Friday, June 30, 2017

Magnetic Pin Cushion

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I've been down in my sewing room quite a bit lately, and one thing you'll notice is that my straight pins are in a tomato pin cushion.  I think my mom gave it to me when she gave me my first sewing machine 20+ years ago.  It does the job of holding the pins, but I've eyed the magnetic ones at the sewing store--but never got around to replacing the perfectly functional tomato with a $20 magnetic one.

Inspiration struck one day when I was looking at the grocery ads.  Harbor Freight Tools always has a coupon ad that comes with my grocery fliers.  One of the items that you could get for free with any purchase was a magnetic screw/nut/bolt holder.  I went to Harbor Freight and the magnetic tray was already on sale for $2--so I bought one and used the coupon to get another one for free.

I could have just opened them up and started using them as is, but I have a love for all things rose gold these days, and I had a can of spray paint in the garage.  I washed them with dish soap to remove the residue of oil that was on them, used tape to cover up the rubber base (I probably could have just left it) and then put 3 light coats of paint on it.  I let it cure/dry for a couple days and voila, magnetic pin cushion.  I like it.  It doesn't seem as strong as others I've seen, but I can turn the dish upside down and the pins stay put.  I might take a neodymium magnet (aka rare earth, super strong mini magnet) and stick it to the side just to see what happens.  

All in all a quick, cheap and easy project that has a useful function.

Monday, June 12, 2017

20 Min Girl's Skirt-Easy!

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I like sewing.  I'd say my skill level is generally "advanced intermediate"--although I've done projects that are advanced (rebuilding a bridesmaid's dress where the bride handed me a strapless dress and a yard of $100/yd matching fabric confident that my skills were adequate to add sleeves (I rebuilt the entire bodice, but had to practice on cheap fabric first).  I rarely do complicated sewing patterns, not because I can't--but because I lack the patience required to get to the finished project.  My style is  to start a project at 8:00 at night with the intention of wearing it the next day--so it really needs to be a simple project.

 I like knit fabric projects.  Knit is pretty forgiving as a fabric, it doesn't unravel or slide around on you and comes in lots of fun prints.  I purchased some adorable "fox-y" knit from GirlCharlee fabrics and made a cute dress for work.  I knew I'd gotten the dress right when I wore it at a conference where I was a presenter --but I think I got more compliments on my dress than my presentation (and I totally rocked my session).  I had originally made my dress as a maxi dress, but once I got it on, it was way too much fox, so I cut it off to knee length--leaving me with a bit of fabric that I wasn't sure what to do with.  It came to me last night--simple skirts for my nieces. 

I cut 2 pieces, 14 inches wide and 16 inches long (you could make it longer if you have more fabric, but I didn't--I'm guessing my nieces will wear the skirts with leggings when at school--they are tall, so the skirt is shorter than they would like for wearing alone).   I actually had enough fabric to do 2 skirts, so I just did everything twice.  Since you are doing an elastic waistband, you can use any fabric, even non-stretchy woven fabrics-just make sure you cut it wide enough to go over any hips and that it has enough room to sit down.

First I placed the rectangles right sides together and sewed up the sides with my serger (you can use a sewing machine with a straight stitch since the side seams don't need to have any "give")

Next, (this is optional) I used my serger to finish the top and bottom edges.  Knit does not ravel, so you can leave the raw edge, but I like the clean look that the serger provides.

I used 1/2" wide elastic, so I folded the top of the skirt down 3/4" and ironed the crease.   Then starting at the back of the skirt, sew around to create a tube or sleeve for the elastic to slide through.  When you get around the skirt, stop sewing about 1 inch before you get back to the spot you started.  This will be where the elastic will go...but not yet.

Next, fold up the hem of the skirt between 1/2-1 inch, press the crease and then sew it with a straight stitch on your machine all the way around.

Last, take your elastic (I cut mine at about 26 inches, which is more than I needed, but I won't know for sure how long until I put the skirt on the kiddo).  Use a safety pin and attach to one end of the elastic, then push/pull the elastic into the casing you sewed earlier.  When you get it back to the beginning, distribute the fabric evenly and put the skirt on your model and decide how long the elastic really needs to be.  Mark the spot (don't cut it yet) and then sew across the elastic a few times.  Try the skirt on your model and when you are sure the elastic is right, cut the ends off and then sew up the gap in the casing.

Ta-da!  This skirt took me a total of about 20 minutes and I know my nieces will love it!