Friday, July 18, 2014

Sewing for the "Big Boy" Bed

My most recent sewing venture is not particularly photogenic but as of yesterday it is finally complete and that's something!

Before I show you what it is, though, I have to give the back story.

You see, when we needed the crib mattress for the new baby, ye old toddler bed had to go.

I found a somewhat safe looking "big boy" bed frame for a twin mattress and happily assembled it only to realize that the head-sized spacing of the slats might be a safety concern for a two-year-old.

Thankfully the old crib bumper provided a temporary solution but I wasn't satisfied.

No sirree.

My heart was firmly set against the idea of including embroidered zoo animals in the new decor!

And besides, I had that crazy navy blue and white chevron Riley Blake fabric that I had wanted to put in the room and it wasn't getting used as a duvet cover or curtains.  It needed a new purpose.

So I decided to make a slipcover -- for the whole bed!

This is Evie, the crib mattress stealer.

It took a little help from the boy himself, of course.

I used the chevron quilting cotton and some navy denim from my stash to make the cover and I batted it with scraps from a king comforter I had recently cut in half.

 (These pictures were taken in my 1950's basement with the lovely rust colored carpeting.)

The bed is 72 inches wide and I had 71 inches of fabric! I also had to change the direction of the chevron on the ends in order to have enough fabric.

On a normal night, the bed looks like some version of this:

My Jack has his pillow, a blanket on the side to keep him from hitting the rail, some sort of barrier near his feet to help keep him near the top of the bed (he rolls all over the place), and the blanket he's been using to sleep under.

I'm thinking that instead of rolling up blankets, I should make two matching bolster pillows the width of the bed that can be positioned as needed.  Maybe in orange or yellow or something.  Any thoughts on how to make them sort of heavy so that they aren't easily pushed around by a sleeping child?

I already have fabric to make different curtains and am day dreaming about other ways to (very frugally) decorate this blank slate!  (Any good ideas?)

Oh, and I'm absolutely going to make a matching navy denim cover for his stool.

In my spare time.  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pink Polka Dot Curtains

I'm slowly replacing the old curtains in the new house with updated ones.  The originals in the girls' room were real doozies when we moved in.  Stylish in their day, no doubt!
That day being 1975?

I've finished with three of four panels (for two windows). 

I cut them out of two and (not quite) a half yards of 108" wide cotton fabric.
You can find it here.

And I backed them with 36" wide bleached muslin
(that my sister used to decorate her wedding reception).

I'm no expert but I think the secret to making lined curtain panels is to cut the front fabric wider than the lining fabric so that it wraps around to the back.

Each panel has seven tabs. For the bigger window, I made the tabs about two inches wide.

I did the math and I think the curtains come out to less than $10 per panel.
(I got the lining fabric for free and spent about $14 per set.)

They could have been made (54" long) with blackout lining for around $14 a panel.

While I would never presume to compare these to Pottery Barn, I checked their site to see if they have anything similar and was floored to find out that PBK's hot pink polka dot curtains (with blackout lining) sell for a mere $50 per panel.

And that, my friends, is why I love to sew ;).

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Ever! Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever buy navy blue and white chevron again.  In fact, I might have to swear off chevron indefinitely.  It is bad news, friends.  Bad news!

So you see...

I found 108 inch wideback designer quilting cotton for a good price -- $11.95 per yard.  And I thought to myself, is this navy blue and white chevron print not perfect for my son's new bedroom?  I ordered a couple of yards and made plans with great anticipation.  This is going to be AWESOME, I thought.  Fun but not babyish, I thought.

Today, I opened it out on the floor and it seemed a bit on the busy side.  I'll make a duvet instead of curtains, I thought.  So I cut out the duvet.  As best I could.  While the room spun.  Because oh my goodness!  Navy blue and white chevron is practically impossible to look at.  IT BURNS YOUR EYES.

After cutting out the full duvet, I had to admit the awful truth that a sea of seizure-inducing fabric might not be the most relaxing choice of pattern for a toddler's bedspread.  I tried to fix the situation by cutting up the chevron fabric into wide bands and inserting bands of plain white fabric to create a striped pattern down the length of the duvet.  It helped a little with the brain overload situation, but it was just sort of meh to look at and my husband declared it "girly."

Anybody want two yards of wideback cotton fabric that looks like it's been shredded by an angry tiger?

Just kidding!  I have hatched a new plan and if it works out, I might even be back to tell you about it.

Unless my eyes never recover.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Twirling Skirt

There was a size 10 hand-me-down dress in my six-year-old's closet.

It hung forlorn and unworn.

That would never do!

I cut it off and made a casing for 1 inch wide elastic.

And now it is a skirt.

When you are six, you can never have enough twirling skirts.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm BACK! *insert ear-to-ear grin here*


I missed you!

How have you been?  What have you been sewing?  WHERE have the days gone?

My wee little one is not so wee anymore and I have a bit more time on my hands.

{gratuitous baby picture}

{you are welcome}

I've made some plans and ordered some fabric and jumped back in with both feet.

