Saturday, January 16, 2010

Look ma, no sewing!

Earlier this week, I was majorly inspired by Sara's DIY "curtains" over at Russet Street Reno. (In fact, you can see them over there on my list of DIY projects I want to copy.) I've been looking for some window treatments for the large window in our guest bedroom, which is currently covered with a bedsheet that's become much more permanent than it was supposed to be. Embarrassing. But I've been too cheap to buy any curtains because all the ones I've seen are so expensive (especially the 96" length, which is what we need). Sara's curtains looked very do-able and required no sewing, thanks to Stitch Witchery. Seeing as how I don't sew, I liked the sound of that!

So this morning, I headed out to Hobby Lobby to see if I could find some cheap fabric for this project. I didn't find anything I was crazy about there, so I ended up next door at Hancock Fabrics where they were having a big sale. I don't go fabric-shopping very often, so I was overwhelmed by all the different kinds. I was there for over an hour trying to figure out what to use, until I starting thinking that maybe I should try this on a project of a smaller scale first. The curtains were seeming pretty intimidating.

Coincidentally enough, I've also been looking for a runner for our dining room table. We have placemats now, but they seem to overwhelm the table, and I'd prefer something that disguises the hideous gap running down the middle:

So I decided to look for some fabric I could use for a runner instead. I ended up finding some on clearance for only $3 a yard. It had a similar look to our plain placemats, but I wanted something simple so I could still sit things on it without looking too busy. I got 2 1/2 yards just to be on the safe side, for a grand total of $7.97. I also picked up some 1/4" Steam-A-Seam 2 Double Stick fusible fabric iron-on hemming (that's a mouthful!) I got a 20-yard roll for $4.99. I was going to get Stitch Witchery, but the lady I talked to said that if I was going to do curtains, the Steam-A-Seam was more durable, so I took her word for it.

When I got home, I cut out a panel about 74" long by 16" wide. (The fabric was 54" wide, so I have plenty left for another project in the future... or another runner, in case I screwed this one up)  Using the Steam-A-Seam was pretty simple, but it took time to make sure that I was folding the hem over into a straight line. I'm sure there are more efficient ways of doing this type of thing, but I just used a measuring tape and measured every so often to make sure my width was consistent. 

Taking Sara's advice, I ironed the hem first without the adhesive in it, so I had a nice fold as a guide. Then I just cut strips of Steam-A-Seam and placed them inside the fold, removed the backing, and folded the hem over. 10 to 15 seconds with the iron, and voila! A no-sew hem! Amazing.

I repeated the process until I was done with both of the long sides. Then, I just used the trusty ol' eyeball method (shhhh, don't tell my husband) to fold over the two short sides. I used two strips on each side just for good measure.

When I was finished, I trimmed the excess hem just to clean it up a bit. It's the type of fabric that frays super-easy, so there were threads all over the place by the time I was finished. For that reason, I'm not sure I want to wash this runner much, unless I find a way to keep the edges from fraying. Any tips?

So it's not beautiful on the underside, but who's ever going to know? (Besides you.) You seamstresses out there would probably scoff at me for my feeling of accomplishment -- and rightly so -- but I'm so proud, I could just burst at the steam-a-seams! Ha.

I brought out a few PartyLite candle holders from our bedroom to dress it up a little, and I think this is a definite upgrade from the placemats. For an hour and a half worth of work, and coming in at under $10 (not including the Steam-A-Seam), that's hard to beat! 

So now that I've conquered this project, I think I might be ready to move up to curtain panels for the guest bedroom (and maybe other rooms?!). I have a feeling it'll take me a lot longer to pick out the fabric for those, but I hope to get around to it soon! The bedsheet must come down.

I think this Steam-A-Seam is going to open up a whole new world of possibilities that I previously thought was out of reach! Thanks again to Sara for the inspiration!

Update: I was so proud of my table runner, I linked this post up to the Saturday Nite Special party over at Funky Junk Interiors.


Kristi W @ Life at the Chateau Whitman said...

Very nice! I like the fabric you chose.

micah @ the yellow front door said...

Wowza! Looks fantastic! Makes me want to steam-a-seam something!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

Girl, WHAT'S UP!!! That runner is faboosh! I love the fabric and I know that it will hold up well! I chose a lighter weight adhesive because I wasn't sure if the seams I had created would stay that way forever (I may want to make rod pockets someday) so I didn't want to use the heavy weight tape for possible removal reasons. Your fabric store was right on!

marleah said...

I love it! And you got a good deal on the fabric too. I love when people in the shops are helpful!

Treasia Stepp said...

It looks fantastic. Thanks for the tutorial on how to do this.

Tammy at Tattered and Timeless said...

Looks good no go tackle those drapes. You can do it :)

Jenkins Family said...

I love it! You can use that year-round. I may have to try it. Thanks for sharing.

Kristina said...

Nice job! You're right, having a runner to cover that gap is a big improvement. And cheers to eyeballing, and to clearance fabric!


Sweetfern Handmade

Mrs. Chic said...

It looks good - I like the fabric you choose very nice

Danielle @ Transforming Home said...

Looks great! Stitch Witchery is the best stuff ever invented - I absolutely hate sewing.


Amanda said...

Thanks for all your comments!

Leah said...

There is something I just saw on a blog somewhere that is made just for preventing fraying, I cannot remember where I saw it, but the people at the fabric store would know. I guess that wasn't super helpful was it?

Leah said...

never heard of steam a seam! i am going to have to try some of that!


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