December 2012 Archives

Make It, Wear It: A Speedy Cuff for New Year's Eve and Beyond

December 30, 2012

New Year's Eve is at hand. You have a perfect little outfit and a fab party to go to. But you want that finishing touch that's original, fun and one-of-a-kind. But time is running out. No worries! You're creative, and you probably have all the ingredients for the perfect accessory near at hand! Yes, you will be pulling from the stash or scrap bin!

First off, you'll need a shirt with a button cuff. I pulled one from our bag of my husband's shirts that are headed to donation. Cut that cuff right off!


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Trim all the fabric away from the cuff. Be as neat as possible, but don't sweat it too much.

2-new-year-cuff.jpgNext, a quick bias binding made from scrap satin finishes off the cut edge cleanly. I also glued a rhinestone into the center of the button I'm using to close the cuff.

3-new-year-cuff.jpgHooray for leftover trims! I ran a length of Riley Blake elastic lace trim around the edge of my cuff, and then topped that off with narrow braid. Voila! Done!


4-new-year-cuff.jpgAnd I'm ready to hit the town!

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I went with an all-black scheme, but the possibilities here are endless. You could use a light-colored cuff and add ribbon roses and lace for a shabby chic look, or let your inner diva drive the design and add loads of crystal embellishments. For an ultra-modern look, brass or copper accents could create a really unique cuff.

While this one is for New Year's Eve and uses supplies I had on hand, I've already got a cart full of goodies to make more!


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Make Your Own Pom Pom Trim

December 28, 2012

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I am a big fan of pom pom trim! It is a fun way to add some whimsy to pillows, drapes or apparel. Pom-pom trim can be used to attach a pop of color or to add a finishing detail to a project. Pom-pom trim is available in many combinations of colors and sizes but I felt limited to prepared trim and wanted something fresh and outside-the-box. So I made my own pom pom trim to fit my design ideas. By creating your own pom pom trim you can choose your size, spacing, color and texture. The world of yarns is open to you. For my project, a man-sized sofa blanket, I wanted larger than the standard ½'' pom pom trim to fit my larger than standard blanket. I also wanted more of a strand look to my pom pom instead of the fuzz ball that comes on trim. The look I wanted was more of an organic, mellow, masculine blanket (well, as masculine as you can get with pom pom trim) so I pulled out my pom pom maker and set to work. I determined a 1 3/8'' pom pom was the perfect size for my blanket and after selecting my color (cream to offset my green double napped flannel) I made 4-5 pom poms to try out my spacing. Setting out the pom pom on my cutting board I was able to get a good idea on the spacing I preferred and went with a 3'' spacing.

 

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To make a man-sized sofa blanket just like mine you will need:

2 yards of double napped flannel

1 skein of wool DK weight yarn

1 skein of matching embroidery floss

Clover Small pom pom maker set

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Begin by measuring the width of the ends of the flannel and dividing it into 3 (the spacing from above) to establish how many pom poms are needed and make that number for each end. My blanket was 45'' wide so I made 15 pom poms for each end. Next, finish the sides and ends of your blanket. I applied a rolled edge to the long sides and a double turned hem (first ½'' then 1'') to the end that will feature the pom pom trim. Then using an embroidery needle stitch into the fold of the hem about ¼'' from the edge. By inserting a needle under the loop that secures the pop pom you are able to stitch it directly to the end of the blanket. Pull the thread tight but not enough to pucker the fabric. Stitch back into the fabric close to where you came out (similar to a French knot) and then come back out 3'' further down and repeat until all your pom poms are attached. Knot your floss and clean up any messy pom poms. Repeat for the other end of your blanket.

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This is a great way to add pom poms in any color, size, texture and spacing to any project. Creating your own pom pom trim can help you tie home décor projects together in a room to add consistency. Pom poms in one color but different sizes can also add visual interest and excitement to a design project. Try choosing one yarn color but different sizes pom poms for pillows, blankets and drapes in a room. 

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Product of the month: Ikea's Bygel Hanging Containers

December 26, 2012

Bygel

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When you think about sewing or knitting organization fabric and yarn bins come to mind. This is some serious storage to consider. But when it comes to the little bits, sewing and knitting has it in equal ratio to the big bits. For every huge bin of interfacing and fabric you have, there is a tiny sewing foot, tapestry needle or bobbin that is also in need of organization. Mostly the problem of organizing these bits and bobbins is haphazardly thrown together or rounded up in cups, small bowls or in bags. But there is a better way. This tiny accessories need to be close at hand, and easily found. This means that they need small containers of their own. How, you may ask, do you have a container small enough to properly organize the bits without getting lost themselves? Well, I found the answer on a recent trip to Ikea.

