How about a midweek project? Or maybe a few days to plan for a weekend project? My guess is you’re either about to be snowed in or dreaming of a beach somewhere and a much-anticipated spring break. Either way, it seems Wednesday is a good day for a creative diversion so here’s a great little project for all those fabric scraps. The DIY Chalkboard Fabric Bunting Tutorial was posted about a year ago, and it’s a great one for any occasion and any time of year. It can be made of fabrics from neutral cottons and linens for a timeless more romantic look to bright festive prints like the one shown here to celebrate all sorts of special events.
Another perk of this bunting is that it can be made Read More
In our part of the country, it’s all things spring with daffodils, hyacinths and pear trees in full bloom followed by freezing temps and weather that just can’t seem to make up its mind. It’s not completely unlike the groggy morning debate between workout or roll over, back and forth and back and forth … My solution? Go ahead and add spring touches here and there, with the firm belief that she will eventually come to stay. That means actually putting away winter decor and scattering bits of spring throughout the house. You already know how I feel about cloth napkins since last week I shared how to stitch wide hem cloth napkins with crisp mitered corners. And as promised today I have a follow-up post about how to stitch narrow hem cloth napkins.
How to stitch narrow hem cloth napkins
They happen to be a quick, inexpensive way to add some fresh Read More
Years ago I had a friend who insisted on drinking her morning orange juice from a goblet. It was her way of starting her day with an ordinary routine made special. Napkins are that extra touch for me. Perhaps it’s because I remember Mama making them when I was a girl. Or maybe it’s how much softer they are than the paper variety and they don’t fall apart within 10 minutes. Either way, they can ruin you for paper napkins in no time at all. And just in case you want to try a few of your own, Today I have a tutorial for you with lots of pictures on how to stitch wide hem cloth napkins with crisp mitered corners. Then you can let me know if you too are completely ruined for paper napkins.
How to stitch wide hem cloth napkins with crisp mitered corners
The wide hem and mitered corners give these napkins a very polished look. You can make them a variety of sizes by Read More
I’m sure y’all have noticed a slight shift in the color scheme of winter from icy whites and muted blues to soft pinks and bright reds. Sure enough, the day is approaching that we look for the best way to show the love of our life how special they are. It’s always a good idea to tell others what they mean to us. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to show our love to so many in our lives, well beyond that one special person. Last year I shared 10 DIY gift ideas to create for those on your list of appreciations but this year it’s mostly about things to do with those you love, with a few gift ideas sprinkled in here and there. You can look for those starting next week, and today I want to share how to make a fleece photo throw using your home printer.
There are so many things to love about winter! For all you flip-flop lovers out there, just bear with me here for a minute, I’m trying to redeem your not-so-favorite season. It’s the abundance of all things cozy that gets us every time. The chunky afghans, fuzzy socks, thick sweaters, mugs of hot chocolate on early winter evenings and one of my all-time favorites – flannel sheets. But after several seasons of washing and drying, those pesky top sheets tend to shrink so much that they easily come untucked in the middle of the night. And if you’re using flannel sheets it necessarily follows that it must be cold. Untucked flannel sheets + cold night air + frozen toes = certain disaster. Granted, that’s a bit dramatic, but you get the idea. So just in case you’ve had similar issues with your own sheets, today I give you this- Short Sheet Fix | Tutorial with faux flat-felled seams.
Short Sheet Fix | Tutorial with faux flat-felled seams
Follow along for a brief explanation of each step, and pictures just in case Read More
I heard on the radio yesterday that gym memberships and exercise routines spike after the Olympics. Once you start exercising, then your clothes don’t fit right, then you have to take them in, but you already spent too much money on the gym membership to take them to a tailor or buy new clothes … Okay, maybe that’s not your story, but work with me here. Why not try taking them in yourself? What do you really have to lose? It’s not like you were going to wear them anyway. You’re in luck because today I’m sharing the basic steps to take in a garment.
If you’re too scared to learn on a favorite garment, then pick up something similar at a thrift shop and practice on them. It might actually cost you a whole $4, and that’s a pretty cheap lesson!
