July 2008 Archives

The Fabric Maverick says... You can be a knock-off artist!

July 31, 2008

Recently I took a weekend off to just goof off with a friend. We went to a small town to go "antiquing". While we strolled in and out of shops, we discovered an upscale shop with a variety of gift items including exclusive bedding products. The store owners had created this lovely bed display with a variety of pillows arranged across the bed to create a luxurious feel. What caught my eye was a simple pillow made of hot pink minky. I picked it up and was stunned to see the price was $44.00. The next pillow was a lovely dupioni silk bed sham. It was simply constructed. There were no monograms. Nothing was extraordinary in the construction. This pillow was $80.00.  This, of course, started my wee mind thinking. I am not necessarily a creative person. You will never see me publishing a sewing book or selling my own designs. What I am is a great knock-off artist! Most of my friends are great knock off artists. There is no way I am going to pay $44.00 for a minky pillow that probably measured 14'' square. This is the advantage of sewing. You do not need a fancy machine with a thousand stitches. Most sewing is either done with a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch.  All of the rest is fluff! Fun fluff, but still fluff. I went home and scrounged around the sewing room and found some cheetah minky and a bag of poly-fil stuffing. I cut 2 - 18 '' squares from the cheetah minky. With right sides together, I sewed around each side using a 1/2'' seam leaving a 3-4'' opening on one side.  I always re-enforce the corner seams, because when you are stuffing it the corners will receive the most stress. I turned the pillow right sides out. I then began to stuff the pillow. It is a good idea to use a wooden spoon to stuff the poly-fil into the corners. Stuff the pillow until it is very fluffy and stuff just a little bit more. I  used a whole bag of stuffing. Then just slipstitch the opening closed. The beauty of minky is that you will have a hard time distinguishing the slipstitched area from the other seams. I only used a 1/2 yard of minky and one bag of stuffing for a total cost of  $11.75 for one pillow. That is quite a savings from $44.00 and an hour's time. Most of it spent stuffing while I watched "Project Runway". Here is my pillow:

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My friend, Leslie, is a super knock-off artist. We both love French country. One of the best places to buy French country is Pierre Deux. A pillow can cost $200.00. Leslie saw a picture of a fabulous pillow in a magazine. This is her version:

French country 2.JPG French country pillow.JPG French country 3.JPG

What do you think? I bet you can be a knock-off artist too.

Fabric Maverick Alert! Do not forget Project Runway tonight!

July 30, 2008

I am looking forward to it!  What can the challenge be? The commercials show Nina Garcia with "No Comment" How bad can it be? I guess I will have to wait and see.

New Patterns I L-O-V-E!

July 24, 2008

Let's get right to it, shall we? I've got three pattern companies with new patterns available here at fabric.com. I'm going to introduce you to a new pattern designer, and get you acquainted with sew new style from some old friends. We'll throw in some fabric suggestions too.

Lila Tueller has a fantastic sense of color and pattern. She mixes, and mixes and it comes up looking fabulously matched without looking ''matchy.'' She has an adorable apron that she calls The Funked Out Apron. I swear doesn't look like the other apron patterns you own...maybe I'm speaking for myself here! She also has a great patch worked  handbag/travel bag with chenille accents. She calls this one The Bohemian Bag. Lastly, we have The Funked Out Peasant Blouse. I have a couple of provisos on this adorable top pattern. It only comes in three sizes - 8, 10, 12 - and they are sized like commercial patterns sizing. Check out her blog for the full explanation. I hope her next patterns are available in more sizes. We are expecting Lila's new collection of cotton prints in September. If you are ready to make up one of these patterns now, take a look at Garden Party by Anna Marie Horner or Carnaby Street.

Have you seen those expensive little outfits in the boutiques with all the mixed prints and twirly skirts? The prices can be $100 or more! Well, Sew Baby has captured the boutique look for all those adorable ruffled creations for little girls. Susan Hubberly brings usthe Twirl Top and Pants with all the ruffles and swing little girls love. Easy Pieces Jumper and Easy Pieces Pants give you a creative opportunity to use up some of your stash.What mom couldn't understand the practicality of the Double fun Skirt - it's reversible! Chocolate ice cream anyone? Any of the Amy Butler prints are perfect for these mix and match creations!

