Yesterday, I shared that I like having pretty things better than I like making them. 😛 I am the person who gets an idea in her head and wants to do it. I know there is a right way to do things and a wrong way…but sometimes there is also a shorter way. So here are some of my shortcuts:
Balloon Roman Shades
I love this toile fabric I got for 50% off at JoAnn fabric. Yippee! I wanted to make curtains that looked like these. And I did!
The “right way” to make balloon roman shades is to make a valance. It must be long enough to have room to gather it up, then sew “ring tape” vertically along a few lines in the back, and run a string through the rings to gather the shade. The tape was very expensive (to me) because of the amount I would need to cover the number of windows I had. I thought it might be a little time consuming too.
So I used thread instead. Much cheaper. Pretty quick, but harder to standardize. Thankfully this is one of those things no one looks at too closely. 😉 I get lots of complements on these window treatments in spite of my shortcuts!
I love an unfinished hem. Whenever I can, rather then sew a hem, I fray the edge and leave it fringed. This is my table runner (out of burlap).
This is the selvage edge, or the finished edge of the fabric (you can see the tiny thread that runs along the edge to keep it from fraying). This linen cotton fabric has a naturally unfinished look, so I kept the fringed edge. I used this fabric for curtains in our family room. I hemmed all the other edges, but it saved me a ton of time to skip the sides. Also, with cotton blends of fabrics, you can tear the fabric, rather than cutting it. I did that on this fabric because of the regular weave. You just snip a little into it, running with the grain of the fabric, and then rip it with your hands. It will be pretty straight if your fabric is. Here is a tutorial on ripping fabric, which is a great short cut when sewing! Here is a blog post about using the selvage for other projects too.
My favorite DIY project so far has been a slipcover I made for a parson’s chair. I used an easy tutorial from HGTV. The directions were right up my alley because it showed how to measure and cut the fabric after placing it on the chair and cutting it to size. There was no pattern! This might have been difficult if you were doing more than one slipcover because it could be hard, without a pattern to make them match/be identical. But if I had to do more than one, I would work it assembly line doing the same step for all the chairs at the same time.
Using a similar method I made a slipcover for an ottoman we had thathad faded. I used duck cloth (left over from the chair slipcover) and the skirt of it was left over from material for valences in our homeschool room. This ottoman is in the same room so they match! I quilted two pieces of duck cloth by putting some batting between and drawing a grid on the underside with a pencil. I used several safety pins to hole the two pieces of fabric together while I sewed I knew this trick form my mom, who is a quilter. I like the result, don’t love it, but it is better than the faded fabric on the original. For sure.
I asked my hubby for a big coffee table, but we couldn’t spend much money. He is pretty handy with wood finishing and such, but building a coffee table from scratch was more than he wanted to take on at the time. So he scoured Craig’s List and found an old coffee table with a cracked top for $40. He added the 2×4’s and then painted/finished it. It is exactly what I described to him! I love it. I appreciate my husband for being willing to make my vision come to life…for cheap!
My husband and I are homebodies. We also entertain a lot in our home. We are more likely to be home than on vacation or out to dinner, so we invest time and money in making our home a haven. But we like to do it as inexpensively as possible, so we have to do a lot of the work ourselves, which is really rewarding. 🙂
How about you? Do you DYI? What is your favorite project?