Sewing is an continually evolving art. Learning new and interesting techniques is one of the best ways to build upon your current knowledge. It keeps your skills fresh and your ideas lively. Last week, we brought you up-to-speed with Bias Binding: figuring yardage, cutting, making and attaching. Today, we're continuing our journey down the binding path to a "sub-set" technique called: continuous bias binding. This is a little bit like another ancient art: origami. You start out with a flat square (or rectangle), and after a few folds and flips here and there, you have something completely different and very dimensional.
Round tables present a challenge for placemats, which are traditionally square or rectangular. Maybe it's time for a trapezoid! I bet you've been waitin' to say that since 8th grade geometry. This shape fits nicely side by side when placed around a circular table. We added coordinating cloth napkins to amp up the tabletop color explosion. Both projects are part of our ongoing Re-imagine & Renovate series. Just like a fresh coat of paint can transform a room, brand new fabric can completely change the look of a project. Today, our delightful new fabric is Pat Sloan's Eat Your Fruits & Veggies collection for Moda Fabrics. It hits stores next month in all its vibrant glory: from carrot orange to cherry red to eggplant purple, these colors and patterns are luscious enough to take a bite of. There's even a complete coordinating set of batiks in a dozen slightly softer hues. This collection can turn an ordinary breakfast table into a farmer's market produce stand.
At Sew4Home, R&R doesn't mean Rest & Relaxation, it means Get Up & Go: Re-imagine & Renovate! Just like a fresh coat of paint can transform a room, brand new fabric can completely change the look of a project. We're celebrating the final week of National Sewing Month by putting a new twist on some S4H sewing classics. Today, we picked adorable sewing motif fabric from the good folks at Fat Quarter Shop to recreate our sewing machine and serger covers. Your hard-working machines make so much stuff for you, the least you can do is make some little outfits for them! These are perfect projects to spruce up your own sewing room, but would also make wonderful gifts for all the sewers and crafters on your holiday lists.
My mother was a very snappy dresser in her prime, and the number one piece of advice she passed along to me was that you could never go wrong accessorizing your outfit with a beautiful scarf. One of the most popular looks out there right now is the infinity scarf, an endless circle of loveliness you can twist into a number of interesting shapes. It's a great look to dress up or down to suit any occasion. Best of all... an infinity scarf is very easy to make. And I do mean veeerrryyy easy! I made our sample scarf in under an hour... and I stopped to take photos! This project just might become your favorite fast and easy (yet unique and elegant) holiday gift – especially because of all the beautiful voiles to choose from. Our thanks to FreeSpirit for providing one of the nine available voiles from Tina Givens' Pagoda Lullaby collection.
Contrary to stories you may have heard, it doesn't really rain all the time in Oregon. We do have a rainy season... it's just a lot longer than other rainy seasons around the world. It's about time for those rains to start, which means soggy dog paws won't be far behind. As with many folks, our pets are inside/outside critters. If they are going in and out during the aforementioned "rainy season," it's nice to be able to dry them off before they come in. "That's what rags are for!" you say. True, but rags are usually not very absorbant, they tend to be kind of small, and worst of all, they leave you and your clothes exposed to the dripping doggie. Sew4Home partner, Bob Johnson thought we needed to design a towel that could protect the dryer while sopping up the dryee. Thus was born the soon-to-be-famous, Bob's Doggie Dryer. It's a long, double-layer towel with a large pocket on either end. Slip one hand into each pocket for easy drying control; the wide center of the towel stays between you and the wet doggie-dog. Great idea Bob, and great modeling job, Doggie Elaine... even though she was a little confused about why we kept pouring water on her head during the photo shoot.
We were going to call this tutorial: Bias Binding: Basics & Beyond, however, we decided to forgo the clever alliteration and instead focus on the key words we hear whenever we receive questions about this very hot topic: "How do you figure out how much fabric you need?" "How do you cut all the strips?" "How do you sew all the strips together?" "How do you put it on your project so it looks smooth and pretty?" "Why is the sky blue?" We've posted about bias binding before, and even have an older tutorial on the subject. But, it was time to take a fresh look and collect all the scattered tips and information into one updated article. We'll address all four of the most common questions: yardage, cutting, making and attaching. You're on your own for the blue skies!
Working with Moda pre-cuts often makes me hungry... the names are so tantalizing: Jelly Rolls, Honey Buns, Layer Cakes. Thankfully, pre-cuts have zero calories and it's fun to come up with creative ways to turn them into what we like to call "new fabric." For today's project, we used Jelly Roll strips from one collection and Honey Bun strips from another collection, proving once again, you can combine beautiful prints from different designers to create a your own unique look. Our pillow uses Jelly Roll strips from Christmas Spirit by Holly Taylor for Moda and Honey Bun strips from Sentiments by 3 Sisters for Moda. We created a fast, strip-pieced pillow with lovely seasonal colors and decorative stitch accents.
I am a major fan of B-Movies: the over-acting, the cheesy special effects, the see-through plot lines... I love it all. And, I am especially fond of B-Horror-Movies! I think this is because I could picture myself getting paid to scream like a maniac at a rubbery monster with googly eyes. All that to say, as soon as we saw it, we knew we had to use Eerie Alley Blocks in Black and Purple by Karen Foster for Robert Kaufman Fabrics from Fabric.com for some sort of Halloween project. The movie poster knock-offs are hysterical and the panels are so colorful. We designed a soft, unstructured trick-or-treat bag with a long, adjustable cross-body strap. The fabric is so great, we used it for both the exterior and the lining, then added two safety lights, one around each strap, to help make sure your lil' spooks can be seen when they're strolling in the... Twilight Zone.
Reusable shopping bags are everywhere these days. In fact, in many towns and cities, plastic and even paper bags are simply no longer available in the check-out line. I love the sturdy fabric grocery totes you normally come across, and we've made a number of them here at Sew4Home (I've included links below). The only problem with the larger, heavier bags is remembering to bring them with you to the store! Today's final project in our Simply Color series with Vanessa Christenson and Moda Fabrics is a set of foldaway bags in their own carrying case. It's compact enough (just 5" x 7" x 2") to throw in your purse or keep in the car's glove box. But it still holds two generously-sized shopping duffles that will carry an amazing amount of stuff! The carrying case even has a handy front pocket to hold a shopping list, cards, keys and more.
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. If you look up "stuff" in the dictionary, there's probably a picture of the top of your desk! Keep your counters and other work surfaces tidier and your stuff more organized with a pretty framed pinboard. We found our simple white frame at a local craft store, however, you could also look at second hand shops or garage sales for old framed art; remove the art and replace it with your cool pinboard. The project uses just four Fat Quarters to create the front panels and pockets, and thanks to the variety within the Simply Color Collection by Vanessa Christenson for Moda, we had plenty of colors and patterns to choose from to perfectly match our décor.