Tag Archives: sewing

new curtains finally up!

big waves on the valance, tie backs reversible.

I’d corkscrew it on there so you could see that look but I’m tired of going up the ladder. Hanging the rods was difficult for me but I got it done! YEA!

I’m letting it like the top photo for a while.

small waves top and bottom / same valance and tie backs

I like this look. It kind of reminds me of a key design.

This is a fun and flirty valance. I’d call it feminine. It’s out of style these days but it’s always been one of my favorites from the years I sewed curtains and slip covers for interior decorators. I made variations of this style a few different times for different places I lived.

I’ve been in this apartment for 6 months and normally I don’t make curtains for every apartment I take because I’ve been moving around so much, but I like this place and I might stay for a while. It’s quiet and no one bugs me.

a close up

If you want to make this style it’s easy. When you hang the valance you start in the center and twist the bottom to the top. Then you move out to either side and twist again and again trying to keep the same size waves.

I could fool around with this more but I need to return the step ladder I borrowed.

It might rain for a few days here. I’ll try to get out to draw but the weather can stop me from going out in plein air and I’ll have to find another project like sewing which is an art too. It’s something you can get creative with and it’s fun if you’re making something for yourself that you need and using your favorite colors.

sewing project curtains, valance, tie backs

I tried to post this before. I don’t think it’s showing up right. I can see the first post but it’s not showing up on freshly pressed so I’m trying again.

This is the valance which will be all twisty and crazy on the rod because the line of cording won’t gather like the fabric will on the rod. I tried to explain it and I don’t think anyone can see the text. I’m not sure.

These are the reversible tie backs.

The curtains are blue with white lining. The job is unfinished because I’m waiting for a continental rod I ordered to come in.

The valance and tie backs are reversible. You can play around rearranging the valance and tie backs for a new look when you want a change. It’s a fun style window treatment. I can’t wait for the rod to arrive! I’ll post pix of it as soon as I get it hung.

Can you see just one post here or two?

sewing project details and explanations

these art the tie backs for my new curtains, on my ironing board.

I made the curtains out of the blue fabric and lined them with white but I didn’t sew the heading on the curtains yet because I want to get the rod hung first so I can be sure of the finished length. I tried to hang the rod myself and it isn’t working out. I tried to drill small holes in the places for my brackets and the dry wall chipped a little. No big deal, these are old apartments. I tried to avoid a previous hole that was patched.

I remember hanging curtain rods before but it’s been a long time. I remember using wall anchors and once had wall anchors that I could use and once I had some I couldn’t use. I guess I’ll have to call the office and ask if a maintenance guy can help me with the curtain rods. So the curtain job is on hold for now.

The tie backs and valance are reversible with blue on one side and peach on the other with cord top and bottom in another contrasting orange color.

This arty shot is the valance on my ironing board.

It’s 9 inches by 3 yards with a 3 inch rod pocket in the center and a 3 inch heading top and bottom. I figured approximately 2.5 or 3 to one on the fullness to come up with 3 yards. It gets hung on a 2.5 inch flat curtain rod with a 4 inch return to the wall so it will clear the curtains which have a 2 inch return. I had to order the rod. First I looked it up on amazon and it said 3 weeks for delivery! So I waited for the store here that makes custom window treatments to open and called them. They don’t have the rod in stock either. It should be here in a week. They call it a continental rod. The guy told me no one asks for them these days, which is a shame because this valance is so cute and you can fool around arranging it in different ways.

The fabric will gather on the rod but the cording won’t. Then you can arrange the line of cord at least 3 different ways that I know of. You could cork screw it around the rod, you could put it on the rod straight and then twist the bottom up to the top in waves all the way across, which would also show the contrasting lining, or you can put the valance on the rod straight and twist the top and bottom cords separately. I don’t know if you can visualize that, I’ll post pix as soon as I get it all hung.

If you want to sew this type of valance, it’s not difficult. One tip I can give is when sewing long strips of fabric together you can get a cumulative error that doesn’t show up till you’re all the way across. You might get an annoying twist because the layers don’t feed through at exactly the same rate. Unless you have a walking foot machine which I don’t.

