In Weekend Handmade, author Kelly Wilkinson encourages readers to celebrate the joy of crafting, both for the satisfaction of making something by hand, and because the finished items serve as reminders of time taken to slow down and create – no matter the day of the week.
The book is organized into three sections: Make offers projects to wear or decorate with; Grow presents projects inspired by gardens, fields, and farmer’s markets; and Gather spotlights projects that enrich casual get-togethers.
With clear, step-by-step instructions, every project in Weekend Handmade —from aprons, tablecloths, and marmalade to a memory box and a chandelier—can be completed in a few hours or over the course of a weekend.
Praise for Weekend Handmade:
“Kelly Wilkinson always felt like her crafty side was at odds with her job as a journalist, but now she has a book that incorporates both. Weekend Handmade provides instructions for quirky crafts that virtually anyone can do. All these crafts have a quirky feel—think hipster Martha Stewart—and they’re pretty simple, too.”
—NPR Weekend Edition
“Think you can’t make anything—or, more importantly, that you don't have the time to? Wilkinson's undowdy projects—luminarias, table decorations—are all designed to be completed in a couple of hours.” —Entertainment Weekly
“The simple botanical luminarias in . . . Weekend Handmade disprove the notion that do-it-yourself projects don’t turn out as they appear in books.” —Los Angeles Times
“Everyone’s a crafter these days, including your mom (quilts with Jon Stewart’s face stitched on them) and your cubicle mate (carved fruit statues he sells on Etsy). But Weekend Handmade presents simple projects for the glue-gun and table saw–impaired.” —Washington Post Express
“Ample projects to feed your creative side.” —Daily Candy
“This would be a fabulous addition to any library and a perfect hostess gift.” —Dooce.com
About the Author
Kelly Wilkinson is a craft designer and journalist. Her projects have appeared on Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, and on her blog, Make Grow Gather, as well as in Sunset magazine, Country Living, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post. She lives in San Francisco.
Read an Excerpt
Winter Blossoms Cowl
Felting is an addictive alchemy that isn't hard to master. This project, for example, begins as a pile of beat-up old wool sweaters and ends as a casual, graceful cowl. The finished piece is cozy, elegant, and organic all at the same time, perfect for weekend walks and other outdoor activities.
9" (23 cm) wide x 15" (38 cm) long
Felted sweaters (see note) or wool felt in 2–3 colors for flower embellishments
½ yard (½ meter) fleece or a felted sweater for cowl Thread to match fabrics Chalk or chalk pencil Drinking glass or other circular objects (optional)
Fabric scissors Straight pins Sewing needle Clear acrylic grid ruler Sewing machine Safety pins
Note: Felting sweaters is easy, but requires advance planning, because it takes time for them to dry. Look for solid color, 100% wool sweaters in vintage or thrift stores. Set a washing machine to the hottest setting and add the sweaters — no need to add detergent. Wash the sweaters, checking them after the agitation cycle to see if they have felted. You'll know they're done when you can't see the stitches anymore and the wool has shrunk into a thick, dense material. If this doesn't happen on the first cycle, repeat the agitation cycle until the sweaters have felted. Spin the sweaters to remove excess water, and then lay them flat on towels to dry.
Make Flower Embellishments
1. Using a chalk pencil, draw five to seven circles varying between 1½" (4 cm) and 3" (7.5 cm) in diameter onto felted sweaters or wool felt by tracing the outline of a drinking glass or other circular object. Cut out the circles, cutting just inside the marked lines, or if you prefer, cut out circles freehand.
2. Holding a felted circle in one hand, begin cutting into the circle at the outside edge, making a spiraling cut by curving in toward the center and ending at the center. If this process leaves the end with a sharp tail, trim off about ½" (1.5 cm) at the end of the spiral to remove the sharp tail.
3. Starting at the center of the spiral, coil the fabric so the layers overlap and stack around the center piece to create a flower shape. After you try a few, you may want to vary the symmetry of your flowers, stacking some toward the right or left. Pin the layers in place.
