Thinking Big… Maybe Too Big?

I have a bad habit of always going big when I take on a project. My first quilt project was to contain 2,000 different fabrics in a charm quilt to celebrate the new millennium. (That one isn’t done, BTW). The first time I wanted to really try a cross stitch project, the canvas was two feet by three feet (that’s big for cross stitch). That one too, isn’t done. My first (faux) stained glass project was about six foot by three foot… that one did get finished. The American Girl doll house I built was 48 square feet and stood over seven feet. Also done (and sold)! Even if the projects are quite so big, I tend to go a little overboard on the project materials… you’ve seen photos of my sewing/quilt room, yes? I literally have enough fabric to open my own shop. 🙂

So, one of the more recent projects that is in progress is a braided denim rug. One of the things I like to try to do is having little projects within the bigger one that I can write posts about. So, this one started with how to harvest the most denim from old blue jeans. I actually wrote that one up as an “instructable” and you can see it here. Then over the course of a couple of months, I collected used blue jeans and harvested as many three inch strips as I could.

DSCN4263.JPGIt was a long process, but I was able to do most of the deconstruction while watching old movies or binge watching my favorite television series. Over a hundred pairs of jeans (lost count during collecting) were used and I was able to sell the carefully removed back pockets on eBay for almost a hundred dollars!

The next step was to create long strips… I wasn’t – and still aren’t – sure how long the rolls should be and what would be the easiest length to work with. After all, braiding tends to tangle while working… I will just have to be conscious of it while working. I ended up creating mostly the same length… just guessing at it while I was sewing. Some ended up longer than others and there are a couple of kind of short ones. The should be easiest enough to shorten when I start braiding if they turn out to be too long.

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After this, I rolled all the strips into coils… this photo is most of them. Whew! This alone was the endeavor. I rolled about half by hand… just round and round. The Kid, being inventive and with a slight allergy to repetitious work, came up with the idea of rolling them using a power drill. I just love the way his brain works!

The next step is to turn these strips into the “yarn” for braiding. I am basically turning it into binding… folding the edges in and “setting” them with an iron. Then, I fold this in half and sew it with a long stitch. It took some time and trials to figure out how to sew over this much bulk, especially the seams, without constantly breaking the threads but using a heavy duty thread – actually a hand quilting thread – finally was the answer. That and coaxing the seams through by hand. I then let it fall over the edge and into a basket on the floor:

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So, far, I’ve managed to empty the with the least amount of coils. It is a bit of a long slow process. I don’t have the slightest idea of how to estimate the amount of yarn that I will need to complete the rug. Actually, I’m not sure how big I even want the rug to be!

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What I want to do is do a smaller, controlled experiment. Choose a specific number of pairs of jeans, say, 5 or perhaps ten and harvest the denim and create the yarn. That way, I know exactly how much will be needed to create the braids and how much it will produce as far as a rug size is concerned.

I’m also planning a very detailed tutorial, from start to finish. I guess this post is an attempt at trying to explain why lately I haven’t been able to post regularly. All the projects that I have in progress follow the same template… much too big to complete quickly or easily! And definitely too big to write about easily in a single post. 🙂

But, and speaking of this blog, I do have a milestone to announce. I don’t really actively promote this blog and it was really an experiment to see if I could do this as well as learn about the technical aspects of creating, producing and maintaining a blog. Sort of helps me in my “normal” nine-to-five job. But I always am doing creative type things and if my writing and photos help or inspire someone else, then great!

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 1.54.02 PMSo, I’ve surpassed the 100,000 mark with visitors! To be honest, I thought if I could maintain the blog for a year and have 5,000 visitors, I’d be successful. Who’da thunk?

More Intermediate Work

Again, the way I work is very energetic and a bit haphazard. I start working on multiple things at once and then wrap them up almost all at the same time. I am making progress on another pink ombré dresser, a couple of nightstands and began the process of putting together my pew (a bench for the foyer!) So, yeah, tons of stuff going on all at the same time.

