Tag Archives: sewing

revitalize your couch cushions

The biggest eyesore in my house is truly my couch.

Saggy Couch Cushions

I have big plans and dreams for this thrift-store find. Maybe one day I’ll get around to create a slip cover for it a la Honey Bear Lane, because frankly, I’m not even sure what color this couch is. Green? Brown? Regardless, if anything were to be done about the couch, it had to start with the back cushions.

couch cusions

I bought the couch with these saggy and lifeless back cushions. Over the past year and a half, they’ve just gotten worse. For some reason, only the middle cushion can stand upright. The side two are absolutely hopeless. So I set out to change it.

How to Re-Stuff Couch Cushions

*I apologize in advance for the terrible lighting in my house, which creates awful pictures.

For this project, you’ll need appx. 2 yards of high-loft batting.
Optional pillow stuffing, depending on how full you want your new pillows to be.

I took the pillow form out of the case and placed it on a flat piece of batting. I traced around the pillow, leaving about 5 inches of space on each side. You’ll need to cut two pieces.

pillow form

This pillow has a curve in it that fits over the armrest. I initially worried that I would really mess this part up, especially since I didn’t measure anything, but it works out because the pillow case holds a more defined curve than the pillow form.

On my second batting cut-out, I made the bottom piece a little longer, so I can create a wide base for the bottom.

pillow form

Pin the sides together and sew around the entire thing – sorry, no picture. I sewed at the 5/8″ line and didn’t even bother changing my thread color. It’s a tough sew. My machine made all sorts of bad noises. I recommend using a walking foot if you have one. I didn’t.

Leave a little opening big enough for you to put your hand though, so you can stuff your pillow. I left my opening at the bottom left corner.

opening

I didn’t trim my thread or seams. I didn’t even turn it inside out. No one will see this, ever.

Next, start stuffing. You can buy more stuffing if you want, but I just used the polyester mix that was already in my old pillow form, which had a big hole in it.

stuffing

Yeah, I didn’t cut that hole. It was already busted apart.

For the most part, this stuffing worked fine. I bought a huge bag in anticipation of filling the new pillow form, but only used a few handfuls. The filling from the old pillow just needed to be handled and spread apart a little.

stuffing

Pay attention to pushing the stuffing back into corners.

pillow

Once the pillow was stuffed, I started to freak out. It looked way bigger than my pillow form or the case. Also, it was a little crooked. I’m sloppy.

Then I went on to sew up the hole in the corner.

sewingI’m not an expert at hand sewing. It doesn’t matter. No one will see this.

And you’re done!

finished

Place it back in your pillow case.

beforeafter

I love the new full-bodied pillow. Any problems with the shape of the pillow form are fixed once you place it in the case.

Total Cost:
High Loft Batting: $17 with 50% off coupon: $8.50
Pillow stuffing (optional): $7, but I didn’t use enough to suggest purchasing it for this project

Total Time: 45 min! I think the time and financial investment are well worth it.

{linked up here, here, and here}

currently loving: laura amiss textile design

I just can’t get enough of these textile designs on canvas from Laura Amiss. She’s a textile artist living in Amsterdam.

I love what she does with fabrics.

city living – stitched city scape canvas print

My favorite. I could stare at this one all day.

I was different

She also does prints.

Teapots

Triangles

And she does rad sewn portraits. Be sure to check out her etsy shop or view more of her work.

the weekender 5/20/11

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Hello friends. Another weekend is upon us. This one will include blueberry picking and craft beer tasting. This summer is turning into a cheery one.

I want so very much to make a poncho top [tutorial]. How perfect and lightweight for summer.

Take some old handkerchiefs and make them into panties! What a great upcycle.

I’ve mentioned my love of asparagus here before. Well, perhaps its only rival is my love of cake. Now I can have both with this brilliant asparagus cake.

Jordan Ferney’s DIY photo booth printables are so hip and fun. I need to find an occasion to set up my own photo booth.

