ability to focus and teach that much better.

I have learned that I need to remember to turn off the extra bright LED lights that I’ve added to the throat space of my sewing machine because they create an interference fringe when recorded by my camera.

Zoom Workshop Setup

Zoom Workshop Setup

All in all, I don’t take over too much of the house, but when I’m teaching a workshop, it’s not possible for my husband to be working at his desk like normal. The portion of the desk that is covered up by my ironing board (turned laptop stand) is where he normally sits and works.

I am really loving getting to teach through Zoom. I think it’s very powerful for attendees in the workshop to be at home, learning on their best sewing machine, with ALL their supplies at hand. Have you taken a workshop through zoom? If so, what did you think of the experience?

12 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes – Zoom Workshop Setup

  1. I haven’t taken a workshop on Zoom yet, but I did have my first Zoom group chat for a workshop last night. I was pretty nervous, but it was so easy. There are some great tips out there on all that. I hope to try a workshop soon though! Thanks for giving us a peek into how you set up. I’ve been so curious about that, especially how to set up a camera/phone to show your work while sewing. Clever trick with the tripod!

  2. I love so much about this! It is so interesting to see the space that you work in, and seeing how you make it work for Zoom is great. I’m always trying to improve my own setup. So many quilt teachers have shared their own setups, and they are all so different. Thanks for sharing yours!


    It is so interesting to see how you and your husband have adapted your space for the work you do. Zoom is not in the cards for me right now. I can only use my tablet and the connection with it is not great. Also, the screen isn’t large enough. I need to get a new monitor for my desk top which must be equipped with a camera and microphone. I see you have one of your quilts hung as a backdrop. Does it mute echoing?

  4. patty says:

    Nice to see the behind the scenes! Looking forward to our guild’s lecture with you in a week!

  5. Suzanne says:

    I haven’t taken any classes via Zoom but my quilting group have stayed in touch during quarantine with it. Of course, no work gets done! We just chatter away, keeping up on each others lives. (Read between the lines – a bunch of gabby old ladies! ) Good news though, we’ve all been vaccinated and will be meeting in person again in a week – yay!
    It boggles the mind how you and hubs achieve so much in such a small space; you’re very good at it. The cell phone set up is amazing with the upside-down tripod. So clever!

  6. Stephanie says:

    I love zoom classes, but as with any in person class as well, they are not all great. Instructors that take the time to set up a good camera angle onto the subject matter, tend to be better classes for me. I took a workshop of yours this past QuiltCon, and it was amazing!! Like you mentioned, my favorite part of zoom classes is being home, and not lugging half my sewing room somewhere else. Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes setup. I love the ingenuity of the upside down tripod so you can see your iPhone screen while sewing.

  7. This is a great setup that will enable you to teach online long into the future.

  8. What a super cool set up!! I am impressed with how techhy you are and that you can quilt thru your camera!! Impressive!!! So…. where does your husband go to work when your teaching?

  9. I’ve not taken a Zoom class, but I’d like too. You’ve definitely learned how to make the smaller space work for you.

  10. I’ve done both lecture style classes and hands on class. It was so nice to walk across my room to get more fabric when necessary. I did miss being able to walk around and see what others were doing but it worked out well. Zoom has also been great for sewing get together and other hobbies It looks like you have a good setup. One of the nice things this year has been being able to enjoy speakers at our guild meetings from across the world.

  11. I love the ingenuity of the upside down tripod! When I student taught and was video taped (in the old days) one of the comments was about my bracelets being distracting; pulling your hair back makes sense. Great way to figure it all out.

  12. Kaja says:

    You guys are so resourceful and inventive! I haven’t tried anything quilt-related on zoom but like it for everything else.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)