4. Thread a needle with a double-length of thread and knot the ends together. Starting at the center of flower, on the wrong side, insert the needle from back to front, take a small stitch to the back, and repeat several times to tack the layers into place. End with the needle on the wrong side. Knot the thread and trim off the excess.
5. Re-thread the needle in the same manner as before. On the wrong side of the coil, tack the layers together along the length of the spiral, working from the outer edge toward the center, keeping the stitches on the back side. When you reach the center, pass the needle back and forth on the back side of the flower. Knot the thread and trim the thread tails.
6. Repeat steps 2 —5 to make additional flowers.
Top line: ribbed edge. Bottom line: stop sewing here
Make Cowl (steps 2 —7): Pin, then sew together the two pieces of felt or fleece, right sides facing. Then turn cowl right side out and zigzag stitch along raw edges. Finally, tack the flowers into place.
1. Lay out the felted sweater or fold a piece of fleece in half and cut out two rectangles measuring 10" x 15" (25 x 38 cm). I like to place one short edge of each rectangle along the ribbed hem of the sweater and use this edge as the upper edge of the cowl.
2. Place the rectangles right sides together and pin along the edges. Make a mark with a chalk pencil on one long side of the rectangles, 8" (20.5 cm) from the upper edges.
3. Sew the unmarked long side of the cowl, right sides together, using ½" (1.5 cm) seam allowances and backstitching at the beginning and end.
4. Stitch the remaining long sides together, starting at the top and sewing down to the mark 8" (20.5 cm) from the top. Backstitch at the beginning and end. Turn right-side out.
5. If you want to add a decorative stitch along the raw edges, stitch around them, using a zigzag stitch, being careful to sew through only one layer of fabric at a time.
6. Arrange the flowers on the cowl as desired and pin in place with safety pins. I like to clump the flowers toward one side of the split, and have them cascade down toward the bottom.
7. Hand-sew each flower in place.
This dramatic headband flatters any hair length (even my short crop). Wear it to a festive weekend party and accessorize with a glass of champagne. Or add some panache to a low-key weekend afternoon.
Feather pad: 4" (10 cm) wide x 5" (12.5 cm) high
Plain or fabric-wrapped headband
4–5" (10–12.5 cm) tall feather pad (called a pad when the feathers are already attached to a backing; see Resources)
1/8 yard (1/8 meter) feather trim, or smaller loose feathers, for accent Decorative button or clip-on earring, with earring back removed (see "Prepare Baubles" in the Bohemian Necklace project on this page for instructions)
Clothespin Felt to match headband Thread to match felt Permanent bonding cement or strong glue Fabric scissors Large mirror, to check placement of feather pad while wearing headband Chalk pencil Double-sided tape Sewing needle
Make Feather Piece
Note: When you buy feather pads, some of the backings can be harder to sew through than others. If you find you have a feather pad that you can't get a needle through, you can always glue the pad and felt together with bonding cement and skip the sewing step.
1. If using feather trim by-the-yard (meter), remove some feathers from the trim. Arrange the loose feathers on top of the feather pad, at the tapered end. Secure in place with bonding cement and let dry.
2. Position a decorative button or clip-on earring front to the base of feathers to conceal the ends. Secure in place with bonding cement and let dry. Use a clothespin to help keep the button or earring in place as it dries.
1. If any of the downy fluff on small feathers is visible when you remove the clothespin, trim with scissors.
2. Lay the feather pad on a piece of felt and trace the entire outline onto the felt with a chalk pencil. Cut ½" (1.5 cm) inside the chalk line, so the felt is smaller than the feather pad.
3. Try on the headband in front of a mirror. Position the feather pad in desired position on the side of the headband and temporarily secure with a piece of double-sided tape. Remove headband.
4. Thread a needle with a double-length of thread and knot the ends together.
5. Place the felt on the inside of the headband, so the headband is sandwiched between the felt and the wrong side of the feather pad (see illustration below).