So there’s a bit of good news and a bit of not-your-favorite news in this process. The not-so-favorite news is that this will require trying on the garment, repeatedly and then a few more times after that, too. It’s kind of like editing a paper or project in that way, once you muster the energy to take the next step, the reward of it being the best you have to give is huge!
The basic steps to taking in a garment
The example I’ll be using in the picture is a pair of Gap linen trousers that I picked up at a thrift shop, I will be using the word pants to make this less complicated, but fill in whatever garment you are working on. I would use the word trousers, but that sounds a bit stuffy.
The easiest garment to start on if you’re not so sure about this would be a skirt or dress, but again if it’s something you’ll never wear until it’s fixed or if it’s a thrift shop score, then just muster up your courage and go for it!
pinning and trying on
If you have pants that fit you well, then use them as a guide. Make sure they are made of similar fabrics in terms of their stretch and drape. Turn the pants you want to alter inside out and lay them on a table, with the ones that fit correctly over them, to get a general idea of where and how much you need to take in on the pants you’re altering.
STEP 1 | Know that you may pin one leg tighter the other, that’s okay – it allows you decide which one you like better, or if you want to go with a measurement somewhere in between the two.
STEP 2 | Undo the stitching in the hem so you can stitch all the way down the pant leg. You may want to leave the hem at its current length, which is fine, but you still need to take it out now to allow your pants to hang smoothly in the end.
STEP 3 | Line up the original seam lines with one another and pin through both layers, then pin the same distance from the original seam all the way down the leg.
AND NOW FOR THE STITCHING
STEP 4 | At this point, try them on again. If you’re pleased with the pinned lines then baste (the longest stitch your machine makes) along the line you’ve created. If you’re not pleased, repin areas as needed.
STEP 5 | Try the pants on. Repin as needed and baste.
STEP 6 | Baste stitch the other side, creating the same seam allowance. Try them on … you saw that coming didn’t you?
STEP 7 | Trim away excess bulk, this is not a final trim so it can be more than 1/2″
STEP 8 | Stitch over the basting lines with a permanent stitch. Try them on again.
STEP 9 | Press and trim seams to between 1/4″ and 1/2″
STEP 10 | Finish raw edges of the seam. I opted for Seams Great for the linen trousers because it gives a low-profile finished edge that is completely enclosed.
STEP 11 | Replace hem or embellishing, whipstitching as needed.
Oh, the fun of all things summer! Cookouts, lemonade, flip flops and lightning bugs. There’s something almost magical about it. And the weddings, lots of weddings, with laces and chiffons and all the fluttery fabrics. Somehow, they’re both elegant and carefree all at the same time. Until you have to figure out the best way to hem fluttery summer fabrics, then it can be a little scary!
I have to admit, last month I was given a chiffon wedding gown to hem and even after all the years of rolled hems and alterations, I was a bit nervous that I would mess it up somewhere. Good thing there’s no pressure when it’s pretty much the most important dress a girl will wear!
My big concern was that the hem would try to roll out as I’ve had them do in the past when I used my rolled hem foot. I was so excited with this method that I’ve since used it to hem a knit cardigan and it worked like a charm. This weekend I have the honor of witnessing this sweet bride and her new husband make their wedding vows, So today seems like the right day to share the hard-learned tips I’ve discovered along the way.
A rolled hem without a rolled hem foot
If you’re fortunate enough to have a rolled hem foot, then you know how easy it is to make a small hem for napkins, handkerchiefs and the like. But a narrow hem on an A-line chiffon gown is a different story. Even when you’re extremely careful, there will be missed spots and then the tendency for the finished hem to try to roll out. It’s not pretty y’all!
So, when it comes to chiffon and other lightweight fabrics, or even uncooperative knits, there’s an almost fail-proof way to create a narrow hem.
It does take a little more time than using a rolled hem foot, but once you try it but, you’ll be so pleased with the results and the simplicity of it that you may find yourself searching for other things to finish with a narrow hem. Seriously!
