Posts tagged ‘sewing’

Must Love Dots

A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to find some very cool sheet sets(green with white polka dots!) at a very cool price. Yes, I get excited about sheets. What can I say– I’m a textile geek. I snapped up two sets– we need four pillowcases anyway, and it’s nice to have an extra fitted sheet. With the two flat sheets, I made a duvet cover for our down comforter. Nothing complicated about it, but I thought I’d share the process in case it helps to get someone else’s wheels turning.

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(1) Since all the seams on the sheets are already finished, a top-stitch around the perimeter should be sturdy enough to hold the duvet cover together– so no need to sew the whole thing together inside out and turn. Just pin the two sheets together, right sides OUT. I used what had been the tops of the sheets as the bottom of my duvet. [Here’s why: at the top of these particular sheets, like many sheets, about six inches of the fabric was turned over at the top and sewn down when it was manufactured. At the bottom and on the sides, there is only about half an inch of fabric turned over. Since the bottom of my duvet cover is going to have an opening (although it will be closed with velcro, buttons, or snaps), a little bit of the inside of the duvet cover will sometimes be visible and I don’t want the wrong side of the fabric to show.]

(2) Begin sewing (using a pretty small machine stitch for strength) about four inches from the center of what will be the bottom of the duvet. I chose a seam allowance that felt right when I lowered the foot (remember you’re dealing with sheets that already have seams around the edges, so you do have to work around them.) When you begin, you want to start with at least four or five backward stitches, and then start going right over them again as you begin sewing forward. Do the same thing when you reach the end of the seam– this will strengthen the places you’re going to be yanking on when you pull your duvet in and out of the cover for washing. Sew all the way around the outside (yawn) and stop about four inches from the other side of the bottom of the duvet, leaving about an eight inch gap. The easiest way to close the gap is with iron-on velcro. Buttons would be great if your machine makes buttonhole.

(3) If you get annoyed with the duvet sliding around and bunching up inside the cover, try this trick: sew ribbon ties onto each cover of your duvet, and a ribbon loop into each corner of the duvet. Then when you put the cover on, you can just tie the corners into place, and no more slipping around! When I lived in Japan, I noticed that many duvets and duvet covers came this way when you purchased them– genius! I haven’t gotten around to doing this yet because I was eager to get my new duvet onto my bed, but I plan to.

I hit one unexpected snag– it turned out the sheets were not exactly the same size. Yes, they were both full-sized sheets, the exact same brand, style, and color, but one of them was a full two inches longer than the other. So my plan for this to be a super simple project didn’t quite work out. I had to trim the excess off of the longer sheet and hem it, and then topstitch the two sheets together. Grrrrr.

If you don’t have two matching flat sheets, you could use two coordinating sheets. This would be a great use for vintage thrift store finds. You could simply use one as the front of the cover and one as the back, or if you really wanted to make things interesting, you could cut the sheets up and piece them back together so that you had part of each sheet on both the front and the back. You could do this in a very simple manner by cutting one strip out across the width of each sheet and then sewing it into the other. Maybe I’ll try that next time.

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Oh, and P.S.– no comments about my shoddy bed-making! I come from the toss-your-duvet-on-the-bed-and-be-done-with-it school of thought, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

May 23, 2008 at 12:38 pm 5 comments

A new sofa for a new home…

I love my new sofa! It’s going to look so great in our new place. This shade of green is just perfect. Only at IKEA can you buy a sofa in pieces and fit it comfortably in the backseat of a tiny Kia Sportage!

The icing on the cake is that the people who will be moving into our old apartment (which is kind of surreal to think about) are very happy to be inheriting our old couch. We won’t have to move it (which is a big deal because it’s pretty huge) and I won’t have to feel guilty about it going into a landfill, so it’s a win-win situation!

Let the sewing of throw pillows begin.

April 16, 2008 at 5:39 pm 3 comments

A Crafty To-Do List

For the next few weeks, I’ll be busy packing and unpacking, cleaning, decorating and all the other (ahem) joys that go along with moving. There won’t be a whole lot of crafting going on, although I do hope to somehow make some curtains, a duvet cover, and a baby gift for a friend. How I’m going to manage that with most of my crafts supplies in a box remains to be seen. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a list of things I hope to try (and blog about) once the craziness of the move is behind me.

This list should keep me busy for a long time to come. Of course, before I get around to all of these fantastic projects, I’ll probably get distracted by others. Ooooh, like the free embroidery pattern posted last week on Wee Wonderfuls. Or Suey, the Super Sock Pig! Here I go again…

April 14, 2008 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

Home Sweet Home

When my Anthropologie catalog arrived last week, I was immediately drawn to these photographs. It’s a crafter’s dream– an upholstered HOUSE. Look closely– the artwork on the walls is made of cloth. The paneling on the walls and the doors is all needlework. Even the light switches are stuffed! Impractical, yes. But so pretty!

