Sunday, June 14, 2015

Closet Makeover - What a mess!

Don't really need to say much here, pictures say everything! It is hard to take pictures inside a closet.

Too many clothes, shoes piled on the floor.

Off season clothes way too high to reach.

Mismatch of boxes.

Hardly any room to stand inside.

Too much stuff! So it was time to get rid of unused, outdated, and wrong sized clothes. There are a lot of theories and guides to do this, but I asked myself a simple question, "If I saw this at a store (and I'm not including Goodwill), would I buy it?"  So away went my Benetton sweater and my boot cut cords and high heeled shoes, but I kept my Esprit Thanksgiving shirt and a Calvin Klein wrap chambray skirt. And I took everything out of the closet.  Then I mapped out the closet and sketched out the access zones: 
  • daily access: in season clothes, shoes, laundry sorting (whites, darks, mediums, delicates, good will, dry-cleaning)
  • more frequently accessed: (specialty workout clothes, seasonal clothes/sweaters)
  • seldom accessed storage: (old paperwork, family slides, fancy shoes/clothes, suitcases)
So the daily access items needed to be on the main level, the next accessed clothes could be on the upper shelf, but still within reach, and the top level is the seldom accessed items, that would need a step ladder to get to. Here is the final organized closet:

Matching fabric bins from Target.

Behind the curtains (Ikea wire and hooks) are the least accessed items: suitcases, random boxes of papers, etc.

On each side, we have three of the narrow bins: mediums, darks, dry cleaning on this side, and then whites, delicates, and goodwill on the other.
Still need to get rid of more shirts.

In the before closet, I used an old bookshelf for my shoes, but because it was for books the shelves were too far apart, so I swapped it for this shelf designed for shoes, more shoes in the same footprint.

Closet purse hanger.

Added framed photo.

Labels to mark what is in the mid-level boxes (off season bottoms)
Love my closet now! Something I can easily walk in, find things easily, and not a source of stress.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Oilcloth Sewing Machine Cover

I am revamping my craft room.  One goal is for my sewing machine to be out and ready. If I have to dig it out of a cabinet, and set it up, I don't use it as much.  So I am creating a new sewing area, which includes going through and organizing my fabric stash and having it more visible as well. (My fabrics used to be crammed into a large plastic bins - dark and light - and shoved under a cabinet.)

I love my sewing machine, I have had it for over 20 years and it's still going strong.  But in order for it to deserve such prime real estate it needs to look good. So I decided to make it a cool cover. I had a leftover piece of oilcloth (perk for organizing my stash), so it's a bit wrinkled. Oil cloth is easy to use as it doesn't fray, but if your pressure foot has difficult moving over the fabric you can cover the foot with some painters tape (cut it to match the bottom of the foot), or you can buy a teflon foot. Also I have a long stitch (4.5), but practice with what works with your machine.

If you want to make one yourself, here are the simple steps:

1.  Measure the length, width, and height  of your machine. You will cut three rectangle pieces.  One that will go over the sewing machine, and two side pieces.
2. Cut out the three pieces. To figure out the dimensions on the main rectangle - the width should be the length of the sewing machine and the length should be two heights and one width, (plus an inch for seam allowance).  For example my sewing machine is 15 1/2 inches long, seven inches wide, and 12 inches tall.  So my main rectangle piece is 16 1/2 (length plus 1 inch for seam allowance) and 32 (7 + 12 + 12 + 1).  The other two pieces are the width and height, so in my case 8 x 13 (7+1 x 12 +1).
3. Lay the pieces like so, right sides together.

4. Sew the piece together, but this is tricky but simple when you think about it.  The three sides of the small rectangles need to be sewed to the large rectangle, but not the bottom short side that is lined up with the width of the rectangle.  Put a small dot on two corners, a 1/2 an inch from the corner, you can see them in the picture below. So start along the right edge, sew down the side (I didn't use pins because they puts holes in the oilcloth, but I have used clothespins).

5. When you get the the dot, make sure your needle is down. Lift your pressure foot up and snip the top fabric at a 45 degree angle to the dot. (You could do this earlier, but I wanted to make sure I was snipping to the needle).

6. Now this is the tricky part.  Rotate the top piece of fabric so that you can continue sewing straight. The snip allows the top fabric to rotate so the width lines up with the length of the bottom rectangle. Drop your pressure foot and continue sewing straight. When you get to the next dot, do the same thing, leave your needle down, pressure foot up, snip the top piece to your needle, rotate the top piece of fabric, and continue sewing straight. I put my hand inside the pocket that is forming to make sure I didn't sew in a tuck or anything.
7. Do the same thing with the other small rectangle.
8. Invert your cover. I top stitched along the four vertical seams to reinforce it a bit, using my little clothespins to keep it secure.
9. Hemming is optional, as oil cloth doesn't fray.  But I ended up folding the bottom up and stitching around it.

Note: I some tips from Martha's Lunch Bag tutorial, but the instructions are vague and the video skips the hardest part of sewing.

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