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.

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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!

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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!

DIY Glow in the Dark Shoes

 I decided to jazz up some old shoes into something new and fancy.  DIY Glow in the Dark Shoes! I can’t wait to wear these out dancing.
DIY Glow in the Dark Shoes|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

It’s been years since we went out dancing. In college we would put on our dancing clothes and go out to the disco every Friday night after work. I always wore heels, and I don’t remember ever having sore feet.Glow in the dark shoes before

My how things have changed! I have no idea where to go dancing, I never wear heels, and going out on Fridays just doesn’t happen any more.

Glow in the dark paint from Folk Art

I found these beautiful red pumps in my size at a thrift store last summer. I loved them immediately, and they actually fit really well.

I have put them on two or three times to wear to different events, somehow they never make it out the door, I feel conspicuous in them for some reason. So, I decided to paint them. I came across these great glow in the dark paints,from Folk Art. How fun! There might be a dance floor in my future after all.

Painting shoes in progress

 

painted pink heels

I gave the shoes two coats of paint, letting them dry completely in between coats.

glow in the dark shoes after

The paint has a matte finish so they aren’t quite as shines as they were before, but I can’t wait to wear them.

See you on the dance floor!

 

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DIY Cake Stands

 

2 stands

This is a sponsored post. Any opinions given are completely my own. This post was sponsored by Gorilla Glue. See disclosure page for additional information.

blue plates

 

I make weekly trips to the local thrift store. One day in particular is especially fruitful for my visits, since they put out new stock for the weekend. Friday is the day to shop for thrift. I found these lovely plates on my most recent excersion. I put them together with some other thrift store junk to make these DIY Cake Stands.

I spent a lot of time deliberating colorful plates at the store. I found that I was drawn to the blue combinations the most. They key to success in this project is to choose 2-3 plates of the same color combination for each cake stand. I love that the patterns are all different, they work together because they are in the same color family. I did sneak in a couple of white plates, they are in the middle layer of the cake stand or have decorations and are not so obvious.

footed glass bowls

The other secret ingredient is several small footed glass bowls in different shapes and sizes. I also used a candle stick and a shot glass as well but those are only for the smaller top layers. Using the wider, lower footed bowl for the heavier bottom plate adds stability, a medium size and height bowl works well for the middle plate, then the short shot glass or candle stick support the smaller top plate.

3 cake stands

I used Gorilla Super Glue for this project. Honestly, I wasn’t sure that this project would work very well even with the glue. Remember when Super Glue wasn’t all that Super? Well, those days are gone! I hadn’t used Gorilla Glue before and I was rather sceptical about it. However, I now realize that I under estimated the power of the glue. Lesson learned, never underestimate a Gorilla!

inverted plates with glass bowls and glue

Drip the glue around each edge of the supporting glass, then adhere to the bottom of the plates. I let them dry 15-20 minutes before inverting.

orange butterfly stand

I decided to make the pieces easy to store, so I only glued two pieces together at a time. This allows me to mix and match them and change the look and height as needed for different occasions. In this photo, the bottom plate is not glued to the footed bowl you see in the middle. You can put them together temporarily with pieces of floral adhesive or Command Strips, I have done both in the past and they work very well for a temporary hold.

Finished cake stands

Finished cake stand

The little nests hold candies that resemble eggs, the butterflies add color and a touch of Spring. You can never have too much Spring!

DIYCakestandpin

I am so pleased with how this project turned out. I spent just a couple of dollars on each Cake stand. These 5 cake stands will hold jewelry and treats at an upcoming dinner party. I think they would be amazing for a brunch display, wedding, bridal shower or baby shower. I may even give them away so that I can have fun making more!

The ladies are going to love them!

 

Thank you to Gorilla Glue for sponsoring this post!

Succulent Cross

Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries.  Here is an easy DIY project to add some green to your decor – a succulent cross! 

DIY Succulent Cross|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

 

It’s finally warm enough to spend some time out on the porch. My first priority of course, are plants and accessories. Never mind that there is no where to sit, or that my pile of rummage sale junk still sits in the corner of the porch. A pretty front door is so welcoming, and something green by the door just makes it so much more inviting.Succulent Cross on door

Succulent Cross materials

Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries. I used to work in a green house and we planted dozens of topiaries early in the season. Topiaries were always hot items and they really aren’t difficult to plant. Succulents work well in them because they have shallow roots and don’t need a ton of water. I found this cross topiary online last year and thought it would be perfect for my Easter decor. This would also be a nice project for a grave site planting, as the succulents don’t need a lot of maintenance.

The first step is to soak your topiary in a bucket of water for 10-15 minutes until saturated. Then it’s ready to plant. I only used 6 plants for this project, but I broke them down into smaller pieces as I planted them so they wouldn’t be too big for the narrow parts of the cross.

Succulent Cross close up

I used a screw driver to poke holes into the moss, then inserted the plants. The plants filled up the cross quite well and will grow into place even more over the garden season.

