Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

DIY Greek Key Trim Curtains

The master bedroom slash office has been my pet project for the past month. It’s still far from done, but I’ve changed more in the last month than I have in the past year. It’s gratifying to get something done, right?

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I’ve had plain white IKEA curtains up since we moved in. When we moved into this house (which has LOTS of windows), I just went with white curtains everywhere because 1) They’re cheap at IKEA, 2) I didn’t have to think about it too much, and 3) White goes with everything. White does get a little bland though, especially in this room where I don’t have anything up on the walls yet. So I decided to glam up the curtains a little bit with Greek key trim, inspired by this image from Pinterest.

Did you know that Greek key trim is expensive? Especially the 3″ wide trim I was looking at, especially enough to do 4 curtain panels? Then, I found this awesome post by Bethany at Dwellings by Devore and I found my solution! She simply ordered a few yards of Premier Prints’ Towers fabric, which has a Greek key-inspired pattern on it. She cut the fabric into strips, folded over the raw edges, and sewed them to the edges of her curtains. Genius!

I ordered 3 yards of navy Premier Prints fabric from Fabric.com (at just $8 a yard) and did just that. Tadaa!

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The office area, which previously looked like this (with my newly refinished desk):

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Now looks like this:

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(I still need to put the closet door back on the wall to the right; please disregard that for now!)

The bland wall on this side of the room is livened up a little by the graphic trim, though much still remains to be done…

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A headboard, for example, would be nice. (Psst, instructions for building the DIY king-size bed frame are here).

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There’s a lot of projects coming up here. I’m switching out the small lamps for larger scale ones (another DIY), and I’m bringing in more navy accents to pick up on the curtain trim and that blue pillow. I’ve also ordered the fabric for the headboard…just need some time to make it now…

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And some art or other decorative element above the bed. But definitely something simple. I like the spare, serene feeling in here and don’t want to lose it.

What do you think of my little budget Greek key trim update? An easy way to bring a graphic element into a room, right?

P.S. My love affair with navy blue shows no signs of abating…

Sharing at VintageRevivals, TheBlissfulBee, TinySidekick!

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

DIY Xmas Tree Skirt

When I told a friend today that we had already put up our Christmas tree, she did a double-take. What, already? The truth is, I put up the tree so that I could take pictures of this holiday craft in action. But really, if you’re going to go to the trouble of putting up a Christmas tree, you might as well enjoy it, right?

I have never owned a Christmas tree skirt. Last year, I just draped a throw blanket around the base of my artificial tree, but this year I decided to plan ahead and make one.

diy tree skirt

I’ve never found a tree skirt that I like that is affordable — the ones at Walmart are too glitzy, and the ones I like at West Elm and C&B are upwards of $50 — so I decided to make my own. This was a surprisingly easy project, if you have a little experience with sewing. If you’re a beginner, you might want to leave off the pom pom trim, as that was the hardest thing to sew.

tree skirt pompoms

This tree skirt has ribbon ties that hold it together and pom pom trim. But you can of course customize it however you want. You might use a different kind of trim, or use Velcro instead of ribbon. I basically followed Design*Sponge’s excellent tutorial for making a basic tree skirt, but added the trim and the fleece backing.

Ok, let’s get started!

Materials:

Square of fabric (48″ to 60″ dia, depending on your tree)
Square of fleece fabric for backing
pom pom trim (enough for the circumference of the circle, pi x dia)
grosgrain ribbon in color of your choice (4 pieces of about 10″ each)
sewing machine & thread
pins
scissors
fabric marker or chalk (or just a pen)

First, I took a square of fabric big enough to cover my tree base, and folded it into quarters. I already had this plaid fabric, so it was free! I usually like more color but for Christmas I like traditional decorations, so this was perfect.

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Most tree skirts I saw in retail stores were between 46″ to 60″ wide. My tree is a 6.5′ artificial tree, which isn’t huge, so I made the diameter of my tree skirt about 48″. I made a makeshift compass using a thread, a pin, and a pen. I tied the thread to the pin and the other end to the pen. My thread was about a foot long. I stuck the pin into the folded corner like so:

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And traced a quarter circle on my fabric. See the faint green line?

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Then, I carefully cut through all 4 layers of fabric using sewing scissors. I unfolded the circle of fabric, and used the scissors to even out any jaggedy areas. Then, I used the circle to trace another circle onto my fleece backing (which was just an old blanket I had lying around) and cut it out.

Now we have to cut a hole in the middle of the circle for the tree trunk. I folded the circle into quarters again and used a bowl to trace a quarter circle on the fabric. Then I cut out the circle.

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I unfolded the circle half way (so it is folded in half), and cut along one of the straight folds.

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So now you have a two-sided circle of fabric with a hole in the middle and a straight cut from the center hole to the outside.

