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.
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.
So my question for the day … If there’s no “before”picture, is it really a makeover?
This little guy came home with me one day from the ReStore. I honestly wasn’t quite sure where he would end up living, but at $1, I decided it was worth the risk that I could find a good place for him.
And sure enough, he’s been quite at home on the sewing room wall holding jars of buttons.
For about 6 months that is, then I took him down to make a little change.
The only change? A coat of white paint. He hangs out above my cutting table and as much as I love wood, the dark color was just too much on the wall. At this point you’ll just have to imagine the same shelf in a dark wood with a high gloss finish. I just know I took pictures of it, and I’ll probably find them next week since I’m posting about it now. Ah well, such is life!
Anyway, a bit of sanding, priming, painting and distressing later … worth all 100 pennies.
Not a bad price for some fun storage in the sewing room, and a gentle reminder to take lots of pictures and label them better … or something like that.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who does these sorts of things! Anyone?
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?
About a year ago, Claire and I picked up the Frog Prince of chairsfrom a random furniture collection in the back of the ReStore. It was a little scary and some thought we were crazy, but we’re okay with that. And besides, Claire had been saving some money for a cozy over sized arm chair and the good bones and free tag on this one made it perfect.
It would work, with a bit of attention, that is. Like new fabric, and padding and pretty much anything but those fabric covered legs.
And you know what? She was right! Just see for yourself …
The hardest part of upholstering may be the time investment. It’s a lot like writing a paper, or blog post for that matter. Once you have an idea and get it together, there’s the editing. And then more editing, and just one more edit for good measure. There’s a good lot of editing in upholstering.
Upholstery editing looks a little like this …
I would HIGHLY recommend taking lots of pictures and notes during the deconstruction process, especially where different fabrics or “steps” overlap. That way if your weekend project takes ten months to complete, you can remind yourself of how it came apart and put it back together correctly. Ask me how I know…
Most pieces are assembled in a similar order, but pictures allow you to put your piece back together by moving backwards through the steps you took in deconstruction.
Depending on the condition of your piece, consider replacing adding extra foam, quilt batting and cushions as needed. And then the reupholstering begins …
And then you get to add a few special upholstery notions.
On this project I ended up hand stitching the bottom straight section of the arm front. It is straight, though the pinning looks a bit crooked here. I am still perfecting my technique on these different tools, but each project turns out a bit better than the last. So, hey, we’re making progress right?
Claire also decided to go with different feet for her chair.
It’s a running joke around here that I’m one of those who struggles to keep both kids and plants alive at the same time. It’s not a snide sort of comment, in fact I think I was the first one to actually make light of it. For the most part, I’ve chosen to focus on the kids, though some dinners would attest to a bit of neglect. Even on those nights, the family rarely complains, they just roll with it and life goes on. The plants aren’t quite so forgiving.
For some reason I decided that this morning was a good time to tend to the house plants I’ve been neglecting these past few weeks. They seem to be less forgiving than the family and quietly dry up and wilt.
That’s when it hit me that in sharing Monday’s post with the DIY chalkboard bunting, I completely forgot to include the baby bunting! I could chalk that oversight up to all sorts of things, but that’s another post altogether.
So remember near the end of the bunting when you cut the triangle out of the bottom of each fabric piece to make the forked flag style? We’ll don’t pitch the triangle.
You can fold it on one end and cut another triangle out of the other end to make a mini-forked pennant. The wonder under will make it a sturdy little flag and then all you have to do is turn under about 3/8″ at the top and stitch close to the raw edge of the fold.
Since the bunting I did was originally for a birthday party, we simply threaded some twine through the casing (made in the previous step) and strung several flags between two skewers to make toppers for the birthday girl’s cheesecakes.
And then we licked wiped off the extra cheesecake and stuck them in one of the house plants. It makes for a festive little touch. And it can even draw the eye away from the shriveled up plants that need to be replaced. Not really, but a girl can dream!
It’s always fun to find an unexpected way to use leftovers, especially when they create a little surprise pop of color and festiveness. So where else would you use a strand of these little guys?