The Busy Bean

Category Archives: Tutorials

Painted Piano {a few little tips along the way}

Painted Piano

I finally did it. I decided in 2011 to paint the piano. I couldn’t take it apart because I didn’t have the key to unlock the top. Well, I got that in 2012. And still it sat. I just had so many other things I wanted to do and I did not love the idea of moving the piano and spending all the time it would take to paint it.

Well, this week my husband was out of town at a trade show, and my sewing machine was broken. What else is a girl to do but paint a piano?!

Virtual Quilting Bee – Block #9 Tutorial

If you’re visiting for the first time today, welcome! I’m glad to have you for my stop on the virtual quilting bee. The blocks so far have been great, go here to check them all out.

vqb blocks

This block is pretty easy, but does contain some itty bitty half square triangles. I’ve discovered that I really like to make things tiny.

Start by cutting your fabrics.

vqb cut

 

Orange Stripe:
(4) 1.5″ x 4.5″
(4) 2.5″ x 2.5″
(8) 2″ x 2″

Green Scallop:
(4) 1.5″ x 4.5″

How To: Selvegde Star Pillow

Selvedge, Selvage… whether you speak English or American, they’re the same thing. They are a gorgeous piece of fabric that often just gets thrown away. And that’s a shame.

PTS 8 finished!

I made this pillow for my partner in one round of the Pillow Talk Swap. I loved it so much I made another for my good friend Sukie, and thought I’d take some pictures along the way so you can see my method. I’m also in the process of using this block, only a little bigger, to make myself a king size quilt!

How To: Sew Easy Inset Circles

Here’s how I sew easy inset circles using freezer paper and glue.

1. Draw a circle onto your freezer paper. Or three if you draw the wrong size. Twice. Not that I would do that. Cut out the circle, leaving the exterior intact.

Inset Circles Tutorial

2. Lay this over the fabric you want in your circle, just to make sure that you’ve cut the circle the correct size. You want to have at least 1/4″ behind the circle for your seam allowance.

Inset Circles Tutorial

How To: Water Resistant Sling Pouch with Exposed Zipper

This one came about specifically with a trip to Disneyland in mind. You’ve got to take your phone and wallet with you, but  there are all those rides where you get splashed, so here’s my solution: a small pouch you can sling over your shoulder, it fits your phone and a card wallet, plus chapstick and lip gloss. And the best part? It’s lined with vinyl to protect your stuff from splashing water. Now, it’s not water-proof. Don’t go dropping it in a pond and then get mad at me when your phone is ruined. But it will keep it safe from Splash Mountain.

How To: Basic Pouch with Zipper Tabs

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of little things filling my purse. I love these little zipper pouches to keep those things a little more organized. In fact, wanting a pouch like this was the reason I started sewing in the first place. I’ve been making these little pouches for almost three years and I’m happy to share exactly how I make “Monica” now, with perfect end tabs on the zipper. And if you make it through this, there’s a giveaway at the end.

Here’s what you need:

How To: Invisible Zipper with Regular Zipper Foot

Here’s part 2 of the invisible zipper post. (Really should have been done yesterday but a clogged kitchen sink took priority.)

Using an invisible zipper foot will unroll the coils for you as you sew. The biggest (really the only) difference in using your regular zipper foot is that you will have to unroll the coils and iron them flat on your own. So start by unzipping the zipper and ironing the coils flat.

Next, line up your zipper according to your pattern directions, laying it right sides together and lining up the edge of the tape with the edge of your fabric.

How To: Invisible Zipper

Oh yes, the dreaded invisible zipper. It’s so scary… until you realize that with the right tool it’s actually the easiest zipper you can install. Seriously, I could type “get an invisible zipper foot” and practically be done!

Many machines have an invisible zipper foot available. If you’ll be doing this a lot, I recommend checking it out for your machine. If you are doing the occasional invisible zipper, just buy this one.

image via coats and clark

Really, it’s like $2 and you can pick it up in the zipper isle. I’ll show you how to use it.

How To: Basic Zipper

You know when you buy a zipper and there are instructions on that little cardboard piece it’s attached to? Here are some (hopefully) more clear instructions for that type of zipper insertion.

I’ll show you on a pillow back, but it’s the same idea for a skirt – with one additional step I’ve got a diagram for.

Start with your piece of fabric and cut wherever you want your zipper. I like mine offset, probably for the sheer fact that then if it’s not right in the middle it won’t bug me later. Or, it’s more aesthetically pleasing this way?! I cut around 3.5-4″ from the bottom.

How To: Welt Pocket with Exposed Zipper

This is the first zipper I figured out. And I did it some crazy hard way for way too long. Then I had a flash of brilliance and figured out this way. Turns out, I should have been doing this all along. But hey, I taught myself most of what I know in sewing, since I was unwilling to learn when I was younger, so I still feel pretty good about figuring this out.

Here we go.

You’ll need:
One zipper
Fabric for pocket
Basic sewing supplies
Whatever you’re adding the welt pocket to. I took these pictures as I was adding a 7″ zipper inside my houndstooth tote.