Make sure once again that the wrong sides of the fabric are together. If you’re using pom pom trim, fold back the top layer of fabric and pin the trim to the bottom layer, with the pom poms on the inside. Replace the top layer of fabric and pin it in place. So now, you have two layers of fabric with the pom pom trim sandwiched between.

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On the straight open edge, sandwich your ribbons with the long ends inside the fabric (I used 4 sections of approx 10″ long grosgrain ribbon). Pin them in place. When it is sewn it will look like this (short ends out, long ends in).

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Now, you just need to sew around the entire perimeter of the circle, as well as up and down the straight edges and the hole inside. Leave an approx 5″ hole through which you can turn the whole thing inside-out. Sorry, no pics of this step, I was concentrating on sewing. As you sew the edges, make sure you catch the edge of the trim which is sandwiched between the fabric layers. This is the most challenging part.

Then, turn the whole tree skirt inside out through the hole. You can sew the hole closed by hand, but I just folded the raw edges in and top-stitched it on my sewing machine (because I’m lazy like that).

Christmas Tree Skirt

 

If you were able to catch the edge of the trim as you sewed around the circle, the pom pom trim should now face out and be securely attached! It’s like magic.

I wish I had better progress pics, but it was hard enough just doing the sewing with a toddler constantly underfoot, much less take photos. If you’re having trouble understanding my instructions, the Design*Sponge tutorial is really helpful.

My tree isn’t decorated yet! That will be a fun family activity in the next few days. I’m excited to decorate for the holidays and to make a few more crafts for this season! As a young family we don’t have a lot of traditions yet, but I’m hoping to make holiday crafting one of them!

DIY Xmas Tree Skirt

Oh and my budget breakdown was this:

plaid fabric = already owned but it orig cost $1/yard at a discount fabric store, so about $1.50
fleece fabric = reused an old throw blanket I already owned, so $0
pom pom trim = used a coupon, about $6
ribbon = $1

So in all this tree skirt cost me about $8.50 to make! It would have cost almost nothing if I hadn’t bought the pom pom trim, but I like it! It looks like little snowballs!

Are you planning to DIY a tree skirt? How about any other decorations for the holidays? You might like these other holiday crafts!

Holiday Crafts

Festive Holiday Wreath

Simple Peace and Joy Banner

Happy Holidays everyone!

Sharing at TheBlissfulBee, TheIdeaRoom, TatertotsandJello and SavvySouthernStyle!

Turn Your Kid’s Pants into Shorts (in 3 Easy Steps)

Here’s a quick project that took me all of 15 minutes, and helps reuse something you would otherwise give/throw away, use as a rag, or lose in the bottomless black hole you call the closet (or is that just me?).

With the warm weather we’ve been having, I’ve really been wishing that my toddler had fewer long pants and more shorts. She’s going to outgrow her long pants before the weather gets cool again. Well, duh, I told myself, why not just shorten the pants?

turn kids pants into shorts

You’ll need:

1 pair of jersey cotton pants
sewing machine
thread that matches pants
scissors

I love the neon pink polka dots on these pants but they were kind of a weird shape on my girl. She has skinny legs so the pants ended up baggy around the thigh, but weirdly tapering at the ankle. So I decided that this pair would be a perfect candidate for a redo, and if it didn’t work out, oh well.

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Warning: I am not a seamstress. Not even close. I’m a total amateur who has to look at the manual every time I try to thread my sewing machine. So if I can do it, you can too!

Turn the pants inside out. Fold the pants in half lengthwise and snip off the bottom portion. I just eyeballed it, but remember that you’ll lose more length after you hem the pants.

cut off pant legs

Fold up the cuffs at the bottom of the legs. You could be all fancy and zigzag stitch them, but the knit t-shirt material won’t fray, so don’t worry about it.

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Besides, who’s going to be snooping in your baby’s wardrobe criticizing your hemming skills? (uh…don’t answer that question.)

Just sew around the hem with the sewing machine. Let the machine pull the fabric through to avoid stretching the fabric. Just make sure you don’t sew the leg shut. If you want to be fancy, you can sew in a double seam (just add another seam next to the first).

hemming shorts

(I forgot to take a picture while I was sewing, so I faked the above picture.)

And it’s as easy as 1…2…3!

turn kids pants into shorts

Is it perfect? Nope. I’m incapable of sewing a straight seam. Does it work and are they comfy? Oh yeah.

I tried to get a pic of my daughter modeling the shorts but she moves too fast. This is the best I could do and it’s a little blurry.

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Of course, when you hem your shorts you will use a matching thread instead of white, unlike me, right?

The shorts are a little loose and flowy which is actually nice for this warm weather. They are the perfect play pants now.

