January 2009 Archives

Seam Squizzers

January 28, 2009

NR-572[1].JPGHello from Gadget Corner:

I have been asked to experiment with the sewing and quilting notions and review a different notion each month for the Blog. Who in there right mind wouldn't say yes to a chance to try out new things? I get to try out the latest in our industry as well as others that I just haven't had the chance to get to yet. Since this is my first review I tried the new Seam Squizzers from Collins. This seam ripper is easy to use and works with an easy, gentle squeezing motion. It has a hook shaped blade that fits easily under stitches that need removing. I think they are great for machine quilters - especially longarm quilters to clip stitches from underneath and for embroiderers that need to clip jump stitches. I tried clipping embroidery stitches from underneath, you all know the dreaded un-sewing that we hate. They do not work as well for this because the stitches are so tightly stitched and you are working with multiple layers of stitching. They come with a plastic cap to protection the blades when being stored. I think that every sewer needs a pair in their gadget drawer. Try them and let me hear your comments. Look for me new opinion next month.

Ann's Happy Place

January 22, 2009

Oh my it's that time of the year again here in Atlanta. Gray skies, cold temperatures and bare trees... Personally I hate it. Give me warmth and flowers!  Obviously I have no control over Mother Nature so I figured it was time to quit moaning and create my own sunshine.    And I did.  It all started with a much needed makeover of one of my guest rooms. My husband and I call this Ann's room because she is usually the one who sleeps here.  Ann is like a sister and you know how you can neglect the ones you love the most.  In other words if she didn't complain I wasn't motivated.  Well I decided it was time to get my head out of the sand and bring a sunny disposition to Ann's room. 

I started with Amy Butler's nature inspired fabric and one of my favorites of her collections, Nigella.  What could be a happier fabric than BA-497 Primrose Lime?  I wanted this to be my statement fabric. I hate to admit that I do not have a head board on this bed so I thought why not create the illusion that I do.  I made two drapery panels and hung them in front of the windows.  Because there is not a great view I choose to close the panels and move the bed in front of my new fabric wall. Love it! I then made two large 24" square pillows out of lime green striped dupioni silk DPSR-101. From here I made a long rectangular pillow out of Nigella BA-749 Water Lotus Ivory.  On the bed they went!  Of course I had to make a couple of Amy Butler's Gum Drop pillows and I also decided to cover my lamp shades.  

Thumbnail image for lamp.small.gifIt all came together so nicely, it was like Spring had just arrived to this once dreary room!  I forgot (on purpose) to take before pictures.  Let me just say it is a new room with a brand new attitude...A very happy place!


Now our room reveal:


room-wide.small.gif room-tall.small.gif       If you like what Nancy has done, you might also be interested in other Amy Butler collections.

The Fabric Maverick says... It is easy to select fabrics with these tips in mind!

January 20, 2009

Last time we figured out how much yardage we needed to make our curtains. Of course, you need to have some idea of what kind of fabric you are going to use especially if there is a repeat.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting fabric:

1. Light- do you want a lot of light or little light in the room. Choose a sheer to lightweight fabric for more light. Choose a medium weight to heavy weight dense weave to block light. No fabric blocks all light.

2. Temperature- If you like a breeze, plan on a curtain style that can be pulled away from the window. If you want to prevent air from passing through, you may need to use multiple layers such as lining your fabric. A quick way to test for air is to hold the fabric up to your face and blow through it holding your hand in front of the fabric. You will be able to feel how much air flows through the fabric.

3. Privacy- Fabric which seems opaque may not be at night with the lights on. The best way to test is to hold the fabric layers that will make up your drapes (fabric and lining) over your head outside and look through the fabric layers. This is what a person outside your window will see. Try to do this when your neighbors will not see you. They might think that you are a little strange.

4. Personal style- Your fabric should match your room style. Curtains are an investment of your time and money. Fabric styles include traditional, contemporary, country, retro-mod and novelty to name a few. Your fabric should complement your room.

5. Fabric construction- Consider the construction of your fabric, Polyester, cottons and blends are very durable. Do you need your fabric to be washable? Should you line your drapes? Lining will protect your fabric from sunlight and provide a uniform appearance from the outside.

I like to consider collections of fabrics because I know all the fabrics will work together. Check out our Home Decor section. Lauren has been busy matching trims to fabrics to help you along the process. Now let's go make some drapes.

 Next time- My secret blog sites.

The Fabric Mavericks says... You can make drapes with a little help!

January 13, 2009

There is a "dummy" book for everything, but I have not seen one for drapes/curtains. I am going to use the term drapery and curtain interchangeably even though purists know they are not the same.

There are 3 areas that are key to your success:

1. Measurement

2. Fabric selection

3. Proper hanging of the curtains

Today, we are going to discuss the correct way to measure for curtains. There is nothing sadder than not enough fabric. As I have discovered, the fabric you have bought will be completely sold out and non-reorderable. This is a fact for most things in life. There is nothing like skimpy curtains.

