Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Satin Ribbon Embellished Pillows

When I initially bought this scrumptiously soft flannel damask print fabric, I didn't know what I was going to do with it. I just knew I loved the combination of chocolate brown and aqua.

Of course it would turn into a pillow (who am I kidding?!). I wanted a little touch of something to add to the design. I tested out a few ideas, but fell in love with this aqua satin ribbon. I love the way it pulls the aqua color out of the fabric, for that perfect accent.

And I couldn't make just one. It needed a friend.

Both have an envelope back enclosure (my favorite)

The fabulous thing about ribbon is that it comes in a bunch of different colors, patterns and styles, you can do a million different things with it and it requires no hemming!

Decorate your pillows with ribbon embellishments, giving them just the right touch.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Does Fray Check Work? Fray Check Test + washing cotton ruffles

Do you ever watch America's Test Kitchen?
I really like that show.
They test everything from baking pans to meatloaf in their kitchens, as many times as it takes to figure it out and get it right.

I felt a little like a real product tester when I did my Fray Check Test for my cotton ruffles. I've been wanting to try out different techniques for my ruffled pillows, but wasn't sure how they'd hold up.

My mission? Two fold: 1) To see how cotton ruffles wash, depending on the way they are cut: raw edges, pinking shears or ripped and 2) to see if Fray Check really keeps those raw edges from fraying.

What did my ruffle test and Fray Check test reveal? 
Lets find out!

I started with a little test square of two fabrics: white muslin and a heavier pink kona cotton.

For both fabrics, I cut one strip with pinking shears, cut one with a raw edge, ripped the edge for the next, and used Fray Check on a raw edge for the last one. I used a fabric marker to identify each.

I ruffled each strip and sewed them on their square. And if you'll notice, I had to write a key on the side because this genius ruffled perfectly over what she had written on each strip! haha. Oops.

I tossed them into the laundry with a load of towels. Fingers crossed.
I felt like such a scientist.

Here are the samples after coming out of the washer and dryer. (Shhh. I see fraying too)
{Click the picture to see it closer.}

Okay, so we can't deny there's some fraying going on, but don't panic. We'll take a closer look in just a minute to see how the edge with Fray Check held up.

Here's after ironing and snipping off a few frayed edges in order to iron through the chaos (but no, I won't pretend they were never there...).
{click to see the photos enlarged}

Just for you, here's a close up look to see the Fray Check test results with your own eyes. Fray Check was applied to this raw edge before washing. Look how clean the edge still remains. Only a few strays.

Want to see the other edges? 

Here's the ripped edge. Not bad.

Raw edge with no fray check (shameful)

Pinking shears, not too bad

The verdict?

1st place: Fray Check edges win! Fray Check works and left minimal frays! (crowd cheers)
2nd place: Ripped edges held up to washing - next best to using Fray Check
3rd place: Pinking sheared edges still had frays after washing, but were manageable with a few snips
4th place: Raw edges, when washed, had to be bushwhacked. Lots of fraying but after snipping frays, looked soft and shabby.

A few more details on the results of the Fray Check Test:
  • I was pleasantly surprise at how well it worked. I'd say 99% success rate on both fabrics! There were a few threads to snip after washing, but overall both fabrics with Fray Check applied to their raw edges maintained their shape and still had a subtle stiffness to the edges (as is the case with fray check before washing).
  • Plus a bonus - that "special" fray check scent? Disappears after washing. Too bad for the glue sniffers, but good for the rest of us.
More on Washing Ruffled Edges
  • The white muslin raw edges seemed to have frayed the most, followed by the pinking edge (about half as much as the raw - more than I expected).
  • Ripped edges on both fabrics became a little fluffier around the edges, and may have lost a few strands, but overall did very well. *Great for sewing ruffles with that shabby look, with less fraying.
  • The heavier kona cotton seemed to fray a bit less overall and held its shape

Well, there you have it! Fray Check really does what it says it will do. When applied before washing, Fray Check keeps about 99% of those raw edges from fraying.

