Full Definition of joie de vivre
: keen or buoyant enjoyment of life
This is a really fun and easy project and if you love perfectly mitered corners then you will adore this tutorial for a self binding table square. I love mine!
You can use this concept for a table square, table runner, napkins, anything that's square or rectangular. I'm making a medium sized table square to go under my cake stands and once I'm done it will be 21" x 21". A good way to figure out your finished size is to add the dimension of the smaller one to the dimension to the bigger one then divide by two and subtract the seam allowance. 18 + 26 = 44 (both heights added) then 44 ÷ 2 = 22 (divide by 2) then 22 - 1 = 21 (subtract total of all seam allowances). I hope that makes sense.
To get started you'll need to mark sewing lines on all of your pieces. I'm using disappearing ink which will wash off with just a dab of water when I'm done. I use these disappearing ink pens all the time so if you haven't tried them grabbed your 50% off coupon and treat yourself to a wonderful new sewing tool. If you're using a pencil make sure you don't get your mark beyond the 1/4" seams allowance where it will end up showing when you've finished.
The center piece (with the bird on it) is 8" smaller than the big piece (the bottom and binding) so divide 8 in half and mark the big piece 4" from each corner edge.
Then on the wrong side of the center piece make a mark 1/4" from each corner.
Now, work with two opposite sides and pin your center fabric so it's between the marks on the larger binding fabric (just scrunch up the larger piece of fabric underneath until your sides reach each other). Starting on the small corner dot, stitch across each side starting and stopping at the dots (don't stitch all the way to the ends). Use a 1/4" seam allowance. Be sure to backstitch as you start and stop.
Here's a closeup of what it will look like. You can see the fabric is right up next to the blue line underneath and I've stopped stitching at the blue corner dot.
Now you're going to sew the other two sides. You'll need to "scrunch" the larger fabric piece underneath and pin the un-sewn sides of the center fabric to the un-sewn sides of the larger binding fabric (make sure the fabric is between your markings like you did on the previous step. You can see a closeup of a corner below. Be sure to move the underneath fabric out of the way so it doesn't get caught in your stitches.
Stitch from dot to dot (be sure to backstitch again) but leave a 3" opening along one side for turning your fabric right side out.
Here is a closeup showing how the stitches meet at the dot but don't go past it.
Your larger fabric will be big and loose like this.
Now fold a corner so the raw edges meet up together and place a ruler along the fold. Draw a straight line from the fold to the dot where your previous seams met (a drew a dot on the outer fabric to make it obvious). Do this on all four corners. Don't draw all the way to the raw edge because you won't be sewing to the raw edge, you'll sew between the dot and the folded edge.
Sew between the dot and the edge (remember to backstitch).
Cut away the extra fabric.
Now press the center fabric's seam allowance toward the larger fabric. This will make the next step so much easier and cleaner.
Here's a close up of the un-sewn opening after it's pressed.
Now reach in and, starting with the corners, pull the fabric through the opening.
Here's the opening after you've turned it inside out. The previous pressing step made the binding fabric nicely folded on that edge and ready to stitch shut.
Press your table square and make sure that opening fold is just the way you want it so it blends in with the rest of the binding seam. Top stitch around the binding, pivoting at the corner seams where it's nicely mitered. Now nobody will ever be able to tell where that opening was.
Here's a picture of the stitches underneath.
Now press your table square smartly and place it somewhere you can enjoy every time you walk by it.
These make great gifts, especially for newlyweds or house warming gift giving. You can use this method to make a cute set of napkins (make the big square 19 x19 and the small square 15 x 15 for a nice sized napkin), or a table runner for a baby's dresser. The ideas are endless!
I had a customer request a pillow insert that is 24" x 16" and it's a bit of an oddball size so I don't have one in stock. I looked into it and they're at least 17.00 on average and I thought wait a minute....
I went to Walmart and picked up a regular old pillow in "medium support" style for 4.88. This is the standard size and it's 17 x 26 inches.
I cut the end open.
Removed the polyfil stuffing.
And then cut it to the size I needed plus the seam allowance (16 1/2 x 24 1/4 since it already had a seam at one end).
I stitched up each side and a little bit on each side of the end. I left a decent sized hole to stuff all the polyfil back in.
I grabbed my cheapo scissors and trimmed off some of the polyfil at the end (I'll keep the excess for a pin cushion or softie project).