Pinning the Hem
Mark a line about 3/8” – 1/2” below your new hemline and fold your fabric under on that line. (Fyi – some of these pictures are for the slinky underlining on a chiffon gown)
You can lightly press it, using a low setting and a handkerchief over your fabric to ensure that you don’t burn the chiffon.
The pink tape around the seam gauge was my own reminder of how much I wanted to turn up the hem. It’s a quick help when the seam gauge slider is missing or the hem is too deep to use the slider.
Stitching the Hem
Next, stitch 1/8″ – 1/4″ from the folded edge, as close as possible without going off the edge of the fabric.
TAKE YOUR TIME on this step. You want to trim as close as possible, being careful not to clip the fabric above the seam line.
Instead, pull the top threads from the first and last stitches to the back of your fabric and tie them off. This way you won’t even have the visual bulk of extra stitching on your finished hem.
Hopefully, my rolled hem mistakes over the years will help save you a bit of time and frustration when you need to make a rolled hem without a rolled hem foot.
When you travel from a latitude of 38.0 to one of 55.8, there will be several noticeable changes. Obviously, there’s a cultural change included when your destination is on the other side of the world. But there’s also an added 3 hours of sunlight. Which is precisely why a sleep mask was included on our girl’s official packing list.
And when you have a closet full of fabrics, a box of all kinds of elastic and the perfect Amy Butler pattern, then you just can’t bring yourself to go with the sleep mask from the local super center. No, that will never do when you’re sending your baby off on her first international adventure. Instead, you’ll choose to make your own and write “a sleep mask tutorial”.
And that’s just what we did last week. She picked out two fabrics from the closet stash while I pulled out my In Stitches book by Amy Butler and before you know it, we had one more item checked off the packing list.
The original pattern calls for quilted fabric and a ribbon tie, but we replaced that with some minky fabric and a minky covered elastic band for a super cozy eye mask.
SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR THE EYE MASK
To make your own eye mask you’ll need ..
two 6″ x 12″ coordinating fabrics
3″ x 19″ piece of soft fabric for elastic band
16” of soft elastic, ¾”- 1” wide
thread to match
sewing machine, scissors and straight pins and safety pin
Use a ½” seam allowance for all seams.
Cut eye mask out of each of your coordinating fabrics using the pattern from the In Stitches book, or another eye mask pattern of your choice. Click on this link for a free pattern from Instructables, and another one here from Craftsy.
For the elastic band, fold the long 3″ x 19″ strip lengthwise (hot dog fold) with the right sides together and pin. Stitch along the long edge and trim to ¼”.
Turn the tube by pinning a safety pin in the seam allowance at one end. You can then push the safety pin through a few inches at a time, pulling the turned fabric through as you go.
Reattach the safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the fabric. When the end of your elastic is even with the end of the fabric tube secure it in place with a straight pin and stitch through all the layers about 3/8” from the end.
Pin the stitched elastic tube to the side of the eye mask between the markings for the ribbon, just above the center line, from top to bottom, of the mask
Stitching the mask to the lining and band
Pin the front and back of the eye mask together, right sides together, keeping the elastic band free and extending through the top center of the mask.
Stitch around the edges of the mask leaving 1 ½” open on the side for the elastic band and 2” open at the top to turn the mask. Trim stitched edges to ¼”.
Turn the eye mask right side out and pin the top opening closed along the stitching line.
Pin the free end of the elastic band until it is at a comfortable length to use when sleeping. Trim as needed and insert the elastic band into the 1 ½” opening on the side of the mask and pin securely.
Top stitch around the entire edges of the eye mask at 1/8″ to 1/4” from the edge.
And that’s it! Now you have a soft eye mask for those long summer nights when the sun doesn’t exactly coordinate with your sleep schedule. There also quite handy when you’re traveling in a car during the day and it’s your turn to nap.
While you’re at it, you might want to go ahead and stitch up a few of these, just in case you too are inclined to leave them behind at a hotel in the midst of your travels. Not that we’ve ever done such a thing!
You can also add an extra pocket for headache days when the cool pressure of a rice bag can be slipped right inside and bring an extra dose of relief.