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Ikea offers these wonderful small containers, Bygel, that hang off a wall mounted bars. These containers are perfectly sized to fit sewing feet, needles, scissors and marking tools without taking up precious cutting space but they can be detached to be where you need them. Hanging your tiny parts is great because they are easy to find and easy to access. Plus, the bins come in cute colors to brighten your sewing/knitting space. These bins are just big enough to hold a collection of small tools but you can still see in and find what you need. The mouth is wide enough to reach in and the walls are tall enough to support scissors and marking tools so they don't fall out. The bottoms are flat so you can detach and park them next to your sewing machine or knitting chair if you will be using several tools for a project. When they are hanging on the wall all my small accessories are easily within reach.

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If you don't have an Ikea around you can make a similar hanging station by using small, wide mouthed Mason jars, adjustable pipe fittings, a length of 1x6 pine board and some screws. Determine how many jars you need and the spacing you want between and then cut your board to accommodate your plans. Paint or stain your board as needed. Then screw each adjustable pipe fitting into the pine board, slide each Mason jar into the pipe fitting and then tighten your fitting. Now this set up is not detachable like the Ikea's Bygel but it will hold your tiny bits just as well and beautifully too. 



Product of the month: Ikea's Bygel Hanging Containers

Bygel

Bygel2

When you think about sewing or knitting organization fabric and yarn bins come to mind. This is some serious storage to consider. But when it comes to the little bits, sewing and knitting has it in equal ratio to the big bits. For every huge bin of interfacing and fabric you have, there is a tiny sewing foot, tapestry needle or bobbin that is also in need of organization. Mostly the problem of organizing these bits and bobbins is haphazardly thrown together or rounded up in cups, small bowls or in bags. But there is a better way. This tiny accessories need to be close at hand, and easily found. This means that they need small containers of their own. How, you may ask, do you have a container small enough to properly organize the bits without getting lost themselves? Well, I found the answer on a recent trip to Ikea.

Bygel3

Ikea offers these wonderful small containers, Bygel, that hang off a wall mounted bars. These containers are perfectly sized to fit sewing feet, needles, scissors and marking tools without taking up precious cutting space but they can be detached to be where you need them. Hanging your tiny parts is great because they are easy to find and easy to access. Plus, the bins come in cute colors to brighten your sewing/knitting space. These bins are just big enough to hold a collection of small tools but you can still see in and find what you need. The mouth is wide enough to reach in and the walls are tall enough to support scissors and marking tools so they don't fall out. The bottoms are flat so you can detach and park them next to your sewing machine or knitting chair if you will be using several tools for a project. When they are hanging on the wall all my small accessories are easily within reach.

Bygel4

If you don't have an Ikea around you can make a similar hanging station by using small, wide mouthed Mason jars, adjustable pipe fittings, a length of 1x6 pine board and some screws. Determine how many jars you need and the spacing you want between and then cut your board to accommodate your plans. Paint or stain your board as needed. Then screw each adjustable pipe fitting into the pine board, slide each Mason jar into the pipe fitting and then tighten your fitting. Now this set up is not detachable like the Ikea's Bygel but it will hold your tiny bits just as well and beautifully too. 


Decking the Halls With Burlap

December 23, 2012

Burlap is crazy popular right now. In every home store, there are wide assortments of burlap accessories for decor and utility use. Since we have some awesome colored burlap in stock, I thought I'd give my hand a try a creating a burlap wreath.

To start with, I cut 80 4-inch squares, and two strips of burlap about 2.5 inches wide, using the entire width of my fabric. I didn't even measure any of this -- just eyeballed it. While I was cutting, my glue gun was heating up.


1-burlap-wreath.jpgTo start, I glued the end of one of my long strips to my foam wreath form, and stared wrapping it with the strip, securing here and there with daubs of glue.

2-burlap-wreath.jpgEventually, the entire wreath form was covered in burlap. I trimmed the most aggressive little shreds away, but I wasn't too worried about fraying.

3-burlap-wreath.jpgTo start making foliage pieces, I first folded one of my squares diagonally, so the two opposite points would meet.

4-burlap-wreath.jpgNext, I folded down the right corner to the bottom of my folded piece, securing it with a spot of hot glue.

5-burlap-wreath.jpgLastly, I flipped it over to and repeated the same process of folding down from the right, and securing with a little glue.

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I repeated the steps above for all of my squares, creating a pile of little folded pieces.