Then I stuffed it all back in making sure I got it into the corners.
I pinned the end shut but put the pins about 2 inches from the edge so the fluff wouldn't get in the way while I was sewing. All of my seams are obvious but since it's going inside a pillow cover it doesn't matter.
Bam! It's exactly the size I needed and cost less than buying it even at a wholesale price. You can do this with any size of insert you need.
Give it a shot and let me know how it works for you!
I'm going to show you how to make a smart and fabulous pillow cover with a truly invisible zipper!
Few things bring me more satisfaction than a well done invisible zipper. I see lots of tutorials for pillows with zippers and some call them "hidden zippers" but it drives me crazy because the zippers are behind the obvious fabric folds and there are seams showing the whole length on each side of the zipper (just a pet peeve of mine). It doesn't have to be that way! Installing an invisible zipper is no more difficult than sewing regular zippers (I think it's easier actually).
Here are the two pillows I've made recently. The top one is awesome. The bottom one has a poorly installed invisible zipper. The two big differences were 1. ironing the zipper coils first and 2. getting my sewing machine needle as close to the coil as possible while sewing. I'm going to take you through those steps as well as others to get a great finish!
First, let's talk about invisible zippers. Invisible zippers are actually labeled "Invisible Zipper" (it's not just the outcome of the process, it's the actual name). On the left is a regular zipper which has exposed teeth and a square-ish zipper pull. On the right is an invisible zipper and you can't see the teeth at all plus the pull is long and tapered. Invisible zippers cost a little bit more but the great outcome makes up for the small price difference.
Now let's talk about zipper feet. Your sewing machine probably came with a zipper foot like the one on the left. This one will do the trick if your machine has the ability to shift the needle over to the side. The notched areas underneath each side enable you to get your zipper closer to the needle (but not all the way which is why you need to shift your needle over).
The foot on the right is a foot specifically for sewing invisible zippers (this one is from my Juki so it's got a higher shank but the grooves will be the same on a lower shank foot). If your needle can't be adjusted to the side you need something like this because it allows you to set the zipper right under and next to the needle without having to move the needle.
If you don't want to invest in an invisible zipper foot quite yet you can get this plastic one, pictured below, made by Coats. They're a lot flimsier than the metal ones of course, but for 2.50-ish it's a great way to see if you like the grooved foot before buying a metal one.
Besides a suitable zipper foot, you'll need the supplies below:
1. Two fabric squares cut the same dimensions as your pillow form. My pillow form is 18 x 18 and I cut the fabric squares 18 x 18 so I get a finished cover of approximately 17 x 17 inches.
2. One invisible zipper at least 4 inches longer than your fabric pieces (my zipper is around 22-24 inches long).
3. One Elmers-type glue stick. I use the stuff that is purple before it dries.
Your first step is to unzip your zipper and iron the coils so they lay as flat as possible (this will enable you to really get your needle up next to it).
Here's a picture of one side of a zipper before and after ironing. I really applied a lot of heat and took my time to really get it to "uncurl" and lay flat.
Lay your zipper on one side of the fabric and mark both sides of the zipper about 1.5" from the end of your fabric. The zipper pull is face down when you mark it (more detailed picture next).
Here's an example of how your zipper will lie when you start gluing it in place (yes glue!). I've zipped this one up partly so you can see that the zipper pull is face down. You'll need to unzip it completely for the next few stages.
Glue along the whole edge where your zipper will be sewn. Place a piece of paper under it so you don't get glue on your ironing surface. The glue dries pretty quickly so have everything ready when you get started.
Once you have the zipper pressed in place along the edge you want to heat set the glue with your iron. Just set it on top of the zipper and press and it will dry the glue enough to hold it while you work with it. I've used glue for a long time but it was my friend Cristy Fincher who showed me you need to heat set it with your iron (it changed everything for the better!). If the glue is drying before you can get to this part then do this process in two parts (glue half way up, set your zipper, heat press and then glue the rest of the way to the end and repeat the process).
This glue seriously holds! So much more accurate and reliable than straight pins.
Now flip your glued part over on top of the other fabric piece (like the picture below) and repeat the glueing process on the edge of this piece.
Make sure your edges and the marked lines match up.
Here's what it all looks like when the zipper is glued and heat set in place. You're ready to sew!
Place your zipper under the zipper foot and adjust your needle so it's right next to the coil. Don't start stitching at the very end of the pillow piece but start about 1/4" before the mark you made. Backstitch and start sewing the length of the zipper.
