40 techniques every sewer should know

by Dana on October 8, 2014

Remember last month when I wanted to become a master of zippers?
Well let’s keep mastering!
…and talk about 40 techniques every sewer should know.

Because you know that old expression about how you don’t know what you don’t know, till you know?…ya know?  Well that’s totally how I felt when I took this class!

It’s called 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know, taught by Gail Yellen, from the Craftsy site.  And it was filled with ah-ha moments, sewing realizations, and confirmations that I’ve been doing some of the tricky stuff “correctly” all along.  Yay!

Really, this class is super helpful for any sewer.
Gail is a fantastic teacher, and her goal is to take sewer skills from “pretty good” up to “professional”.  So no matter what your skill-level, there’s something new to learn.

• In the interfacing section I love her tip for sewing knit t-shirts: use a strip of fusible interfacing in the shoulder seam to prevent it from over-stretching with time.
• In the stitching section, Gail talks about specialty threads and goes over shirring and elastic thread.
• In Curves + Corners she talks about clipping corners and mentions “don’t be afraid to clip right up to the stitches” (carefully, of course). This is a great tip when sewing the back slit of the First Day Dress!

One of my favorite parts is when Gail talks about the importance of cutting bias tape ON the bias, rather than cut on the straight grain.  Great visual with these two circles!

And….there’s even an entire section on pressing….PRESSING!  I had no idea the details I was missing out on!

I fully agree with her statement that “an iron is equally as important as a sewing machine” Yes! Yes!  Pressing is key to making your work look less homemade and more like a pro.

Okay, more of what you’ll get from 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should know:

• 8 lessons, each taught in HD video format.
• Ability to ask questions and interact with other students online
• Access to the class forever!
• Learn to sew a perfect sleeve
• Work with interfacing
• Create beautiful bindings
• Learn tips for tricky sewing techniques
….and a whole lot more.

If you’ve never taken a Craftsy course, they’re real easy to access and navigate through.
Some classes are free; some are paid.
And today we’re giving away 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should know for free!

It’s easy to enter,
All you need to do is visit Craftsy through this link and join the site!
(the link is unique to my site, so they’ll know you joined through MADE)

If you’re already a Craftsy member, visit the link, click the “sign in” button, and sign in with your Craftsy account. If you’re already logged in to Craftsy, be sure to log out before clicking the link or you won’t see the special sign up/log in screen.
Craftsy will pick one winner from all the entries.

Click here to enter to win!
Note: Leaving a comment here on this post does not enter you in the class giveaway.  Of course I love your comments though, so please feel free to leave one!

This post is sponsored by Craftsy


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Felt Book Winners

by Dana on October 7, 2014

Thank you for entering the 3 Felt Book Giveaway last week!  It was so much fun to read through your comments and see which holidays you love crafting for.
It’s definitely unanimous….we all love FELT.
So let’s get on with it….

The winner of the Felt-o-ween book is:
#296 – Tabitha, who said: So cute! My kids would love these.

The winner of Heart-Felt Holidays is:
#143 – Natalie, who said: I love felt! These books look like so and see much fun!!

The winner of Fa La La La Felt is:
#422 – Verlan, who said: Fa la la la Felt would be my first pick, but they all look adorable.
Winners will be notified via email.

And if you didn’t win, the good news is—each of these book are under $10! 
Go snatch one up today.
Happy Felting!


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Felt-o-ween + 3 Free books

by Dana on October 2, 2014

It’s officially October!
Let’s get serious about Halloween.

How about 40 new felt projects??

About a year ago I was asked to contribute to the new book Felt-O-Ween (which is kind of funny when you’re sewing Halloween projects in the middle of summer) And now the book is out!….and selling like Halloween hotcakes.

It’s brought to you by the same fantastic creators of Fa la la la Felt and Heart-Felt Holidays (which I blogged about here).
And I love how simple, yet creative the projects are.  Felt is so much fun!  I’m pretty sure I need to drop everything and make a pair of those bat stockings….and a pair of fox ears to wear, just for fun….maybe when I pick up the kids from school?  Totally.
I’ll either be super fun, or super dork.

But what’s super cool….is that today we’re giving away a copy of each felt book!

That way you can start by getting your Halloween on (I love all these Day of the Dead projects.  That style of artwork and colors are just so intriguing).

(oh, and here’s my contribution—an update on the Bat Pillows)

Then you can segue right into the other holidays…..
With guiltless pie. YUM.

Okay. Ready to be Felt-y?