6. Using a whipstitch, sew the edge of the felt to the feather pad, being careful not to push the needle through to the front of the feather pad. When you reach the headband at the top of the feather pad, pass the needle under the felt and headband. Then continue sewing along the other side. Knot the thread at the end and trim the thread tails.
Top to bottom: headband, feather pad, felt, headband
Assemble Headband (Steps 6 —7): Whipstitch the felt to the underside of the feather pad, sandwiching the headband between the two.
Sunday Morning Pillows
Nothing captures a lazy weekend quite like reading the newspaper in bed or sprawled on the living room floor, in comfy clothes with a big mug of coffee. But for an ideal experience, you need to be propped up comfortably — no craning your neck to read your favorite section. This big pillow solves that problem, and is also an easy way to introduce favorite fabric colors and prints into your decor.
Large pillow: 24" x 24" (61 x 61 cm)
Small pillow: 16" x 16" (40.5 x 40.5 cm)
For large pillow:
1 yard (1 meter) linen for back panels
¾ yard (¾ meter) main print fabric for pillow front
¾ yard (¾ meter) contrasting print fabric for pillow front
25" (63.5 cm) grosgrain ribbon, 2" (5 cm) wide
24" (61 cm) square pillow form
For small pillow:
5/8 yard (5/8 meter) linen for front panel and backing
5/8 yard (5/8 meter) contrasting print fabric for front panel
17" (43 cm) grosgrain ribbon, 1" (2.5 cm) wide
16" (40.5 cm) square pillow form
For both pillows:
Thread to match fabrics and ribbon Rotary cutter Clear acrylic grid ruler Self-healing cutting mat Fabric scissors Straight pins Sewing machine Iron and ironing board
Cut Fabric Pieces for Large Pillow
1. For the pillow front, cut one 16" x 25" (40.5 x 63.5 cm) rectangle from the main print fabric and one 10" x 25" (25.5 x 63.5 cm) rectangle from the contrasting print fabric.
2. For the pillow back, cut two 15½" x 25" (39.5 x 63.5 cm) pieces of linen.
Cut Fabric Pieces for Small Pillow
1. For the pillow front, cut one 12" x 17" (30.5 x 43 cm) rectangle from the main print fabric and one 5" x 17" (12.5 x 43 cm) rectangle from the linen fabric.
2. For the pillow back, cut two 12" x 17" (30.5 x 43 cm) pieces of linen.
Join Pillow Front Panels and Hem Pillow Back Pieces
1. Pin the pillow front pieces right sides together along one long edge. Stitch together, using ½" (1.5 cm) seam allowances and backstitching at the beginning and end. Press the seam allowances open.
2. On the right side, position the length of ribbon on top of the seam and pin. Stitch the ribbon in place along each long edge.
3. On each pillow back piece, fold over and press ½" (1.5 cm) to wrong side on one long edge. Fold over ½" (1.5 cm) again, press, and pin in place. Stitch close to the inner fold.
1. Position the pillow back pieces wrong side down on your work surface, overlapping the hemmed edges at the middle so the pieces make a 24" or 16" (61 or 40.5 cm) square. Pin overlap in place to keep it in position.
2. Position the pillow front on top of the pillow back pieces, right sides together. Pin in place around all four sides.
3. Stitch around the pillow squares, using a ½" (1.5 cm) seam allowance and backstitching at the beginning and end.
4. Clip the corners and trim the seam allowances.
5. Turn the pillow case right side out and insert the pillow form.
My mother is the best and most inventive "upcycler" I know. Inspired by her, I made this necklace from a combination of flea market baubles and jewelry I inherited from my stylish maternal grandmother. I added a simple buttonhole closure, but you could just as easily leave the ribbons long and simply tie at the back of your neck.
