DIY: Full skirt tutorial.

I’m really loving creating projects on my sewing machine at the minute, I used to spend so much time on it, but I seem to have run out of love for sewing over the past year, I think that love might just be returning.

Its my birthday tomorrow, and we’ve had a trip to London booked for months. We’ll be booking into the rather fancy St pancras renaissance hotel, spending the afternoon on the Harry potter tour, and enjoying what i’ve be promised to be the most delicious feast at The hawksmoor (covent garden). I’m certainly in for an extraordinary day! Anyway, birthday excitement aside, with fancy plans comes the “what am I going to wear?” stress. Well, i’ve been super prepared for this, I bought my day outfit last month (and we’ve been promised gorgeous weather, (so I don’t have to change it YAY!) for our dinner out, I thought i’d make something a little pretty, which brings me to this tutorial. A full skirt (in the most beautiful retro grey gingham fabric I grabbed from the bargain bin at Abakan). There are a lot of different ways to make up a full skirt, this one is for a gathered full skirt, with a zip back. So lets get started.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric,  this depends on your measurements, but i’ll go through working it out below.
  • Fabric shears,
  • 8″ zip in a colour of your choice.
  • measuring tape,
  • dressmakers pins,
  • and of course your sewing machine, i’m using an overlocker as well, but if you don’t have one, pinking shears will do.

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And here’s what you need to do. 

 

So, before we even start with any fabrics, you’ll need to work out your measurements. you’ll need two. Your waist and the length you want your skirt to be. I’ve put on a little weight over the past few months (just generally given into all my urges, hello 11pm Timeout obsession!) so my waist measurement is 30″ and  my desired length for a mid calf midi skirt is 25″. So, below is the measurements of fabric i’ll be cutting out.

1 x 31″ x 5″ – This will be the waist band. The extra 1 inch is for folding under when attaching your zip, (1/2″ each side) SO whatever your waist measured at, add that extra 1″. The 5″ is the width, my finished waistband will be 2 1/2″, this piece s folding in half, hence the 5″

2 x 64″ x 25″ – The 64″ is the width, it sounds like loads, but general rule of thumb, for a gathered skirt the more fabric you gather, the fuller the skirt. I find quadrupling my waist size in fabric length gives me the perfect amount of fullness, I could do with a little less, but the length of my fabric was 64″ so instead of cutting off that 4″ I just kept it. The 25″ is of course the length I want my skirt.

I really hope I”ve managed to make that simple enough?

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Anyway, moving on. Once you’ve cut out all your fabric, we can get started on some sewing. First, grab your two large main skirt pieces (64″ x 25″) Now for some ridiculous reason, whilst making this up, I gathered one piece, then added the other. This is actually a longer way of going about it. So, place your fabrics against each other, fabric on the inside. Line up the edges, pin down and sew. You’ll end up with one rather gigantic hoop of fabric. Half ONE of the pieces of fabric and cut all the way up (be very careful doing this bit that you don’t snip the other piece of fabric. You want to end up with pone super long piece.

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Next, its time to get on that machine, before you start sewing check your bobbin is near full, if you run out of thread during this bit, its a real pain! So full bobbin and you can sew along the full length of fabric in one go, no breaks. Set your machine to the largest straight stitch, and you want tension at 5 for a basic cotton fabric.

Starting from one end, about half an inch from the top, sew a few stitches and do your back stitch to secure. Then carry on  all the way to the other end. When you get to the other end DO NOT back stitch and leave a long piece of loose thread before snipping away from the machine.

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Next, go back to the beginning of the fabric ( where you just started the last line of stitches) and about 1/4″ below your last stitches, do the same step, going all the way to the end. Remember, no backstitch to secure and leave a long piece of loose thread. Your fabric should look like this.

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Now, keep tight hold of your thread and pinch your fabric very gently pulling it down creating a lovely gather. You need to be very gentle with this step, if you snap the thread, you’ll have to unpick that whole line and re-sew. But putting two lines of stitches not only creates a prettier gather, it also strengthens for when you’re doing this step.

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Once you’ve reached the end and you’ve gathered all of your fabric, grab your tape measure and measure your now gathered fabric length. You want it to match your waist band fabric length.

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So, now we move on. Get your waistband fabric and take to an iron, fold it in half (pattern on the outside), Iron. Then fold under the raw edges of the waist band, hiding them on the inside of your band. Give it a good thorough iron and steam, this will keep everything nice and folded.

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Now, we’re going to add the gathered skirt to the waistband. Its really simple to do this, but can get a little fiddly. Simply lay your waistband down, open side facing to you. Slot the gathered edge inside your waistband and pin the whole lot together, not forgetting the back of the waistband. You don’t need to put your skirt right up to the top of the waistband, just an inch or so under, will do fine. enough so the waistband conceals the stitch lines.

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Now its time to sew. The best way to do this part is to go slow and steady. Make sure both the front and back of the waistband is in line before you start, and on the middle length stitch (you should have 3 stitch sizes for a straight stitch on your machine) start from one end, sewing right to the other, doing a backstitch for wither side to secure.

