A couple months ago, my boyfriend and I bought our first house. Woohoo! As soon as we started closing, we went inside the house and took measurements so I could make curtains. I got some basic tips from Diana Rupp's book SEW and bought my fabric. Now, this entire time, I kept thinking, "Rectangles. I can sew rectangles. I've sewn clothing for myself, and I'm so picky about how things fit my body!" Joke was on me. I don't know what my deal was, but I seemed to mess up every measurement, every cut, every stitch. Anyway, after several weeks of slaving away (seriously, this project was so much bigger than I'd expected), I finally finished my six sets of upholstery suede drapes.
A couple things I learned the hard way from this project (and advice from others):
1. The book SEW explained how to figure the number of rings you need. Really, it was exactly the method I had figured. But after several times of confusing the heck out of myself, I figured out a WAY better way. Fold your curtain in half. Make a small mark on the inside of the fold with chalk. Fold the left side into the center. Mark this as well. Fold the right side into the center. Mark likewise. Keep doing this until it looks like an appropriate amount of rings. WAY easier and more dummy-proof than calculating, especially when you're sewing the rings like I did.
2. Wider rings work so much better. Some of my curtains have one-inch rings. They were harder to sew on straight, and they didn't help keep the curtains' shape as well. My guest bedroom curtains have three-inch-wide rings, and they look so much better and were much more manageable.
3. This tip is the most important: Cut your curtains like you would any other projects (that is, accounting for the hem) except ADD an additional inch or two to the bottom. Cut, sew, hem, finish, etc. the top edge and both sides. Leave the bottom raw. Hang the curtains and let them drape for a week or two. THEN go back and hem the bottom, making very sure to measure carefully, because many windows are actually not straight due to settling of the house. If you don't have time to let the curtains drape, at least take my advice and hem the bottom very last after carefully inspecting the actual length that needs to be hemmed. I very wrongfully assumed that, like all the other hems, I would just hem up the amount that I calculated. Turns out the stitching had shortened the sides more than I expected, so the corners of my curtains are extra-high.
Hope you have better luck than I did! And sorry the white balance is really off in these pictures...
Bedroom (just realizing how brown it is...geez) (did paneling, because I got too little blue- did the "little leaf stitch" in blue on the brown hem and in brown on the blue hem where the panels meet):
I guess I didn't have to say "simple," because there aren't many projects simpler than a nice wrap skirt:
The only thing I don't like about it is that the pattern doesn't match at the seams. I didn't think about buying enough fabric to do that until I'd already gotten home from the fabric store, and I wasn't willing to pay for another cut of the same stuff. After all, who's paying attention?
Anyway, it's super comfortable of course. I wanted a neutral color and had found a pretty fabric that mas mostly cream-colored, but then I realized I'd have to wear a slip with it. So I settled on this one; I really like gray.
This, by the way, this is yet another project I've made out of the book S.E.W. (Sew Everything Workshop) by Diana Rupp. I can't get enough of her patterns. My next project will be out of her book as well. I just spent $300 on fabric for curtains (upholstery-grade suede) in my very first house (I close in a month! Eeeee!), and the book has nice, basic guideline for curtain measurements.
I made view C with only minor modifications (like adding an extra line of topstitching on the bottom hem) and just one that was very noticeable. I made the bodice and then realized it was several inches too large. But the seams would be in all the wrong places if I just cut from the loose ends that would later be attached to the zipper. I cut the center piece of the front of the bodice exactly in half and sewed it back together. That took away 1 1/4" for the new seam. The bodice was then the *perfect* size! Seriously, the seams lined up with the skirt and everything! I did topstitching on that new center seam. I thought it looked really nice and gave it more of a corset-ish look.
The button-flower necklace was not my idea. It came from here:
I did a variation on the one-circle "pattern." I cut 3 circles: 1 black denim and 2 purple tulle. I layered them and sewed them together straight down the middle, folded the tulle over to one side (left side is now 1 layer denim, right side 1 layer denim and 4 tulle), and then continued with the pattern as if it were one circle of fabric. I think it turned out really cute.
Here's another fantastic project I got from S.E.W. Everything by Diana Rupp. I haven't made anything out of there in some time, but the projects are just begging for it. This was my first time working with oilcloth, which I've discovered is about like any other fabric in that it has its pros and its cons. Anyway, without further ado...
I made this cute oilcloth cozy...
...to replace this boring, factory-made cover:
The store really only had a few oilcloth prints, but I found myself having an internal battle over whether to use this or a pattern that was white with black polka dots (I love black and white). Either one would have turned out equally as cute.
I have a dress I want to alter as well as one I want to make, and I'm sure that there will be plenty more of each category to come. Real dress models are super expensive, though, so the "poor man's dress form" as I call it is perfect for now (one day when I'm rich, I'll spring for a nice one).
First of all, I cannot and will not take credit for this idea. It comes from Subversive Seamster, which is an excellent book mostly focusing on clothing reconstruction.
Second of all, this was meant to be a video tutorial. I had spent days figuring out in my mind exactly what I was going to say, what order I was going to do everything, etc. It was funny and informative, and it was going to be my first ever tutorial. It was gonna be GREAT. But, as my boyfriend and I discovered as we were moving onto the last step of the process, the memory card had been full just after my introduction. So after several minutes of staring in silence at my creation, we finished it up and took this picture:
Now, I've scanned the pages of the book that show how to make this, considering the whole video thing went south. But would it be illegal to post that? I wouldn't think so; I'm not making money off it, and it's just a few pages, but I want to make sure beforehand. Otherwise, I'll give my own rendition.