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Next, I started attaching my folded pieces to my wreath base. I ran glue all along the raw edge of the folded pieces, and then secured them to the wreath form. It took three folded pieces, with outside points overlapping slightly, to encircle the wreath. My wreath is 5 5/8 inches thick and 37 1/2 inches around the outermost edge of the circle.

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Once my first ring of pieces was in place, I then started layering my folded pieces on top of the preceding ones, ring after ring, working my way around the wreath. Periodically, I looked for any loose areas or spots where raw edges were sticking out, and dotted glue anywhere that would secure those areas.

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As I got to the end of the ring and needed to nestle pieces in to complete my circle, I found it easier to trim the lower raw edge point off of my pieces, reapply glue if needed to keep things in the right shape, and then gently settle them into the tiny remaining gap.

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Here is the wreath with all folded foliage pieces in position:

12-burlap-wreath.jpgAt this point, you could decorate it any way your heart desires! I decided to make some fabric poinsettias.

Using a wide brush, I applied a generous layer of Mod Podge Sparkle to my fabrics to add a little shimmer and prevent fraying.


13-burlap-wreath.jpgOnce the Mod Podge was dry, I cut leaves for my poinsettias freehand. I then glued them together in pairs at the points that would be at the interior of the flowers.

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I used three sets of paired leaves to create each 6-pointed poinsettia.I also found two brass buttons in my stash to use for the centers of the flowers.

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Once my flowers were assembled, I tacked them to my wreath with glue, and it's ready to celebrate!


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I find myself thinking it would be handy to keep a wreath like this unadorned so I could switch out the decor throughout the year. I also think it would be fun to try this folded, layered foliage technique out of a fabric like dupioni to create an elegant bit of decor. So many possibilities, so little time!

Pom Pom Maker

December 22, 2012

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Crochet Edging for Your Stocking

December 21, 2012

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For my girls' first Christmas, I made them a stocking. Here is Devon's stocking back in 2009. I want the stockings to be similar but not identical so I used a common fabric and am keeping similar details. I love the rick rack cuff edging on my 2009 stocking but I decided to keep the effect with a crochet trim. My goal was to add a scalloped crochet trim in a similar color. The tricky part was adding a crochet trim to a fabric project. Well...Problem solved! With a little embroidery floss we were in business. Here's how you can add a crochet trim to your fabric projects, whether that be a stocking, tree skirt or apparel.

Materials:

1 skein of embroidery floss is a coordinating color (I used green for show but try to use a color to match your yarn)

Enough yarn to complete your edging (to be determined by the stitch pattern)

Project to be embellished.

Stocking.jpg

Here is my stocking cuff

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With your embroidery floss using a backstitch or running stitch to work the edge where the trim is desired (I used a running stitch along the edge of the cuff for the stocking). Use a running stitch if your yarn is worsted or thicker and using a backstitch if your yarn is thinner than worsted. The running stitch will have spaces incorporated that work well for thick yarns. Also, let the size of your yarn determine your stitch size; a bigger yarn needs a bigger stitch to work into and smaller yarns need a smaller stitch. Don't work a thin yarn into a big stitch it will look sloppy.

Stocking6.jpgStocking7.jpg

Secure the end of the embroidery floss with a good knot. Using your crochet hook (size determined by your yarn gauge) work a single crochet into each stitch of embroidery floss. Use this first row to create as many stitches as needed for your pattern. Start your pattern on the second row. This first row should be all single crochets and will help hide your embroidery floss.

Stocking8.jpg

To recreate my scallop pattern use Martha Stewart's Merino Yarn in Peacock and *SC, DC, DC, TC, DC, DC, SC into one stitch, chain 3, repeat from *

SC: Single Crochet

DC: Double Crochet

TC: Triple Crochet

 

The Great Cookie Swap- A Fairy Tale from the Fabric Maverick

December 17, 2012

Once upon a time in the land of Fabric.com, the elves were busy preparing for Christmas. A grumbling began amongst the elves that there should also be some Christmas cheer in the various departments.  The littlest elf listened as the older, wiser elves chatted among themselves. Several days past but the elves continued to grumble. The littlest elf decided to send an email to see if anyone really wanted to have a cookie swap.  Many of the elves responded and asked when this event would be held. This was the week that the head elf ran into her sleigh and fractured her foot.  So the elf proceeded with the plan. The littlest elf had never done a cookie swap so she checked on the "Rules of the Cookie Swap". Apparently each elf would need to bake 1 dozen cookies for each guest elf. Each elf would make a different cookie so the guests would have a variety of cookies to take home. The number of invitees was twenty. Surely, she scratched her head no one would want twenty dozen cookies to take home. Maybe we can cut this to three cookies each- this would mean that each elf would make 6 dozen cookies. This sounded so much more reasonable to the littlest elf than twenty dozen. The clever little elf went to Evite to prepare her invitation. It was free and oh so much prettier that anything she could create. Her invitation sped through the magic of email to all the elves of the land. She included the time, place and how many cookies to bake along with the rules of the cookie swap.

