Simple Pillow Tutorial

Finished Pillows

This post was sponsored by Fairfield World. Any opinions given are completely my own.

I have spent the last few days working on the porch decorating. I have been sewing pillows left and right. I can’t wait to share the entire project with you! This week’s fun project is sewing a Simple Pillow.

Wicker Sofa and porch

There are still a few more things to finish on the porch, but I thought I would give you a peek at what we have done so far.

The inspiration for this room came from this beautiful Tommy Bahama fabric. It just screams summer to me. I love the green and blue tones, it makes the outdoors feel closer some how.

Pillow with a hand

This Simple Pillow Tutorial is part of my Learn to Sew series. It’s easy enough for a beginner, but has a few little tricks that make fun for anyone to learn. Thanks to Fairfield World for sponsoring this post!

Sofa with yellow and paisley pillows

I used 18″ x 18″ pillow forms from Fairfield World for this project. They are very nice quality, and the size is big enough to fill in the space nicely behind your back and the rather prickly wicker sofa.

I cut my fabric with 1″ of ease in both directions for the pillows. This extra room makes it easy to slip the pillow form inside the cover without it being too tight. I cut my fabric 19″ x 19″ to give it plenty of room inside and compensate for any shrinkage in washing later on.

I use 100% cotton thread when I sew, it’s a bit heavier and holds up very well in the machine. It is also the best choice if you are a beginner sewer. You can find it labeled as thread for machine quilting, it’s a bit more expensive than the regular polyester/cotton variety but it is well worth it.

I put together a little video tutorial for this project, hope you enjoy it!

 

 

 

Easy Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo

 

Verital shot chicken alfredo @designerssweetspot.com

This month’s Ultimate Recipe Challenge is Pasta! We love Pasta at our house, it’s a thing of men. The more I make it, the more they eat it. Pasta is especially satisfying in our cool climate, and we eat it at least once a week.URC-Pasta-Collage

I have teamed up with some very talented bloggers for this Ultimate Recipe Challenge, you are going to love all these delicious Pasta ideas!

 

Chicken Alfredo on Blue Willow plate @designerssweetspot.com

I make Pasta once a week for the menfolk at our house. I cook both gluten free noodles and the regular variety to accommodate  those on special diets. My favorite gluten free Pasta is the Quinoa variety. It cooks the best and doesn’t have the sticky residue that rice base pastas have. It tastes just like the regular pasta, you may not even know the difference!

Recently, we went on a tour with 57 high school students as the cooks for the group. This Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo dish sold out completely! I had people asking me for the recipe, so here it is!

Easy Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo

Easy Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken breast, thawed
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup cream or half and half, or original almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Fresh or dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill or broiler. Drizzle olive oil and lemon over, the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil until done, 5-7 minutes. Set aside and keep warm in oven.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until hot. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 2-3 minutes until onions are clear. Add butter, whisk until melted. Add flour, whisk until dry. Wait 2 minutes, then whisk in chicken broth a little at a time, stirring constantly until smooth. Add cream and reduce heat to low. Simmer 5-10 minutes until thick. Add Parmesan cheese, parsley and salt and pepper.
  3. Serve sauce over hot fettuccini noodles. Chop chicken breast into strips, serve over noodles with sauce and extra Parmesan cheese.

 


How to Hem Jeans

I have a new tutorial for How to Hem Jeans, it’s been one of my most popular sewing posts to date. It’s been featured on several different websites and blogs. Who knew jeans would be such a popular topic?

How to Hem Jeans - FB

I have been blogging for 6 years now. Hard to believe it’s been that long! I have hundreds of posts on this website. I am in the process of refining my brand and developing my future goals. One of the things I am working on is adding video tutorials to some of my old posts.

 

I think everyone I know wears jeans, probably all of us have had a pair or two that needed… Click To Tweet

You will need your jeans, tailors chalk (or a sharp #2 lead pencil), and a measuring tape or a ruler.

First try on the jeans (after they have been washed and dried), and roll up the hem to the desired length. I know you know how to do this!

Then, take off the jeans, and measure the amount you rolled up. It was 2 1/2″ on these jeans.

