Sewing

diy play kitchen

Well I did it.  I built a play kitchen out nothing more than a (carefully selected)  pile of wood.   And I needed to wait to write about it because there would very likely be an expletive  between “diy” and “play kitchen” in the title otherwise.

Those of you who know me, know that this was the bane of my existence last December.  It owned me.   It tortured me.   It consumed me.

It had to.  I had proclaimed to the world that this was Abby’s “big” Christmas gift and therefore all other gifts were centered around it.  Seriously.  Grandparents were buying pots and pans.  Aunties were buying play food.  The kitchen had to be done by Christmas.

And that my friends,  is the last time I will ever put that sort of pressure on myself.   Every night after dinner I would go out to the garage and work.  Cutting, sawing, screwing, drilling, kreg jigging, gluing, sanding.  Sanding.  Sanding.  Sanding.  Sanding.  Priming.  Painting.  Caulking.  Painting.  Did I mention sanding?

Let’s just say it took a lot of time.

But do you know what took just as much time?  If not even more?

Stalking Home Resource for the perfect faucet (then cleaning said faucet), scouring the dollar store for a sink that would fit, searching on Amazon for cheap 10.5” handle bars to use for a towel rack and oven door.  Researching how to cut Plexiglas so it doesn’t break (hint, have the hardware store do it for you!  Duh).  Strolling the aisles of the hardware store for matching oven knobs.  Googling for cheap “stove burner” ideas.    Tracking lost orders from Amazon with my oh-so-special purchases (yes that happened.  And no it never arrived).  Oh.  And sewing.  Don’t forget the sewing….which requires picking out fabric.  Something I am notoriously and painstakingly indecisive about.

Looking back I would say this project wasn’t that difficult and I probably would have enjoyed it so much more without the added pressure of a deadline.  I mean build a couple of boxes and attach some hardware right?  But for some reason it was nearly the death of me.  I blame the perfectionist in me.  I blame the stress of the Holidays.  I blame Pinterest.  All of them tried to take me down.  Tried to make me think I couldn’t do it.

But I did.

And it’s kiiiiiiind of awesome.

This thing is solid.   I did a mighty fine job if I do say so myself.  And praise the baby Jesus:  Abby likes it too.

So let’s just get on with it eh?  Because I’m starting to think maybe I didn’t wait long enough to write about this.

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Oh little kitchen.  How you look so unassuming.

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The answer to your question, is “yes.”  Yes the oven has a light.  Yes those stove knobs turn.  Yes that’s stellar attention to detail with the charcoal colored oven inside.  Yes that’s a real faucet.

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Because everyone needs a shelf for their tea set and baby bottles.

Oh, you don’t keep your baguette in the cupboard?  Weird.  Clearly you should.

I wish I could tell you that I documented this whole process for you.  But this was back when the last post I had written was in September.  And seriously, I had no extra time to document anything.  Both of these pictures were taken with my phone after I was so excited for “coming so far.”

HA!  Hindsight is 20/20.  And often hilarious.

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Like here, when I’m sure I was thinking “well look at me! One down, one to go. Easy Peasy!”

 

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Or here, when I was like “In the home stretch now!” hahahahaha! You wish.

 

Luckily….Abby seriously loves it.  She plays with it everyday.  When I’m at the (real) kitchen sink, she runs to her sink and does dishes.   She puts things in the oven, turns the knob, and bends down to check on them (I kind of die), she insists on using the drying towels on her kitchen after we wash her hands.  Her and dad “make stew” all the time.  She cooks an egg in the morning and brings it to me.

It was all worth it. 

Every cuss word.  Every late night.  Every stress-induces glass of wine.  Running my arse all over this damn town.  The violent illness that followed 3 hours after I deemed it “done.”

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Yep.  Totally worth it (heart melting).

So, I know when I was building this I was searching high and low for ideas and helpful hints.  And if you’ve come here looking for detailed instructions I’m sorry.  However, here’s my source list.