The littlest elf waited patiently for all the elves to respond. The response was immediate from some of the elves telling her what kind of cookies they would be baking. These were the cookie swap veterans.  " Ah this was a good idea" thought the littlest elf, mighty pleased with herself. Then she began hearing some of the other elves mumbling.  Six dozen cookies- why that is seventy-two cookies.  That's a lot of cookies!  Little did they realize how the littlest elf had spared them from making 240 cookies. Another elf was heard mumbling- Can't I just buy some cookies and bring them.  Another elf was heard saying that she did not bake, she just ate cookies. The littlest elf found her a recipe that was no bake. And as it will happen two of the male elves baked their cookies one week too early.  An so it went on until the littlest elf thought that perhaps this was not such a great idea.

The littlest elf was already committed to the party so she plodded on. She knew that she would need to keep her Sunday free for baking her cookies. She purchased all her supplies the day before. She made her first batch and thought this was not so hard. She began to prepare her second batch and opened her spare bag of flour. Now the littlest elf did not bake very often so the flour had been there several months. When she opened her bag of flour, it was full of strange creatures. "Oh this will not do" said the little elf. She looked out her cottage window and it was pouring down rain.  She prepared her sleigh and hurried off in the rain to the nearest store. She quickly bought her flour and returned home. By the time she had baked her last dozen cookies, her kitchen was dusted in flour and the hour was late. She thought maybe I need more than one cookie sheet?

She placed all her party supplies and cookies by the door so she would not forget them for the party day. She carefully checked her list to make sure everything was there.  She prepared the table with a festive cloth and displayed her cookies. Each elf placed their beautiful cookies for all to behold. It was a wondrous sight!

 

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 The littlest elf thought perhaps this was not such a bad idea after all. Let's think white elephant gifts next year though!

We wish you a Merry Chistmas and well baked cookies for all!

A Furrific Winter Wreath

December 16, 2012

I am not good about decorating for the holidays. I love the idea of it, but when I think about how temporary it all is, and how I will drag my behind when it comes to taking everything back down and putting it away, I am filled with dread. So I've been wracking my brain for a wreath idea that will have a winter theme rather than a Christmas one, so I can leave it up longer. And then a few days ago, while scanning the shelves of my sewing room, I found myself gazing at my little collection of faux fur scraps. It seems like almost any time I work with fur, I end up with a big chunk left over, and because it's costly, I ALWAYS keep it. Well, now it's time to put that fur to work! All I needed for this project was a piece a little smaller than 40 x 7 inches.

Here's how my wreath came to be:

First, I used an inexpensive steak knife to saw through the foam wreath form.


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Once I had cut through the whole thing, the opening popped apart a little, which is perfect for sliding the fur on.

2-fur-wreath.jpgNext, I measured around the thickness of the wreath.

3-fur-wreath.jpgAnd then I measured the circumference of the entire wreath circle.


4-fur-wreath.jpgMy wreath was about 5 5/8 inches thick and 37 1/2 inches around, so I measured out a 6 1/4 by 40 inch rectangle on my fur, marking it with a permanent marker on the wrong side of the fabric.


5-fur-wreath.jpgTo cut faux fur, it's best to cut from the wrong side, sliding the blade of your scissors underneath the nap of the fur. This will help prevent fuzzy bits of fluff from flying all over your work area, and will retain almost all of your fur.


6-fur-wreath.jpgHere you can see how carefully cutting from the wrong side preserves your faux fur fabric -- there aren't very many stray bits of fur at all.

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Next, I sewed my rectangle into a long tube, tucking the fur into the seam as I went.

8-fur-wreath.jpgOnce my tube was stitched, I turned it right side out. It looked like a very glamorous snake at this point.

9-fur-wreath.jpgTo get my tube of fur onto the wreath form, I slid it onto one of the cut ends of the circle, and worked it onto the form, sliding a little on at a time and working the bulk of it around the circle.

10-fur-wreath.jpgWhen my circle was covered, I had a few extra inches of fur, which I cut off, tucking the edges in.

11-fur-wreath.jpgI used a quick slip stitch to join the cut ends of my fur and close the circle up.

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To dress things up, I tied a satin ribbon around a piece of black tulle and made a bow, then pinned it onto my wreath. Voila! A piece of decor I can leave up well into February without looking like I'm just lazy (even though I am)!

