DIY Quilted Duvet Cover and Curtains

I’ve been hoarding fabric for years.

To the point where I started thinking, as I folded a ripped sheet onto the appropriate color coded shelf if I was ever going to DO anything with the stock.

Cloth on appropriate color coded shelf.

“Sure I am!”
I told myself.

“When the project wants to come, it’ll speak to me and, voila! Sewing Magic!”

And then one day, there was a duck-down throw at my local thrift shop, naked without a cover and needing me.

Time to raid the fabric pile!

My daughter’s 1st birthday is coming up, and I have enough pink and pink-friendly material to assemble a duvet cover and a couple matching half curtains as a present.

#1. Assemble chosen fabric(s)
Using cast-off materials appeals to me because it does not require carefully measured yards of second guessed patterns and colors. I am working with whatever there is, in whatever sizes there are. No matter how badly I screw it up, it’s okay because there was nothing at stake.

#2. Choose a method.
What do I want this to look like? Do I want squares? Triangles? Squares and triangles? I decided to take the lazy way out and make the duvet cover out of long rectangular strips.
Group of Three #3. Measure twice, riiiiiiiip once.
I use my cutting mat to do a rough measurement of each piece of fabric (old skirts and a bowling shirt).

When there are 4 inches of material, I make a slit, and I pick up the item and rip all the way down. I rip because I am too lazy/impatient for scissors.Strips of Fabric
#4. Strips of Three.
Once I’ve thoroughly demolished the source material and my work table is smothered in a plethora of patterns; I choose the order. Which should be sewn together to make them most pleasing to my eye?

If one strip is not quite at my 2-yard length requirement, I sew on more of itself until it’s good.

I start with one and pin another to it, right sides together. To that duo, I add a third.

Once I have straight stitched all three together, I lay it aside and do the next group of three and the next. I continue until I have a stack of them; enough to cover my needs.

Since I’m making two short curtains, I select a couple of these sewn trios to hem later.

The rest of the pieces of three I assemble until they look ‘right’ to my personal aesthetic.  Then I pin the right sides together, followed by sewing until I have a solid panel for the front of my duvet cover.Image of Pinning Patches
#5. Backing.
I went ahead and used an old sheet for the back of my duvet cover. The benefit is that I can make the most of the already hemmed edges!

Then I measured, riiiiipped, and pinned the right sides together until everything looks good. Then sew three of the four sides together and before pulling the duvet cover right side out.

Pinning the Backing
#6.  Finishing Up. 
I didn’t bother to sew buttons or ties onto the open side.  When I stuffed the duck down comforter inside the duvet, I just tucked the open edges down over it.

Martha Stewart may not have done it that way but it suits me, and it works just fine.

#7. Curtains.
I finished the edges of the two remaining panels and sewed on some loops made out of small scraps.

Voila! Matching curtains and blanket!

Artist Builds Homes for the Homeless… Out of Trash!

Oakland artist Gregory Kloehn takes your trash and turns it into a treasure! Photos of his miniature homes have been circling the internet, making me jealous and proud to be a human being.

Kloehn developed an interest in sustainable architecture, designing homes that ascribe to the small house movement. I guess it was a (very) small leap to even tinyer houses.

He was moved to continue his tiny house building when it occurred to him how helpful they could be to someone who previously had little more than a cardboard covering. Especially when such houses can be built for only around $100. Kloehn is proving that you can use your art to make a change.

Of course they don’t come with all the modern accouterments. These shelters for the homeless are just large enough for a person to lie down. No washer and dryer sets but Kloehn is capable of building his small homes with water storage, even a kitchen area and other such extras. All his homes come equipped with rolling casters so that inhabitants can go mobile with their homes.

Interiors are insulated against the cold, most have at least one window and have ventilation.

One woman, whose tiny house is lined with cast off pizza delivery bags, remarks how warm she can be if she doesn’t open the window. Exteriors are waterproof and saturated in loveliness and whimsy.

Gregory Kloehn goes around from street to street digging through piles of discarded scrap, picking out pieces that don’t look like anything on their own, but when cleaned up and given a little polish, come together to make some absolutely gorgeous (and efficient) structures.