I’m not going to pretend I’m above this – Apartment Therapy’s 20 Tips and Solutions to Keeping a Cleaner Bathroom.

Have a good weekend!

how to make a long scarf [tutorial]

I made this scarf the other day. It’s really long, a little less than 80 inches, and can be wrapped all sorts of ways.

Make A Long Scarf Tutorial

I fell in love with the fabric. I picked it up when fleece was on sale.

How to Sew a Long Scarf Tutorial

How to make the scarf:

1. Cut out four even pieces. Since I wanted a long scarf, I  folded the fabric in half lengthwise. My pieces were 8 inches wide, but you can make your scarf thinner or wider.  Mark the width with chalk and cut. Make sure you use a cutting board or another device to make sure your fabric slices are even.

How to Sew a Long Scarf Tutorial - Cut Fabric

The dimensions of each piece is 44″ x 8″. I will be combining two pieces in the middle, which makes the total length around 80 inches (with cutting and trimming, etc.).

How to Make a Long Scarf Tutorial

Four identical pieces.

How to Sew a Long Scarf Tutorial

2. Create a middle seam. Since I have a colored fabric pattern with lines, I had to take extra care to make sure the fabric pieces lined up to create a symmetrical scarf. If you’re a beginner, it might just be easier to not deal with lining up the pattern. Go for a solid color fabric.

Take the time now to decide what will be the inside of your scarf and which side will be the outside of your scarf. Here are my four pieces lined up.

How to Sew a Long Scarf Tutorial

Using two pieces of scarf, match the middle colors together. In this case,  my middle was going to be navy.

How to Sew a Long Scarf Tutorial

With right sides together, sew the middle seam of each side of the scarf – two pieces for each side. Then trim the excess. Now you should have two long pieces.

3. Sew the scarf.

From here it gets pretty simple. Line up the two sides of the scarf so that the fabric matches – right sides together. Again, if your fabric doesn’t have a pattern, then put your two sides together and don’t worry about having to line anything up.

Pin your scarf with right sides together. Starting at the top of the scarf, stitch down (at 5/8ths an inch) until you reach about 5/8ths an inch from the end, then turn the scarf, and stitch across. Once you reach about 5/8ths from the other side, turn the scarf again, and start stitching back toward the top.

This is a picture of the left side already stitched. Now I’m stitching back up the right side.

4. Stop once you get to the top, do not stitch across. You want to leave an open mouth on the scarf. Once you reach the top, do a few back stitches to reinforce your seam. Trim off the excess string.

5. Trim the seams, cutting off the excess fabric.

6.  Using the open edge of your scarf, reach your arm in there and turn the scarf inside out.

7. Creating the top of the scarf: With the scarf now turned right side out, you’re going to want to finish the top. Turn some of the top fabric inward and press the seam. Pin it closed.

How to Sew a Long Scarf Tutorial

Now sew it closed, starting with a few back stitches to reinforce the close. Here I stitch very close to the top of the scarf. I place my presser foot at the top of the scarf. This ensures that you’ll sew through the folded top of the scarf.

How to Sew a Long Scarf Tutorial

8. Press the entire scarf flat.

There you have it.

Make A Long Scarf Tutorial

A super cozy fleece scarf.

Side note: Tutorials are tough. I’m still getting the hang of them. I welcome constructive criticism and questions about this tutorial. Thanks!

practical christmas gift ideas – life skills

Lately, I’ve been subscribing to minimalist living blogs and philosophies, which is really hard to do when you’re a crafter, baker, cat-toy hoarder, and all-around enthusiast for cute, useless things. I’m also trying to push this philosophy on others this Christmas season. I’m really making an effort to provide useful gifts that won’t sit around on shelves collecting dust. While I already have my Christmas presents picked out, here are some “life skills” presents you may want to consider giving to the cherished ones in your life.

