Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Store Interfacing So You Don't Ruin It

While it may appear that I have figured out a storage solution to every possible stinking sewing implement, there was a secret I was hiding in the top drawer of my cutting table.  No, not this side:

Button Drawer

THIS side:
Interfacing Drawer of Madness

Not that bad you say?  Your interfacing storage solution is even worse?  Ok ok . . . I'm not gonna fight with you about it.  But I will say that there were several layers of ickiness going on with my interfacings.  Let me break it down:
  • Problem #1: Which one is which?  While I did an ok-ish job sometimes at keeping that dandy little tissue paper instruction page with the interfacings in question, there were still some stray pieces here and there that got moved around every time I shuffled through to see what I had . . . and subsequently became separated from the pack.  Because not every interfacing is interchangeable, not knowing what you're working with is a problem. (They make different kinds for a reason . . . I found this handy chart on all the different types, printed it out and hung it up just to remind me what the best kind is for every kind of job.  Threads also has a pretty thorough looking list of the actual brand names for reference as well in case that whole interfacing section makes you go cross-eyed and/or break out in hives.)
  • Super Creased Interfacing
    My poor Craft Fuse folded down into a bite sized piece of uselessness.
  • Problem #2:  Creasing.  As I understand it, interfacings should be kept rolled and not folded.  Of course this is exactly what I was doing with mine for the longest time because I had no idea what I was doing.  Thank you to the Fields Fabrics lady who rolled up my Wonder Under one time and gave me the side eye that said, "I know you don't realize this, but this should always be rolled up if at all possible."  Yes . . . all of that was said with an eye and she was completely right about me and my awful crease-y ways.
  • Problem #3: Shoving.  This is closely related to #2 . . . and #1 come to think of it.  Clearly this space was not enough to accomodate all the interfacings and battings and fusible fleece pieces that I had . . . why was I trying to torture all of this precious material?  Not only was it contributing to the aforementioned "which piece is which" problem, it was creating even more creasing than my originally ill-advised folding method of storage.
Now realize, I did briefly ponder rolling my interfacings and such around comic book backer boards as I had done with all my other fabrics.  The problem with that?  So glad you asked.  I HAVE NO ROOM.  Also, I have to fold and crease it a bit to fit on the smaller boards which just brings me back to Problem #2.

I'm not going to pretend I came up with this idea on my own . . . I didn't.  But it is kind of awesome in a completely why-was-I-not-able-to-figure-this-out-on-my-own way . . . and since I found very few Google search results that helped get me to this point, I thought I would share that I gleaned this little nugget of joy from a sample chapter of's new book: 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts and Tips by Deepika Prekash.  I am intrigued after reading the sample chapter and have put this on my must-check-this-out-the-next-time-I'm-at-the-book-store/library/whatever-I'm-just-going-to-add-it-to-my-Christmas-wish-list.  You hear that, Mr. Skooks Santa?  ;)

So some lovely lady within those pages shared this tip:
I have a dedicated sewing room, but storage space is still a problem.  I recently started rolling up my fusible interfacings and storing them in 24" cardboard mailing tubes. I use a dowel to start the rolling process; it makes rolling the lightweight interfacing much easier. I put labels on the outside of the tubes so I can identify the contents (lightweight, midweight, etc.). I store the tubes in a large cylindrical basket along with my rolls of tracing paper. —elaray
Is it odd that I actually said out loud as I finished reading that: "elaray, you're a GENIUS!"?  You're right.  No, it's not.
Interfacing Tubes

Now, I don't have a cylindrical basket at the moment, but I was able to tuck these few tubes I got (thanks, Mr. Skooks!) in the little crevice between my fabric hutch and my rolly cart of goodies.  I've only got 3 at the moment, but I'll get more until every last neglected type of interfacing is cared for as it should be.
Interfacing Storage Tubes

I decided to tape a copy of the instructions for the type of fusible contained therein on the outside of the tube for those moments when I completely brain fart and forget how to interface things properly.  Because you KNOW that happens even after I've done it a million times, right?
Interfacing Storage Tubes Top View

So there you have it.  One more bit of the sewing room bending to my organizational whims.

New problem: what kind of stuff am I going to put in this empty drawer?