Stop stitching just 1/4" past the other side of the mark you made at the other end. Backstitch.
Now repeat that process on the other piece of fabric.
Place your fabric pieces right sides together and pull your zipper in so it's no longer hanging off the end of the pillow pieces. Don't pull it all the way shut. Now you're going to finish stitching the length of the zipper side. Pull your zipper "tail" up and out of the way.
Now dab some glue on the un-sewn corners.
Here are both ends (folded so you can see both). They are glued shut at the corners and the zipper "tails" are out of the way.
Now use your marker to make the sewing line on each end. Draw a straight line from the end and go past the end of the zipper stitch by 1/2".
Move your zipper foot over to the other side, adjust your needle over so it's on your line, and stitch along your line past your zipper stitch. Backstitch.
Now cut the zipper tails off (use cruddy scissors for this).
Cut both ends of the zipper off.
Open your pillow and press your seam. Isn't this lovely?? Once you've pressed this seam you'll need to unzip your zipper about halfway down the length of the pillow (or you won't be about to get your hand inside your pillow to turn it right side out once you've finished stitching all the way around it).
Did you remember to unzip your zipper? Good. Now fold your pillow back together (right sides together). Glue and heat set the edges of the pillow pieces all the way around the perimeter. Keep your edges even and lined up neatly.
Now use a 1/2" seam allowance and stitch all the way around starting at the zipper edge.
Rather than pivoting at the corner, just stitch all the way off the edge (but backstitch at the spot where you would've pivoted). Then start sewing again on the next side (again backstitch at the spot where the two stitches intersect).
Once you're done sewing snip your corners off.
On the corners near the zipper you'll want to trim off a little of the seam allowance on the side too (this will give you sharper corners here).
Start turning it right side out and poke your corners out (you can use a chopstick point or something similar to get a good corner).
Lay your pillow cover flat and press your seams open as much as you can.
Here it is, nice and finished and ready to be stuffed. Nice clean lines, a discreet zipper, and you didn't use one pin the whole time.
Squish your pillow form up and stuff it into your new, beautiful cover. Take care to stuff it into the corners too. Now zip it up. Isn't it pretty? Pat yourself on the back now. Do it.
Now you can enjoy them forever.
Let me know how it works for you!
I've been focusing most of my sewing/decorating focus in my dining room lately. I'm getting desperate to have things finished instead of "in the process". A few more things and I'll call this room done. But covering the chairs was the biggest part of it so it's quite an accomplishment and I'm ready to show it off.
A couple of years ago I was watching Season 3 of Sarah Richardson's show on HGTV and fell in love with the dotted fabric on the kitchen chairs (pictures here). Unfortunately for me, the fabric is over 30.00 a yard. Ouch. When I saw this Birch (like a barkcloth texture) Ikat Dot Nova Grey home dec print from Premier Prints I had a feeling this was just what I was looking for. I bought a yard just to check it out and it's absolutely perfect. It's grey with creamy dots so the overall effect is a perfect "greige". I have more here in my Fabritopia store and it's only 12.99 a yard! Each chair has taken about 1.5 yards so it's been a very reasonable and beautiful solution.
Here's what I started with. I bought 6 of these parsons chairs from a Craigslist add for 65.00 (plus they threw in a table for free which I used as a desk for awhile then got rid of). They are comfortable and the fabric was in good shape so they looked fine with everything but I wanted them to look super fine.
I looked all over for a pattern and ended up purchasing one but I didn't like all the extra pieces (I knew with some pleats and corners it could be simplified and still look smart). I took the process nice and slow with the first one since I knew I needed a good pattern in order for the other 5 to be easy. I used muslin for the pattern pieces and started sewing, seam ripping, and sewing again until the fit was nice. I started with the seat.
I then added the seat back and worked hard to get the pleats at the top corners nice and tight and made sure the seam where the two pieces met was low enough to not pull apart from the pressure of someone sitting but high enough to not look baggy the rest of the time.
When I added the back piece I knew it would need to open up a little in order to slide onto the chair (it's wider at the top than the bottom). The pleat opens about 7 inches from the top so it's not baggy. I wasn't careful to match my dot pattern with this back piece but if fixed that on the other 5 so you can't really see the seam (and this one goes against the wall where nobody can see the back!).