2015-12-11 22.00.02Additionally, last weekend I was the recipient of a ton of wonderful stuff from a woman who, along with her family, were clearing her grandparents’ home and her grandmother was an avid sewer and crafter (like me)! I brought out two truck loads of ‘stuff’ – and I have spent the better part of the last five days going through all of it!

Seven large 55 gallon plastic bags, five more 33 gallon bags and a ton of other stuff – including numerous rolls of upholstery fabric! Initially, I was worried as Laura warned me that both of her grandparents were smokers, but this stuff was really clean and only smelled of fabric and crafts! LOL!

2015-12-11 21.58.47There was some really awesome retro and vintage fabrics. Colors straight out of the seventies: gold, green and oranges! But there are tons of it, some cuts were multiple yards! There are gorgeous cuts of pastels and children’s prints. Lots of whites and blacks – staples that I can always use. Laces, ribbons and threads. A bunch of real wool felt… red, blue, brown, greens, yellow and more! Velours, brocades and lace. Such awesomeness!

2015-12-05 20.27.47I’ve chosen a huge selection of the fabrics and extras, and am donating a large selection. I don’t usually work with knits or corduroys, but did select about two dozen cuts of fabrics that will make lovely blankets. I sat one day (and evening) hemming and have made a whole bunch of blankets that will be going to my favorite animal shelter: Wayside Waifs (along with some other stuff I’ve collected for them).

2015-12-11 21.59.44Oh and about another twenty pairs of jeans! Yay! More denim for my rag rug! So, I also spent more time deconstructing all those jeans and preparing them to be cut into 3″ strips. I also managed to sneak a little time sewing and have started sewing denim patchwork squares (7″)… I think I have about 50 so far. Might be looking at maybe ten by ten initially, and with all this leftover scrap denim, I think I could probably get at least a half dozen quilts out of it all!

2015-12-07 23.12.13Yeah, I’ll sleep when I am dead! And when I am recovering from surgery (oh yeah, attended an information class today about joint replacement therapy too)!

julie

Another Saga in The Never Ending List of Projects

I feel like I haven’t written anything in a long time, and if you don’t count the last two quick posts about my “ible”, it has been more than a week. Doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten things done though. I think I may just be getting a little lazy about documenting it.

So, a couple of previously finished pieces have been sold and making a bit of room in both the house and the garage. It almost seems that there is a ebb and flow to how the pieces sell. I will have a few pieces for a while, adding to them as I complete projects and then all of a sudden a bunch of things will sell. But sell they have and I am happy to have some cash to begin new projects.

First up, I wanted to provide an update on our gardening. We finally had a break from the rain and we were able to get the corn planted into the garden. We stacked grass clumps around the two sides to help deter the little rain stream that is created every time it rains. We also planted additional seed, such that we could get some kind of result.

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The Kid wanted to keep one stalk in a bucket, sort of as a control subject. I like to have him take an interest in something other than his constant computer use. I am trying with all my might to make him a well rounded young man.

My tomatoes have also been transplanted into their containers. Its has been a hit or miss with the watering so thankfully I started with more starts than I will eventually need.

I still need to complete my plan for the supporting structure, what I plan to use in place of tomato cages. They are still quite little, so I have some time.

The next project that I am working on is another ‘suitcase’ dresser. I love these and have quite a bit of the materials on hand for them. They always seem to sell quickly, too. This one I opted to paint the box in the aubergine color (used on the little Aubergine Victrola cabinet remake).

2015-06-12 18.45.17And here are the drawers in progress…

One of the things I love the most about this particular project is that it allows so much creativity! There is something deeply satisfying about picking out the fabric, being able to look and touch all the different colors, weights, weaves and styles. And because I use a heavier fabric – usually used in upholstery – it is a whole new set of fabrics.

