Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ruffly Crayon Apron Tutorial

I made this for my bestie's little girl last week

I am going to attempt to tell you how I did it.  In the interest of full disclosure:  I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to sewing and this is not going to be a very technical tutorial.  I don't know how to read a pattern or how to use half the functions on my very simple sewing machine.  I don't know all the lingo so just bear with me; I will use the word "topstitch" because it is the one word I understand and it makes me feel cool to say it.

Here we go.

Get some fun fabrics
I obviously didn't end up using that pink leopard fabric, but isn't it cute?

Prewash your fabric and cut it into the following pieces:
Waistband:  4.5" x 42"
Body:  8.5" x 16"
Ruffle:  4.5" x 42"
Crayon pocket:  5" x 16"
*These dimensions don't have to be exact!  You're going to want the crayon pocket width to match up with the body of the apron, so those are those are the only two that should be close.  This apron fits a 2-4 year old.*
I started with the waistband because I knew it would be easy.  Sew it into a "tube" inside out with between 1/4" - 1/2" seam allowance.  Oh, I guess I know what a seam allowance is.  Yay!
here I am pinning it
and sewing it
then turn it rightside out!
Tuck the ends in, pin them and sew them closed
Then topstich all the edges

Then you'll have your waistband!

Now let's start the body.  Hem the sides about 1/2"

Decide which side is the top and which is the bottom.  
Hem the bottom about 1/2"
Bunch the top so it is ruffly.  There is a quick tutorial for how to do this here.  There are plenty of tutorials on youtube for gathers and ruffles if you don't like the one I linked to.
I gathered it down to about 10" across at the top
Now center the body on the waistband, pin it generously and sew it!
Here's what you should have now

You still with me?  Good.  Next we'll do the bottom ruffle since we're so darn good at gathers now.
I wish I had more pics of this part; it was really late and I was tired.

Fold the bottom ruffle piece of fabric lengthwise, wrong sides together (rightside out).  Make a super bunchy gather close to the raw edge.  You are going to be bunching it down from 42" to about 15" (so it will match up with the hemmed body).  Measure it against the hemmed body to be sure your width is correct.  Sew the ruffle to the bottom of the body.

Now you should have this.  We're getting there...

Now it's time to sew the crayon holder.
Make another inside out "tube" like you did for the waistband.  Turn it rightside out and topstitch.  Told you I'd say topstitch a lot.

Tuck in the edges and sew them so you have this.  ***Make sure that the length of the crayon holder part is the same as the width of the body.  Adjust your seams to match the two***
You can see my prototype on the floor in the background.  I experimented with one and gave it to my daughter.

Now we get to attach the crayon pocket to the rest of the apron.  Pin it down near the ruffle, matching the pocket hem to the body hem, and sew around the sides and bottom.  ***leave the top open so there is a place to slip the crayons in***

Now it's time to mark where the stitches for the crayon compartments will go.  I made them about an inch apart
Sew each line that will be the sides of the individual crayon pockets.  Sew the entire height of the pocket for each line.  You'll be making about 15 of these.  Make sure you backstitch!
Sick of sewing yet?  This is where I start to get bored.  We're so close to being done!
Now you'll have this
and lots of these

Trim all those ugly strings!

Stick some crayons in the pockets and you're done!!!

What do you think?  Let me know if you try it!  It will take a couple of hours to do, but I think this is so worth it.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Tricks of the Trade: How to Use Painter's Tape

Looking for tips on getting clean lines with your tape?  You've come to the right place!
Of all the painter's tape out there, the tried and true original blue tape is still the best.

Did you read the post on caulking yet?  If not, you might want to go do that first.  If your baseboards and other wall joints are all caulked up and ready to go then we can get started!

What you need:
2" Scotch Blue Painter's Tape
your finger, a stir stick or an old credit card

5 main points you need to know here.
  1. use long pieces of tape
  2. make sure you overlap tape generously
  3. burnish burnish burnish!
  4. feather paint lightly onto tape
  5. pull tape off gently at the proper angle
We should probably start with #1, right?  Try to use longer pieces of tape when you're ripping it off the roll

each time you end one piece of tape and start a new one, you increase the chances of the paint seeping underneath by 236%.
OK, you're right.  That isn't a real statistic.  I don't know what the chances are; just trust me that longer pieces are better.  I usually make each piece almost as long as my arms can reach.  Go any longer and you might end up with a mess of tape all stuck to itself and you :)

You are also going to want to overlap your tape generously.  About an inch or so
You just want to make sure paint isn't going to get into there, between the pieces of tape.  Also, the main reason I always tape the baseboards is to prevent the splatter from the roller getting onto the trim.  It works well for protecting carpeting if the dropcloth pulls away from the wall at all.

Just make sure your "overlaps" don't look like this (I worked with someone once who taped this way and it drove me nuts)

Once you have your tape laid down properly, you're going to want to burnish it.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  Sorry for yelling, but if there is a trick in this Tricks of the Trade post, this is it.

"How do you burnish?" you ask.  Simple:  rub the tape where it meets the wall or baseboard until your finger feels like it will spontaneously combust.

