Making It Up as You Go

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Shopping the stash… always fun!

… or Making your In-Laws Look Better.

My sister-in-law dropped by for a nice visit last week; we were happy to spend time with her. She was kind enough to bring us a photo she found while cleaning out – it’s of my husband’s parents from oh-so-long ago. There’s no date on the photo, but my husband figures he was five years or younger.

Anyway, he wanted to frame it, so I started looking at 11 x 14 frames. After a bit of searching and not finding anything appealing, I got smart (maybe too smart) and thought, hey, I can make one with fabric… and after two hours this morning I have a framed photo.

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Graph paper has always been my favorite – and so convenient for sewing

I started by measuring the photo, then deciding how much overlap I wanted for the frame, then how wide I wanted the frame to be. It’s really more of a matting technique at this point, so you could use this as a mat inside of a regular picture frame too, just leave off the final backing.

Next I cut down a piece of Peltex® to the dimensions I settled on; after that I fused the fabric I was using to the Peltex frame and trimmed it to fit. I did leave a ½ inch allowance so I could wrap it around the frame; ½ inch was a bit small to work with, you may want to consider leaving a bit more of an edge. I used my clapper to help set the fabric around the backside.

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Since the fabric I chose was a silk dupioni, I knew it was going to shed and I didn’t want to spend time cleaning up threads that might stick out later on, so I used a basting spray, stuck down a piece of muslin, then stitched around the inner and outer edges.

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I used a decorative stitch on the inside, and simply top-stitched the outside edge. Once it was all stitched in place, I clipped away the excess (your appliqué scissors will work better here.)

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Now to center the photo in the frame – and discover the small but repairable mistake I made. When I initially cut down the frame, I forgot to cut the width to size – and didn’t either check my final measurements before proceeding to the next step. So instead of a lovely one-inch overlap, I got free-hang edges of photo! Ah well, it just fits inside the frame and with archival tape I was able to affix it into place.

To enclose the whole thing, I used plain muslin again, backed with DécorBond® for a bit of stability. I decided to just sew around the whole edge, but if you think you’d like to reuse your frame, only sew down the sides and bottom, leaving the top edge open – you’ll probably want to fold it over and finish it with a straight stitch to make it nice.

I then topstitched around the whole frame again, and trimmed down the excess fabric. I also sewed in a strip of fabric for hanging, you can do that too or add one by hand later, how ever you prefer. Just to make sure the photo didn’t move in the frame, I edge-stitched right along the two sides, can’t even tell it’s there.

And now, here are my in-laws – don’t they look better?

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