The particular dresser that I had picked up, wasn’t the best quality. In fact, the drawer fronts were molded plastic! I only found this out but attempting to remove the quirky design on all of the drawers. I am so mad at myself for not taking a “before” photo! These two dressers sort of resemble the style of the drawers – not exactly, but it gives you an idea of what it looked like:

The drawer fronts, once I removed the molded plastic section – turned out to be nothing but 1/2″ fiberboard (and not in very good shape with what it took to remove the drawer front). It took a few days of thinking, considering and exploring, and in the end I opted to just leave the fronts and cover it with a solid piece of 1/4″ high quality plywood. This would make it perfect for then doing the fabric “suitcase” fronts.

2015-06-07 17.43.56I also have been working on the very beautiful waterfall dresser. I had high hopes when I bought it that the veneer breaks could be repaired and  with only a little effort, it could be restored to its natural beauty.

Unfortunately, as I started attempting to re-glue the veneer, it literally just fell off. All the drawers were the same and I was just heartbroken! Unfortunately, after sitting in garages and basements, the elements were just more than that poor veneer could deal with. In my estimation and my opinion, the veneer – and more importantly the glue used to secure it – just dries out. There was just enough contact to make getting it off in single pieces impossible. If it had, I could have simply reattached all the pieces. It was just not to be. Sadly.

So, now it is getting updated to a gorgeous ivory – Toasted Marshmallow, to be exact – and it will get new hardware. Oh, did I mention that the previous hardware on this dresser was immaculate! Not a scratch or break anywhere. I don’t think that hardware really matches the style of the dresser once it was repainted though. I opted to list it on eBay and they sold for $65!

I opted instead, to use hardware that I have in my arsenal. I often find hardware at different stores and yard sales and estate sales. Sometimes the hardware comes from an older piece of furniture that I rescued. In this case, these came from my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you live close to one, you should check them out. And often as they get new donations all the time. And you are helping your community to boot!

2015-06-12 18.45.48I had ten in two different styles that I wanted to ‘try out’. The dresser is impressive and needed something ‘large’ to compliment it. The style closer to you in the photo has won. I love this color, it is a shiny gold with a hint of pink – it is actually named “Rose Gold” (from Rust-Oleum). You can see in the corner of the photo a wood applique that I am also installing on the dresser. It too was painted.

2015-06-12 18.45.56A closer look… I love the sparkles! Its beautiful in a quiet sort of way.

2015-06-07 17.26.36Here is the cabinet ready for primer and then paint:

2015-06-12 18.45.33As I mentioned, the veneer just fell off the drawer fronts, but the veneer on the body was in pretty good shape. I only had to patch two small areas, one on either side. Here is the dresser following its third coat of paint.

Here are the drawers, prep’d and ready for painting. And with three coats of paint that followed a primer layer.

2015-06-05 22.17.43One last project in the works. These are the inner seams from all those pairs of jeans that I took apart. I curled them up and secured with a pin temporarily. I think that this will make a very interesting rug and have to figure out how to permanently secure them and attach them to a rug backing. You see in the lower right hand corner of the photo that I have some not currently curled and am hoping to use them to fill in some of the blank areas in the form of little curlicues.Denim Circle3There is a little more work to be done, obviously. This is one of the side projects of taking apart all of those pairs of jeans. I also started the project I hinted about in the deconstructing post. The problem is that working with so many layers in seams with only a standard sewing machine is that needles break. A lot. I went through 12 before I decided to order some heavy duty needles online and will wait to finish up when they arrive.

2015-06-05 17.46.50I found this little guy sprouting up from between boards in the back deck. I love how nature does what she wants! I pulled him up carefully (along with some from the front) and planted them in a long planter box on the back deck. I really would like to have tons and tons of trees on the property. And I love an underdog!

julie

Fabric Storage and Organization: Reducing Exposure to Sunlight

Recently I read a couple a handful of storage methods for quilters and their fabric. There are as many different approaches to how this is handled, as many ideas as there are quilters.