Just leave a comment below and mention which of the books you’d like to try out.
And THREE Winners will get one of the following titles:
Fa la la la Felt
Heart-Felt Holidays

• Leave a comment, that’s it.
• Only one entry per person.
• Open to US residents only.
• Three winners will be picked via random.org
• Giveaway ends Saturday 10/4/14 at 10pm (Central Time)

Winners will be announced next week.
And if you don’t happen to win, I highly recommend picking up the book…it’s only 12 bucks!


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The great thing about selling a house is that at some point, it’s as decorated as it’s ever going to be….and you get to take pictures of the whole blasted thing in it’s “finished” state.
Then of course, you try to sell it.
And cry about it all the day you move out!
(more on that here)

Seriously.  It’s hard to look back at these pics, even though I love our new adventure.
I just really loved this house, and the ways we transformed it.  We learned a lot in the process.

So here’s more of the virtual home tour.
You can see my first post about it in the The Sewing Room (before and after)

Today we’ll walk through Clara’s room.

And it’s funny that I would start with her room….because it was my least favorite room in the house (and the last to decorate).  It has the least amount of light, it’s the smallest, and it always felt kind of drab.  But one day I got the motivation.
And with just a few improvements, it’s a totally different room!

Here’s the BEFORE (when previous tenants lived here):


So much more cheerful!
Cleaning up the space with white, gray, and bright yellow really made the room come to life (wall paint is SW 7647 Crushed Ice).
Here are the changes we made…..

First another BEFORE and AFTER.
This cute dresser was my own as a child.  And I think we inherited it from my older cousins.  So it’s been well loved for 30 years and is still in fantastic condition.  It’s good solid wood; I just keep painting it from child to child.  It started out pink when Lucy was a baby, then it was a hot chocolate brown for Owen.  And now it’s a pretty gray (the color is SW 7018 Dovetail–which is the same color we used in our new Master Bedroom)

Above the dresser and changing table is my favorite piece in the room….our family portrait:

I made this wooden canvas back in California, and could never decide what to paint on there till it was time to decorate the house and sell it.  So I finally went for it!….and was inspired by the blankets I made for Clara as baby.  I mean, who doesn’t need more hearts in their life??

These wooden canvases are a tutorial I’ve meaning to share and just never have—I’ll add it to the list.  Cause they’re so fun to make.  And an easy way to decorate a space:

I love the color it adds in the room.
And our little yellow heart at the end.

Okay here’s another BEFORE and AFTER.
And please don’t hate me for changing what was already a really cool chair.
Because I really loved it in the brown and black (I found it at a thrift store).    But there was nothing brown in our house and I knew it would look cute in Clara’s room….so I painted the wood white:

Then I made a coral heart pillow and printed some artwork for the walls from the Caravan Shoppe (I seriously LOVE them!)  And I know the scale of these pictures should be much larger (which you can totally do with their download prints)….but I was working with a quick timeframe and just needed the room to be finished.  BUT, fast forward to today….And I’ve already printed a large 24×36 that’s up in Clara’s room in the NEW house.

This little corner of the room was just the right amount of toys and books for Clara to have some Clara-time.

Next BEFORE and AFTER….the Jenny Lind Crib.

Oh I love this crib.  I bought it off Craigslist in West Hollywood before Lucy was born.
(And that’s an interesting story to tell you in-person one day).
I kept the original 1970s wood color for both Lucy and Owen.

Then one night….in a fit of blogging passion…..I went in the garage and painted the whole thing yellow, just so it would look right in these photos.
You know you’re a crazy blogger when….

Readers often ask me about the crib, and what color I used, and did I use a special type of paint?
The answer to that is: whatever was in my garage (which—all paints in my garage are safe for humans and babies…and often I have a can of yellow laying around).   So I sprayed it with a paint gun and did a really poor job.  It could definitely use another coat.  And over the years it’s started chipping in places (as you can see in the photo above).
But it still works and looks pretty good!

And it’s perfect for Jedi mind tricks.

What IS that??
How about this…

Okay, the last splash of color in the room is the faux mobile:

I took yellow, gray, and coral cardstock, punched 2-inch circles, sewed them together in random order, and the hung the circle strings from the ceiling (with basic transparent tape).
Simple. Easy.
It definitely completes the room.

There you go!
The room I once hated became one of my favorite spaces in the house….and mostly because it wasn’t overcluttered with design.  You only need a few pieces to make a room look decorated and happy.

And the best part is….it all transferred over to the new house!
So Clara’s room was the last to be decorated in the old house; and the first to be finished in the new one.
Have a great day!

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