Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Sewing Room Makeover, Part 3: Dust Barrier, Fabric Box and Sewing Ladies

This is the third in a series of posts about my sewing room makeover, completed in July/August of 2014.

In Part 3, I'm sharing a few finishing details: a dust barrier for the end of my shelving unit, a fabric storage box and my re-purposed Sewing Ladies embroideries..

One more post will share some of my before and after photos.

Dust Barrier

After the furniture was moved back into the room, I sorted fabric and refilled my shelves. Part of my fabric collection is organized in a row of six Antonius frames and wire basket storage units from IKEA. One end is located right next to the doorway and was unprotected from traffic in and out of the room. In the past, this side accumulated dust and thread on some of the fabric, so I decided to make a barrier to protect it. 

Sewing Room 'After' Reorganization Sewing Room 'After' Reorganization

The dust barrier is really just a big rectangle with hems. I measured the height and width of the Antonius frame and cut the fabric a few inches larger. The raw edges were finished with an overlock stitch on the serger, then the vertical side hems were folded, pressed and top stitched, so that the width just covers the frame.

To attach the dust barrier to the frame, I used a home decor velcro that combines tapes of sew-on loops with sticky back hooks. The sticky back hook tape was too wide, so before it was applied along the top and bottom of the Antonius frame, I trimmed it lengthwise about 1/4 inch with a rotary cutter. The sew-on loop tape was stitched to the top and bottom of the fabric near the folded edge of the horizontal hems, then top stitched.

The home dec fabric used for the dust barrier matches the window valance I made earlier in the year. It works great, is washable and adds a nice pop of color to the entrance of the my studio!

Fabric Storage Box

I have a half dozen Drona storage boxes in various colors from IKEA; they fit perfectly into the sections of my Expedit bookcase and hold a lot of fabric. After loading the top 3 rows of the Expedit with magazines and books and the bottom row with 4 Drona boxes, there was one section still open. I was short one box and decided to make one using coordinating home dec fabrics from my stash.

Over the past few years, I've collected a variety of tutorials for making fabric storage boxes on my Pinterest boards, Sewing Room Organization and Craft, Sewing, DIY Tutorials. The methods of constructing the boxes are all pretty similar, so I picked a few tips and techniques from each of them to make my box.

If you've made a simple bag with boxed corners on the bottom, the basic construction is pretty much the same idea. It has a cover and a lining, and at each corner of the box, vertical stitching through both layers create four 'pockets'. Pieces of stiff cardboard are inserted into these pockets to give the box it's structure.
Fabric Box

In some of the tutorials, the last step has a double folded bias binding stitched along the top edge of the box, sewn right through the cardboard. I used acid free backing board - left over from the days when I framed my own cross stitch and needlework samplers - and sewing through that was completely out of the question! Instead, I folded the fabric to the inside and used fusible tape to secure it. The raw edges are hidden with more fusible and white twill tape. The bottom of the box is a 5th piece of backing board, covered with a fabric sleeve.

Fabric Box

It fits perfectly on my bookcase! Four of the Drona boxes are in the bottom row of the Expedit, my new box is on the 3rd row and holds my collection of smaller home dec fabric remnants.

Sewing Room 'After' Reorganization

Sewing Ladies Re-purposed

Shortly after I acquired my first embroidery machine, I purchased these two design collections by Loralie Designs, the Fun Ladies and the Busy Ladies

In 2006, I made a quilted cover for the embroidery arm case. Pockets on each side of the cover were made using stitchouts of four of the ladies. One side had Pin Cushion Lady and Pinhead from the Fun Ladies collection:
Embroidery Arm Carrying Case Cover

The pocket on the other side had Seams Blue, from the Fun Ladies and Fabric Hugger from the Busy Ladies:
Embroidery Arm Carrying Case Cover

The cover spent more time off of the embroidery arm case and stored in the closet, so I decided to take it apart and re-use the lades for something else. In 2009, I took the cover apart and salvaged batting, fabric and embroideries for an undetermined future project.


