Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beginner Sewing: handkerchief and lamp cover

Unlike paper tissues, a cloth handkerchief is less likely to be dropped carelessly on the floor or ground. It will be treasured and used for many things. Handkerchiefs  have a history all their own, and were commonly seen in a man's pocket or a woman's purse. 

A handkerchief is a good beginner sewing project because it is small and works up quickly, even for the most inexperienced with a needle.

For a pattern, you can open up a square paper napkin and lay it on the fabric, cutting around it and allowing an extra half inch on each edge of the napkin, for hemming.

Where the lace ends overlap, turn one side into a corner by pressing the edge to the inside. Click on for a closer view, and click again for extra large.

 Just turn in the edge of one side of the lace to form an angle or triangle. If you are not sure how to do this, just try different ways until you have a look that you prefer.  There are other ways of doing this, but for the sake of simplicity and time, for beginners, this is the one I prefer.

As in previous beginner sewing posts, you need to have your iron heated up to cotton and linen, or very hot, with steam. Then iron the square down one-fourth inch on all sides, pressing firmly so that the creases are permanent. Then, fold that ironed down hem again, one fourth inch and press firmly. That way, it will stay in place while you stitch, and the raw edges and stray threads will be hidden inside the hem.

A boy's handkerchief can be made of any cotton print that suits a boy, or white muslin, as shown. I have used dark thread to show where you should stitch: close to that inside folded edge, catching in the main part of the handkerchief also. That will be 3 layers you are sewing through, all the way around.

If you have a little experience, you can stitch an initial in the corner. Just use your straight stitch for now, if you like.

After hemming all around, finish off in a knot. Lay the lace along side the finished handkerchief  and cut four pieces of flat lace an inch longer on each end. When ironing this finished piece, you cannot use a hot iron if the flat lace is synthetic.

Here is what it looks like when lace is attached, but even with a ladies handkerchief, the lace is not necessary.

A way to get all your old mis-matched lampshades to look alike, is to make a simple cover for them, and you can do this by hand. I've used muslin here, with ball fringe.

I need to pause for a second and tell you about Singer's large-eyed sewing needles, which makes threading easier. They come on a magnetic strip.

I use quilting thread for these hand-sewn projects, because it is thicker, and usually all cotton.

To get the right size for your lamp shade, just lay the fabric on the side of the lamp and mark the depth with a pencil, leaving an inch at the top for the casing.  Use the selvage for the bottom, so that you will not need to hem it.  Use the raw edge at the top, where you will be ironing down a large fold. To find out how much you need to go around your lamp shade, wrap the fabric around it twice. It is better to have a little more, than less.

  Sew the short edges of the piece as shown before, by ironing down one fourth inch and then one fourth inch again, and stitching with running stitch or over cast stitch.

You will need a piece of ribbon to put through the casing. To make a casing, iron down the raw top edge one fourth inch as usual. Then fold down again an inch or so, and lay your ribbon on top. Make the fold a little larger than the ribbon, so you can pull it through easily. Press that down, and sew along that inside edge, leaving the ends open to insert the ribbon. (See above photo)

Cut a piece of ribbon a few inches longer than the long piece of fabric. Attach a safety pin, and run it through the casing, by manipulating with both fingers, pulling the fabric in one direction and the safety pin and ribbon in another. It will gather as you go.

If you did not use the selvage on the lower edge, now is the time to hem it, tucking in stray threads and pressing down, then stitching.   Add your trim or fringe by stitching it on the outside edge.

This is what the finished shade looks like when done in the fabric that I have been using for this series on hand sewing. I cut a lot more ribbon so that I could tie it on to the lamp in a bow. You don't have to let the ribbon show, and it can be tucked into the opening edges.   You have just learned as simple skill that will help you make curtains, skirts, and many other things.  

I am nearing the end this fabric, so I hope to show you what you can do with all those little left-over pieces. I hope you have not thrown anything away. I forgot to tell you that when I first began the beginner sewing instructions: that the scraps can be used for something. You do not have to always save them but it is important to know what to do with them if you ever need to be resourceful.


Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your sewing tutorials. They are helpful and the pictures make it easy to explain to my children.Thank you Lady Lydia

Anonymous said...

Dimensions please.

Lydia said...

Thank you for reminding me! I just added the pattern instructions ---just open up a square paper napkin and use it for your pattern, adding half an inch extra all around, for your hem.The finished hanky is 12 inches on each side, so that would mean you would have to cut it 12 and a half inches all around.

Katrinka said...

These are such pretty items. The lampshade is so economical, fashionable, and easy!! The hanky is absolutely beautiful and so practical, and I like having a little hand sewing to do when I sit down I always seem to need to have something to do, unless I am planning on dozing! I think small, inexpensive, handmade items were very popular years ago for people to give each other as gifts on birthdays or Christmas, rather than the big blowout types of gifts we have grown accustomed to today. Little Elsie Dinsmore, in the books by Martha Finley, was always doing handwork such as a 'beaded purse'. I have an older friend in her mid-80s and she and her whole family give each other small handmade gifts for nearly every occasion. They practice being content with simple things. These hankies could be made more elaborate by attaching hand crocheted edging or embroidered initials in one corner. Such a wonderful idea!!

