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During this blog, I will demonstrate how to make this lovely Christmas apron!

 

 

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Doo-Doo Bag How-To

Skill Level: Easy – minimal to no sewing

Materials Required

1 fat quarter (1/4 yd) lightweight fabric of your choice

12 inches elastic string or 1/8 inch elastic

1 empty toilet paper tube or paper towel tube cut to 3 inches

Low Temp Hot Glue and Glue Gun

1 small snap clip with swivel ring Рlobster clip, lanyard clip, any type will do. You can even use a tiny carabiner.

4 inch piece of coordinating 1/4″ ribbon

Disposable animal waste bags or plastic grocery bags (See video below for how to fold)

You get up early and let Friend out. She does her duty so off you go for a walk. A block from home she’s scoping out the parkway for a spot to squat. Now, you’re left holding the bag as neighbors look on. Problem is, you don’t have any bags, so the duty remains and the neighbors scowl as you walk on shaking your head shrugging silent apologies.

Really?

It’s inevitable. You’re going to need to do your civic duty with the dooty. Sure, you could buy a bag dispenser, but you know I’m going to show you a better way.

This project is so easy, it’ll blow your mind. The best part is you don’t need more than literally a scrap of fabric. For my project, my local hobby store had canvas shoe kits on clearance for .79. I grabbed onto that. I’ve got plenty left over and it cost me next to nothing.

You can use toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes. You’re going to cut it, so it’s irrelevant.

Here we go.

 

Start by measuring from the end of your tube, marking at 3 inches around. With sharp scissors, cut to length.

To measure and cut fabric, lay your cut tube on one end leaving one inch on the open top edge. This will allow room to make an elastic casing on each side. Roll the tube with the fabric and overlap about a half an inch. Mark and cut for length and wrap.

Using your iron, fold each side over ¬Ĺ inch and press a crisp. Make sure you press wrong sides to create the casing.

Lay elastic along both folds. Cut elastic leaving a couple inches overhang for each side. Press a ¬ľ inch narrow hem along one side. Glue or stitch down the hemmed edge. Carefully sew along the edge of the casing allowing room to insert elastic. If you’re confident, go ahead and put the elastic in and hold it as you sew to avoid catching in the stitch. This can also be glued. Do not glue or stitch the elastic. Do this for both sides.

** Optional: You can stretch the elastic as you sew. That way you won’t have ends to deal with. After sewing stitch down one end. Stretch the elastic, slightly, but not too tight. You want an opening that will allow you to put bags in but still not fall out. The drawback, however, is it makes attaching to the tube a little trickier. If you choose this method, I’d recommend using very narrow flat elastic.

Apply a bead of hot glue (I recommend low tempt so you can work with it) along the one of the unstitched sides. Carefully place on the tube from end to end. Apply additional glue to the rest of the tube exterior and carefully roll up, overlapping the ends, smoothing as you go. For the overlapping top, fold the raw edge under slightly and glue as with the first edge.

If you choose to not sew the elastic, feed the elastic into the casing. Take both ends and pull together slightly until the opening is just shy of the size of a quarter, Make a knot by tying both ends together at once. If you’re OCD like me, you want to tuck the knot into the casing. This is the bottom of your dispenser.

For the other end, place the ribbon through swivel part of the clip. Tie a knot with both ends together and glue the ends to the INSIDE of the tube where the elastic meets. Be careful not to glue the elastic. After the glue cools, stretch and tie the elastic together as with the bottom. Note that this is optional,¬† you can just put the clip through the elastic and be done with it. I used ribbon because I’m fancy.

Insert bags. Attach to her leash.

Find dog.

Show her how¬†hard you worked. Now, isn’t that precious!

I’m not sure Lily is feeling the whole model thing! But they did come in VERY handy.¬†

 

 

And now that we’ve welcomed Elsa into our family, I’ll be making another one just for her!

**Note: You can find dooty bags at most stores like Walmart and such. But if you really want to be thrifty, use plastic grocery bags. Fold bags in half, then again.¬† Roll up tightly, adding a bag to the end each time. Here’s a great little YouTube video on how to fold grocery bags to self dispense. Of course,¬† you won’t use the plastic dispenser, and you might want to fold them one more time, so the roll is a bit smaller to fit in the tube.

