Home Decor: September 2010 Archives
Football season is here and the Sandra Lee in us wants to decorate to bring the fanatical spirit alive. We have all done the fleece throws and quilt blocks. But there are more ways to show your fervor in your living room or to spice up that (shudder) man cave.
Now at face value (and, ok, the name doesn't help our case any either) Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows do not instill a whole lot of team spirit. They look luscious, beautiful and dreamy. In short the total opposite of Football. But should we couple our favorite team fabric with a great home dec pattern, we have instant fan power, a great place for extra fans to sit to watch the game or put up their feet. The Gum Drop pillows pack a serious punch. The pattern is so smartly simple that there are nofeminine details, no soft touches or pattern pieces to be tweaked to give it a masculine edge perfect for pigskin enthusiasts. Just a change of fabric can take this pattern to a different level. The medallion at the top seems to the best part for the fans at my house. Depending on your fabric choice, you can center your mascot at the very center of the medallion. My mom suggested that a team fabric can be stretched to accommodate 2 or more pillows by alternating team fabric with a team color fabric on each section of the pillow (4 sections of team fabric and 4 sections of a solid fabric). This pattern doesn't take much time or fabric. An 18 in. pillow (plenty big enough for feet or tushes) needs 2 yds and the 24 in. pillow 2 ¼ yds. You will need an insane amount of stuffing but if you are a recycler like me, old pillows and fabric scraps help a lot. I made the 18 in. in NFL Titans for my mom and have some Falcons set aside for my dad. They have a rivalry and I try to stay impartial but mom comes first. I found the pattern really easy and once the cutting was done, quick to put together. I took the pillow to the living room to stuff and hand sew so I could join in the action and put the pillow to good use once done. You can also check out our huge college selection here; don't over look the fleece!
I was so impressed with the finished product that I envision it in my own home though I never fancied myself a floor pillow gal. It will be great for kids to sit on for movie night, to put my feet on when I am working late on my laptop or just to curl around when reading. I hope to make 2 for the living room, as many as my little one wants in her room (once she is old enough to ask, that is) and maybe a few for my room and some for the guest room. You never know where you will need a good pillow (even dogs love it).
P.s. Just because it is a football post and it needs to be said: GO KU JAYHAWKS! And k-state- you know what I think of you.
Sweater Surgery by Stefanie Girard is one of the most fun books I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. My library is full of resource books, books with great patterns, foundation books and go-to books but not many FUN books. It is kind of scary at first shrinking and cutting a sweater but there is a freedom that regular fabric cannot give. Mistakes turn into great details, seams are lovely and size is irrelevant.
Stefanie takes you through everything you need to know to turn your old sweaters into something new and special: toys, purses, different sweaters or any accessory your wardrobe is lacking. She talks you through picking a sweater for your project or vice versa, felting (washing machine and needle), tools and notions, deconstruction, reclaiming yarn, you name it. Stefanie shows the reader how to look at the details of a sweater and use them to their best advantage: the bottom ribbing of a sweater becomes the cuff of a mitten, the buttons of a cardigan are the central design on a bag, and the reverse of a fair isle becomes an endearing softie. The projects are a little bit crazy and a little bit bold but only because of Stefanie's sweater choices. The bones of each project are on trend and adaptable to many styles. There is something for everyone because you can make it your own with sweater choices. The fabric necklaces in the book may be too bold for you but if you choose neutral colors and amber colored beads, the whole look of the necklace changes. It becomes a remarkable accessory, a conversation starter upon close inspection but not a neon sign.
Stefanie also includes home accessories in Sweater Surgery that are amazing. Just imagine soft, luxurious sweater pillows to snuggle with on your couch. Such pillows are costly and popular at all the high end boutiques but with careful selection at a local thrift store you can have the same look for under $10 instead of hundreds. There are also some great holiday decorating ideas and projects in this book.