Well, I’d like to add my storage plan to the mix. Much as I love the site of fabric, I know that it is not conducive to maintaining colors in fabrics, to allowing your fabric to be exposed to light, especially the rays of the sun. But the plan also needs to keep your fabrics close at hand and easy to get to. Allow you to be able to view your fabrics as a whole while still protecting it.

I’ve seen organizing from many different perspectives, such as style, patterns, colors, even sorted by the amount of fabric. Some store fabric in baskets, plastic containers, drawers and on shelves. The possibilities are endless and many decisions are based on a number of factors, such as how much fabric is being stored, how much of each fabric, how much money a quilter has to spend and also how quickly the fabric is used.

I, myself, am a collector. I have often said that I could quit buying fabric and still have enough to make quilts until I die and will still have one helluva estate sale! My quilting room has been dubbed “little JoAnn’s” as some days it seems that I have enough fabric to start my own store. I have a saying on the wall of my quilt room that reads:

Definition of a Quilter:

1. Knows what a ‘fat quarter’ is.

2. Has at least 5 projects going at once

3. Owns 65,000 yards of fabric

Well, folks, that describes me! So, let me show you how I handle my “65,000 yards”: 2015-05-24 17.56.14My quilting room is actually a converted bedroom. For resale, I didn’t want to eliminate the closet, so I converted it with storage units. On the left wall, there are both drawer units plus open shelving.

2015-05-24 17.56.25I found the baskets and they worked perfectly for this purpose, as they were the right depth as the cabinet and for nine inches of fabric (basically a quarter of a yard). They help reduce the small amount of sunlight and keep things nice and organized.  And you can see the color of the fabrics through the holes in the front, which also allow air flow around the material. And above all else, I close the closet door, leaving the fabrics in total darkness. No fading allowed here!2015-05-24 17.56.35The drawers slide in and out quite nicely and I can transport a single basket to the cutting table and back. 2015-05-24 17.56.01Here you can see the basket conveniently sitting on the cutting table. I can pull fabrics and cut what I need, then return it to the basket and the basket goes back into the closet. Almost all of the small pieces of fabric are stored here.

Any larger size, including fabric still on bolts, go into the extensive cabinetry that I had made and installed when we first built the house.

DSCN0186I have, in an earlier post, shown you my wonderful quilting room, but did not share with you what was stored in them.

2015-05-24 17.58.33From left to right: The first cabinet is black, white and black & white fabrics. The cabinets, as indicated previously, were custom built to be the exact depth of a bolt of fabric, give or take.

2015-05-24 17.57.17I tend to buy fabrics when they are on sale or clearance and keeping it on the bolts, not only keeps the fabric more organized but also cuts down on the creases from folding. Larger cuts of fabric go on the top shelves. I also moved quite a bit of this when we migrated from California to Missouri and it was so much easier on the bolts.2015-05-24 17.57.28The last cabinet contains most of my solids on the shelf and my reds and pinks on bolts. Isn’t this just wonderful? Sometimes I like to go up and open all the doors and then go through all of the fabric and admire the colors and patterns.2015-05-24 17.59.22And last, but not least, these boxes lined up across the east wall contains pre-cut squares; I most usually use 2″, 3″ 4″, 5″ and 6″. One of my favorite sizes is 2″ x 6″, perfect for the ‘fence rails’ or ‘braided’ patterns. I also store scrappy squares that I complete as I have time and scraps.So, I am interested in how you store your fabric; do you store it by color or size or something else? How much fabric do you have on hand at any one time. Is it more difficult to use up your stash than to buy more? Share your ideas!julie

Putting Final Touches on a Bunch of Quilts

Since the new year, I’ve been staying out of the garage and working in my sewing room. I am drawn to doing work in the garage, but the temperatures have been hovering just above the freezing point and kerosene heater or no, it is too damned cold to be working outside. And not just for me, but for painting and staining.

