Tag Archives: sewing

Homestead: First Curtains

23 Jan

Early last year, I took out my new sewing machine and made some curtain panels. It was really fun! I pretty much followed this tutorial found on Design*Sponge, and made small adjustments where needed: designsponge.com/2010/02/sewing-101-curtains.html.

I started out with this little set for the front door. I wanted something that gave us some privacy, but also let in some light. And this cute cotton fabric did the trick! I’m just having issues photographing the finished panels. This angle looks awkward.

This angle’s also awkward, and the window is being especially reflective.

I tried closing the door to get a shot of the curtains, but now it just looks like I live in a dark hovel. Well, hopefully the combination of these three photos will help give you some idea on how the curtains came out.

The second panel I made was for our workspace. Tim and I have so much stuff that we needed to remove the closet door, so we could actually get in to and utilize the closet. To cover up the mess of art supplies piling up in the closet, I made this curtain panel. Mess, be gone!

Close-up of the adorable fabric.

And finally, I made a curtain panel for our back door. Same deal as the from door: I wanted something that would give us a little privacy, but also let light in (we get great sun coming in from the back yard in the afternoons!). I tied a light green ribbon around the middle. I’m happy that my math and planning skills came together on this one, I really like how it came out.

I wanted to find a fabric design that was nature-inspired without being too flower-y or frill-y. This fits the bill, and also pulls in the pops of green that we have going on in the kitchen color palette. (Not that we have a preconceived or purposeful color palette going on in our house; it’s more like this fabric just happens to jive well with what ended up going on with our kitchen “decor”.)

I really enjoyed making these! And I have lots of future plans for my sewing machine and me. Though I haven’t used it since making these… It’s partly because I’ve been busy with my Etsy shop, but it’s mostly because we got ViVi mid last year, and if she attacks/tries to play with the vacuum cleaner, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when I try to run a large swath of fabric through the sewing machine… We’re working on teaching her that not everything in the world can be a toy or friend to play with, so I’m hoping to be able to pick up machine sewing again soon!

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Wedding Part Three: Sew Crazy

8 Sep

So even though I didn’t make it myself, I still wanna talk about my wedding dress!

I originally got in touch with Karissa Kloss, a publishing colleague, about different ways to potentially bind my hand-made wedding invitation books; Karissa did the well-renowned publishing grad program at Emerson, and she used her trusty sewing skills to help bind several of her final book projects. Karissa also does a lot of sewing on the side, and she’s always making cool dresses for herself for special occasions. At the time, I was having difficulty finding a wedding dress that I liked, and, even though the wedding was quickly approaching, I was at the point of considering going to a tailor and having something custom-made. Though I knew that would most likely not fit in my meager budget, so the reality was that I’d just have to get any old dress, even if I wasn’t in love with it. Whatever, I’d get married in jeans if I had to! It’s just that this day was really special, so before giving up, I was searching every nook and cranny for a cool dress I loved.

Well after awhile, a light finally went off in my head: I actually know someone who knows how to make dresses. And I’d so rather give my money to someone I know rather than a stranger! So one night, after chatting about bookbinding and publishing in general for a bit with Karissa, I sheepishly brought up the idea about custom wedding dresses. And if she would ever consider making a dress for someone that’s not her. And if she would happen to be interested in a custom wedding dress commission from me.

I wasn’t expecting a positive reception to the idea, but I figured I’d give it a shot before I resign myself to plan B. But to my pleasant surprise, she entertained the idea! She immediately started thinking of ways to go about making what I had in mind, and, after a few days of heavy thinking, she agreed to make me a dress!

During my grueling wedding dress search, I realized I wanted an ivory dress, with a simple A-line silhouette, and with no train. Also, it turns out I really like lace. Who knew?? (Only sassy-antique-y lace though.) I was new to a project like this, but thankfully Karissa helped me look at different dress patterns and fabric swatches. We ended up going with this dress pattern (we went with the “B” option, and Karissa used her magic to extended the length), and used this beautiful Radiance Cotton/Silk Poplin in Ivory fabric with this gorgeous Scalloped Lace Fabric in Ivory (it was exactly the lace fabric I was hoping for, and it was on sale!!) for the top layer.

