Sewing by the Yard

Sewing by the Yard
One yard of fabric is just long enough to be made into so many functional home decor items. Throw pillows add a pop of color to couch, chair or bed; covering those much-used kitchen countertop appliances seem to hide them in plain sight and quick to sew table runners and dresser scarves help to provide some protection from scratches or spills.

Throw pillows are great quick-to-make sewing projects. Measure the throw pillow that will be used side seam to side seam and the same top to bottom. If the pillow is 14 inches square, for example, cut two pieces of fabric 15 inches square. Place the fabric pieces right sides together, sew a 1/2-inch seam all around three sides, insert the pillow, then pin the last opening and hand stitch closed. It is possible to machine stitch the opening closed by squeezing the inserted pillow as much as possible to one side, then machine stitch the remaining open seam.

Alternatively, an envelope style pillow covering can be made by cutting what will be the back piece of the fabric four inches larger than what will be the front piece. Then cut this larger back piece in half, hemming both cut edges with a 1-inch hem. Place the two back pieces facing right sides over the front piece right side overlapping the back hemmed edges slightly one over the other. Stitch around all four outer edges in a 1/2-inch seam. Trim edges, turn, press, and insert the pillow through the back opening.

There are of course so many ways to sew covers for throw pillows. An invisible zipper can be sewn on one side edge to conceal the opening and for ease on placing the pillow inside or pulling it out for washing. Another way to cover a pillow is by leaving the sides of the pillow open and use self-fabric ties to close the open sides. Just cut one rectangle of fabric that will encase the pillow front to back. Make the rectangle twice as long as the pillow and hem the two short edges. Fold the rectangle in half right sides together so a square is formed then stitch the raw sides together. Make fabric ties to stitch to the hemmed edges placing pillow inside then tie closed. A yard of fabric will most likely cover two throw pillows.

Kitchen countertop appliances that are used often, like a toaster, blender, or stand mixer generally remain out on the kitchen counter. Appliance covers can brighten a kitchen with a pop of color or design, or herald in a change of seasons with an appropriate print all the while keeping dust at bay. The covers need not be form-fitting. Just an oversized square of fabric hemmed on all sides, then draped over the appliance makes for a quick cover and easy off for when the appliance is being used. A handy bandana to drape over the appliance gives a good idea of how large or small the square of fabric should be cut, adding an allowance for neatly hemming all sides. This simple square of a cover can even be made reversible. Usually one yard of fabric will yield two appliance covers.

Table runners or dresser scarves are easy sew and quick to make. With just one yard of cut fabric, 36 inches long x 44 inches wide. Fold the 44-inch width in half – now just 22 inches wide - right sides together and machine stitch the long end in a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Turn right sides out maneuvering the seam so it is now in the center (what will be the underside) and press. Fold in a seam allowance on the short ends, press and stitch closed. If pointed rather than squared ends are desired, then pin in the corners so they meet to form the points and stitch in place. The finished table runner, accounting for the seam allowances should be near to 21 inches wide by 34 inches long.

While one yard of fabric seems not to fall in the category of scrap fabric - for which there are endless charming sewing projects, it would seem that one yard is definitely usable to make many quick-to-sew items. Consider covering a flat screen computer monitor or TV; a handy bedside caddy that hangs beside the bed secured between the mattress and box springs - with compartments big enough to hold several items like a magazine, eBook reader, tablet or cell phone; a crafter's apron with many pockets to hold supplies; a set of four fabric covered hangers for gift giving or just closet pizazz.

This short list of one yard sewing projects may allow for many, many more creative sewing ideas to blossom.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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