Tag Archives: sewing

Recovering Crib Bumpers

29 Jul

Crib bumpers are one of those obnoxiously controversial items in the baby world. Whenever I utter the phrase “crib bumper” I feel like it should be followed up by this.

So, I am going to preface this post by saying I am not going to have the crib bumper (this again) and my baby in the crib at the same time. For those of you who live in fear of crib bumpers (yup), recognize that I am using it as a decorative item that will be in the crib when the baby is not. Save the lectures for someone who cares about your concerns. I’m pretty sure that is why Internet forums exist.

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, I can proceed with my fun sewing project.

I have sat on this project for weeks and weeks. Mostly out of worry that I would irrevocably screw up the project and I’d be out of fabric and patience.

Ends up the project was substantially easier than I originally assumed.

The crib bumper came in four separate pieces, instead of my envisioned-single-super-long-impossible-to-work-with-piece.

That meant I was able to recover each section of the crib bumper as I would a throw pillow.

Recovering Crib Bumpers

What_You_Need_Crib_BumperStep 1: Iron fabric, measure it, and cut. You will need enough fabric to cover both sides of the bumper, plus the hem.


Step 2: Pin fabric together. Remove ties from crib bumper, pin to fabric

You may need to iron your fabric again.

Crib bumpers come with ties already attached. To save yourself a step in making ties (unless you need to do a color match), cut the ties off the crib bumpers and pin them to your fabric. Make sure the ties are in between the fabric pieces, the ties going inward to ensure you sew the ties on correctly.

Step 3: Sew three sides of the fabric cover together. Leave one short end open.


You may need to iron your fabric again (I know, right?)

Step 4: Stuff crib bumper into fabric cover. Close last end with a hidden stitch.



Here is a tutorial on how to do a hidden stitch.





Crib Skirt

22 Jul

Crib skirts. This is something that you don’t know you need until Pottery Barn tells you otherwise. Well, “need” is a strong word. You “need” a crib skirt like you “need” most things from a place like Pottery Barn. But the lines of “need” and “want” blur together and that’s how it goes.

However. For $60 I’m not falling for their game. Not when it’s nothing more than a rectangular piece of fabric that drapes down from the crib mattress (sold separately from the crib and all other features, mind you) in basic white with a detailed line running through it. I can do better than that.

How to Make Your Own Crib Skirt


Step 1: Measure the width, depth and length of crib for your crib skirt. Iron the hems and hold in place with sewing pins.

Step 2: Measure and cut fabric.

I did a separate fabric panel for each side. This allows customization of tying on the material with the hardware of the crib.

Don’t forget to factor in one inch for each side to sew the hem.


Step 3: Pin ties to tops of each side. Make sure you have ties for the corners as well as the middle of each panel (I forgot about that and had to add on corner ties after the fact).


Step 4: Sew hems and ties together. Tie panels onto the crib.



It seems that everyone is enjoying the nursery these days.



Easy Valance

19 Jul

As I posted last week, I’ve been working on various projects for the nursery for this life we are bringing into the world (crap-crap-crap-crap!).

The first project I took on was creating and building a valance for the window. It ends up being a very easy project with BIG results. I find myself sitting in there admiring my work – and I know how easy it was to make!

I didn’t document the steps as I normally do with pictures, so hopefully my written instructions suffice. And if they don’t suffice…. eh. I can’t muster the umph to come up with a witty response that doesn’t borderline on inappropriate or bitchy.


Step 1:Preparation

Lay your board flat on the ground and calculate the measurements for your fabric. I painted my 2×4 the same color as the walls, but this step isn’t necessary.

You’ll need enough fabric to run the length of the board, as well as the edges on either side, plus an inch on either side for the hem.

Fabric length can vary on preference – but I recommend 10-12 inches (add an inch on either end for the hem).

Measure your fabric at least twice and double-check your calculations before cutting anything. Once you are sure, go ahead and cut your fabric.

Step 2: More preparation

I swear, the actual sewing part of any project is sidelined by all the prepping a person does.

If your fabric is thick or heavy, then don’t worry about lining it. If your fabric is thinner, like mine, then you may want to line it.

