Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The importance of enjoying what you do! - curtains to tablecloth tutorial

Here in Australia it's winter.  Up in FNQ (Far North Queensland) that means that weather-wise it's one of our most pleasant times of year.  Low humidity, little rain (the dry season in the tropics), sunny days and temperatures around  25C. Just lovely!  BUT, not very conducive to sitting inside at my sewing machine looking out of the window at this gorgeous weather!  

But I know I need to find the motivation to get things done - I can't justify being a stay-at-home mum if all I do when my kids are at school is sit by the pool in the sun and read a book.....I need to feel I'm being productive, otherwise the guilt at thinking of my husband working so hard when I'm enjoying myself at home is terrible!

So, I decided to take my work outside to enjoy and appreciate the fantastic weather we are having, while still being productive!

The task I set myself to get 'A Round To' last week was to transform an old pair of curtains that I no longer needed into something useful. I decided to turn them into a tablecloth for our old round plastic table:

Since the curtains were in need of a wash anyway, I figured cutting out outside, and laying them on the ground wasn't a problem. Washing could be done after I'd finished sewing!

So finding a nice shady spot, I checked the curtains would fit around the whole table:

Then letting them hang to the ground where I wanted the tablecloth to reach to,
I just cut around leaving a large overlap from there I figured the join would be.  I did this for both curtains:

Next was to use the remaining top part of the curtains to cut the round table top part.

One curtain for each side:

So now I had all the parts for the tablecloth, they just needed putting together:

At this point I allowed myself to be a little distracted, by a beautiful pink flower in the secret garden..

And looking up at our palm tree with the stunning clear blue sky background:

But back to the sewing!

Next I pinned the top parts together along the straight join at the centre of the table. 

 I put in two pins to make sure and leave a gap in the centre that will allow me to use the tablecloth on the table in the future if I decide to get a sun umbrella to go over it! (pole would slot through the hole in the top centre of the table):

Once I'd stitched the top together (a brief interlude out of the fresh-air into my sewing room), I placed the fabric upside-down back on the table outside, and pinned the drops to the top, again inside out:

Once that was pinned, it was inside for the last time to stitch it, then back outside to trim the seams, then test it on the table!

Perfect!  Then I just needed to throw it in the washing machine and I'll give it a good iron before using it out our next market stall!

I really enjoyed doing this project outside.  I think it's really important to remember and enjoy all the good things we have in our lives - not just take them for granted and plan to enjoy them another day!

To end, I want to add a quote from the little book of inspriation I won in a giveaway :

"When faced with a problem, free your mind and think creatively - the possiblilites will be endless."

I hope you all have a great day!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hanging hair tie/ clip holder from jeans - a tutorial

I wanted to make something fun for my girls to store their many many hairclips and ties in, rather than the boxes they were stuffed in!
Now isn't this....

Much better than this....?

I used a pair of jeans that no longer fits either daughter to make two of these special hangers for them.

Here's how to do it:

First collect your materials:
A pair of jeans - or other trousers
scraps of fabric for the pockets and ruffle
stiffening to hold the shape of the hanger
dowel rods and ribbon to hang

Then cut the front and back sections of the jeans apart:

Stitch the legs together to make 2 rectangles, these are the basic hanger shapes:

The next step is to choose your scraps of fabric for the pockets and cut several squares.  I didn't measure any - just cut rough squares and placed them on the jeans until I'd filled the spaces. My pockets were approx. 8cm square, and I cut 16 in total:

Next, I decided to make use of my new overlocker (or serger as some of you may call it) to finish off the edges of all the pockets. Nice and simple - and since it's trendy to have ripped jeans - I didn't worry about making it all look too tidy!!

Then pin them in place on the jeans:

Now just stitch around 3 edges of each pocket (leaving the top open of course) and add an extra triangle of stitching on the top corners of each pocket for extra strength:

Next comes the ruffled edge.  For this I used a nice shiny pink remnant I bought the other day and just cut 2 strips about 4cm wide from each (it's about 150cm in length - but again, nothing is exact - it's as much decoration and personal taste as anything!)

Once again I decided to play with my overlocker.  I finsihed off one edge by 'ruffling' it! and the other edge I did a rolled hem to make it look pretty.

Now it's almost ready to put together!
Cut a rectangle of stiffening the same size as the jeans - for the backing:

Then place the jeans on the stiffening, and pin the ruffle evenly around the edge, making sure to pin through the stiffening too.

Then stitch it all together!
(rear view!)

Now all you need is a way to hang it!
For some reason I had 2 pieces of dowel rod about the right size with holes ready drilled in either end!  Push the dowel rod through the belt loops at the top of the jeans hanger.

Thread ribbon or cord through the holes in the ends of the dowel rods:

Then cut and tie to desired length:

All done!!

Now all that's left to do is fill those pockets - attach pretty hairclips to the ruffles and hang up!

If you would like the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial with measurements in both cm and inches, click here!

This is one of my Round Tuit projects - week by week I'm trying to get things done that I keep meaning to get A Round To - come by and check it out on Mondays here - and feel free to link up your own projects to inspire, motivate or ask for ideas on something you're stuck on!  It's all about encouraging each other - something I get a lot of from the blog world - and am trying to give back in my own small way!