Sunday, February 3, 2013

Permission to Repurpose

I found a massive piece of sewn fabric in my storage box and grabbed it to put in circulation with the rest of my fabric stash. About 15 years ago, I wanted to put up a purple curtain across a sliding glass door and didn't find anything I liked in the stores (or if I did it was way too pricey) so I decided to make my own curtain. Off to the store I went and came home with the wonderful, grape colored cotton cloth and I stitched up a whopper of a curtain! And I was happy, happy, happy with it!

Inspecting my construction of this piece of home decor history, the fabric was sewn down the middle to make it wide enough and was hemmed on the bottom with a very nice blind hem stitch. When I think of the machine I had at the time, I would have sewn 3 or 4 straight stitches, manually switched the setting to zig-zag to catch that one stitch on the hem, and then switched it back to straight stitch. Over and over and over across all seven feet across the bottom. I do seem to remember wondering why I went on the cheap side and didn't get a sewing machine that had some automation with it. This was not the machine I had but it was similar to it in it's features and design.
Don't misunderstand me. These kinds of starter machines are great! It was a workhorse and I made a LOT of really cool things with mine over the 10 years I used it. I felt that I deserved a little bit more flair and convenience so I got a computerized Project Runway model made by Brother a few years ago and it, too, has been great in it's own way!

Continuing to analyze my curtain's construction, the top of the curtain was stitched with double seams to run the curtain rod through and still have a nice ruffled ridge above it across the top. Very nice attention to curtain-making detail! I was not so enthusiastic about the sides, however, as they remained unfinished, just the way they came off the bolt in the store. Not sure what I was thinking there!

As I look at the wonderful Double Delight quilt that I made from Bonnie Hunter's site,, the sheer size of it has caused it to remain an unfinished quilt, in top form only. The picture doesn't even show the borders I put on it! I just haven't gotten to pick up the backing fabric. The discovery of my stored away curtain and an easy repurposing could be my answer!

The only place in my house where I can lay out a large quilt is on my kitchen floor. Down went the curtain. Then on top of it went the quilt. It was soooo close to being the same size but was a little bit short. The width was more than enough but it was a few inches too short. WAIT! There are hems, and not just dinky ones but nice BIG hems that could give me that extra few inches I needed. Out came the seam ripper.......

Ripping seams is a scary thing to me, especially when it is critical that the fabric isn't damaged in any way. I have used rippers for years but I give the process the respect it deserves. Here's how it works. The pointy end is for picking out one stitch. Keep this end on top of the fabric to rip out stitches or it will pierce through the material with ease and before you know it, you will be slicing your fabric into strips, which is not the desired result! (Go ahead and guess how I know this happens.) The end with the plastic ball on it is the one to use where the fabric meets, sliding it under the row of stitches you want to rip out (as in the picture above.) Once that thread hits the inner blade, it will break and your fabric will remain uncut. Keep the progress slow and even. That is your best tactic while seam ripping!

All of my hems came out of my curtain and the length is where I need it to be! There's no reason to not make my quilt top into a full-fledged, authentic, completed Thistlefire quilted quilt! Nessie (my longarm quilting machine) did great on my last project. She's ready for more! Repurposing can be a good thing. Keep it in mind and see how you can breathe new life into things that are neglected. We have permission to repurpose!

No comments: