The Friday Five: 5 reasons why sewing is like planning a trip to Walt Disney World

Disney Postcard

This week’s Friday Five comes to you after a week of massive snowstorms all across the country… in every state except Florida. Vacation on your mind? Here’s a few reasons why SEWING is like planning a trip to Walt Disney World…

1. There’s a perception that you have to be a certain age to enjoy it: Walt Disney World is for kids, and sewing is for senior citizens… NOT! I’m an almost-27-year-old who enjoys both immensely. Anyone who is familiar with the Disney theme parks or can foresee creative sewing possibilities knows that both sewing and Disney are for everybody!

2. It’s worth the wait! You may have to wait an hour to meet Tinker Bell, and it may take weeks or months to complete an extensive sewing project. But the end results are priceless: a meet and greet with a magical, famous fairy, or a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted item created by you. I’ll take all of the above, please!

3. Preparation (and anticipation) are key. Know how much time I spend roaming fabric stores? A lot. Know how much time I spend Googling sewing questions? A lot more. Do you know how crazy a person would be to visit a Disney theme park without preparing ahead of time? Very.

4. For many, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Most families only get the chance to visit a Disney theme park once in their lives – if that. And while there seems to be a big network of sewers all over internet message boards, it’s more common to run into someone who says, “Oh, I sewed a ____________ once.” Fill in the blank with the appropriate common once-in-a-lifetime sewing experience: Halloween costume, button-on-a-shirt, project in home ec class.

5. Both Disney and sewing are good, clean fun. In my teenage and young(er) adult years, I may have been more hesitant to admit that I preferred good ‘ole family-friendly fun over whatever inappropriate/undignified trendy activity my peers were partaking in. These days? Please. Every morning, my toaster burns Mickey Mouse’s face into my toast. I write a sewing blog. I like good, clean fun, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! ūüôā

The Friday Five: 5 steps to a no-sew wreath

This week’s Friday Five is both a list AND a tutorial wrapped up into one post! Wahoo!

When I was little, I remember my beloved Aunt Corlyne (who was always bursting with enthusiasm about the latest and greatest craft trends) bringing over bags of supplies to make these easy fabric wreaths. This no-sew craft gives everybody an excuse to shop in the fabric aisle, regardless of whether they know how to sew or not. It is a fun project for kids who are old enough to be trusted with a pointy pencil, although grown-ups may have to take care of the pinking shears portion.

1. Gather: You’ll need…

  • A few yards of fabric in coordinating colors
  • A styrofoam wreath (usually available in the floral section of craft stores)
  • Pinking shears (a.k.a zig-zag scissors)
  • A pointy object such as a screwdriver, skewer, pencil, etc.

2. Cut: Use the pinking shears to cut out a pile of fabric squares. The exact size doesn’t matter and the shape can be rough, but the size should be approximately 3×3 inches.

Fabric Squares

I used a bunch of Valentine fabric leftover from a quilt my mom made me in college!

3. Stab: Wrap a fabric square around the pointy object, then stab the whole contraption anywhere on the styrofoam wreath. When you pull the pointy object out, the fabric should stay wedged in the styrofoam.

Pointy Object

Wrap the fabric around the object right-side-up.

4. Fill: Continue with step #3, filling in the entire front side of the wreath. You’ll probably find yourself having to revert back to step #2 and cut out more squares as the project progresses. It only took me one viewing of Eat, Pray, Love and one episode of How I Met Your Mother to complete my heart wreath from start to finish!

Keep going until the entire wreath looks like this!

5. Hang: Now that your wreath is complete, hang it from a nail or use thumbtacks to secure a ribbon on the back!

Heart Wreath

The Friday 5: Five sewing goals for the new year

2011 Sewing

1) Create something wearable. No more fears about making items that are poorly fitted! I will make it happen this year.

2) Adequately prepare for next year’s holiday season and make as many Christmas gifts as possible. This year I didn’t get to sew a single gift. I know… excuses, excuses… but really, working two jobs and being new to sewing didn’t blend well when it came to Christmas gifts.

3) As much as possible, use fabric/notions that I already have on hand and avoid those tempting trips to the fabric store! Those trips add up, and plus, sometimes I think I get more creative when I’m forced to do amazing things with what I have on hand.

4) Create and sell some items in my etsy shop (that is currently collecting virtual dust).

5) Blog more often, including more completed projects and maybe even some of my own tutorials!

What are your goals for 2011?

