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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Upcycling Goodwill Challenge - Pillows!



I have been in a serious pillow-making mood lately.  I have a pillow obsession going on my Pinterest page - check it out.  While I don't sell pillows or pillow covers in my Etsy store, Pretty Pretty Cindy, I might someday.  I am starting to sell on Sundays on my Instagram Pretty Pretty Cindy account, so follow me there.  In the meantime, I need some pillows at my house!

I have been working on our master bedroom for a while and wanted to work in some pillows on our blue/green-gray bedding.  The bedding set came with two European shams, but I wanted throw pillows for color too.  But have you seen the prices of home decorating fabric, and worse yet, pillow forms? My pillow fetish could easily break the bank.  Goodwill to the rescue!


Last month I visited our local Goodwill store on a half-price Saturday.  For only $22, I brought home the following stash:

2 26x26" European pillows
2 18x18" pillows
2 14" round pillows
2 large pieces of fabric
Large scarf (it's that pink silk in the corner)
Minky baby blanket (not shown)


Obviously I bought the pillows for the forms, but not everyone is comfortable buying used pillows.  I pick pretty carefully.  Once you get them home and remove the fabric covers, you can always spray them with a diluted bleach solution and put them in the sun.  I was lucky these pillows (while ugly) were very clean.  I think the two pieces of fabric were originally a table cloth and maybe some curtains.  By looking in slightly different places for fabric and pillow forms, I was able to engage my pillow obsession without breaking the bank!  Here's the result:


For the two big pillows in the back I used the forms from the Goodwill pillows and the shams that came with the bedding.  Buying ONE pillow form alone in a 26x26" size could cost more than $22.  I made the pillow covers on the other four pillows.  Two of the pillows came from forms I bought at Goodwill and the fabric mostly came from Goodwill.  I didn't buy any new fabric or trim for these pillows.  Isn't that awesome?  These are also all "envelope" style pillow covers, so I can remove them to dry clean or just change for a different design.  




I'll post how I made these pillows, but I will admit that I shamelessly copied designs I found on Pinterest.  

The best part - this isn't even using the whole Goodwill haul!  I still have other pillows and was able to recycle some of fabric from the Goodwill pillow covers.  Upcycle!

More pillows to come.

cindy


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sew Practical: Drawstring Backpack


I have a stash of home decorating fabric and have been wanting to make one of these for so long.  There are plenty of patterns on the internet for drawstring backpack bags, so I won't claim this one is unique, although I used ideas from several different patterns.  I'm going to provide the entire instructions here, but if you get lost, the closest one to mine is Skip to My Lou's drawstring pattern.  I also should explain that I was on such a roll during the making of the first bag that I forgot to write everything down or take all the pictures.  So, I had to make another bag - shown below.  Here's what I used to make a 12.5" x 16" lined bag:


2 13 x 16" pieces of Fabric A (outside of bag)
2 13 x 16" pieces of Fabric B (lining)
2  3 x 12" pieces of Fabric A (casing) 
2 3 x 12" pieces of Fabric B (casing)
2  2 x 3" pieces of Fabric B (tabs)
4 yards of cord cut in half (I used 3/16" nylon coated)

You can use any cotton fabrics, although I like using the heavier home decorating fabric, especially for the outside of the bag.  You can also line your bag with a more water resistant nylon fabric, which makes it great for swim gear.  The cording you can buy at a hardware store.  You can also use ribbon (especially if your bag is lighter weight cotton), or you can make your own straps from fabric.

To begin the bag, you start with the smallest fabric details and work up to the larger bag.  On this bag I decided to go fancy and make pockets for the inside.  (I didn't include fabric measurements for pockets above.  Just cut rectangle of outer fabric to whatever size you want your pocket and add 1/2" to length and width for hems.)  I made 4 pockets, including some with Velcro closures and one for my sunglasses.  For each pocket, hem all four sides of the fabric before you topstitch it to one of the large (16"x13") lining pieces.  I sewed the pieces of the Velcro on the inside of the rectangle pocket and the other on the liner fabric, respectively.  I also sewed a button on the outside of the pockets for decoration.





On the 2 x 3" pieces, fold the long sides over to the center so they slightly overlap and sew a seam down the center of the long side with a zigzag stitch.  Repeat with the other 2"x 3" strip.


Pin the 13 x16" pieces of Fabric A right sides together.  Fold the 2 x 3" tabs in half with the short ends together, and pin each one between the 2 large outer fabric pieces, up 1" from the bottom of the long sides.  Keep the raw edges together. 


Sew on three sides, keeping one of the shorter sides of the fabric completely open.  I used a zigzag stitch throughout because home decorating fabric tends to fray. After ironing the seams, turn this "outer bag" right side out.  The top of the bag is the end with the raw edges.

Now you are ready to sew the 13 x 16" Fabric B pieces with the right sides together.  This time, however, leave a 3" gap or hole in the bottom short end for turning the bag inside out later.  When you finish with the lining pieces, you will have both long sides completely sewn, the short end at the top of your bag will be completely open, and the other short bottom of the bag will be sewn closed except for a 3" gap in middle of that end.  Iron the seams, but keep this "liner bag" inside out.