  • Kitchen Plans – Ana White
  • Wood – Home Depot (they were pennies different from Lowe’s)  Total was probably around $80.
  • Paint – Valspar Schoolboy Blue.  Oven paint was leftover test-pot grey I had on hand.
  • Sink – freakishly small “brownie pan” from the Dollar Store
  • Faucet – $3.00 local Home Resource find (score)
  • Towel bar – Style Selections 12.5” Brushed Satin Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull,  Lowe’s  $7.53
  • Tension rod for curtain – Room Essentials Tension Rod, Target  $3.99
  • Curtain – handmade.  Sorry, not sure of the exact fabric, but I found it all at JoAnn.
  • Hand Towel – handmade.  Used a cloth diaper (bought at Target) and just sewed some extra fabric on the end to spice it up.
  • Oven knobs –  Lux Burner Knobs, Ace Hardware  $23.99
  • Oven pull – Style Selections 7.5” Brushed Satin Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull , Lowe’s  $5.37
  • Plexiglass – cut-to-size at Ace Hardware $1.70
  • Hooks (for oven mitts) – Threshold Satin Nickel, Target  $5.99
  • Oven rack – donated from my personal collection
  • Stove burners – JoAnns.  They’re the painted backside of a wooden soccer ball disk thingy.

I hope that helps at least one person who is in the process of making their own #%)(@#% play kitchen.  I kid, I kid.

Kind of.

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xoxo,

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flair…of the flower variety

I made a little something for my little sweetie:

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A cute little flower pin to spruce up a wedding outfit.  There’s nothing cuter to me than a baby in a white onesie with a tutu (and thank goodness little girls can get away with that being “dressy!”)…but it needed something more…it needed some flair. 

Then I remembered that Emily (over at Jones Design Company) did a flower-week last year where she gave a new flower tutorial every day of the week.  This was just the perfect excuse to get my craft on and choose one to make.

All of the flowers she does are lovely, but I chose the curled-edge flower

Emily has so many wonderful, beautiful tutorials that I want to try, from painted wallpaper (that I simply must do someday) to a coffee filter poof  (which I have the supplies for but just can’t seem to find the time).  You can check them all out here.  She also sells simple, creative art prints, name prints, printable paper and notecards in her shop.  I’ve purchased a few and they are fantastic.   I think you’d like her too so take a looksee!

But back to the flair.  I’ll let you check out Emily’s page for the tutorial, but really all you need is a small amount of polyester satin, a candle, a few beads for the center, a needle and thread and some sort of fastener.   They are super quick, easy and fun to make!

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I whipped one up in about 15 minutes, then did a quick check to make sure it would look ok with the planned outfit. 

I debated on doing a matching flower (in pink) or a contrasting one (obviously in navy).   I’m glad I went with the navy, but what do you think?

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So much easier to take a picture without a squirming, wiggling, rolling baby.

I even had time to whip up a little bit bigger flower for mom to wear so we could match.   (I can totally see my sister-in-law gagging right now, but I think it’s cute!)  hahaha.

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And of course, the obligatory show-off photo from the wedding:  I clipped my flower to the fabric I tied around my waist (does it look familiar?  Chevron.  So versatile!)

The wedding was at an old ski area.  Hubs grew up skiing there before it was shut down…he said this ski lift used to be red.   I kinda like the pink…go figure.

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That’s Abby’s ‘lil tex hat sitting next to me.  How cute is that?

Then I got home and felt guilty that I didn’t take any better pictures for the blog so I quickly snapped a few before I put Abby to bed….which was waaaaay past her bedtime, hence the bad lighting and (her) puffy eyes.  Oh, and the humidifier in the background.  Whoops.

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Poor baby. 

Poor, cute baby.

What say you?  Do you need a little somethin-somethin to make your outfit pop?  Or just want and excuse to match your cute little baby?   Hop on over to Emily’s blog and find the flower of your liking!

another edition of: from tablecloth to…

Wait for it…

Hamper liner!

Who knew a tablecloth could be so many things!

Some of you may have seen my post a few weeks ago about turning a tablecloth into our crib skirt. I was surprised at how easy it was but equally surprised at the amount of fabric tablecloth I had leftover. I guess crib skirts don’t take much yardage.

Since I had so much leftover, I thought it would be fun to pull in the pattern somewhere else in the nursery. I thought about some throw pillows, a lamp shade cover or even just framing a piece or two.

