It's hands-on day today in S4H Summer School. Time to sew! But first... we want to take a moment to say, "Thanks!" Every day, from 10,000 upwards to 14,000 visitors stop by Sew4Home. Not only is there a solid group of returning friends, we're excited to also have an almost equal number of new people who discover us each day. Sew4Home fans are simply the best on the web! It makes all the hard work worth it when we read your enthusiastic comments or hear about how we've inspired another "sewing newbie" to turn on her/his sewing machine. On days like today, when we feature a collection of classic projects, it's like a proud mom bringing out favorite photos of her kids. It's our way show off some great tutorials you might have missed the first time around, or, if you're one of those new to the site, to bring to your attention articles you haven't yet had time to unearth. When we create these collections, we keep in mind of number of things: original popularity, variety within our theme, how long it's been since its debut, and the ability of the project to grow beyond its original use. Today, we've have Eight Great Summer Sizzlers we know you'll love.
Patio Party Tablecloth
Our summer Patio Party was the first series we did that focused on a specific fabric collection. In this case, Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut collection of happy colors and poppin' prints. Our simple instructions show you make a banded tablecloth that uses three different coordinated fabrics. The unique ties at the corners look great and foil the wind by helping secure the table cloth to the table. Thanks to these clever corners, the whole thing is constructed with simple straight seams. Although we still love the summary blend of fabrics, the tablecloth would be just as wonderful in fall tones for Thanksgiving, a trio of holiday lovelies for Christmas or... break out the kid prints and make a personalized birthday party tablecloth instead of buying those crazy tear-the-moment-you-open-the-bag paper ones.
Stylish Baby Nursery Scalloped Rag Quilt
This nursery series, originally done in Patty Young's amazing Andalucia collection, is hands-down one of the most popular we've ever done. It had the trifecta of project popularity: beautiful fabric, sought-after items, easy instructions. This was also one of the most challenging photo shoots we've ever done. We shot the entire series in a tiny room on a super hot day, and the nursery belonged to a real brand-new baby, so we were on a super tight deadline to finish so baby could get back into her crib! If you can sew a straight line, you can make this quilt. Rag quilts are put together so the seams show on the outside. After washing and drying, the seams gently fray or 'rag,' producing a soft and cuddly feel. Ours has pretty scalloped edges, for which we provide a downloadable template. The design is a great opportunity to combine colors and prints to match a new baby's nursery or to simply play with your favorite fabrics. Plus... did you know Patty Young re-released Andalucia this year in two fab new color ways? Yep! Tutti Frutti and Evergreen. Check it out from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop.
Citrus Holiday Napkin Ties with Bead Names
S4H Art Director and Designer, Alicia Thommas likes to make jewelry in her spare time (spare time?!?!). So, she always has an amazing collection of beads at the ready. When we were designing our Citrus Holiday series, we were looking for a fun alternative to place cards. Alicia scooped up a handful of letter beads, and we had our solution. At the end of the meal, everyone can detach their beads and use them as bookmarks, bracelets or hang them from a keychain. They would also be a super cute accent on a zipper pull for a bookbag or purse. The cool thing about clever napkin ties is they are small and quick to make, and they can turn even the simplest cloth napkins into something extra special.
Tree Hugger Body Pillow
Sometimes you gotta super size! We do a lot of great pillows here on Sew4Home, but this particular one wins the biggest-ever award. It is 20" x 54"! (However, our recent queen size Bolster Pillow from the Michael Miller Cotton Couture Color Block series is a strong contender for the crown!) Body pillow inserts, like the one we used, are surprisingly easy to find and quite inexpensive. We got ours at a local variety store for just $9.99. Our original design has a clever "tree hugger" fabric combo, using prints from Joel Dewberry and Erin McMorris. But you could use any kind of fabric you like and any give it any equally clever name. Perhaps one with hearts all over it for your "Main Squeeze" or maybe one out of faux fur for a "Bear Hug"!
Nature Brights Kitchen Plastic Bag Keeper/Dispenser
Don't know about your neck of the woods, but out here on the left coast, plastic grocery bags have been replaced by paper and cloth in the majority of grocery stores. But... there are those produce bags, and most of the stores in the mall hand out your purchases in plastic. So, I still end up with a burgeoning pile of plastic bags to recycle. Traditionally, I've kept these in a cracked plastic bucket under my sink. Very stylish, don't you think? This pretty plastic bag keeper/dispenser is a smarter, prettier alternative. I hung mine on the pantry door, but it would also work great over a doorknob, inside a cupboard or swinging from a hook on the wall. Easy to store; easy to retrieve.
Designer Shower Curtain
Much like the jumbo pillow above, just because something is bigger doesn't mean it's harder. A shower curtain is an easy item to sew. You can make one in just a few hours and give your bathroom a whole new look. This tutorial gives you some great tips for sizing and assembling panels to allow you to blend two fabrics into one continuous curtain. There are also great little sewing techniques that apply to all kinds of projects, including several different seam and hem finishing options. But, our favorite part of this project are the plastic Dritz Home snap on grommets. Love these to death. And, when I was at Spring Quilt Market, I saw brand new varieties of these Dritz grommets coming out in wild colors and new shapes. We'll be incorporating them soon for sure!
Here Comes The Sun Pillow
I'm sure there are people out there who can't sing all the words to all the Beatles songs at the drop of a hat. But... not in my world! So, a couple years back, when we were preparing a pillow series to celebrate Earth Day, we named them after a few favorite tunes, including this stunning Here Comes the Sun pillow. Joel Dewberry's beautiful Modern Meadow fabric delivers the sunny yellow color. And, a ring of twelve 'prairie points' is a fun way to create a sunburst pillow flange. These clever, double-folded triangles are a quilting technique, but there are no rules saying you can't use them on a pillow... we checked. If you'd like to make the whole Beatles pillow series, check out Strawberry Fields Forever and Free As A Bird.
Fat Quarter Garden Apron
A Fat Quarter is a generously proportioned quarter yard of fabric that measures 18" x 22". To understand this you need to do a little math. Fabric is measured in yards. A yard is 36". When you ask your fabric store to cut a yard of fabric, you get 36" by the width of the fabric. Quilting cottons are usually 44" wide. So, if you buy a yard of quilting cotton, you'll have a cut piece that measures 36" x 44". Now, if you'd stepped up to the counter and ordered a quarter yard of fabric, you'd get a piece that is 9" (36" divided by 4) by 44". But a Fat Quarter is actually a full quarter of that original piece we got when we ordered our single yard of fabric (36" x 44"). If I divide that original piece (36" x 44") into four equal pieces, each one will be 18" x 22". Awhile back, with no project in mind, Alicia picked up five fat quarters from Amy Butler's Love collection while browsing at the very fine Bolt Fabric Boutique here in Portland, Oregon. What to do with five fat quarters? Alicia challenged herself to create an apron with virtually no wasted fabric. What remains from this pretty apron would fit in a garden party teacup.