For your reference, the tubes I used are 3" in diameter and 24" long which I would say is plenty big enough to accommodate pretty much all types of interfacing as well as a decent sized piece of fusible fleece.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Cherry Blossom Throw Pillows

For the last week my little sister has been visiting me from out of town.  (Yes, I say "little" even though she has been taller than me for last 15 years or so . . . whatever.)  Anyway, before she came I got an email from her that went something like this:

  • Squeeze:  How likely, represented in a percentage, do you think it is for you to whip up a quick pillowcase for me when I'm in town?  I'm thinking we go to goodwill for me to buy a throw pillow, and then we go to the fabric store for me to buy the fabric, and then you do a lil' this and a lil' that and just whip it up for me?
  • Me: I would say, like 100%.
  • Squeeze:  That's a pretty good percentage.
  • Me:  It certainly represents the best possible odds.
  • Squeeze: LOL
So we took a drive over to the Salvation Army thrift store to look for throw pillows to recover.  We also knew that there were some pillow forms on sale at JoAnn for 60% off which was the next stop on our list.  While we were able to locate some cheap throw pillow prices, the combo of knowing that new ones were discounted and the fear of bed bugs and such led us to leave them at the thrift store.  That meant things were a bust for her there, but not for me!  I found a couple pairs of vintage sheets and pillowcases to add to my growing collection.

We decided to head to JA for the pillow forms and to see if we could find some suitable fabrics.  We were not terribly impressed with what we found unfortunately (I had about 6 coupons in my purse which would have come in handy dandy if only we had found something.)  On to the Field's Fabrics which was a bit of a drive from where we were.  Thankfully, it was overflowing with possibilities and my sister was able to find some lovely home decor weight fabric that would coordinate but not be too matchy matchy with her couches:
Cherry Blossom Pillow Detail

I forgot to take note of what the name was or who makes it.  Oops.  (UPDATE:  Found it!)

We picked out some Kona cotton in a deep brown to match the branches for the backing.  I realized after we got home that there was not *quite* enough of the brown fabric to envelope both of the pillows.


Then, in one of those A-HA moments (otherwise known as a Take On Me moment) it occurred to me that I could add a bit more of that cherry blossom fabric to one of the sides to give me that extra bit of width.  Definitely a happy accident . . . I think it gives them a really polished look:
Cherry Blossom Pillow Back

Here's the pair of em together:
Cherry Blossom Pillow Pair
So pretty!

It's kinda funny . . . when all was said and done I also realized that they actually look really great on my couch:
Cherry Blossom Pillow Front

I may have to make a pair of these up for myself now!

And to think . . . all it took was a "lil' this and a lil' that".  ;)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Free Swatch Day!

Quick Quick Quick! Don't miss out on Free Swatch Day at Spoonflower!

The only hard part about this is which square to choose . . .  ;)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Custom Order: Aviary Damask Purse Set

Can I just start off by saying, I love custom orders?  There is a satisfaction that comes from dreaming something up and making it a reality.  Helping bring something into being that someone else dreamed up carries with it some pressure, but also an innate sense that THEY WILL LOVE IT.

It was their idea after all, right?  ;)

So yes, I was very excited to jump on a project for an old friend of mine who had been puzzling over finding just the right purse for some time.  The problem?  She has a long wallet that just doesn't fit into the size of purse she wants to carry around.

I totally get this.  Some people love toting a large bag around town, some don't.

Personally, I adore the look of large purses and bags (they're next on my custom order list!) . . . but as a rule I tend to be on the minimal side.  Now that I think about it, I wonder why?  Possibly because I lug Kee-ku's nearly 30 pound self around here and there all day long (especially when he's stinky and is not particularly cooperative on the way upstairs to get his diaper changed - - oh the back arching and kicking).

Anyway, so she wanted something large enough to accomodate her favorite wallet, but small enough that it was manageable as she went about her way.  She was also looking for a small change purse that could be used to hold some stuff within her purse (you know . . . the stuff that always ends up at the bottom of the bag that you can never seem to find when you want it . . . like chapstick?)

After a good amount of back and forth so I could be sure that she was getting exactly what she was hoping for, I worked up these:

Aviary Damask Woodgrain Set

The bag itself comes from a pattern by Fourteen May:
Aviary Damask Detail
Aviary Damask Inside

The sweet little change purse is a Keyka Lou pattern:
Woodgrain Change Purse Front
Woodgrain Damask Coin Purse Inside
The only thing that got me a little in a twist was picking out and sewing down the buttons.  I've done buttonholes before, but it's been a really long time . . . it was nerve racking to add a buttonhole at the end there when everything else was completely done and looking lovely.   

Ack . . . what if I messed up?!  If you're wondering, yes.  I said a prayer before I sewed the buttonhole.  Yes, I most certainly did.