Lining the fabric is simply cutting out a light, solid material to the size of your valance fabric and sewing it together. Make sure your fabrics are ironed completely and pinned together to ensure no wrinkles or folds.

Measure where you want your hem to be. Usually you will want to fold over the edges of the fabric twice, so 1/2 inch for each fold, 1 inch on each side. Mark the measurements with a sewing pencil or chalk.

Iron the hems of your fabric, following your measurement marks, for ease of straight sewing. Pin the hems for extra hold while you sew.

Step 3: Sew

Sew the hems of your valance fabric close to the ironed edge of the hemline. Iron again if necessary.

Step 4: Staple Fabric to 2×4

This step may take two people – one to hold the fabric in place and the other to staple.

Lay out your fabric on the ground and place your 2×4 over it. Make sure the ends of the fabric will go around the board – at least a 1/2 inch to the back of the board for stapling.

Staple one end of the fabric to the board, folding over the edge like you would wrap a gift. Staple going down the board, which will help keep the fabric taut. When you reach the other end, staple your fabric in the same fashion as the first end.

Step 5: Hang Valance

This step will definitely take two people. One to hold the valance and the other to screw it to the wall.

Drill the L brackets onto the valance, flipping up the fabric and drilling part of the L bracket to the 2×4, and leaving the other side free (to be drilled into the wall).

Measure your wall and hold the valance up above the window. Use a level to ensure evenness of the valance. While one person holds the valance in place, have the other person drill the screws into the open spots on the L brackets. Make sure your fabric isn’t tucked behind the 2×4 where it might get stuck after you are finished hanging it.

That’s it!


Wedding Project Round-Up – A Retrospective

18 May

As of tomorrow, I will officially have been married for 14 days. That means I am 20% of the way to beating out Kim Kardashian’s stellar marital record of 72 days.

Many of my projects, crafts and sewing efforts over the past 6-8 months have been wedding focused. And most of those projects were featured here on this blog. That being said, I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and see how these crafts looked in action.


For a few months I labored over sewing more than 150 napkins, which you can see the final blog about it here. Of course, I only ended up using about 116 napkins – but the extra 39 napkins were still worth the labor of love.

At the reception the napkins really added the final colorful touch to each place setting.

(c) Ken Kienow

(c) Ken Kienow

(c) Ken Kienow

Another way the napkins were used – as fabric swatches under the floral and decor arrangements.

(c) Ken Kienow


The centerpieces were some of the items I was most proud of. You can see some of my progress here on an old blog post.

I intend to frame the one I made for our table. I matched our hair colors and color scheme as best as I could.

This tendency to have a red-headed girl goes back to childhood when nothing for kids had red hair (except for Barbie’s dull friend Midge and various villains on Saturday morning cartoons). I felt some pathetic, ill-placed form of discrimination (that is also what happens to you when you grow up in a town of 3000 people). So everything I could draw, color or make, I gave it (cat, person, flower, golf cart) red hair. The tradition continues. And per usual, I digress.

(c) Ken Kienow

The Lucha Libre centerpiece for the groomsmen was the most popular amongst the guests – the photographer snapped about 4 or 5 photos of this one alone.

(c) Ken Kienow

Table Number Flags and Cake Toppers

In making the pennant flag table numbers, which can be seen here, I didn’t really think about how they would be attached or included with the centerpieces. Ends up my florist took care of that worry for me.

They were the perfect touch of shabby chic that each table needed.

(c) Ken Kienow

(c) Ken Kienow


The programs ended up being a surprise hit of the ceremony!

Cutting out and gluing mini pennant flag garlands to each program was worth the effort and we received a multitude of compliments on them.

A tip of the hat to my Matron of Honor for sitting there next to me for three days the week of the wedding to make this possible.

(c) Ken Kienow

I will post a how-to guide retroactively on this project. Look for it sometime next week.

Pennant Flags

(c) Ken Kienow

When I made my variety of pennant flag garlands – I wasn’t sure exactly how they would be utilized. Ends up, the groom and groomsmen came up with a great solution. Not only is our ceremony nicely framed, but you’d never see how poorly I painted those letters on each fabric flag. The original project is in this Weekend Round-Up.

