Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Are You Into Home Dec Sewing?


Hi, readers! I'm just back from amazing Palm Springs, where I was guest teaching at Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing workshop. Amid the teaching, I did some learning myself: quilt piecing! I don't know if it was the fact that my lovely friend Jean taught me or that Denyse Schmidt was there (I die) or Anna Maria Horner (I die again) or the fact that Jeff and I are very close to moving into a new home with lots of windows that need curtains (more on that to come, I don't want to jinx it!) . . . Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I'm in nesting mode (the homemaking kind, not the babymaking kind).

And making my first quilt block felt pretty good. Not "pad stitching a lapel" good, but good. Home dec sewing is what got me started in garment sewing, kind of like a gateway drug. I don't find it totally exciting, but I find it satisfying. It's economical in ways that garment sewing isn't: I don't have champagne taste in home fabrics, and it's certainly cheaper to make window treatments or throw pillows than to buy them. That $600 silk comforter isn't going to buy--or make--itself. Also, I keep my decor projects simple (no spiral steel boning or bound buttonholes required!)--after all, I need to save time to make clothes!

I have tons of ideas on what I want my new home to look like: Vintage Modern Kahlo-esque Kitsch Boho Flea-Market Chic is how I explained it to Jeff. With plenty of glitter and roses. Are you with me? (Here's my inspiration board if you need a little visual guidance; Jeff certainly did.)

Since I will be doing a lot of home dec sewing in the coming months, I thought it would be fun to make a sort of series out of it here, with how-tos and inspiration and all that. Once a week or less, nothing crazy. But I wanted to gauge your interest first. Are you all into home dec sewing? Would you like to know more? Does decor sewing co-exist peacefully with your garment sewing? Or do you focus on one exclusively at a time? 

P.S. Here I am sewing my first quilt block!





91 comments:

  1. imple curtains (e.g. tab-top) is the best antidote I know to whatever tailored garment is making me want to throw my sewing machine out the window. My house is reasonably well be-curtained now, but I do like to have a simple home-dec project or two waiting for when I can't take another dart.

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  2. *Simple curtains are. Can you tell I'm still on my first cup of coffee?

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  3. I'm not (yet ?) fascinated by home dec sewing, but my house could sure use a couple of items and I'm too cheap to buy what is basically fabric rectangles and straight seams. So good idea !

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  4. yay quilting - also my (ten year) gateway drug into apparel sewing! sometimes, two dimensions are just nicer to deal with.

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  5. I would love some stuff on home dec sewing, as long as it didn't supplant the garments, which I'm sure it wouldn't.

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  6. I love home decor sewing, and am much more confident doing it than garment sewing. Plus it's so much faster. I'd love to see your take on it and your style infused into it, so I vote yes!

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  7. I think it's a fabulous idea :) I definitely do more garment sewing than home decor, but I am certainly not opposed to sewing a few more pillows, or curtains, or whatever strikes our fancy :)

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  8. I'm something of a quilter. As in, I've made about a dozen quilts. When my niece and nephew were born, I decided that since I can sew, I could make them quilts, right? Um...not exactly. Quilting and quilt piecing are an entirely different kettle of fish to garment sewing! There's some wiggle room in garment sewing for non-exactness that there isn't in quilt piecing. And by the time you get to the actual quilting, every single mistake shows in a way that it doesn't necessarily in dressmaking!

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  9. I don't mind it. I like that I can make EXACTLY what I want and how I want it. I'm moving into a new home too. And I'm going "French Country" and shabby chic on it!!!! Thank Goodness I sew!

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  10. Yay, maybe you'll blog about sewing balloon valances before I get around to the one that I've been planning to sew for about 3 years now. Have the fabric and hardware, just need to actually cut and sew ;-) I'll be using real yardage, unlike the swags and matching bedspread in our master bedroom that are made from tablecloths, and the shower curtain in our hall bath, which is a full-size bed sheet (add buttonholes across the top, hem to the right length).

