Robin Stroot

Last week I wrote about my major rearranging and reorganization of my craft room. I like plants and wanted to have a few plants included in my room decor. But, I am concerned with the usual heavy pots of dirt and plants that need to be routinely watered. I am notorious for over-watering my plants and ending up with a small line of water dripping out of the pots. My discovery and solution: air plants. I found a couple at the local Earl May store and spruced up my craft room. All it takes is an occasional misting of water or a once-a-week dunking in a bowl of water for a few minutes. Greenery and no watering troubles or heavy, dirt-filled pots to accidentally knock over or hang. Problem solved.

I mentioned sewing matching bookcase and mantle runners for our home in a previous column. The runners had to be custom made because the mantle and bookcase are custom designed and not a standard-sized length. First, I measured the actual size of the bookcase and the mantle. Then I added a few more inches of length so that the runners could drape over the sides of the bookcase and mantle. I pre-washed and dried the 100% cotton fabric for this particular project.

Next, I added a seam allowance of about 1 inch to the width of the runners, to allow for a 1/2-inch-wide seam along the long edge of the runner.

I first made my marks on the selvage of the fabric. I would have to splice the width of the fabric to make a very long runner (one is over 100 inches). I carefully measured and made a snip cut along the edge.

To get the straight grain of all-cotton fabric can be done in two ways. You can painstakingly pull a thread across the entire width of the fabric and then hope you can cut along the small line made by the pulled thread. Sometimes it works and sometimes, you can be just a little bit off and have to pull a different thread again.

However, a much easier way that some crafters (especially quilters) use is to make a small cut at the selvage edge of the fabric, grasp along both sides of the cut and rip the fabric apart. This is a sound that I never get used to … the sound of ripping fabric. The sound reminds me of a pocket catching on something and tearing or splitting a seam on my skirt/pants. One time, my husband thought I got mad and decided to tear the fabric into pieces. Well, I was tearing the fabric but it was purposeful fabric tearing and I wasn’t mad.

To complete my runners, I stitched the short widths together to make the longer length. With right sides together on the fabric, I stitched along one short end, the long side seam and part of the other short end. I left an opening for turning the fabric right-side out.

I turned the fabric, pressed the seam and the folded edge (opposite the seam edge) in place and topstitched along the edges. The short ends of the runners were folded into a triangle point centered at each end, pressed, then stitched into place. I added a button to each triangle to hang a small tassel at each end of the runner. I am pleased to have the space to sew and the final result of my runners.

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