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From Sidewalk Showdown to Showstopper

Difficulty Level: Moderate (some sewing experience necessary)

Seam Nipper or straight edge razor

25 yards outdoor use cording (optional if you are unable to salvage welting from your cushions)

6 yards outdoor fabric

4 double fold outdoor cushions with old covering removed and cushions cleaned/sanitized (see Part 1)

24 5/8″ matching plain buttons of your choice

24 matching decorative buttons of your choice

4 yds. sew-on 1/2 ” Velcro (optional)

Leather sewing awl with waxed thread (optional)

Clear nail polish or Fray Stop (optional)


 

Welcome back!

I trust you had no difficulty cleaning those cushions up. ¬†About that…

Funny story…I went to bring the last cushion in from the back porch, all sparkling white and ready to go. How should I delicately put this…

This is Taco.

Do not allow his sublime expression distract you.

He is a fiend.

And he has no shame.

Said cushion was replaced. End of story. I am NOT cleaning that.

So you’ve measured twice and ordered; and your amazing fabric from BFS has arrived! We’re ready to cut out those new covers.

Step one: Relax.

The first cut is the deepest. Baby, I know, the first cut is the deepest.

… Sorry

As we get started, I want to show you that this project does not require any special equipment or material. In fact, here’s my “studio” or the Asylum as I see it! I’m as real as you are and I struggle with my projects too.

You’ll recall from part one that we discussed that the width of the cushions (doubled for front and back) compared to the width of our fabric are pretty close. Cutting your pieces will be very straightforward, nearly mistake¬†proof, assuming you measured correctly.

You could simply cut your bolt into four equal portions and be done with it. You’ll probably have some waste on the ends, but you’ll use that. But I always err on the side of caution so let’s measure to be exact. If you saved your tear down, feel free to use it for a pattern. Measure the full length of the cushion. Add the thickness (remember the thickness for later) times two and include a 5/8″ seam allowance, times two or roughly an inch and 1/4.¬†We’re not cutting the sides yet.¬†
Here’s the math: length +¬†(depth x 2) + (5/8″ x 2) Leave your¬†fabric folded in half, selvage on the side.

Measure all the way around your cushion plus 2-2 1/2 yards. This will be for welting and with the extra 2+ yards, we’ll make tie backs. If you plan to use Velcro instead, just cut enough for welting plus a little extra in case you mess up. Using the excess fabric from the bottom and along the salvage (remember you were to leave¬†a 5/8 ” seam allowance, so think before you cut) cut¬†2 inch strips with your pinking shears to¬†reduce fraying.

Whatever method you choose, I still recommend that you measure again before you cut just to make sure you have enough length. Better to need an extra yard than to short every single piece you cut.

Oy. I’ve done that.

Welting (Piping)

Quick lesson so you can talk smart. Welting or piping is fabric (often cut on the bias or diagonal grain) with a cord sewn inside to create a lip which is inserted into the seam or around edges to give a finished look. Cording is the undecorated¬†circular cord that gives welting its shape. I realize, though, that some of you are slowly backing away from the project. It’s okay. I’ve got you. Trust me. We’re going to get through this and you’ll feel like an expert in no time. It’s really not as hard as it looks.¬†…I promise.

With some sewing projects, you can fudge. With upholstery, there are rules. Here’s my secret.¬†Shhhh…Follow the rule of three O’s. Order of Operations. That way, your layers are correct and the project will look professional.

Make the welting first.¬†I always make my welting first. In fact, I make any extra pieces first so I don’t have to stop in a project to make little things. Front end work investment.

I salvaged the scraps, but to be honest, some of the cording came apart and had to be replaced. If that’s your situation, when you purchase new cording, do not use the fiber variety. It’s great for indoor projects that won’t be washed. BFS has a great indoor/outdoor cord you can purchase here.

