diy : nursery art

There's nothing like doing it yourself. I found an image of the word "baby" creatively sewed inside those wood hoop things from the 70's & 80's (and much earlier), though I can't remember if it was Martha Stewart or Country Living or what (sorry!). And what better way to use up extra fabrics? I grabbed the crib-skirt cast-offs and got to work.

  • Sewing machine
  • scissors
  • cardstock
  • multiple fabrics with 2" square spread beyond the size of the letters you want
  • printer
  • fabric marker/chalk
  • thread
  • hanging nails
  • wooden framing hoops

  • Use up snippets of material otherwise useless
  • Mix-and-match fabrics for to your own taste
  • Create something simple and cheap
  • Create something potentially long-lasting and personal
  • As Anna Maria Horner put it, "There's hand-stitched, and then there's homemade." Take note of the difference. I would say this project is more "homemade" than "handstitched," but it could be worse.
  • Your husband may ask, "Do those even match?"
  • You may begin cussing again. But if you never stopped, this one shouldn't be a problem.
Without further adu, here is the process.

step one: lay out your fabrics
Get a good idea of what already works with other fabrics by throwing them down the line on your table. Lay them out, compare. Note which ones just can't work together (two too bold, two too plain, etc.)

step two: print out your letters
We don't have black ink in our printer, but that wouldn't stop me! Using cardstock, I printed off slightly differently-sized letters: b, a, y, since the "b" is used twice. I originally though a capital B would be nice, but then realized I didn't want to spend weeks on this and cutting out the inside fabric of a capital B is twice as much work as the lower-case b.

step three: thread your machine. correctly.
I messed this up a few times since it has been well over a year (maybe two) since I last used my sewing machine. But I am unafraid of the manual, so I busted it out and got down to re-a-learnin'. 

By the way, if you don't have your own sewing maching, get one. I'm a dunce, and I can still make it work for me. One of my all-time, favorite Christmas gifts ever. (thanks Mom Shedd!!!) And eventually, I'm going to learn how to hem pants and do something besides a straigh-stitch. Someday. Sigh.

step four: decide on your letter fabrics & cut out your letters
I started with the Y because it was the easiest letter to cut. Went to town on a fabric.
Remembered to turn it the opposite way so that your "correct" fabric side spells out the correct letter.
Trace it with a fabric pen.
Check out your great work.
Watch it fray. Realize that this is silly is clearly the wrong kind of fabric. Start over with new fabric.
Great new fabric choice!
step five: straigh-stitch down the center of your letter
Looking back, I would have made the stitches longer so they looked a bit more hand-stitched. Maybe it gives this character.
step six: make sure your letter looks good against its background
I knew I wanted to use one of two fabrics for the "a," but I wasn't sure which would look best. And then, matching it to a background fabric that would still highlight the letter and keep things legible became a slightly time-consuming but important step. Here are a few of the options.
Same sort of thing with one of the "b" pieces, but this time I knew I wanted the letter to be of one particular fabric.

step seven: lay your letters out in order
This is a simple, but helpful step. After sewing each letter onto its piece, I put them next to each other to make sure they looked alright in succession. 

step eight: install them in your hoops
There are two hoop sizes here, one for $1.29 and another for $1.49 at JoAnn Fabrics. The slight variation gives a little visual depth. I kept the "b" letters in the bigger frames, and the vowels in the smaller frames. Also, you'll notice that the vowels (yes, Y can be a vowel sometimes) have darker backgrounds while the "b"s are in the neutral tones throughout the room.

So there you have it. I've purchased nails and tonight, I hope to hang them above the crib! Which is good, because Ace is due any day now, and we want to be sure she/he can spell "baby" appropriately.

Happy Thanksgiving week!


1 comment:

  1. Love your art work. FYI - there is an iron-on stuff that would work great, (no fraying) and you buy it by the yard. You iron it on the wrong side, peel off the backing and iron it on your fabric. You could then hand stitch over any areas to make it look "hand stitched". Less work and no sewing machine involved. Sometimes those machines want to take over! Greet the baby for me with an extra kiss.


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