Friday, September 21, 2012

The Classroom Reveal

This idea came from my friend, Steve Savage, who visited me for lunch one day. I would like to share it with you.

My studio classroom is a huge square room. No closets, no storage of any kind exists. As soon as I began bringing machines from my home studio to my work studio, I realized I needed a place to store them when not in use. Below the staircase is the perfect place, and after all, I have seven machines so there's no way I can be using all of them at the same time.

I love my sewing machines, but the room was beginning to look like a Sew 'N Vac dealership with all the stuff hanging around. (My apologies to all you Sew 'N Vac people). The original idea was to make a drape beneath the staircase attached with magnets to the steel beams. I thought it was a wonderful idea and I immediately began collecting fabrics and trims for the project.

I chose a beautiful floral print to use as a lining and a wide awning striped cotton for the outer fabric. To accent the ginormous header, I decided to make a scalloped valence. The minute I began working, I realized this would be a mathematical nightmare, keeping the angle of the staircase even with the angle of the stripes. So, I got out my trusty contractor's ruler and began measuring. I measured the highest point and the lowest point of the staircase. I measured the width of the fabric and began cutting strips. First strip, longest length was first. I remembered the cardinal rule of sewing: Always cut the largest piece first. So far, so good.

The next length was cut and joined to the first, and following the same guidelines, joined the final length the same way. All the straight edges were aligned on the hemline of the drape. Working on the diagonal, I began cutting the upper edges evenly. When I was done, it was time to check my angle. Of course, it was inaccurate. I never was very good at math, which is a serious understatement. But, I forgave myself and kept going. After a rather lengthy hunt for magnet clips, I managed to find them at Lowes in the hardware department. I envisioned sewing curtain rings to the header and hanging them onto hooks, but the only magnets I could find had binder clips instead of cup hooks. Those would work. Well, not really. Once I got the fabric cut to size, the magnet clips weren't strong enough to hold it, and I still needed to line the curtain and attach the header. So then arose yet another dilemma. My mechanic husband, Billy suggested I use the clips and just clip the header to the rail, which I suppose is a "guy thing" to just get the job done. That worked, but looked unfinished. I'm still trying to figure out a solution, so if any of you clever gals (or guys) can solve my problem, feel free to chime in.

Moving on, I began concentrating on the header. Common knowledge told me the fabric would be prone to stretching because after all, it was cut on the diagonal. To avoid this problem, I cut 4" width strips from the fabric to act as a stabilizer the upper edge. Then, I attached the scalloped valence onto the edge and flipped it over the band so it wasn't noticeable. I chose a lively print for my lining fabric instead of plain white fabric, so when the drape is pulled back, it would still look pretty. I hemmed the bottom and attached the lining and viola! my curtain was completed. Check out the photos below.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yikes Stripes!

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to finish decorating my classroom and declutter for the last time. It just so happened that a high school friend of mine visited us at the studio around the same time, and I had the opportunity to pick his brain about ideas for finishing off the rough spots. He suggested I make a drape to hide the miscellaneous stash of machines and file cabinets below the staircase going up to my retail space. I thought it was an excellent idea, and since the staircase is made of steel, it would be perfect for magnetic attachment.

I decided to carry through the "pink" theme a bit more since almost everything I own is hot pink. In order to keep it from becoming a pink palace, I decided to use pink with black and white, a winning combination no matter who you are. I also decided to add a skirt on the unused cubbies stacked against the wall, and went a step further and added decorative storage inside the cubbies and utilize that for a hidden storage area.

I purchased several yards of black and white stripe fabric with stripes measuring about 2" in width. I already had pink pompom trim, so that went into the equation working as an accent to the single monogram I thought would be a great addition to the overall plan. Here's how I did the monogram.

Choose a monogram font on your computer that you like. I chose a curvy design, as I though it would be easier to cut out and applique than a straight font. Print out your monogram in REVERSE (flip horizontally). To do this, I saved the monogram as a jpeg and opened it in my photo program. At that point, I was able to enlarge it and flip it as a piece of artwork.


For this task, you will need paper back double-fusible web product (I used Steam-a-Seam Lite), paper scissors, and tape (if the monogram is larger than the web).


Trace the outline of the monogram onto the paper that has the glue adheared.


Remove the protective paper backing and position the glued side of the monogram onto the WRONG side of the applique fabric.

With a warm iron, fuse the applique to the fabric. It would be best to use a pressing cloth to protect your iron from the glue. Note: I joined fusible web to the edges of the monogram that extended beyond the page size with scotch tape. Place the tape pieces outside the monogram areas.


Carefully cut out the monogram along the edges. Note: the paper backing is still fused to the glue side of the applique.

Peel away the paper backing from the applique.

Position the applique onto the curtain and fuse in place.

Sew up your sewing machine with the clear applique foot, #80 needle, and matching color thread. I used cotton 40 wt. thread for this task. Set the machine on the desired stitch such as zigzag, blanket, or satin stitch.

I decided to satin stitch around the edges of the monogram, but first, I stitched an open zigzag stitch around the edges.

The trim was placed along the stitching line of the hem, about 2" from the edge. I used foot #13, a straight stitch with a narrow edge so I could maneuver around the pompoms. Straight stitch the edge.
Use a skewer or stiletto or something to hold the pompoms out of the way while stitching. Both edges of the trim are straight stitched.

My completed curtain. Kinda wobbly, but still fabulous!!!

I'll reveal the staircase curtain and the completed room in the next blog. Happy stitching!