 

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By now, you have something resembling a skirt, but now we need to attach both sides together. To do this, fold both ends back, so your skirt is inside out. Line up the edges and place down. For this skirt I used an 8″ zip This is more than enough, it only has to give you enough room to pull your skirt past your hips. If you have a particularly long torso (i’m 4′ 11″ so that has never been a problem!) then maybe switch it for a longer zip. Anyway, with your skirt laying down, measure down from the top, the length of your zip and pin the two pieces together at that point.

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Now sew up from the bottom of the skirt, to where your pin is. Finish with your overlocker, pinking shears or using the double fold method, I wrote a post about it here.

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Now its time for the fussy bit, fitting in the zip. though its actually its not as hard as you’d imagine. First up you’ll need to prep your skirt ready for inserting your zip. To do this is really simple. Simply pinch in the edges, and pin. Of course this skirt isn’t lined, so when you’ve passed your waistband there’s only one layer, just fold that over 1/2″ and pin. Once its all pined, give it a good going over with the iron. *Note, don’t do this with those dressmakers pins that have a plastic ball head. If you do, plastic will melt over your fabric and your iron. I know this from experience. Sadly.

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And now its time to pop in that zip. Firstly, gather some contrasting thread, and set up your needle for some hand sewing.

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Next, fold over the end of your zip, the piece that starts just before the top of the actual zipper part.

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Now, with the top still folded over, slot it into the very top of the waistband. Grab your needle and thread, and tack the zip nice and tightly into your skirt. Do this all the way down and back up to the other side so the entire zip is tacked in.

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Next its time to sew your zip in. This is actually the easiest part. Just go slow, starting from the top left, working down until you get to the bottom. Stop your machine with the needle still in your fabric, lift your foot (on the machine, not your actual foot.) spin your skirt to the side and sew across the bottom for a couple of stitches. Once you’ve reached the other side, stop again with your needle still in your fabric. Lift your foot, spin the skirt so your angled ready to sew up the other side of the zip.

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Now using a pair of snips, or small scissors, snip out the contrasting thread. Now is also the time to re-sew any of that waistband that has come loose just before adding your zip.

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And thats all the complicated parts of your skirt made! We’ve one last thing to do, before your skirt is finished… and thats hem it. Now would be the perfect time to try your skirt on, make sure the length is as you want it, if you want it shorter, just give it a trim- remember though, you will be taking about 1/2″- 1″ off that for hemming, so don’t cut too much off.

To do this, simply use your over locker, fold over, pin and topstitch like I have. Or if your don’t have an overlocker, you can use pinking shears, fold and topstitch. Or you can use the double fold method here.

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The last thing to do, is to give your skirt a complete iron over, get every seam crisp, get the fabric completely crinkle free. and thats it, your gathered full skirt with zip back is now ready to wear!

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fancying up the front door.

I’ve had this post planned since about march. I’m constantly spotting beautifully coloured front doors, I’d start shopping for replacement door accessories (silver instead of the gold we had on), and get so overwhelmed by finishes, prices, fixtures. I’d end up just putting it off.

Then, I spotted a beautiful door whilst browsing Pinterest a few weeks ago, the colour was lovely, but most importantly, the fixtures were all gold. It really made me love what we already had on and it meant I didnt have to replace any of the fittings, (apart from the door knocker, but that was only because I wanted a ring one.)

So that was that, I hopped of to home base to pick up my colour of choice Stone blue in Farrow & ball exterior eggshell.

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Only to find, my local home base is pretty rubbish with what colours they have stocked. As i’m stupidly impatient,  I had a look around the other exterior paints, finding the perfect shade in stock.

Deluxe Weather shield in vast lake  *There’s a list of prices/stockists at the end if you want to pick up the same*

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So, before I take you through the (ridiculously simple) process of getting the door painted up, here’s how it started. Well, actually, it started out with one of those faux victorian lantern shaped knockers and our number screwed in just by the letterbox – but eager as ever, I forgot to take a before they came off photo.

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Its all pretty bland, and actually a bit scruffy looking. I have thoroughly neglected the front of our house!

First, I had to take off all the fittings. Its actually very easy! The Original knocker was actually screwed in a really inaccessible way, I have no idea how Sam took it off, but he did. I did the rest, and all they needed was a simple unscrewing. (FYI If you have a standard UPVC door, you can take the letterbox of by unscrewing the screws on the inside of the letter box, on the house side of the door. To get the peep hole off, hold the inside of the door part, and screw the outside part. it should come out really easily, the door handle screws off with the screws you can see very easily on the inside half of the handle.

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Anyway, so once I had cleared the door, and after filling in the holes with some filler (and leaving it to dry.).  It was time to give it a good scrub down, I used a simple soapy water and my steamer. Once it was sparkling I gave it a pat down with a towel and left for 5 minutes whilst I prepped the paint.

Applying the paint is really easy, two light coats, with a couple of hours in-between for drying time. It really is as simple as that. If your not particularly steady handed, I’d recommend taking the door completely of its hinges. the thing with this project, is if you don’t get your finish right, it really will end up looking worse. Taking the time to prep properly, taking of anything you might accidentally cover in paint is important.

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Now, I never got to try the much hyped Farrow and ball, but I can say, absolutely, that I am so glad I got this paint. The finish is beautiful. it went on smoothly, very low fumes, and it dried fairly quickly.

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After the second coat went on, I left it to dry long after it was touch dry. Luckily it was quite a nice day, so I used the time with the front door wide open to be out in the front garden fixing’ it up a little.