In the back of my mind though, I recalled a tutorial I saw long ago over on Design Sponge for sewing a hamper liner.

I already own a folding hamper frame for my laundry, but its boring white liner always left something to be desired. I remember bookmarking this tutorial as a project to spruce up the hamper for my personal use, but since I knew I needed some sort of laundry-collector in the nursery, I was excited to donate it to the cause.  I guess my personal laundry doesn’t have to be stylish…

Since I already had the folding hamper frame and one of my fabric choices, all I needed to do was pick out a coordinating fabric. I thought about using this second fabric to pull in some grey tones from the rest of the nursery, or even just keeping it simple with a white linen. In the end however, I decided to play off the yellowish color in the tablecloth. I thought it made it a little bit more cheery…something I could use a little bit more of when doing laundry.

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I purchased two yards of the second fabric and that seemed to be just enough.

I’m not going to give you the full tutorial here because the one over at Design Sponge does a wonderful job and I see no need to re-create the wheel!

Instead I’ll get right to the good stuff (photos). Which is more fun anyways, right? Right.

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I mean, I know we’re just talking about a hamper here…but I think it’s pretty darn cute! The whole process was a bit more involved than I anticipated. I mean, the title of the tutorial was “Sewing 101” so I thought it couldn’t be too complex. 101 is supposed to mean entry-level. Easy. Foolproof.

But I have to admit, as straightforward as some parts were (sewing the outer hamper and then the liner) it was a little confusing at times (like sewing the bottom onto each of those pieces).

The whole project took me a titch longer than I anticipated and I found myself getting kind of sloppy as the night wore on. But I was able to start and finish it in one evening after work.  It’s my own dang fault that I didn’t start until 8:00 and therefore wasn’t done until a bit after 10:00.

In reality though it really wasn’t too bad and I feel like I could whip up another one in no time.

Oh, and as far as cost goes this guy cost me a whopping $8.50.   Remember I already owned the hamper frame (but I think they’re about $15 at Target or Walmart if you had to buy one), and the tablecloth fabric (which was $20 originally).  

I bought two yards of the mustard-colored fabric at Joanns for $6.99/yard and used a 40% off coupon…which brought the project total to eight fiddy.  Not to shabby, right?

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And guess what?

I still have leftover tablecloth. I know, right? How big are these tables?!

So…any suggestions for another installment of  “from tablecloth to…”?

I’m kinda thinking about making one of these, but that won’t take much fabric so I’m open to more suggestions!

Adorable stuffed giraffe’s from here.

from tablecloth to crib skirt

What what? 

A tablecloth turned into a crib skirt you say?  No.  Impossible!  It’s too crazy!

Or is it

Couldn’t it be that a tablecloth is just a big piece of fabric waiting to be concocted into something fabulous?

And if you’re like me and you can’t stand the thought of paying $50, $100, or more for a crib bedding set…you learn to cut corners.  Or…”take inspiration where you find it.”  (Booyah!  Remember when I said I was going to start saying that?!?!). 

To be honest, this project was primarily fueled by the fact that the one and only bedding set I fell in love with was $500.    That’s right. 

Five.

Hundred.

Dollareenies.  (The Jerk anyone?  Anyone?) 

Apparently I have impeccable taste:

It was the bedding set that all other sets would thereby be judged against.  And never come close to.   

So knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night after paying five. hundred. dollars for a bedding set, I kinda put the search on hold for a while and turned my attention elsewhere. 

Then I ran across these guys at Target which served as my color inspiration.  Remember?

Well not too long after that, I got a text from my sister asking if I’d seen the matching tablecloth/napkins in that set:

Why no, no I hadn’t.   I immediately secured 1 tablecloth and 1 (set of 4) napkins. 

Some of you may recognize the napkins from this project.

And the tablecloth?   Well, it’s now our totally-functional-and-adorable-yet-affordable crib skirt.  Here’s how it all went down.

First:  buy your husbands favorite beer and ask him to pretty please help you put the crib together. 

Second:    paint the crib drawer because the current “amber” color doesn’t match the espresso wood you have elsewhere in the room.

Third:  smack yourself for being so Type A.