13-fur-wreath.jpgOf course, this wreath can't live outside for very long on our uncovered porch, so I moved it indoors, where I will enjoy it all winter long.

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I love that this is an easy, quick projects -- perfect for the holiday decor remedial like me!



Woven Felt Basket

December 14, 2012

Felt basket1

I have seen these great Woven Felt Baskets all over the design scene lately. They are popping up in all the design shows and stores. They are a great storage option for living rooms and kids rooms. The look can easily be modified depending on the colors you use. You can make one for a little boys room in blue and gray, one for a girls room in cream and neon green, one for your room in a bold Fuchsia and one for the living room in cashmere tan to blend in. They are really a snap to make and lots of fun. The only supplies you will need are a calculator, 72'' wide felt, a glue gun and some embellishments. Each strip is woven of doubled felt to give strength to the basket.

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To make your own, first you need to decide how big and what shape you want.

Square Basket (Width, Length and Height is X)

Length of each strip is the width of the bottom plus the height of the side (X+X).

Length of each ring is the width of the side times 4 plus 1 '' (4X+1)

 

Rectangle Basket (Width is X, Length is Y and Height is Z):

Strips A are the length of the bottom plus the height of the side (Y+Z)

Strips B are the width of the bottom plus the height of the side (X+Z)

Each ring is two times the width plus two times length plus 1 ''(2X+2Y+1)

 

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The number of strips needed for the width is the number of inches (i.e. you want the bottom of your basket to be 15'' then you will need 15 one inch strips). The number of strips needed for the length is the same process. And it is also the same for determining the number of rings for your height.

Here is a great example, for a basket 15''w by 17''l by 12''h you will need to cut:

Strips A- 17, 29'' strips

Strips B- 15, 27'' strips

Rings- 12, 65'' strips

And you will need approx 2 yds of Rainbow Felt (remember each strip is doubled)

 

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Once all your strips are cut you will need to assemble your rings. Glue one short end to the other end, overlapping one inch. Once all your rings are glued set them aside. Start weaving your bottom by laying out all your width strips parallel. Then weave in your first length strip using an over-under method. It helps to start at the center and mark your centers with pins or small chalk marks. Once you have all your length strips woven into your width strips, your bottom is complete and you can add your first ring.

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Flip the strips that will go inside the ring toward the center of your basket and leave the rest lying out. Place the ring on top and then reverse your flip (flip all the inside strips to the outside and all the outside strips to the inside). Place another ring and do another flip. Repeat the ring and flip until you are out of rings. Glue and trim (if needed) your strips to the top ring, starting with the outside strips first and then doing the inside. Hold your strips in place until the glue is cool before moving on to the next strip. Finally add the trim around the top by cutting a 3'' wide piece of felt that is the same length as a ring. Start gluing it or hand sewing it in place. If gluing start with the outside first and then glue around the inside.  Your basket is now basically done. You can finish it off with some embellishments as you see fit. I added a whipstitch around the bottom of my trim and added a few small pom-poms. Try adding rope handles or braided fabric handles. You can even try fusing some fabric onto your strips to add a print or extra "wow" factor to your basket. Vary the sizes and using them for anything around the house.

It will cost less than $13 to make a huge 15''by 17''by 12'' basket!

Here is a Target version for $25 15''by 15'' by 11'' for gray and cream

West Elm's large basket is $49 for 18'' by 14.5'' by 11 for gray only

Both start at twice the cost of our DIY version and by making your own you can choose your colors!

Felt basket5

 

Chalk Cloth Santa Cookie Mat

December 12, 2012

Santa Cookie Mat.jpg
As the big night approaches don't forget Santa in your holiday decorating. Just as in the top restaurants presentation is everything; insure you and yours will earn everything on your list by making a Chalk Cloth Santa Cookie Mat. The cookie mat will enhance any Santa snack by bringing Christmas cheer to every corner of your home. This decorative mat is a placemat made from chalk cloth with cotton flange and ornamental trim around the beverage and plate settings. Your kids can inform Santa which cookies he is sure to enjoy and point out his favorite beverage, be it milk, hot chocolate or a hot toddy. Your kids can even add a final plea for presents.
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To make your own Chalk Cloth Santa Cookie Mat you will need:
¼ yard of chalk cloth
¼ yard of quilting cotton
1 yard each various trims and ribbons
Cut a rectangle 17" by 15" from the chalk cloth. Trace your cookie plate and glass using chalk onto your mat and select your trim. Carefully pin and top-stitch your trim in place over your chalk marks. You can pin since you will be sewing right over any pin holes. Embellish your trim with rick rack flowers by simply rolling your rick rack into a roll until your flower is large enough and secure with some hand tacking stitches. Finally add your cotton flange using Sew4Home's Flange Pillow instructions. It is so easy and adds just the right touch to finish off your cookie mat. This Pattern
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This Pattern can be easily modified for a birthday mat, Mother's Day breakfast mat or just a kid's place mat by changing the fabric flange. 
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One of the Many Joys of Mod Podge