1. Cooking Classes – I am shocked, shocked, at the amount of people in my life who don’t know how to cook, don’t own a cookbook, don’t have any food in their fridge [ahem, boyfriend], only shop in the frozen food aisle, or just eat out for three meals a day. It’s costly, unhealthy, and stubborn. How is cooking that hard? It isn’t. Anyone can cook. I really think it’s a result of laziness and stubbornness. Sure, gourmet cooking isn’t for everyone, but simple, fast meals are important and there’s no excuse for not being able to prepare a quick something for an unexpected house guest or friend.

That’s why I suggest giving a cooking class as a practical gift. Try to avoid things along the gourmet or highly experienced line, unless you know they will use those skills. Many cooking class venues have “simple and quick” cooking themes.

Classes can be expensive, but you could also get your cherished one a “beginning cooking kit.” This could have a cook book, or just some of your favorite, simple recipes, along with a pot or pan, and some cooking staples. Some people don’t have things like baking soda, butter, cooking spray, or even chopping knives. It’s a great way to be creative. I would also offer them cooking dates, where you’re able to spend some quality time together.

2. Carpentry Classes - I know this sounds really intense, but it shouldn’t be. I’m signed up to take a carpentry class in the spring. Think about all of the things you can fix, refurbish, or create if you had some simple wood and nail skills.

3. Knitting or Crocheting Supplies – And then encourage them to sign up for a knitting/crocheting circle. These are great for making friends, gaining skill, and swapping gossip. Winter is the best time to bust out those needles and hooks and work toward warm, cozy handmades. You’re giving them the skill to create gifts to give other people.

4. Cheese Making Classes – If you have a foodie in your life, this class could be perfect. Creating your own cheese is a cheap and satisfying way to impress your friends, save money on gourmet cheeses, and add some homemade flavor to your favorite dishes.

4. Beer or Wine Making Supplies – There’s no doubt that home brewing is costly and difficult. But once mastered, it’s quite rewarding to have your own personal collection of beer or wine. The start up cost for home brewing is pricey, but after that, you can make cheap batches of tasty alcohol. Give them the gift of experimenting with flavors, naming their creations, and creating their own labels. Also, this is another one that’s great to re-gift. I’ve heard beer brewing is more successful in taste than homemade wine making, just keep that in mind.

5. Upholstery Classes - Have you ever seen an ugly couch at a thrift store, but it was the most comfortable thing you’ve ever placed your tush on? I know you thought to yourself, “If only it wasn’t so ugly…” Well, make sure your loved ones will never say those words again. Give them the gift of refurbishing chairs, couches, ottomans, or whatever else they want to take a gander at.

6. Cake Decorating Class – If some of the classes above seem a little difficult, cake decorating is something for any age and skill level. You don’t even have to know how to bake a cake or make frosting (hello, box mix). Cake decorating is a pretty, easy way to impress your friends. There’s always an occasion to bake a cake!

7. Sewing Classes - I see tons of blogs that have cute, very simple sewing projects. They often involve re-vamping a thrift store find. But when I read the comments sections, most of the comments go like this, “It’s so cute, too bad I don’t know how to sew.” What’s stopping you (or in this case, your friends)? Taking up a hem, fixing a button, or taking in a shirt are quick fixes that can save you money. The basic sewing class usually covers all of these. And for the more advanced seamstress try giving them a pattern making class.

8. Kombucha Brewing Kit - I haven’t seen these, but starting your own kombucha is pretty easy. So if you have a health-conscious friend that downs 7 bottles of $4.50 G.T.’s Kombucha a week, maybe tell them it’s time to switch to a cheaper option. Make life easier for them and buy them a jar, some cheesecloth, and start growing the mother, or SCOBY, before Christmas. Yeah, so it’s a smelly gift, but a delicious one. A simple Google search of how to grow Kombucha will help answer all of your questions about supplies and how-to’s. Once a mother has matured, it’s pretty easy to harvest a great quantity of Kombucha, because you can usually get more mothers from the initial one. Your friend will have to start giving Kombucha away, and guess who will be first in line.