Since the dress was tailor-made to me, I needed to stick around while she made it. I think I hung out at her place a total of three times during thie dress-making process. It was fascinating seeing her genius at work! Here, you can see her doing something you'd never catch me doing: ironing.

Here she is working on the lace overlay for the skirt. She was able to keep the scalloped edge at the bottom, how cool!

Karissa has an adorable cat, Iris, who loves this lace as much as I do.

While Karissa was hard at work, Iris and I were busy hanging out and playing Fruit Ninja.

Here I am trying on my nearly-completed dress for the first time. When I was at David's Bridal a month earlier desperately trying to find a dress, the girl trying on dresses next to me wore a big poofy dress and tiara, and totally had a "bride moment". I think she even hugged the employee that was helping her find dresses (who was also supposed to be helping me at the same time, but she was truly terrible and I later ended up storming out of the store). Well right here is when I had MY "bride moment"!

Also, Karissa made me a surprise wedding shower gift: a matching purse! She used the same materials as the dress, and she created it from a vintage 30's pattern. And the little white piece of lace in the middle is vintage lace from the 20's-30's. Unknowingly, this design happened to echo the design of my shoes. So cool all around!

Boy, I am so lucky that she was up for this challenge! Not only did I have the wedding dress I had been searching for, but I'm super happy that I got to support a local artist too! Also, this was the most comfortable dress I've ever worn.

Karissa posted details about how she made the dress, you can read all about it here!

Seeing Karissa at work inspired me to pursue a long-time goal of mine to take up sewing. I knew I had to start with something small and relatively simple. I found this pattern on how to make a magnetic wrist pin cushion, and after conferring with my friend Melanie (YES Melanie my knitting and crocheting buddy, who also proofread the Wedding Book Invites and helped me assemble them. Now she is my sewing teacher. She’s amazing!!), we both decided that it would be a good project for me to start out with. Plus it would be a handy thing to have in case I ever start making clothes and stuff.

Melanie has a sewing machine, so we made plans to get together a couple of nights after work and make these. She made one for herself first, so I could see how it’s done. Then I made one for me!

Check it out!! I originally bought a couple of different kinds of magnetic sheets so we could trim them to size, but they weren't strong enough. We ended up cutting up a few random magnets that Melanie happened to have on her fridge, which worked well!

Here's what it looks like when it's not on my arm. Not bad for my first-ever completed sewing project, but I definitely need to practice sewing in a straight line.

I had a lot of fun looking at different fabric combos, and I like what I ended up choosing for this project! Melanie provided the velcro. I hadn't seen tan velcro before. I like it.

This is what the outsde of the velcro side looks like.

Okay, so the real reason I made a magnetic pin cushion is that I wanted to make Karissa a thank you present! She knew that I didn’t have a lot in my dress budget, but she still agreed to make my dress. I really appreciate all of her hard work, and I wish I had lots of monies so I could give her more. But I totally don’t. But I still wanted to do something nice to show my gratitude. I remember a few times when working on my dress that she dropped some pins and lamented the fact that she didn’t have a magnetic wrist pin cushion. She also mentioned that even though she makes lots of fun gifts for her friends and loved ones, no one really makes her anything because they figure she makes whatever she wants for herself, but she doesn’t because she’s too busy making stuff for other people.

So, voilà: a magnetic wrist pin cushion for Karissa! After making a practice one for myself, I decided a bigger magnet would be way more helpful. I also decided to place the velcro differently.

It was also fun picking out fabric combos for Karissa. For some reason this color combo reminds me of her. I really like it!

Sewing’s fun! I’m already starting to think about what I’d like to work on for my next project. I hope I get a sewing machine for Christmas!

In case you missed the previous post: Part Two: Close-Up of the Book Invitation

And keep your eyes peeled for the next one: Part Four: DJs on the Dance Floor!