Hemming a Knit Shirt with a Twin Needle and Walking Foot

I am no longer afraid to hem knits after my positive experience today! I just got done hemming up a shirt that had a serged hem that I didn’t like. I have always hated hemming knits because of the puckering and rolling. But, I found my signature method this morning. Here is what I did.

I started out with a knit shirt that had been finished with a serger along the hem. It is a super cute shirt but it always ends up rolling up along the hem and looks like a tube around my hips (not sexy). I want this St. Louis Cardinals shirt ready for opening day!! What a shame to waste a glittery MLB shirt.

First, I decided how much I wanted to hem up which turned out to be 1/2 inch.

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I pinned my fold in place and was sure to press everything is well…don’t skip this step!

I recommend using a walking foot for this because it will feed your fabric through the machine evenly. My machine is a Bernina Magic 910 Electronic. It is the machine I learned a lot and I think it might be older than me!

You can see what needle I used in also take a look at my walking foot…

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You must stitch with the right side of your fabric app because the bobbin will create a zig zag pattern with the thread below.

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I was very pleased with the results. What do you think?

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My tabby, Matilda, was also thrilled with the outcome and gave lots of purrs of approval. She loves spending time in the sewing room.

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What tips and secrets do you have for hemming knit fabrics? Do tell!

DIY: Damask Curtains with Grommets

Long time, no blog! I’ve actually been super domestic lately. I’ve been working on a lot of sewing and interior projects. I want to get those out of the way before spring comes (if it ever does). We’ve had a couple of nice “teaser” days in the 60s, but snow and sleet is usually raining down from the sky the next day.

As you probably gathered from my fireplace makeover post, I’m working on redoing my dining room/parlor (yes, I do use the term parlor in casual speak. I like to think I’m an old soul). We’ve repainted three out of four of the walls (fourth wall has some dry wall issues that must be addressed before painting. More on that in a later post). The next step for us was curtains and a rug. I bought a rug on RugsUSA for $132 plus free shipping. The price was nice, but it took forever to get here and took pestering customer service several times for them to even process my order.

As for curtains, I struggled to find something both my husband and I could agree on. I wanted a pattern to complement my new rug. I eased hubby into the idea of multiple patterns, but agreeing on one was hard. We both love toile, but it just wasn’t working with our rug. My husband found some navy and white damask curtains that he liked and said, “Could you make these?” Yes, yes I can. He loved the damask, and I was good with the idea, so we ran with it.

We found material on Fabric.Com for an awesome price, and their return policy is pretty epic for a fabric website (30-day money back guarantee? yes!). I bought 6 yards for $46 with free shipping. This fabric is more of an indoor/outdoor fabric. You see, we have cats that love curtains and practicing their postmodern curtain deconstruction art on them. So this stuff seemed like a solid candidate. Plus, it’s fade resistant! Great for my front window.

I knew that I wanted 1.56″ large grommets along the top edge. So, I allowed for a 4″ header (aka, that fold or pocket along the top edge). I wanted  3″ hem along the bottom. Here’s the process I used for making these:

  • Decide how big you want your completed curtain panel. I wanted mine to be 87″ long, which includes that header with grommets along the top.
  • Add 4″ to your length to accommodate for grommets.
  • Add 3″ (or however much you want) for a hem.
  • 87″ + 4″ + 3″ = 94″ total
  • Cut your panels out. BE MINDFUL OF THE PATTERN OF YOUR FABRIC (if there is one)! I made sure that panels were identical by cutting  the panels so that the pattern repeat started the same on both (ie: top of the damask swirl motif)
  • I serged my edges since my fabric fray easily.
  • Turn the sides under 3/4″, press, and stitch this fold down. I used 5/8″ seam allowance. If you didn’t serge, you could fold the fabric under again to encase your unfinished end (note: your curtain will be ever so slightly narrower).
  • Hem your curtain. Again, I hemmed mine at 3″ and like the look. My seam allowance here was about 2 7/8″ to get it very close to the edge of the fabric. Adjust if your edges are not even (perhaps a 2 3/4″ allowance).
  • Make that top header! Use about 4″ for this to accommodate your grommets. Me mindful that the sides line up nearly  and that there’s no overlap. I used a 3 7/8″ seam allowance. I also stiched the sides of the pockets down so they wouldn’t pucker open. I did this by stitching carefully directly over the side seam. The stitches are camouflaged fairly well this way.
  • Grommet time! I highly recommend Prym Dritz Home Curtain Grommets 1.56″ from Joann Fabric. They are $12.99 for 8, but I always use my 40% off coupons there and snag them for much cheaper (Coupons are always on their smart phone app or in their email blasts!). I used 8 on each curtain, so you’ll need two packages.
  • Spread your curtain out flat so that you can work with the header. Space your grommets out easily. This took a fair amount of time, but be patient! Once you do one, just use it as a template for the other. The directions and pattern that comes with these grommets are easy to follow. You will never be scare of grommets again!
  • Press your curtains, and ta da! Fab new curtains.