Flowergirl Dress

Knowing how much of a mover and dancer our flowergirl would be, I created loops on her dress to hold her satiny ribbon sash in place. You can check out the handiwork here.

And look at her motor.

(c) Ken Kienow

She danced and worked that party like a grown-up. I’m proud to say, the dress and sash kept up nicely.

Bean Bags for Corn Hole Game

During the cocktail hour, many of our guests employed the bar, the restrooms, the appetizer station, the bar some more, and the corn hole game. My father made the boards and I sewed the bags – which was mentioned in this post.

(c) Ken Kienow

Various items of decor

I came up with little accents to various items throughout the reception.

Adding some ribbon and signs to a bird cage turned it into a card bin.

(c) Ken Kienow

Creating miniature pennant flag garlands to drape behind the place card frame added some nice dimension.

Using a hot glue gun to glue knots of ribbon to the place cards, as well as using a paper punch gave the place cards a more high-end feel. Who know that buying the Avery Template for business cards would double nicely as place cards for a reception?

(c) Ken Kienow

All the work, the projects, stops by Beverly’s Fabrics, shopping fabric swatches online at Esty, broken sewing machine needles, pricks on the thumb from stitching for hours on end, hot glue gun burns, inhaling spray adhesive and nursing blisters from crafting scissors made for right-handed people – it was all worth it. I hope you enjoyed that chapter of my crafting life as much as I did! On to new projects and adventures!

(c) Ken Kienow

Going Loopy

18 Apr

With the wedding a mere few weeks away, there are just a few lingering projects that need to be completed.

One of them is attaching a sash to the flowergirl dress.

When the bridesmaid/mom and I came up with this great idea of tying a ribbon sash around the flowergirls’ waist, neither of us considered just how it would all stay together.

In reality, belts, ribbons and other waist adornments have a tendency to ride up the waist when not held in place by loops or ties. Especially when you are an energetic three-year-old who will certainly be on the move.

At first, I thought I would sew the sash onto the dress, but the prospect of ruining the dress terrified me.

There the sash hung, mocking me.

But then, I realized I could just create belt loops and attach them to the sides of the dress, then run the ribbon sash through it. Of course, how the hell do you make belt loops?

Ends up, it’s rather easy.

Belt Loops:

Step 1: Make a slipknot. Instructions on how to make a slipknot are here (this is handy for crafters and serial killers, alike):

Step 2: Continue to make a series of slipknots until your thread is tied into a chain stitch long enough to act as a belt loop:

Step 3: Hand stitch the completed belt loops onto the sides of the dress:

Step 4: Admire how rad you are at crafting:

Fifty Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty Square Inches of FUN

8 Feb

Based on my nifty math skills, that’s how many inches of fabric I’ve sewn into napkins over the past several months for our upcoming wedding reception.

I blame my crafting brain. This is the same brain that loves to shriek “Oh I can make that!” while shopping around town or reading the posts of more talented bloggers. My brain’s lofty goals result with mixed crafting results.

Deep in thought over sewing things that are beyond my capabilities.

Some months ago I had this fantastic idea of DIY wedding napkins (which has led to DIY centerpieces, pennant flags, frames, boxes, etc.). To the surprise of my biggest skeptic (me), I have finally finished said napkins.

Sewing (hopefully) slightly more than we anticipate needing, I have made 155 napkins, now neatly organized and sorted by color and pattern.

Napkins stacked and ready for May 5th.

You’d think after 155 fabric swatches, ironing 620 edges, pinning creased corners, and endless pedal pushing, I’d be a pro at sewing.

A straight stitch line is an elusive feat.

Let’s not confuse tenacity for agility or talent.

That focus is the look of determination.... not expertise.

The job is done and I loved every minute. However, if anyone takes a close gander at the stitch work, they will find the rookie wobbles of the stitches, the stops and starts of the thread. This is why I plan to have a substantial cocktail hour before anyone reaches their tables to inspect my work.

The crafting train continues (who doesn’t love a transportation analogy?) as now I’m jumping full force into our centerpieces. So far this is what I have:

A start, I suppose.

More on this project later this week!

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