1. You will need to piece together enough strips to go around all four cushions with a little extra just in case. Begin by laying two strips rights sides together to form a right angle from left to right up and down. The top corner will be at the top right.¬† Sew a seam from the top left corner to the bottom right corner as shown. Clip away the excess with pinking shears to prevent fraying to about 1/4″ from your stitching

2. When you open this up you should have a single piece. Continue with all your welting strips. Measure to make certain you have enough to go around all  your cushions with extra to spare

3. Fold your strips in half sandwiching either new cording or the salvaged welting from the tear down. Place the zipper foot along the corded edge so your stitching rides close to but doesn’t catch the cord inside.

4. Matching the edges, place your sandwiched cording under the zipper foot (or between the feet if you’re using a channel foot) and bury the needle to hold it in place. Keeping the zipper foot close to the cord, stitch a wide basting stitch. Slow down, this can get away from ¬†you. You can do this right or left handed as long as the needle travels along the edge. If you need to add more cord, stop and lay the new piece where you leave off and continue. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and make those tie backs.

5. From your remaining 2 inch strips, cut or make 16 8 inch strips. Fold each strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and iron on the highest setting with steam appropriate for your fabric type. Fold each cut edge to the center fold and press. Fold in half again with the sides still tucked¬†to the inside, still with the right side out. Press carefully. Sew as close to the open folded edge as you can making sure you are sewing through both sides. Try to keep this even for neatness sake. Go around the end and sew along the opposite fold and again on the end. You will end where you started. Press. Trim the raw edge and apply Fray Stop or clear nail polish to the cut end to prevent fraying. This step is optional, but if fraying bugs you, it’s worth the little effort it takes.

And in this corner…

Before we start, cut your sections in half so you half a top and bottom. You’re going to carefully cut down the side where the fold is. Before you go to the machine, though, take a second to mark where the tie backs are going to be placed by either marking with a pencil or a small snip.

To give you some perspective, this is what it will look like after the corners are made¬†as we “dry fit” the cushion.

1. Remember that cushion thickness? Take that measurement and divide it in half and add 1/2″. This will be the corner fold with a seam allowance. Fold your corners so the top edge comes down to meet the side edge. Pin and mark. This will be your stitch line that will run at a 90* angle. Do this for all the corners.

 

OPTIONAL: If you wanted to, you could create your corners this way. Taking the top and bottom pieces, pinch and pin the corners and mark a stitching line perpendicular to the table top to bottom. If you’re ambitious, this is a foolproof method. (Please ignore that splat of paint on my table.)

2. Now stitch from your mark to the folded edge.

3. Trim to 1/4″. That’s it. Whaaaaat???? That wasn’t hard now was it! And you were all worried. NOTE: If you’re concerned about your corners, don’t trim them until you are satisfied with how they look put together. Sometimes corners aren’t perfect and need adjusting. You might want that extra fabric.

Sewing the Welting with the Seams

Ready to go? Hold your nose, we’re diving in with both feet. This part goes fast, it’s not as hard as it looks. Relax! You’re going to be astonished at what you’ve just made when we’re finished. You’ll be the envy of all your friends!

1. Begin by lining the raw edge of the welting lip along the middle point of the raw edge on the bottom of one piece, pin if you need to. I like starting at the bottom to minimize how the opening ¬†will look once we sew it together with an outside seam. Just like making the welting, place the foot along the fence of the cord so it rides along the first stitches you made. Stitch all the way around. ¬†You may find pinning helps, but it’s not hard to place as you go.

2. Corners can be buggers when you add layers. To minimize the bulk and give you a soft turn, when you come to a corner, make some little release cuts to help the welting lay smooth. Simply snip where the corner turns without snipping through the stitching. You can make another cut on each side so you have three release cuts about a 1/4″ apart.

3. As you come to a mark for tie backs, simply fold one tie back in half and place in the path of stitching with the ends toward the center and the center at a “V”. This will lessen the thickness. For Velcro, place your pieces side by side so it’s less bulky.

4. To join the end with the beginning, we’re going to hide the evidence. First, clip the welting about an inch and a half past where you started. . Next, expose the cord on the end by nicking the stitches. Clip the end of the cord so it’s right where the beginning is, but DON’T CLIP THE LIP! WE NEED IT!! Lay the end down under the beginning, trim cord as you need to. Take it out from underneath and fold the cut end over the end of the cord about a half inch from the cut end you made on the cord. Place it back under the beginning of the welting, fold the lip back over and match all the raw edge along the cushion edge. Continue stitching the welting down. You have successfully hidden the starting place! Repeat with the remaining three cushions.