Finally, after a good 4 hours (at least) I decided it was time to get those fixtures back on. Including that beautiful new knocker… the inspo behind the whole project.

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As well as adding the sweetest little Summer wreath.

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And following on with fancying that whole area up a little bit, I bought some new olive trees for either side the door, ripped out that awful bit of side fence, painted the flakey area below the door (and the cupboard beside the door) and popped up a brand new door number sign.

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And thats really all it took to transform the front of our house! Not bad for an afternoons work really? Here’s the before and afters, the transformation is amazing!!

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Now, lets crack out that job list for the front garden:

– Re-home all of those plants under the kitchen window. Not looking forward to trying to transport the giant rose bush through to the back. Ouch!

– Build a raised bed under the window. 

-Find a shrub that looks beautiful all year round for in the raised beds. (Am I asking too much?)

-Pave the entire garden. There’s no need for that tiny bit of grass out there. 

-New fences. These are roughly 37 years old. I dread to think whats underneath all those layers of paint. 

– Fit outdoor light over the front door. 

So, not much to do then!

I really do think this project has been my favourite, it was really easy, not too expensive, but has maximum effect. The front of your house gives the first impression to the rest and for so long ours hasn’t done the inside any justice, I think it works just perfectly now.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

As promised earlier on in the post, here’s what I used for this project.

  • Dulux weather shield, Vast lake – Home base £24.99
  • Walk Exterior Satin, Cornish slate – Wilkos £8.50
  • Gold ring Door knocker – Screwfix £4.49
  • Plant pot- Wilkos £12 (No link sorry!)
  • Pair olive trees – Amazon £37.62 (free postage for prime members.)
  • Door number sign – Ebay £6.99
  • Faux Lavander wreath – Ebay £7.99

 

DIY: Oilcloth beach bag.

This week, I’m carrying on from what i said last week – keeping with the seasons ect. ect. So, if you haven’t seen the weather reports for the next week, go look now! *Eeeks.* Its gunna’ be HOT Which means, beach days!! So, with this in mind, I’ve made up a tutorial for something you’ll probably be needing. A beach bag, a super practical oil cloth beach bag. In the prettiest, summeriest, retro-esque gingham pattern from Abakan.

 

So here’s what you’ll need:

Oilcloth, I’ve used roughly half a metre.

Dressmakers pins.

Tape measure.

Fabric shears.

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And here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, I cut out my oilcloth pieces. I cut out 2 pieces of 18″ x 20″ (These are the sides of the bag.) 2 pieces of 23″ x 4 1/2″ (These are the straps. And one 20″ x 5″ piece. This will be the bottom.

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Then  It was time to begin putting all the pieces together. First, I made up the straps. I grabbed the two strap pieces (23″ x 4 1/2″). Folded it in half – Patterned side on the outside-.

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Second, fold the tip of each side over, so about 1/4″ is folded inside. Then pin, both edges closed.

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Now pin down both sides. You’ll want a long straight stitch for this, you’ll also want to adjust your tension right up to about 8/9 (depending on your machine) Oilcloth can be tricky to get through your machine, there’s no real fibres, or friction. So it does struggle to grip – unless of course you’re lucky to be on an industrial.

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So, thats your straps made up. Its time to move on to the actual body of the bag. For this you’ll need the remaining three pieces of your oilcloth.

First, put the two pieces of main body together, pattern side facing each other (on the inside.)

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Make sure your two pieces are both lined up. Measure up 2 1/2″ from the bottom and pin, on both sides.

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Now sew down, from the top corner, a long straight stitch all the way down to where your pin sits. Sew down both sides.

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Then fold down the un-sewn bottom flaps of your bag, making it like this…

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Place your final piece of un-used oilcloth, pattern side down on this. So the 20″ x 5″ piece. Line it all up, pin it and sew it. It is a little tricky to sew, because you don’t want to sew the two sides to each other. The best way to do it really, is to place the rectangle part down first, pin the rest of your bag to it, then sit it under the machine and sew round your rectangle. (really hope that makes sense?!) When you’ve finished, you want it to look a little like the pictures below, at either side it should be joined in a T shape.

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If you peek in the top of your bag, you’ll see its almost ready. But you shouldn’t turn it out yet.

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First you’ll need to finish your seams with either the overlocker or pinking shears. This will keep everything nice and secure.

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Then you can turn your bag out the right way, getting ready to finish it all off.

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Next, you need to chop off the top 2″ of your bag – it’ll make sense soon.

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Grab your pins again, fold over the new top of your bag by about 1/4″ and pin.

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Figure out where you want your straps (i’ve placed either and about 3″ from the end seams.) and pin in place.

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Now, its time to bring back that little stop of fabric you cut off. I overlocked mine, it’s not a necessity, but it will give a better finish to your bag. Fold over one side of it – again by 1/4″.

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Next, pin the folded side, up against the edge of the top of the bag. Its easier if you fold the bag over a bit first, you can see a bit better then.

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Then comes the most difficult part, the sewing. Its tricky with this fabric because of how stiff it can be. But, be patient, go steady and it’ll be done in no time.

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So, thats it. Your DIY Oilcloth beach bag is done. If i’m being honest, I’ll probably use this as a beach bag once maybe twice a year – it is only Summer for half a week a year.- More often than not, it’ll be the girls overnight sleep bag, or even  my shopping bag (seen as we’re charged for carrier bags now. I’m being Eco friendly!)

