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Every since I read the March issue of Crafts Beautiful magazine, I have been obsessed with a little retro bus pincushion. It’s cute and practical – in other colors and designs, of course. The artist designed it to be mainly orange, which isn’t my thing. One of the things I really loved about it was the inclusion of Frumble UK’s Typography fabric, which try as I might is just not available. I have searched for an alternative and haven’t quite decided if I like any of them enough. I might just make my own through Spoonflower or with a fabric printed sheet – might be too uggg though. In my search for fabric, I have found some excellent examples of typography fabric though:

With visiting my nieces, I didn’t make anything this last week. I started a couple of things, but nothing to show for it yet. However, both of my nieces wanted to attend the Bristol Renaissance faire and dress up! I would have never expected it from the 16-year-old. She further shocked us by asking if she could dress as a gypsy in skirt and all! This is a girl who wants to wear her Vans, blue jeans, and an appropriately modest shirt every day, all day – nothing frilly or girly ever.

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Busy Crafting Week

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I had many hands in the craft fire this week. It was finally nice outside and with the snow melting, it was time to go back to work. So I did.

Rustic Tote

First, I painted a “rustic tote” for my spouse. He’s into storing his craft beer next to the fridge. Rather than continue to knock it over, I felt it was time it had a home of its very own. I’m klutzy and scrubbing perfectly good beer off of the floor is no fun. He’s a huge Cubs fan – born and raised in Chicago – so theming was easy. What wasn’t easy? Stenciling. It looks like I drunk-stenciled. But he loved it anyway.

I seam ripped my old prom dress. I am thinking of turning it into a clutch. Pictures of the final result when I finish.

gogobagI, also, made this purse. I used the Go-Go Bag pattern from Sara Lawson’s Big City Bags. I spaced out the work over four days, and I am very happy with the results. Although, I did not like her Zip Pocket Method 1 instructions. I ended up making a larger zip pocket and lined it with extra thermolam and headliner, so it could hold my tablet when traveling through the airport. (I checked, I have to travel 8 times this year. I think this bag will be my go-to. At least until I am bored looking at it.)

skirtAs if that wasn’t enough, I found shirring that I fell in love with at Joann’s. I made it into a skirt because the shirring is not wide enough to cover my chest. Such is life.

Finally, I decided to catalog my patterns using Pinterest. This way I will not buy any more duplicates.

I am visiting my nieces this week, and so I don’t think I will have the time to complete any projects. Though that isn’t going to stop me from trying to do something. At the very least, I might talk the younger one into picking out the fabric for a Renaissance or Medieval gown. She’ll need one this summer when we take her with us to the faire.

 

Merchandising, Merchandising, Merchandising

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Overall, I have no problems with merchandising. I proudly display artwork inspired by my favorite books and video games in my living room. A variety of comic book women lovingly rest on floating shelves. In shadow boxes, my husband displays his works-in-progress and finished miniatures we use for gaming. My closet stores a collection of video game t-shirts – mostly from Hot Topic and the Bioware Store. Yep, the Bioware Store, which seems to provoke the ire of nearly everyone that reads their Facebook page whenever they announce a new product. I stand firm in the philosophy of “shut up and take my money.” Especially when it involves video games because the sales of those video games do not actually pay for the development of the game I’ve wasted 40 hours of my life immersed in.

So yeah, I support merchandising of products. And as long as items are reasonably priced I will buy what I want and pass on what I don’t. I can’t afford every single Kotobukiya statue that comes out, but I am very happy for those that can.

So I am very confused by my ire at the recent email I got from Joann’s regarding their line of Frozen fabrics. Every one of them is ridiculously over-priced. I think I found my line between merchandising and exploitation. I feel this is definitely exploiting the consumer considering the price of their twill fabric is $24.99 and other twills are $9.99 – $10.99. I like premium fabric, but this is Joann’s we’re talking about. I don’t really qualify the craft chain as a purveyor of fine fabric. It’s nice. It’s decent. But I don’t feel the quality of any of their fabrics approaches premium.

Or it could be that people sewing with this fabric will be sued by Disney if they attempt to sell an item made from the fabric.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents on the subject.

Make It Yours: Reversible Curtains Preparation

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A selection of the boring curtains available in local stores.

A selection of the boring curtains available in local stores.

“Make It Yours” is my series of projects you can do to make your house, and yourself and other items that you own, more friendly to your design tastes. At no time am I going to claim that this is cheaper than the alternatives. For example, if you want curtains for your home, it could be cheaper to buy them. However, you are limited to what you can find pre-made. There might be a custom option that is cheaper than making them yourself too.