Making It Fit and Checking It Twice…

Box cushions can be naughty if you don’t check your corners. Now that you’ve sewn all your corners, we need to do a “dry” fit before we put them together. This takes a few minutes, but it’s time well spent saving you from ¬†undo ripping and resewing later. Adjustments are easiest when made before you put the pieces together.

1. Take both halves and place them, right sides down on your cushion. Check to see that the corners line up and make a somewhat snug fit. If any of the corners are way off, simply adjust them by sewing a new seam so they match better.

Let’s Make Those Cushions…FINALLY!

We’re nearly finished! Can you believe how quickly that went? All that’s left is adding the buttons or sewing the gutters. Before you know it you’ll be sipping Mint Juleps on your front porch waving at the neighbors as they admire your swanky new cushions and wondering where you got them. Feel free to tell them where!

2. With the right sides together, sandwich the top and bottom together. If you’re working with the Navy Chevron, check your pattern match! This is easy on a simple repeat pattern like this and will really make your project look professional. Starting at the bottom corner, about an inch along the bottom edge, stitch around the cushion, keeping your zipper foot along that fence again. It is really helpful to sew on the back side so you can see the stitches holding the welting in place. Carefully go over the tiebacks so you don’t break a needed and remember to clip your corners just as we did when applying the welting. Stop at the opposite bottom corner, again going about an inch along the bottom. This saves you having to make closing stitches over the corners.

3. Clip your corners on the inside and turn inside out. If all went well, your corners will look like this. Do this with all the cushions. Don’t you feel like a pro now!

Wer’re¬†ready to stuff the cushions back in. Get yer yoga pants on ’cause we’re in for a workout.

If you’ve ever worn compression socks or even just nylons, you know that once the toe and heel are in, the rest is just a matter of wiggle and fit. So I start at the bottom and do just that. Once the cushions are back in, being careful to keep them from separating or twisting, you can work your arm inside and do final adjusting so the corners are snug.

Closing up the bottom seam

To close the opening, give the cushion a good shake so you can hold on to the edge to be sewn better. Taking the edge WITHOUT welting, simply fold under the raw edge 5/8″ and pin it to the top edge so you basically form a seam from the outside. Give yourself room to work at your machine.¬†Stitch as close to the folded edge as you can, again using the welting as a fence. Voila!

Final Touches

What you do with the cushion to make it your own is up to you. Unless you own a wide arm commercial sewing machine, you’re probably not going to be able to recreate the sewn gutters where the cushion folds. You can, however, do this by hand using a hand awl leather tool. It’s A LOT of work, and I don’t care to tackle it! For purposes of demonstration, though I have sewn one gutter for you so you can see the finished product. If you own one, you likely know how to use it. If not, the instructions that come with a set are dummy proof. You could also hand sew it, but you’d be a glutton for punishment!

Dangerous! Actually, it is very sharp, so please be careful when you’re poking about from the bottom. You’ll shoot yer eye out, kid.

 

I chose to use buttons. They are economical and I used the ones I had on hand. Remember, this is a salvage project, and I’m all about using up resources. I have a rather large button collection thanks to my mother that was in need of a good culling, so I used them in place of stitching to create definition and a slight fold to the cushions. I sewed buttons on both sides, using plain janes¬†on the back, and decorative ones I layered on the front. But you do whatever strikes your fancy. Buttons are great embellishments. If you’re really ambitious, use a button cover set to make matching buttons from the scrap materials.

 

I love the versatility of buttons. They give definition and shape to these cushions and really personalize them without too much effort. Just a note. When you sew your buttons on, create a shank on the front by wrapping the thread going through the cushion with your threaded needle to create a covered button shank. This will make the thread stronger and less likely to pop off.

 

Wow! So versatile!

This nation is far too disposable. Take the time to recognize that many items can be reformed and transformed with just a little effort. Unless an item is infested, unhealthy or beyond repair, most can be given new life. Quite a transformation from a sidewalk cast-off, don’t you think! The Earth is gonna thank you!