Whatever you use your bag for, it will be strong and pretty and most importantly, Handmade by you! So carry it with pride.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

DIY: Outdoor Chalkboard art.

I mentioned way back in the Decking post about how I wanted to add some chalkboard art out there, I also said keep an eye out on a post about in a few weeks – well here we are with that post. There’s a big blank brick wall out there, and I figured chalk board art would be perfect, cheap, and completely customisable way to stop it looking so absolutely boring.

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This isn’t a tutorial – necessarily, turns out, there are quite a few ways to make a chalk board, most of which you can find over on Pinterest. So this post is just about what I did.

Here’s what I used:

Rustins Quick dry blackboard paint. (£5.52)

Giant piece of MDF left over from the TV unit build (I’m really putting those scraps to use!)

Graphite pencil. (£2.50 for 6)

Printouts (more on them a little further down.)

Chalk la chalk pens. (10.95 for pack of 8)

 

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What I did was actually very simple, obviously the first thing I needed to do is paint my MDF board. Its really important at this step to do the whole thing, every millimetre of the board needs covering in chalk paint, back and front. MDF is very absorbable, being outside, with the rain WILL destroy all your hard work unless its protected properly. Also, bonus is you have a reversible chalk board. Two in one and all that.

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So thats the boring bit over. By this point I had a giant chalk board an I was ready to get creative. I had been sketching out a few ideas, I wanted something quite simple, but still very colourful. And using Picmonkey I had something like this planned out.

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Now, I discovered a little hack that makes Chalkboard drawing incredibly easy. You’ve probably seen those gorgeous murals, well… odds are most of ’em are done the way I’m going to show you. There will be some drawn freehand by people that are just actually incredible artists. I am not one of those people. So what I did was print out the above. I had to have a play around with sizings, but after a little while I ended up with this layout.

 

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Now heres the cool bit. Once you’ve decided where you want each letter to be placed, simply turn her your sheet, grab your graphite pencil and scribble away. You want the entire back of your letter/object ect covered in pencil.

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Now flip your paper back over, placing it exactly where you want it and trace over the outline of your letter/object ect with a pen.

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When you lift your paper…. voila. An exact outline of what you want to be chalked. Easy as that!

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After the initial glee of seeing that chalk board art hack really does work, I cracked on and got the outline of the rest of the board drawn out.

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Then i was finally ready to get started with the chalk pens. I decided on the chalk- La pens, because they had really good reviews, they also aren’t completely permanent. I can wash off with a wet sponge, but just a spray of water (or rain) would leave it all perfectly in tact. Ideal for something thats going to be outside really.

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Once I’d finished the writing and the festoon lights, it was time to start on the biggest job, the flowers! I won’t lie, this part took me about two days to complete – although I was having to stop for school runs, cleaning, making dinner, bedtime stories ect. Around half way though I was close to giving up, but…. I did really want to see it finished and up outside, so I carried on chalking out those little flowers until eventually I had a half border of multicoloured flowers.

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Then finally it was time to hang. What I was hoping to have finished in a day, took three. But, I actually really enjoyed the process, knowing I would get the writing almost perfect because of the hack was so satisfying, no trying and struggling to get it perfect freehand.

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A lovely little bit of Summer added to the decking. Which is nice, considering we aren’t getting an actual Summer. I managed to take two photos of it finished before the heavens opened and I got drenched. It has since not stopped raining. Hopefully once Summer comes back, I’ll be able to take a much sunnier photo of it out there.

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I’ve still got a few bits to get done out there before I’ll say Ive done for this Summer. all of which require at least one day of sunshine, something we aren’t really getting at the minute. I thought i’d put together another one of my little still to-do lists for the decking area:

– Re-paint the shed door. (I’ve something really cool planned!)

– Get rid of all the wood down the side of the decking.

– Re-stain the deck.

– Fit hanging wall garden (very excited about this project!)

– Hang tea-light holders above the chalkboard art.

– Rehome lavender plants in the planters to somewhere else in the garden. (They are mutant plants, I’ve never seen lavender grow so crazily.)

 

Thats all that I really want to get done out here this year (the front of the house is a whole different story, but we’ll get to that in a few weeks.) I’ll have a full update post up at some point before the end of Summer.

So thats it, my chalk board art is complete. I really did enjoy the process and It is definitely something I will be doing more of now I know how to get it perfect every time.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

DIY: Rustic Planter.

Back when I posted the gallery wall update post (here.) I added a little list at the bottom, a list of things in the living room left to do. Well, today i’m tackling one of those things. Filling the bottom shelves of the TV unit.

On one side, I’ve placed a lantern that was originally in the kitchen….

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Lovely. And on the other side.. I thought I’d add some greenery in the form of an artificial plant filled plant box. Something simple, something cheap and most importantly…Something that can be DIY-ed.

Here’s what I used:

– Plank of wood. 2 depending on how big you want your planter. – I’ll explain the measurements I chose further down.

– Stain/paint. I went with a lovely rich and dark stain.

– Wood glue. This depends solely on wether your using the next thing.

– Corner brackets. If you’re not using these, skip the wood glue and screw your box together.

