Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Sewing Project

One of my big Christmas gifts this year was a sewing machine.  I've known the basics since I was a teenager, but my skills haven't progress much past a simple throw pillow.  With Pinterest flaunting wonderful projects in my face everyday, temptation wore me down.  It's time to teach myself some new skills.  

I did very little research when picking out a machine.  Just that most experienced sewers still recommend Singer.  They've really stood the test of time.  I didn't want a SUPER fancy one, but I didn't want a bare bones machine either.  I didn't want to out grow it if I get really into this new hobby.

In the end I went with the Singer 7258 Stylist with 100 stitches.  You can find it at Amazon here.

For my first project, I started simple.  Two beige rectangles.  Super exciting, I know.

Our bedroom has this ledge at the top of one 12 ft tall wall.  It's there to create a 9 ft ceiling in the other bedroom.  Without that ceiling "cap", the ceiling in the other room would become a narrow wedge, which would just look weird.  So we capped it also with the thought that we could use it as storage in the future.  With only 800 sq ft, and 12 ft ceilings, we are utilizing every bit of vertical storage space.

Decorative containers would be one solution, but that would require something with a lid to keep out the dust.  And they would have to be attractive, which means EXPENSIVE.

Then, I thought of a curtain on a cable line.  Any ugly plastic container could go behind it.

We found this wire curtain rod at Ikea for $13, and clips for $3.  

I wanted to find some thick fabric that would blend into the wall color instead of a contrasting color/pattern.  While at the fabric store, I found the perfect fabric made out of duck cloth(which is basically canvas) in an array of color choices.  Off white was a perfect match, but it was $8/yard and I was guessing I needed at least 2, maybe 3 yards.  Starting to get expensive.

So, I left the store empty handed and headed over to Lowes to buy a 9x6 inexpensive painters drop cloth.

Lots of people have been using the cheap painters drop clothes to make cheap curtain panels and all sorts of other things(just take a look at this blog post for ideas).  Once it's washed, it's actually quite soft.  But it only comes in one color(darker than my walls).  I decided it was close enough and worth the money savings to not have a perfect match.

Let's speed this story up.

I did not take photos of my cutting and sewing the panels, but it's pretty straight forward.  Once I washed and ironed the fabric, I layed it out flat and made measurements based on what I had measured after Matt installed the wire curtain rod.  

I went with two panels instead of one long one because I thought it would be easier to manage getting things in and out.

The ledge is 10 ft long so I made two 7 ft long panels for a total of 14 ft (room for gather).  That looked too full, so I cut them down to 6 ft.

There were many trips up and down the ladder to get the "fluff" right.  I'm using the space to store out of season clothes.  Since it requires a ladder from outside, it's really the best thing to store in there since I only need to get to it twice a year.

We realized after that the big plastic boxes we already had, were too big to fit because of the angled wall.  A trip to Walmart was needed and we searched for boxes that would still fit a lot of clothing, but were a little narrower than the others.  

We found some that almost fit the bill.  So close in fact, it was just the rim that made it not fit, and flare the curtain out a bit.  We just flipped the boxes upside down and it was fine!  There's nothing breakable in them.

And a photo during daylight.

Four bins fit up there, but I only needed two, which means I have two to grown on!  Here's a peak at what the bins look like and, of course, the OCD in me labeled them all (upside down so it's readable in the upside down bin). 

When summer clothes are in them we can face this side out, and when winter clothes are in them, we can turn it around and have a different label face out.

I'd say my first adult sewing project was a success, although not terribly exciting.  Next will probably be some FUN throw pillows!  With zippers!  Maybe.

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