My Sewing Ladies were re-discovered when I emptied my sewing room for the makeover. Of course, they had to be part of my new and improved studio! Another visit to Pinterest gave me the idea to frame them for display.

To keep it simple, each lady's fabric and her salvaged batting were wrapped around and stapled to the wooden frame of an 8x10 art canvas.

Sewing Ladies

After they were mounted, I decided to display them in a row on a shelf in my finished room:
Sewing Ladies

The shelf sits on top of my pegboard organizer, so now I can see my Sewing Ladies every day!
Sewing Room 'After' Reorganization

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Custom Cases in Black and White: Lips and Hips-ter Bags

I'm still catching up on sharing projects from last year, 2013 and earlier. The items included in this post have a common color theme of black and white, plus using 'lips' and 'hips' in the title made me smile.

Black and White Lips Shaped Wristlets

In February 2012, I posted a blog entry about various Valentine's Day additions to my ArtFire shop, including some lips-shaped coin purses and wristlets. Since that time, Embroidery Garden released an updated set of the machine embroidery designs for her lips zipper cases, with four sizes and no raw edges showing on the inside linings. 

Last March 2014, a friend asked me to make one of the wristlet sized lips cases using black and white musical notes fabric. I don't recall which size case she requested - it was either the small or medium wristlet.

Lips shaped purses

Whichever size she wanted, I made the other one! When I realized my mistake, there was just enough of the fabric left to make the correct size, so she ended up with two matching wristlets. She also asked that the wrist strap be modified so that it is permanently attached but can be easily and securely fastened around the straps of her purse or tote bag. 

To accomplish this, I added a small d-ring on a fabric tab near the base of the strap during the in-the-hoop construction of the wristlet. After it was finished, a lobster clasp swivel snap hook was stitched onto the end of the strap and a small rivet added for reinforcement.

I like the way the lips cases look in black and white - they don't have to be just red or pink and they're not just for Valentine's Day!

Black and White Hipster Bag

In April 2014, I was a vendor at a small local craft fair hosted by Autism Speaks at the American Legion in Rochelle Park, NJ. One of the visitors loved the fabric on my black and white owl zipper case (described in this blog entry from 2013), but she wanted a shoulder strap and wasn't really interested in the owl design. She also admired the style of the Fab Feline Hipster Bag (see below) but preferred a bag almost as big as the owl case.

The solution was a custom-sized, large hipster-style bag with an adjustable shoulder strap.

To make the bag, I installed the zipper using just the necessary steps from the in-the-hoop machine embroider design for the large owl zipper case by Embroidery Garden. After the zipper was stitched in place, I removed the front of the bag from the embroidery hoop and finished constructing the bag on my sewing machine.

Black & White Hipster Bag Black & White Hipster Bag

The bag was lined with a coordinating black print fabric and I added a slip pocket to the back. She loved it!

Black & White Hipster Bag Black & White Hipster Bag

More Hipster Bags

The Fab Feline Hipster bag mentioned above, was made in the summer of 2013 in preparation for RBARI's 35th Anniversary at the Shelter, using the larger size in Embroidery Garden's Hipster Purse set.

The main part of the purse was made with cute kitty cats in various colors on a black background. The shoulder strap fabric had a coordinating paw print design and it was long enough to wear over the shoulder or across the body. The bag is just the right size to carry a wallet, phone, keys and a few other essentials.

Feline Hipster Bag

A few weeks later, I made a similar hipster bag using black and white scottie dogs on red:

Black & White Scotties on Red Hipster Purse

Both hipster bags have been sold. I don't have any new hipsters currently listed in my shop, but would happily make more upon request!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Westie Christmas Tree Skirts and In the Hoop Stocking

Back in May of 2013, I posted about a Westie & Scottie Christmas Tree Skirt that I made for a friend in 2012. Since that time, I've made a few more and wanted close out 2014 by sharing them here on my blog. Each tree skirt was made of premium craft felt with variations in the layout and designs.