Fourth:  measure the width/height of the desired skirt and add 2 inches for a seam allowance.  For example, I wanted the front panel of my skirt to be 10″x49″ when all was said and done.  So I cut my fabric piece to 12″x51″. 

Fifth:  Repeat for each side section.

Sixth:  Iron a 1/2 hem on all sides of each skirt piece.

Seventh:  Sew your recently ironed hems. 

Eighth:  Sew each panel together so you have one loooooooong crib skirt.

Ninth:  Iron on small velcro pieces every 4-5 inches.

Tenth:  Secure to the mattress frame using the velcro pieces. 

 

Lastly:  sit back and admire your handy-work that saved you four hundred and eighty dollareenies. 

Not too shabby for $20, eh? 

Hmm.  Do my pictures look super grainy to you??   I’m not too pleased with them myself…I think my ‘ol point-and-shoot is finally rebelling against me and my blogging.   It obviously isn’t because I take bad pictures.

So what do you think?  (no, I’m not asking if you think I take bad pictures!)

Can you understand why I fell for that $500 bedding in the first place?  It’s to die for, right?!  But my conscience and my wallet are thanking me for cutting corners and settling for something that will work just as well.  Not only did it save me a bundle, I actually really really like it!

Now let this be a lesson to ya’ll…napkin, tablecloth or curtain…things aren’t always what they seem! 

Oilo Modern Berries Crib Set pic found here.  Sigh.

simple pillow cover

Tired of your pillows? Give them a quick facelift by sewing a simple pillow cover.

It’s easy. I promise! In fact just last week I whipped up this one in about an hour.

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All you need is enough fabric to cover the front and back of an existing pillow.   You can use the same fabric for the front and the back or two coordinating ones.

….OR….spice it up like me and use 1 napkin from Target and 1/2 yard coordinating fabric.   Who says napkins can’t be pillow covers…or anything else for that matter.    Take advantage of inspiration where you find it.  That’s what I always say.

Well, I guess I’ll start saying that. 

Besides, how could I resist using this in the nursery somehow?

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I didn’t take pictures for a tutorial, but pillow covers are quite simple.  Basically you just cut the front and back pieces slightly larger than your pillow….sew together (right sides together),  flip inside out, and stuff your pillow.  Easy schmeasy.

Want to make it even easier?

I thought so.

Avoid having to hand-stitch the pillow case closed by sewing an easy access back panel, like so:

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So Sew easy, right??

I love how simple it can be to switch things up by reusing what you already have.  I mean, don’t you think this looks just lovely in the nursery?

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I do!

Oh, and I know ya’ll are admiring my chair in the first picture.  Remember when I mentioned wanting it here

Turns out there is a World Market in Spokane and I just happened to be in Spokane two weekends ago.  And I just happened to drive my 4runner over which just happened to have some extra space.  Oh, and did I mention that all of the furniture at World Market just happened to be 25% off?  Making this little lovely chair just $140 bones? 

I just happened to purchase it.

Now begins the task of converting it to a swivel rocker.   Time and energy permitting of course; and to be honest I’m running short on both these days.   But that is neither here nor there.   So even if that chair isn’t rockin’ me some swivel, it will be rockin’ me a sweet little saffron pillow.

Sew fun AND functional: Sassy Apron

When possible, I like to try to make gifts for people.   Work and life don’t always allow time for it, and sometimes my ideas just don’t turn out….but when the stars align and it all works out, it always makes me feel good to give something that I’ve made with my own two hands.  

One of my friends is getting married this June and she loves to cook so I was determined to make an apron for her. 

A few years back I took an Apron class from our local fabric store and learned how to make a basic apron.  During the class I whipped up this one for myself:

There are things I love about this apron (the fabric pattern, the ribbon detail on the trim and the ruffled top) and things I don’t like (the lack of liner on the back and the material I chose for the tie).  So I decided to try to fix some of these “negatives” in my next apron attempt.   In fact, I had a different style in mind all-together.   I know, I know…it’s never a good idea (especially for me) to stray from what I know works.  Especially when it comes to sewing.    But I was feeling semi-confident for no reason. 

Here’s where my inspiration came from:

This darling apron came from http://www.domesticadventure.com/shop/. I'm a regular reader of Erin's blog and just love these!

