Sew it yourself

One of the hottest trends today is do-it-yourself decorating. Shows like “Designing Cents,” “Trading Spaces” and “The Christopher Lowell Show” provide inspiration for ways to incorporate current decorating trends into your home décor while sticking to your budget. Everyone wants their home to be stylish and reflect their personality. As these shows demonstrate, easy, inexpensive changes can have a major impact on your home.

Simple changes can make a huge difference in a room. It doesn’t take a custom-built entertainment center to add drama to a room. Something as straightforward as choosing a new paint color can have a considerable impact. Imagine the walls in your family room going from beige to a bold, new color such as sage, melon or navy.

Tie the rest of the room together with coordinating accents you sew yourself, such as throw pillows, table runners, curtains, and for the ambitious, slip covers. A little time and fabric can really transform a room. By making these items yourself, you not only save money, but you’re assured of getting exactly what you want.

“The variety of upholstery and home decorating fabrics available to the home sewer has increased dramatically over the past few years, as more and more people are finding satisfaction in decorating their home with items they’ve created themselves,” says Gayle Hillert, vice president of education for Bernina of America.

Don’t be surprised to find fabric that matches or coordinates with your sofa or wallpaper. And there are a wide variety of trims that can help add that professional touch to home sewing projects. Adding tassels, fringe or beads to a pillow or your curtains makes a simple sewing project look much more impressive. “If you can sew a straight line, you can make a throw pillow,” says Hillert. That throw pillow goes from ho-hum to glamorous with the addition of some machine embroidery, antique buttons or bullion fringe.

Of course, having the right tools makes these projects easier and more enjoyable. For example, the correct presser foot can make all the difference in the finished project, whether you’re working on piping, invisible zippers, couching or other designer techniques. “Our virtuosa 155 ‘my choice’ model offers many features including a powerful motor with sophisticated electronic speed control able to handle heavier fabrics such as those meant for making draperies or upholstery,” says Hillert, “and the extended sewing table is great for supporting the fabric in those large projects”. The ‘my choice’ sewing machine has five stitch collections, one of which is designed specifically for home dec sewing with 18 decorative and practical stitches to make your sewing easier.

Experienced sewers can jump right in and tackle more complex items like draperies and slipcovers, which might overwhelm those who are still mastering the basics. But smaller projects are a great way to practice various sewing techniques without investing a lot of time or money. A table runner, for example, is basically a fabric rectangle cut to the appropriate size and hemmed on all sides. If you feel you need a little guidance, consider a home decorating sewing class; check with your favorite fabric store or sewing machine dealer for classes. Your local adult education program or park district may also offer classes.

Pattern books are another great source of ideas. Pattern companies have recognized this trend in sewing for your home, and there are a variety of patterns out there for sewers from beginners to professionals.

So pick up your remote and get some good ideas; then pick up your car keys and head to the nearest fabric store.

The ‘my choice’ sewing machine offers a stitch package to suit every mood of sewing. It features five stitch collections with stitches categorized for couture, home dec, quilting and crafting. There is also a collection that consumers can customize themselves based on their sewing preferences. For more information about ‘my choice’ and other Bernina sewing machines, visit or your local Bernina dealer.(ARA)

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