One Project a Week: Will I Succeed?

You ever feel like you have too much fabric?  If you’re a sewist, that’s very much a rhetorical question.  What’s the fun of having a hobby if you’re not doing the absolute most and living your best life?  Plus, you never know when you might need two yards of that green and white gingham print knit!

Anyways, my excessive stash is what’s led me to my decision to challenge myself.  The holiday season is coming up too, so I figure this is the perfect time to give sewing from my harvest a chance.  Each week leading up to Christmas I am going to complete one sewing project a week, using only fabric from my plentiful stash.

Now at this point you may be reading this blog and thinking, “This sounds like a fun challenge!  But can she do it?!?”  Honestly, I’m asking myself the same, but really looking forward to the fun that is to be had.  I can finally get around to making those bags and things I keep meaning to make for myself, plus I can make some interesting handmade Christmas gifts!

The other result of this I’m looking forward to with this is curbing my shopping addiction.  I love to shop for bags and I love to go to Joanns.  If you follow along on my Instagram (@sewstrawberrysweet), you’ll know that my recent move means I am now within walking distance of a JoAnn Fabrics.  So close in fact, that the other day I realized I still have a bit of a WiFi signal from my apartment!  The temptation is high to be at JoAnn’s every second of the day.  Working from my stash will give me chance to use all the fabric that I bought without a purpose in mind.

I have also been feeling like I’ve hit a low motivation point in my sewing journey lately.  I was going really strong there for awhile, even amid moving cross country to the South.  I think focusing on some new projects should help give a jump start to my motivation!

I’m sure by this point, you’re wondering just what I’ll be sewing; that’s where I need your help.  Starting this Monday, I will be posting pictures on my Instagram of my fabric along with project options and asking for your help in deciding what projects would be best.  Think you’re up to the task?  I sure hope so.  I can’t do it without you!

I’ll leave my Next to Sew Pinterest board below ,that I have been adding to for just about the last billion years.  Let me know in the comments what projects you want to see come to life with my own personal flare.  Or even better, let me know if you’re in for the challenge!  Just use the hashtag: #SSS7in7challenge

Stay Sweet Sweeties!

My Crafting Space is Complete!

Bigger and Better – Craft Desk Expansion:

If you’ve been following my Instagram (@sewstrawberrysweet) you know for the past month I have been hard at work building my sewing/craft desk bigger and better than ever before.  I made my first craft desk about two years ago, but decided a fresh start was needed since I was making a big move to a new place.

A Great Start:

Below are some pictures of my old sewing table (ignore the mess) that I made for my Brother LB6800 Sewing and Embroidery Machine.  I got two cube shelves from Target for the base/legs.  Fun fact: that second cube shelf is actually brown not black…  I didn’t want to paint it, so I covered it with black wrapping paper and sealed it on with ModPodge.  It gave it a really cool look, but I still can’t decide if that was wisdom at work or not.

I absolutely fell in love with my first sewing desk.  I was so proud of myself.  I bought a jigsaw and power sander and cut the hole in the top myself.  Plus, I went in the with the washi tape and really gave it a personal flair.  I added magnetic knife racks from IKEA to the fronts so I could keep my little containers of notions and things super handy.

My favorite part though, as always, has to be the lace painting I did.  Lace painting is my favorite painting method and it is was easier than it looks.  You simply paint the surface with the base color you want, black in my case, and let it dry for a bit.  Then you lay your lace fabric over it.  You can secure it with some painters tape or something underneath if you like, but I personally like the depth that comes from having the fabric lay a bit less flush in some spots.  Then you just take spray paint and paint over the lace.  Bam, let it dry and you are done.  You can take the lace off and lightly sand for a textured look with a smooth feel.

So, all this is to say my original sewing desk was really awesome, but I wanted something bigger and better.  I really needed it too, because a few months before my move I upgraded to the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale Sewing and Embroidery Machine.  I needed a desk that could support (quite literally) such a gorgeous (and expensive, ugh) sewing machine.

A Failure to Plan is a Failure to Succeed:

The first step of any project is planning of course, so I made note of what areas I could improve on my new desk.  The top one was space.  My old desk was really just a sewing/embroidery desk, because there wasn’t much room for much else.  The first go round I used 2′ x 4′ pieces of wood.  My bedroom in my new apartment is by no means small, but if I was going to put my sewing space in there I knew I wouldn’t be able to push the width of the desktop any wider.  I decided on upgrading to (roughly) 2′ x 8′ mdf wood for the desktop.

The next thing I wanted in my table was functionality.  The magnetic knife racks on the front of the desk were pretty nice, but I wanted more.  More! Of course this meant heading over to Pinterest for inspiration.  See my Sewing/Craft Spaces inspiration board below.

After consulting Pinterest I deciding adding a trash chute and in table power strip were must haves.  I probably had the most fun with this part of the project.  Making the holes with my hole saw attachment on my new powerful corded drill was exhilarating.  I swear the table almost caught on fire from the friction. Don’t worry, my dad warned me if the table was getting that hot I just might be doing something wrong. *shrugs* I had fun though.

