Browsing Tag


Crafts, Sewing

Not Your Grandma’s Quilt

May 27, 2010

When you say the word quilt many things come to mind: grandmothers, olden days, heck, even toilet paper. Yet modern and cool aren’t usually two things that are generally correlated with quilts or quilting, though perhaps unfairly so. There are a wide range of quilts out there that will match a more modern style of decor while embracing the traditional aspects of the craft as well. Here are a few that are cool, colorful and even fun.

  1. Farm Field Quilt by BooDilly This quilt was inspired by fields and utilitarian blankets.
  2. River Appliquéd and Embroidered Quilt by BooDilly Resembling a children’s storybook illustration, this quilt is simple and cute.
  3. Modern Studio Quilt by BooDillyThis quilt almost looks likes circuitry.
  4. Soft Maps by Emily FischerThese quilts will cost you a pretty penny but they are amazing recreations of real maps.
  5. Cathedral Window Quilt by paper.string.clothThis beautiful quilt mimics a stained glass window.
  6. Swirly Rose Applique by Denyse Schmidt Get a modern take on the “whig rose” pattern with this pricey quilt.
  7. Storm Windows by Jacquie Gering If you’re looking for simple, this quilt blends basic black and white elegantly.
  8. Love Beads Modern Quilt by Mackenzie Daniels You can find the pattern for this quilt in the book The Modern Quilt Workshop.
  9. Modern Rainbow Garden Quilt by TwinfibersThis quilt mixes a latticed framework with cute tree-lined fabrics.
  10. Sunny Tiered Quilt by Molly at PurlBee This quilt is easy to sew and adds a bright layer of modern color to any bedroom.
  11. Modern Munki Munki Martian Quilt by filminthefridgeThe simple patterns and bright colors make this quilt a standout.
  12. M64 by Jimmy McBride This is meant to be a child’s quilt but the stellar inspired design is so amazing it’s perfect for adults too.
  13. Wedding Quilt by Molly at PurlBee– Who wouldn’t want a quilt like this as a wedding gift? Visit the site and you’ll learn how to make your own.
  14. Donkey Kong Quilt by Carolina Patchworks Even nerds have a quilt to love with this great work.
Crafts, Sewing

Sewing Basic Panel Curtains

May 25, 2010

This past week I got productive and finally got around to making some new curtains for my dining room. Despite having never sewed curtains before, I managed to do a good job and the panels are actually the same length and seem to be hanging in there pretty well. Making basic panel curtains is incredibly easy and even if you don’t know a thing about sewing you should be able to do it without much trouble. Here are some basic instructions:

  • First, figure out how much fabric you will need. This will vary by window but the basic sizes are 64″, 84″ and 96″. I chose to make 84″ curtains which required just a little over five yards of fabric. That’s a lot of fabric, so unless you have a killer discount you might want to save the $30 a yard patterns for something smaller.
  • After you’ve got your fabric, fold it over lengthwise and cut it into two equal sections.
  • Next comes the pinning. You’ll be doing a whole heck of a lot of this to make these panels. You don’t want the rough edges of your fabric to be showing on the finished product, so you’re going to want to fold them under on all your edges.
  • Start with the long side hems first. On my curtains, I folded over 1/2 inch of fabric once to hide the rough edge and once more to make it look nice. Measure, fold, pin and repeat is the process here.
  • Once you’ve finished the longer sides you can sew those puppies up.
  • Then you’ll do the top and bottom edges. Again, you’re going to want to hide the rough edges, so fold over a half inch on each end to hide it and pin. You can see an example in the lower picture.
  • After that, you’re going to go back and create a hem on the bottom that’s 2-3″‘s (depending on how you want it to look) and about 3″ on the top. Pin it all up and then sew along the edge of the fabric so you’ll create a little pocket for the curtain rod to go through.
  • And that’s about it. When you make the second panel, make sure to compare the length of it while it’s only pinned to the other panel. That way you can adjust if something is off and ensure they’re the same length before sewing.

This project is an incredibly easy one and it only took a few hours. It’s also pretty economical, as the fabric cost less than $30. You can find pre-made curtains for that, but making ones to match your taste and style is more fun.


Spiced Up Bookshelves

May 20, 2010

Lately I’ve been feeling that the bookshelves around the house are just kind of “blah” because every single one of them is plain, boring white. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in a room with white walls it all just sort of blends together and I think it could be a little nicer. I’ve been seeing a lot of really great bookshelves that have painted, wallpapered or fabric covered backs and I’m thinking of trying it myself. Here are some resources and photos on jazzed up bookcases that I’ve pulled together.


Inspiration Bookcases

This wallpaper really makes the bookshelves pop. Though, I wouldn't want to cover it up with books.

Another wallpapered bookcase.

This bright and pretty paper makes the whole room.

I love this color combo.

Oooh, yellow.

Even a small bookcase looks great with a touch of color.

The more I look at these the more I want to paint my own shelves! Perhaps I’ll post the project in the coming weeks when I have time to get around to it.


30 Great Places to Buy Fabric Online

May 10, 2010

You can make the greatest stuff with your sewing skills but if you don’t have great fabric to work with your projects just won’t turn out as well. Finding fabric that is perfect for your needs can be a bit of a hassle and it’s often a task that’s best done in person so you can gauge weight and texture. Yet, some of the best deals on fabric, especially imported or designer fabric, can be found online. Here are a few sites that I’ve found to be particularly useful in finding and buying great fabrics.

