Guest blogger: Nicole blum from one golden apple
Hello crafty ones. I am so pleased to be a guest here while Kathreen is away. My name is Nicole Blum and I blog about crafting, sewing, and the other stuff of life over at one golden apple. As a freelance craft developer for magazines, I am lucky enough to be making something on most days, and my etsy shop ensures that some of it is sewing- my absolute favorite way to create. I just finished a sewing book, co-authored by Debra Immergut, which will be hitting the shops in the spring. It is called Improv Sewing and will contain over 100 projects I’ve designed to inspire and encourage, new and seasoned sewists alike, to be really creative and playful with their sewing machines.
I LOVE to make clothing, and my upcoming book Improv Sewing will map out how to fill your closet without buying a single pattern. Today, however, I want to teach you to make something fun and super cool for your home. Sometimes I find myself wanting to stitch designs on fabric without even knowing what I want the finished project to be. Pillowcases and tote bags are always a great way to showcase your handiwork, but today I came up with a way to use some tube I had sitting in the studio closet – my man builds things and this tube is a leftover piece from making footings for our barn. If you don’t have one, they are easy to get at any building supply place. I have seen similar projects online before, but they are usually painted. Painting is fun, but sewing is more fun to me so here is my tutorial for a pretty and very useful…
What you’ll need:
- an 18” length of sonotube* (mine was 10” wide) of course, use what you can get your hands on.
- fabric you fancy that can wrap around the tube with 2-3” to spare and is 18” tall
- contrasting thread
Cut fabric to size: Use a measuring tape to determine the circumference of the tube. I pinned the fabric around the tube to illustrate about how much extra you might want to have.
Draw your designs: I use chalk to draw out designs I am going to stitch over. Sometimes I use vanishing ink, but sometimes it doesn’t vanish- test it first. You can can use cookie cutter shapes, trace circles from jar lids, or you can go for it and free hand, which I recommend, because really, what do you have to lose? I drew some flower shapes – I like their imprecise form. I recommend starting with simple and large shapes. It is easier to sew a good line around gentle curves than tight ones. Please pardon the wrinkles, they will be pressed soon. The light makes them appear worse than they are, swear. Press yours, ladies.
Stitch your designs: Now comes the fun part. Set your machines so the pressure on the foot is decreased. The tighter the turns, the more you will need to manipulate the fabric, so the more you want to decrease the pressure. On these big flowers, I set my foot pressure on 2 and it worked grand. Set your stitch to a regular straight stitch or a straight stretch stitch (which is what I did here for a nice bold line). If this is your first time drawing on fabric with thread, you might want to practice making a curve on a scrap piece of fabric.
Stitch around the shape you drew once or twice and then move on to the next one. My tip for success: Keep the needle moving and gently turn the fabric as you need to. Use the most pressure you can on that foot while still being able to smoothly turn your fabric. Straight lines should be sewn with full pressure so the feed dogs can grab and move your fabric along. Use your fingertips to push the fabric where it needs to go.
Add some lines along the raw bottom and top edges: Instead of hemming the raw edges, simply stitch lines of straight or zig zag (or any stitch, really) stitches along that edge. This will stop raveling edges and it defines the edge nicely.
I use my presser foot to space my lines. Line up the the toe on the right side of the foot with the first line (and it was aligned with the raw edge to start). I used a straight stitch for speed and I spaced them evenly (mostly, not perfectly). You could stitch several lines and let them undulate gently too- crossing sometimes even.
Sew seam to create the sleeve: When your decorating is all done the way you like it, fold the fabric in half lengthwise and stitch your tube up. Draw a line with chalk at the correct distance- you want it to fit snuggly. Stitch one line with a regular straight stitch and then try it on the tube for size. If it isn’t tight enough, your next line of stitches can make it a little tighter.
Continue stitching the way you desire- meandering lines, a new stitch type for each line, whatever. I made straight, evenly spaced lines for this project and then pinked the edges.
Slip it over your tube and you have a really nice little holder for whatever is tall and doesn’t fit in the usual places. I could have one of these just for the swords that my 6 year old makes. It would be a great place for roles of colored art paper- nice and protected- or to display branches for a winter bouquet. I ended up painting the tube yellow because the fabric was a little short- measure twice, cut once. Oh well.
*Sonotube: Round, large cardboard tubes designed to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens – found in hardware stores.