A "pouf" is a marshmallow-like ottoman. They've been all the rage in decorating for a few years now, bringing unexpected color, shape, texture, and fun into a room. We have a full-size, extra cushy square pouf project you can try for your own trendy decorating statement, but in the meantime, we miniaturized one as a clever pincushion. Ours uses Layer Cake squares as an easy way to gather a wonderful mixture of perfectly coordinating color and pattern, but the pieces needed are really quite tiny. So bring out your scrap bag and dive in for all your favorites!
The holiday sewing season will be on top of us before we know it, which is always a great time to pull out the specialty fabrics for both garments and home décor items. However, working with these fabrics does require a little special handling; they aren't always as user-friendly as good ol' cotton. We picked four of the most common categories: netting and tulle, organza, taffeta, and burlap; and provide some tips and techniques to make preparing, cutting, and sewing with them easier, faster and frustration-free.
Outdoor living means outdoor events, which mean outdoor sitting – often on "non-chair surfaces." From summer concerts to Shakespeare in the Park, when the weather turns wonderful, activities move to more natural venues. These beautiful, wide open spaces can offer an auditorium made from a soft green meadow. Actually, they're more likely to offer a lumpy field of damp grass. For portable comfort, bring along your own stylin' set of round seat cushions. We used water-resistant rip stop nylon on the back and pretty outdoor polyester prints on the front, and they come with their own handy nylon drawstring duffle. Toss them on the lawn to keep your pants dry and your bum comfy.
One of the fabrics getting a ton of attention at this year's Spring Quilt Market (a major fabric industry trade show) was Double Gauze. Most of us recognize regular gauze for its sheer open weave. In fact, the process that creates gauze is even called "gauze weave" (or "leno weave"). This weaving process twists two warp yarns around the weft yarn in a figure eight pattern, resulting in a strong yet sheer fabric. Double gauze is just that, two layers of gauze. Teeny tiny stitch tacks, so teeny and tiny as to be invisible from the right side of the fabric, hold the layers together. These double layers help eliminate the super-sheerness of standard gauze and give the fabric a bit of extra weight, which imparts a wonderful, almost velvety drape. We designed a project that takes full advantage of this swathe of softness as well as the fabric's 52"/54" width: a striking shawl wrap with pom accents for a kick of casual whimsy.
It's been very festive around Sew4Home over the last few weeks as we prepared two beautiful projects to celebrate Christmas in July with Fabric Depot. If you missed either, make sure to check out our Downton Abbey Christmas Table Runner and the Northwoods Batiks Crazy Patch Tree Skirt. Have you ever wondered why we have Christmas in July? We have the scoop. And, thanks to our wonderful friends at Fabric Depot, we also have a Christmas in July present for one lucky Sew4Home visitor: a full Fat Quarter Bundle of the Downton Abbey Christmas collection!
Christmas in July continues with a crazy patch tree skirt featuring beautiful Christmas Batiks and Victorian Velvet from Fabric Depot. Holiday themed batiks are big this year; several manufacturers have come out with special collections. The motifs are a bit larger and the colors a bit bolder than what you might traditionally expect in a batik, but it's a fun and festive look, and was the perfect choice for a crazy patch.
A blind hem is exactly what it sounds like: a hem with stitches you barely notice. It's perfect for window coverings, the hem at the bottom of a garment, or anywhere you want a clean finished edge. When I first started sewing, attaining a perfect blind hem was like finding the Holy Grail. And then a funny thing happened, I practiced it a few times, and realized it was really easy. It's sort of like learning to use chopsticks – at first it seems so awkward and difficult and then, suddenly, it's second nature. Try a blind hem and you'll never drop a wad of sticky rice in your lap again.
Our lightweight half apron is perfect for summertime cooking and serving – when a full-coverage apron can feel too hot. This little beauty is a fast, fun, beginner-friendly project that takes just a couple yards of fabric. Make one for yourself; make one for a friend... make enough for everyone! The design uses a combination of three coordinating fabrics, which allows you to be creative with color and design. The waistband and ties are surprisingly easy to make, but give the apron a "professionally-finished" look. And three jumbo pockets can hold utensils, recipe cards, or just your hands as you spin around the kitchen, lovin' your brand new apron.
The Downton Abbey television series has been quite a phenomenon – an instant hit with a loyal following who early await each new adventure of the upstairs and downstairs residents of the grand hall. We're fans here at Sew4Home and were thrilled when Andover Fabrics debuted a line of fabric designed to emulate the characters, the time period, and the glamorous surroundings of Downton. Just like the series, the fabric has continued to evolve. The first Downton Abbey Christmas collection just came out, and Fabric Depot was one of the first outlets to get these gorgeous cotton prints on their retail and virtual shelves. We are so excited to partner with them to bring you a special patchwork project to celebrate Christmas in July.
We have a whole new batch of ideas to add to our official You Asked 4 It list thanks to our recent Great Giveaway request for the projects and techniques you'd like to see on Sew4Home. We also realized there are A LOT of existing articles many of our visitors, maybe even you, are looking for that we actually already have. It's time for a little re-cap tour of our Project Index – a reminder of where to find some of our most asked-for tutorials. It might be exactly what you're looking for, very similar, or perhaps a new idea you love even more!