-MDF base, i used some leftover 1/4″ MDF

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And here’s what I did.

First, lets talk measurements. I picked up artificial plants from IKEA a few weeks ago, I already knew these where being used for this project. So I shoved them together, setting them out how i would in the planter and measured the area around them. In doing this I ended up with a box that was 36cm in length, 10cm length and 10 cm in height. It doesn’t sound big – because it isn’t. But it fits perfectly in the area. So firstly, I’d decide where you want your planter and plan your measurements from there.

So next, onto the actual building. First, sam took out his mitre saw and chopped the plan of wood i had marked out measurements on.  We (Sam) decided it would look so much neater if we (he) cut the joints at an angle to fit together rather than just slotting two straight pieces against each other.  He was right, it does.

Once the wood had been cut (including the base) I got out the wood glue and stuck those corners together. It isn’t the easiest, you do have to hold each corner for a little while until the glue has started to stick. But once they stand on their own just leave the whole thing to dry for a few hours.

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The next thing I did was actually a little silly. What I should have done prior to that last step, is build up the planter around the base, sticking them all together. I however forgot about the base, and so I had to put glue round the edges and slot it down and into the bottom. It got a bit messy. Don’t make my mistake, glue the planter around the base and leave the whole thing to set.

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So, one my planter was made and the glue had dried, it was time to pain, or in my case stain. I wanted to keep my planter very simple. Of course there is nothing stopping you painting it any colour you fancy, decorate it with anything you can get your hands on. But I wanted simple and so I chose the ikea dark stain. ITs a fantastic colour and it brings out the grain beautifully. Two coats of that and leave it to dry.

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Now, its time to add my corner brackets. As I stated earlier, if you aren’t using corner brackets (all though you should really re-consider, there are some gorgeous ones about!) you shouldn’t use glue. I used it because the whole frame would have extra support from the brackets. Without the glue would be too flimsy, so use screws. Anyway, first Sam (I’m awful with a drill, but I am working on it! ha) drilled a few little pre-holes..

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And then using a screwdriver I fixed the brackets to the planter.

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And thats it, my DIY rustic planter was finished! All that was a left to do was to pop in those plants.

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It really finishes off the TV unit beautifully, I’m glad to have those bottom shelves finished.

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So, back to my list, here’s what I still have left to do in the living room:

  • Fit magnet catch -ers to the TV unit doors. (2/3 so far, I’m expecting to have it finished by Christmas.)
  • Replace the skirting board. (Fit, calk and paint them)
  • Replace the door frames. (Same as above.)
  • Repaint both doors.
  • Fit new plate over high plug socket near the sofa.
  • Make/Buy radiator cover. – We haven’t decided yet, our radiators are ridiculously high, so ‘standard’ covers don’t fit.
  • Make/buy cushions for the sofa – It already holds 11, but it just isn’t enough! I NEED MORE!
  • Find something to go on both the bottom shelves of the TV unit.
  • Replace back door. (This is a way way down the line project for when we actually own the house *still in deposit saving phase*)

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

No zip cushion tutorial.

Its no secret that I love cushions. I just do! My style is kind of neutral, I like calm, relaxed, clean. BUT when it comes to cushions, I like the boost of personality, textures, colours, patterns that cushions will give a room. Hence why I’ve got so many of them. Anyway, we got a new sofa a couple of months ago. I already replaced the *lovely* floral cushions – they’re not horrible, just not my taste –  with some cooler, more varied ones from H&M home – which btw, if you haven’t had a look in their homeware section, go. now. – well, once you’ve finished my blog post. So much beauty and their prices are ridiculously low.

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Anyway, back to the blog post. Cushions, I’ve bought them all so far, But having free reign of fabrics, convinced me to make some up. And honestly, when they’re as easy as your about to see, you’ll probably only make them all,  buying ones you really ‘need‘ too – because some cushions are too beautiful to just leave in the shop. The best thing about these particular cushions, they are fab for beginner sew-ist – totally invented term for the newbies-. There’s no zips, buttons, velcro. Nothing daffy about them at all. You can’t really do it wrong, so I think they’re definitely a good motivation if you’re lacking in sewing mojo.

So cracking on. Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • fabric, for an average scatter cushion, 1/2 a metre will do perfectly.
  • fabric scissors.
  • dressmakers pins.
  • dressmakers tape measure.
  • cushion to fill once its finished.

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And here’s what you need to do:

 

First, grab your fabric, we need to cut out the right size, the entire cushion will be one continues piece of fabric. I’ve drawn up a little something to give you an idea of what it should look like.

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My fabric dimension are 38 1/2″ length (16″ cushion F + 16″ cushion B + 6″ flap + 1/2″) x 18 1/2″ wide  this includes seem allowance  of 1/2″

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First, overlock the top and bottom edge of your fabric, – If you don’t have an overlocker, pinking shears are fine, if you don’t have either, the double fold method I have a post on here will work as well.

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Now, you want to set your fabric pattern side down. The way its being constructed, the pattern needs to be on the inside – then when you turn it out, all seams are hidden. So, once thats done turn the top down 3 inches and pin the sides.

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Now, go to the bottom and turn it over 1/2″ pinning and then sewing to secure.

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Then, fold the bottom, up to the top. Take out one of the side pins (carefully) place the folded over fabric from the bottom and re-pin. Tack your pins all the way down, then do the same to the other side.