Don’t Try to Fix What’s Not Broken, Build it Up:

There were also features of my original desk that I knew were too good to change.  I’ve seen sewing tables built ten different ways on Pinterest, but I think I might have found the easiest and most functional way to do it with my two tier design.  Instead of trying to figure out how to attach a platform to the desk for my machine to rest on so it was properly recessed in the desk… I found an easier route to the same results that also allowed for extra storage underneath the desk top.

I bought two identical pieces of 2′ x 8′ of MDF wood and cut six pieces of wood I measured to the right height to make my sewing machine flush with the desk top. I then placed the pieces at each of the four corners and two in the center of the desk for extra support.  Below are some pictures of the table after I added the corner supports, but before I added the desktop.

This design allows for space to store cutting mats, rulers, a laptop, embroidery hoops or whatever else you want.  This means the spot the machine rests on isn’t adjustable, but this wasn’t a drawback for me.  I made the hole in the desktop custom to hold my sewing machine, so it’s unlikely I would ever need the machine rest at any other height.

Once the basics of the table were built it was time for me to add the trash chute and and round surge protector.  I ran into a small issue with the trash chute I ordered as the fit was a bit too snug, but it was nothing I could not fix with my handy sanding drum drill attachment.  I was also concerned with lining the base desktop with the main desktop, because the space between them made it a bit hard to tell when they were aligned.  However, I found that placing the trash chute into the holes was a great way to line up the layers.

It’s All About the Aesthetics:

After this my focus was on aesthetics.  I added the washi tape around the edge of the desktops like last time, but decided to use ribbon on the cube shelves.  I would definitely recommend this for anyone trying to recreate the look of my table as pulling the fabric storage bins in and out would rip the washi tape over time.  I also had to add a cube shelf to the center of the desk for support, so I added washi tape to the front and sealed with ModPodge before adding the magnetic knife rack.

I used a white ruler washi tape on my last desk, but wasn’t a huge fan of the huge space that was between ever 12″ increment.  I used some PeelnStick paper ruler tape I bought at Hobby Lobby this time around.  It stands out nicely against the desk top and had normal spacing between the 12″ increments.  Like everything else paper I used in this project I sealed it with matte ModPodge glue.

Behind Every Great Custom Table… Is a Beautifully Decorated Wall:

Once the desk itself was complete it was time for me to put some creativity into the wall behind it.  If you look on Pinterest, every single craft table that was created seems to have a pegboard nearby.  I couldn’t break with tradition, but I didn’t want to anger my landlord with the kind of hardware that’s necessary to support a pegboard.  Especially a metal pegboard, which I had decided on, because I wanted to be able to attach magnetic items to the pegboard.

So, I attached the pegboard to the desk itself by drilling through the desktop and aligning the holes in the bottom of the pegboard.  Then I used a smaller screw and washer to secure the board, so moving the desk later wouldn’t be an impossibility.  I leaned the top of the pegboard back a bit and secured it with two screws into the wall.  However, with how sturdy the pegboard already was I think the same impact could have been had by placing command strips on the back, but you live and you learn.

From there it was easy sailing.  I added my thread racks on either side using command strips and filled the pegboard.  I found a some pretty cool strawberry bookends at Target that were perfect for my Sew Strawberry Sweet branding that made an awesome addition to my desk.

And Then She Finally Showed Us the Darn Desk:

Well, enough talk…  Here’s the finished product!  Let me know what you think in the comments or if you have any questions on any part of the process.  Anddddd there will be a video tour of my craft space that I’ll post on my YouTube in a bit here!

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My Sewing Bucket List

Every sewist, or anyone that does any kind of DIY, needs a Sewing Bucket List! Creating a Sewing Bucket List has been on my, well, bucket list, forever.  So here is the day!  I bring to you, Sweeties, my Sewing Bucket List!

I’ll put the list here, but if you want to see what is my inspiration for completing this list go see the Pinterest board I’ve linked to this blog post.  I may have colored outside the lines a bit as the list includes sewing, embroidery and related DIY projects.  Sew here’s my list…

  • An avocado backpack
  • Guitar shaped backpack
  • Convertible backpack purse (can you tell I love backpacks?)
  • An applique tote bag
  • An embroidered wool cape
  • A tote bag with wood handles
  • A rolling tote for my Designer Ruby Royale
  • A full skirt winter coat
  • The ultimate sewing table (check out the My Creations page on my website for my current sewing table)
  • LBD (Little Black Dress)
  • A high-waisted swimsuit
  • An ombre quilt
  • A high neck, low cut back wedding dress
  • Festive Applique Fabric Banner

Be sure to follow my Pinterest board to see what else I add to the list!  Let me know in the comments what’s on your Sewing Bucket List.

 

I Made Travel Themed Luggage Tags!

Look at me go! Almost a month in and I am absolutely loving my Designer Ruby Royale Sewing/Embroidery machine. It was made with the sewist at heart and it showed on my latest project! Be on the lookout for a comprehensive video and blog review of the machine soon.

