I Like That Lamp – DIY Lampshade Kit Review

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This post is all about stashbusting. I had made some curtains out of a light weight quilting cotton for an apartment I lived in, like, four years ago, and since then they’ve been sitting unused in my stash since they no longer had windows to cover.

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When I Like That Lamp offered me a lampshade kit to try out I knew I wanted to use this old pink floral on lime green fabric. I used the large size kit which is 12″ in diameter and 12″ high but you can make your shade shorter if you want.

First of all I want to apologize. I took several in progress photos of the lampshade making progress but a few days ago my phone broke and I lost all the pics I had taken (moral of the story – back up your pics and don’t buy a Samsung GS4!).

Luckily if you get a lampshade kit it comes with an instruction sheet that’s easy to follow.

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The kit comes with two metal rings for the top and bottom of the shade, adhesive styrene (a white flexible plastic that sticks to your fabric), some glue (which is plenty for this project), a pointy stick to help set the fabric edges, a handful of binder clips (which are nice ’cause you can re-use them on sewing projects that you can’t use pins on, like leather, see, I’m thinking ahead…).

It was super simple to assemble – cut your fabric to size and stick the styrene on a few inches at a time. I didn’t have any trouble getting my fabric flat and it was easy to smooth any bubbles.

Then using the glue you slip in the top ring and fold the extra fabric over the edge, encasing the ring. This took the longest time because I would wait for sections to dry enough to remove the binder clips. You do the same for the bottom ring.

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One thing I did was use some of my extra fabric and created 1″ wide bias tape (which was actually on the straight grain, it doesn’t matter because the tape won’t be under any stress) using my bias tape maker. With the raw edges folded in the tape is only 1/2″ wide.

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I had so much extra glue that it was easy to attach the tape to the top and bottom edges which covered up the raw fabric edge that was tucked under the back and created a nice clean line at the top and bottom. Plus, when I’m sitting down I can look up at the lamp shade and see the bias tape on the inside looking all nice and professional. It’s a great touch that makes it look less homemade.

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After I made my shade I loved it so much I decided to cut some more of my old curtain panels and sew new shorter panels for my sewing room window. The lime makes a good accent color to all the pink and coral in my sewing room. I just got a simple tension rod to avoid having to get out the screwdrivers. 😉 If I ever have a kid I really hope it’s a girl ’cause I really don’t want to re-paint this room and make new curtains, lol.

I still have about a panel and a half left of curtain fabric – quilt pieces or throw pillows anyone!?

Big thanks to I Like That Lamp for making me like my lamp!

***BTW, I like that Lamp is offering 10% DIY Lampshade Kits at their shop from now until the end of September. Use the code DIXIE13 at checkout.

So Many Japanese Pattern Books!

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If you read a lot of sewing blogs you’ve probably figured out by now that the publisher of such delightful Japanese pattern books, like the one I used to make the shirt above, like to pass out their wares for review to lots of bloggers. Sorry if you’ve already read a bunch of book reviews lately, you’re in store for another – but there’s a good part – I have a new top to show off and you can enter to win one of three sewing books!

Ok, I’ll get to the meat of this review then give you the giveaway deets towards the bottom.

The Goal: I have to admit that while I had great success with my dress I made from the book Drape Drape last year, my attempt at a top from the new Drape Drape 3 was, well, a fail. That doesn’t mean it won’t work for others and I only tried one project from the book (House of Pinhero made an awesome dress from this book).

I was pretty bummed out about that but when I got these other two books: Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book I decided to try again.

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The Pattern: This is the first project from Feminine Wardrobe, a peasant style top. The pattern was really simple and with the raglan sleeves and elastic waist it didn’t require much fitting.

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I made a M (sizes range from XS to L) and with this blousy style I think could have made an S.

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The Fabric: I made it using a rayon and I took a hint from the book and added cotton crochet trim on the sleeves and hem.

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The Changes: I knew that if I added the elastic lower on the hips where it’s shown in the book photos that either it would keep trying to slip up or it would look way too blousy for me so I put the elastic at my waist instead.