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Now its time to sew. Run a straight stitch down either side – remembering your backstitch to secure.-

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And finish off with the overlocker.

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Finally, turn out. Run over it with an iron for crisp edges.

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You can now pop your cushion in. Wedge the bottom of your cushion, under your flap to keep it all looking nice and neat.

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Your no zip cushion is done!

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I also made up the stags head one, the fabric was just too pretty to leave behind!  So, thats two cushion-less spaces filled, but I’ve still a fair few left. So i’ve put together a little wish list of dreamboat cushions -told you I was obsessed!- that i’ll be trying to get my hands on soon.

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Red diamond print cushion – Yorkshire linen company £10.99

Feather – Etsy £14

Mustard- Tesco  £12.99

Black/copper – Freemans £22

White & black diamond – H&M  £6.99

Blue/green pattern – Etsy  £22

White embroidery – ZaraHome  £19.99

Teal pattern – Society 6   £14

Navy floral – Marks & Spencer  £19.50

As you can tell, i’m all about the colour in the living room. the great thing about adding colour with textiles, is that they can easily be changed, combined with new colours and moved around to give a whole new vibe for very little cost.

Don’t forget to give me a tag on insta (@thelittlewomanpretends) if you have a go. I’d love to see!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*collaborated post*

 

 

 

 

Pinty plus – DIY bookends.

Late last month I revealed how I had become a ‘Pinty pluser’. I among other crafty bloggers have been given a bunch of fab chalk spray paints  by Novasol Uk to do what we wanted with. For my first project I decided to chalk paint a fabric armchair in the most beautiful olive green shade – You can find that post here.

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In last months delivery – along with the chalk paint- I also received some cool MDF letters in Mischa & Izzy’s initials. So, for this months crafty project I thought i’d make something out of them – avoiding the rather simple paint them & hang them on the wall project.

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 I decided to make them into book ends!

Its no secret we built a rather amazing unit in the living room last month (full project links here & here). I’ve been gathering my books from all corners of the house and setting them up in the new shelves ever since, and whilst I did find some gorgeous marble horse head book ends (as pretty as they where I am NOT paying £50+ for a pair of book ends!!) There isn’t much better than handmade is there?

So, I’d decided what I wanted to make them into, and I found this gorgeous Pinterest inspo photo for the type of finish I want. I love the copper peeping out through the dark paint – although my version is gold and black.

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Here’s what I used:

  • MDF letters – As stated earlier, mine were free, but I saw hobby craft had some in for about £2 each in a sale last week, and eBay have loads of sellers.
  • 4x 3/4″ thick MDF blocks. (These make up the side & bottom of the book ends. actual measurements below.)
  • Glue. – Hobbycraft extra strong glue.
  • Gold spray paint – Wilko’s do a fab range.
  • Pinty plus spray chalk paint in Black plum.

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And heres what I did.

First I had to figure out how tall and thick I wanted my book ends, I measured the letters and settled on a 20 cm height and a 20cm bottom length block for the M.

Once cut, I grabbed two of the blocks, glued the end and stuck them together creating an L shape.

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I then popped some glue on the parts of the letter that would be stuck down – So the bottoms, and the right/top side of the ‘M’. Before sticking that down and leaving the whole thing to dry.

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Now my bookend is basically made, it was time to paint. I showed the finish I wanted a bit further up, I love the metallic peeking out from the dark black. It’ll look perfect on my crisp white shelves. So to do this, I gave a spritz of gold, only light, and not bothering about covering the whole letter, it will only be little areas visible once I had finished. I left the gold to dry for roughly about an hour.

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And then I sprayed the entire thing over with the black plum Pinty plus chalk paint. I thought with it being a dark colour, I might need a couple of coats, but I got full coverage in only one. I left them out to dry in the sun for another hour. They where touch dry in less than twenty minutes, but I didn’t want to risk potential smudges by rushing into the next step.

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Once the whole thing had dried, It was time to take of some of the black chalk paint to reveal the gold. To do this I simply got a cup of water and some cotton buds.

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And I gave those edges a good rub. For some parts, I used a (damp) rough side of a sponge, only the tip of a corner though, I didn’t want to wipe all the paint off. This will only work on chalk paint/water based paints. Stronger paints require paint thinner ect. to remove, but by using that you’ll also take off the gold underneath. So stick to anything you can clean up with water.

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Once i’d rubbed them down, I just had to wait for the chalk paint to re-dry in the areas i’d gotten wet.

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And thats it, my book ends are finished.  Ready to go do their job and hold up my books.

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Again, I loved using the Novasol pinty plus spray paint, however I would have liked the black to be a little darker. Its a lovely colour and the finished book ends match the set of drawers I painted last year, but the drawers are actually a slate grey, not black.  I’m gunna’ finish of some frames for the sewing room in the same colour – well, once I’ve reclaimed it back, a month on and its still being used for storing a giant cabinet.

I’ve already started thinking of next months Pinty plus project, I’m planning on going a much, MUCH brighter colour.

 

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

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Pinty plus ambassador: Chalk painted armchair up cycle.