I used a Command Strip to hang it on the glass door.

whole door with cross

I will have to take the cross down and soak it in a tray of water when it is dry since I don’t want to mess up the wooden finish on the door by watering it directly.

cross on the door

I found the blue hydrangea plant recently at Costco. My cross dripped a bit after it hung for a while, you can see a bit of moisture on the lower part of the door. I will have to remember to let it drain for a bit before hanging it up after watering. I have planted the Bunny Topiary in past years, you can read that tutorial here.

Now that my door is ready, perhaps I need to go out and look for an Easter Bonnet?

Enjoy your Holy Week!

 

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Designing Quilts with Pattern Jam

Pink and Grey Nine Patch Quilt design by www.designerssweetspot.com

I love quilts. Nothing says home to me like a handmade quilt on each bed. I am addicted to the beautiful colors and unlimited design potential of the quilting medium. I have been a long time admirer of master quilters. I knew of a lady that traveled all over the world collecting fabrics for quilting, she would bring them home and create quilts for contests, won prizes and made her living this way. What a wonderful life that would be!

Usually, I draw my quilt designs on paper, but it has its limitations. Not only do you have to be able to draw, color, render patterned fabrics and then accurately execute the design, but I find that quilt designs often look different after they have been made up in actual fabric. There have been many designs I have done that I disliked for one reason or another after they were put together.

There is a new tool available online for easy, accurate quilting design called Pattern Jam. I first learned about it at the SNAP Conference last spring. Pattern Jam is the brain child of Emily Talylor, a fabric designer for Riley Blake Design fabrics. It’s free to create an account on the Pattern Jam website, and I have spent many hours with it recently. I have become have become best friends with this software. You will be amazed how easy it really is to design your own quilts with this wonderful tool.

Here’s how it works:

How to design a quilt with Pattern Jam by Designerssweetspot.com1. Go to www.patternjam.com. Create your account with email and password, or login with Facebook or Google.

2. Click “create new design”. The screen should look like the one above.

3. Select the size of your desired quilt block in the drop down menu on the left under settings.

4. Select the number of columns and rows you want your quilt to have. The actual size of your quilt is calculated for you at the top of the page.

how to use Pattern Jam to add sashing and boarders by www.designerssweetspot.com

5. Add desired sashing (which goes between the blocks) or outside boarders (up to 3 allowed) to finish your quilt design.

6. Double check quilt size specifications to be sure it’s what you want, save before you continue. The program does save things automatically, but I recommend saving it anyway. You don’t want to loose all your hard work.

How to place quilt blocks in Pattern Jam by designerssweetspot.com

7. From the menu above the quilt on the right, select “apply to all blocks” or “apply to a single block”. Choose your quilt block design from the samples provided under the “block” heading on the left of the page. Some of the blocks have little crowns on them, this means they are premium features that are only available with the subscription upgrade. Click and drag the desired block into position on the quilt, then release. The block design will appear where you have placed it, either in a single block, or throughout the entire quilt depending on which option you chose. (You can also design your own block but I will cover that in a separate tutorial.)

Continue selecting blocks until all your blocks are in their desired place. You can edit the design by dragging a new block design on top of the old one if you aren’t happy with it. You can rotate blocks by clicking the block a second time, you will see a circle with an arrow telling you it has been rotated. Save your design before continuing.

How to add fabrics to quilt using Pattern Jam by www.designerssweetspot.com

8. To add fabrics to your design, click on “my fabrics”. Pattern Jam will load dozens of fabric prints and solids that you can choose from. Scroll up or down to find the fabric choices. You can search for additional fabrics by color, designer or pattern under the fabric tab at the top of the page. Click your chosen fabric and drag it into position on your quilt. Repeat until you have the design completed. It helps to pay attention to the light, medium and dark values that Pattern Jam provides in the pre-designed blocks. Choose similar light, medium or dark fabrics and place them accordingly for the best design results. If you don’t, it may be hard to see your overall quilt pattern.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 4.10.06 PM

9. Save your finished design by clicking on the blue “save design” button in the upper right corner. Pattern Jam gives you the option to name your project before you save it. You can make your design public if you wish and share with friends on Facebook, or you can keep it as a draft for your eyes only. Pattern Jam remembers which fabrics are in your quilt, you will see them selected at the top of the fabric column on the left.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 4.11.04 PM

 

10. To save a copy of your design to your hard drive, click the blue save button, then select “save as private”. Pattern jam will save your work and show you a high definition rendition of your design complete with fabric details. It will calculate your needed yardage for each fabric. You can order your fabrics directly through Pattern Jam if you choose, or you can print your design and take it with the fabric measurements directly into the fabric store to purchase your needed fabrics.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 4.35.02 PM

Pattern Jam is a great design tool. You can follow me on Pattern Jam at designermom4, You can view and download my quilt designs or any of the other designs available. Come by and see what I am designing! I will also have more tutorials in the future to share with on how to use specific features of Pattern Jam.

Happy creating!