I wanted the skirt to look finished but still be soft looking and these gently flared pleats did the trick. Plus the piping gives it a smart finish. This first one was a little droopy at the front of the seat so I raised the pattern up in that spot for the rest of them. I'm okay with the first chair being less-than-perfect (it took me awhile to get to the place in life!).
I just made a simple, but crisp, bow to pull the pleat together in the back. I considered a button and loop, a frog closure, hidden hook and eye...but finally settled on the bow. I really like it.
So here's my room at this point and I couldn't be happier. It looks like somebody cared enough to take care of the details. I'm shopping for a new light fixture next.
And Joey found these HENRIKSDAL chairs for the end of the table in the AS IS section of IKEA. They were half price and are a close enough match that I don't know if anyone will even notice the difference one they're covered. I'm working on a pattern right now and will be able to make it available to others since these chairs are easier for folks to get.
Have a great week and keep on sewing!!!
We've had an incredibly busy season here in our family. Last month we had a wedding! Our pretty little Peety grew up and found the man of her dreams. He asked. We said yes.
She wanted to wear my vintage (already vintage?) Laura Ashley wedding gown that I wore in 1986 and I was more than happy to oblige her (with a few alterations).
It was a crazy, rainy, stormy day. Very unusual for the Phoenix area this time of year but it made it a little more special (in spite of the "I'm not sure why I bothered with my hair" comments from many of us ladies).
Peety met one of her best friends (and bridesmaids) at baking school so it was a treat to have Danielle make the cupcakes and cake. They were just as delicious as they look.
We had a few breaks between downpours for some great pictures.
Cue Karen Carpenter singing "We've Only Just Begun".....
Back soon with more details (especially the sewing, crafting stuff!).
It's my turn! I'm so happy Abi Long from The Modern Prairie Girl (and Marie Madeline Study) asked me if I'd be part of the blog hop as she introduces her new book Modern Prairie Sewing (published by those great folks at C&T Publishing). I wasn't sure what I was signing up for since I hadn't even seen the book but boy, was I thrilled when it arrived! It's loaded with great projects. Seven different bags, eight beautiful garments, and a bunch of darling housewares.
That's Abi on the far left side (I love these girls!).
It was hard to choose which project to make but I really wanted something I would use again and again and so I picked the KittyJo bag. I really loved the use of a variety of fabrics and it looked like a good sized bag. Plus the pleat in the center of the bag adds a touch of spunk. Here's the picture from the book. You can see why it caught my eye.
For my KittyJo bag I used home dec fabric because I wanted it to be sort of heavy and durable enough to hold my gym clothes, or groceries, or packages for the post office (basically to haul anything anywhere). I'm so happy with the result! Isn't this great? Look at how big it is!
I can put so much stuff in here.
I included the huge pocket in mine and stitched down the middle so I have room for my phone, reading glasses, Kindle, all sorts of stuff! I even added the extra Michele's D-Ring (but I only had an O ring so I used it). I sewed mine in the center over the pockets because it will be a great place to hang my gym membership bar code fob.
I had a lot of fun making this bag. It's a pretty quick project and not overwhelming so if you get the itch to make something this will do the trick without taking up your whole weekend. All of the projects in the book are like that and this book is perfect for beginners as well as more experienced seamsters.
That was a lot of fun and I can highly, highly recommend this book! I know I'm going to go to it every time I need an idea for a hand crafted gift or a spruce up for my own home or wardrobe.
Here is a list of the other bloggers on the hop, so you can be inspired by more fun sewing projects.
Jenny at Sew Pretty Dresses August 20th
Pam at Pam Kitty Morning August 21st
Melissa at 100 Billion Stars August 23
Caroline at Sew Caroline August 25
Melissa at Lilac Lane August 26
April at April Rhodes August 27
Abiah at Marie-Madeline Studio August 28
On August 29th be sure to hop on over to The Modern Prairie Girl blog for an chance to win a signed copy of Modern Prairie Sewing !
This is the latest craze around here. I can't stop making these bulletin boards. They're cheap, easy and so much cuter than plain cork boards. Here's the one above my new ironing station and it's so convenient and handy when I'm filling orders or just need a place to tack a reminder for myself.
Here's all you need to make one (or a dozen) for yourself.