A few weeks ago I was approached by the lovely Clare from Maybush studio. She had recently started work with a brand called Novasol spray UK, who have recently released a brand new range of paint, Pinty plus Chalk spray paint. Clare had a very exciting opportunity for me, to become a Pinty plus ambassador. Of course I jumped for it, free chalk paint in exchange for blogging about my up cycle? who wouldn’t!

A week or so later, I had decided on my up cycle project and emailed off for my chosen colour (Vintage olive) I was told to expect a 4-5 day delivery, so I was extremely happy to have it delivered in only two. Co-incidentaly the exact same day I went to pick up the piece of furniture that would be being up cycled.

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The piece of furniture in question was a chair. I’ve always wanted a queen Anne wingback armchair, they’re beautiful! And as luck would have it Nostalgiques – A local furniture restoration business, owned by the fabulous Nicola- had a beautiful replica for sale for only £30. *Just a heads up, I’m told Nicola has a fair few of these for sale, you can find her Facebook link here if you want to snap one up.*

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The fantastic thing about using chalk paint is that prep isn’t needed, the chair was in good condition, having only a few little scuffs and marks, so I was a ready to start pretty much straight away.

First, I moved my chair outside, luckily we had a few days of glorious sunshine last week, so the timing couldn’t have been better. I took off the seat stood staring at it for at least ten minutes. Other than the few scuff marks that would have been easy to clean, the chair was in perfect condition. This was one of those projects that made my stomach flip, there was every chance I could completely ruin a beautiful chair, I very nearly lost my nerve and didn’t do it!

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After giving myself a little pep-talk, I grabbed my supplies and prepared to give the chair a new lease of life. I’ve never used chalk paint on fabric before and this was the first time i’ve ever come across a spray chalk paint, so I tweaked the process I had researched. For this up cycle I used a water filled spray bottle, a sponge with a scourer side and of course the spray paint. Thats it.

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First, I grabbed the water spray and gave the chair a good spray, It needed to be damp NOT drenched. Apparently this helps the chalk paint soak into the fabric fibres, rather than settling on top of them. This is really important for the feel of the finished chair, it still needs to be comfortable, not a hard- paint coated surface.

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I then held my breath and started spraying the chalk paint. I started with the part that the seat cushion would sit on. The plan was to practice the first coat on somewhere that could be covered if I hated it. The key to using chalk paint on fabric is layers, lots of very light layers. To combat the risk of build up, I then used the scourer side of a sponge to give the area I had just sprayed a blend. Just lightly scrubbing, this helped blend the patches and removed any excess paint that hadn’t yet sunk in.

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Happy with how it was progressing, I carried on, with both excitement and anticipation bubbling away, I completed the first coat on the whole chair – including the seat cushion.

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Drying time varies, but out in the sunshine it was touch dry within about twenty minutes. But the paint had soaked into the fabric, and so I wanted to leave it a little longer. After watching Madagascar and having a short nap with Izzy, the first coat had fully  dried, so I gave it all a good scrub, getting rid of any chalky residue. The second coat went on shortly after, So I repeated the process, only this time giving it a much lighter spritz of water. All together I gave the chair four coats of chalk paint.

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For all four coats, I used just over three cans of the chalk paint. I use spray paint quite a lot and I really was impressed by how much coverage came from each can.

Once all four coats had been sprayed and dried, it was time for the real hard work. Giving it all a good scrub. Even though I was rubbing in-between each new coat, it still had quite a lot of residue on it, enough so that my fingers would be green after just touching the chair. Of course this isn’t too good for a chair, seen as people will expect to be sitting on it. I scrubbed for a while, getting all that excess chalk out, this did not affect the coverage at all, if anything it really brought the green out and after scrubbing I gave it all a really good hover.

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And that was it, it was ready to go back into the lounge!

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Its been left the whole weekend to ‘settle’ and after initially having a very small amount of chalkiness remaining, I’ve given it another scrub and hoover, and its now completely fine. No chalk comes off it at all.

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I am SO glad I took the risk on this chair, it looks so luxurious and gives a boost of much needed colour against the big white TV unit. At the start of the project, when I was picking colours, it was a choice between Vintage olive and mustard, I definitely chose right – Although i’m super keen to see a mustard version!- The fantastic thing about this chalk paint, is its flexibility, as I said earlier, its doesn’t coat the fibres, it soaks into them, so its still textured, the scrubbing has retained the softness making it a still functional piece of furniture. Using the Pinty plus spray chalk paint was a massive time saver, it took me roughly ten minutes to spray each layer and give a rub down. Much less time than using a standard brush and tinned paint.

Now if you’ll excuse me, i’m off to stare at my beautiful new chair.

 

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*If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can purchase Pinty plus chalk spray paint on their website – link here– 18 colours to choose from at £11.50 per can, discounts available if you order over 3 cans and standard delivery is free on all UK orders. *

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

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Easy clock up-cycle.

Last week I was browsing through Aldi, picking up some shopping as you do, when I found a pile of reduced clocks. There wasn’t much choice in pattern but for 99p I grabbed one anyway and flung it straight into my trolley with a little up cycle in mind.

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A few weeks ago, whilst browsing Pinterest, I saw this beautiful clock, which inspired me to think up a DIY clock tutorial. The plan was to make one from something I already had… but as I said, 99p! It has all the parts, just needs a little up cycle.

Image via Tesco.

Image via Tesco.