Oh my, Hot Patterns! You are really, really on the ball. I mean, that movie with Carrie and the girls in the City just came out this summer. And you, Hot Patterns Maven, have already produced a pattern inspired by Carrie's wedding outfit. How fabulous! The jacket alone is worth the pattern. Check out the Carrie-d Away Suit Pattern along with this cool handbag pattern. Inspired by YSL, this over sized tote is a great vehicle for a fabulous brocade or a real or faux cow hide Carrie-d Suit.jpg
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The Fabric Maverick says knits are perfect for Autumn!

July 22, 2008

Knits are the perfect transitional material to bridge the gap between warm weather and cold weather. Many of the Jalie and Hot Patterns are suitable for knits.

The Fabric Maverick says "Do not be afraid to work with knits" Once you have mastered the basics, you are on your way to a lovely garment. Let's get started.

A knit is a fabric made from interlocking looped stitches.  The lengthwise ribs are called wales.  The crosswise is called courses. Knits are wrinkle resistant and do not ravel. They stretch.


1.    Needle type- Ballpoint machine needle

2.    Thread: Fine polyester or poly/cotton thread for lightweight knits. Use an all purpose polyester or poly/cotton thread for medium to heavy weight knits.

3.    Elastic- No-Roll elastic is good for waistbands. Braided elastic is not good for knits.  Check out the specialty elastics for swimwear and lingerie.

4.    Interfacing: If your pattern requires interfacing, a good choice is Fusi-Knit.  This is a fusible tricot. 

Fabric preparation checklist:

·         Check to make sure the knit fabric has the proper stretch for the garment you are sewing. The pattern will indicate the amount of stretch required.

·          Check your knit for memory- the knit should return to original position after it is stretched.

·          If the knit is washable, wash it to remove excess sizing.  If there is too much sizing, you may have skipped stitches when you sew.

·         Check to see if the knit is on grain. The wales and courses should be at right-angles to each other.  If they are not, the knit will need to be blocked.

You are well on your way to making a great garment! Choose the pattern layout for fabric with nap. When cutting your fabric, do not let it hang off the cutting table. It may distort the grain. If there is a permanent fold line which will not steam out, create another fold line to cut from. You may use a straight stitch or a small zig-zag stitch. when sewing your garment. When you press your fabric, use a pressing cloth. Press the fabric, do not iron it.  When you finish the garment, let it hang for 24 hours, before marking the hem.

Many books and articles have been written about working with knit fabrics.  This is just the basics to get you started.  The Fabric Maverick always keeps a basic sewing book available to which she refers frequently.  Go create something beautiful.



Fabric Maverick bumps Chef Bubba for Project Runway!

July 17, 2008

I am really not bumping Chef Bubba but I cannot wait to share my opinions on the first episode of Project Runway. I am going to post it in the Forum so everybody will see it. First of all, these are my opinions. Feel free to contribute yours. Our opinions are the best priced because they are free. Chef Bubba is also sharing his daughter's favorite back-to-school treat called Monkey Bars.  We all need a transition treat and a spa treatment.

This is my take on Project Runway. The grocery store is not my favorite challenge. I guess because I would be the first designer out. I would probably try to make something out of zucchini. I do agree with Tim that a lot of designers made the mistake of going to the tablecloths.  Do you think Jerry should have been the person to be ousted? I do not. What are your thoughts? Go to our Forum Discussions and post your opinions! Now I have talked enough- back to Chef Bubba.

 Chef Bubba "I do not understand this interest In Project Runway. It is obvious to me that Top Chef is the show to watch" What I wanted to bring to you today was my daughter, Becky Sue, favorite back-to-school recipe. Help your children make that transition to school with this sweet treat!





3 cups miniature marshmallows

1/2 c Honey

1/3 c butter or margarine

2 tsps vanilla extract

1/4 c peanut butter

1/4 tsp. salt

2 c quick cooking oats

1/4 c peanuts

1/2 c coconut




Microwave marshmallows, honey, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and salt in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. combine oats, coconut and peanuts in a  13x9x2 inch baking pan. Pour marshmallow mixture over dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly coated. Pack mixture firmly in pan. Cool and cut into 24 bars.


Kids love this recipe and this is one way to get them to eat oatmeal!

The Fabric Maverick says... Are you on the Naughty or Nice List?