    I quilt, too--seems like patchwork quilting and home dec have some overlap, as both involve geometry. Who needs patterns? Break out the graph paper! ;-)

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  11. I switch around all three types of sewing. I found that precise piecing of patchwork made me a better apparel seamstress; and the more detail-oriented apparel sewing improved my piecing skills. I like that in home dec sewing, something as simple and fast as making new pillow shams can change a room. And i love the beautiful home dec fabrics in the stores! Sewing--I guess I like it all! Wishing you the best in your new home!

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  12. I don't mind home dec sewing at all. But I need curtains and pillows for my home and I keep putting it off until I make *just one more dress*.

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  13. I would love to learn more about home dec sewing as I'm definitely a novice in this area! Your inspiration board is stunning!

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  14. i am also working on a new home. yes,please!

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  15. ohgodyesplease!
    We just moved and our new place has many more windows than we had before. Homemade curtains are definitely in order!
    For my planned retro pastel kitchen, I want to do cafe curtains made from vintage floral hankies. And there must be pompoms. Obviously.

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  16. I came back to garment sewing after years of home-dec sewing, when I realized that anything larger than a baby quilt did not get finished, and anything larger than a pot holder got boring.

    Right now, I find garment sewing much more interesting, and I stick with it. I wonder if I will return to quilting when I have more hours in the day? I am very drawn to art quilts, and the wonderful colors available in quilting cottons!

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  17. So far, I've done curtains, pillows, pillowcases, a bedspread, a lap quilt. Nothing as large as full drapes, slipcovers, or re-upholstery. Yet.

    I'd love to see your projects.

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  18. I'm much more into garment sewing these days, but love home dec fabrics. Weird, I know. At any rate, I'd love to see what you're doing, Gertie. And if you'd like to bring back the daily dress feature on occasion I wouldn't complain about that, either...

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  19. I really need someone like you to make home decor sewing sexy, then I might like it!

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  20. When I was learning to sew, the first project was a cushion cover and I hated it. I wanted to make a skirt or a dress. I am still not into home decor sewing. To be honest I've been planning to make new curtains and cushion covers but I have no motivation or inspiration. I think it's a great idea for you to present some projects. I would love to see your ideas.

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  21. Home Dec sewing - only when I really, really have to and even then I moan and bitch all the way through! Right now I'm making curtains for the play-area underneath my daughter's bed. Feeling like a cross between SuperHero Mom and a martyr. Probably sound that way as well.

    The only Home Dec projects I like are pillows - for when that itch hits that needs scratching RIGHT NOW!

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  22. Since I have always sewn everything, and I mean everything, I smile at the thought of some of my earlier projects! Bedsheets (flat ones) have been a staple in my home dec portfolio. I started quilting about 10 years ago, and like one of the prior comments, it has improved my garment sewing as well. Yes, please proceed with this plan. Any added dimension to teach new sewers how to expand and grow their skills is a great idea. The world of sewing is an open book, sharing the contents is a brilliant idea!

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  23. I would love some home dec projects. I've been getting interested in making my own home dec items since our town has a very limited selection.

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  24. Anything sewn goes for me! I'm obsessed with making my own stuff, though, no matter what it is. If you find some good instructions for Roman shades, I would love to see that. :)

    Your house will be one colorful place. Love it!

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  25. Not really since I don't actually have a home. (I have a room, but it's full-up with stuff from my earlier lives and doesn't need/have room for any more decorating.) I theoretically quilt but don't have space to actually do it much any more. I'm contemplating curtains but hesitate because my room tends to be dark already, and the cheap faux-crochet curtains it has do a good job of obscuring the view from the outside without blocking too much light (and they're neutral-looking in an otherwise busy-looking space).

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  26. I definitely prefer clothes sewing, but I don't mind a nice home dec project once in awhile. I honestly haven't had much opportunity to make them, since I'm living at my parents' atm for financial reasons, but I did enjoy making some new curtains and pillows for my bedroom. And most of the quilt on my bed. I usually leave the quilting to my mom!