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(shorter sleeves, maybe?)

The Results: As much as I want to love this shirt, I don’t. It’s just not my style. I think it would look better with shorter sleeves or as a dress but I doubt I’ll take the time to do it. It’s ok, though, my shirt already has a new home and someone who does love it so that makes me happy.

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So here’s a more detailed critique of all three books. First of all, Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book are pretty similar.

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(Stylish Dress Book design)

Each has a bunch of basic designs that are all altered for different effects – new sleeves, adding a collar, etc.

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(Drape Drape 3 dress design)

In Drape Drape 3 every design is unique.

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(Stylish Dress Book instructions and illustrations)

What I love about all three books is the helpful and detailed illustrations. You could make all these garments without ever reading a word, the drawings are so good. Still, the written instructions are helpful.

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(Feminine Wardrobe dresses)

All the patterns are layered on top of each other on large sheets of paper – Burda magazine style. The pattern pieces are very well labeled and pretty easy to trace. While Drape Drape 3 includes seam allowances, Feminine Wardrobe did not. 🙁

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(Another Drape Drape 3 design)

However Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book listed measurements in both metric and imperial. Drape Drape 3 was only metric.

Like the other Drape Drape books, #3 offers an interesting approach to pattern sewing and many designs are pretty challenging and they’re all definitely creative! Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book give you great jumping off points for whipping up a cute dress over a weekend and you can put your own spin on the simple designs.


Alright, on to the good part, right? Time for a giveaway! I’ll pick one winner per book. To enter just leave a comment and tell me which book you want (or first and second choices) and if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook submit another comment telling me so for a second entry!

I’ll pick a winner on Tuesday, June 24 at 12pm CST. Good luck!

DIY Couture (Guest Post by Susan from MoonThirty)

***Hola readers! By now I’ll be burning my skin on some beach and drinking virgin daiquiris from plastic cup… or something like that, haha. But just so you all don’t miss me too much 😉 here’s the first of some awesome guest posts I have lined up for you while I’m gone.

Let me tell you a little about Susan – she’s a crafting queen with a throne room to make anyone envious – her crowning glory being a closet packed to the brim with all kinds of fabric! If she were under siege she could last years working with all the fabric she has! Ok, enough medieval monarchy metaphors, haha! 

But really, though. Susan is awesome. She loves craft, home dec and apparel sewing and has an amazing knack for pairing fabric textures, colors and prints. And she has a library of crafty books big enough to rival that fabric closet of hers. So let’s give a big standing O for my friend Susan!***

Thanks so much to Dixie for having me here! I have learned so much from her in the short time we’ve been friends, and I am constantly inspired by her creations.

As I’ve mentioned early and often to anyone who’ll listen, I love sewing books. I’m a bibliophile since early childhood, so when I began to sew, the introduction of this genre to my book collection was inevitable. Being primarily a self-taught sewist, the all-purpose and specific-topic sewing guides I’ve collected have been invaluable to my evolution in this craft. The best ones contain both techniques and projects! The majority of my library is more geared towards projects other than apparel, but that’s largely because I haven’t found nearly as many books about garment sewing that actually contain things to make. However, it seems that’s starting to change — the last few years have brought many exciting apparel publications to the market, including this recent release by Rosie Martin, DIY Couture.

 
I love way this book was designed and organized. It contains a patternless set of ten garment “shapes,” for which the author created eight unique collections, each containing a variation of the original ten garments. This should help clarify… the ten shapes: 

And an example of the collections:

Now, I have to admit that I didn’t necessarily love most of the finished garments that were photographed for the book, but that was quite irrelevant to me. I don’t buy a house based on the color of the paint on the walls. I could tell right away that it was the infrastructure of the book that I wanted — tell me how to create these ten garments the way that I want to, and we’re all set. Based on my experience so far, I believe the author was successful in doing that. There are no tissue patterns included in this book — instead, the author walks you through the process of making your own pattern, which you can either draft on the paper of your choice or directly onto your intended fashion fabric. She uses a combination of personal measurements/preferences and existing garment tracing in order to create the pieces. I was excited about the prospect of learning this process, as I have extremely limited experience with it.