I am an avid quilter. Rather, I make a lot of the quilt tops and send them off to be quilted and then returned to me and then I bind them (the outer edge). I’ve been quilting for over almost 15 years, started just before 2000 and I am betting in the time I have made at least a five hundred (or more!) quilts. In the last couple of months, I received two big boxes of quilted tops from my friend Gloria and I’ve slowly been working through them. Doing the binding, that is.

So here’s what I finished today:

DSCN3025I’ve created some of these quilt tops months – even as long as years – ago. I have almost forgotten that I’ve done some of these. This was a work in green… not much to say about it really, just a nice fun pattern that I will give to someone who likes green.

DSCN3026This was inspired by a fun little duck print. Wouldn’t this be grand for some little one? The yellows are so cheery. And the quilting pattern is little ducks too!

Did I mention that one thing I had always loved about my friend Gloria who does the quilting, she makes most of the decisions about pattern and thread color? I like to work with her, it is a real creative collaboration. It started out with her wanting to try new patterns and me wanting to not have to choose! And it has worked out well for the last decade and a half.

DSCN3029I love bold, strong colors. As a result, I also end up with a lot of great scraps (see below). Sometimes I just like to sit and cut pieces while watching old movies on DVDs (I have the complete set of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies) and then sit and sew them together. Sometimes they turn out absolutely great and sometimes they turn out ok. Once in a great while I get a dud or two, to which those are donated to the local no-kill animal shelter for the dogs to use. That way, it gets used and the puppies probably don’t care what it looks like!

DSCN3031This is a piece that I have been working on and off for years! These are strips of white cotton are cut across the width of the fabric and six inches wide. Then the strips and scraps are sewed onto them. I had 16 strips completed, so I then sewed them together. The back is just white cotton and I am debating about whether or not to layer it and quilt it or just leave it as is. I have it hanging over the landing railing, so every time I walk down the hall, I see it. And then I think about it.

And to give credit where credit is due, here is my helper, usually hidden behind the quilts. And the one who runs up and down the stairs for sodas and makes lunch for me and who helps me move the massive amount of fabric around as I bind them. And I just love him like crazy 🙂

DSCN3032The guest bedroom bed has about another nine or ten quilts waiting to be bound. And of course I have projects that I’ve started that need to be completed. And I found another box of quilt tops that I need to send off to be quilted. But Gloria has decided to hang it all up and retire and now I have to find someone new.

This is gonna be difficult!

julie

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Buttons

Well, maybe not actually a thousand, but quite a few. 🙂

I was flipping through the pages of HomeTalk and Pinterest just catching up on what else is going on out there in the creative world. I ran across one post of three framed initials spelling JOY with buttons. And of course I wanted to link up with my  rendition of the same project. And after spending quite a bit of time flipping and searching through my blog, I realized that I never wrote about it.

So, here it is, about ten years late:

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My room was very nicely decorated when we first moved here – in California my bedroom was a hodge podge  of denim and white and mismatched furniture. I wanted to have a truly put together room and it helped that with this move, I had the funds to decorate.

I had purchased my very first matching bedroom set – sleigh bed and nightstands, a tall, 6 drawer dresser and entertainment center/armoire that was stylish and at the same time, impressive. I felt that a large room, one that size, needed to have appropriately large furniture. Not to fill the room, but to embrace it.

That said, there wasn’t a lot of wall space for art, so I knew what I did hang would have to punctuate the space and reflect me. I have two pieces, a large hand sculpted mirror in a heavy metal, much like a starburst. But the important piece was my initial: J.

The red fabric matches the accent material in the room, and the frame was picked up at a deep discount at Hobby Lobby. It apparently had been dropped in the store and so it was deeply discounted – since it had come apart after the glass was broken. It was a matter of just gluing and clamping to make it perfect, since I didn’t need the glass.

I found the letter in the font I liked and printed it out. It might be a little hard to judge the size of this pieces, but the height of the J, top to bottom, is 30 inches. It took a while to get the letter to the size I needed, ended up having to print it out on four sheets of paper and taping it together.

