Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sewin' It!

(Sing to the tune of Makin' It by David Naughton)

Do you read a lot of home decor DIY blogs?  If so, you already know this.  But if not.... listen up, because I'm going to tell you something you definitely don't know.


Yes!  Chevrons are way in.  You gotta have a chevron!  Rug, fabric, paint, whatever.  Just get some!

Nevertheless, I have yet to see chevron fabric at the stores I go to in real life (it is easy to find online).  But, you can get great striped fabric at Ikea.  And, as we know, chevrons are just crooked stripes!

So, after work one day I popped into the Ikea and bought 1 yard of navy and white striped fabric.  It also came in red and green, but I don't like red and the green was sold out, so navy it was.  Incidentally, navy is my favorite color for clothes and cars, but green is my favorite home decor color.   So....there's that.

Anyway, using a rotary cutter and mat, I cut half of the fabric into 3" strips at a 45 degree angle going one way, and half at a 45 degree angle going the other way.  You have to do it both ways to get the chevron pattern (unless your fabric is reversible).  Then, I sewed the strips together and pressed the hems open with an iron.  Then I cut the now chevron material into rectangles and made this pillow:

Pretty nice, right?  Even the cat was into it!  He kept staring at the pillow.

Just like that.  Now the pillow lives in my son's room on a little chair.  Looks super cute!

The whole project took about an hour.  Make a chevron pillow!  You will not regret it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tiny Quilt

Oh, hello.  I almost didn't see you there.  I was just admiring my Tiny Quilt.

(This is the part where you are supposed to do a spit take and sputter "WHAAAAAAAAT?)

Yes!  I made a Tiny Quilt!  I found the pattern in a book called MINI QUILTS, so technically this is a Mini Quilt and not a Tiny Quilt.  But let's be honest -- it is seriously tiny (18" by 20") and not entirely useful -- but I don't think it crosses the line into Mini.  I guess it was good practice for sewing squares and strips together, appliqueing, and making quilt sandwiches.  I did not learn anything about binding (or any valuable life lessons) because the directions were so confusing that I just sort of made it up and it came out weird.  OH WELL.  That is clearly the book's fault, not mine.

But is it really the book's fault?  The projects in the book come in three levels of difficulty: easy, medium and tricky.  I didn't like any of the easy ones, so this was a medium one and maybe not the best choice for a first-timer?  Whatever, book!  I did it, so I guess I am now a MEDIUM level mini quilter.  Please go ahead and send me my certificate.  Or do I get a belt like in karate?  I WANT A BELT!

The appliqued leaves were fun to make -- now I know how to use fusible interfacing and the fancy satin stitch on the sewing machine.   I think this will come in handy.

This is giving me some good ideas for a future quilt for a baby friend of mine!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fun with Spray Paint and/or Meatballs

I have a lot of Ikea Ribba frames hanging in my house -- they are great for prints, postcards, and other items.  (I just counted and there are 19 of them on my walls.  CLEARLY I NEED MORE!!!!!!!!!!!  Tomorrow is an Ikea shopping spree/meatball day 4-sure.)

However, one thing has always bugged me about them....

The white mats included with the frame are actually off-white.  Usually, this is not a problem because I am lazy and cheap (i.e., I'm not going to Aaron Brothers Art Mart and getting custom mats made when a perfectly good, if moderately discolored, one comes with the frames).

But, let's be honest: when you have a white-white frame, a print with a lot of white-white, and then an off-white mat, it looks strange.  Here is Exhibit A, a cute print from Etsy hanging in my son's bedroom:

Ok, now I noticed that the mat is not just the wrong color, it is also boring.  So it's got that going for it as well.  Also, I am a bad photographer because the walls in this room are actually light blue.

ANYHOO, I solved this SERIOUS PROBLEM with a can of spray paint and 2 minutes in the garage.  I now present Exhibit B:

Much better, right?  I mean, except for the part where it's glaringly obvious that the mat is a tad too wide for the print?  UGH.  I guess I WILL be going to Aaron Brothers Art Mart to get a custom mat to put just inside this Spa Blue one.  I think having a quarter inch of navy or dark teal would be a vast improvement.

Also, I want to assure you that this technique works on the black Ribba frames as well!  I knew you would be wondering about that!  Here is one that I spray painted Key Lime:

OK then!  See you tomorrow at Aaron Brothers!  I'll be the one with lingonberry jam stains on my shirt.

First Project: Rectangles a-poppin'

I'm just going to be totally honest with you:  sewing a line is pretty easy!  You line up your fabrics and press the pedal (with your foot).  The machine pretty much does the rest.

However, sewing a STRAIGHT line is a little trickier.  You really have to keep an eye on the fabric feeding under the machine foot, all while making adjustments with your hands on the fabric and your physical foot on the pedal.  Also my sewing book stressed that you must SIT UP STRAIGHT (no slouching) and KEEP HYDRATED (no dehydrating) while sewing, so make sure you are wearing a corrective brace and have your hydration pack (pink for ladies) on as well.

But even though I was slumpy and kinda dried out, I figured since I was able to sew a sort-of straight line, I could probably also sew a sort-of straight rectangle.  Which leads into my first project:  a pillow!

Using a pillow innards I already had and some yellow print fabric I got on sale at the store of wonders that is Jo-Anns, I cut out and sewed two rectangles together.  I left an opening to put the pillow form in, then hand-sewed up the bottom.  Should it have been more complicated than this?  The seams were a tad wavy, but who cares!  In fact it was so fun that I used the rest of the yellow fabric and made four drapery panels.  I just folded over 1" hems (pressed with an iron to mark them) and sewed most of them (I stopped doing the sides after a while).  I then used ring clips to attach them to some curtain rods.

Soooo, what do you think???

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How To Start

As someone who had never used a sewing machine, I was a little nervous on how to get started.  The only thing I knew about were bobbins.  Now I didn't know what a bobbin was, I just knew that sewing machines used them (I think?) in some manner.

So before I got the machine, I read through this book in its entirety:

Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time, by Deborah Moebes (link here).  This book is great for the absolute beginner.  She describes all the items you might need, how to get started, and how to complete a few simple projects.  After reading this book, I really felt ready to get started.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sewing Machine!

I got a sewing machine!  Very exciting.  My super nice and generous Aunt Kathy gave it to me.  She is the type of person who has spare, brand new sewing machines sitting around and is willing to give them to you!  YAY!

The machine is a Husqvarna Scandinavia 300.  I think it's Swedish, so it feels right at home on an Ikea desk.  It has lots of special embroidery skills, but for now I just plan on using the regular sewing capabilities.

Can't wait to figure it out!