Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Zipper Pillow Covers

I’ve been sewing pillows like crazy over here.  After the amazing sale at Hancock fabrics, I bought tons of fabric and four pillow forms.  Recovering a couple old pillows at home, plus some ingenious two fabric sided pillows using leftover fabric from earlier projects, I had enough materials for six new pillows!  I still have one pillow to sew, but I was so excited about the ones I’ve made, I had to show you now. 
In order to have a two sided pillow, I had to learn a new sewing technique.  My earlier envelope pillow style wouldn’t work for this, so instead I made zipper pillow covers.  Having never sewn a zipper before, it was quite the adventure.  My handy dandy Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts taught me the basics, and this youtube video from Expert Village helped clarify using the sewing machine to sew the zipper.  

Here’s how you can sew your own zipper pillow case:

Enough fabric to cover your pillow + 1” extra for seam allowance.  (I mostly used two fat quarters - 18” x 21” - for each pillow)
Pillow form (consider recovering an old pillow!)
Zipper the same length or longer than you pillow opening
Zipper foot for sewing machine
Basic sewing supplies

Step one:  Measure your pillow form and add one inch to the height and length for the seam allowance.  Measure these dimensions on two pieces of fabric using a ruler and fabric pencil and cut your squares.

Step two:  Pin your squares right sides together. Mark 3” in from each side on the edge you want the zipper on.  Starting at one side, sew to your 3” mark using a ½” seam allowance, backstitch to secure.  Repeat on the other side.  Using a basting stitch, sew between the 2 marks using a ½” seam allowance.  (This is where your zipper will go.) 

Step three:  Press your seam open using a hot iron.  Using your fabric pencil, mark the pressed seam 3” in from either side (over your first marks.) 

Step four:  Prepare your zipper:  If your zipper is longer than the pillow opening, mark the zipper the same length as the opening.  Use a needle and thread to sew around the coils of the zipper at the mark, 5 to 10 times.  Then trim the zipper ½” below the mark.

Step five:  Place the zipper face down on your pressed seam, making sure the zipper pull is flipped up so you can unzip the zipper later.  Carefully pin the zipper to the fabric, lining up the coils with the seam as you go.  Use a needle and thread to baste the zipper tape to the seam for extra security.

Step six:  Replace your presser foot with your zipper foot on your sewing machine.  I sewed on the right side of the zipper foot (zipper is to the right of your zipper foot.)  Starting two inches below the top of your zipper, machine sew around the zipper about ⅛” from the coil.  When you get to the other side, stop about two inches from the top. Pull the zipper below the 2” mark and finish sewing around the top of the zipper.


Step seven:  Using a seam ripper, remove the basting stitches along the pillow opening and the zipper tape; unzip the zipper.  Pin the front and back pieces together, right sides aligned. Replace your zipper foot with your presser foot and sew the three sides with a ½” seam allowance.  When finished, clip your corners and turn the pillow inside out.

Step eight:   Push the corners out using a closed pair of scissors or a point turner.  Insert your pillow form into your new pillow case; repeat steps to your hearts' content! 

Now my couch is covered in pillows all handmade by me!  It’s such a great feeling to have completely unique and hand crafted items.  Someday I’d like my whole house to be handmade/up-cycled/refurbished by my boyfriend and I, from dishes to cabinets, curtains to maybe even furniture!  As that is a project to last a lifetime, for now I'll settle for my couch.  

Until next time, happy crafting!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New projects on the way!

It’s been a busy week of thrifty shopping for me.  After making that envelope pillow the other week, I was inspired to make a few more.  I took a stroll around Hancock fabrics, just to look, and walked out with a bag full of fabric and pillow forms.  Everything was on sale so I couldn’t resist.  For $65, I bought all this great stuff.

Reusing a couple old pillows I already have, and some grey fabric leftover from covering my living room walls with fabric (post on that adventure later) I have enough material to make six new pillows!  Here’s a sneak peek of my first two.  

I’ve wanted an ottoman for  a while, and with some inspiration from Pinterest, I’m going to turn this $5 Ikea Lack table I bought off Craigslist into something like this.