BONUS! Like and Share this blog with your friends by going to our Facebook page and sharing. You’ll also find a link on Twitter that you can retweet, or click the icon below to Tweet.

Our followers are super important to us. To say thank you, if you share (and share often!), we’ll pick a winner at random and send you these awesome cushions at our expense. How’s that for an incentive! Increase your odds and share as often as you like, but only one winner will be selected…’cause I only made one set folks.

(Quick note…the fine print…because these are a demo project, there are some inconsistencies in the final project that were added for demonstration purposes only. But you really won’t notice!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project: Outdoor Cushion Makeover Part 1 of 2

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Greetings and salutations! I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Tanya at Best Fabric Store for her EXTREME patience and grace with me. I’m privileged to have the opportunity to bring my creative know-how to you. She has waited with much grace and anticipation, and I couldn’t thank her enough for being the kind soul she is. I’d also like to add that Tanya, who is incidentally the owner, also provides, PERSONALLY, hands down the finest customer service, ever!

I’m a Texas girl who’s been a long term inmate… I mean resident of the state of Illinois. (I’m not an inmate, but it sometimes feels that way here in Illinois when I see what our governor’s up to again…)¬†We’re hoping to be released soon on good behavior. I’m also 54 years old, married to the love of my life. As a seamstress, I was reluctant from the get go. My mom was brilliant at sewing. Her work was flawless. I loved to watch her and wore everything she made with pride. She taught me everything I know; and to this day I can hear her words of instruction and encouragement. Mom went Home in 2003. I miss her every day.

But by the time I was an adult, I didn’t want to sew. Mom never gave up. She bought me my first machine when I was 24, which gathered dust for two years. My first project was a circle skirt, and an epic disaster. Eventually I made it work and wore it…once. The machine went back to gathering dust.

It took another year until I dug the machine back out when I became pregnant with my first child and there wasn’t a maternity clothing store within an hour’s drive.

Flash forward and here we are. Three grown kids later ( and STILL waiting for grandchildren!) I’ve added custom upholstery, formals, home decor, and handbag design to¬†my¬†book, and a love for vintage sewing machines. I do not consider myself a seamstress. I just love to make stuff. Frankly, I don’t really enjoy making clothes, and even less repairing them.

However, I am sincerely crazy for DIY. So much so that I drive my daughter insane every time we shop because inevitably it ends with, oh, come on now, I can make that, followed by her angst and rolling eyes. She buys it anyway, though. I secretly laugh when it falls apart and smile sweetly when she then wants me to fix it.

I want you to know, I’m like you. I don’t have a fancy studio, and the air conditioning doesn’t flow so well in my little asylum! It’s warm up here as I write this. But it’s my space. I hijacked it from my daughter when she moved out.¬†I currently sew on a 1945 Singer Featherweight, and I wouldn’t sew on anything else. I have six other machines ranging from 1940-1970. Each one has a place and a purpose. My middle son ironically also loves to sew, but his passion is for leather. He works for a saddle shop in the heart of rodeo country and also has his own business doing custom leather work including hand tooling. I’m very proud of him.

I’m looking forward to sharing some fun projects with you each month. Don’t forget to search the archives. My predecessors are not the easiest act to follow. I strongly encourage you to check out the amazing projects they’ve written about. As we say down south, lagniappe. or a little something extra.

I’d love to hear what you have to say or any questions you may have. If you don’t understand any part of a project, please ask. I’ll respond as quickly as possible to get you back on track. I’d also like to see what you’re working on. Please share what you’re doing on¬†Facebook

Again, thank you to the amazing folks at Best Fabric Store. I love this American Made Business. They are the epitome of their name and are the absolute best at everything they do!

Blessings!

Mary

 

 

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During this blog, I will demonstrate how to add the goblet pleat tape to my drapes plus add covered buttons.

 

 

 

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During this blog, I will demonstrate how to make a drapery panel and get it ready for the addition of Goblet pleating tape.

 

 

 

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During this blog, I will demonstrate how to make a sheer curtain panel.

 

 

 

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During this blog, I will show you how to take this bench and change the looks completely!

 

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During this blog, I will demonstrate how to make this simple but lovely addition to any bedroom decor a bed scarf!

 

 

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