Some of my favorite fabrics for eye masks include some soft minky, cool tightly woven cotton blends and patterned slinky fabrics. What type of fabrics would you choose for an eye mask?
For many in my generation the idea of a kid-tested wooden spoon in the hands of a Mama has absolutely nothing to do with cooking and more about “instilling a healthy sense of fear”. But hey, that’s why we’re such upstanding polite people, right?
In the interest of full disclosure … today’s first project involves wooden spoons, but they’re quite likable for Moms and kids alike. The second calls for a purchased tea towel and a bit of embellishing. Unique and sentimental embellishing that is, because us Mamas love that sort of thing.
Supplies for the Wooden Spoons
set of wooden spoons
painters tape, my preference is frog tape
foam paint brush
chalk or chalk marker
Steps for Making the Wooden Spoons
For food safety issues, if you are using these to serve food do not paint your spoons below the handle. Tape off the section of the handle that you want to paint. I left part of my spoon natural at the top of the handle because I liked the way it looked, but like most projects it’s a matter of personal preference.
Using a foam brush apply two thin coats of paint. Just as with the Cool Beans Chalkboard Paint Cutting Board…
“Make sure your tape is pressed firmly and has adhered to the cutting board along the edge you will be painting. And paint away! Mine needed two coats for good coverage. I would recommend doing several thin coats and removing the frog tape as soon as the second coat is applied.
If you leave the tape on too long, or if you use cheap painter’s tape, or get the paint too thick next to the tape … some of the paint may pull away when you remove the tape. It’s fixable but it does require an extra step…
If you do find yourself needing to remove extra paint lightly sand down the edge of the paint and wipe off any dust that is created. You can either go back over the area with chalkboard paint and a thin paintbrush or use a sharpie pen to create a smooth edge along your painted strip.”
As with all wooden kitchen items, your spoon set will last longer when washed by hand. You can add the names of dishes being served to make it easier on your dinner guests at your next potluck dinner. As one of those with lots of crazy food allergies, I always appreciate knowing potential food allergens at a potluck. The chalk can simply be wiped off and they’re ready for your next food bash.
Supplies for the Recipe Tea Towel
purchased tea towel
a copy of your favorite recipe
1/3 yard of light-colored solid fabric to match the towel, in a light weight
freezer paper, cut to 8 1/2″ x 11″
home printer, a laser printer is preferable
1/2 yard of wonder under, fusible webbing
thread to match your tea towel
trim, twice the width of your tea towel + 6″
Steps for Making the Tea Towel
This is the same technique used for our son’s Fleece Sports Blanket, which by the way makes an awesome gift for a graduate in your life!
Iron the sticky side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of one end of your light colored fabric. Be sure to use high heat and no steam for the best results. Trim the fabric to 8 1/2″ x 11″ and make sure each edge of fabric is adhered to the paper, as you will be running this through your printer.
Scan your recipe into your computer and edit as needed to create a document with your recipe to fit your freezer-papered fabric. Place your fabric in your printer so that your recipe will be printed on the fabric side and press print. Give this just a minute or two before you handle it, so as not to smear your printing.
I also found this awesome rick rack trim in some of my Mom’s stash and decided it was just perfect for this project.
Cut a strip of wonder under the height of your recipe strip and as wide as your tea towel. If you need to use two pieces to get the width of your towel, simply butt the short ends up against one another. Iron the sticky side of the wonder under to your recipe strip using a hot, dry iron and then peel off the paper backing. Position the recipe strip where you want it on your towel and iron again, adhering the strip to the towel.
Make a double hem by turning the raw edge under 1/2″.
Make a double fold at the end of your trim and pin it to the back of your towel along the edge of the recipe strip.
And there you have it! A recipe tea towel that is sure to bring a smile to any Mama’s face.
These would be such a fun wedding gift for a bride with a favorite recipe from her Mom and new Mom-in-law too. Or a favorite holiday recipe for a housewarming gift.
Who’s your first recipe tea towel recipient? And what recipe will you be using? I have lots of ideas of who I could make these for. In the meantime, we’ll be trying Emily’s “what we believe to be a” smoothie recipe and we’ll keep you posted as to it’s thumbs up or thumbs down status.