Lisa G. said...

As far as the lamp shade - I've seen these fabric shades before in sewing books, and am intrigued. The heat from the lamp doesn't bother them, apparently? Also, is it unwise to use darker fabric for those?

Lydia said...

I will try to post a picture of how to place the fabric around the shade for a measurement. You don't actually put the fabric anywhere near the bulb. It is like a slip cover for the outside of an actual shade that is already on the lamp. It does not replace the shade. I only covers the outside. Similar things are done to shades by crafters who know how to apply a stick-on fabric or paper and glue on hanging beads around the lower edge. This is a removable decoration for the lamp shade. Its use is to help make everything look new if you are stuck with shoddy old lamp shades. Sometimes it is impossible to find a new one that is affordable or even fits the old lamp. If you can make your own lamp shade covers, you can replace the look for just pennies.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to comment that I am planning on using up some muslin to make matching covers for 2 small lampshades in my living room, so this is so timely! I love the style of your cover, Lady Lydia, and plan to copy it.

This way, I am using up spare fabric, and saving the tired lampshades from being thrown away.

It would also be nice to have some covers to change with the seasons or holidays, such as a Christmas print.

The handkerchiefs make lovely gifts, again, using up small pretty scraps of fabric.

Thanks again, I love your blog, it adds such joy to my life!


candy said...

Wow I love the hankie and lamp shade...great idea Lydia!!!

Ginger said...

These are thoughtfully done tutorials. Thank you so much for your work.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, thank you for the hankie instructions. I would like to put the lace on mine but I can't quite see how you finished the corners so nicely. Also wouldn't cotton lace be more sturday?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the simple projects. I always think your projects could be used for missionary gifts. The little houses in one of your previous post would be a nice little toy for both big girls (us women) and little girls. May God continue to bless and prosper you as you inspire and bless us.

Lydia said...

Flat eyelet lace would certainly be better, so you could iron the entire piece with a very hot iron after washing. I had a very hard time finding any in the stores and will have to order from a sewing catalog. There is one called Sew-n-Sew and another once called Home Sew that specializes in notions and laces and small sewing accessories.

I will have to show you how to do the corners by taking close-up photos. If you want to know immediately, my explanation is this: Sew those lace strips across each side of the hanky, over lapping the ends. I suggested you cut them each an each longer than the finished hanky, so that you could overlap them. After that, on the right side, or side that will be facing up, fold down each corner of the lace at an angle, press, and stitch down. That means the edge of the lace will be a fold.

Anonymous said...

How absolutely adorable!
Lynn M

mizzmarycontrary said...

I love the handkercheifs! They are so pretty and feminine!

Anonymous said...

I love this. My family went to using hankerchiefs a few years ago, as paper can chafe your nose. Most modern people aren't used to seeing people use hankies anymore - is there any hanky etiquette that we can read about? For example, you can throw a tissue away, but you have to keep your hanky with you after you use it... I couldn't find anything written on it.

I also had a question about thread. Most of the thread that is readily available has been poly/cotton mix, for strength and managability at the same time. I have noticed over the last two months, that almost all the thread in stores has been changed to 100% polyester, even the old brand I used to use. It absolutely will not work in my machine - tangles; then burns when it is ironed.

Are you having this problem, what are you doing about it? The quilter's cotton still comes in the poly/cotton mix, but there are only about 5 neutral shades of it and it is quite a bit stiffer than the regular colored ones. None of the store clerks have seemed to notice this change until I brought it to their attention. I stocked up on some roles before I noticed the change, and noticed the first time I used it that it was a disaster in the machine.

100% cotton is still available online, but I have not found it to be strong enough for seams in clothing after some wear, just good for topstiching.

I love the lampshades, and will try them soon, I would like to use some beads at the bottom. Lovely, thank you!

Lydia said...

There was a cotton thread sold in WalMart for awhile, made in India, that was excellent. Instead of being put on a hollow spool, as most of them are, it was wound on narrow spool, so you go got a lot more for your money. I think it was a thousand yards. I do not know where to get it now. I dislike the poly-cotton combo, as it separates and shreds, and of course, defeats the purpose of using all cotton when sewing. You hope to use a hot iron, and then the thread melts. Three places I know of have cotton mills: the southern states of the US., the northern part of England, and India. Maybe if you had e-friends in those areas, you could exchange something for cotton thread. I am always looking around for it.

Lydia said...

Try this

I might order some just to try it out and report on the results

Anonymous said...

Lydia, I just love these tutorials. The Hanky and Lampshade cover are just another wonderful project for my little girls at Keepers of the Home class.

Thank you again for the great website and blogs, you are a real blessing to us.

Janet W.

The Hobbit said...

Great ideas!!We make all our Christmas presents and these are 2 things that I just never thought of.I do however make Christmas angels from hankies.It's a form of knotting that women use to do with their husbands hankerchiefs to keep the children busy while in church.Oh! Paper napkin as a template,thank you , where was my mind?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing the lace corners so well. Now I see how to do it.

Anonymous said...

I meant to thank you for the cottonpatch link, I will be ordering some to see what it's like!