Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Go-To

When I'm feeling any kind of discomfort or discouragement about sewing, my go-to for sewing is to make a set of curtains.  It's the best project to stretch your sewing legs.  If you want to remind yourself that sewing isn't just about breaking a nail (or needle, for that matter) or sewing uneven lines - make curtains. 

You learned here
that this is initially how my I got the "itch" for sewing.  Naturally, curtains has become my "go-to" when I need a quick pick-me-up in my sewing world.

A few tips/tricks:
1. Always iron your fabric before you sew.  Whether it's the whole piece of fabric or your edge.  It makes a world of a difference.
2. Always pin down the line before you sew.  It's time consuming but until you reach "Expert" status, PIN IT down, girl (or guy). 

3. Sew an extra-line at the top of your hem for an extra "fluff" at the top.  It gives your curtains a little pizazz. (I'll add a "how-to" on this later)
4. Remember: You have a seam-ripper for a reason.  Don't be afraid to use it.  I use mine all the time. :)
5.  Did you know there are actual sizes to your machine's needle?  If your sewing thick fabric and want some extra muscle for your machine, trade out your needle for a stronger one.  I was sewing a thick piece of interfacing with two other pieces of fabric and using a 9 needle.  I found a 14 needle made quite the difference.  I got this information regarding Singer Sewing machine needles (below) from Wikipedia here

Shank color Point type
red regular, for woven
yellow ball, for knits
blue heavy-duty, for denim
brown chisel, for leather
Shoulder color Shaft size
green 9 (thinnest)
orange 11
blue 14
purple 16 (thickest)

Whether you're sewing curtains or interfacing - remember that important piece of your machine - your needle!  Otherwise, you'll be breaking and bending needles more than you'll ever imagine.  I've already broken 1, bent 3 - all because I was using a 9 when I should have been using a 14 or 16.  
Finished product, however, ignore our unfinished back splash, please.

Anyone else out there have a "go-to" sewing project? 

Friday, March 23, 2012

I am WOMAN...Hear me ROAR!

*Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with sewing, but (I think) completely blog-worthy.

For the past 17-ish months, we've been painting, drilling, nailing, cutting, scraping, tearing, and pulling apart and transforming our old house to make it the "new" Siemens' home.  It's been a LOT of WORK and most days, it's no fun.  To be honest, I don't know that I would buy a fixer-up-er again, but every now and then we see a glimmer of hope when a new light is up, a wall is re-painted, or like last night...a piece of our lawn is changed. 
I've had a gargantuan cactus that's starred at me every time I've pulled into my driveway.  It was absolutely hideous and disgusting.  For months, I've toyed with the idea of hiring someone to remove the sucker because it was such the eye sore.  Our front and back yard are complete disasters anyway - but this beast just made it sad.  After working in a one of my front "flower" beds after work yesterday, I kept eye-ing it. So, I picked up a shovel and went at it.  You would have thought I was trying to kill something or was furious and needed to let out some serious aggression.  The rotten pieces actually fell off easily, while the healthier ones gave me a run for my money.  I worked after dark and even flipped on my car port and porch light to help me see the thing.  I waited for the morning to see my work, my hard work, my "I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR" kind-of-work. 

I couldn't find a before picture, but you can see the pile on the left and the spot under the tree where the cactus with legs once stood (on the right).

Food for thought:  In relation to your own life, is there something you have that you may need to get rid of because it's spoiling the life out of you?  I couldn't help but think last night as I was tearing into this half-dead cactus why it took me so long to (at the very least) try to get rid of it?  Of course, it made me realize there may be things in my personal life that I may need to get the shovel out and get digging.  What a difference it makes when I rid of the things that are rotten and only producing thorns. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No-Sew Fabric Covered Headboard

And, might I say, this was one of the easiest, most affordable way to transform my boring queen size bed!  At the time I took on this project, I was searching for the perfect headboard, but one I could afford.  Those suckers are PRICE-EE!  When I stumbled on Young House Love's tutorial on how they transformed their guest room's headboard, I was hooked. 

Materials I used:
  • Plywood (free - backyard find) - I actually had this wood in my backyard.  We're currently rennovating our house and I had two huge pieces from all the work we're doing.  It wasn't being used, so jackpot for me!
  • Fabric ($20ish) - Pending on how big you want your headboard, this will depend on how much fabric you need.  Just measure ahead of time and get plenty of it.  Hobby Lobby was my stop for this.  I recommend the 54" wide for a queen bed or more because you want to cover your board without having to cut your fabric in half and see the seams. 
  • Batting ($10ish) - Also at Hobby Lobby and I don't remember exactly how much it was, BUT, there are a million to choose from.  Just go with the thickness you desire for your board.  You can't really mess this up.  I think I even asked one of the Hobby Lobby Ladies for help - she was very generous and pointed me in the right direction (and complimented me later on my choice of fabric, always a plus.)
  • Elmer's Spray Adhesive ($6.99 found here at Hobby Lobby) - I'm sure you can use any brand.  But, Elmer served me well. 
  • Scissors (free - in my kitchen drawer)
  • Jigsaw (free - borrowed) - You'll be amazed at how many supplies your neighbors, friends, and family members own.  Don't be afraid to "just ask" for a simple borrow-for-a-day item.  Take care of it and return it.  You'll save a lot of money this way.
To give you the idea of what I was dealing with:
To remedy:
  1. Measure behind your bed the length and height you want your headboard to sit/hang.
  2. Once measured, cut your wood (with a jigsaw) to those measurements.
  3. Using your cut wood, take the fabric and place it under your wood.  Cut the fabric giving a little extra room on the sides and corners.  In other words, let your fabric "hang" off the wood.  (This will allow you to "wrap" the fabric around the wood)
  4. Do the same with your batting.
  5. Using your batting first, place it under your wood and use your spray adhesive to attach the batting to the wood.  
  6. Do the same with your fabric to the batting.
  7. Once the two are attached, "wrap" the corners, using your spray adhesive.
  8. Let it dry - for an hour or two.  
  9. Ta-Da!:

Quite a difference, right?  I have added pictures, too above the headboard to add more pizazz.  But, I think it's a great project and any first DIY-er can do this.  

Now, I know those directions aren't great without pictures - but YHL does a great job with words and pictures.  Once I start blogging more and designing more, I will take more pictures to help with directions.  Until then, please visit Young House Love and drool over their blog and all their beautiful ideas and DIY projects.  The above link will take you directly to the headboard directions, including pictures.  

Oh - and total used on this bad boy - $37ish.  I say that's quite. a. deal.  Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just Call me Betty...Betty Crocker.

About a month ago, some of my girlfriends and I decided to share our love of sewing with each other.  Or, maybe we needed some extra help with our new ambitions after we got our sewing machines?  We picked a Saturday and the next thing you know, we had 6 ladies in our "Sewing Circle."  It was one of the best Saturdays I've spent in a long time.  We laughed, we ate, we drank some wine, and of course, we made our sewing creations.  Deb was our fearless leader and went from one station to the next giving her expert help to all of us!  One apron, two tops, pants, and curtains all made those sewing machines really "stretch their legs."  This was the very first time I opend my box and brought THE machine out to play.  I remember the excitment mixed with, "Now, what do I do with this?"  I just starred at the thing.  It was so intimidating.  It didn't take long for Deb to come to my rescue and show me the ropes. 

Did you know patterns are tricky?  Did you know the triangles in the pattern are to be mirrored when you cut?  Did you know not all of the pieces in a pattern package you'll want to cut out?  Do you know what fusible interfacing is (and did you know that I just googled that because I thought it was "infusible")?  Clearly, there is so much to learn in this sewing world...and I'm just. getting. started.

So, of course, it makes sense that the once beautiful hum of my sewing machine didn't quite drown out the frustrations when I doubled over some fabric or when I skipped a step or when I cut the fabric instead of cutting the fusible interfacing?  But, like I've said before, you keep going, because in the end - you have a new creation...for me, this time, it was an apron. 

Our next Sewing Circle is already scheduled...and yes, I've picked out my pattern.  It's a small, clutch purse.  I actually started on it already.  And, yes I stopped because I got confused.  Waiting till March 24 for Sewing Circle and Deb to come to my rescue! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Real Rookie

The "itch" started with my first set of kitchen curtains.  Straight lines, no pattern, easy stitching.  It sounded so simple.  Without the help of my wonderful Sewing Coach, Ms. Prissy, I don't know that my first experience with a sewing machine would have given me such joy - even though my lines were definitely not straight, my cutting was way off, and once hung, the signs of a real rookie stared back at me.  I quickly learned (and hopefully you will, too) that isn't the point of sewing.  It's all about learning, growing, and to keep creating new things.  All from a piece of fabric.  I know, I know, it sounds really cheezy and corny - but if you are reading this and have wanted to pick up the dusty sewing machine, or take that first sewing class, or even call your Mom for a lesson - just do it!  It's really quite magical, don't you think? Give me a thread, a needle, (good) scissors, and some great fabric and you can make anything - really, anything.  Have you SEEN all the patterns, clothes, bags, etc.. out there? 

So many ideas waiting for you, particularly at stores like Hobby Lobby and Hancock Fabrics. As a rookie in sewing, I've asked many questions to the Hancock and Lobby Ladies.  They're so helpful to ones just starting out!  And, it's no secret these places have great values, coupons, and a world of fabrics to choose from, too! 

Here's the finished product: 

And, with my very patient instructor, Ms. Prissy, who spent a few hours (ok, let's be honest - more than a few) giving her wisdom to me while allowing me to use her sewing machine. 
What are you waiting for?

"Sew" here we go...

The world of sewing was never quite appealing to me - in fact it was intimidating and daunting.  But, let me tell me you something.  The last two months I've taken the leap, I've truly experienced the serendipity of my "sewendipity."  I come from a line of seamstresses who were more than good - they were great.  It's only fitting that my Mom decided to completely surprise me with my very first sewing machine last year for my 29th birthday (yikes - is it already close to 30)?  I gave her a small hint several months ago that I was "dipping" my feet in the pool of sewing, and she decided to give me a little push in the deep waters.  And, I have to say, I'm so glad she did. 

All that to say, I'm taking the "other" plunge and starting this blog.  I'm inspired, sewing is fun, and taking on something new is good for your soul.  Here's to starting a blog and mastering sewing!  Cheers!