Anyways, my machine is awesome and I’ve been feeling inspired to try new things! I’ve always wanted to do an in hoop design, all or most of what you are making is created in the hoop, I just never got around to it. It just still seemed too complicated. Boy was I wrong. In the hoop embroidery is the stuff!

I decided to make travel themed luggage tags, because they’re the perfect gift for my friend who’s retiring and vacationing in Paris. Not to mention they go hand and hand with the big launch I have been working towards for my Etsy shop.

I downloaded the designs from Embroidery Library’s website. You can download the luggage tags here. They can be purchased separately or in a design pack.

They fit in a 4 by 4 hoop if you leave the design as is. I decided to make mine a little bigger, so a business card would fit. However, don’t fret if you decide to keep them as is; there’s a link they give you to contact card printouts that we’re made for the tags.

I used my Brother Scan and Cut to cut the fabric for the project. Highly recommend! This made the already simple in the hoop project ten times easier. Then I just followed along with the detailed instructions and watched the magic happen. It’s like appliqué on steroids!

For extra depth be sure to go over the final design elements more than once. If you want the appearance of even more depth pick a slightly lighter shade the second run over the design. It really makes the design pop!

The whole design only took about 15-20 minutes to complete when I had all the materials prepped and ready to go. My machine even allowed me to add an eyelet hole right on screen on the design, so I didn’t even have to use any metal hardware. How cool is that?!?

Pictures are below. Let me know what you think. I’m pretty sure once you take a look you’ll have the travel bug. Do not fear! My tags will be here in my Etsy shop. Stay tuned and remember… Not all who wander are lost.

5 (Simple) Tips for Successful Embroidery

Embroidery doesn’t have to be complicated.  Here are five (simple) steps to help your embroidery shine!

  1. IronThis might seem obvious, but this is definitely the most important embroidery prep you can do.  Skip this step and what might have been a flawless embroidery design becomes a beautiful embroidery design with distracting wrinkles or creases.  Not to mention, that stitches might not end up where intended.

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    Even the most beautiful designs can suffer when the fabric isn’t pressed beforehand.

  2. Label Your Thread.  Right away!  There are lots of ways to do this, but if you purchased a variety thread set online you’ll find that once you put the thread on the spool rod the label is gone; a hole punched right through the middle!  I have found that what works best for me is grabbing a sharpie and labeling the top.  An Exacto knife is also a great tool for making a small slice through the base that you can use to keep your thread from unraveling.  See below. 

  3. Use the Correct Stabilizer. 
    • Tearaway – Tearaway are just like the name implies, they are temporary and easily torn away when embroidery is done.  This is most often the choice for embroiders using a stable fabric, like towels (see Solvy), scarves and basic woven fabrics.
    • Cutaway – Cutaway are permanent stabilizers that should be used when you need your fabric to stay stretch resistant and keep stabilizing the fabric through washing and wear, like on sweatshirts and polo shirts.
    • Peel & Stick – Generally for hoop-less embroidery or areas hard to hoop, like on collars and shirt cuffs.
    • Poly Mesh – Great for more elegant fabrics or combined with a cutaway for extra stability when embroidery polo shirts or like fabrics.
    • Cap Backing – A heavy stabilizer that tears cleanly to help maintain crisp lettering/small artwork in cap designs.
    • Water Soluble/Solvy – Solvy generally sits atop your fabric.  It can be used as a design template, a pattern guide, and as stitch support.  The best part, is it dissolves and disappears when soaked in water!  It’s great for embroidering towels and other fabrics where you don’t want to lose the stitching in the texture of the fabric.
  4. Use Spray Adhesive.  Temporary spray adhesive is a must for keeping your fabric and stabilizer together.  Slack between your stabilizer and fabric can cause stitches to land out-of-place and just generally cause you heartache.
  5. Listen & Learn.  Who doesn’t want to be able to walk away from their embroidery machine and get some other tasks done?  Then I recommend that you become attuned to the many sounds of your machine.  What does your machine sound like when: everything is running smoothly, your thread has become frayed or when it’s time to check the threading?  Knowing what each of these situations sound like is crucial to being able to walk away from your machine and come back to some awesome stitching!

Hope this helps!  Stay tuned for my next post that’s all about keeping your project space organized.  In the meantime, be sure to comment, subscribe and visit SewStrawberrySweet.com.  Happy stitching, Sweeties!

My First Full Size Embroidery Design!

Good Evening, Sweeties! I just completed my first full length embroidery design! 46,001 stitches, 14 inches tall, 5 inches wide and it’s absolutely gorgeous! What was it you ask? I had to do the predictable Millennial thing. Well, as predictable as I could be without embroidering an avocado; although I’m sure there’s plenty of those in my embroidery future. So I did the next most predictable thing; I embroidered a massive, vibrant wineglass! I could keep babbling on, but I’d rather just show you…

Drop me a line and let me know what you think! Does it make you thirsty? If it was yours, what would you want it embroidered on? An apron? A throw pillow? In a frame? Tattooed on your back? I’d love to know what you think.

See you next time, Sweeties! 🍓