I'm brand new at calligraphy, but I'm pretty pleased with how a couple of my works turned out for the first shot. These are done with a traditional western-style calligraphy pen and gouache.
This quote is from The Phantom Tollbooth (when they're in The Doldrums). I love that book so much that I think I will read it again; it still must be magical even as an adult. I really like how "alternate" and "Thursdays" turned out. However, my eyes cannot stop noticing the stark difference in spacing between the letters of "Laughing" and all the other words.
Gothic alphabets are the easiest to start with to get used to the pen and the basics of calligraphy. I liked this one, because it added just a bit of flair to the "traditional" look with the diamonds. The "B" is my favorite.
This was my first practice with flourishing. I love it, and I hope to come up with more creative types on my own. This quote is from the song Man of Devotion by Fool's Garden.
This was actually my first Gothic alphabet on the second try. The number set is actually my own, because the alphabet didn't already have one. I absolutely hate the 9 and 4, but I really love the 6! People have told me that the 7 should be slanted.
I didn't use any kind of ruler lines except for with the first one, so I do know there is some fluctuation in the spacing/sizing as well as upper and lower edges. This was just for practice, so I didn't find it necessary.
Anyway, I'm really enjoying this. I like to crank my music up and just do whatever I want with the pen. I find it quite soothing!
Why, oh why, invisible zippers, do you cause me such anguish? Seriously, does anyone know how to do these? I can get the meat of them very nice-looking, but the zipper pull end and especially the zipper stop end give me such a pain. I end up having to hand-stitch a few inches of it, and it always looks at least a bit wonky. Tips anyone?
This project is the Zip-O-Riffic pillow out of the book S. E. W. by Diana Rupp. I was so glad for her well-written, inspiring tutorial. This book also has an incredible amount of information in it about materials and basic sewing in general (I'm new!) that is helpful and informative.
At any rate, I'm still proud of how this turned out. I have been shopping for more decorative pillows for quite awhile, but I refuse to pay $30+ for a friggin' pillow. Why not make it myself??
Oh, and the red band is actually the same thickness as the brown one, but it looks wider in the middle because of its stretch (didn't expect that). It's sort of a mini-corduroy material that looks suede-ish.
So when I get the courage and energy to do the other pillow, that'll get done...
Without further ado...
Back shot showing the niceness of most of the zipper in back:
Close-up of the zipper stop wonkiness that I hope nobody will notice:
Action shot (the color coordination looks better in person, I promise):
Thanks for looking!
Update January 2nd:
I finished pillow number two, and I'm happy with how my new additions look in the living room. I also figured out how to insert a lovely-looking invisible zipper...I'm thinking of doing a tutorial on it. Look how nicely this one turned out:
I've been working on this dress for ages. It's one of those projects (I know most of you can relate) that I started, got frustrated with, and put down for a few months. It's my third commercial pattern (Butterick 6582). Honestly, I'm kind of upset with how it turned out. There's no ease in the hip area at all (my fault for not measuring and cutting more carefully), the neckline is way too high and strange-looking, and the bows sit much farther back than I would like. Still, I'm proud of it. The invisible zipper took a serious amount of time (primarily to make the bottom edge not look screwed up). I regret not sticking with the pattern's directions of sewing it such that there is a line of thread on either side of the zipper (showing) (does that make sense to anyone?). There's also a teeny, tiny hole near the seam at one point, and I pray it doesn't open further. I tried putting some iron-in interfacing behind it, but it didn't stay on. And I hope and pray the seams don't bust at the hip when I sit down after a few times of wearing it. I think I'll be okay if I slim down by running a couple extra miles the day before! I had to do some doctoring to the darts, which were a huge pain. I had obviously chalked them on unevenly, so they're actually much longer than they're supposed to be (lengthened some to match). It was for the better, though, because it tightened the bust area (there was way too much room for me initially). At least two of the darts look super wonky, but you can't really tell when I'm wearing it (I think). The bows took forever because of issues with the pattern and redoing them completely (done by the pattern, they're massive). Thanks for looking, and thanks to those who helped me in these forums when I got stumped!
Alrighty, next task for this dress I'm making (still on the bows, for anyone who saw my "sew invisibly" post). In the image below, I have shown the two bows for this dress that go on the shoulders. I bent out the outer edges of the top one to give it a dimpled effect. The bottom one is how it naturally sits, straight as an arrow. I very much prefer the top style better, but it absolutely does not stay that way for very long. Should I just do some long, taught stitches in the back to make it stay?
I'm working on a super elegant, gorgeous dress that I will absolutely post when finished. There are adorable bows that go on the shoulders, and that's where I am now. The problem is that it's telling me to "sew invisibly" on a couple of the lines. The only way I know to do this is by hand, picking up just a few threads at a time on the side that will be seen. I would like to avoid this, because I don't have much time left to finish this. That's also just really a lot of effort. All I can find online is for stitching a blind hem, which I'm pretty sure is not what this wants me to do. For reference, I've included an image of this page of the pattern below. Any suggestions? Thanks for looking!