To get this look, I decided I needed to do a few things differently this time:

  • Make two pleated pockets instead of one side pocket
  • Sew a thick band for the top (that matched the trim on the bottom) instead of ruffling the top edge
  • Use fabric for the ties instead of the thin ribbon
  • Add a nice liner to the back (I’m not sure if Erin’s aprons are lined, I just knew I wanted to add it)

With these ideas in mind and a picture of the inspiration apron printed out…I got to work  (I had already purchased and pre-washed my fabric a few weeks ago).  I tried to stick to oranges, greens and yellows with my fabric selection this time because I don’t think my girlfriend is really a pink-person (not that there’s anything wrong with that…I probably like pink enough for the both of us).    Here’s the fabric I picked out:

First step was to measure and cut out the fabric for the apron itself.  I started with the liner, cutting it to the exact size I wanted the apron to be when I was done (I just used my own apron as a guide).  Then, I cut the outside (pretty) fabric about and inch bigger than that so I could hem it.  See here:

Next I folded the pretty fabric over once (all the way around the perimeter) and ironed it down.  I did put a few pins in to keep it in place before stitching around the edges to form the hem. 

 

At this point I left the main apron piece alone.  I didn’t want to sew my liner on yet otherwise you’d see the stitching when I put the pockets on.   Instead, if I attached the pockets to the green fabric first, then put my liner on, the back of the apron would be nice and clean (free of stitching).

So I turned my attention to the pockets.   For their shape I just cut out squares, then cut a diagonal on the corners for where your hand would go.  I just kind of played around with shape and size until I found something I liked.  I sewed a liner on the pockets too because I wanted them to be thicker.   After the liner was on, I just sewed a line across the top of the pocket while pleating the fabric a couple of times.  Since this was the first time I’d done this, there was no picture-taking.  Sorry.  Here’s the final product:

Now I was ready to sew the pockets onto the apron.

The hardest part was figuring out placement.  To do this I simply found the center of the green fabric piece and marked it with a pin.  Then placed each pocket the same distance away from the center in opposite directions (and pinned them down).  There were several instances of me holding the green apron fabric up against my hips and staring in the mirror to decide if it looked good.  ha ha.  I practiced putting my hands in the pockets to make sure it wouldn’t be awkward or uncomfortable (obviously I rely on really technical testing methods).  

After a few adjustments I decided on (what I thought was) the appropriate location.  Next time, I’d place them differently than where they ended up, but hindsight is always 20/20  (a titch lower for those of you wondering).

The reason I would place them lower next time, would be so I can align the thick top band with the top of the green fabric. With my current placement, the band covers too much of the pocket to do that.

But alas, what’s done is done.  

Moving on to the bottom trim.  All I did here was cut a 3″ piece of coordinating fabric to the same length of the green fabric and added a bit of ribbon accent to it (super simple….just sew the ribbon on).   I placed it directly on top of the green fabric to decide on placement.  If you look at the picture, I remembered (yay!) to leave some hem allowance at the bottom (underneath the trim for when I put the liner on the back).  Then I flipped the trim up, and with the two “pretty sides” facing together, I sewed the trim on. 

Once they’re sewed together, you can turn the trim back over (seen here) and iron.    And voila’:

Not going to lie.  I was about 2.5 hours in at this point.  And a 98% excited that “it was working” and 2% cranky.   But I was so excited to see the final product that I kept going! 

Finally I was able to sew that darn liner on the back.  So once again I layed my green fabric down and placed the liner on top.  All there was to do now was to fold and sew another hem right on top of the liner.  Easy Peasy.

Confused yet?  Try writing this.

The last step (and what surprisingly turned out to be the hardest) was the top band and ties.   To match the bottom trim, I cut another 3″ piece of coordinating fabric to the same length as the apron.  Since I couldn’t attach it directly to the apron (darn pocket placement), I had to sew its own liner on the back.   Not a big deal, it’s just more of a personal preference to keep that hidden.  Next time….

After sewing the top band on, I used what I had left of the orange fabric to make ties (again with a liner on the back).   I was running low on fabric so the ties are shorter than I would like, but they still work.  

