Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Small Space Sewing Room Makeover

I have been gawking and swooning for years at all the big, beautiful craft spaces I see highlighted on blogs and in magazines. "One day...," I would think to myself.  But then I got real. I live in a suburb of Seattle where most people live in small homes (or condos) that cost twice as much as homes twice as big in other parts of the country. So I don't have a 12x12 spare room I can dedicate just to my creative zeal. I do, however, have a 3x6 corner--and by golly--I decided it was high time I made the most of it! 

Here is my unabashed "Before" picture.  My "sewing table" was a catchall and a mess. I was storing my stuff in plastic containers that were too small and unorganized. 
Since this room triples as our family office and workout area,  I really needed to use the space to its fullest capacity, which meant shelving. So, I took this picture, took measurements, and headed to Ikea. 

I found the EKBY BJARNUM 11" shelving system and fell in love. It is a clean, modern look, but it is also adjustable to any length and super strong. Pretty AND practical. 
And the beauty is, if you don't have an Ikea closeby, you can order these online at Amazon or Ikea.com.

Next, I needed containers for organization. Once again, Ikea came through. 
These strong rails and storage cups are ideal for a sewist's or crafter's supplies.  These are perfect for things like rotary cutters and measuring tape that need a place, but are used too often to be put in a box. The Bygel Rail and the Bygel Containers are both available online as well! 

I found these cute and affordable Kvarnvik boxes at Ikea for organizing all my schtuff. Ikea and Amazon have so many options that are similar to these, you can really make your space just the way you want it without breaking the bank. These are available at Ikea.com, but I didn't find these particular boxes at Amazon. However, I found some very similar here
I love the pretty lining and the addition of the metal-framed labels on these boxes. 

This hat box is perfect for my tall thread spools.  And look at that cute gingham lining...**Swoon**

My final additions to my sewing nook were aesthetic. I wanted to add some pops of color and texture to the space.  I hung one of my DIY Modern Yarn Wall Hangings on the wall by the window. 

I also framed my Seattle Skyline Watercolor (prints available HERE) on a fun wrapping-paper background in a simple poster frame

I used this tutorial from Simply Gloria to make my fabric tassel garland. 

For my "MAKE" sign and the decorative wooden arrow, I went to the ever-reliable Hobby Lobby. Everything was 50% off, and I used 3M Command picture hanging strips to hang them, so no extra holes in the walls!

I couldn't be more pleased with my new happy place. I have done a double take multiple times when I walk by and glance in what used to be an eyesore hodgepodge of crafting clutter, but instead see organization and beauty.  I don't have an entire room, but I LOVE the small space I do have!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Vintage Lace Table Runner

Layers of vintage lace make this one-of-a kind runner perfect on your dining or console table. It goes with any decor and looks fabulous layered over other runners or tablecloths!

I recently bought a bag of vintage lace pieces on a boutique deal. I have since discovered that Amazon carries the same thing for a great price and free shipping. You can get an assortment of cream or white lace, or if you like to mix it up, some of both!


This is also a super way for crafters to use up old lace scraps that, if you are like me, you never throw away!

To make your own Vintage Lace Table Runner, you will need: 
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine


1. Determine how wide you want your table runner, and add an inch. Cut your lace pieces to this length using the ruler and mat to make straight cuts. I wanted a 12 inch runner, so I made my lace 13 inches. 

2. Pin lace layers together in about 2 foot sections, overlapping just enough to sew (about 1/4 inch).  Use plenty of pins! Lace can be slippery!

3. Once you have three 2-foot sections, pin those sections together and sew.  If you find (as I did) that the lace stretched or slipped some and your edges aren't as clean as you want, don't worry! This is why you added that inch at the beginning!

4. Iron the runner if needed, then use the ruler and mat to carefully square up the entire runner. Take your time so you get it right! 

And you are done! I hope you love your new runner as much as I love mine! 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cut-Up Workout T-Shirt Tutorial

Do you have old, boxy t-shirts you'd wear to exercise in if they only had a more flattering fit?  This easy, no-sew tutorial will teach you how to alter (and ventilate! ;-)) your t-shirts into two different styles of cute workout tops--perfect for lifting, climbing, dancing, riding, squatting, jumping, punching, kicking, running or walking!

I teach an exercise class a couple of mornings each week, and several gals who attend asked me about these shirts.  I told them to bring shirts and scissors to class one day, and we did a live tutorial right there in the gym after class!  Two of my favorite things combined into one class!! I was on Cloud 9!

Now, on to your tutorial:

All you need for either of these styles is a cotton jersey knit t-shirt and sharp fabric scissors. 

