Awhile back I accidentally ripped the plastic slip cover for my serger in half, and have been meaning to sew a new one. I just took my sewing machine in the shop for a tune-up, leaving me pining away for its return. I filled the void by finally making my poor coverless serger a new outfit.
Since I love finding good uses for fabric scraps I went that route. I used the serger to piece and my old backup sewing machine for construction. It made me miss my Babylock even more!
As I spend more time at my sewing machine, I’m noticing lots of ways I can improve the space. The first step was a thread rack to get those guys off the table and out of the way. Next up is a bin to hold thread clippings and small tools that get used often.
I sized this bin (inspired by the pattern I bought from Noodlehead) so that a large paper lunch bag would fit neatly inside, making it easy to dump out the trash. And the pockets in the front give me easy access to some things that kept getting lost in my plastic organizing bin.
The blue and white patterned fabric is Retro in Evening from the Betty Dear by Darlene Zimmerman line, and the navy is Kona Cotton. I bought them this week to run some test samples on my new sewing machine. But once I got them home, it was clear that they were too nice for that and needed a real project. The natural canvas and white lining fabric are SAS Fabrics bargains, so I don’t know much about what they actually are.
Topstitching! It was so fun to explore this technique more. I used a topstitching needle with two regular threads (one a natural color and the other khaki), which gives the look of a thick topstitching without needing to buy special thread.
For this bin, I used a non-fusible fleece interfacing — at least I think that’s what it was. It’s another item from SAS, so it’s also a bit of a mystery. But I liked sewing with it a lot more than the Pellon 71F because it was more flexible. The canvas provided some structure as well. It’s a softer-sided bin than the one I made for my knitting supplies.
I used one of my new bias tape makers to fold up the strip along the top of the large pocket. That thing is slick and really fun to use. Excellent use of a few bucks.
Next time I make this bin, I’d consider the following adjustments:
use a different approach on the patch pockets, leaving them unlined and like what would be on a shirt
line the large pocket with a fabric that matches the binding
use a higher quality fabric for the lining (although in this case, it’s completely hidden and being filled with a paper sack anyway)
run patch pockets all the way under the bottom
stop the channel stitches at the bottom fold instead of running underneath
My thread and bobbins have been sitting on my work table for awhile now, and every time I bump them they go clanging all over the place. I don’t have a ton of thread spools, but there are enough that it’s become cumbersome to just have them sitting out.
I didn’t feel like buying a new one and wanted to go the DIY route. We had some old cabinet doors with cat scratches on the front, so I picked a medium-sized one for the thread rack. My husband helped me put it together by cutting 3/16-in. dowels into 4-in. pieces, and while I sanded down the ends of the cut dowels he drilled the grid of holes I had measured out onto the door. Then he tapped in the dowels that had been tipped in wood glue, hung the panel onto the wall, and I was good to go.
Using some wood-colored wax that had originally come with the cabinet doors, I filled the holes that had been left by the door handle.
It felt good to repurpose something that was only slightly damaged, and now my thread is nice and organized. Plus, each dowel holds a matching bobbin, so I don’t have to hunt them down and hope the thread is the same.
The cost to make the rack was $15. This covered the dowels, wood glue, sandpaper, and drywall anchors. It only took a tiny bit of wood glue and sandpaper, so there’s plenty left for future projects. Some of the sandpaper is earmarked for distressing a pair of jeans that I’ll be tailoring soon.
I’ve been reading lots of sewing books lately, and one common theme is to have a cutting station that’s counter-height to ease back strain. This makes sense — my back has been pretty achy from leaning over my desk to cut fabric. And my ironing board is rather wobbly and really un-fun to use, so I wanted to incorporate a pressing station into the cutting station.
A quick search online for ideas led me to craft room Ikea hacks and lots of promise. Since we already had two Expedit (now Kallax) 2×2 cubes, that sounded like a good direction. I particularly liked this trio approach and this 2-cube approach. Rather than purchase an additional cube that wouldn’t quite match my two older Expedit shelves, I settled on the 2-cube design.
For raising it to counter height, I could either add legs to the bottom of the shelves, or raise the table top like this. I chose to raise the table top to keep the base more stable, and it buys me a bit of storage between the top and the shelves.
My husband helped me put together this hack, although the table top was lightweight and one person could do this alone if needed. Two people makes it easier.
I wanted the top to be easily removable and the whole setup to be easy to move and reassemble. One thing I don’t like about Ikea furniture is that once it’s put together, you’re pretty much stuck with full-size furniture if you ever want to move it around. We decided to glue inverted legs to the top of the shelves, positioning them toward the front of the shelves since the top doesn’t reach from front to back, and affix industrial-strength Velcro to the feet base (which is now the top because they’re upside down) and the bottom side of the table top. Then we tacked down a layer of cotton batting on the underside of the table top, and finished by tacking down unbleached muslin.
There are a few inches of empty space at the back of the shelves where I intend to put some narrow storage bins. The Velcro appears to be working great, and if it loses its sticking power we can always cheaply replace it with new pieces.
One improvement I would make in the future is to finish the edges of the fabric cover so they don’t hand down sloppily once the top is in place and it looks more finished. But hey, like my husband says, it’s a hack. So I’m not too concerned about it. My top priority is how it functions, and it appears to be a great solution.
two 2 x 2 Expedit shelves (already owned)
2 packs of Besta legs (4 total legs): $20.00
Linnmon table top, 59 x 29 1/2 in.: $25.99
Drona storage box for shelves (1): $5.99
Velcro Extreme, 1 in. x 4 in. 5-pack: $4.87
Liquid Nails glue: $3.57
Unbleached muslin, 2 yards of 44-inch wide (had 50% off coupon at Joann): $2.99
Natural cotton batting, 1 1/4 yards of 96-inch wide (had 50% off coupon at Joann): $9.37
large white furniture nails, 25-pack: $2.49
Total cost: $75.27 + tax
I’m so happy with this table because it gives me a nice large space for cutting fabric in my sewing room, and provides a large pressing surface. And the most exciting part is that it was a frugal DIY solution for my specific needs.