As far as washed ruffled edges go? Raw edges and those cut with pinking shears that fray can still be snipped clean so I'm still a fan of all cuts, however, I'll be putting ripped edges on my list to try next for sure.

So while I don't think I'll be doing any guest appearances on America's Test Kitchen any time soon, I've successfully completed my own little Ruffled Edges / Fray Check experiment all in the comfort of my own home.

Til next time! I'm off to rip some fabric!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Write down your design ideas

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you;
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
- James Allen

Where do your ideas go?

I have realized lately that if I have design ideas swirling around in my head I'd better write them down or they will A) get lost in the recesses of my mind, B) linger, but get fuzzier by the day or C) haunt my dreams until I finally get them down on paper.

And what better place to jot and sketch than this cute little notebook by Izak Zenou (my new fave). Found it at Target.
Think of it this way, every great design once started as an idea.
So start writing those ideas down!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fabulously fresh fashion illustrations: Izak Zenou

From the moment I saw them I was in love.

There's just something about Izak Zenou's fashion illustrations that get me.

They are the kind of images I would draw if I could draw. Which I can't.

I would SO buy one of his t-shirts (the one with the girl holding the umbrella in Paris is my favorite). If only I knew where I could get one.

And he even made scarves...

He has cute note cards, file folders and gift bags at Target, of all places. So I had to get some.

Love them!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Take a walk with me and my walking foot

I've been known to whip out a straight stitch in record time, but there are times when walking is much better than running (for me, especially if you're talking about exercise ha!).

I discovered this handy little walking foot a few months ago, after I had made these cute cotton/terrycloth placemats for our round table.

I used this cute damask cotton pattern on top and chocolate terrycloth on the back. I love the combination. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why I was getting warping around the edges.

So I did some research on "puckering fabric" and found some feedback on quilting seems that when sewing certain layered fabrics, materials can shift and cause puckering...who knew (you probably already did) it was suggested to use a walking foot.

A walking foot has its own feed dogs (I love that word. Feed dogs. Makes me want to sing Who Let the Dogs Out.) that move the top layer of fabric, while the machine's feed dogs move the bottom layer. Pretty snazzy!

It's now my go-to sewing foot for my soft flannel and terrycloth washcloths as well as my baby bibs and burp cloth sets.

It really helps to keep the fabric from shifting and warping.

Pinning helps a lot too when sewing shifty layers of fabric together, as well as ironing everything before hand.

I've got to give one more shout out to my walking foot and those extra set of feed dogs!
Who Let the Dog's Out?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Setting up shop

Where have I been?
In a nutshell, at my sewing machine.

My routine's been a little like this:
Wake up.
Go to work.
Come home from work.
Sew (in my dreams)
Wake up.

You get the drift.

I've been busy, busy, busy getting ready as a new consignee for opening day at Remlinger Farms Market & Northwest Craft Showcase, where my pillows, baby bib/burp cloth sets and aprons are now for sale.

I'm not sure how I feel about the pillow display. It's a cute idea, but the pillows are a little smashed and not really showcased. I'll have to see how they sell and see if they'll adjust it if needed.

They created a table display for my bibs and burpcloth sets and it ended up like this.

I only ended up with two aprons (mine are the light pink ones). I just didn't have enough time to sew more, unless you count the ones I finished while I was dreaming. Okay, that doesn't count, but it is on my list.

Here are some better shots of my bib and burpcloth sets. I created a pattern of my own and like the way it turned out. I've had a lot of good feedback on them, so hopefully they will do well at this shop. I haven't added them to my etsy shop yet, but it's on my to-do list....but what isn't?! haha

And we can't forget the boys...minus the ruffles, of course.

I have an etsy order to finish and mail off as well, so the sewing continues...but that's definitely okay with me!


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