Turn the jeans inside out, matching the leg seams and smoothing out the fabric. Because denim is so heavy, you will need to work with one leg at a time. Calculate the amount of fabric to cut off by subtracting 1″ from your orgininal measurement, to compensate for the seam allowance needed for the hem.

I needed to shorten our jeans 2 1/2″, so 2 1/2″-1″= 1 1/2″ for my total.

Measure from the bottom of the pant leg and mark the distance with a piece of tailors chalk or lead pencil. My distance was 4″. Be sure your cutting line is parallel to the bottom of the pant leg.

Keeping the pant leg inside out, put the leg over the arm of the machine, turning back a 1/2″ seam allowance. Conveniently the presser foot is the same width. If you use it as a guide, you will not have to measure and it will save you time. Also, forget the pins. Pins ruin sewing machines, and you will be a much better sewer without them. They do not use pins in professional production because they would completely slow down the process. It’s the difference between sewing like a pro, and sewing like a homemaker. No pins.

Lower the presser foot and begin sewing, but do not start on the thick part of the side seam. Begin either slightly before or after the seam. Most machines will just sew right through the thick seam without a problem if they have a running start. Center your needle in the seam allowance, and continue sewing around the entire pant leg. When you get to the end, over lap the stitching slightly to lock it in place. Trim your threads, and remove the pant leg from the machine.

Here are my best tips and tricks for sewing with denim:

  1. Use a heavy duty needle for denim fabrics. I have broken more sewing machine needles  than I can count by sewing jeans. Denim is by far the heaviest material I ever work with. Recently I noticed you can buy packages of needles just for denim, what a great idea! Pick up a package or two to have on hand when ever you need them.
  2. Always use a new needle for each pair of jeans. Needles get dull very quickly on fabrics like this. It will save you lots of headaches if you use a new, sharp needle each time you sew with denim. It may seem like overkill, but you just have to trust me on this one.
  3. Purchase 100% cotton thread for working on jeans. Thread that is designed for machine quilting works well, it’s strong enough to hold up during sewing on denim. I use black or navy for hemming, you don’t have to match the gold top stitching that most jeans have, in fact I think it looks better if you don’t.
  4. Don’t bother with pressing your jeans. Denim is heavy and hard to work with. After you have hemmed your jeans, wash and dry them as usual. They will look and feel great. The new stitches will blend in with the fabric like they were always there. Besides, pressed jeans are just weird.
  5. Help your friends learn to hem their own jeans, I am sure they will be grateful for your help!

That being said, it’s time for the tutorial! I had fun putting this video together, hope it helps you hem your jeans!

 

DON’T FORGET TO PIN THIS POST!

How to Hem Jeans

Sew Fire Learn to Sew Printables

 

FB Live Camera Set Up

Good hello my friends! I am excited for my Live FB segment today!

That’s 10:00am CST on Mondays and Wednesdays. Be sure to check it out!  Fridays I am posting a video tutorial for a simple project you can make with your newly learned sewing skills. If you aren’t sure why you should learn to sew, read this post.

Actually, this week Friday, I will have a no sew project to give you a few more days to practice if you are new to sewing! You are going to love it, so be sure to stop by!

I thought you might appreciate an insight into what goes on behind the camera. I know I love to see how other people do things. I am new to video, I have done a few of them in the past (see my YouTube channel) but I have so much to learn. I recently attended a class on video production, so I feel I have new skills to help me along!

For now, this is my Facebook Live recording process. It’s rather funny actually, and if you see me smiling smugly at the camera it’s because I am cracking up inside over this pathetic set up! Hopefully, it won’t come crashing down when I am on camera! The lighting isn’t great but with a few lamps I can improve things a bit.

In this photo you will see my cell phone attached to a selfie stick. Yup, that’s what it is. The selfie stick is connected to an old tennis ball holder with bull dog clips to hold it in place. It is sitting on one of our old kitchen chairs. Someday I will update to an actual tripod attachment gismo, but for now this ridiculous contraption seems to work rather well. It also makes me laugh on camera and helps to relieve my camera shyness.