If you’re afraid you’ll never be able to find these classes or supplies, all it takes is a google search. Many community colleges or technical colleges offer carpentry, sewing, upholstery, and many other life skills (plumbing!) for a cheap price. Your friends and loved ones will be happy to have less clutter and more useful skills they can share or profit from.

image source: cooking class, homebrewing, kombucha

fleece beanie tutorial

Happy Holidays everyone! I’m ready to get into the Christmas spirit. Did I mention I’m ditching the consumer frenzy this year and opting for more simple, eco-friendly, and personal gifts? Yes, you heard right, I’m making or thrifting all of my gifts this year. And I’m happy to let you, dear readers, participate in

Craft 1: Fleece Beanie Hat Tutorial

I got an email from Joann Fabrics mentioning fleece was 50% off. So I spent an ungodly amount of money and have yards and yards of the stuff.

Today’s craft is a fleece beanie hat (with tutorial!).

You will need:
-measuring tape, scissors, pins
-fleece about 1/2 a yard
-sewing machine and thread
-marking pen or chalk

First: Take a measuring tape and measure your head around the ears. If you are making a gift, Martha Stewart has average head sizes listed on one of her hat crafts. You’ll also want to measure from the base of where you plan to wear your hat to the back of the head, where you think the hat should end. This is the crown distance.

Next: Cut out a piece of fleece measuring the length of the circumference of your head, and the height of the crown measurement. Add a quarter of an inch to all sides to allow for seams. This is the size my fleece cutout was.

Fleece Beanie TutorialNext: Fold the fleece piece in half lengthwise. Using chalk, place a line on the halfway point of the length of your hat, so probably around 12 or so inches. Then draw a curve from the point down to the end of the fleece. Here’s what I did:

Fold the fleece in half again at the halfway mark (so it’s in quarters), flatten it, and cut around the white arc.

Fleece Beanie TutorialSew along the white line, or at 5/8ths an inch.

Fleece Beanie TutorialTrim the seams. Here you can use pinking shears. Or you can serge them or zigzag, whatever you want to finish the seams. I left them raw.

Fleece Beanie Tutorial- Trim the Extra Fabric

The next part is making the seam around the forehead and ears. I turned my seam in and left it at a quarter an inch. Then I sewed along the edge.

Fleece Beanie Tutorial -  Sew the edges

Turn the hat inside out, and you’re done!

Fleece Beanie Tutorial

Super sexy, about to go to bed, webcam photo.

Snug and warm!

I Made This: Blue Dress with Dancing Business People

I found this skirt at the Goodwill in Savannah.

I’m always apprehensive about buying things at Goodwill because they’re usually in the $4 range, and sometimes require a lot of work (I have a perfect example of this in an upcoming dress.) But the print on this dress was way to fun. But what exactly is it?

Dancing women and men in 90’s business attire? Whatever it was, I wanted it on my body.

I hate hemming. So I cut this one from the top. I had to remove the zipper and re-sew that seam. From there it was pretty simple.

I folded the top over about an inch and pinned it, prepping it for the elastic.

The guy on the right next to the seam is my favorite. Anyway, Then I sewed it down, leaving room for elastic to enter. I didn’t want an inch of elastic, but that was all I had, so I cut it in half lengthwise. My biggest fear was it losing the elasticity, but it worked fine. Then I threaded the elastic through my seam.

Then I sewed the elastic in tight. At the end, I grabbed a black ribbon (about two inches thick) that I’ve had for years. I wrapped it around creating a high waistline. The ribbon moves, so I had to sew it on to the dress, which gives it a more professional feel anyway.

Here’s the result:

This is a fun one. I’ve already worn it out to do some errands.

Thanks to my lovely beau, who took time away from watching The Big Lebowski to take pictures of me.