1. A piece of R-Tech 1/2 inch rigid insulation (you can get a small 2ft x 4ft board for only 3.35).
2. Spray adhesive. I like Elmer's Craft Bond.
3. Hot glue gun
4. Deco Nails Picture Hanging Nails (I think I found mine at Home Depot)
5. Cute fabric - enough to cover the board with about 3-4 inch extra on each side. Home dec weight fabric is best for this.
Cut your fabric piece big enough to cover the whole board with at least 3 inches extra on each side. Spray the whole fabric piece (on the wrong side) generously with the spray adhesive. Be sure to have a drop cloth or cardboard around the edges for the over-spray.
Place your insulation board on the fabric with the plain side of the insulation board against the wrong side of the fabric (on the sticky side). Pull the fabric snug while smoothing it against the board.
At the corners cut away the extra fabric (cut out a square basically) and smooth one side snug against the board.
Press the other side against the edge of the board like the picture below.
Then fold it over to the back side and glue the edge in place.
Nice and clean like this. Flip it over and smooth the front so the fabric is snug against the adhesive.
Your done! Wasn't that crazy simple?? Just use your cute Deco Nails to mount it on the wall (use a level to get it straight the first try) and start tacking your stuff to it!
So convenient and pretty too! I've made 7 of these already and my kids are crazy about them because they can pick their own fabric.
Let me know if you try it!
I finally ditched my old ironing board (gave it to one of my kids actually) and replaced it with something infinitely more practical and sturdy. I do a LOT of ironing with my etsy shop, plus packing, shipping, etc so I really needed a stable surface and good storage. I've been wanting to share the process for awhile and I can't find some of the pictures I took along the way but it's not complicated so I'll explain it using the pictures I could still find.
The dresser is the Tarva from IKEA and it was 149.00. My 13 year old son assembled the dresser while I worked on the ironing board part. Meanwhile this guy made a lego world out of the dresser shell.
I lost the pictures of the original top process but all I did was cut a plywood board 48" x 17" (I was lucky enough to find a scrap board in the garage so I didn't have to go buy one). This length left me enough space at the top right hand side for my iron and hangs over the front edge about 1.5 inches so I've got a good, wide work surface.
I bought some quilted ironing board fabric at Joann and stapled it on (see above picture). It worked out great until I accidentally ironed some interfacing on it and it got icky. It was an easy fix though and I just cut some fabric out big enough to wrap around and cover the old stuff and stapled it in place right over the ironing fabric. It's been great (and cuter!).
Here's a look at the corner. I trimmed enough fabric away to decrease the bulk and stapled it like crazy.
Then I told my son he could play with his dad's power tools. He attached the board to the top using some screws that were long enough to reach the new board on top without going through it. I think he used 3 screws and it's been nice and steady since then.
So this is the great ironing/packing station I've been using. It has room for lots of stuff and keeps everything looking so much tidier. Plus I think it's really pretty. I like the wood but if I get tired of it some day I can just paint it.
And here's a look at it with my shelf and bulletin board. Plus cute prints from Pam Kitty Morning! And since we still need a place to iron shirts I just hung the smaller pointy board (tutorial for covering one here) on the wall so it's easy to access and store.
I hope that all makes sense! Let me know if you have any questions. Keep on sewing!
I was a little late to the party but apparently I was fashionably late because it's still going on. I jumped into the Nested Churn Dash quilt along and it's been lots of fun. My friend Quiltjane of Want it , Need it, Quilt! started this fun quilt along and has had a bunch of stellar guest bloggers giving great tips and suggestions. Run over to Craftsy and grab the pattern (it's only 2.00) and get on InstaGram with the tag #nestedchurndash.
Here's what I've done so far:
Here is the first block I did. Bright pastels and stripes. These are big 24" blocks so you get a lot of bang for your buck. I really like the stripes and colors in this one and it was fun to pick through my stash.
I used glue basting the whole time and it really helped me keep my seams and corners nice and accurate. I get my glue tips from Cristy at Purple Daisies, LLC (they are a must have!).
This is my second block. The colors are sweet and soft and I think it's nice but it's not my favorite. Maybe a little too safe?
By my third block I'd figured out that it was smarted to cut everything at once and chain piece. I also figured out I was happier if the center block coordinated with the outer fabrics.
So here is the finished block. I love it.
I'm going to continue on in these colors and see if I can't get a whole quilt out of the deal. Yay!
Check it out and share your pictures on InstaGram (and follow me @jonagiammalva)! Have a great weekend and keep sewing!