July 16, 2008

Okay, I can hear someone grumbling that it is only July and you are sweating bullets! In the next couple of weeks, you will be seeing Fall clothes in the department store. School is starting very shortly! My resolution was to get organized this year!  It would be nice for once to have everything done by November 1. Then I could actually enjoy the holiday. One of the first things you should decide is what you are going to buy and what you are going to make. For instance if you are going to make someone a quilt, you should start this month unless you are making a jelly roll quilt. Now is the time to buy Christmas fabric. There is still 6 days until the sale ends. To help customers, we are having a 2 week sale instead of 1 week. Don't wait until November to discover most of the Christmas fabric is gone.

There are always projects I say I am going to make but I never seem to get around to it. One of these is a casserole carrier. During the holidays, I always end up taking a casserole somewhere and it is always an issue on how to pack it so I will not have a backseat full of green bean casserole. Do you have a project that is in the back of your mind? Get into a sewing mode now. Once you have determined what you would like to sew for the holidays, set up a sewing schedule and stick to it. I am planning to have my projects done by October. Time seems to fly between November and Christmas. Now is also the time to do price comparisons on line or in stores for those gifts you want to buy. I imagine that money will be tight for everyone this year so planning to stretch your dollar is very important. Go through your gift wrapping supplies and make sure you will have enough tape, ribbon, gift wrap, etc.

Even though this will not happen to you prepare your IOU coupons. These are coupons for those people whose presents did not get finished. It should include a finish date to be redeemed by recipient. You can always blame it on the elves who are notorious for being tardy and unruly. In fact, an elf was supposed to push a button to publish my blog yesterday but he fell asleep at the switch. It was a good thing I checked this morning.

Fabric Maverick Alert- Today Project Runway Returns

I don't know about you but I kept turning over to the Bravo channel last night because there was suppose to be a sneak preview of the new designers and their first challenge. Did I miss it or was it just a tease? Tonight is the night so I will be tuned to that channel 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.  I hope to hear your opinions in the discussion groups soon.

Embroidery with a needle in your hand...what a concept!

July 10, 2008

sublime stitches 1OK. It's true. I have one of the best jobs in the world. Not only do I work with fabric all day, I get to buy new things for the web site all the time. Lately, I have been enthusiastic about expanding our needle crafts. We have all kinds of new products on the way including needle felting supplies. But today I want to tell you about the hand embroidery kits and transfers I have for you.

Now, let's all be honest. We all have a little box of DMC floss stashed away somewhere. It could be left over from your cross stitching days. That's definitely where I grew my stash from. It could be that you are still an avid embroidery junkie. Whatever the excuse, you have some of this floss somewhere. I have the perfect projects to get some use out of it. Let's start with the product that got me crazy about hand embroidery again. Sublime Stitches is '' NOT your grandma's embroidery'' transfers. With subjects like monkeys, yoga, sushi and pirates, you're pillowcases will never look like Nana's. But that's the whole point! Sure, you can jazz up a T shirt, but open your mind kids! Those really are some pretty boring pillowcases you got there. And, it's a  great place to practice simple stitches before you venture on to a T shirt you want to wear in public! Speaking of stitches, the creator of Sublime Stitches has a little instruction in each transfer set to get you started on the road to hand embroidery. You'll be surprised how fast you become as you practice.

So after finding Sublime Stitches, I found three great kits that include the floss, a needle, transfers, embellishments (like sequins) and a felt stitch guide to give you something to practice with. HipStitch Kits include Mod Brit, Indian Exotic and City Girl. These transfers have fashion in mind. Once again, I want you to think outside the Hip Stiches.jpgT shirt with these. A really strange, but interesting blouse from the Thrift store can become a $500 look with some hand stitching and some embellishments. Savvy Stitches kits also offer floss, needles, practice fabrics and instruction with their transfers. The best part is, you get a tone of different transfers in one kit. Choose the Divine collection for paisley, florals and  flourishes. The It's A Girl Thing collection includes everything from flip flops to coffee to a curly alphabet. The Monograms collection comes with two complete alphabets and some great ideas for variations.

