Monday, 22 October 2012

How To.. make a SEWING BOARD

Does anyone else experience the disaster of the sewing box? Admittedly I usually use a tin for all my threads - I have a gorgeous sewing box but it's totally full up with ribbons and fabrics so my threads end up drawing the short straw and living in an old chocolate tin. I can't even bring myself to show you a photo of what it normally looks like but trust me when I say it usually takes about 20 minutes to get some thread out of it.

I came to the end of my tether with it all this week and decided enough was enough! I need something that will keep all my threads and bobbins separate. So I thought I'd make a 'sewing board' - basically a sewing box on a pinboard! Here's this month's How To tutorial. Hope it helps!

What you'll need:
1 piece of board
Enough fabric to cover the board
Some wadding (optional)
Tacks - choose long ones that are about the length of an average spool of thread
Glue - fabric spray adhesive works best but PVA will work if you haven't got anything better to hand!
Ribbon for 'washing line' effect
Some fabric in a contrasting colour for pockets
Sewing machine (not essential)

What to do:

1) Cut your board to the size you want - if you are using a saw please be careful and keep fingers away, always saw on a stable surface and follow the instructions.

2) Cut a piece of fabric a little larger than the piece of board you want to cover. I used an old scarf that I never wear and the width was almost right. You need a few inches on all edges.

3) If you want a padded board (that you can then stick pins into or add extras to) then cut some wadding to the same size as the board and use spray adhesive to stick it on securely. If you don't have spray adhesive, just use whatever you do have - I only had PVA when I made mine and it still sticks it fine!

4) Start with your pockets - this is where I can't give many photos as I stupidly decided to do mine at the end so had to hand sew them on and it resulted in bent needles! BUT... start by drawing yourself a semicircle on some pretty fabric with a widened flat top. Remember there will be seam allowance so think about how big it will be when you fold over the seams.

5) Cut out your semi-circle and then cut 2 pieces of fabric using the semicircle as a template.

6) Fold over about an inch from the top of your semi-circle and pin it. If you place your pins at 90 degrees to the line you sew, you don't need to tack it as well.

7) Sew in a straight line near the edge of your seam leaving a good half inch space between the top of your semi-circle and your seam.

8) Attach a safety pin to the end of some elastic (don't cut the elastic yet!) and, using the safety pin to hold onto, thread your elastic through the seam.

9) Sew along one edge of the elastic to hold it in place. Then pleat up your fabric until it is about half the width it was before and sew the elastic in place on the other end. Repeat Step 6-9 with the other pocket.

10) Place your fabric over your board, right side facing up. Adjust so that you know exactly how it will fit (with an even amount hanging over each side. Place your two pockets about half way down and fold under the edge of the unsewn edges. Pin in place, making sure you pin the pleats too - you don't want to sew the fabric straight.

11) Sew along the folded edges of your pockets, leaving the elastic opening free.

12) Now for attaching the fabric to the board... Place your fabric face down on a flat surface. Spray your board's padded side liberally with adhesive - or smother it evenly with glue if that's what you are using.

13) Carefully turn the board over and place it centrally over the fabric and press down. Trim the corners so that you don't have too much bulk.

14) Pull the top edge taut over the back of the board and glue it down. Do the same to the other edges. Make sure you keep it as taut as you can as otherwise you'll end up with puckered fabric.

15) Cut a piece of ribbon about 3 - 4 inches longer than your board. Glue one side of it and attach it to the back of your board, below your pockets.

16) Turn your board over and stretch your ribbon tight over your board in a straight line. Pull it around to the back of the board and glue the other end onto the back. Make sure you keep it taut throughout this. This will give you a cute little 'washing line' that you can pin things onto with pegs or, if it's taut enough, you can keep paper safe by tucking it under.

17) You're ready to do some hammering! Turn your board so that you have the wrong side up and put it on a stable surface. Balance it so that the top half of the board hangs over the edge (so that you can hammer safely) and hold it steady.

18) Place your first tack in one corner and carefully hammer it through to the other side. It will try and pull your fabric off the board when it exits the right side - just push your fabric back onto the board.

19) Hammer tacks all along the top edge of your board and then make a second (and possibly third depending on how annoyed your neighbours are with your hammering) line underneath making sure you push the fabric back each time.

20) Essentially your board is now done... although because tacks are much thinner than the holes of your spools of thread and bobbins you may want to wrap something around each tack so that they stay on better. (it's a bit precarious otherwise)

21) I used scraps of paper for my board as it gave the bulk for the width and, unless you look really closely, you can't actually see it's scrap paper, it just looks like white hooks. Get strips that are about 8cm / 3" long and about as wide as a spool of thread is high (1.5" / 4cm)

22) As tightly as you can, roll the strips of paper and glue the ends down. You will need a paper roll for each tack you have used.

23) Cover your tack with PVA and carefully push your paper roll onto the tack. Leave them to dry.

24) Finish off your board by adding picture hooks and threading some wire (or string) onto the back.

Voila! One sewing board that you can hang on your wall and keep some of your threads from getting tangled up everywhere. You can use the ribbon as a clipboard and your pockets for needles, sewing machine feet or whatever takes your fancy!

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