I don’t know what fabric I’m going to cover it with, yet, so that project is on hold until I finish a few other things.  (Like maybe buying the chair that I envision sitting next to the ottoman!)

I was staring at my bedroom wall the other day and thinking it’s a bit boring and empty looking - some diy craftyness is in need.  So it seemed like fate the next day when Michaels was having a super sale on their basic canvas - 3 canvas for the price of 1 - and I had received a 20% off everything coupon in my email that morning.  $7.50 later, I had three canvas, a 12x24 and two 12x12, and grand visions of some amazing canvas art. 

I’m going to have to ponder for a while exactly what I’m going to do.  I am definitely going to be covering the canvas with fabric, whether it’s premade or designed by me.  I’ve been really digging the Japanese sashiko patterns in my Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. 

They’re really graphic looking.  I’ve also been wanting to stamp fabric for curtains forever, but it takes so much fabric to make a curtain it seemed daunting.  This might be a good size to start with.  And I’ve been wanting to try my hand at applique, too!  So who knows what I’ll decide to do. Maybe I’ll do a different craft for each canvas, but in similar colors and shapes so they connect.  

Stay tuned for more diy home decor projects!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fabric Backed Display Cases Pt. 2

Just a quick post to show what my display cases look like up on the wall.  To learn how to make your own, see my previous post here.  On a side note,  it can be tricky to get your screws positioned perfectly on the wall (almost impossible, it seemed, for some of the boxes.)  If your having problems, try making a template of the back of your box and mark where your screws are supposed to go.  Two of my boxes came with their own templates and they were easier to put up than the ones I just measured carefully for.  Happy crafting!

Envelope Backed Pillow Cover

Here’s a quick and easy way to spruce up your living room decor.  Using leftover fabric from my fabric backed display cases  and my trusty Martha Stewart “Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts” book for directions, I had a new pillow on my couch in under an hour.  Here’s how to make one:


Fabric - enough to cover your pillow form + six inches
Pillow form
Thread to match
Sewing Machine
Basic sewing supplies (scissors, measuring tape, pins, etc)

Step one:  Determine the amount of material needed for your pillow.  Measure your pillow:  Add one inch to the height for the seam allowance.  Multiply your length times 2 and add 6 inches (for the envelope part) Ex:  My pillow is 14” x 14” - my fabric is 15” x 34”.

Step two:  Using fabric chalk or disappearing ink, measure and draw your dimensions on your fabric.  I used a measuring tape and chalk to mark my dimensions and then drew my outline using a metal ruler.  Cut your fabric out.


Step three:  Place your fabric upside down on an ironing board.  Using a ruler and pins, fold your two longest sides ½” over and press with an iron.  Fold over another ½”, press again and pin to hold your hems in place.  Sew your hems ⅛” from the inner fold (3/8”  into your fabric measuring from the edge.)



Step four:  Placing your fabric face down on your work surface, fold your two hemmed edges over each other, overlapping them by 4 inches.  (See where the extra 6 inches comes in.)  Measure your square to make sure it fits your pillow dimensions.  

Step five:  Pin the top and bottom edges and sew with a ½” seam allowance.  (If your fabric has a repetitive design like mine, make sure to line up your design before pinning so it doesn’t end up off-center.)  Turn your pillowcase right side out.  Use a point turner or a pair of scissors to push your corners out.


Step six:  Insert your pillow form and enjoy!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fabric Backed Display Cases

Inspired by fabric backed bookcases and staircases on Pinterest, I decided to cover the backs of these display cases with fabric before hanging them.  This easy project can be finished in a night, including shopping time for the materials.  I bought my fabric from Joann’s (in the home decor section.)  Always use a coupon or buy on sale!  My fabric was 50% off plus I had a 10% off coupon so it only cost me $10. My display cases were also on sale/clearance when I bought them.  Two were on clearance at Michaels and the other three I found at a thrift store.  I love thrifty shopping!