Just like old times, ya'll.

Can you believe my trims didn't organize themselves in my absence?  As they say in the nineties sitcoms: The Nerve!

Truth be told, I hadn't pulled out my machine since my last post and I was feeling a bit rusty when I started sewing this week.  To warm up, I put some (twill tape) ties and loops on my down comforter and duvet to make them cooperate with each other.  I hate it when the corners on the comforter slip out and when the comforter puddles in the bottom.

I really wanted to replace the buttons at the bottom of the duvet with an invisible zipper but I couldn't find a zipper long enough at the store and decided to sew the overall opening smaller instead.  I don't know about you but I definitely don't need a five foot hole to get a comforter into a duvet.  At least with the smaller opening the comforter won't have as many avenues of escape!

Interesting fact #1.  When it's ten o'clock at night and you can't find any regular old dual purpose thread, serger thread will work (it's not as strong, so don't use it on anything special).

Interesting fact #2.  It will not work quite as well when the spool disintegrates.

Interesting fact #3.  Spools of white, ivory, navy, and black thread is on sale right now for $1 at Joanns.

Today, I made a brand spanking new kitchen curtain (with my $1 thread) which I regret to inform you that I didn't photograph because that would have required me to either do my dishes or to field questions about the number of empty beer cans sitting next to my sink.

I'm on the fence about the curtain.  Not the fabric, though.  I still LOVE the fabric.

When it arrived in the mail and I expressed my great delight over the print, my husband gave me the "you're a weird one" look and went off about some brown chair his mother had with bee fabric on it that he and his siblings called the "bee chair."

Thought you'd want to know that.

I also purchased some Riley Blake polka dot and chevron fabric to make curtains and such for the kids rooms but I'm waiting for my sister to send me white fabric from her wedding decorations.  She promised to send me twenty-five yards (yay!) and I'm hoping to use it for the various backings I will need.

I'm sure I'll blog all about it.

Heck, I might even post a picture of the kitchen curtain.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Custom Tailored Bedskirt From A Flat Sheet? Yes'um.

This post should really be titled "I SEWED!  I SEWED!!!!"  because, phew, getting out the old machine is quite the accomplishment lately.

My new sewing companion.
Moving gives ya a real appreciation for the number of tools one uses in the trade.  As is...

Where'd that darn white bobbin go?  I could have sworn my pins were in this drawer?  Why did I pack the iron in the bottom of that box?

Heaven forbid you need a safety pin, my friends.

Anywho, after the move my husband and I got the silly notion into our heads that since we have been married for a while and have a bunch of kids and all of that jazz, it's about time we spent a dime or two on our bedroom to make it look like adults live here instead of a couple of twenty-year-old newlyweds.

In the course of my hunting for new bedding -- decorating on a budget is not for the faint of heart -- I was a little put off at the cost of bedskirts.  The inexpensive ones I saw online and in the stores were cheaply made, nearly see-through, got horrible customer reviews, and were still over-priced.

I could totally make my own poorly-constructed bedskirt for less :).


See?  You can hardly even see it!  Why do we pay money for this stuff?  But just in case you want to see it...

Oh my.  I have a whole new appreciation for bed stylists.  They must Photoshop the wrinkles out of those pictures.  At least that's what I tell myself to make me feel better about sharing these shamefully wrinkly pictures.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take photographs of the process, but I decided to post anyway and give you a run down of what I did. If you'd like more details or pics, drop me a line.

Target sells sheets that aren't in sets. We have a queen bed and I bought a queen flat sheet which enabled me to make a bedskirt with a 13" drop.  The cost of the sheet was about $14.

I started by measuring thirteen inches and sewing the corners.  No hemming required! (At the head of the bed, I didn't sew a full corner.  I only turned over the wide band that makes up the top of a flat sheet.  I'll update with a pic as soon as I get the chance.)

Then, I took a seam down the middle of each side to take in the extra fabric, leaving the 13" drop on each side open. I pressed the seams flat to make inverted pleats on the sides and end of the bed.  

And do I have a picture of an inverted pleat?  Of course not.

*Quick!  Insert distracting baby picture!*

Did it work?

Anyway, that's that.  

When I chose to make the bedskirt instead of buy it, I thought for sure I would regret it.  Pleasant surprise!  It was finished in one night and I'm pretty sure 75% of my time was spent pressing the fold marks out of the new sheet.  Plus, I was able to get a custom length instead of the standard 14" drop.

Worth it.

Time to finish up the rest of the bedroom makeover.  What shall we sew next?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our New Love

Our precious little "Evie" is one week old today.

She entered the world on Friday, January 17th at 2:31 p.m.

She weighed six pounds, thirteen ounces, and measured twenty-one inches long.

My labor was induced Friday morning and her birth was quiet and peaceful.

Evie is amazing and delightfully cuddle-able and I'm sure you can tell by the picture that she smells perfectly delicious as all babies should.

We closed on our house on Wednesday, had her on Friday, and moved on Monday. This year is shaping up to be quite the adventure...