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  27. Such a pleasant surprise to see your post about home dec. Just yesterday I found inspiration to try and make my own bed linens. Even found a source for extra wide fabric.
    Good luck with new house possibility. I am looking forward to more about that and your new home dec projects.

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  28. I love the idea! I am also trying to incorporate Home Dec items inbetween a sewing garment or two.

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  29. Gateway drug...haha! I haven't sewn a garment in 20 years, but started sewing home decor items and now am back into garments. Getting ready to make my first dress for this spring!

    Would love a home decor series with you! I am sure it will be WONDERFUL!

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  30. I generally prefer garment sewing, but I've been doing a lot more home dec lately. My *first* home dec project was recovering a sofa. It took over a month & many headaches, but I learned a lot!! Since then I've done a variety of curtains, window treatments, chair covers, pillows, 2 quilts, and yes; I've even recovered 2 more sofas! I like seeing my hand at work in my home space, it feels so much more personal & thoughtful than buying a bed-in-a-bag :)

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  31. Please more home decor sewing yay!!! I love both and love your style!

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  32. I have made quilts, wall hangings, simple curtains, etc. Mostly now I enjoy making bags of various kinds using my clothing and home decor sewing skills and knowledge. I like to "make" my own fabric either via patchwork or via sewing scraps of odds sizes, shapes and colors onto a background and then free motion quilting it before making into a tote or small catchall bag. Mostly I'm enjoying making small projects.

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  33. Huge floor pillows! So easy, cheap and useful to have a pile of them!
    I just did my first quilt for my son - an undersea sea complete with octopus and clownfish. Great fun, but really a pain to do.
    I'm planning one more quilt for our bed - a huge pile of fall leaves! I think I need a little recovery time from the undersea quilt first...

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  34. I have given up sewing clothes for myself - I never get the fit right, and I'd rather just thrift store shop instead.

    But I love home decor sewing!!! I just finished gorgeous French reproduction curtains for our new apartment!

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  35. I'm more of a home dec sewer than a garment sewer. Its much easier. Sofas are squareish and don't put on a few pounds halfway through a project.

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  36. I've done my share of home dec sewing - my reupholstering a sofa to making the linens for the nursery when I was pregnant with my first child. And since my husband is in the military we move every couple of years and the curtains from the previous house almost never fit the new one.

    I also quilt and while some others have commented on the level of exactness that is required when it comes to piecing, I have to point out that being a little off doesn't radically change the fit of everything the way it can in garment sewing. And people who don't sew or quilt don't usually notice piecing issues.

    I'd love to see your takes on the 2. I'm especially curious to know if you'd machine-quilt or go the hand-quilted route. I do my quilting by hand because that's the way I learned it and never bothered to learn to do it by machine. But I think I prefer it that way, since I can do it while I watch a movie.

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  37. i find home dec sewing much easier than garment sewing. when i made a blanket, all that matters is how pretty or snuggly it is, not how well it fits the couch. if you make a potholder, it just has to be "big enough". and i love trying out different substrates, and you don't usually have to worry about "the drape" of a pillow!

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  38. I have done some home dec sewing and really enjoyed it and I'm orking on a simple tunic blouse currently. Would love to see what you are planning to make for your new place!

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  39. I love home dec sewing - its garment sewing that I'm trying to get the courage up to experiment with! So far the closest I've got is drooling over other people's creations on inspiring blogs or refashioning thrift store finds. But I'm determined to be making wearable items from scratch by the end of the year. In the meantime, I'm off to sew up some piping for a bench cushion for a friend!

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  40. I've done some home dec sewing in the past and was a big Laura Ashley fan(uk people will understand.)
    But I see you mention pad stitching - if you're reading this I would like to thank you for your video lessons , which I used to change a sloppy coat collar to a firm tailored one. A really valuable lesson.