This tree skirt was a custom order for Christmas 2013 and is almost identical to the Westie & Scottie version in my previous post, except that it has only white terriers:

In April 2014 I made a variation of the tree skirt and donated it to Westie Rescue of Tennessee for their Meet & Greet and Silent Auction event in May. 

This version has only 4 pairs of Westies (instead of 6) and they are machine embroidered, just like the Christmas trees and holly leaves (from Embroidery Library's Christmas Heirloom Applique pack). 

Westie Christmas Tree Skirt

I originally digitized the applique design in 2011, using Penny's Free Westie Pattern to embroider Westie hand towels. The tree skirt version of the embroidery design has blanket stitches instead of satin stitching around the edges, to match the heirloom look of the Christmas trees and holly.

Here's a closer look at a pair of Westies with green bows at their neck:

Westie Christmas Tree Skirt

I ran out of the 3/8 inch wide plaid ribbon I used on the previous tree skirts, so the bows on the Westies' necks are hand-tied using 5/8 inch wide ribbons in red and green gingham-style plaid, then hand stitched in place.

Over the summer, I received a request for another tree skirt; on this variation, the green and white rick rack colors are reversed:

Westie Christmas Tree Skirt 2014

And here's a close-up of a pair of Westies with red bows at their neck:

Westie Christmas Tree Skirt 2014

The tree skirts each measure about 50 inches in diameter and since the felt measures 72 inches wide off the bolt, I now have a good supply of red felt remnants! I decided to try making a stocking with the same Westie machine embroidered applique combined with Christmas Stockings In-the-Hoop from Five Star Fonts

This stocking was donated to Lone Star Westie Rescue's Fundraising Auction on Facebook in July. The finished stocking is about 5 inches across at the top edge and about 10 inches tall and the inside is lined with a red and green striped cotton fabric. I modified the in-the-hoop instructions and instead of adding fabric to form a cuff at the top, I added white rick rack trim.

I really liked this stocking and hope to make more in 2015!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Seahorse Fabric Reusable Shopping Tote Bags

In 2012, I made a set of reusable fabric grocery bag/shopping totes in a mod NYC print. They were requested as a shower gift to a bride-to-be. When her sister was married this past summer, I was commissioned to make another set of shopping totes.

This time around, I found this pretty teal colored seahorse printed home decor fabric, perfectly beach-themed:

Seahorse Fabric Reusable Shopping Bags

Using my own design, each bag was made approximately 13 inches tall x 12 inches wide x 8 inches deep. The set included 4 extra large shopping bags. Here they are all neatly folded and stacked:

Seahorse Fabric Reusable Shopping Bags

I like to make an extra zippered carrying case to store each 4-bag set. A wrist strap is stitched into the side seam and the bottom of the carrying case is boxed for a squared bottom.

Seahorse Fabric Reusable Shopping Bags Seahorse Fabric Reusable Shopping Bags

Want to make some grocery bags for yourself? I made my first batch of reusable grocery bags and posted about how to make them shortly after I started this blog in 2007. They're designed to be extra large to carry several half-gallon cartons of milk and the biggest cereal box. I prefer to use cotton home dec fabrics for my bags so they can be easily washed and dried, which is especially important for carrying food and groceries.

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Sewing Room Makeover, Part 2: Ironing Station and Work Table

The theme of this sewing room makeover project was re-use, re-purpose and re-new! I was determined to keep as much of my furniture, storage units and containers as possible while sticking to a reasonable budget.

Re-purposed: Ironing Station

I'm beginning this post with my new ironing station, since it was the main reason this project was upgraded from a simple clean-up to a full blown reorganization.

Sewing Room 'After' Reorganization

Originally, I set aside two weeks in January for my clean-up project, just to sort fabric and supplies and do a general clean sweep of my sewing room.