See how in my inspiration photo the ties come around to the front and drape down?  Well, mine make it to the front but aren’t very drapey.  Again, next time…

Here’s what it looks like from the front:

And the back (no pocket stitches….holla!)

If ANY of you followed me through this post, you can see what I'm talking about with the top band here. See how it sticks above the main apron piece? Next time I wouldn't want that to happen, instead I'd want the top of the band to align with the top of the apron. Curse you pockets!

And now for what I’m SURE you’ve all been waiting for.  The apron modeled by yours truly:

Oh pockets.  How I love/hate you.

Overall I’m really happy with how it turned out!  I’m semi-impressed with myself that I just went for it and all of my modifications worked.  That’s new to me.  But I like it.  

Things to change for next time:

  • I think the pockets could be a little closer together and obviously lower because the back is really bothering me by not being aligned right
  • I’d also double the amount of fabric I use for my ties so they drape nicely
  • The apron is kind of heavy…next time I’d try to find a lighter weight liner.
  • Consider buying an apron straight from Erin.  At $28 a pop, you can hardly argue with the time saving (I think it took me five hours total) and getting the real deal to boot! 

In the end, I’ve decided that I like this apron better than my original; it’s a more flattering style in my opinion. 

So there you go.  Sweet and sassy – a dangerous combination.   And yes people, I’ve already given the apron to my friend so I’m not spoiling any surprises (she loves it by the way!).

Sew tell me (har har)….what sewing projects have you guys been up to lately?

Roman Shades on-the-cheap

A few weeks ago I was on a lunch-run with my friend Stephanie and she mentioned that our mutual friend Erin had the most amazing roman shades in her house that her mom had DIY-ed.  I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of roman shades, but I firmly believe it’s because they’re always in heavy floral print that I just can’t stomach.  Give me a roman shade in a fun geometric pattern and I’m sure I’d heart it.  So sure that I decided to try my hand at making one.

Erin had told Stephanie that her mom just used a regular-old mini blind to accomplish the task, and it just so happens that we have one of those hanging around (pun intended).  You see, when the-then-fiance’ and I purchased new blinds for our house, we forgot about a tiny window in the upstairs bathroom (which was soooo annoying).  See it here?

If you don't have the luxury of pre-owned mini-blinds, you can pick some up for about $3 at Target.

So that’s right…you guessed it Erin…the roman shade project is yet another bathroom post.  Erin mentioned to me once that I do a lot of posts/projects about bathrooms..haha.  I guess I do.  Remember the frosted windowVanity organization?  And framed mirror?  Sigh.  Alas it is true.  Upon further reflection I think it’s because bathrooms are “safe.”  If I mess it up, who cares?!  Right?  It’s just a bathroom!  It’s not like messing up the living room where everyone is going to notice.

But I digress…I just thought Erin of all people would love to know that a project inspired by her was going to happen in la bano.

So first thing I did was Google-around a bit until I found an online tutorial for “mini-blind roman shades.”  Turns out this little project hit blogland hard awhile back (it seems like everyone has made these).  So I settled on a tutorial from Newlywed Diaries that was closest to what I envisioned.

Next order of business was to pick a fabric.  Typically this decision-point would be where I lose motivation….”what, I’ll actually have to pick a color?!”  But not this time.  I marched into the fabric store with a color in mind (green) and had it picked within twenty minutes.  I’m trying to be more decisive…because what’s the big deal?  If I hate it I can change it.

Here’s the fabric I picked (sorry, I forgot to write down the pattern).

I also decided that the shade should be lined, for a couple of reasons.  One, I didn’t want it to be completely see-through and cheap looking;  a liner would give it some necessary weight and hopefully the appearance of quality.  Two, I thought it should actually function somewhat as a shade…The Hubs is always on-my-case about making sure things are functional, not just pretty.  So I wanted the shade to actually have a purpose and do what it was supposed to.  So I picked up a yard of heavier canvas fabric as well.

Here are the steps I used to create the roman shade…if something doesn’t make sense, feel free to hop on over to Newlywed Diaries for further clarification.  Oh.  Yeah.  Or ask me.