I automatically zoned in on the Grecian Dress as my first piece to attempt from the book. I think this was for two reasons: it looked extremely simple to make, and it was a style I could see myself wearing. The author drafts the garment directly onto her fashion fabric, but I wanted to create a paper pattern. I rarely — OK, never — make a garment the first time without subsequently wanting to make a few changes, and I knew this would be easier if I had a pattern from which to work. I drafted my Grecian Dress for a knit fabric, though I’d make very few changes to make it from a woven. I was really surprised at how easy it was to create my own pattern for this simple garment. By far, it took me less time than when I have to make an alteration to a commercial pattern. An even more importantly, I felt I knew the shape intimately — after I made the first version (nightgown, not pictured), I knew exactly where to go in the pattern to make the changes that I wanted to make. This may sound overly simplistic for such an uncomplicated garment, but I have had a lot of trouble over the years training my mind to think in the 3D realm that apparel sewing requires. So this was just the right experience to help me gain that confidence!

Normally when I review something for my blog, I detail precisely where I made modifications to the author’s pattern or techniques. Here, I’m not going to do exactly that because the instructions are really guideline-oriented anyway, meant to customize to your heart’s content. But here’s the scoop on my specific garment, in case you’re interested in making something similar:

  • I made my garment long tunic length, using a measurement of about 40″ from the very top of the raw edge at the neckline, all the way to the bottom (as cut/unhemmed).
  • I used 1/4″ elastic on the inside for the garment shaping at the waist. I attached the elastic 3″ below the waistline to result in the amount of blousing I wanted.
  • I finished my edges with binding made from my fashion fabric, but left the raw edges exposed. I’ve been wanting to try this technique for a while. Basically, I just cut 1″ strips on the crossgrain, pressed them in half lengthwise, enclosed the garment’s raw edges in the folded strips, and stitched. I like the finished unfinished look. 🙂 It would be cute in a contrasting fabric too.
  • I used a very lightweight slub cotton jersey from Fabric.com. I bought it about a year ago and it doesn’t look like this exact color is currently available, but here are the similar ones they have in stock. It was super stretchy which made the neckline a bit of a challenge, but it’s comfortable!

The other pieces that are high priorities in my to-try list are the cloak, the hoodie, and the romper. Thanks to Rosie Martin for an inspirational and educational book that will keep me busy for quite a while!

My Sewing Book Club and how you can start your own!

(My contributions to the book club meeting – organizer wallet and travel neck pillow)

You may have read in previous posts that I am part of a local sewing group that gets together a couple times a month for various sewing extravaganzas. Well, as part of that sewing group, my friend Susan and I began a Sewing Book Club of sorts and dubbed it BiblioStyles (a mash up of “bibliophiles” and the name of our sewing group, Sewing with Style).

We had our first meeting in March and I’m just now getting around to blogging about it. Our first get together was a little small – only four people but I have no doubt that it will grow over time as we cover some popular books.

(Susan shared tips for using elastic thread to make her awesome “Gazillions of Gathers” shirred pillowcases.)

I’m going to let Susan explain the details of the club and perhaps give you an idea to start your own where you live (or maybe even an online one, who knows??). Susan blogs over at MoonThirty.com and writes about all kinds of sewing, crafts, recipes and has many a sewing book review to boot.

***Mixed in this post are photos from our first meeting (Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders) and projects made by the participants.

Ok, first let’s get to know you: What’s your sewing experience? What do you like to sew? Why did you start your blog?
I played around a little bit with sewing as a kid then went through a looong hiatus. For some reason one day in early ’09, and I still don’t know exactly what triggered it, I was struck with a strong desire to learn to sew. I bought a cheap Kenmore machine just in case I didn’t end up sticking with it. I bought a couple of beginner sewing books and worked my way through those (along with lots of Internet tutorials). Then I branched out into garments about 6 months later. I’m still much more confident with bags and home dec stuff than I am with apparel, but I love doing both.
I’ve wanted to write a blog for many years now; even before I began to sew, I tossed around the idea of starting a baking/cooking blog. I suppose that I just wasn’t really motivated to do it until now. My goal is to inspire others with my projects and patterns, just as I have been (and continue to be) so inspired by the incredible crafting community.
 
