Get crafty: Fabric fun
Growing up in a crafty family, I caught the craze at an early age. Grandma introduced me to quilting by showing me how to sew the fabric squares together on the machine. Mom preferred no-sew fabric crafts, so I helped her make decoupage creations to sell at craft fairs. Crafting brought us closer together, and I still love arts and crafts today.
Fabric can be economical and eco-friendly for projects. Use a beautiful remnant to upcycle a piece of furniture, or frame as wall art. Well-loved t-shirts or baby clothes can become a keepsake quilt. Plus, many cost-effective gifts can be easily made with little or no sewing.
Below are some easy no-sew or simple sewing projects. Make them with your kids (supervised, of course!) to foster creativity, innovation and for all-round good fun. For added inspiration and guidance, find me at www.pinterest.com/jeanavc. I scoured the Web and pinned photo examples and tutorials for these and other projects that may interest you. They’re under my Fabric Crafts, Furniture Fun and Quilting pin boards. Enjoy!
Wall canvases — A fun project for both you and your kids is a fabric mosaic on a blank wall canvas. Leave it white or paint it, then use fabric remnants or scraps cut into small squares or shapes to create a design. Use Mod Podge, found at your on-base craft store or Exchange, to glue down and seal the fabrics.
For a fast and easy project using a staple gun (parents only), staple fabric to a canvas. Lightweight cut-out initials can be painted and attached with hot glue for an added touch. Make one big canvas, or several small ones with coordinating fabric.
Wall mirror or photo frames — Glue small fabric pieces onto a frame using a decoupage technique. Mod Podge is great to use, as it dries quickly, can be sanded and applied in layers, and comes in matte, glossy and glitter finishes. Be creative in how you cover the frame, using wrapping or mosaic techniques. For a unique touch on photo frames, select an interesting item to glue to the corner, such as a button grouping, antique brooch, ribbon flower, plastic toy, etc.
Furniture facelift — A good prep job of sanding and painting, plus a little decoupage, can completely transform tired or scratched furniture with a hip, new look. Find a piece of fabric with beautiful paisley, flower or other detail. Cut around the detail and use Mod Podge to affix and seal the material to the surface, sanding between layers. Or, use a staple gun and piece of fabric to quickly reupholster a chair or bench cushion.
Flag Buntings — A fun project you can make with your children for celebrations (or to hang in their room) is a flag bunting or banner. Fabric can be color coordinated to the celebration’s theme, room décor, the child’s favorite sports team or character, or monogrammed with their name. Cut the fabric into a diamond shape and then fold over, iron and glue to natural twine; or, cut the fabric into long, thin strips and tie to the twine. For heavier or monogrammed fabrics, use a simple stitch and sew the flags to ribbon.
Baby quilt or play mat — Those with beginner’s sewing skills can make a quick, easy, basic baby quilt or play mat for tummy time. Several free step-by-step tutorials and patterns are online, and most of these patterns require only three or four different fabrics. To save you time and money, you can purchase pre-cut fat quarters and jelly rolls in coordinating colors, and find patterns that call for these sizes. I completed my first quilting project — a crib-sized baby quilt — in a weekend. Sewing and quilting supplies, such as machines, threads, rotary cutters, cutting mats, batting and backing can be found at your local Exchange, craft centers and on the economy.
Shopping for fabric Fabrics of every color and pattern can be found locally and online. The USAG Arts & Crafts Center in Kaiserslautern is expanding their selection to include designer and garment fabrics. You can also upcycle textiles such as scarves, blue jeans, baby clothes and more. Be innovative but have fun while you design your next masterpiece.