I apologize for not taking any pictures of the process. But, I was on a mission last week to get these things done. I hope you like them!

Valentine Cat Love

Today is Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to be cooking up a tasty meal for my hubby tonight. In the meantime, I’m hanging out by my fireplace and snuggling with my two fur babies: Matilda and Salvador. They still like to goof off and play, but they’ve really grown up so much since I got them as kittens in the summer of 2012. I want to share some “then and wow” pictures of my feline children.

Matilda was born March 29, 2012. I adopted her at a local shelter after finding her on PetFinder.com. After I saw her little tabby face, I couldn’t resist.

Salvador is my ocicat. He came from a breeder up by Toledo, Ohio. He was born May 2, 2012. He is pretentious little guy!

These two weren’t quite sure of each other at first, but they have grown to become best buddies. They make my house feel like home.

Do you photograph your pets as much as I do? I know that I’m pretty obsessive over my kitties. #noshame

International Cuisine Dinner Party – South African Style!

I dislike chain restaurants. In my opinion, most chain restaurants have pretty forgettable food. Life is too short to eat “meh” food. Now, I’m not saying that I try out the most expensive longstanding local steakhouse in town, but I like locally owned and one of a kind joints.

My favorite thing to do when dining out is to try different foods of the world. You won’t see me trying raw octopus or endangered antelope. I have boundaries. My love for international cuisine began when I lived in St. Louis, and a Persian restaurant, called Cafe Natasha, caught my eye. Holy cow! I had never tasted such an interesting combination of spices. This was my gateway restaurant that made me want to try food from all corners of the world!

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine hosted something he called “International Cuisine Night.” He collected several Senegalese recipes, and guests were instructed to select a recipe, make it, and bring it to the dinner party. It was such a hit that we have now done 8 of these dinners! The host selects the country or the region, researches recipes, sends all the options out, and guests then report back on what they will make. Facebook events are ideal of this. So far, we have “visited” Senegal, Germany, Russia, Greece, Japan, Argentina, and Polynesia. I hosted last night’s dinner, and we traveled to South Africa!

The food was excellent! Lots of apricots, sugar, curry, raisins, and cinnamon were used in our recipes. Nothing was bad! In fact, I will be making some of these dishes again! I am sharing our menu, and I encourage you to try some of these dishes. Click on the hyperlinks to check them out…

Butternut Soup

Pumpkin Fritters

Chakalaka (South African tomato-based relish that has its origins in the townships of Johannesburg. Serve hot or cold as a dip with crackers, or as a sauce over grilled meat or pap or polenta)

Yellow Rice

Chicken Curry Potjie (potjiekos literally translated means “small pot food”)

Bobotie

Sosaties (type of kebab)

Malva Pudding

Ystervarkies (small cubes of cake that are dipped in chocolate sauce and then rolled in coconut. “Yservarkie” is Afrikaans for “hedgehog)

Melktert (“milk tart”)

…oh yeah, don’t forget to have a sampling of local beers, wines, and cocktails. Never forget the drinks! 

A Chinese Cat Print Named Kitty

Oh, the joys of home ownership. I’m so frustrated that a leak from our roof/fireplace caused seepage through our plaster and damaged a framed print that means the world to me. This piece is known affectionately as “Kitty” in our household. My husband gave it to me as a Christmas gift during our first holiday together.

I first saw “Kitty” at an antique store here in Kentucky. I fell in love. I told my husband about the print, and I went in repeatedly to see it. It was priced a little out of my budget. Just before the holidays, I went into the antique store and, much to my dismay, the cat print was gone. I was heartbroken, but I knew that it was something I couldn’t splurge on with my small salary. Christmas came, and my husband gave me some fabulous gifts. Then, he said, “I have one more. Hold on just a moment.” He left the living room, and he returned with Kitty in tow. I shrieked!

