Notions: January 2013 Archives
The idea of a giant polka dot wall came to me as I was watching one of my favorite HGTV Shows: Sarah's House. One scene is a glimpse of her office which features a wall covered in circular paint chips. Sarah's paint chips are hanging on hooks but the idea of similar feature jumping into my head for my daughters' room. I set out to make it immediately and all it took was a book of scrapbooking paper, my Fiskars Circle Cutter and a box of thumbtacks (Oh and many hours). Here's how to make your own Polka Dot Wall.
One box of Silver Thumbtacks (I purchased a box of 200 from Amazon)
First work on all of your paper with the wrong side facing up, it is easier to cut this way and if you are working with glitter paper or shiny paper the cutter slides though it much better with the wrong side up.
Tape down your paper to prevent it from sliding while you cut and draw lines down the center of your paper vertically and horizontally, this will make a grid of 4 on the back of your paper. Set your cutter to 5.5'' and place it in the center of one squares of your grid. Cut your circle following the directions from my previous blog: Notional Notions Circle Cutter. Cut 4 circles from each sheet of paper and continue until all sheets of paper have been cut or you have enough polka dots for your wall (Mine has approx. 140 dots). Cut one final dot from a piece of scrape paper as your thumbtack guide (see pictures below). This will help you place the thumbtack in the center every time. Fold the guide in quarters and then open it back up. The 2 fold lines meet in the middle at the exact center, place a thumb tack there and remove. Cut a small wedge out of the guide, like a piece of pie. To use the guide you will place it over a dot, insert a thumb tack in the center of both the guide and dot then remove the guide by sliding it off the dot and thumb tack.
Next, layout your dots in small stacks of color and pattern so you can easily grab the next dot. You can start either in the center or one of the bottom corners and begin randomly placing your dots allowing at least 1'' between dots and no more than 3'' (this will give you a nice saturated look without looking over-crowded). You can layout your dot on a grid pattern by using a clear quilting ruler and chalk lines. I preferred a random layout because it reminded me of bubbles rising to the surface.
I placed my Polka Dot wall right above our crib to give my newborn an interesting piece of art to study when she is playing or (hopefully) putting herself to sleep in the upcoming months. The scale is much grander than a small mobile and will keep her entertained for hours. The patterns are sophisticated enough to grow with her. My 3 yr old also loves the wall and decides each day which dot is her favorite. This is wall art that can stay with them through the years.
Now that I have kids I have embraced a new love for appliqués. I used to think of them as cute little additions to bags or pillows but now I know them for disguising stains (or worse bleach marks), holes in play clothes or to cover up old and ugly appliqués on otherwise cute clothing gifted by grandmothers, cousins or random ladies that my mom knows from work whose daughter hasn't had kids yet so they have no other outlet for their baby clothes indulgences. I love appliqués and probably sew about 3 a week onto various garments. Last month my daughter's tricycle seat kept snagging her knit pants so I used some cute handprint appliqués over the holes. For Christmas she was given a few plain t-shirts so I added a snowflake (project below) and dinosaur appliqué to jazz them up. And don't get me started on all the plain white onesies I have for my new addition. Appliqués are part of my daily life so I was very excited to write about our Janome Appliqué foot.
The Janome Appliqué Foot is a clear sewing foot attachment that has a wide opening for your needle to accommodate zig zag stitches off all sizes. The clear foot lets you see your path and helps with steering. My appliqué world just opened up when I started using this foot. It was like taking a ride on a glass bottom boat. I could see my path before me and a little bit behind which is important for making sure your stitches are even. My stitch path has greatly improved and my stitches look more finished though it does take some getting used to.
Print out the Snowflake Appliqués downloaded here: Snowflake Applique1.pdf *Fold a sheet of 8.5 by 11'' piece of Heat n Bond 3 times into a triangle and trace the large appliqué onto the wrong side your folded Heat n Bond. Apply Heat n Bond to the wrong side of your fabric according to the directions and cut out. Center your appliqué on one of your t-shirts side seams and iron in place. Install your appliqué foot and coordinating thread into your sewing machine and using a medium stitch length zig zag stitch around the snowflake. Repeat the above from the * for the inner appliqué using either white felt or other fabric you prefer for your snowflake.