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  41. Sewing is like cooking: once you know the basics, you can make anything. For me, that means old sofas that need upholstery slip covers don't intimidate. Mostly home dec requires a really good old movie to watch at the same time, since those looooong seamlines become really boring after awhile!

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  42. Gretchen, I find it so funny that you DIE when you get to spend time with your sewing celebirities, like I DIE when I get to spend time with you! Seeing you in the airport was such a kick, even though you had several hours to spare, YOU were totally the cherry on top of my chocolate Sundae of my Palm Springs trip- even if it was on the way back from my vaca!!! I just started sewing a cathedral window quilt, I have 2 rows done- it is going to take me an eternity... I would say I prefer clothes sewing since it doesn't take as long and you get to the "reward" much faster! I am all about instant gratification!

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  43. Home decor is my bread and butter, right now. I do home decor sewing for a few interior designers as a profession, and I do garment sewing on the side for myself and people I know. I do all the basics like curtains, cushions, slipcovers, bedding, and some designer odds and ends. I would be interested in seeing what you're working on. I love, love, love your inspiration board.

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  44. I quilt and do garment sewing as well. I love both!

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  45. I love home dec sewing! I am in the other sort of nesting mode-the babymaking kind (due at the end of this month!)- and I've had a great time sewing for the nursery. I've done drapes and a crib skirt, both of which I'm extremely proud of! I've found that I don't really save money with home decor projects, because I just can't stop myself from splurging on great fabrics. Like a moth to a flame, I tell ya.

    Bring on the home dec posts!

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  46. I enjoy home-dec sewing once in a while. I did a Roman shade for a friend's bathroom recently. It's nice to do straight lines with no fitting issues every so often. :)

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  47. I'd be up for a little journey into home-dec sewing. It will be a long time (YEARS) before that's something I really get into but it's never to early to learn, right?

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  48. I started home dec sewing when I got married. I needed a couch and could only afford a cheap one- so I recovered it. Then I made slipcovers, curtains, throw pillows, and quilts for my girls. While I don't love it, it is nice to have a beautiful home at a more reasonable price. It is also nice because they are usually quick projects.

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  49. I started out as a quilter. The lessons I took for quilting really helped in garment sewing because there is no room for error in quilting. It's a little tricky going back and forth between garment sewing and quilting. I also do basic home dec sewing - pillows and curtains. Variety (in sewing anyways) is the spice of life.

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  50. I definitely don't love home dec sewing like I do apparel sewing but it is much less stressful. It is also much more economical for my taste, too. Have you seen the price of curtain panels at Restoration Hardware?!? I recently redecorated my living/foyer area which required 10 new curtain panels. Since I wanted to hang the curtain rods 9' off the floor and have the panels pool a little on the floor, and since I wanted a very specific color and texture of fabric, it was easier to get exactly what I wanted and much gentler on my pocketbook to do it myself :).

    I would love to hear more about techniques--I have only done curtains and recovered simple chair cushions. I have dreamed briefly of sewing a duvet cover for my bed so if you could demo something like this that would be awesome...

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  51. Aren't you the cutest, sewing your quilt block? I love this post because I got into apparel sewing after spending about 10 years sewing quilts and pillows and curtains. After mastering and completing an amazing quilt made of about 500 different Kaffe Fassett fabrics, I needed something else to do. I love that we all end up loving sewing, no matter what kind!

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  52. I'd rather sew clothes, but I'm also a realist and cheap so I will sew curtains and other home dec fabric applications just to save money. And, it is often nice to have million mile straight seams and no fiddling to make things right.

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  53. yes yes yes YES!! I am just about to move and have spent the last month reupholstering our couch - which has been an interesting learning experience. But I'm definitely keen for more tips and tricks!

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  54. I love home dec sewing. It's more forgiving and also makes it easy to shake up your environment without spending a lot!
    Didn't realize you were at the Palm Springs fete...did you take a quilting class? Prepare to be mildly addicted...