Then I carefully cut away the letter and then laid it onto the fabric using some tape to hold it in place. I started with the larger buttons and then worked progressively smaller until I was down to placing the tiny little buttons at the bottom curve of the J. Just good ol’ Elmer’s glue.

Then I squeezed the fabric into the frame and hung it. After ten years of hanging there, it still looks good.

julie

The Tale of Two Bentwood Cases

On occasion, I get the desire to acquire something unique. (Okay, that’s about every other day, but who keeping track?) Recently, it was an old Singer featherweight in a bentwood case.

99K Singer Hand Crank Sewing MachineThey look something like this. These machines were so well made that many of them are still in use. And I found quite a few that were absolutely in perfect condition – both machine and case.

Well, for some unknown reason, I bought two! Based on the serial numbers, one was from the 40’s and one from the early 50’s. The older one was described as being in perfect working order too. But the other one had a foot control and a built in light on the back of the machine (to shine on the sewing area).

Well, much to my chagrin, neither of the boxes arrived without incident, shipping took a real toll on both of them. So, I opted to put together one using parts from the other to make it look almost perfect again. I cleaned the wood and lightly sanded it and then gave it a coat of stain in the same color, just to bring out the richness of the wood. I then added two coats of poly to help protect it. I also swapped a few parts, mostly decorative, as one machine had much more ornate detailing.

The other box, well, it couldn’t be saved. See how the handle sits on top of the case? Well, pressure on top of the box during shipping had literally pushed the handle through the top of the box. And then in jumbling about during transit, the connectors (where the box attaches to the base) broke and then the machine just bounced around inside the case, causing more damage. I tried very, very, very hard to restore it, but it just wasn’t saveable.

So, I opted to give it a treatment like I had done before with a dresser (and did a bunch of trunks this way ten or twelve years ago). I like how it came out:

2014-10-20 18.26.58So everything is still functional, it just now has a new look. Whaddyathink?

Oh, and worked on this photo to get my “Before & After” shot of the changes in the sewing room. The angle that the photograph was taken isn’t the best – as it is difficult to see the new cabinet on the other side of the television armoir, but trust me, its there!

Before&After

I still need to add more lights in the back corner for the two embroidery machines and that is in the works. Months ago I picked up these lovely antique hanging globes (two different sets with two lights each), but I need to get them rewired and then hung.

I found this wonderful site online that I want to order electrical cords from, I have been on this site everyday since I found it and I can’t wait to get going. You should check ’em out! It seems like their prices are extremely competitive, although I know once I get started, I am going to be sending a lot of money their way!

For the sewing room, I’ve got these in mint green picked out, the socket cover and a twisted cord:

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I also have been collecting decanters for use in recreating something like this for the front foyer/entryway:

decanter-light… except I will use red socket covers and red wires:

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I think it will look very striking! Well, you know me and my red kitchen!!

julie

 

 

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you!

Creating a Suitcase Dresser: A Tutorial

A couple of posts back, I showed you another of the suitcase dressers that I had completed. I had a comment or two from readers that said they really liked the concept but could find no instructions or tips or any other helpful information on how to recreate the look. Well, I have been working on a short console type cabinet for a client that I decided that I would do a tutorial on how to make the suitcase dresser, or at least, how I do it.

Okay, I have done this about four times (and I have another under way). The particular pieces of furniture that I chose are those sound in structure, but devoid of any real character. Like this dresser.

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I took the drawers out and removed their hardware. This left this odd bumpy pieces that under closer inspection appeared to be attached to the fronts. A little prying and they came right off. They were attached with three very long staples and made of pressed wood. Basically useless.

DSCN1246I discarded those pieces.

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You can see the long one leaning against the front of the drawer.

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So here are the drawers with clean fronts ready to be worked on.