For me though, it is generally easier if I just make it myself. Maybe, my tastes run a little too esoteric for prime time.

This week, we’ll learn how to make very simple reversible curtains because I like my curtains to look nice from both sides. Nothing fancy here, a novice can complete this project, and you can have them finished within an hour.

You will need:

  • Sewing machine or hand needles
  • Exterior fabric, yardage will be determined
  • Interior fabric, yardage will be determined
  • Thread to match
  • Pins or bulldog clips

First, measure the width of the window, including any additional area of the wall or window frame you want the curtain to cover. You can also measure the length of your current curtain rod to get an idea. Now, measure a second time just to be sure. Add one inch to your measurement. For example, the window I want new curtains for is 34 inches wide, so my first measurement is 35 inches.

Keep in mind that the width measurement is for a single very simple curtain. With these measurements if you make a single curtain, you will not have much in the way of gathering (folds) when you put your curtain up. Many will want a pair of curtains per window. To determine the width each curtain will need to be, you will need to do a little math. Each curtain should be about 75% of your total width. In my example, I would then need a width of 26.25 inches. Or you could just make two full size curtains have a lot of folds – this technique can be very pretty with lightweight fabrics or cumbersome with heavier ones.

Next, measure the length you want your curtains to be. This is up to personal preference. Perhaps, you want a half-curtain with a valance in your kitchen window, or you want a floor length curtain for the living room or you want the curtain to stop at the end of the sill. Decide and measure; measure again. Remember measure twice, cut once. We’ll repeat this mantra over and over again. Add one inch to your measurement. Add additional inches equal to the depth of your curtain rod if you have a rod that bends around the side of the window. In my example, I have 37 inches that I want to cover. So I need 38 inches.

If you don’t have fabric, now is the time to figure out what you will need. The fabric you purchase factors in your width, and you are limited to the stock on hand there. Most fabric at a typical American fabric shop (local quilt shop, JoAnns, etc) come in widths between 36 to 54. You may find some specialty fabrics come in other widths, so this is just in general. The length of your fabric will determine the number of yards you need. If you need help with the inches to yards math and don’t want to use a calculator, there are all kinds of apps that can help. In general though divide your inches by 36. My measurement ends up being 1.06. I round-up to quarter yards, so I need 1.25 yards of each fabric.

Remember to consider, how many curtains you are making as well. Using my example, if I wanted two panels out of each cut I would need a fabric that is at least 52.5 inches wide. If I fall in love with a fabric that is only 44 inches wide, I will need an additional 1.25 yards (for a total of 2.5 yards) to make two curtains.

Once you have your fabric, launder it. Wash it on the highest temperature the fabric can handle and dry it. This should take care of any shrinkage. My method is to wash my fabric on speed wash with about one-quarter to one-half the normal amount of detergent. Do not use fabric softener. I dry my fabric based on what it is. Then, iron your fabric.

In the next post, I will share step-by-step instructions on making your curtains.

Make It Yours: Memory Scarf

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If you sew for any amount of time, you find yourself with scraps. Lots and lots of scraps. You could throw them away, but what’s the fun of that? Besides, it isn’t very earth friendly.

I actually hope for scraps. It is great to see where I have been in my sewing. I relive the projects I have worked on – the ease or difficulty it was to sew with the fabric and such things. I used to keep them in a drawer and look through them every so often in the guise of organizing them. Now, I actually have an idea for true organization of my scraps, and now I can display it! That’s where the Memory Scarf comes in.

Supplies:

  • Scraps, lots of scraps
  • Scissors, rotary cutter, or pinking shears
  • Cardboard square/rectangle measured to a dimension you like. In fact, any shape that you like works. I used 5×5.5 because I had a random rectangle that size.
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Fray check, optional

First, you’ll want to cut your scraps into a more uniform shape. They don’t have to be uniform, but in the end you will want to be able to see all of your scraps. If you want to use fray check, do that after cutting and before sewing.

scraps

Make the majority of your scraps uniform in size and shape. An odd piece placed every so often can create visual interest.

Next, line up your scraps in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to you. You want to layer them one on top of another at intervals of about an inch.

Sew through your scraps. I sew mine on a diagonal. You want to place each so that at least an inch of every fabric shows. However, you can’t go wrong here. Do what pleases you.

Sew through your scraps, allowing at least an inch of each fabric to show.

Sew through your scraps, allowing at least an inch of each fabric to show.

As for finishing, you aren’t really going to finish it as you will always have new scraps to add. Just add to it. I plan to hang mine from the ceiling of my sewing room, eventually.

Now, it’s your turn. What will you use for your scarf? How will you piece it together?