If you're brand new to sewing, you might think a purse is too advanced a project to tackle. Nope! With some clever cutting and careful stitching, today's ribbon-accented holiday bag is super cute and super easy. There are no complicated corners or closures. And, the main body of the purse is a heavy felt, one of the most forgiving fabrics for new sewers. Finishing at 11" x 11", this pretty purse is the Goldilocks "just right" size: not too big, but not too small. It's great for holiday shopping trips when you want a lightweight shoulder bag. It would also make a wonderful gift... showing off your new sewing skills to friends and family who may still think a cool purse is "sooooo hard to do" (we'll never tell!).
A "pouf" is a marshmallow-like miniature ottoman. They are all the rage in decorating these days, bringing unexpected color, shape, texture and fun into a room. For this week's series of You Can Do It! projects, we didn't think a full size pouf really fit our super-easy criteria, but... a mini version as a pincushion works perfectly. We used Layer Cake squares, from Kate Spain's Serenade collection for Moda, to give us a wonderful mixture of color and pattern, but this would also be an awesome project for some of your favorite scraps.
One of the best beginner projects is a cute apron. Make one for yourself; make one for a friend... make enough for everyone! It's a fast, fun project that takes just a couple yards of fabric. Our 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 the three jumbo pockets can hold utensils, recipe cards, or just your hands as you spin around the kitchen in your brand new apron, because... You Can Do It!
One of the reasons Sew4Home came into existence was our desire to get new people interested in sewing. We wanted to prove sewing was within anyone's reach, even if you'd never even turned on a sewing machine before. It's why we're so focused on providing detailed instructions with helpful photos and make-no-assumptions steps. It's also why we make it a point to showcase the wonderful world of fabric, so you can see how easy it is to dip in and pull out one trendy look after another. You (and I do mean YOU) can create projects that are just as cool... if not more so, than what you find in those high end catalogs and über-expensive stores. Just remember one word: confidence. That's what You Can Do It! week is all about. We kick things off with today's super easy rag edge pillows. "Ragging" is seen most often in quilts and throws; a project is sewn together so the seams show on the outside rather than being hidden on the inside. After washing and drying, the seams gently fray or 'rag,' producing a softly distressed look and feel.
One project can turn out an unlimited number of ways, depending on the choices you make with fabrics, trims and notions. That's the fun behind our Re-imagine & Renovate projects, an on-going series here at S4H. The beauty of today's apron is its clean and simple lines, along with a few subtle details, like a gently curved bottom edge and a perfectly matched front pocket. The fully bound edge makes the apron reversible, so you get to chose three coordinating fabrics. We added a matching headscarf to complete the charming peasant girl vibe. Why look... our cute French Country model is on her way to sell warm bread at the village market. (Actually, she's standing on a corner downtown and everyone is staring at her... but that's only because they love her apron!) Our new fabric is from Amy Butler's Gypsy Caravan collection for Rowan Fabrics from Fashionable Fabrics. The blue is the most perfect cornflower shade in combination with a rich, milky ivory. Like a crackle pottery bowl of fresh blueberries and cream.
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.