Posts Tagged ‘home decor’


Covering Pillows

February 7, 2013

My brother and sister-in-law bought a new couch recently and I offered to cover pillows for them.

My sister-in-law provided the supplies and I figured out a way to work without a pattern. It’s not the most scientific method, but it seems to have worked and I didn’t need to take a trip to buy a pillow cover pattern.
DSC04977Because pillows are thick, I knew I had to account for their width when establishing the dimensions I needed. Luckily, these pillows were not oddly shaped so this was easily accomplished
I rolled the pillow to each edge on the fabric and marked the touch down points with pins.
DSC04978I cut along the pins to make a large square. This was for the front side of the pillow. I then cut a piece that was 3/4 the length of the square but the same width and another piece that was about 1/2 the length of the square. These pieces were for the back where the opening to insert the pillow would be.

I folded down and hemmed a section of each small piece. I used a zig zag stitch to make it a little bit decorative.
DSC04980Then I layered the two back pieces on top of the front piece so the shorter piece would be on the inside when the pillow sham was turned right side out and I serged the whole thing together.
DSC04975Of course sergers leave long lines of serged thread at the end. My serger class taught me to finish serger seams by threading the excess thread into a needle and weaving it back into the serged seam.
Because there are four strands of thread braided together, the piece is too big for the eye of a standard needle. I use a darning needle and thread the excess back through the actual stitch rows rather than the loops.
DSC04981Once done, I turned the shams right side out and stuffed the plain pillows inside.
DSC04984The finished product.


Sew Curtains

December 14, 2012

So I’ve taken a break from clothing sewing and branched out into a bit more home decor. It’s taken a year but I’ve finally done some decorating in our house. My Christmas gift to my husband has been to redecorate his gaming room so he can use it as an office as well. I took the opportunity to make it into a room that a video game geek would love.

One of the key elements to this was the window treatment. The game room has a southern exposure so it gets a lot of light during the day and the light causes glare on the TV screen making it difficult to play. For the past year, we have dealt with this by draping an old rubber backed curtain over the window and holding it in place with thumbtacks. It was functional but looked awful.

BEFORE:curtainThere is clearly room for improvement.

I decided that the curtain would be a focal point for the room and went looking for some fabric that would appeal to a geeky gamer. I struck gold at where I found the design 8 Bit Memories, created by ilikemeat.  I had the option of different types of fabric and different weights. I bought two yards of the pattern in cotton poplin.


Of course the fabric is 42 inches wide and the window is 49 inches wide because that’s one of life’s rules, so my first step was to add a side border to the fabric to make it wide enough. I chose to do mine in black broadcloth.

DSC04921I think the black helps bring out the colours and images in the fabric as well.

I googled around for directions on making one’s own Roman Shades and eventually decided to follow the ones written by Steven and Chris who have a design show on CBC. I particularly liked their use of doweling and their helpful diagram.

I bought rubber blackout curtain lining because I knew the grey poplin would be pretty see through. I knew I should buy extra lining to allow for the creation of pockets for the dowels. Luckily this was easy as Spoonflower, like most American stores, sells fabric by the yard, and my local fabric store sells it by the metre so I had a built in length cushion.

I measured the fabric and marked out evenly spaced pockets for dowel rods. At first I made the pockets 1 inch in circumference but that got rather tight for the dowels so I increase them to 1.5 inches and spaced them about 8 inches apart.
Then I sewed the pockets in place and inserted the dowels.
DSC04926I used 7 dowels in  total. I didn’t use one right at the top because the instructions suggested using velcro to hang the curtain and a dowel would get in the way. I inserted one right across the bottom to weight down the last section and ensure it hung well when both open and closed.

Next was the hardest part. I had to centre the decorative fabric on the lining and ensure that the sides were straight and square. I did not have enough room in the sewing room to lay out the whole piece on a table so I wound up laying it out on my dining room floor.
DSC04928Stitching it together with the dowels was also a challenge
DSC04930 …and required some correcting
DSC04931But finally I had it all together.