 

 

I was going to imitate this style, until I found an old gift bag I had bought and saved. I bought it because it’s  SO beautiful, I saved it because I knew I would find a use for it and I have, I love this look far more than the plain black.

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So here’s what I used.

  • Clock (99p from Aldi, any old clock will do as long as the hands work.)
  • Gift bag. (£2.99 – came as a pair from Homesense.)
  • Glue. (£2 from Hobbycraft. I wanted something stronger than PVA but nothing too strong that it would destroy the bag – Its not fabric, but its not paper… Its a weird in-between.)
  • Scissors.

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And here’s what I did.

First I dismantled the hands from the front, being very careful not to break anything. No hands means no clock.

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Then I gave the clock a quick wipe down, its fresh out of the package so i don’t really need to worry about grease. If your using an old one you need to make sure its completely clean and dry before you stick anything on it.

 

I cut out one side of the bag – as luck has it, its the perfect size for this clock.

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Traced round the clock onto the inside of the bag. – I used a dressmakers chalk, a pencil will do just fine.

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And cut around the clock template by about 3/4 of an inch. I need this extra paper so I can fold it neatly around the sides and overlapping onto the back of the clock.

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I had a quick test run placing the paper over the clock.

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Once I knew I could get my cover fitted over nice and neatly. I gave the whole face (leaving the sides for now) a good coat of glue.

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And started to very slowly  – from the middle- to place the paper over the clock face, making sure to press out any potential wrinkles or bubbles.

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Once the face is covered, I glued the sides and a little of the back (just the top bits), before securing the overhanging paper.

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I left it to dry, before reattaching the hands and sticking in some batteries.

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And then I hung it.

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A clock that cost only a couple of quid, that looks far more expensive. Just what I like in a DIY project.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

Simple Curtain cover up tutorial.

On Wednesday I posted my craft room update, part of the update was having the prettiest and most practical craft cupboard built. As lovely as it is though, I have SO much crafting stuff the shelves are packed and it looks a little bit cluttered. I toyed with the idea of having cupboard doors fitted on it, but instead decided on making up a curtain to hide away all my junk and keep my sewing area looking seamlessly pretty.

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So, if you have a particularly unsightly area you want to cover up cheaply, I’ve written up this tutorial for you.

Here’s what you’ll need.

-Fabric. I’ve got a 1mt piece of Black cotton, cheap and cheerful. its 59″ wide so just over the length I need to cover my shelves. I’ve also decided I want a bit of colour popped in there, following on from the floral theme thats settled around my sewing area, I’ve gone for a lovely floral jeresy material.

– Curtain wire. (I got a 1 metre long piece with hooks for £1.55 of ebay.)

-Dressmakers pins.

– Tape measure.

-Sewing machine

-Overlocker *Optional* If you’ve no overlocker then you can just use pinking shears. If you have neither, you can use my folded hem method (Here.)

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And heres what you’ll need to do.

First measure out the space you want covering. I only want to open area of the shelves covering so mine is (52″) drop and because These curtains will be closed most of the time I want them to hang with a pleat, so even though the width is only 23 1/2″ I’m using it at a 38″ wide.

Next you need to mark out your measurements on your fabric, using pins. Add 1 & 1/2″ to the top,  1″ to the bottom and 1/2″ either side.

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Now you can cut.

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If you’re adding another piece of fabric, nows the time to measure out how much you need. My additional pice of floral fabric is 8″ by 38″. (Both including 1/2″ either side for the hem.”

Once you’ve cut out you’re additional fabric, overlock the top (or use crimping shears).

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Once you’ve done that, pin your additional fabric where you want it. (Mines going at the bottom of the curtain.) So I’ve pinned both pieces of fabric at the bottom and either side. leaving the top (overlocked fabric loose.)

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Now, going back to the overlocked edge of your additional fabric, turn it in – hiding the edge inside and pin to the curtain fabric.

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Continue all the way to the other side.

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Now top stitch down your recently pinned area.

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*Now, the reason I’ve attached my contrasting fabric this way, is because of the different fabric types. I’m using a medium weight cotton for my curtain and the fabric I wanted to pair it with is a Jersey fabric. I can’t just attach my flower fabric straight to the bottom of my black because it just wouldn’t hang right. If you’re making one of these and using two fabrics that are the same weight you can just cut your main curtain fabric shorter and add your contrasting fabric straight on at the bottom. Its so much easier, but this is how to fix it if your fabrics are different weights.

 

Anyway, this is the easy bit. And if you’re only using one fabric, just pick up from where we left of before fiddling with additional fabric.  Use your overlocker (or pinking shears) and go around all four edges of your curtain. This will attatch the other three sides of the additional fabric to the curtain.

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Next, we need to fold other either side of the curtain (The longest sides) Pin at 1/2″ and topstitch. Its important to do the sides first, because it gives a better finish overall to your curtain.

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Next, fold the top over 1 & 1/2″, Pin and topstitch again. Make sure you don’t sew the sides up, you need the little gap so you can thread your curtain wire through at the end.

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Now move down to the bottom, fold over 1″, pin and topstitch.

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Now your curtain is finished, well nearly. Last thing to do is give it a good going over with the iron, before hanging it up.

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Such a quick and easy project that really does make all the difference.

If you have a go at making some, be sure to tag me in your photos, I love seeing all your crafty makes.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.