Valances: Sewing and Design Inspiration

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

V = Valances

One main reason I’m learning to sew is to be able to customize my home décor. Right now I only have curtains on one window, but I know one day I’ll probably want to dress them all. Since I do Internet marketing for design companies by day, I often come across pictures of gorgeous interiors. These are some of the inspiring valances I’ve seen on Houzz

I love these scalloped edges, not to mention the color palette!

Image via Houzz

These are scalloped too, but the fabric is more straight across — maybe pulled over a cornice board?

Image via Houzz

 But valances don’t have to be curvy to be beautiful. Look at this clean-lined valance in a luxurious master bath:

Image via Houzz

Maybe one day I’ll be able to sew valances like these!

Sewing Quotes and Adages

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Q = Quotes

There are many sewing quotes and adages out there, so for day Q of the A to Z Challenge, I thought I’d share some cute manifestations of them that I’ve come across around the web. Enjoy!

 How adorable is this pincushion spotted on Three Kitchen Fairies?

Image via Three Kitchen Fairies

This take on the Keep Calm and Carry On posters is pretty fantastic:

Image via Etsy

I have to say, this is the perfect vinyl wall decal for fellow fabric hoarders:

Image via Etsy

This is sound sewing advice and a pretty print for your craft area.

Image via Oh, Sweet Joy!

And I couldn’t leave out this one — look at the stitching detail in the word “very.”
Image via Creating Really Awesome Free Things

Let me know if I’ve missed any important sewing quotes!

Pinterest: An Inspiring Paradise for DIYers

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

P = Pinterest

I love Pinterest! It has a wealth of inspiration, for sewing and other crafty projects, decorating ideas, websites to check out, recipes to try, and so many other wonderful things. The best part is, it helps organize all these pictures so I can come back to them later, plus (yep, notice I couldn’t stick to just one best part…) Pinterest has a beautiful layout — it’s definitely perfect for people with an artistic eye.

A screenshot from my Sew Alluring board

I have a pinboard devoted to sewing, of course, and it’s appropriately named Sew Alluring — check it out for sewing and fabric-related treasures. I also have 12 other boards, for design ideas, DIY projects, rooms I love, general eye candy, nifty quotes, delicious-looking recipes, and things that make me smile, about 95 percent of which is pictures of puppies. For those of you counting, you’re right — I also have a few other boards thrown in the mix, bringing my current pinboard total up to 13. But I’m sure that’s subject to change…

Are you on Pinterest, too?

3 Very Important Sewing Lessons

Friday, April 13th, 2012

L = Lessons

I’ve been itching to do a post about the lessons I learned while sewing my apron since the beginning of April, but I waited until we reached L in the alphabet to go along with the A-Z Challenge. My apologies if this post seems a bit late (I did finish the apron way back at the letter A), but I think these lessons are relevant any time.

Image: Grant Cochrane /

1. A pattern is a guide, not a mandatory rulebook.

I’m sure I’ll come across many patterns I want to follow to the T, but I’m glad to know that’s not always necessary. I was able to look to Butterick’s See & Sew B5125 as a terrific guide, but my mom helped me change it to suit me perfectly in terms of size, shape and functionality — I even made it reversible! Realizing I needed to take up the apron when I thought it was complete was an enlightening experience. Patterns are adaptable, and sewing is all about customization!

2. Controlling the fabric is key.

Seriously, I’m convinced this will make or break a seamstress. While I was sewing the apron ties, I got frustrated and discouraged because I had trouble sewing straight seams. My mom was over while I was working on the flounce, and she showed me how important controlling the fabric is. I had been guiding the ties with my hands really far away from the needle and sewing action. Taking control of the fabric resulted in a flounce that looked just as it should, sans the frustration.

3. Patience, grasshopper!

As someone with a Type A personality, I love getting things done and checking things off my lists. But sewing is something I’m doing for leisure, and the apron project — which was much more drawn out than sewing a simple pillow or hemming a pair of jeans — showed me that it’s OK to take the scenic route. Why not work on a sewing project as I have time, doing bits and pieces here and there? I now look at the many stopping points of a sewing project as one of the handiest parts of this hobby. Whether it takes me four hours or four weeks, it’ll all come together in the end.

I know I haven’t even begun to discover most of the important sewing lessons out there, so feel free to share your own advice, insight and stories!

My Sewing Journey So Far…

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

J = Journey

This April A-Z Challenge is a journey in and of itself, but the tagline for my blog also happens to be “a journey in learning to sew.”

I began Sew Alluring because I wanted to document my experience in sewing from the very beginning — challenges, triumphs and all. I’ve had my sewing machine for about four months now, and the journey has been difficult, rewarding and always interesting. Here’s a look at some of my sewing adventures so far…

You can read about my motivation and how it all began, but the first major steps in the process were choosing and unboxing my sewing machine, an amazing Brother CS-6000i that my hubby gave me as a birthday present.


After some very beginner-level practicing, I worked on my first project: a simple pillow for my living room.

Feeling totally inspired by success with the pillow, I quickly moved on to hemming a pair of super long jeans.

My cute apron was a much more involved undertaking, and I summed up all the steps along the way in my E post on the evolution of a sewing project. After all was said and done, it looked like this:

Since I started sewing, I’ve taken many trips to Jo-Ann’s to pick up thread and buttons, and also found some great fabric for future projects. (What can I say? I’m a fabric hoarder, after all.)

Amazingly I was nominated for two blogging awards in March, and I’m so happy and grateful to have readers who find my sewing adventures interesting. You guys are the best, and I hope you continue to follow Sew Alluring and see where this journey takes me!