The way to avoid the bias twist is to sew over your pins. I use T pins and don’t want to break needles because that’s hard on the machine. I sew up to the pin then walk the needle over the pin by turning the wheel by hand a few times. When you do that you make tiny tucks at the pins which take up the slack on the top piece of fabric. Can you see the tucks on my photo? It doesn’t matter if you have tucks on the valance since it’s gathered on the rod and it keeps it from going on the bias which might show up in the end or cause some twisting on the rod where you don’t want twisting.

This is another project that’s on hold for a week until the rod comes in. I’m excited to see it hung and play around with the valance. This will be a long week and it’s raining.

50 free masks for nurses

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There they are all lined up on the back of my sofa before going out this afternoon.

It will be great to have the masks on the faces of 50 health care pros tomorrow. I must say, this is a great organization I hooked up with, the Covid19 Sewing Taskforce for Hampton Roads. They have over 1200 volunteers including me and have made 10,975 masks so far for 22 health care institutions. A lot of the fabric is donated but they have people donating money too and are buying fabrics. People that can’t sew help in other ways like cutting the fabrics and making kits for seamstresses.

There must be a wire shortage because one of my kits had pipe cleaners instead of wires. Since they had precut the fabric I could knock out 50 in two days for them. I did around 15 before I hit my stride.

The cable tv guy had to come over today and hook me up because I can’t do it and my son in law was stumped as to why it didn’t get the signal. The cable guy asked me to sell him one of the masks. I told him I can’t sell them, those were for nurses. Those cable guys, they have to go into people’s houses and wear a mask but the company isn’t giving them masks, I guess, because he was wearing a dirty old construction mask. He wants a mask he can wash.

I have a box full of scraps of cotton so tomorrow I’m going to sort through the pieces and cut masks for the cable guys. I got his phone #, told him I’ll call him in a couple days and give him cotton masks for himself and his coworkers.

Then maybe next week I’ll sew more for nurses. People seem to think this crisis will go on for a while but I think it’s almost over. I’ll sew more for a little while then I’ll get back to art projects.

making myself useful

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I finally found the group that supplies the materials for people who volunteer to sew masks for nurses or for the community, Maskforce. I just picked up 5 packets of precut fabrics. There’s enough in each bag for 10 masks, so 50 in all here. Now I have to watch the instruction video but I don’t think it will be too difficult compared to say, a slipcover.

That’s my trusty singer 191, an industrial machine. I’m the only one that ever sewed on it and it never drops a stitch.

My self esteem is improving already! I’m so glad I can be of some use in this time of crisis.

my needlepoint

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This is a needlepoint I did long ago but didn’t know how to finish it so I just put strips of bias tape around the edges and mounted it on a piece of burlap.  It’s my version of PA. Dutch folk art flowers.

I was repackaging a bunch of fabrics I haven’t used and saw this in there.  It would be neater for my moving guys if the fabrics were in a box instead of that big plastic bag. This goes in the box now, to be rediscovered if I die. hahahah

I should show you my attempt at quilting from long ago.

Chenille Jacket modeled by my daughter

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Years ago my Mom showed me a jacket pattern and asked me if I wanted one. The pattern said you should use 3 colors. Black white and gray comes out looking elegant and red white and blue is striking. Mom made 3 of these. One for herself and another one for my sister. I don’t know what colors they picked because I never saw the jackets, but I loved mine and wore it out. I kept the old original.IMG_2239

A few years ago I asked Mom if she still had the pattern but she didn’t, so I pinned the old jacket to a piece of plastic packing paper and traced around it to make a pattern. It’s a very simple jacket, with the sleeves and front and back all one piece. But it can be difficult, and I ran into a few problems. Plus it’s time consuming. I have around 40 hours in this. I made one a couple years ago with green batik fabric and didn’t like it as much as the red white and blue one of old, and the batik fabric might not give the chenille look.

You have to wet it when you’re finished sewing and run it through the dryer to fluff it up. I did that for this photo, but I still haven’t washed the green batik one, that fabric seems stiffer than this cotton.IMG_2240

This is the old one on my work table. I can’t wash it again because the strips are coming off the shell. I think I should still keep it.IMG_2243

This photo shows the inside of the new jacket. Sometimes people want to see the stitch lines. I used a watercolor pencil to draw those diagonal lines on the shell 1/2″ apart for sewing my bias strips on. There’s also a lot of hand sewing on the inside all around the edges.