Oh, and speaking of ‘clean’, it is always a good idea to wipe down everything with a clean cloth avoiding chemical cleaners. You don’t want anything interfering with the bonding of glue and drawer front. Wipe out the interiors of the drawers and the inside of the cabinet. Nice to have everything clean to start with.

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Next, I made a couple of trips to my local hangouts; Joann’s and then Home Depot. First I chose fabric. I knew the piece was to be primarily black (cabinet is the ‘usual’ Deep Space black in semi-gloss from Behr). I painted the cabinet and set it aside. I would have to do two coats to get a nice even coverage. Below, you will see the two fabrics I chose. I purchased the width of the drawer plus 4 inches, enough to wrap around the top and bottom edges. This will make sense when we get further.DSCN1253

The type of fabric used is as least considered an upholstery fabric. I like to use styles and colors that mimic what I think of when it comes to older suitcases, something around the 50’s and 60’s. I collected these images to give you a place to start. Let you imagination take you wherever you want to go, who is to say what is or isn’t suitcase fabric? Also, remember you can always use just about any colored vinyl. Let’s you really get a pop of color in there.

SuitcaseExamples

Here you can get an idea of the weight of fabric, it does need to be a heavier type fabric. Working with a heavier and more stable fabric is easier and it will wear longer. Not all upholstery or furniture fabric will work, you have to be careful of glue saturation. More on that later.

Fabric Examples

Here are several examples of fabrics that I have purchased to use in upcoming projects. You can see the wide selection of colors and patterns.

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Next I cut off the selvage. I am also a quilter, so I use the cutting mat and rotary cutting tool and straight edge tool that I already own. You could just as easily use a scissors to cut off the edge.

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Now measure the length of the drawer adding four inches. Now cut the length.

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Now fold the fabric onto itself into about thirds. What you are doing here is to make a crease in the fabric to replicate the lid meeting the body of the suitcase.

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Pin to hold the fold. You may want to pull the fabric back and look (at the right sides together) to make sure that your fold placement looks good. For me, it was trial and error the first couple of times. For the most part, I figure as long as striped or obvious patterns look right and match appropriately.

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Sew about a 1/4″ seam. This doesn’t have to be perfect measurement, again, as a quilter, this is what I normally sew. And I don’t lose too much of the fabric to the seam.DSCN1262

Now open the seam and press. Sometimes, when the fabric is really heavy, pressing helps to maintain a nice flat surface when you apply the fabric to the drawer front.

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Now apply a liberal amount of glue mixture to the drawer front. I use a combination of about 4 parts white glue (good ‘ol Elmers, I buy it by the gallon size) and 1 part water. This makes it just a little easier to work with. Now working with the fold towards the bottom, place the fabric evenly on the drawer front folded… then unfold when the line is straight. Believe me, when you are all done and that seam is crooked, it will jump out at you and you will see it every time you look in its direction!

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Now unfold and smooth the remainder of the fabric. Start at the center and work out to ensure a smooth coverage. Be careful not to pull when you smooth and move the fabric.

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In most cases, I use those big office binder clips, to hold the fabric as it dries. You will only be doing the two long edges now.

Two things you need to be aware of if you leave the clips on too long … one, these clips can possibly leave rust if the fabric is saturated with the glue mixture. Two, you can get a crease line when the glue dries where the binder meets the fabric. These can be avoided if you leave the clips on long enough to allow the glue to ‘set’ but before it dries. Again, this is just a matter of trial and error.

Occassionally, if there is not enough ‘lip’ on the drawer to support the use of a binder clip, I will use a stapler. Just a regular stapler, not a heavy duty one. This is just to hold the fabric in place until it dries enough to remove the support.

DSCN1266 Another view of the fabric drying:

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Once the fabric has dried enough to maintain the connection to the drawer, remove the binder clips. To use these on a multi-drawer dresser, you will need quite a few of them. Allow the glue to dry at least overnight, better if you can give it the full twenty-four hours recommended.