Here’s the steps to make your own fabric backed display cases:

1 yard of fabric/combination of fabrics
Display cases
1 yard of single sided fusible interfacing, midweight
Double sided tape - ¼” wide
Metal ruler
Exacto knife and extra blades

Step one:  Center your 1st box over your fabric so the pattern is centered.  Cut around the box, leaving about an extra inch of fabric around.  


Step two:  Cut your fusible interfacing to the same dimensions as your fabric.  I used a single sided fusible, midweight interfacing. Trim an extra ⅛” on all sides so your interfacing is smaller than your fabric. (This will keep you from accidentally ironing it to your ironing board.) 

Step three:  Set your iron to a steam setting and get your press cloth damp.  A clean white cotton t-shirt works just fine.  Follow the instructions for your fusible interfacing, but make sure you place the adhesive side face down on the wrong side of your fabric.

 Step four:  Grab your double sided tape (1/4” wide) and tape the back edge of your box.  Keep the tape about an ⅛” from the edge.  Put your fabric face up on your work space.  Line your box so your pattern is centered and straight and press firmly down to adhere the fabric to the tape.  Carefully flip your box over and smooth your fabric over the edges of your box so it’s taut and smooth.

 Step five:  Get your metal ruler and a sharp exacto knife.  Have some spare blades on hand as you need a very sharp blade to slice through the fabric.  Line your ruler up about ⅛” from the edge and carefully, but firmly run your blade along the ruler.  You should be able to cut through with one pass.  Continue on all sides and remove your excess fabric.  You may need to clean/trim frayed ends of your fabric.  If your box has metal hangers on the back, you’ll have to cut the fabric with scissors across that part, as the metal dulls the exacto knife.  You will also want to trim the fabric away from the hanger holes so you can easily hang your display boxes.


Step six:  Admire your handiwork and find a great spot to hang them. 

I”ll post pictures after I hang mine and fill them up!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back from summer break!

After a long hiatus involving lots of packing, moving, and unpacking, I am getting settled into my new apartment.  I am really excited about my new place, in part because I get to decorate a new space, and in part because I finally have a craft room!  My boyfriend and I moved into a two bedroom 4-plex and have turned the master bedroom into a craft/work room for all of our hobbies.  We've split the room pretty much down the middle - I love the juxtaposition of our things.  My side is filled with colorful yarn, soft fabric, and wooden spice racks and printer's cases filled with buttons and random delights while Noah's side has wooden cases stuffed with tapes, photography equipment, electronic gadgets, and crates filled with wires, knobs, and circuit board wizardry.  It is a wonderful space to create in.

 Since moving into our new place, Noah and I have continued our love of thrift store shopping by discovering some amazing finds.  Noah's best hit was a 1965 Stemlite lamp base designed by Bill Curry which he found for $4 at one of our new favorite thrift stores.

Noah found them selling for anywhere from $175 to $450 at online auctions with the original glass lamp shade.  We only had the base, but with a bit of digging at ReStore, I found a bubble dome that looked like it would fit our new lamp for $1.  Tada!

Only $5 and I'm the proud owner of a mid-century lamp.  Yay for thrifting! To finish the week off even better, Noah and I found a nice lamp and desk on the side of the road for free.  (The vast majority of our furniture, accessories, dishes... everything we either got at thrift stores or for free - which disproves the notion that you have to spend a lot to have nice things.)

Hello new work desk!

I'm in the middle of a number of home decor and crochet projects and will post pictures as I complete them.  I also mailed off a special present to a special new person and will post photos of that finished piece once the adorable recipient has gotten his present. 

That's all for now - happy crafting!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Almost done!

I'm going out of town for the weekend for a wedding (my plane actually leaves in 8 hours) so I just have time for a quick post.  I am almost done with the owl baby blanket.  The owl has a body and face now and I'm working on the border.  Say hello to Owly!

The other side of the blanket has a blank face with white eyes - a bit creepy but I'm not sure if I want to do that side.  Noah says I should crochet big X's over the eyes, like the owl is dead, but I'd rather not traumatize my friends' baby.  :/

I also finished the apron for a beginners class I intend on teaching in late August.  I haven't gotten the class posted yet, but here is what the finished piece looks like.

I'll update with more crochet fun next week.  Have a great weekend!