Style 1: Back Diamond Weave T-Shirt
1. Lay shirt out flat.
2. Cut through top and bottom layers of shirt along bottom of front neckline. 
3. Cut one sleeve off; then turn the piece you cut off to use as a guide for cutting off the second sleeve.
4. Turn shirt on its side, lining up shoulder seams and flattening. 
5. Beginning at the top of the back side, cut 1 inch wide strips all the way down the back. Start with pretty deep strips--4-5 inches from the fold (they will double when you unfold). Then gradually get smaller as you work your way down. My last cut is usually only about 1 inch deep. 
6. Turn shirt so the back is on top. Stretch out cuts so the fabric rolls in on itself. 
7. Take top strip and make a loop. 
8. Take next strip and pull it up through the top loop.
9. Make a loop with the strip you just pulled through. 

10. Continue looping and pulling the strip below through all the way down the shirt. 
11. Leave the last strip loose. 
12. Take the second to last strip (that is pulled through the one above it) and make sure it is turned in a loop.
13. Cut the bottom strip in half. 
14. Pull one side of the bottom strip up through the bottom of the last loop.
15. Pull the other side of the bottom strip down through the top of the last loop. 
16. Tie a double knot with the two sides of the bottom strip. 
17. Finished back!
18. Finished front!

Style 2: Side Weave T-Shirt
1. Lay t-shirt out flat. 
2. Cut through top and bottom layers of shirt along bottom of front neckline. 
3. Cut one sleeve off; then turn the piece you cut off to use as a guide for cutting off the second sleeve.
4. Beginning 1 inch below the sleeve opening, cut 1 inch wide slits into the sides of the shirt. I begin with about 2 inch slits, gradually get bigger toward the middle of the shirt, then taper back to smaller slits at the end. My last cut is only about 1 inch across.
5. Turn shirt on its side, lining up shoulder seams.
6. Stretch the strips so the fabric curls in on itself.
7. Pick up the top strip (this should be the bottom part of the sleeve), and turn a single loop in it.
8. Pull the next strip up through the loop.
9. Turn a loop in the strip you just pulled through and continue pulling and turning all the way down the shirt. 

10. When you get to the bottom, leave the last strip alone.
11. Cut the bottom strip in half. 
12. Take the second to last strip (that is pulled through the one above it) and make sure it is turned in a loop.
13. Pull one side of the bottom strip up through the bottom of the last loop.
14. Pull the other side of the bottom strip down through the top of the last loop. 
15. Tie a double knot with the two sides of the bottom strip.
16. One side: DONE!
17. Repeat on other side.
18. Cute workout top!


Sunday, May 29, 2016

DIY Modern Yarn Wall Hanging

My sister sent me a picture of one of these wall hangings she found on Etsy a while back and I was immediately swooning. I love modern home decor--especially of the hand-made variety. 

So when my 5 year old and I had a movie night together and she chose Disney's original animated Peter Pan (which I love, but could enjoy without my eyes glued to the screen!), I sat next to her on the couch and cut yarn for my wall hanging! 

What is fun about these is that no two will ever be the same--especially if you use a branch as your anchor! Many I have seen on the interwebs use a wooden dowel at the top. I don't have rustic style, but I do like adding natural elements where I can.  I definitely prefer the look the branch gives my hanging to a plain dowel. 

I will walk you through my process of making one of these hip yarn creations. Other methods exist, but this way worked well for me, and I think you will find it easy as well!

You will need: 
  • A sturdy stick or small branch 
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Iron and spray starch

1. Cut yarn in several lengths that are double the length you want your hanging's height to be.  I won't give you a number here since it varies so much according to the size of your stick. 
*Tip: I pulled out 20-30 lengths of yarn at a time in long, even loops, then just cut the ends off one side to get several equal strings cut at once. 

2. Make a plan for how the colors will be arranged on your stick. I decided to do a bit of an ombre fade.  

3. Tie the yarn on the stick as shown in the pictures.  Push the tied-ends right up next to each other to really fill in the wood. 

4. This is optional, but is nice if you want your yarn really straight. With the proper heat setting for the type of yarn you are using, iron the yarn to get out any little unwanted wrinkles. Spray starch is also helpful for making the yarn nice and stiff before you cut it. 

5. Use sharp scissors to trim the bottom of the yarn to your desired shape. I found it helped to hang it the way it will go on the wall to make sure all the threads are in place. 

6. Tie another piece of yarn to each end of your stick to use as a hanger, and you are done!

These are great additions to gallery walls. They add nice natural texture to any room and can be made in whatever color and size you want!