Heat (caused by friction) is what activates this tape really well.  If you aren't looking forward to losing the feeling in your finger, you can use a stir stick or old credit card to burnish the tape.  Just be careful you don't rub so hard that the tape rips.  I usually use my finger for this reason (I get really angry about ripped tape).

Now you're ready to paint!  I always paint two coats... I know many paints now advertise "one coat coverage" but I don't believe there is any such thing.  Like unicorns.  I've always wanted to believe there were unicorns and one coat paints out there.  Unfortunately, no such thing.

Feather the paint in very lightly with your first coat.  It can be thicker the farther you get from the tape, but that centimeter or so really close to the tape you'll want it to be a thin coat.

After doing this, you can go back and make your cut-in thicker, but I just wanted to illustrate how lightly you want to brush it down by the tape.  If you goop it on, you increase the chances of it seeping underneath the tape.  I don't have an exact stat for the chances on this one.

Once you're finished with two coats of cutting in and two coats of rolling, you get to pull your tape and admire the beautiful clean line!  I always hold my breath for this part.
See how the tape is being pulled (gently) down and away?  You want the paint on the tape to make a clean break from the paint on the wall and the best way to do this is to almost fold the tape back over on itself as you're pulling.  Paint is manufactured so that it will bond to itself when it dries... you don't want some of the wall paint coming off with the paint on the tape.  If you pull the tape straight up toward the wall, the tape might take some of the wall paint with it!

Have any questions?  Let me know in the comments!  Be sure to include your email address if you're a "no reply" blogger.  Thanks for stopping by!

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*Update:  A few people have asked how long to leave the tape up.  I usually take it off within an hour or two after I painted.  You can leave it up for a few days, though.  I tried to respond to some of the questions people asked in the comments, but many were "no reply" bloggers.  Please change your settings or include an email address if you'd like me to respond personally to your comment :)  I try my best to get back to everyone within a couple days!

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Domestically Speaking

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Soccer Bulletin Board

My nephew is a soccer fanatic, so I wanted to make him something soccer related that's useful for his room.  I came up with this idea for a bulletin board.  I have to be honest... it looked a lot cooler in my brain.  Ever have one of those projects?

Anyway, here's how I did it.
9 circle-shaped cork trivets (from IKEA)
glue gun
staple gun
1 piece of foam core

I started out by covering each of the trivets with fabric
I cut out a circle about 3" in diameter bigger than the cork circle

Then I cut little snips in the fabric so it wouldn't get too bunchy when I was gluing them.  Cut your snips to be a little over an inch each

 Now start gluing with your glue gun
Glue each little tab up onto the back of the cork circle.  Keep going till you have all the tabs glued!

Do this to all of your circles.  Then you're ready to attach them to one another.  This is what I tried

Using ribbon and a staple gun to hold it all together.  Genius, right?  NOT!
Um, no.  This is what it looked like when I tried hanging it.  Definitely not what I had in my head when I embarked upon this lovely project.
Back to the drawing board.  I enlisted the help of some friendly foam core to save the day.
Cut a square of it
Glued it to the back of the hot mess
And called it a day.

Not exactly what I had in mind, but better than the sad, sorry, droopy group of circles it was before.  I'll chalk this one up as a partial fail.  We'll see what nephew has to say about it!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
I'll be linking up at a bunch of these parties.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tricks of the Trade: Keeping it Simple

I've finally gotten a little smarter with age!

I did this in a day.  That has to be a mural record for me.

I'm finding more and more that a bold and clever design beats out intricately detailed murals every time.  People don't have as much money to spend on home improvements these days and frankly, I don't have the time.  I want to get in and get out of a job so I can get back to hanging with the kiddos; clients are looking for inexpensive options.

I've put my time in with detailed and tedious murals.
I'm proud of my old work, but I don't see myself taking on jobs like this anytime soon.

I had originally designed a mural that was much more involved than this one.  Time and budget shrunk the project down so this is the solution I came up with.
The bold shapes are recognizable for the kids and it took me a quarter of the time the other mural idea would have!

There is something so cool about a silhouette
These ads were brilliant in their simplicity... your impression of the product being sold wasn't shaped by what the person is wearing, the expression on his face, whether or not he had a zit on his nose.  You got the point with just a little bit of information.

I'm slowly working toward minimalism in my life and I think my work is starting to reflect that.  This blog is a wonderful resource if you're interested in simplifying your life through minimalism.

Back to murals.  Wow, that was a tangent!  I painted this on the "big kid" side of the room

I've done graffiti a few times before and failed miserably at it.  I had it stuck in my head that it all needed to be done with spray cans.  Real graffiti artists use super expensive spray paint and nozzles (which aren't exactly in the budget for me).  A regular can of spray paint with it's standard nozzle gives you very little control and just doesn't have the same effect.

I finally figured it out that it's easier to paint the graffiti with a brush and then do a few spray paint accents.  Again, just keep it simple and go with what you know!

Here it is in progress
Notice that I outlined in chalk

Some spatters and spray paint accents to make it look more "authentic".  I'm not sure if I'm fooling anyone :)

We'll see what the kids think.  They're the true clients here!

I hope you're enjoying the Tricks of the Trade series... there's still much more to come!  If you have an idea for a post or are curious about anything to do with paint, don't be afraid to ask in the comments.

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