Next, make the 2 casing pieces by matching the 12 x 3" fabric pieces together, right sides facing. Use one of Fabric A and B to make each casing.  Sew three of the sides, leaving one of the long sides completely open.  Trim the corners, turn right side out, and iron.  These are the casings from the first bag I made:   


Now fold each casing on the long side so the liner fabric is on the inside of the fold.  Here are the casing pieces I made for my second bag.  The one on the left is already folded in half.  These will be the casing for your drawstring and they attach to the top of the bag.


Center each casing piece along the top of the "outer bag," matching the raw edges together.  The length of the casings is shorter than the width of the bag, so there will be 1" gaps between the ends of the casings and the sides of the bag.  Center and pin the second casing to the other side of the "outer bag."  You are now ready to slide the "outer bag" with the casings pinned into the "liner bag."  The "liner bag" is still inside out, but the "outer bag" should have the right sides out as you slide it into the liner bag.  All raw edges should be aligned.  The right sides of the fabric will be together, but all you will see is the wrong sides of the fabric (see picture below) 

Sew all the way around the opening, sewing together the "liner bag," the casings and the "outer bag."  When it is all sewn up, it will look like this (you are looking into the top of your bag.)



Flip the bag to the bottom and you can reach in and pull out the "outer bag" through the hole in the bottom of the "liner bag."


Once you pull the bag completely out through the hole, you should see the right sides of the fabric like this:


Pull the casings to open the bag and push the liner into the bag. It should look like a real bag without the drawstrings! Now you are ready to thread the cording.  Take the first cord and thread an end through one of the tabs near the bottom of the bag.  Continue up along the outside edge of the bag to the ends of the casings at the top of the bag.  Using a safety pin on the end of the cord to guide you, thread the cord through the back casing to the other side of the bag.  Continue around the bag through the other casing, guiding it through the casing back across the top of the bag to the side where you started.  As the cord comes out of the casing, guide it back down the side of the bag and back through the original tab.  The ends of your cord should now be together, and you can tie the ends in a knot so it won't slip out of the tab.


Repeat the process with the other cord on the other side of the bag.  Each cord will go through the casings from opposite directions.  This is a picture of me threading the second cord into the back casing with the other cord already in place.  You will probably need to burn the ends of the cord after cutting them to prevent fraying.



And that's it!  It seems complicated, but it really is simple once you get the hang of it.


Happy sewing!

Cindy





Monday, September 4, 2017

Sew Practical - Essential Oil Sachets



Did you know I sell Scentsy products?  I have my own website at www.straddlingthegap.scentsy.us so you can order for delivery to your house anywhere - no need to have a local party.  If you are a Scentsy user without a local consultant, it's a great option. Anyway, I'm always looking for ways to extend good smells wherever I am, including places where melted wax and electrical outlets might not be practical.  Today I'm combining my favorite smells through Scentsy with a little practical sewing to make sachets scented with Scentsy essential oils.  Oh, you didn't know Scentsy sells oils and diffusers?  Get over to my Scentsy website and check it out!

These sachets are so easy to make.  You just need some scrap fabric, a bit of ribbon, uncooked rice, scented oil and a plastic bag or bowl to mix.  I used Scentsy Lavender Orange Blossom.  Mix about 1 cup of rice to 6-8 drops of oil.

   

To make the heart sachets, you just need two pieces of cotton fabric about 3" x 5".  My hearts are the same fabric on both sides, but you can use different fabrics.  Because you will be cutting these without a pattern, it also doesn't matter the exact size.  Fold each piece of fabric in half with the right side showing.

 
Slide one of the pieces inside the other, and using pinking shears, start from the bottom left (folded) side and cut to the right on a diagonal until you get near the top right and then curve back around to make the middle of the heart.  When you finish and pull the fabric pieces apart, it will look like this.  Unfold to reveal two identical hearts.



Every heart looks a little different (which is why you cut two pieces simultaneously) and you can practice with paper to get it just the way you want.  Using the pinking shears gets you that jagged edge look, but if you don't have any, just use regular scissors and you will have ragged edges.  Place the hearts on top of each other, wrong sides together, and cut a piece of ribbon about 14".  There is nothing special about this length, other than if you want to hang one of these from your car mirror, you will need that length or more.  You also don't need a ribbon if you don't want to hang the sachet.  Pin the ends of the ribbon inside the heart.


Now you're ready to sew.  You will be sewing on the right side and need to leave a hole to fill the heart.  I've found it easiest to begin sewing from the left top corner, so when you come around and leave the top of the left "hump," it's easy to open and fill.


As you come down to the center where your ribbon is pinned, go about 3 stitches past the center and stop.

Backstitch 3 stitches to the center again, lift the presser foot and pivot the heart so your presser foot will be facing the upper right portion of the heart.  Now backstitch 3 stitches and then stitch forward around the right side of the heart all the way to the other side, leaving about a 2 inch opening.



If you're wondering why you did all that backstitching stuff where the ribbon goes into the heart, this secures the ribbon with several stitches and allows you to pivot with a little decorative X.  Now you are ready to put the scented rice in the heart.  Don't fill it too much or you won't be able to use the sewing machine to close the heart.  Sew the gap closed and you're done!


These little sachets are great in clothes drawers, hanging in the car, on door knobs or closets.  They also make nice gifts.  As a Scentsy consultant, they are a great way to "sample" the oils for customers.


cindy