I am going to give you 2 formulas that will help you along the way. I might mention that it is good to have a basic reference book that has these formulas written in an easy to understand format. I like simple. This is no reflection on my fine mind, but when I am ready to sew I want to sew. The good news is that sewing curtains is actually very easy. I think people are intimidated by the volume of fabric used.

Width formula:

Rod length + overlap and returns allowance = Y

Y times 2 (fabric fullness) = Total Drapery Width divided by width of fabric (54'')= number of fabric panels required for the width of your window treatment.  Usually this is a fraction. This is rounded up to a whole number.

Let's explain each step:

Rod length- Measure the width of your window. Your rod should extend on each side of the window by at least 3 inches= 6 inches.  This does not mean that it cannot extend more if you wish to make the window look wider.

For example if my window width is 37'', my rod should be at least 43''.

If you are using a traverse rod, you will have an overlap- this is generally 3 inches. You will also have a return.  A return is the measurement from the wall to curtain rod. I am not using a traverse rod so zero will be our figure.


The first formula is to determine the desired width of your curtains.

Rod length ( 43'') + overlap and return (0)= 43 inches x 2( fabric fullness) = 86 inches wide

Fabric drapes naturally into folds when hung. If your fabric is a medium weight fabric, you need to plan on 1 1/2 to 2 times the Y measurement so your curtains will not be skimpy. If it is a light to sheer fabric, you will need to multiply by a factor of 3.

So we have determined that our fabric will need to be 86 inches wide. Most home decor fabric is 54'' wide so I will assume my fabric is 54'' wide. 86" divided by 54''= 1.59 which rounded up is 2.

That was not so hard was it?  Now that we know what our desired window width is, it is time to figure out the length.

The formula is desired finished length + header allowance + hem allowance= Z (length of fabric without repeat measurement.)

Z divided by fabric repeat if any= a number which will be rounded up to the nearest whole number times the pattern repeat which equals the length of fabric with repeats. (number of repeats along the length)

The desired finished length is the measurement from where you intend to hang the rod to the finishing point ( this could be the floor or the apron of the window). For our example, I am measuring from the rod to the floor. This measurement is 84 inches. The header is the portion of the curtain which will show above the rod. If you do not know yet what style of curtain you will be making estimate 8". I am going to have a header of 3''. The usual hem allowance is 8" which is a 4'' inch hem (double folded).

So far this is the formula:

the desired finished length (84") + 3" header allowance + hem (8")= 95 inches

If your fabric has a repeat, you must factor this figure into your formula. A repeat is the distance from one point of an individual pattern to the same point of the same pattern in the next row.  This runs along the selvedge of the fabric. This is used to match your pattern when sewing sections together. Our pattern repeat is 12".

If there was no pattern repeat. we would divide the 95 inches by 36" ( 1 yard)= 2.6 which is multiplied by the final figure from the width formula which was 2. This will give us total yardage we need which will be 2.6 x 2 which is 5.2 yards which I will round up to 5 1/2 yards.

If we have a repeat of 12", let's see how this will change our yardage.

Our finished length is 95" with a 12 inch repeat= 95'' divided by 12=7.9 or 8. Multiply this figure by 12= 96 inches which divided by 36 will equal 5 1/2' yards. If the repeat is 27'', 95'' divided by 27" is 3.5 or rounded up is 4. 4 x 27=108 divided by 36" = 3   3 x 2 (final figure from the width)= 6 yards. As you can see, the larger number the repeat is the more fabric you will need to match your pattern.

Your assignment if you choose is to measure a window and calculate the amount of fabric you will need to make a curtain. With a little practice, I think you will have no problem. See how easy that was.

Next time we will discuss selecting fabric for curtains.


The Fabric Maverick says... Happy New Year!

January 8, 2009

It is never too late to say Happy New Year unless it is the Fouth of July! I know that some of you have made resolutions and have already broken them. I have decided to make only one resolution which is to learn to say "No" in a polite but positive way.  This may seem a strange resolution bur how many times are you asked to mend somthing or hem something or make something for family or friends when they know you know how to sew? I say it is time to teach them the basics of sewing. Anyone, male ore female, should be able to sew on a button! With that thought in mind, Melanie is going to try to come up with some great beginner basics series. I hope this is something you will like.

This month we will also introduce "The Tool Lady". She will be reviewing new notions and giving her  thumbs up or thumbs down on new notions. I know I like to know how to use some of these great items. Using the right tool sometimes will make or break a project.

If yoy have not noticed, we have added ready made drapery panels to our already great line-up of products. I was lucky enough to be around in the merchandising area while they were photographing these panels. They are absolutely beautiful and available in several designs. You will also notice that on many of the pictures you can click on a pattern design closeup. This will give a very accurate feel for what the design looks like.

Stay with us and you will see many innovative things happening at Fabric.com this year!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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