First, I cut my liner to the exact size I wanted the shade to end up.  In my case this was 10.5″x40″.  Then, I placed it on top of my patterned fabric and cut it about 1″ wider ( for seam allowance).

Many of the tutorials I read didn’t require any sewing at all – they just used fabric glue to hem the curtain.  It may be a bit more work, but I do prefer the look of a stitched border, so I was fully prepared to sew this thing by folding/ironing the patterned fabric once, then again over the top of the liner and sewing it in place.

It’s tempting to complete this step without pining the fabric down, but trust me.  You want to. It will save you a lot of cuss words.

Sorry about the harsh flash here. That's what I get for doing sewing projects at 10:00 at night.

Once I sewed the patterned fabric to the liner, I had a piece that looked like this:

Apparently the shade-part was done and ready.  Now I just needed to prepare the blinds!  Mini-blinds are easily removed from their wall brackets, so once that was done I expanded the blinds to lay it flat on the floor like so.

These things are heinous, no?

The next step had me worried…”remove ladder string without cutting the lifter string.  It is very important not to cut the lifter string!”  I thought for sure this was going to be the step I messed up on….cuz, you know.  I mess up a lot.   But thankfully once I examined the intricate workings of a mini-blind I realized they aren’t really rocket science.  Please don’t mess up, please don’t mess up.  I just said this was easy.

Next, remove the plugs from the bottom of the blind and slide off all of the unwanted slats.  I wanted my slats about 10″ apart from one another.  Remember the length of my desired shade was 40″, so I needed to leave three slats (because the bottom would be re-attached and act as the “fourth”).

Here’s what this looked like:

Next, adjust the length of your lifter strings if needed, and put the plugs back in the bottom slat.  I adjusted mine so the bottom slat sat….wait for it….40″ from the top of the blinds.

Just for fun, here’s what the pile of cut ladder string and extra slats looked like.  I tried to think of a good use for these, but I must not have been thinking very creatively.  I think this shot is just more to show you what has become of my brian.  I now take pictures of useless waste in case I need it for the blog.  Who knows?!  Maybe someone wants to see this….therefore I must document it.

So my fabric shade is ready.  My blind is ready.  Next up, lay the fabric on the ground (patterned side down) and place the blinds face down on top of it.  When I say “face down” for the blinds, I mean so that the lifter string is facing the liner of the fabric.

At this point, the slats are still all loosey-goosey.   Don’t worry, that’s how they should be because the final step is to just glue those suckers down.  Yep, using fabric glue (I used Fabri-Tac clear fabric glue) to secure the top of the blind to the top of the fabric shade.  Then measure down (10″ for me) to place the first slat and glue in place.  Continue down the shade until you glue the bottom part of the blind to the bottom of the shade.

Note:  it’s super important that you don’t glue the lifter string to the fabric, otherwise your shade will not operate correctly and many cuss words will ensue.

Note also:  it’s even MORE important that you do not glue fabric to the outer two inches of the first (top) blind section.  Remember how easily you removed those blinds from the bracket?  You’re going to want to have the same luxury when re-mounting them.  So leave the outermost two inches of fabric free.

Once your fabric glue dries (or immediately after glueing if it’s 11:00 and you’re tired), re-mount your shade to the original bracket…and voila!

A fancy little roman shade.

You may need to practice rising/lowering the shade a few times for the fabric to fold exactly how you want it to.  It only took a few times for me and now it goes up and down perfectly.

Notice it didn’t get any easier to photograph this darn window, but I think you get the idea.  I love how it turned out, and in reality it was super easy.  After purchasing the supplies, it probably took me two hours from start-to-finish.   I love how it adds a pop of color to the window, and also ties in nicely with the canvas print I have hanging.  It’s almost as if someone planned that….

Anyhoo, on to the money side of things.  Here’s how she looks:

  • Mini-blind for window.  $0.  Unfortunately Fortunately already-owned.
  • 1/2 Yard of patterned fabric.  $5
  • 1/2 Yard of canvas fabric.  $5
  • Fabric glue.  $6 (but I’ll have plenty more for future projects).

Grand total for the window update:  $16.00.  Not too shabby if you ask me.

And guess what?  Turns out I do like roman shades.


Thanks Stephanie and Erin for the inspiration!