Archive | June 2014

4th of July Tablecloth

Inspiration

I found this pin on Pinterest, and thought I’d modify it a bit to make it my own.  Instead of bandanas, I bought pre-cut packages of patriotic fabric.  There were five pieces of fabric in each package.  The benefit to using regular fabric is that you can tailor the tablecloth to any occasion.  The benefit to using bandanas is that you don’t have to hem it.folded fabric

How to Make the Tablecoth

I ironed all of the fabric pieces first.  They were deeply creased from the packaging, and smooth fabric is so much easier to work with.  If the fabric is wrinkled when you start sewing, the finished product will probably always be a little wrinkled or lopsided.Iron the fabric

Then I laid out the pieces in the order I wanted and pinned them together to make two strips.Pin the pieces together

I used red thread and a 5/8 seam.5/8 seam

When you have the two strips sewn together, iron the seams so they are all going in the same direction.iron the seams

Pin the two strips together and sew them using a 5/8 seam.  Then iron the seam to one side.sew two strips together

If you’re not using bandanas, you will need to hem the edges.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to press the edge over a certain amount (using a hem gauge if you like) then double the pressed edge over on itself.  This creates a double-fold hem with no raw edges.hem gauge

I pressed and sewed the long sides first, then pressed and sewed the short sides.  I didn’t use pins because I like to live dangerously.  Seriously, if you have a nice crisp line from the iron, you can probably manage without pins.  However, if this is your first sewing project ever, use pins!double fold hem

 

Now all you have to do is throw a party to show off your creation!finished tablecloth

What’s Next?

Kohl’s had towels on sale, so I bought some supplies to make a tanning organizer.

Tips for Crocheting and Blocking Doilies

Craft BookMy great-grandmother crocheted a couple hundred doilies in her lifetime.  My family inherited several, and I’ve been feeling inspired to try making one myself.  My mom found a book she had bought years ago (for 29 cents!) that had a simple doily pattern that I decided to make.  Choose something with a lot of open spaces for your first project–it will go faster that way! This is a good pattern to start with.

Choosing Your Thread and Hook

I bought Coats and Clark size 10 thread and a size 6 hook.  Hooks for crocheting with thread are sized differently than hooks for yarn, so don’t use a size 6 yarn hook and expect the desired result.  With hooks for crocheting with thread (for lace or doilies) the hooks get larger as the numbers get smaller.  A size 6 hook was the largest of this type of hook that I could find at my local craft store.  I recommend choosing a light color of thread.  I’ve said before that lighter colors make it easier to see your work, which is particularly helpful as you’re just learning a new technique.  I chose a variegated pastel thread, because there’s no rule that a doily has to be white!

Getting StartedFirst few rounds

Thread for lace or doilies is much harder to hold than yarn is, and my tension was sort of hit or miss for the first couple of rounds.  But don’t give up! It gets easier as you go!  Another thing I noticed is that the thread would often slip off the hook as I would try to draw up a loop.  If this happens to you, remember that even if you wrap the thread all the way around the hook, you’ll still only draw up one loop.  Also, switching from yarn to thread takes patience.

Finishing Off

I didn’t weave in my ends as aggressively as I do for a hat or blanket because this doily will not be worn, stretched, or washed often.  I just sort of worked the ends.  A yarn needle would have been too large, so I used an embroidery needle.  It worked beautifully!

BlockingMy doily!

The instructions in the book said to starch and lightly press the doily when it was finished.  I don’t have any starch, and all that seemed unnecessary.  It was a little curled, but not too bad.  I just filled a clean spray bottle with some water and placed the doily on a towel.  I spritzed the entire thing lightly and pressed out the curls.  Then I worked my way around the border, spritzing a little each time, and reshaping the edging into nice round  curves with my fingers.  Keep the doily flat and laid out in the right shape until it’s dry and it will keep its shape.

What’s Next?

I found some cute patriotic fabric at the craft store that I hope to turn into something for the 4th of July!