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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Which comes first, the serging or the regular stitching? on: April 04, 2008 11:27:02 AM
So I'm fairly new to sewing, but I am lucky to have both an overlock machine, and sewing machines. I'm wondering about proper sewing technique with seams where they have a serged edge, whether to sew the seam first and then serge the edges, or to serge the edges and then sew the pieces together.

Ultimately I want to achieve a clean looking piece on the inside but is there a certain way that's easier than the other? I know that keeping track of seam allowances will play a part in this (especially if I'm chopping off edges with the overlock), but I haven't found anything in my sewing books that talks about this.... Thanks for any help you can offer!
2  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Discussion and Questions / Speedball Silkscreen kits for fabric- can you use on paper too?? on: March 07, 2008 10:49:23 AM
At my local craft store they have the opaque and regular Speedball silkscreen kits for use on fabric. I'm more interested in printing cards on paper, can anyone who has the Speedball kit vouch for its functionality on paper? Thanks!
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Fitted Bedskirt Tutorial *Slightly Pic Heavy* on: August 03, 2006 11:45:21 AM
Unhappy with the previous bedskirt I had made (it was thrown together), I decided to find a pattern (McCall's 4540) and try my hand at it again. I didn't realize until opening the packet that it didn't actually have patterns for the bedskirt pieces, only measurements for me to cut my own stuff. Seeing as to how I bought the packet so I didn't have to think, I was disappointed.

But, I was more anxious to have a bedskirt than going back to the store, so I made my own pattern according to the measurements on freezer paper, and began cutting. Now I have my own pattern to make more bedskirts when we get another bed. These measurements are for a queen size bedskirt, I will provide the other measurements for other size beds at the end of this post.

I was fortunate enough to buy 13 yards of this salmon coloured fabric for $0.99 a yard at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be the perfect thing to use for my bedskirt. I also bought a cheapo twin sized flat sheet for the deck instead of making two 43.5" by 61" deck sections.

Okay, so here we go!


For the side pieces, measurements are 41" by 19". You will need four of these (to the right side in the picture).
For the skirt end pieces, measurements are 31" by 19". You will need two of these (my kitty Sprout is lying on these in the picture).
For the underlay, measurements are 19" by 19". You will need four of these (bottom left).

After cutting, you will want to stitch all the pieces together with about a 1/2" seam in this order:

Side piece
Side piece
Skirt End
Skirt End
Side piece
Side piece

Hem the bottom ends, the pattern instructions were to have a 1/2" narrow hem, and then turn in again 2".

Work in batches, it will get VERY long (i.e. do the underlay/side/underlay/side separately in twos, and then the ends, or something like that).

In fact, working in batches for the following step might make things a little easier since I had to deal with all the pieces together when making the pleats.


For all the underlay pieces, measure and mark the middle of each underlay (mine came out to be about 18" across, which made 9" the halfway point). Fold the sides of the underlay and the attached skirt end (or skirt side) to the middle of where you marked things, and pin them down for easier sewing at the machine. Sew the pleats down at the top, about 1/2" from the edge. You can see in my third picture the pleats are opened a bit, and just how much space I needed to figure things out for the next step, which was a pain in the butt.

This picture doesn't really show how frustrating it was to pin the twin flat sheet (or the deck pieces, which if you were to cut from the dimensions, you will need to have sewn the two pieces together lengthwise) to the bedskirt. I particularly had troubles with the corners because the twin size sheet was actually too big, and I had to do all sorts of folding here and there. After you've got things in control, sew it all together. I sewed mine about 2 inches from the outside edge as I because I didn't want any of the white fabric to show up once the mattress was set upon it.

Sewing the corners were particularly challenging for me because I had excess white sheet everywhere, but I just went along, and it turned out all right in the end.


Once you are done attaching the deck to the skirt, and hemmed the top edge a little bit, open and set on the boxspring! There is a little bit of white corner peaking from underneath our mattress, but overall I'm satisfied with how it turned out. My corner pleats are always sticking open a little bit, but I think that might be because of my lack of sewing knowledge in doing corners.

I am just a very novice sewer but I try to improvise and this came out more or less how I expected. I'm satisfied  Smiley This is my first tutorial, so questions are definitely welcome if more explanations are needed.

For those with smaller (or bigger) beds, here are the dimensions you will need:

Twin size
Skirt sides: 38.5" by 19" (four pieces)
Skirt ends: 40" by 19" (one piece)
Underlays: 19" by 19" (four pieces)
Deck: 40" by 82" (one piece)

Full size
Skirt sides: 38.5" by 19" (four pieces)
Skirt ends: 28" by 19" (two pieces)
Underlays: 19" by 19" (four pieces)
Deck: 41.5" by 55" (two pieces)

Queen size
Skirt sides: 41" by 19" (four pieces)
Skirt ends: 31" by 19" (two pieces)
Underlays: 19" by 19" (four pieces)
Deck: 43.5" by 61" (two pieces)

King size
Skirt sides: 41" by 19" (four pieces)
Skirt ends: 39" by 19" (two pieces)
Underlays: 19" by 19" (four pieces)
Deck: 43.5" by 77" (two pieces)

4  COOKING / Dessert / Puzzle cake and baked alaska! on: July 30, 2006 11:19:26 AM
Last night was my husband's birthday party, and to celebrate, I baked two cakes (he assisted me in the kitchen when I needed extra hands).

