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Low Sew, No Sew

No Sew Quilted Jacket Sewing Pattern

Some of my favorite ways to start low-sew and no-sew projects are with a ready-made canvas, so to speak. Using a ready-made piece as my base starts my project off right. It could be a piece of clothing, a towel, a pillowcase, a place mat or a panel for the wall. This way, the sewing -- or painting, drawing or stamping -- is the "art," and the basic piece beneath is the blank "canvas."

In the project below, Welcome to Our Home, I used Art Kloth as my canvas. Art Kloth is a fantastic base for creating a multitude of projects; it comes in various forms, including flat pieces for table runners, place mats or wall hangings, as well as shoulder bags, totes and art journals. Art Kloth is a blend of cotton and polyester, so it is ideal for sewing, painting, stamping and drawing, and it won't fray if you cut it into shapes or punch holes in it. You can even run it through an ink-jet printer!

If you are looking for a blank canvas for your next project, wander through secondhand shops, flea markets or discount stores looking for ideas. Here are a few suggestions I came up with when I visited some local shops:

  • Rompers, baby bibs, nursing covers, swaddling blankets. Just avoid buttons and beads or other embellishments that could be a choking hazard and use a decorating medium that can withstand lots of washing.
  • Table or bed linens. A local flea market had a table with heaps of antique-style table linens for very low prices. They were all very plain colors with faint tone-on-tone patterns that begged to be beaded, painted or have embroidery added to the mix to create something truly special and unique.
  • Backpacks and luggage. Let's face it, at this point everyone at the airport has the same trick -- they want luggage that stands out on the baggage carousel so they tie a bright ribbon or tag to the handle. Why not make the luggage itself stand out! Plain (even dark-color) luggage can be brought to life with some paint or fabric pens. Soft-sided bags could even be embroidered, or those that can withstand some heat might make a great base for an iron-on transfer. Backpacks can be jazzed up in the same ways, so encourage the kids to pick out plain backpacks this year and make them personal.
  • Kitchen towels, place mats, hot mats. Plain kitchen items are often far cheaper than the fancy ones with fun patterns so buy some plain ones and personalize them. Just make sure the embellishments you use can withstand heat and frequent washing. Creating a fun kitchen set with personal touches would make a great gift for a recent grad starting a new job and life in a new apartment, or for a kid headed off to college this fall if he or she plans to live in an apartment.
  • Shoes, purses, hair bands, scarves. Lots of cute little boutique stores charge an arm and a leg for their beautiful accessories that, in some cases, were originally very plain pieces that were then decorated and embellished to make them special. Take a stroll through some creative boutiques for ideas and inspiration, and then go through your own stash of buttons, trims, paints and jewelry pieces to see what you can create that rivals the fancy boutiques.
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