Kitty has been with me since 2008. It’s a very special thing to me. So, when I noticed that there was water seeping through the plaster and had gotten on the back of the frame this winter, I was torn up. I took Kitty down and immediately took my feline friend out of the frame to air out. The board is warped.

But, taking it out of the frame has given me a chance to take a better look at this piece. I discovered that on the inside of the (acidic) matte that there is an inscription that reads “Lynch / Chinese Cat.” I’m assuming this is an earlier owner that had it framed and the “title” of this piece was referred to as “Chinese Cat.”

I’m pretty certain it’s a print. It’s printed on a white canvas that has been adhered to a board. Other than that, I can’t figure out what else is going on with it (e.g. date, origin, mass-produced?). I’m actively seeking information on Kitty. And, I’m planning to have her re-framed into something more stable, protective, and acid-free.

I hate not having Kitty up on the wall. I’ll post updates as I learn more! Have a wonderful weekend.

Eye Shadow Depotting: Wrangling Those Loose Colors

I’m a makeup fanatic. Eye shadow is my vice. Recently, I decided it was time to corral some of the rogue eye shadows running around in my bathroom. I decided to depot several of them and stick them in a magnetic palette. There are tutorials out there to DIY your own magnetic palette, but by the time I bought the supplies and acquired a container to be the main structure of the palette I might as well have bought one. So, that is just what I did. There are lots of options out there. I went on eBay and bought the Myo Pro Magnetic Palette. It’s a sturdy palette with a large mirror on the inside. I spent about $15 on it (including shipping).

When it comes to depotting your eye shadow, some will be easier than others. A few of my pots literally just popped out of their cases. Others needed a bit of coaxing with the heat of a hairdryer or flat iron. There are loads of tutorials on the web giving different methods on how to do this. If you break your eye shadow, do NOT give up! Check out my post on repairing shattered eye shadow!

Several of my depotted eye shadows were magnetic. Yay! They stuck right into my new palette. A couple were not, and I cut down some pieces of adhesive magnet sheets and stuck them on the back of the non-magnetic pots. Fair warning from my experience–there was SOME magnetic hold, but not much. If I were to do it again, I’d probably search down some stronger magnets or buy some designed for this purpose from Zpalette or another magnetic palette vendor.

I’m so happy that I could control some of my eye shadows. I won’t be depotting my Naked 2 or other Urban Decay palettes as they are my “go to” sets. I see this magnetic palette as my back up palette with extra colors that are nice to have on occasion. Plus, I’ve been able to weed out several that I haven’t touched in ages or appear to be duplicates.

How have you organized your make up or eye shadows? What works best for you?

DIY: Painted Fireplace Makeover

In May 2013 we bought a house that was constructed in the late 1950s or early 1960s. It has a brick fireplace in the original living room/dining room. It’s not a functioning fireplace, and frankly it was UGLY. It was not pretty brick, and there were paint splatters on the sides of it from where sloppy contractors hired by the previous owners decided that painters tape was not necessary and doing their best Jackson Pollack impression was appropriate. My husband and I are giving that room a makeover. It’s long overdue, but hey, we’re state employees that aren’t rolling in the Benjamins. Our fire priority for this room was fixing the fireplace, and the only thing in our budget that was going to salvage that thing was paint. We talked about covering it with stone or some other trendy medium, but that just was too pricey.

Thanks for the power of Google, I found this awesome tutorial from Lowe’s on a Modern Fireplace Makeover. All you need is a paint roller, paint brush, paint tray, some O-Cel-O sponges, and two shades of paint. We actually used the paint colors that Lowe’s recommended which were Valspar Desert Fortress and Smoked Oyster. I won’t rehash the step by step process as you can check out the link above, but you have to see the results.

Isn’t that better? We are going to use heat-resistant black paint on the inside of the fireplace and on the hearth to complete the look. I’ll post those pictures when we finish that. And those blah cream walls are going to be painted soon.

Here are a few tips for you if you try this project for yourself
- We used an eggshell finish and loved the look.
- Practice sponge painting on some cardboard before you start on the bricks.
- We used two coats of base color to eliminate any of the original brick color.
- Those two coats took about almost an entire quart.
- Take time to cut sponges to the size of your bricks. We had for different sizes of bricks and cut different sizes of sponges.
- If your bricks don’t look identical, that is fine. In fact, that’s probably a good thing! It looks a bit more natural.

I hope this inspired you to spruce up your own fireplace. Happy painting!