The first one was assembled based on the instructions for the chestnut puzzle cake from Bo Friberg's "The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef", but I used the classique génoise, chocolate génoise, and moist chocolate génoise recipes from "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum for the layers.

It didn't turn out exactly how I wanted it, I had to trim the sides down quite a bit so the cake ended up being a little taller, and cutting it was a little tricky, but all in all, it was a learning process.

The merigues on my baked alaska turned more into a Hershey's Kisses shape because I had the wrong tip while piping it out, and I had to use a smaller torch while browning the tops so things came out a little uneven, but again, I'll know better the next time around.

My husband and I had a lot of fun though, it's nice having a personal sous chef when you need one (the cat is useless for this sort of thing)  Grin

5  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Gift for a tree on: July 19, 2005 06:59:27 AM
Okay, my husband is deployed to the middle east, and below is an excerpt from an email he wrote in his weekly update to friends and family:

I have also complained that there aren't really any plants you can touch around here. There are random pieces of crummy scrub that maybe get as big as a head of lettuce but are far less substantial, and then by the outside gate there are some nice palm trees we're not allowed to get anywhere near... but nothing nice for US. THEN... THIS MORNING AS I WAS WALKING TO THE BUS STOP... I spotted a tiny baby palm tree behind our bathroom! HA! HA! My morale went way up! This tree will be my new pet. I will water it every day after work and I will dig up some of the sand that's threatening to bury it, and I will re- arrange the little rock circle someone put around it to make it more obvious so people don't step on it. I'm so happy to have a tree! Not that I expect it to grow much in the 3 months I have remaining here, but it's something to which I can look forward every day! Hooray for palm trees!

I have since affectionately named the tree Mr. Peabody (Jim and I are very silly people  Grin) and thought that I would surprise Jim with a present for the baby palm tree in the package, along with the usual presents I have been sending him every couple of weeks. From what I understand, there really isn't a lot of stuff to do where he is based, and so this little palm tree can entertain him for awhile, and maybe even some of the other people.

Now, he said the little tree was about the size of a dinner plate, or rather, the leaves are that big. What things can I make for this little guy? It can't be too heavy since I have to ship it, it has to be able to last in the desert (think 118F on an arid day, or 90F at night with 80-90% humidity... yuck), and it can't be something that will stand out so much that it will be removed.

I was thinking about coming up with a better fence to put around it, but *hopefully* this little guy will grow, and I don't want something that won't fit in the future. Maybe I can make a little sign to stick in front of it. Ofcourse Jim will probably have to find someone to get permission to put something up, and if they refuse to let him, then that's okay... at least we tried.
6  COOKING / Dessert / Hot glue gun + mini chocolate bars = ???? on: June 22, 2005 07:56:10 AM
I'm making one of those candy cakes like this one:

If I use a hot glue gun to glue the chocolate bars on the stand, there shouldn't be any problems with the wrapper melting/getting damaged, right....? I mean, the glue gets hot, but I don't think I should have worries about ruining the chocolate bar itself though. Has anyone made one of these before? I'm actually making one in the shape of a catamaran, but the concept is the same.
7  COOKING / Dessert / Habanero ice cream- recipe request on: June 02, 2005 09:30:57 AM
My husband has been prodding at me to make this ever since he saw it on some show on the Food Network. Has anyone had experience making something like this? I'm a little wary, but I suppose sometimes the most delicious things are made out of non-conventional pairing of ingredients. Roll Eyes
8  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / See through curtains- aesthetics or functional? on: April 13, 2005 09:01:50 AM
My fiancé isn't into see through curtains (according to him, "what's the point of having curtains that don't keep the light out?"). I like them because fabrics like that really help soften up a room.

Are there any ways to hang two layers of curtains, with a thin layer right next to the window, and then more of a thick one on the inside? That way if I wanted more light, I can tie back the inner layer, and untie it when I want to keep light out.

My only problem would be how to hang the curtains on the rod- can I have both layers on one rod, or do I need two so that they don't get tangled up on top of each other?
9  Texas / Texas: Northwest / San Angelo or Abilene crafsters? on: April 07, 2005 02:21:36 PM

I'm in San Angelo until August, and on the weekends I'm in Abilene (unless my fiancé decides to come down instead). Do any of you live in these two cities or nearby?  Smiley
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