Crazy right?

I am posting to give you the links to the promised So Fire FREE PRINTABLE WORKSHEETS.

I will be adding more to this page as time goes on, here are a few to get you started!

Lesson 1 Sewing a Straight Stitch

Lesson 2 Learning to Pivot

Lesson 3 Sewing Curves

Lesson 4 Thread Do’s and Don’ts (also coming next week!)

See you soon!

Why You Need to Learn to Sew

Quilted Hexagon Table Runner

You may have noticed that I love to sew. I have dozens of sewing projects in my blog repertoire, sewing is one of my favorite things to do. Here’s why:

Finished fabric stack

 

  1. Believe it or not, I can sew just about anything cheaper than I can buy it. The only exception is with specialty items like winter coats or sequined evening gowns. Most of us already own a coat and few of us actually wear evening gowns. I suspect most people today would like to learn to sew to save a few bucks here and there, alter the clothes they already own or just for their own knowledge. At any rate, learning to sew will save you MONEY.

Kids Travel Pillow

2.  I can sew faster than I can order things online and have them sent through the mail. You would be amazed at how quickly you can make things at home that cost a considerable amount of money to buy in a retail store. I often go shopping and come home with nothing except photos in my phone of things I want to make, or ideas for those I can make cheaper than I can actually buy them.

Cutting out the tree appliqué

3.  I can whip up gifts at a moments notice. This is a huge benefit of sewing. Once you have a stash of fabric and supplies built up, there is no stress in putting together a last minute gift that is unique and special because you made it just for them.

designerssweetspot.com

4. I can sew my own clothes or make clothes for others. Let’s face it, it’s really hard to find things that fit, that in your price range and look really great. It takes time and a bit of patience to sew your own clothes, but it is well worth it. You will be able to make better fitting, longer lasting garments than you can buy in the store.

DIY: How to Hem Jeans

5. You can alter or repair the clothes you already own. Even if you have no time or desire to sew your own clothes, by learning to sew you can repair the ones you already have. If you pay someone else to hem slacks or skirts, shorten sleeves, repair worn spots, or replace zippers it is far cheaper to learn to do this yourself. You can even get paid by your friends to do it for them! Plus, it’s fun!

designerssweetspot.com

6. You can sew fun projects for your home decor. Let’s say for example, you see a cute pillow that you love in the store. Small decorative pillows run anywhere from $13.00 on up. You can make one your self for less money that you will like better! Not to mention, it’s easy to cover an old pillow with a new cover that you can make yourself for free!

I can even leap over my sewing machine in a single bound. Well, not really.

But, you know what I mean? Sewing and making my own stuff is part of my Homemade Super Thrifty existence, without it life would be very dull indeed. And expensive!

I am hoping that you love to sew too. But, perhaps you never had an opportunity to learn?

Here’s your chance! I am starting a new sewing series call SEW FIRE. I chose this name because I am passionate about sewing and can teach you to sew IN A FLASH. When I went to Googled this title, I discovered an article about a tragic fire in New York’s garment district  in 1911. Hundreds of young women lost their lives trying to escape from a building where they were seamstresses. This really touched me, and I decided that SEW FIRE was also a way to recognize the garment workers who sew for pennies in deplorable conditions even today. I have been inside similar buildings in the garment district of NYC, and let me tell you, they aren’t pretty. I fact, many of them are downright scary. I can’t imagine being trapped in one by a fire. If you would like to read more about this tragic fire, click here.

This Sew Fire series is for those of you who have never sewn a stitch in your life, don’t know how to turn on a sewing machine, or even thread it. This series is sewing from the VERY, VERY BEGINNING.

You are going to love it! I am doing weekly videos on Facebook Live and posting additional tutorials here on the blog and my You Tube Channel.

Here’s the introduction teaser video:

Join me on FB live Monday and Wednesday mornings, 10:00am CST for the Sew Fire series!

I am really excited about this, and I have much more in store for you here on the blog including some free printables that I am working on!

You won’t want to miss out! Sign up for my weekly newsletter in the side bar for all the updates!