December 11, 2012

I've been seeing a lot items made of pretty lace and doilies lately, then happened to stumble upon this great tutorial on Makezine.com and immediately was inspired to re-purpose an old pair of shoes for holiday parties and events!

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All you need is some 10" ecru doilies, a bottle of Mod Podge, and a craft paint brush. Don't whip out your grandmother's heirloom doilies or the lace crochet skills! There are several websites, such as eBay.com or Amazon.com that offer doilies at a very reasonable price. I followed the tutorial and viola: awesome re-purposed shoes! I love them. The project took me about 2 hours, not including drying time. Cutting the doilies and piecing them together on the shoe takes quite a bit of time.   I did not use clothes pins, as the tutorial states, which I do regret. My shoes are suede, so they have a little resistance to stick. Clothespins would have been very helpful. Allow 24 hours to dry.

I make a point not to wear them in the rain. But then again, who doesn't have shoes that are not to be worn in the rain? So, I'm okay with it. In hindsight, I wish I had bought 6 doilies. You really need 3 doilies per shoe to maximize the round crocheted laced designs- because the centers are the coolest. The more doilies the better, in regards to all things....

Stockings With Character

December 9, 2012

While I have many favorite characters from the films I love, lately, I'm really into the Queen of Hearts from the 1951 animated version of "Alice in Wonderland." So, with a need for holiday decor all too evident in my house, I decided that a villainous stocking was in order. I love adapting the designs from my favorite characters into projects, and the high-contrast colors of my dear queenie are just too fun to play with.

Here's how I translated the Queen of Heart's design lines into a fun stocking:

First, I roughly sketched out my idea. (Note: I'm not using the graph paper to measure anything -- there won't be any scaling up based on these squares.) I knew I wanted to focus on the chevron of alternating yellow and black at the front of her skirt, but I wanted to shift it off-center for a little more visual interest, and to take advantage of the the stocking shape.

1-QoH-Stocking.jpgNext, I made a larger version of my sketch on construction paper to use as a pattern, and labeled each piece by color to avoid confusion. The crown cuff was sketched out on a separate piece of paper.

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Next, I cut the design apart, but kept things more or less in their positions. Again, this is for confusion avoidance -- I often find it easy to get lost with this many oddly-shaped pieces!

3-QoH-Stocking.jpgAs I cut my fabric (I used duchess satin for all of this project except the white sections, which I cut from dupioni), I added about a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I just eyeball it, but if you want to try something similar and be more exacting, you can use this first set of cut pieces to create proper pattern pieces that include seam allowance.

4-QoH-Stocking.jpgOnce all my pieces were cut, I once again set them in place in relation to one another. I decided the heart would be an applique to avoid awkward piecing.


5-QoH-Stocking.jpgThen, it was just a matter of putting the pieces together. I actually left the pieces laid out as above, and just worked on a small section at a time.

6-QoH-Stocking.jpgAfter the front was assembled, I machine basted it to a broadcloth backing. I also satin stitched around the edges of my heart applique. Then I cut a back and a lining, and finished the project like any other stocking.


7-QoH-Stocking.jpgHere's the completed stocking with the upside down crown cuff in place and a satin ribbon loop to hang it.


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And here it is hanging at our fireplace. I hope Santa will bring treats to villains!

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As you can see, it's a pretty simple affair to add character to a project. Because I love many animated character designs, I have many more stocking ideas for the future, that's for sure!



No Sew Felt Christmas Tree with Ornaments

December 7, 2012

Felt xmas1

With 2 kids, I am constantly looking for ways to involve them in the holidays but without the risk to any of our decorations. That is a hard task when Christmas rolls around: glass ornaments, ceramic table toppers and porcelain angels abound. However, when I saw this Felt Christmas Tree project idea on Pinterest, I knew it was just right for my family. I set about planning my tree. I wanted it a bit different to blend with my funky/traditional Christmas decorating theme that I always seem to end up with so I cut my tree from turquoise felt. Next I cut several different circle shapes from red, green, blue and purple felt and some square and rectangle as well to serve as presents.