DIY Clutch from a Placemat

diy clutch from a placemat

I’ve been wanting to make a diaper clutch for a while. I have one that is a diaper clutch + changing mat all in one, but it’s kind of bulky. I just wanted something a little more compact that I could throw in my purse. This clutch is perfect. It’s cute enough to use as a little purse on its own too. I can just slip my wallet inside and carry it along with a diaper and a pack of wipes when I’m out with the baby.

I got this awesome idea from Nalles House. She takes a placemat, folds it, and sews up the fold to create a 5-minute clutch, perfect for toting diapers and other stuff. I decided to make mine a little shorter, and to add a strap, so it ends up taking a little bit longer, but it’s still pretty simple.

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I grabbed a blue and green ikat placemat from Target. It was nice and stiff, and I love the pattern for a clutch. Here’s the how-to!

I wanted my clutch to be a little shorter so it would hold diapers/wipes more snugly. So, cut off about an inch on each side (lengthwise).

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Use one of the extra strips to make a strap for the clutch. Cut off both ends; then fold the raw edges under and iron them, like so:

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Fold the strip closed so that the folded edges are flush. Then top-stitch with the sewing machine:

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With the layers of interfacing that are already sewn into the placemat, you now have yourself a nice sturdy strap:

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Now you need to close up both sides of your placemat proper (since we cut off the sides). Turn it inside out so the wrong sides are out:

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Sew along each side (leaving about 1/4 inch seam allowance). Remember to leave about a 3-inch gap at one corner so that you can turn the placemat back right-side-out!

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Turn the placemat right-side-out and iron it flat. Tuck the raw edges of the gap under and iron them flat so they lie flush with the sewn edge.

Decide how deep you want your pocket to be and fold your placemat accordingly.

IMPORTANT! Make sure the 3-inch gap is in the front corner of your clutch (see picture below):

folded clutch

The placement of your gap is important because that is where we will insert the strap. The ends of the strap will sit inside the top layer of the placemat, so the raw ends can’t be seen on the inside of the clutch.

Sew from the top corner, down across the gap, the straps, and the rest of the edge of the clutch. You’re sewing through multiple layers, and your machine may not like this. I recommend going very slowly, and you may need to manually turn the wheel of the machine to make the needle go through smoothly. Backstitch across the straps for added security, then continue sewing down the rest of that edge. Backstitch and trim your ends.

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Now start at the opposite diagonal corner (beginning at the fold), and stitch along the remaining open edge. Continue topstitching all around the rest of the top flap, ending at the place where you stitched in the strap. Backstitch and trim off your thread.

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Note: While you’re sewing you may want to backstitch along any areas where there will be tension.

Now, you’re pretty much done! You should have something that looks like this!

(I hand-stitched in a hook-and-loop closure. I didn’t want to sew right through the fabric so I just used a whip-stitch to sew it into place. Please, please, please don’t make fun of my hand-sewing. It’s a good thing my marital prospects…and future…don’t depend on my sewing skills…)

diy diaper clutch

Voila!

diy clutch from placemat

You could, of course, have made this from your own fabric instead of from a placemat. However, I liked how the placemat was already the right size, and came with all the interfacing and lining fabric so I didn’t have to buy those and cut them to size. My sewing skills are pretty much limited to sewing a (more or less) straight line, so this was a quick and easy project for me!

Hand-wash your clutch and DO NOT tumble dry! I find that these placemats shrink abominably and get all wrinkly when you machine dry them!

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This makes a perfectly sized diaper clutch, but you could also use it as a mini purse, or to store toiletries or other little things in! Do you like?

 

Napkin Pillow Covers

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Over the weekend I stopped by World Market to check out their sales. I had a $10 off $40 coupon from the World Market Explorer program and I wanted to pick up a few things for our newly renovated family room. I found some super cute patterned cloth napkins and thought they would be just the thing to brighten up our rather drab, hand-me-down couch.

I choose these lovely patterned napkins with florals and birds (the Whippoorwill pattern). My daughter pointed at the birds and tried to bark, so I had to go for them.

There are lots of other pretty patterns though!

chevron napkin Gemma napkin vintage floral napkin

If you get a napkin with a lace trim, like the vintage floral on the right, you can just remove the trim with a seam ripper and incorporate in the place of piping on the pillow!

I love how cheap and easy it is. The napkins are perfect 20×20″ squares so you don’t have to worry about cutting. I added a zipper using this awesome tutorial from Design*sponge, but you could also create no-sew versions using this tutorial from Centsational Girl.

They go really well with the storage boxes I found on sale on the same World Market shopping trip…

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…which have now found a place on the Expedit entertainment unit (now discontinued from IKEA).

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And no, I haven’t really fully arranged the books and accessories yet. Chris still has to anchor the unit to the wall, and then I’ll really get my style on. In the meantime, there are a few random things (like the TV mount) sitting on the shelves.

Remember that Modern Family episode where Phil procrastinates anchoring the cabinet to the wall and then it falls during an earthquake? I feel like we might be heading for a repeat of that episode…

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