The next step was to sew curtain rings at evenly spaced points across and down the curtain. I chose to do five rings across and six down to ensure there was plenty of support. The rings are clear plastic and are nearly invisible against the lining. I stitched each one to  the dowel.

Then I strung white string up through each column of rings and across to the top left and stitched velcro to the top of the curtain.
I stuck the other side of the velcro to the top of the window frame and hung the curtain.

This is how it looks when closed.
DSC04941I practiced pulling the strings to pull the curtain up and had to play with the tension on the different strings to make sure both sides of the curtain pulled up evenly. At first, the uneven strings cause the velcro to come undone, but once I made it even, that stopped happening.

When I had it right, I tied a knot in the strings to hold them at those varied lengths.

This is the open shade
DSC04945I then bought a curtain  tie holder that would hold the curtain in place when it was open.
I’ve noticed that my husband has started opening the curtain during the day to let the light in while he is at work. This, no doubt, makes the room more attractive to the sun seeking kitty cats.


The return of the seamstress

December 3, 2009

Hello world!

So I started this blog 11 months ago and basically disappeared 3 weeks in. Many things have happened. Jobs were found, moving took place and life got rather hectic. Stupid real world and its crazy real needs. However, I continued to sew and I will now attempt to catch everyone up on what I have been sewing.

Once we moved to our new apartment, the first major bit of sewing I did was to make curtains to maintain our privacy from the prying eyes of the nosey neighbours… Actually I don’t have to worry too much about that because we live on the 21st floor, but we do have an eastern exposure so the bedroom curtains were made first to allow us to sleep in past five on a summer morning.

red bedroom curtain on a sunny day

We were going for a slight Japanese influence in the bedroom so my husband loved the idea of a red curtain. The added benefit is that it changed the morning sun from the glare of an interrogation lamp to a rosy warm glow that could bring us awake slowly.

It’s a basic flat curtain with a sleeve for the rod. I made it to fit the window closely enough that there would be no gathers and I made it a double layer for added sun blockage.

I was working on a budget and trying to use up my stash so the red fabric came from a discount pile at the local Fabricland and the second layer visible in the sun is part of an orange sari I got in India a few years ago. Since I generally don’t wear orange, this seemed to be the best use for it. The sari, however, was narrower than the window so I doubled it up. The middle seam shows in the sunlight but after dark and in the winter no one knows it’s there.

From the rosy red, we move to the soothingSewing room curtains sewing room/ workout room/ second bedroom. Mostly it’s a sewing room which excites me a great deal as it’s the first one I’ve ever really had. I tried to get fashionable and do Roman blinds. Since there is a large blue tapestry hanging on one of the walls in the room, I decided on blue for the curtains and bought the fabric at one of the more affordable fabric stores in the fashion district.

As we are going to be moving at the end of this lease and I knew this when I got to these curtains, I tried to do as little cutting as possible so that the fabric can be repurposed in our next place (we remain nomadic). I hemmed the edges, stitched a sleeve across the top for the rod and stitched the top layer in place. The next flap is held in place by four hook and eye closures attached to the underside of the top flap. This allows me to drop the bottom flap down into a flat panel to cover the whole window and keep the light out. On a sunny day, this means I can actually see the needle on my sewing machine. It will also be useful should we ever put guests in the room.

Kitchen curtains

I think I’m most proud of the kitchen curtains. I first tried to make curtains with tabs in my first apartment. There was an ugly old sheet hanging in the window when I moved in that I modified into a hideously uneven curtain. The tabs were all different sizes and I broke my machine needle before I was finished hemming it so it was partially hemmed by hand.

 I was slightly horrified when I wandered past that apartment a year after I graduated and discovered that that curtain still hung in the window

These ones I’m rather proud of though. The fabric came out of my stash and matches the kitchen fairly well. I was careful with my measurements and unhurried with my sewing. Since my major early sewing experiences involved making costumes for my highschool plays, I’ve always been a little slapdash in my style. One of my goals is to change my style and become a bit more of a sewing perfectionist. These curtains were really my first serious attempt at this new style.

see the pretty tabs

And I think it’s starting to show.





See you soon.