The only thing left to do is get it into her hands.  I truly hope she loves using it as much as I enjoyed making it.  :)

Project Notes:
-bag pattern: June Bag by Fourteen May
-bag outer: Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 Plum Damask
-bag lining: Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 Woodgrain in Dill
-change purse pattern: Pleated Pouch by Kekya Lou
-change purse outer: Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 Woodgrain in Dill
-change purse lining: JoAnn Fabrics Cream and Blue Damask


Friday, August 5, 2011

Tick Tock, I Broke the Clock

Continuing my sewing room "theme" of trying to incorporate little bits of Heather Bailey's Pop Garden wherever I can, I decided to cut out one precious Pop Daisy and use it to makeover a wall clock.  This clock had been sitting around unused for the last few years or so and as the wake-the-dead alarm clock I was using in the sewing room had failed me previously (I assure you it was the clock's fault that I was late picking up Mr. Skooks from work last week - ahem), I decided it was time to take the wall clock out of hiding.

Pop Daisy Clock

Here's how it went down.

I took all the notable pieces apart.  The front "glass" (aka plastic) face, the hands, and then I pulled out the cardboard backing (which cracked in half as I was removing it . . . sweet).  I taped the cardboard back together and used it to carefully trace around my daisy as well as mark the hole for the clock hands.

All of this went off without a hitch.

Then I thought, you know . . . I haven't used this clock in years . . . I wonder if it still works?  So I tested it out with a fresh battery and Hurray!  It was working great.  I took it apart again.
I used spray adhesive for the first time and WOAH.  I really didn't know that stuff came out kind of THICK, let's say . . . so already I was off to a globby start.

In the end, it was ok-ish.  I just smoothed my fabric down over the adhesive as best as I could.  I figured this wouldn't be a biggie much anyway and once it was up on the wall I'm sure I wouldn't notice.

I popped the fabric covered piece back into the clock frame.  No turning back now . . . remember how I cracked it when I tried to remove it the first time?  I did a pretty good job of getting it straight in there, I think.

Then came the clock hands.  Remember how I was SUPER SMART and tested the clock to make sure it worked before I cut into my precious fabric?  Well, you will simply not believe this, but I put the hands back on and the thing did not STINKIN' work.


So I monkeyed with it a bit.  And then I monkeyed with it a bit more.  And finally I got it to work again.


I was down to my final step . . . all I had left to do was pop the plastic face into the frame and screw the pieces back together.  And wouldn't you just KNOW it, but I broke that stupid plastic face while I was tightening THE LAST SCREW.


So hmm . . . well.  I decided a faceless clock was better than nothing, so I hung it up anyway.  And NOW I remember why we took it off the wall in the first place.  It is DEAFENINGLY LOUD as that second hand TICK TICK TICKS around.
Pop Daisy Clock Detail

I guess it will help me realize the passage of time while I'm sewing away now, hey?  That was sort of the objective, right?

You're right . . . no it wasn't.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pinning is Winning

I know I am not the only one who has been singing the praises of Pinterest as of late.  It's all the rage among bloggers of all different types . . . with good reason.  As someone said recently (can't remember which blogger where said this so if it's you, please let me know and I'll gladly give you the credit), "Pinterest is like Google search that only gives you the cute results."

So true, friend.  So true.

Anyway, so as I've been pin pin pinning away all of these lovely ideas and inspirations, it has come up on several blogs I read that there was going to be a Pinterest CHALLENGE.  Not for prizes . . . just a "stop pinning and start using some of those ideas already" kind of a challenge.

Which is PERFECT because I have been really trying to stop pinning lately and just DO MORE.  And because I haven't just implemented ONE project that was inspired by something I found while pinning, I thought I'd share a little roundup of all of my most recent Pinterest-esque projects.

Are you amazed, my most recent post is something I pinned ages ago and finally got around to making?:

THEIRS - by Bloom and Blossom

Remember that table runner I made for my friends who are getting married?  I pinned it:
THEIRS - from Poppyprint Creates

Not suprisingly, many of my sewing room organizing ideas have been inspired by stuff I pinned.

For instance, my sewing hutch and floating dresser cutting "island" were both inspired projects:
THEIRS - by Hello My Name is Heather

As well as my ribbon storage:
THEIRS - by Just a Girl

My fabric rolling endeavor:
THEIRS - from Cut to Pieces

My little notions treat stand:
THEIRS - pinned from Everything Etsy

My design wall:
THEIRS - by Oh Fransson
My tissue poms:
THEIRS - from OhDeeDoh
And even my repainted ironing board:
THEIRS - by A Life Unrehearsed

I never blogged about it, but I also recently made this most heavenly-tasting and EASY salad of Peaches and Basil that I pinned from my friend, Jess (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to everyone):
Peaches and Basil - by Two Shades of Pink
 And these yummy Peanutty Bars I made recently to sell at my friend's yard sale:
Peanutty Caramel Bars - by AllRecipes
Oh Pinterest, I do believe that I got a lot more done before we met, but was it quite so cute and delicious?

Doubt it.

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