Last, but not least, are a couple of transfer books that are a little more traditional. Monograms and More have 15 alphabets and 34 project ideas. If you had a girlfriend getting married, hand embroidered pillowcases with the bride's and groom's initials would be priceless. Then we have 200+ Fun and Funky designs transfer book. It has something for everybody.Skulls and butterflies. Monograms and Christmas motifs. Flowres and vegetables. If you think you want to create presents for everyone in the family, this is the embroidery transfer collection for you.

In case you didn't know, most of these transfers can be used up to ten times each. You could also use tracing paper and a stylus to apply the transfer. Then they will last almost forever! So, what are you waiting for? Run, don't walk, to your linen closet and check out the potential. You are going to enjoy the creativity of the process and the end result!

Fabric Maverick- Alert! Project Runway

July 9, 2008

Ladies, I do not know about you but TV has been extremely boring. There is a light on the horizon! Project Runway begins on Wednesday, July 16th.  I admit I did not watch the first 3 seasons, but then someone turned me onto this great program for season 4. Now I am a junkie!  I know that I will start a little controversy when I say that Christian was not my pick for the winner. Did you think he should have won? Tune in next week to our discussion board to get the 411! I know I am posting an opinion. This is the ladies version of the super bowl. Let's hear your opinion. If this is your first time, tell us about it!

The Fabric Maverick says... You can strip at any age!

July 8, 2008

Yes, you can strip and still not be rejected by your church group! How? Let me tell you. I am always intrigued by books that promise a quilt in day or a weekend. I, usually, cannot even cut all the pieces required in a weekend! I picked a project at ramdon from "Jelly Roll Quilts" by Pam and Nicky Lintott. They are a mother and daughter team from England. They do not actually promise a quilt top in a weekend, but as I discovered you could complete a top in a weekend. Of course, I cannot give you instructions for this pattern because of copyright issues. I selected the project named Spiral Strips. This project is great for a beginner. It uses one jelly roll (40 strips) and two uards of fabric for the border and binding. No special tools were required other than a rotary cutter, mat, square ruler and 6" x 24" ruler.  Nancy gave me a jelly roll at Christmas called "S-S-S-S Silly Safari". It was always my intent to make a baby quilt for Victoria's grandchild. For once, the child will not be graduating from college before I get it done.

First the authors recommend that you do not wash the jelly roll strips. I did test for color fastness by rubbing a wet white paperttowel across the very bright colors. When I wash this quilt, I will use a carbona dye catcher just to make sure there is no dye transfer to the other fabric. I did wash the border fabric.

  • Most of the projects call for separating the jelly roll into light and dark strips. Some of these may fall into the medium color range. I just picked one color to be a light or dark strip. In the end, you will see that it will not make a difference to the design. Here is where you begin to strip! You will sew a strip set of alternating light and dark strips. The key for this project to be successful is an accurate seam allowance. The strip set must be 8 1/2". If it is not, review your seam allowance until you get it right. It took me 15 hours to complete the quilt top. I was stunned!  Due to an old sewing injury, I can only sew 2 hours straight. I worked over 2 weekends. A very motivated person could finish in a weekend. I would expect a beginner to take a little longer.

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Beginners can practice these skills:

  • Sewing an accurate 1/4" seam allowance
  • Accurate measuring (Measure twice, cut once)
  • Chain Piecing
  • Pressing
  • Properly measuring and attaching a border

Reviewing the book from a beginner's perspective, there are a couple of criticisms. The book does not tell you how much backing each project will require. My finished project was a 60" square. If I used 108" fabric, I would need 1 7/8 yards of fabric. If I used 45" fabric, I would need about 3 2/3 yards of fabric. There is always some leftover fabric that may be used for a future project.  The General Techniques section is very good except it assumes the quilter knows all about backing. My complaint about all quilting books I have seen is that they always end withe the phrase "Quilt as desired". I believe that there is an assumption that you will be having someone else do the quilting.

My tips for beginning quilters are:

1. Pick a jelly roll with a lot of pattern. If you make a mistake, it is less likely that the quilt police will arrest you.

2. Read all instructions thoroughly.

3. Quit when you become tired or you will be using Mr. Seam Ripper.

I do agree with the authors that jelly rolls can become addictive. I have just purchased 2 more. In all, I give this book an A-.

