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The skill all design divas should have

by respaced on August 5, 2009

Recently, in my quest to make curtains for the basement windows, I discovered my sewing machine is broken. It worked long enough for me to hem one side of the fabric, and then a couple of pieces just popped off. My manual had nothing helpful to say about these pieces or where they fit on the machine. After sulking for a day (me, not the machine, although it may have been sulking too …) I realized I could hem the sides with fusible tape and hand-sew the rod pocket. It actually didn’t take too long.

If you’re a budget-conscious design-lover, it really helps to know how to sew, both with a machine and by hand. Knowing the short cuts, such as how to work with fusible tape and a staple gun, are valuable, but if you want to work on bigger projects (eg. comforter covers, throw pillows, chair covers), you need to know how to machine sew and sew by hand.

First of all, you’ll need a basic sewing machine. Mine came from Costco and cost $89. It’s the one pictured in the photo.

Then, you can sign yourself up for some sewing classes. My favorite classes are at Bolt on NE Alberta Street in Portland. Most classes run $25 -$40, and you get a 10 percent discount if you buy your fabric for the class at their store. A few other quality fabric shops such as Josephine’s Dry Goods on SW 11th Ave and Fabric Depot on SE 122nd also offer classes. Portland Community College offers sewing classes. PCC’s and Josephine’s classes run toward the $75-100 price range, while Fabric Depot’s classes run more in the $20-65 range. And if you hate learning in a classroom, Sally Hess of Sew Sally will come to your home and teach you one-on-one for $25/hour. She’s super friendly and talented at explaining the sewing process in an easy-to-understand manner.

Knowing how to sew will really open up a whole new level of DIY home design for you, because you will have so many more options for fabric color, texture, trim and size. You may save money as well, if you can find some super-discounted fabric at a place like SCRAP or Knittn Kitten. Both of my basement curtains cost me only $5.50 to make using fabric from SCRAP; they would have been $30 at a place like Target. And I have enough fabric left over to make a bed covering!
Image courtesy of www.costco.com.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Daily Gnome August 5, 2009 at 11:57 pm

I want to see a picture of those curtains! I have that exact same sewing machine and this post is reminding me I need to dust it off. And sign up for a class.

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