Each project is well explained and some include patterns. In the back, there is inspiration with summaries of how to achieve the look yourself or to use as a starting point for your own creation. I chose to use a mistakenly felted cable sweater and turned it into a sweater dress for my little lady come winter. I cut up the center of the sweater and cut off the arms. I left the seams on the right side because I really dug the look in some of Stefanie's inspiration photos. I stitched with a 2 in seam allowance on the sides and then cut the seam down to ¼ in. I then stitched up the center with a ½ in. seam, leaving 2 in. open at the top (to make it easier to get it over her head). I cut 8 in off the arms and sewed the arms back on with a ½ in. seam stretching to make the arms fit. I trimmed all the seams to ¼ in. The dress fits perfectly and looks even better (it will be great paired with some polka dot or striped leggings). I may use the left over arm for a softie or arm warmers for me when knitting in the cold. This book has got my blood pumping for more sweater projects and I am excited to reuse some of my old sweater instead of tossing them.
Everyone needs a sewing machine cover for, umm, business purposes. You know, for, umm, covering your business. Bah- who cares? If you really need to make an excuse for making a sewing machine cover than perhaps you have too much business. They are super fast to make (most of the time) and super cute. Just another way to drape fabric around your sewing room, nook, or desk. A sewing machine cover helps keep the dust at bay (dust can gather in your machine, messing up your tension), can keep little hands away, block spills, etc. but really the reason I made one- not that all those above reasons aren't correct and, of course, great, but that is not why I made one. I wanted to make my machine pretty. When non-sewers com over, as impressive as my machine is (and let me tell you, this baby is loaded) they won't notice or care. It will just be a sewing machine to them. Like a banana or a pot hole. Not "Wow what a great machine", just "Hey, you've got a sewing machine! So do you sew"? But now, it will be "Wow, that is cute, I love it". Plus it makes me smile every time I walk in the room. And isn't that why we all sew, to make ourselves happy! So if you want to carve up a little more happiness for your machine there are tons of tutorials out there: Patchwork, selvedge, ribbon. But I used a simple tutorial that I think all will love by Sparkle Power. Candace used 3 vintage prints plus the lining, which looks amazing. I just had about 1 yd of this retro, bird print that I have been itching to put in my room somewhere. So you can use this tutorial for as many prints as you want to use. Just follow the basics. Mine took about 30 min from cutting to topstitching. I was able to use some fabric I had bought from the Retro & Mod Section and I had some awesome grosgrain ¾ in ribbon. Unfortunately for me, I thought I was being clever when I measured my existing cover (that came with the machine) instead of the machine. I failed to take into account that the first cover was more/less free standing where as my new one would be more drappy so it is too long. I am going to say that I love the look regardless because I have no time to fix it. Don't try my clever route, measure your machine. Be sure and post your cover pictures on our Facebook page so all can admire and compliment.
The Ruffler foot attachment is one of the most fun feet available for your sewing machine but it can be intimidating, frustrating and complicated. Rufflers attach in either screw-on (like changing out a shank) or snaps onto to your existing shank though some require the purchase of a low shank.
When I first received my ruffle I was pumped to get started but I was disappointed with the instructions and low quality pictures that came with it. "Surely I can figure this out myself", I thought, and "how hard can this be". Hard is the answer. This foot is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle embroidered with secrets. But hopefully my tips and pictures will make it easier for you to enjoy this essential attachment.
· I insert and line up my fabric before attaching my ruffle to the machine. This helps because I have more room to work my fabric in and not the tight area where the ruffle attaches.
· I DO NOT use the feeder prongs. All the videos I have watched advise you to use these 3 prongs to guide and feed your fabric. I find the prongs to only complicate things. 1) They don't allow me control over my seam allowance. 2) Getting your fabric lined up in the ruffle then under and around those prongs is too much work for no gain. 3) I just don't wanna
· Work the foot around the needle arm before attaching it to your shank.
· !!Line up your needle with the hole before you start sewing!!
· Use a basting stitch
· Make sure all adjustments for the machine and foot are tight and recheck often. My needle has fallen out and so has my foot because I didn't recheck half way through a really long ruffle.
· Use a medium speed.
· A problem with the ruffler is probably a problem with your machine. The only reason I discovered a crack in my bobbin case was because every time I used my ruffler my bobbin thread would knot up to the 100th degree. Everything else I sewed was fine.
· The star means no ruffle. It took me extensive internet searching to discover that. It was not noted in my included instructions.