(Susan’s “Jet Set” pieces which include passport cover, luggage tag, tissue case and travel tray. That travel tray is so cool – it uses snaps to hold up the sides!)
What gave you the idea to have a sewing book club?
I’ve always loved book clubs. But these days I read very few novels — when I curl up with a book, it’s almost always a sewing project book (or the occasional cookbook). When I joined our local sewing group, I found a great group of folks who loves to talk about this craft as much as I do. So, making the leap to the book club felt like a natural next step to me.
What do you like about the group sewing experience?
I really love getting others’ input and feedback from their experiences with the projects I want to try. It’s also an awesome way to get more out of my sewing book library — I now want to tackle projects that I didn’t necessarily consider before I saw them made up.
How often does the group meet?
Right now, our goal is to meet once per month. We’ll feel it out as we go… If it’s too much, we’ll move to bimonthly.
 
(Susan and fellow book-clubber show off their Day Out Bags and share pattern experiences)
What did you make from Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders?
I had so much fun with this book! I started with the “Gazillions of Gathers” shirred pillow, which I made twice. I also made the “Day Out Bag” and several pieces of the “Jet Set.” I had great results from all of these, and there are quite a few more I still want to make.
What’s the process for choosing books? And what are some upcoming books for the club?
We’ve started by trying to choose books that have a wide appeal. That was what was so great about Fabric-by-Fabric — its variety of projects for a range of skill levels. Of course, no single subject will appeal to everyone, so we also plan to alternate months between the crafting and apparel books. Offering a range of difficulty is part of that mass appeal. A few of the upcoming selections include Lunch Bags!, The BurdaStyle Handbook, and Sewing in a Straight Line. We also intend to have some meetings where we combine books with a commonality (The Bag Making Bible and A Bag for All Reasons, Built by Wendy series, etc.), as well as “theme meetings,” such as fitting books, couture technique books, etc.
(My failed kite which I had such high hopes for. No matter what I did the thing would just go up in the air, spin and dive into the ground. Never once could I get it to stay up for more than 5 seconds. I tried researching kite making websites to find a solution. I cut tails, lengthened tails, tried to decrease weight, nothing worked. After so many crashes the wooden dowel rods started poking through the oilcloth and falling out. Massive fail. I still don’t know what went wrong.)
What are some ways that readers can form their own sewing book club in their own town?
Go for it — sewing book clubs rule! It has worked really well for us to be teamed up with a local fabric store. It’s mutually beneficial, as they are able to provide a great space and the meetings help bring them business. We also set up a deal where our host store offers a discount on the meeting book to our members. Aside from having a great location, I’d say the other important piece is just getting the word out. We use Meetup.com as our platform, but it could also be beneficial to put up a flyer on an approved bulletin board at your local library or community college, for instance.
As far as the meetings themselves go, they really don’t need a lot of choreographing. We tend to use a round-table format to share our projects and our results, and the open conversation is awesome. Actually, this is one of the examples where we depart from the format of a regular book club: even those who don’t have the book or who haven’t tried anything from it are encouraged to attend. The discussion can help participants decide whether to purchase the book. Anyone who loves crafting has value to add to the conversation!
***Big thanks to Susan for essentially writing this post for me, haha. 😉 Check out her blog and her series on basic tote bag sewing. This lady is a handbag making queen. Also, there was another participant who made different bag from the book but I completely forgot to photograph it, sorry!
Our next book is Lunch Bags. I plan on making a sandwich wrap and snack bags. We pushed the Colette Sewing Handbook back because of schedule conflicts but I’ll be sure to share any and all projects I make for BiblioStyles.
Oh, and if you’re in the Austin, TX area and want to join in the fun we’d be glad to see you!