The Friday Five: 5 sewing fears

1. My biggest sewing fear is ruining fabric. I measure, re-measure, stare for awhile, empty the dishwasher and watch an episode of Hannah Montana before finally making a cut. After spending so much time searching for the perfect fabric combinations, the last thing I want to do is wreck what I’ve got.

2. Making ugly things. I want to take pride in my handmade items, not be ashamed to show them to my friends!

3. Making things that don’t fit. I haven’t really broken into the world of wearable items yet for this very reason. You know how sizes can vary from one shirt to another? The same goes for patterns, apparently. Hence the fear of creating an item that does not fit and cannot be fixed, thus ruining the fabric. See fear #1 listed above.

4. Breaking the sewing machine. After so much research, and the final investment in what is essentially a household appliance that I’d like to keep for some time, the last thing I want to do is break it by using it incorrectly. Since I’m still learning, this is a very real possibility, so I am thankful for all of the machine’s features that are in place to avoid as many beginner’s catastrophes as possible. However, it is still a lingering fear.

5. Accidentally putting my finger under the pulsating needle. Again, I think the machine has specific safety features to avoid such an incident. But one look at that needle stabbing the air with lightning speed keeps the fear alive.

But despite all of these fears, I will continue to sew. ūüėČ

The Friday Five: 5 reasons to check out

1. The most obvious reason to visit is to read… duh… pattern reviews! As a new sewer, it’s really nice to read about which patterns have mistakes printed in them, which beginner patterns are actually suitable for beginners, which steps in the pattern are tricky, etc.

2. See photos of other people’s completed projects. The pictures opened my eyes to how different each finished project can be. Even if everyone uses the same pattern, it’s amazing how various fabrics and notions, plus minor alterations, can change the final look.

3. Search and shop patterns from lots of different brands all in one place. Dropdown menus make it easy to browse general categories so you don’t have to visit lots of separate web sites.

4. Message boards! Post questions and reach a huge audience of sewers for a variety of answers.

5. RESOURCES GALORE. Not only does the site actually offer online sewing classes, but it is exploding with helpful articles, tips and techniques, glossaries, podcasts, classifieds… you name it! If it can be posted to the internet and is related to sewing, it’s probably there.

Happy Friday!


The Friday Five: 5 essential tools for new sewers

1) First and foremost, the seam ripper. To err is human, to rip seams¬†is… the story of my life. I have a love/hate relationship with the seam ripper. Much like calling an ex-boyfriend for help moving heavy furniture, using the seam ripper is sometimes unavoidable but leaves you with a sense of pouty, annoyed defeat. Plus, it’s sort of creepy looking.



2) ¬†An iron! I didn’t even own an iron before I started sewing. And middle-school-sewer Lindsay was usually too lazy to press seams which is probably why my sewing projects never looked very nice back then. I realized that when I’m told to press the seams, I should actually press the seams. So I bought an iron. Now my seams are happy!

3) A good¬†vacuum.¬†Tons of little thread clippings and fabric shavings tend to float around the entire house when there’s a big sewing project in the works. Right now I am not practicing what I preach – my vacuum is lousy and my carpet is full of clippings from past projects. I dream of getting¬†one of those robot vacuums at some point in my life:

4) Tester fabric – like muslin, or fabric leftover from other projects. Don’t use the good stuff the first time around! You’ll end up teary-eyed¬†when you have a pile of seam-ripped scraps that once was a beautiful, freshly folded square of carefully-chosen fabric. Make mistakes on the boring fabric first!

5) Rotary cutter and mat. I received mine as a gift from my mom when I bought my sewing machine. At first I thought it was a luxury item. It’s not… it’s a must-have. I shall never cut a clean, straight line¬†on fabric without a rotary cutter again!


Happy Friday!

The Friday Five: 5 reasons you should start sewing

1. The most reasonable excuse to start sewing is that you can fix or alter your own clothes. I’m 5’0″. Try finding a new pair of pants that doesn’t drag on the ground. Enter sewing machine. Amen.


2. My friend Krissy often stated in her phenomenal¬†wedding blog something along the lines of… “If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, or for the price that you want, MAKE IT!” And that wonderful sentiment not only applies to table centerpieces and wedding invitations, but sewing projects as well. Don’t be a slave to what’s on the shelves. Make it your way!

3. Custom gifts for family and friends. What do you get for the person who has everything? A personalized, handmade item a la you!

4. Finally, an excuse to venture over to the other half of the craft store. Now you can browse through all of those fun fabrics… with purpose!


5. Because all the cool people are doing it. Haven’t you ever watched Project Runway?