I have house and home on the brain these days because we’ll be moving at the end of the month. We’ve been in Salem for three years now, which is the longest I’ve stayed anywhere in a really long time. There’s definitely something to be said for sticking around for a while and really getting to know a place. In some ways I’ll be sad to leave Salem because there are lots of things about this little city that I’ll miss. I’m really going to miss being able to wander around downtown on a whim. I love just heading down there on a warm Saturday with no idea where I’ll end up. Sometimes as I walk around the back streets of the Derby Wharf area or past the McIntire mansions of Chestnut street, I feel like I’m transported through time. I imagine what life was like here a hundred years ago, or two hundred years ago. I can almost hear the clatter of horses’ hooves as they pull carriages through the cobblestone streets. Oh wait, that IS the clatter of of horses’ hooves as they pull carriages (full of toursists) through the cobblestone streets.

I’ll miss seeing the harbor every day and smelling the salty air. I’ll miss brunch at Red’s, the Peabody-Essex Museum (which has a really cool photo exhibit of the art of Maori tattoos right now, check it out!), and frozen yogurt delivery until 11:00 pm! (Sometimes, you just gotta have it in your pajamas.) Of course, I’m NOT going to miss the traffic, trying to park downtown during a snow emergency, or shopping at the black hole that is Salem Market Basket.

As for our apartment, I do like it but I don’t think there’s much about it that I’ll truly miss. I’m definitely not going to miss having only one kitchen cabinet and almost no counter space. Sayonara, grimy bathroom floor. You are someone else’s pet peeve now.

April 7, 2008 at 2:10 pm 1 comment

All Aprons, All the Time

This blog has gone a little apron-crazy lately. I made an apron for a friend back in January and I blogged about that. Next, I won a lovely apron in a giveaway and I blogged about that too. Last week I made another apron for the Sassy Apron Swap, which I wrote about in my last post. Now I have another apron to write about…

I received an apron from my swap partner on Monday. It came from Adrienne in Jacksonville, Florida and I love it!! When I signed up for the swap, I mentioned that my kitchen is orange. Adrienne took that and ran with it and made me a beautiful reversible orange apron. Adrienne posted pictures of both sides of the apron on the swap’s Flickr site, here and here. One side has a round pocket, and the other side has a kangaroo pocket. All of this is very cool to me, because I’ve never attempted a reversible apron before, nor anything other than a typical square pocket.

The winter here in New England can be very long and dreary. This apron definitely helps me to think spring! Adrienne included even more Florida sunshine in the package, in the form of some yummy citrus fruits! I think it’s fun to see people enjoying their handmade gifts, so I thought I’d post a picture here of the apron in its new home. (The fruit, by the way, is long gone!)

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Doesn’t it look great in my kitchen?! Thanks so much, Adrienne!! Your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.

March 5, 2008 at 3:22 pm 2 comments

Sassy Apron Swap

I signed up for the Sassy Apron Swap a while back. The finished apron was supposed to be mailed to my swap partner by Saturday. I didn’t get it done in time, but I figured I’d take the weekend to finish it at my own leisurely pace and send today (Monday) via priority mail– no harm done, right? The theme of the swap is springtime, my swap partner said she liked pinks and browns and the shabby-chic look, and I wanted to use fabrics I already had in my stash. Here’s what I came up with:

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That brown plaid might look familiar from one of my past projects. After sewing it together, I kept staring at it thinking something was missing. I decided it needed a button, so I made a fabric-covered button and I think that was just what it needed. If you’ve never used these, you’ve gotta try them! They’re fun to make and the possibilities are endless.

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Hopefully my fellow swapper (swappee?) isn’t reading this so that it will be a surprise. Now, to wait by the mailbox for my apron to arrive…

March 3, 2008 at 11:22 am 3 comments

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.

I recently read this editorial in Time Magazine, which traces the dubious historical roots of Valentine’s Day, and argues that as adults we should just ditch the whole holiday. While I don’t wholeheartedly (*rimshot*) agree with its conclusion, I can’t dispute its central argument: love can’t be scheduled on a calendar, and romance born of duty isn’t romance at all. As the author astutely puts it, “for those who feel well loved, every day, of course, is Valentine’s. For the rest, no card can console.”

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Today, my hubby will get this handmade pillow. It’s filled with brown rice and can be heated in the microwave and used for easing aches and pains or warming up on these cold February nights. It’s a very simple project– it took me less than thirty minutes to put together. If you’d like to make this for one of your loved ones, check out this simple tutorial that I used as my starting point. (I changed the dimensions a bit and added a ribbon loop, but Blair’s tutorial is perfect just as it is.)

If it’s too late for you to get this done in time for Valentine’s Day, that’s just as well. Your loving gesture will be appreciated all the more when it’s completely unexpected. That said, I think Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to do something nice for the one you love, and to wax romantic… as long as you remember to be sweet to your sweetie tomorrow too, and the day after that.

Ben Kweller, “Until I Die”

February 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm 3 comments

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