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To decorate each ornament I used a combination of fabric and felt. I cut small polka dots from felt for my 3 yr old to decorate ornament. I also cut a snowflake inspired overlay for another. A simple white flower centered on a red circle serves as nod to the traditional. For my fabric decorations I let my love of polka dots have full access. I used several sizes of polka dot fabric and cut using my pinking shears for a decorative edging. Some of the presents feature ribbon and some felt add-ons.

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I recommend using fabric glue for affixing fabric to felt but for felt-on-felt and ribbon on felt use your glue gun or a simple running stitch in a matching thread. The felt really soaks up the fabric glue so you need something thicker to stick anything other than fabric. When gluing fabric to felt, apply your glue to the fabric and then press it to the felt. Don't apply the glue to the felt first as it will soak it up.

Lastly, I hung my tree with thumb tack so my little one could hang "real" ornaments from the branches. I made her some small pom poms and tied the ends into a loop for hanging. You could also make more felt ornament for hanging. My little bit loves her Christmas tree and re-decorates it every morning after a visit to her advent calendar (free pattern available here). It makes a great backdrop for her Christmas photos. The best part is it is unbreakable and cheerful!

P.S. I realize the length of her pants ruin my credibility but she could not be persuded to wear anything else

Blog of the Month: Censational Girl

December 5, 2012


This month I decided to change up my search for Blog of the Month by doing my research via Pinterest. Typically I rely on Google to help me find a crafty, fabric-loving blog each month. This month with a search of the DIY pins on Pinterest I found an amazing blog run by a super crafty gal, Kate, who also happens to be a fan of Fabric.com (Thanks, Kate!). Kate's blog, Censational Girl, is for the bargain hunters, DIYers and crafters alike. Kate is a former lawyer turned blogger who loves to revamp and turn old and busted into amazing treasures and shares her magic via her blog and various other writing and design outlets. I fell head over heels for her blog at first sight. It is lovely and easy to navigate. Censational Girl features a Project Gallery with great pictures with links to posts on how such an amazing project came to be. And these are some serious how-to's. Kate doesn't just vaguely explain how she got from the "before" to the "after"; her gorgeous pictures show each product and each action to get a ugly table to an amazing show stopper (I am referring in particular to my favorite piece featured in "My Bamboo is Peacock Blue"). You can also find Crafts, Everyday Home Dec, Holiday Decorating, Home Improvement, Fabric Projects, and many more in her Project Gallery.  


You also must check out her Style Files which serve as excellent inspiration coupled with a great place to find inside tricks or just fun reading on your favorite subject: Style. In Kate's Style Files you will find: Decorating and Design Articles and Spotlight Interviews. The Decoration and Design Articles feature online posts that Censational Girl finds eye-catching, relevant and news worthy in the design world. I love the eye candy. Kate's Spotlight Interviews are a collection of interviews of up and coming and established designers. You can find out inspirations and design tips from your favorite designer or maybe find a new favorite. I love Emily Henderson!

Please check out Censational Girl. I am sure it will become one of your favorite go-to blogs for home ideas and stash busting (or stash increasing) projects.



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You can also follow Fabric.com and me, Tara Miller, on Pinterest

Send me your Blog of the Month suggestions by leaving a comment on our blog!

Super Simple Spa Wrap -- From a T-Shirt!

December 2, 2012

Time for another dip into the T-shirt stash!

Spa wraps or quick-dry hair towels have occasionally popped up in sewing project how-tos for years, and I've always thought, "I should make one of those!" But I never did. Then, recently, a friend told me she had started using a T-shirt in lieu of a towel to dry her hair because her hair dried more quickly that way. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out her assertion and make a project at the same time!

Bonus: This project is crazy quick! It only requires one seam.

First, I squared up the bottom edge of a T-shirt, and cut a long curved line as shown below. It's 21 inches long, and the highest point of the curve is 8 inches away from the hem edge of the T-shirt. (I just used my head circumference as the width of the double layer -- I figured that would give me plenty of length to twist and secure my wrap.) My shirt ended up being 21 inches wide, so I just cut from fold to fold, but if you have a shirt wider than 21 inches, you can just cut it at the 21 inch mark and close it up with the one seam this project requires.


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Next, I cut a piece of 1/4-inch elastic about 3 inches long. This is a great use for little scraps of elastic!

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I folded the elastic in half and inserted it into my cut piece so that the raw ends would catch in the seam at the narrow end of the wrap.

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This is how the elastic loop looks once the seam is stitched:

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For my last step (What, it's already the last step? YES.), I sewed a button from my button bag about 2 inches up from the hem edge at the fold on the wide end of the wrap.