A freshly upholstered chair calls for new pillows, aka. chair bling, kind of like a little black dress calls for just the right accessories. Granted the lines on a piece of furniture hold their own sort of beauty, but the accessories? Well the accessories can make all the difference!
Claire has had a plan in mind for her chair and this space that is her room for a few years now. She started by painting the walls a light-medium grey with a white and turquoise chevron accent wall. She added a chippy mustard colored antique door as a headboard and a thrifted roll top desk that we still need to refinish. She is just as addicted to fur as I am, so her bedspread is a black fur and she picked up some white fur, grey chevron and a red damask print to make a few pillows.
The grey chevron pillows will be made in a basic envelope style, my favorite quick pillow style. You can find sewing tutorials for envelope pillows here and here. They are a great beginner project with lots of possibilities for embellishing.
If you don’t have a lot of extra fabric or if you’re working with fur or a higher quality fabric, then a zippered pillow is a better option. Don’t let the word zipper scare you away. It does take a few extra steps and time, but it really is not too complicated. And the beauty of learning on a fur pillow is that that fur can cover any “less than perfect” spots in your construction.
Zippered Pillow Supplies
Zippered Pillow COnstruction
Cut 2 pieces of fabric the exact dimesions of your finished pillow. This ensures that your pillow will look full as opposed to slightly anemic. Ours is 22″ x 22″.
With an invisible zipper, the first step is to iron the teeth flat. Unzip your zipper all the way and lay it face down on your ironing board. With an iron set at medium and the steam option turned off, iron each side of the zipper tape until the teeth are laying flat instead of curling up. This allows you to stitch as close as possible to the zipper teeth, making the zipper invisible.
Your pillow will look best if the zipper does not extend all the way to the corner. If your zipper is longer than needed, it’s best to shorten it at the bottom of the zipper. Do this by stitching parallel to the zipper teeth at 4″ less than your side measurement. I go back and forth over that line until there are about 4 – 6 rows of stitching, creating a new zipper stop. You can then trim away the extra leaving about 1″ of zipper beyond your new stitching line.
The next step is to line your zipper tape up with the edge of your pillow fabric, right sides together. We brought our zipper in about 1/4″ just to allow a little wiggle room for stitching. Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch with the needle as close to the zipper teeth as possible. You will either need to move the needle to the left or right of your zipper foot, or switch your zipper foot to the left or right of your needle, depending on which type of zipper foot your machine uses.
After you have stitched the first side of your zipper, pin the second side to the second fabric square, again lining up the zipper tape with the fabric edge and keeping the right sides together. Stitch this side just as you did the first one.
If you didn’t get your zipper shortened earlier, say because you were simply too tired to remember this after a fun prom weekend with friends and cross country conditioning after school …. Then you can just stitch INSIDE of the zipper seams about 2″ on each end of the zipper at the corners of your pillow and your pillow should survive just fine. And next time you can hope that your mom, the one who really forgot, will remember to tell you about this step. Maybe!
Once you have stitched the ends of the zippered side of your pillow, pin the other three sides of your pillow, lining up the edges with the right sides together. Stitch the other three edges with a 1/2″ seam.
It is easiest to begin by closing the zipper and stitching the side closest to the top of the zipper. After you have stitched that edge of the pillow, unzip the zipper and continue stitching the other two sides. It’s so much easier to do this when one side of the pillow is open as opposed to when the entire thing is stitched up and you have to try to unzip it from the “inside”. Yeah, I’ve done that, multiple times.
Trim the edges and cut a triangle off each corner, being sure not to snip the stitching line. Your pillow is ready to turn right side out and insert your pillow form.
And that’s it! A zippered pillow cover does require a few extra steps, but I’ve included lots of extra tips along the way. Once you try it, you’ll see just how easy it is to stitch up some pillow covers and add a little bling to your chairs… Or your floors, if you have children and your pillows always seem to end up on the floor. No worries, “Just put ’em the wash; they’ll be grand.” And it’s always worth it to have the kids and their friends around the house, right!