Monday, 30 September 2013

How to make a curtain for a cubby hole or shelves.

As Summer draws to a close more of our customers have been talking about house hold sewing projects that they have been putting off until the nights have drawn in. Many are currently lining their curtains to help stop drafts and to cut down on their  heating bills. Some people spoke of making their rooms look tidier by placing simple curtains over cubby holes or shelves.  These curtains are often held in place with the same wire as net curtains. There are many fabrics  that are suitable for a project like this, from the classic Gingham fabric to cotton prints and satin. I decided to make a satin curtain with an organza over lay to add a little sparkle.

You will need;

Fabric (I used Satin  and organza)

Step One. Measure and cut your fabric.

The cuby hole I am covering is 60cm by 135cm. I want my curtains to have a bit of fullness and so I am making two curtains that are 45 cm wide.
I cut out two rectangles of 49cm by 145cm to allow for hems and seams. I then used these as a template to cut out the organza.

Step Two. Hem the satin and the organza panels.

Normally we hem things towards the end of construction, but for this method we need to hem first. A chequered pattern on your ironing board is a real help in making sure your hems are neat and even. To hem fold the edge of the fabric towards the wrong side of the fabric, press and then fold the fabric again. Stitch in place.

Step Three. Baste the organza to the satin.

A basting stitch is a long stitch that is not seen in the final product. Basting stitches are used to reinforce a section of a garment that may get placed under strain, such as an arm hole, or to hold two or more pieces of fabric together as they are manipulated.

Place the WRONG side of the organza (the side which has the hem  folded up on it) on top of the RIGHT side of the satin.  Pin the fabrics together along the long edge and paste with a small seam allowance (I used 5mm). Even though the stitch won't be seen it is still a good idea to make the seam as neat as possible.  Repeat  on the other side and on the second curtain.

Step Three.  Hem the sides.

Hem the sides of the curtains in the same way as the bottom of the curtains but with  narrower hem (in this case I  used 5mm). The hemming is made much easier by basting the two layers of fabric together first. Many people try to skip the basting phase of construction. However basting only takes a few minutes and really makes the future steps of construction easier, quicker and neater.

Step Four.  Make a casing for the wire.

A casing for the wire can be made in exactly the same way as the lower hem. However when folding over the fabric measure the curtains to make sure they are of the right length.

A simple curtain that you can put together very quickly. Whilst I love my books a curtain like this can help make a more cluttered book shelf look neater (such as a shelf full of files or reports).

Have a look around your home and see what other quick sewing projects you can complete to enrich your surroundings.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

So what is this Steampunk on your website?

The eagle eyed visiting our website may notice a new section under "Fashion Fabrics". We now have a "Steampunk  and Alternative fabrics" section. So what is Steampunk and what is Alternative?

If you ask 10  Steampunks to describe what steampunk is you will probably get 10 answers.  For me the best description is "A Victorian's vision of the future". The Victorians had no idea of aeroplanes but they knew of balloons and were working on the fundamentals of Airships.  So in the Steampunk world we may find airship pirates for example. With this vision in mind people have created amazing fashion, literature and music.

  • So what makes a fabric Steampunk?  Just about any fabric can be used in any context, but there are some fabrics that just scream out to be used in a Steampunk creation. Metallic fabrics are popular as are the more natural colours such as brown, olive, cream and so on. (there is a little joke in the community that Steampunks are Goths who have discovered the colour brown).
This Bella Angelic would make a stunning skirt or long coat for example. 

Fabrics with patterns from the Victorian era are also often used in steampunk couture. Paisleys and stripes can add a classical touch to any clothing project, such as this "Spice Trail" design in nutmeg.

Map Fabrics can be inspiring in any design. Some of the best projects take fabrics and use them in ways not originally envision, such as this furnishing fabric. 

Other times you may wish to use a scene or vista that inspired by the technology and industry of the Victorian era. For example this vintage hot air balloon fabric.

Ultimately it is not what you use  but how you use it. Mix and match, take chances and explore. 

We intend to expand on the idea of grouping fabrics together as time continues. Maybe a re-enactment section or a LARP section? What sections would you like to find on the Fabric8 website?