After I finished re-covering my chair and updating the window treatment (Part 1), I searched Pinterest for organization ideas and was inspired by these pins of ironing boards on top of shelving units:

 Ironing board on top of shelves. Perfect way to organize a craft room.  ironing station tutorial

In order to make an ironing station work in my space, I would need to completely re-arrange the furniture and storage units in my sewing room; if I needed to move all the furniture, I figured I might as well replace the old rug. And if I was going to replace the rug in my sewing room, I had to replace the rug in the guest room, too.... you can see how this simple project starting snowballing into a larger one! So I postponed the makeover until the summer when I hoped to have more time.

Throughout the spring months, I searched for a suitable piece of used furniture to re-purpose for the ironing station but didn't find anything. I was considering buying either a kitchen island or cabinet if I could find a bargain. Then I received an email from Nancy's Notions with this Ironing Center which was just about perfect! Except the price didn't quite fit my budget (sorry for the blurry image - click through to Nancy's site for the full description).

 IRONING CENTER - Furniture - Supplies - Nancy's Notions

For some reason I had forgotten we had this microwave cabinet, left over from our kitchen remodel in 2009. It's the perfect size for my ironing station AND the price was right. I decided to turn it upside down, so the section with the doors is at the bottom near the floor. All I needed now was a board to fit on top.

Ironing Station

Flash forward to July - We didn't decide to install laminate flooring until after the sewing room was empty and the rug had been removed, which meant I had about two weeks on my hands, waiting for the flooring supplies to be delivered. During that down time, I worked on several projects, including the board for the sewing station.

The board is 2 x 4 foot MDF from Home Depot, covered in quilted ironing board fabric. The fabric is wrapped a few inches around the edges and stapled to the bottom of the board.

Ironing Station Ironing Station

After the room was finished, I worked on a few small projects and decided the MDF board was too hard and needed some extra padding. Some of my old ironing board covers were made of layers of batting, foam and heavy muslin, so I decided to replicate that combination.

I used polyester batting and muslin from my stash, and bought a yard of headliner foam from JoAnn Fabrics. I cut the foam and batting a little larger than the board and the muslin a few more inches larger, then folded the muslin around the other two layers and stitched all around the edge to make a simple pad.

Ironing Station Ironing Station

To protect the padding, I cut a piece of ironing board fabric a few inches larger than my board, serged around the edges to prevent it from fraying and attached it using ironing board clips at the corners.

Ironing Station

The finished board simply rests on top of the microwave cabinet. I added a piece of wood shelving inside the open section for storage. Luckily we had a piece that fit perfectly inside, so I only needed to drill some holes for the support hardware. Finally, I added two small shelving units on either side of the cabinet.

Sewing Room 'After' Reorganization

The new ironing station works great! It's located right behind me when I'm sewing, making it very convenient as a work surface and for pressing fabric.

Renewed: Work Table

While I was waiting for my laminate flooring to arrive, I also worked on my sewing table.

My work table was a plain plywood table top, handmade by my father, probably before 1990. We used to put it on top of an old oval kitchen table so we could fit everyone around the table for Thanksgiving. I added folding banquet legs to it about 16 years ago and have been using it ever since.

Sewing Room Work Table Sewing Room Work Table

Even though the table is usually covered with fabric cutting mats, the unfinished, edges were starting to get splintered and snag some fabrics, so I wanted to sand and refinish it. After considering wood stain and polyurethane, I finally decided to paint it with Benjamin Moore Natura White Chocolate semi-gloss, leftover from painting the kitchen and powder room trim.

Now it's all nice and smooth and looks clean and bright!

Sewing Room Work Table

Additional photos are in my Sewing Room Reorganization Album on Flickr

My Sewing Room Organization & Inspiration Board on Pinterest:
Follow Donna's board My Sewing Room Organization & Inspiration on Pinterest.

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