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  55. I've done quite a bit of home dec sewing over the years. Curtains, comforters, slip covers, etc. Right now, though, I'm quilting some, but not home dec, for accessories such as wallets and purses. I enjoy using home dec materials for these things and giving them away. It's been the thrill of a lifetime to make things again and see the joy it brings to others.

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  56. I tend to go deep into research in one area, then move on. I slipcovered every thing in my house, now I'm digging garment design. But I would love to see what you do with home dec!

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  57. I am a quilter and I also sew all my home dec. I do most of my own clothes as well (I draw the line at jeans). I would love the series if only to get to see what you are working on. Good thoughts coming your way.

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  58. I would suggest just a few projects but I would prefer to keep in scope to clothing & fashion. I have done much in the way of home decor and there is plenty of information out there alreay. If you want more interior design inspiration you should check out this website: http://www.desiretoinspire.net/

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  59. home Dec is OK, curtains are boring. there are some cellular shades that are better for windows(heat in or out) then you can cover with simple inexpensive sheers from Target. I love making pillow covers. So much to experiment with and so rewarding.

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  60. Ah mah gahd....have done it but hate so much I run screaming from the room at the mere mention of it. it's too repetitive and to do it well requires a huge work surface.

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  61. I wouldn't say it's my first love but I certainly don't have the dread of it some people seem to--I do our couch cushions, curtains, etc. I'd be down to read about it, sure!

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  62. Oh Gertie! Yes please! I've recently bought a home and there are so many things I'd love to do, but I lack the confidence to plan and start.
    But since you, my dear, are the most inspiring sewer I know of (and with such fabulous taste), some home dec postings and projects would be nine kinds of awesome.
    Of course I love your apparel sewing best, but some home dec things would be so great for developing the confidence and skills of we more feeble ones...

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  63. Hey, where's the photo of the said quilt block, though?? I want to see!

    I started sewing by making quilts. I still do, but have gone far down the clothes-making path because sewing 3-d things was super stimulating to me. I still make quilts (and a few carefully regulated home dec projects) and usually am working on one concurrently to the clothes.

    I'd be interested in what you do with that, but frankly, there are ssssssoooooo many other blogs out there on home dec sewing, and no one does what you do as well as you do it, when it comes to vintage-inspired garment sewing. I vote home dec in small doses.

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  64. I am interesting with home dec sewing and i am looking for how to and tutorial.
    I also want to know how to make quilt block:)

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  65. My sewing motto until recently has been if I can't wear it, why bother. But a friend of mine only sews home dec items and I feel that my house needs pillows and new curtains. So looking to learn more.....

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  66. Oh, I've done all sorts of home dec sewing! For me, it's kind of a break from all the fitting necessary with apparel sewing. I made THE cutest curtains for our last home's original 1951 bathroom. When we sold/gave the house away, I kept 'em. :) Pillow covers, table runners, napkins, placemats, all kinds of fun things! It's fun and, like I said, sort of a break. I can't wait to see what you come up with, Gertie!

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  67. I like sewing for the home and quilting. I made curtains and pillows in the past. Still decorating my new old home!! Good luck with yours

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  68. Here's where I'm at:

    1. New sewing foot - free motion quilting here I come! Just for fun...

    2. Craftsy Block of Month Club -- could 2012 be my first quilt?

    3. Awesome Pillow I made at Diana's Rupp's on-line class.

    I made a terrible slip-cover for even more terrible chair 20 years ago and left Home Dec behind. I think it's coming baaaaack.

    Look forward to your posts.

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  69. Oh I do whatever I have time for but a combination of home decor, daily garment and historical costuming sewing. My husband is waiting on me to finish sewing a few more window treatments. I think the historical costumes call to me louder than the window treatment fabrics due to school and travel schedules. My motivation in sewing my own home decor is that I don't like what I find in the stores, or when I do I can't afford them. With homemade I can customize to our tastes. Home decorating though is a compromise in my simpler preferences and my husband's fancier preferences.
    Laurie

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  70. I love to see others projects-that way I can add to my own inspiration board!
    I think my kitchen would have the red,white & chrome 50's rockin'...;)

    Lookin' forward to your book!!

