Remember how scary it was to raise your hand in school and ask what you feared would be a "stupid" question? Hopefully we've moved beyond that childhood fear. Questions are great because they lead to answers, and answers are meant to be shared. Today's quick measuring tip came from a question in a visitor's email. Someone needed help figuring out what all those tiny marks are on a standard tape measure. We deal in fractions every day and are forever measuring quarters and eighths and sixteenths and whatnot. It all seems second nature to us! But when we stepped back and looked at our trusty tape with the eyes of someone brand new to sewing, we saw this question was indeed quite valid... there are a lot of marks with no identification. We came up with three handy charts to help decipher those little black lines. Download them to keep handy at your sewing station as quick reference tools.
On the quilting "Easy-ness Scale," the rag quilt ranks right at the top. It's sewn with the seams exposed, and the whole idea is to create a softly rumpled, very cuddly, wrap-me-up-now result. There are several rag quilts in our archives, but for this Re-imagine & Renovate version, we chose a full size, 60" x 60" version. We found a perfect fabric to create the rustic look of a traditional rag quilt: the Handcrafted collection by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. Very different from most traditional quilting cottons, it's created entirely by hand. The process is a new interpretation of the ancient wax resist, fabric dying art form of batik. We felt the result gave the fabric the look of hand silk-screened fabrics: looser, more free-form and with deeply saturated pigments. It was absolutely spot-on for a colorful rag quilt.
I still remember the first sewing machine I bought with a full compliment of decorative stitches. I was in seventh heaven. It felt like the same unbridled choice as when you open a fresh box of 64 crayons. Variety unleashed! But we often get so busy with the construction process, we forget about all those great stitches. Not today! Most machines have at least some decorative stitches, many of them, like our wonderful Janome studio machines, have hundreds! This pillow project gives you three different decorative stitching options to try, and we've included three template downloads to re-create our exact designs. There are random intersecting lines, which allow you to mix and match a variety of stitches. Our starburst showcases the option to program stitches, creating what appears to be individual dots. And finally, we give you the steps to stitch a spiral, using a padded satin stitch in variegated thread. It's all to encourage you to take advantage of your patiently-waiting decorative stitches... or maybe it's time to look for a new model with even more selection.
A set of pillowcases is a fast and easy project anyone can do. It's the special touches that make them stand out from store bought. These pretty pillowcases feature deep ruffled borders and dainty bows, suggesting the look of a dancer's billowing skirts. What a sweet way to freshen up a guest room, bringing some beautiful color and design to the bed linens.
When we've talked about cutting tools here on Sew4Home, we've mentioned things like scissors, shears, snips, and rotary cutters. All of these are essential to your sewing tool kit. But there's another kind of cutting tool we haven't talked about. One that's so advanced you might think we borrowed it from the Jetsons. It's called a digital cutter, and the one we're talking about specifically is the Edge Digital Cutter from Artistic. It's no exaggeration to say this device will open up whole new areas for you in sewing, quilting, paper crafts, stenciling, and more. When you learn what it can do, your own creative ideas are going to explode. So read on, then tell us what you'd make with an Edge Digital Cutter, and you could win one!
THIS GREAT GIVEAWAY CLOSED 1/16/15. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED.
These jumbo fabric baskets are so big and beautiful, they'll make sorting laundry fun! Well... if not actually fun, at least functional. And, they look great doing their job. Sparkling iron-on letters down one side let you know which items should go into the wash and which are headed to the dry cleaner. We used a combination of three striking Waverly fabrics for our two bins. Although heavier than traditional fashion-weight fabrics, these 100% cotton fabrics were still soft and easy to work with. Ultra-firm fusible stabilizer allows them to stand up on their own in your closet or laundry room yet still be flexible enough to hold plenty and tote easily. It also means you can practice your mad basketball skills, shooting in socks from across the room without knocking them over!
Mesh laundry bags to collect your washables are certainly readily available, and they can be pretty inexpensive to purchase. However, they usually aren't as well-made as you'd like, or you need a special teeny-tiny size for baby socks, or you just want a fun color to tempt an otherwise messy teen to pick up his underwear. Time to bust out a few of your own. They're super easy; we made our two samples in nothing flat. It's a great way to Freshen Up for 2015.
People in general, and kids in particular, generate lots of bits and pieces of stuff: important forms, special coupons, lucky tickets, keys to long forgotten locks... there really isn't another word for it. In fact, if you look up "stuff" in the dictionary, there's probably a picture of the top of your desk or your kitchen counter! Freshen up for 2015 by keeping those counters and other work surfaces tidier, and everything more organized, with our pretty framed pinboard, featuring three handy, stuff-collecting pockets.
It starts flat, then folds up 1-2-3, and snaps front and back to create an adorable cone-shaped mini purse for coins and more. Project design credit goes to Tendance Ruban for re-inventing this lovely vintage design; our thanks to sponsor, Renaissance Ribbons for bringing it to our attention. We reverse-engineered the original sample to provide you with easy, step-by-step instructions and a downloadable pattern. For this multi-layer project with its origami fold, it's important everything stays flat. Our solution: the ribbons are stitched to the plain side of a layer of fusible interfacing. When the front and back are assembled and pressed, it activates the fusing and creates a tight, smooth bond. Stability is increased and layers are decreased.
When you think of reasons for visiting Portland, Oregon, your list might include majestic Mount Hood, the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge, or the enormous Powell's City Of Books. But if you sew, you most definitely want to add the awe-inspiring Fabric Depot retail store. Located on the southeast side of the Rose City, this is the fabric store sewers and quilters travel around the world to visit. Let us be your travel guide for a quick trip through their 40,000 square feet of floor space – literally an acre of fabric and notions.