This is your finished quilt top- dscn0089.JPG


The Grill Cover

July 3, 2008


I have been approached several times by Nancy or Fabulous Phoebe as she wants to be called to make her a "decorator" grill cover. In fact, I have been driving around for a year with the fabric in my car. I kept finding ways to delay the final moment when I would be faced with sewing the grill cover. After all there is no Simplicity pattern to make grill covers that I know.


Here are the instructions and tips for my one time only grill cover.


  1. Measure the width of the grill and add 3 inches,
  2. Measure the depth of the grill and add 3 inches.
  3. Measure the height of the grill and add 3 inches or enough to make a casing for draw string.

I have added 3 inches to cover seam allowances and any measuring mistakes. When Nancy saw the finished product, she asked "Isn't that too big!" It was not. This is like covering an elephant.



Sewing machine, heavy duty thread, heavy duty needle, rotary cutter or scissors, cutting mat, ruler and outdoor fabric


Fabric Tips:

If you decide to use a fabric with a repeat and the pattern runs the length of the fabric, you will need extra fabric.  I, heartily, recommend using a solid color fabric, extra wide fabric, or a pattern that runs crosswise to the selvedge.


Nancy's grill measured 65" wide, 23 inches deep and a finished length of 35 inches.

I would suggest creating a paper drawing to visualize how you will need to put it together.


Option 1:

You will need 5-5 1/2 yards of fabric

If you are using a solid color of fabric, the amount of yardage and number of pieces will be reduced.  Based on 54" width fabric, you will need to cut two pieces (front and back) that measure 68" wide and 38 inches long. You will need to cut a 3rd piece that measures 26 inches wide and 144 inches long. To save on yardage, I suggest cutting the front and back first.  You will need approximately 4 yards of fabric. First cut a strip that measures 144 inches wide by 38 inches long. If the fabric is 54" wide, you will have a left over piece that measures 16 inches wide x 144 inches.   You will need another piece that measures 10 inches by 144 inches to make a strip that measures app. 26 x 144".  Since this piece is facing the back, you can piece this from 1 yard of fabric.

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  • Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew front strip to the center strip. Mark centers of each fabric piece and match. I suggest pinning as you will need to pivot the center piece at the end of width of the front piece and sew along the length of the fabric.
  • Attach back piece in the same manner.
  • Clip threads and finish seams as desired.
  • Turn bottom raw edges up 1/2 inch and press.
  • Turn bottom edges up 1 1/2 inches and sew close to edge. This will create a casing. Leave opening on the side to insert cord.
  • Place over grill and make any adjustments if necessary. Draw cord up and you are finished.

Option 2:

If you are using a directional fabric you will need to 7- 7/1/2 yards of fabric.

Follow the general directions. I had to piece the front and back to create a piece that would measure 68" long and 38" high. I cut 2 separate side panels to measure 26" x 38". I sewed the sides to the front and then to the back. Then I cut a top panel which needs to meaure 26" x 68". Matching centers I carefully sewed the front to the top and then the back to the top. I then sewed each end pieces to the top. This is why I recommend a non directional fabric. The best would be if you can find an extra wide piece of fabric.


Phoebe is now happy.


Chef Bubba will be back later with his barbecue recipes.

The Fabric Maverick says... Outdoor fabric is not just for the outdoors!

July 1, 2008

Look out! Outdoor fabric is not just for the outdoors anymore. We all remember outdoor fabrics as being very durable, boring colors and kind of plastic feeling. To be considered an outdoor fabric, the fabric must have water resistant and fade resistant properties.

With the popularity of sunrooms, outdoor fabrics are being brought inside. It is the nature of woman to want things to be attractive. No more drab fabrics for us! Men, of course, can live with orange crates and burlap. Thank God manufacturers pay attention to what women want! There is a whole new generation of outdoor fabrics. There is fabric made from acyrlic, polyester, blends, cottons and more. The colors are beautiful and virtually maintenance free.

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How bright and cheerful are these colors!  There is a style for everyone. There are the classic awning styles, fanciful children styles and traditional styles. From the sunroom, this fabric is migrating to family rooms. It is perfect for the family with children and pets.The fabric will hold up to spills, climbing and whatever the pets and children can think of doing. Husbands can be pretty tough on fabric also. Women have too much going on to spend time cleaning upholstery.

Thursday - Check out the grill cover that Victoria made for fabulous Phoebe.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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