5-spa-wrap.jpgAnd that's it! This wrap is ready to go to work! To put it on, you nestle the wide end over the back of your head, then catch your hair into the long tail, twist it, and secure it with the elastic loop over the button.

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In testing, this does indeed seem to get my hair to dry more quickly! Because the cotton is absorbent, but also thin when compared to a terry cloth, it pulls the moisture from the hair and allows it to evaporate more quickly -- even though it's not a wicking fabric.


Of course, you can also make these using spare fabric instead of a T-shirt. I had a scrap of a zebra knit (I have no idea what the fiber content is on this, but if I had to guess, I would say it's a cotton/rayon blend) that was too small to do much else with, but it was the perfect size leftover for this project.

I added a little 1/4-inch elastic around the hem edge on this one to give it extra grip around my head -- works like a charm.

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This is also a project that you could gussy up to make for gifts. Use a pretty button instead of one from the stash, add a cute applique or washable fabric flower, and you've got a sweet, useful gift. And these are great for travel -- they take up zero suitcase room!


Make a Tulle Yule!

December 1, 2012

I love tulle. Is there anything more princessy than a cloud of floaty, poufy net in a pastel color? It's heavenly. I wish I could get away with wearing a tutu every single day.

So when I recently saw an adorable vintage tulle holiday tree online recently, I knew I had to create my own version.

The good news here: no fabric to cut! I used tulle spools (this project takes two, but you'll have a lot left from your second spool) in pink. The only other supplies you need are a piece of poster board, your trusty hot glue gun and a handful of glue sticks.

Before you do anything else, gather your tulle on your sewing machine. This doesn't have to be a precision affair, so you can just push it through as you stitch in the (approximate) center of the strip. I gathered one entire spool, and then waited to gather my second one because I wasn't sure how much I would need.

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Once your tulle ruffle is done, set it aside and grab your poster board. Measure 14 inches from that corner and make a mark, then rotate your ruler or yardstick (maintaining the corner as your zero point) every inch or so to make an arc of marks from one side to the perpendicular side.

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Clip along your arc of markings so you have a triangle with a rounded bottom edge.

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Next, clip the corner off the top of your triangle. You don't have to be super precise here.

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Roll your triangle into a cone shape, and secure it gently with masking tape. I know my masking tape looks horrifying. It's one of my cats' favorite toys, so it's been rolled through every speck of dust in the house. Thankfully, it's only on the cone temporarily!

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Squirt a little hot glue into the gaps between the masking tape and apply a little pressure to make sure the two sides are adhered to one another. Once the glue is cooled and set, remove the tape and fill in the remaining gaps so there is glue all along the seam.

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Tulle time! Run a small bead of glue along the bottom edge of your cone, and gently press your tulle, along the gathering stitches, into the glue. Continue working around the base of the cone, gluing a few inches at a time.


7-tulle-tree.jpgOnce you've made one full circle around the base of your cone, continue gluing your ruffled tulle down just a little above the first row. Things will initially be tricky, juggling multiple rows of fluffy tulle, but it gets easier as you go.

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This is my cone once I had several rows of tulle affixed to it.

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As you near the top of the cone, cut a piece of unruffled tulle from your second spool about 14 to 20 inches long. Roll it up and insert it through the top of the cone from the inside. As your tulle spiral approaches the top of your cone, fluff out this piece to your liking, and allow it to pick up a little bit of the glue that keeps the uppermost layers in place. You can also drop a little glue inside the cone to anchor this piece.

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I used up an entire spool and had about 5 inches of height left to cover on my tree. So, I just gathered another piece from my second spool until it was about 4 or 5 feet long, and that was enough to finish things off.

Once you've finished wrapping, you'll have a fluffy tulle tree! As you near the top of the cone, you may find that your tulle is pulling or sitting oddly -- this is because the diameter of the cone is so small, even the gathered fabric isn't full enough to spread out evenly around it. You can clip your ruffles a little here to open them up -- I just make a clip perpendicular to the long edge of the strip from the outside right up to where it meets the cone. Make as many clips as you need to get things the way you like. Because the tulle creates a fluffy, cloud-like appearance, the clips don't really show if you make them judiciously.



11-tulle-tree.jpgBut what would a tree be without ornaments? I just glued some large pearls into the tulle, spaced randomly, to give the illusion of ornaments.

11b-tulle-tree.jpgHere is the tree being inspected by an average-sized cat, which will give you some idea as to the size of the finished project.

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I just love my little tree! I want to make a matching black one for art deco holiday style! This would also be super cute in green, or even with two alternating colors. Add anything you like to create your perfect holiday style!

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