This will be where you will see if your choice of fabric was good. I didn’t plan this, but it ended up working out okay since I am doing a tutorial. After all, a good tutorial will also tell you what not to do as well as what to do.

In this case, this fabric wasn’t a good choice after all. The glue soaked into the fabric to the point that when it dried, it discolored the fabric. It is pretty difficult to see in the photos, but where the glue was too thick, it discolored the fabric.

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I was able to pull the fabric off without any damage to the drawer front. Off to the store for a replacement fabric, this time I dropped by Hobby Lobby to check out their selection. I found a beautiful black and shades of silver/gray with circles to replace it. Back through the steps to get the second drawer caught up to the first.

Once the long edges of the drawer have been dried, you need to repeat the process to the ends. This is usually much easier since they are shorter in length. Again, another 24 hours is recommended to allow the glue mixture to dry.

Now, you need to trim the excess from the drawers. This process is dependent on the specific shape of the drawers and how they fit into the cabinet. I usually chose drawers that lay on top of the cabinet as opposed to being recessed. Perhaps this photo will help clarify what I am talking about:

Drawers Explained

Drawer styles vary, but again, I like to stick to drawer styles that are similar. I trim the fabric under the drawer first, using a sharp razor blade to remove it where the drawer front meets the drawer. Using the inside corner as a guide, pull the blade along to cut the fabric. Trim the edges using the razor blade or a small pair of scissors.

DSCN1322 Pull the fabric away as you move down the drawer. This helps to see where you might need to re-cut; remember, this is heavy duty fabric!

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Once you have the fabric removed, apply more glue to the edges, trimming away errant threads as you go. Be liberal in your glue application, you want the edges to stick well!DSCN1325

Another waiting period for glue to dry. Then it is time to install hardware.

First, let me talk a little about hardware. I think it looks better to have a variety of styles and colors. Otherwise, you are back to looking like it is just another dresser. I keep my eyes open in many places I shop for possible candidates. One place I love to browse through bins is Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. They have some awesome old and unique pieces. Often dirty and without mates or pairs, but all the better. And usually either 50 cents or a buck!

I always peruse the hardware aisles at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, but you can also look at places like Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. Occasionally, I will find good stuff at the dollar stores and thrift stores. I browse eBay and Craiglist too. Because I know I will be doing these from time to time, I like to keep an eye open all the time and in the end, this gives me a good selection to choose from.

Here is are some examples of what Home Depot has to offer:

HomeDepot Selection

Position on the drawer front to suit yourself and attach. On one drawer front, I used a piece of a leather belt (picked up at Goodwill for $1.98) and two pipe straps to simulate a leather suitcase handle.

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Next, as clasps for the case I used silver window sash hardware one on each side, about 5″ from the edges:

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The other drawer was treated with a black gate handle, nice and solid:

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And it also received the window sash hardware, this time in black. Also, to vary the hardware location, I mounted these about 4″ from the edge. Just to keep from getting to repetitive and keep things looking different.

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Insert the drawers into the cabinet, take a step back and let out a long overdue and well deserved sigh. You should be done at this point. A few more photos of the completed project. First, a close-up of the hardware, you can see that things don’t line up and that is on purpose.

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A step back to view the whole thing, cabinet included:

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Another shot:

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Whew! About two thousand words and pictures! pictures! pictures! I hope this all makes sense, but if you have questions, please ask! Like I said, I have done this four or five times now and I may have taken a short cut or two without realizing it. Once you do something a few times, you kind of know where you can cut corners but is information that would be helpful when trying to show someone else how to do it.

Oh, just for fun, here are the other dressers that I have done, the first one even had a small matching nightstand:

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and the very first effort:

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This one shows you a before and after shot:

Suitcase3 Before&After

Okay! I will say goodnight! I loved doing this tutorial but had no idea that it would take nearly 5 hours to write. Glad I was taking photos along the way.

Thank you for dropping by! Come back again!

And keep crafting y’all!

julie

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