It’s probably not a marketable piece, considering the time and difficulties, but I knew I’d like it, so it was worth the time. If anyone else can sew and wants to make it I’ll give the pattern to them. I might be the only one with the nerve to wear it. It is kind of loud and proud.

Crab bag

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What was your first impression of this painting?

(a) Oh no! That finger could get a nasty pinch!

(b) This way to the crab.

(c) That artist picks crabs.

(d) God created crabs.

(e) other

My working title was god created crabs but this is one of those paintings better left untitled because it’s open for interpretation.

A long time ago I saw an unforgettable mural. I thought it was brilliant! It was at Colonial Beach VA. It was the hand of God as it looks on the Sistine Chapel pointing at a crab. The hand of God is easily recognizable as you remember it reaching to Adam. When I went back another time that building was gone along with the mural.

I looked up the fresco and all I could get was a tiny picture to work from. I thought it was too small for me to copy and I’d rather draw a hand myself than copy or trace the hand of God, which would be difficult anyway. So, that’s my hand. It doesn’t look strong enough to be the hand of God. I wondered if art viewers would make the connection.IMG_2107

It wasn’t easy sketching my hand. It kept moving. I worked on this sketch for around 2 hours but I took a couple breaks.

To get my sketch of the crab, I looked up Blue crabs and then tried to sketch it from memory. They’re always steamed when I see them and they’re red all over. I decided they look cute still alive and standing up, so my painting isn’t like the mural either with the hand or the crab’s pose. Lucky for me I had some practice sketching live ghost crabs a couple weeks ago.

Yes, it’s true. The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab is the tastiest kind of crab in the world. I could pick for hours and eat my fill then pick more for people who don’t like to pick so they can have crab cakes. yummy

The side straps the bag was made with are sewed into the seam at the bottom. They’re made of some kind of black twisted polyester strings. I have another bag with similar cords for strings and sometimes they hurt my hands. On this bag, the cord was fraying out of the seam. I had to make it stronger and I wanted to cover the strings in some fabric that would be softer than those rough black strings. So, I used this little scrap of fabric that was left over from the quilt project, because it’s a good color match.

I’ll use this bag to carry my sketch book, water bottle and pencil box when I go out to draw.

a quilt my Mom started and I’m finishing

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Did you ever say you’d finish a project for someone else then procrastinate for about ten years? I did.

Mom did most of the piecing of the two inch squares then stopped because she had cataract surgery and after that she had double vision and now is practically blind. She was working on this for my daughter and she called it an around the world quilt because my daughter loves to travel. I told her I’d finish it and when Sarah gets married it could be a wedding present from the both of us. I was off the hook for a long time because Sarah was concentrating on her career and didn’t get married. Now she’s engaged and time is running out so I had to put the art supplies away and sew.

I don’t have much quilting experience and I thought it would be time consuming and difficult. Also, I don’t have a big work table so I have to move furniture out of the way and spread it out on the floor to work on it. I had to cut around 50 of the squares to finish the piecing and the first hurdle was picking colors that would go with the ones Mom used. I procrastinated even more waiting for coupons to come in the mail and made a few trips to the fabric store for fabrics to finish the piecing then more fabrics for the wide border, polyester batting and backing.

The first time I tried to make the border it looked real bad. It was all lumpy when I laid it out on the floor and I knew I could do better. I think it came out lumpy because the pieced squares stretched as I was sewing. I had to rip all the way around and rip gently so as not to ruin the piecing. It took hours to fix it. The second time I sewed the border I had the piecing on the bottom and the border on top and the squares didn’t stretch. That white on the edge is the batting extending past the top of the quilt. I’ll trim it off when I finish the edges.

Now on to the next step. I’m going to try to quilt it on my singer 191. I’m hoping I can do a decent job of it and save a couple hundred dollars instead of taking the job to a professional quilter. First I’ll have to loosely tack it by hand while it’s still on the floor to keep all the layers from sliding out of place. If I tack it in 25 places, that should do it. Then I won’t need to put in as many pins and hopefully I can roll it up small enough to get it through my machine without scratching myself up on pins.

I’ll be glad when it’s over. Finishing a job for another person isn’t as much fun as your own project. I’m sure Mom will be excited to see it finished after all these years and Sarah will love it too. Wish me luck, friends. I’m kind of worried about the quilting part.