UPDATE: I appreciate all the comments and recommendations, but please check out my follow up post for additional sites. Many more suggestions appear there! 30 More (and Then Some) Great Places to Buy Fabric Online

Big Sites

These sites offer wide selections suited to basic sewing needs.

  1. Joann Fabric and Crafts: You’ll find pretty much the same collection of fabrics on the Joann site as you would in the store. You can also use those fabulous 40-50% off coupons they send you in the mail with your online orders as well, making it pretty simple to save big on fabrics from this store.
  2. Hancock Fabrics: Like Joann, you’ll find a wide selection of fabrics on this site, with separate galleries for decorator, fashion and quilting fabrics.
  3. You’ll find just about every kind of fabric you could want on this site and it often has pretty good sales. The only drawback is that is can be a bit of a pain to navigate.
  4. Buy and Create: This online fabric depot has a pretty solid collection of fabrics online, and the way they photograph the fabrics makes it easy to tell what their texture is like.
  5. While it’s geared towards quilters, this site sells a wide variety of designer fabrics that would work well for any household project.


Need to do some design on a dime? These sites can help.

  1. Fashion Fabrics Club: Lots of fabrics some nice and some, well, not so pretty. They do run daily specials, however, that can be quite a good deal.
  2. Fabric Blowout: (UPDATE: It appears fabric blowout has shut down. Bummer.) Check back with this site regularly to see if any of the $3.50 per yard fabrics they have strike your fancy. I think it’s a better resource for quilters than for home decor, but that’s just my take.
  3. Fabric Depot: You’ll find pretty decent discounts on fabric and sewing supplies on this site.
  4. eBay: Not the first place you’d think to buy fabric right? But it’s a great place to get some deals on fabric. Sometimes you can even pick up real vintage prints.

Specialty and Imports

These sites are some of the best for designer and imported fabric.

  1. ReproDepot Fabrics: Holy heck this site is cool. If you want vintage reproduction fabrics, few sites do it as well as this one. They also sell cute buttons and ribbons that are worth a look as well. UPDATE: Sadly, this store closed its doors summer of 2011. Hopefully an alternative will open up soon.
  2. The Needle Shop: I think I’m biased because this is a Chicago store, but I do really love the designer fabrics they sell. The cute shop is fun to visit but if you don’t have the time you can pick up many of the fabrics they carry online at their Etsy shop as well.
  3. Etsy: A simple search through the “supplies” category on this site will yield all kinds of fabrics, many of which can be picked up in small pieces or ordered in larger cuts if you need them. You’ll find a wide range of import and specialty fabrics as well, many of which might be hard to find elsewhere.
  4. FabricWorm: Great site for imports and specialty fabrics to inspire adults and kids alike.
  5. This is one of the best site that I’ve found for ordering Japanese import fabrics. They have loads of designs and cute accessories to match.
  6. Phat Fabric: You’ll find some big designer names here and some really stylish Japanese imports as well.
  7. Sew, Mama, Sew!: There are some seriously cute fabrics on this site as well as patterns, imports, ribbons and other notions to check out.
  8. PurlSoho: There aren’t many designers or styles you won’t find on this great New York shop’s site. Super cute and very easy to navigate.
  9. Just Scandinavian: If you love all things Scandinavian (they are pretty good at design) then you’ll appreciate the fabrics listed on this site.
  10. Pink Chalk Fabrics: This is a great source of designer fabrics no matter what you’re working on. Plus, they have an amazing selection of patterns.
  11. Fat Quarter Shop: This site specializes in smaller cuts of fabric, which sometimes is all you need. You can get larger cuts if you need, however, and they have some great designers.
  12. Contemporary Cloth: Visit this site for organic, hand dyed, and otherwise specialty fabrics.

Designer Sites

If you want to browse by designer, check out these sites. Not all sell the fabrics directly but they will tell you where to go if you want to buy.

  1. Amy Butler: You’re unlikely to find many fabric designers that have as much exposure as Amy Butler– and for a good reason. She has loads of beautiful and coordinated fabric collections to choose from, as well as bedding and household items that have already been constructed.
  2. Joel Dewberry: I have to confess that I am hopelessly in love with many of the fabrics Joel Dewberry produces. They’re bold, interesting and often have a vintage charm without being kitschy.
  3. Alexander Henry: This designer’s fabrics range from the cartoony to fabulously fashionable. You’re bound to find something that strikes your fancy.
  4. Anna Maria Horner: I didn’t know much about this designer until I was looking around for fabric to make throw pillows (I settled on her Sketchbook print in blue). Definitely worth looking through.
  5. Kokka: Frankly, I am a little obsessed with everything Japanese and this amazing fabric design company is no exception. While many of their fabrics are designed more for fashion than home decor, some of them can easily do double duty.
  6. Heather Ross: I love, love, love the whimsical designs this children’s book illustrator comes up with. They are ideal for making things for the little ones or just fun things for yourself.
  7. Erin McMorris: Cute is the word of the day when it comes to this textile designer and illustrator’s work.
  8. Marimekko: If you haven’t heard of this Finnish (as I was informed by many angry Finns when I called it Icelandic :) ) company you’re missing out. Their fabric doesn’t come cheap, but it’s super stylish and bold.
  9. Heather Bailey: This designer undoubtedly has cool fabric but her other products (paper crafts, patterns) are awesome as well.