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  71. I switch between vintage sewing, kids sewing, refashions, and home sewing on my blog. I have sewing ADD. But I don't think I will ever make a quilt for some reason. Too much measuring.

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  72. I love your inspiration board, Kahlo is so inspiring! For a time I watched telenovelas because I was addicted to the interior and exterior of their homes, weird, I know.

    I love your blog, I look forward to getting on my dashboard and seeing what's new on yours.

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  73. Definitely interested in home dec projects, so do share!

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  74. Oooh, yes, i am into both, but for some reason i used to only blog about the clothing. I just wrote a post about some cushions i've made though and there will be more - mainly because it's such a great way to diminish that fabric stash...

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  75. Yeah - I'm in big time. Especially if you can make home dec funky and not boring!

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  76. Your home dec series sounds great, I can't wait to read it! Looking forward to seeing the end result of your quilt! I like home deco, I really want to make some things for my room as I want to completely transform it. My mum is an expert on doing curtains, so she will help me when I attempt curtains! Good luck with your work! XxxX

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  77. Oh I just need more time! I wish I could spend as much time as I want sewing, I could get on with all sorts, clothes, cushions, you name it. I'd love to know more, but maybe I need to sign up to a time-management blog as well!

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  78. i would love to see some home dec tutorials and posts. i like all aspects of sewing and there are always things to learn and be inspired by. i'm especially intrigued by your theme - i can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  79. I like home dec sewing more than clothes sewing. I quilted for years, but now limit that to new baby quilts. Just how many quilts does a person really need?

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  80. I don't have much practice sewing, so I LOVE home decor projects! They're very simple and still make me thrifty and clever. I'd love to see what you make!

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  81. Gosh, you're so gorgeous and I just realized why -- it's your winged eyebrows!

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  82. I know home dec gets a bad rap but I can't think why.I came to garment sewing through home dec sewing. I moved into a house that needed 20 sets of curtains, so I decided to do a Certificate in Soft furnishing. I learnt so much on this course that I use in garment sewing. Because home dec normally involves sewing in straight lines and no fitting, it helped my sewing confidence hugely so when I decided to start making my own clothes it wasn't such a leap. I'd recommend this to anyone.

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  83. It's funny; I would never have described quilting as "home dec"-- they seem like two totally dfferent things to me (maybe that's partly because I only make bed and crib quilts, not table runners etc). I would be delighted to read whatever you had to say on the subject.

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  84. Where can I find out about sewing workshops? I would love to take one of these one day.

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  85. My home decor/quilt making goes hand in hand with clothing sewing... yes it does.... I'm always making some sort of quilt for charity... I mean what else am I gonna do with all those cotton scraps? My daughter has gotten the home decor bug too... although she doesn't really sew clothes. So yep... just think of it this way.... just another good reason to go fabric shopping!!!!

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  86. Yes! I love home dec sewing for the exact reasons you listed. :) I'm also into fun colors that you can never seem to find the perfect mix of in Bed Bath & Beyond or the like.. :) Plus, I agree with most here - it's a little (ok, for me it's a lot) easier than clothing sewing, if your style's pretty basic like mine. Also, it's easy to do a quilt block a week and in a couple of months you have a whole new look for the bedroom!

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  87. Is that silk you are working on? I love home decor. It's the perfect way to personalize your home and you can change it when you want to. I went from apparel sewing (while living at home - teenager), to home decor, to quilting and now to all of the above. When I retire I see myself sewing a lot!

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  88. Yes please- I am about to embark on home dec- we desparately need new curtains for the house we just purchased. I have been trawling the internet for inspiration and advice. I've found the fabric, now just need to find the motivation :)

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  89. Yes please for a decent curtain making tutorial!!! And ohhh I am SO jealous that you were in Palm Springs- You were there too? Makes it even worse that I didn't go- boohoooo!!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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