Necklace: 3½" (9 cm) wide x 24" (61 cm) long
Central cluster: 3½" (9 cm) high x 4½" (11.5 cm) wide
½ yard (½ meter) each of nylon netting in four colors Baubles, such as pins, brooches, clip-on earrings, or buttons (see note below)
5" x 6" (12.5 x 15 cm) piece muslin
5" x 6" (12.5 x 15 cm) piece wool felt
½ yard (½ meter) ribbon, 5/8 " (16 mm) wide Button, ½" (1.5 cm) diameter to match ribbon Thread to match grosgrain ribbon Bullnose pliers Pin backs (optional)
Permanent bonding cement (optional)
Fabric scissors Needle Pencil Tracing paper for pattern (optional)
Paper scissors (if making a template from paper)
Disappearing-ink fabric marker Straight pins Button foot for sewing machine or fray protector
Notes: When sourcing baubles for your necklace, keep in mind that pins will be the easiest to use because they don't need to be modified — but make sure the front isn't too large or heavy, or it might tip forward. If using earrings or brooches, make sure they have a flat back so you can easily add a pin or glue them flat against the necklace.
You can use shank buttons or buttons with holes. Shank buttons may tip forward; the thread used to secure two-hole and four-hole buttons will show on necklace front, so choose color accordingly.
If using pins or brooches, no preparation is needed, as you can simply pin them in place on the necklace. If you're using clip-on earrings, pry the hinged backing off the earring with a pair of pliers by grasping the hinge with the pliers as close to the base of the earring as possible and moving the clip backing back and forth until it snaps off. If desired, apply a craft pin to the back of the earring using bonding cement and let dry. Alternatively, you can glue items directly to the necklace fabric.
1. For each flower, cut two pieces of netting 10" (25.5 cm) square and layer the squares (use the same color for both netting squares or use two different colors of netting to add depth). Fold the layered squares in half, then fold in half again two more times to create a small square of folded netting.
2. Thread a needle with thread and knot the thread ends together. Bring the needle up through the center back of the folded netting square. Tack the layers in place several times, finishing with the thread at the back of the square. Don't cut the extra thread yet.
3. To give the flower dimension, fold the layered netting square in half so the knot you just created is in the fold. This creates a pinched effect that will make the flower puffy instead of flat. Tack the layers together several times, ¼" (6 mm) from the fold.
4. Release the fold, and fold the layered netting square in half in the opposite direction. Again, tack the layers together several times, ¼" (6 mm) from the fold. Knot at the back and trim the extra thread. Open the square.
5. With fabric scissors, trim the corners of the netting to make a circle about 2½" (6.5 cm) in diameter. Start with the top layers of netting and trim one or two layers at a time, so the layers are staggered and irregular, but gradually get bigger toward the bottom.
6. Repeat steps 1–5 to make another 2½" (6.5 cm) flower and two smaller flowers (trim the netting circle for the small flowers to 1½" (4 cm) in diameter in step 5).
Prepare Necklace Base
1. Place a piece of muslin over the necklace template opposite, trace with a pencil, and cut out just inside the marked lines with fabric scissors. Note: If the muslin is too thick to see the template through the fabric, trace the template onto paper first, cut it out, and then trace the paper template onto the muslin with a disappearing-ink fabric marker. Cut the shape out of muslin, cutting just inside the marked line with fabric scissors.
2. Place the muslin template on top of the wool felt and trace the shape onto the felt with a disappearingink fabric marker. Cut out the wool felt, cutting just inside the marked line.
3. Transfer the template markings for the ribbon placement onto the right sides of the muslin and the felt, using a disappearing-ink fabric marker.
1. Position the netting flowers on top of the muslin, and add baubles to some of the flowers' centers; leave others plain. Fill in the gaps between the flowers with the remaining baubles and brooches until you have a pleasing arrangement. Overlap some edges of the flowers so all the elements are tightly clustered on the muslin and no muslin is visible, but be sure not to place anything within 1/2" (1.5 cm) of the edge to ensure you have enough room to sew the muslin to the felt.
2. When you are satisfied with your arrangement, pin the brooches and items with pin backs in place and secure any elements without pin backs to the arrangement with a needle and thread or glue (sewn items will be more secure than glued items).
3. Carefully turn the necklace upside down so the baubles are face down on the work surface.
4. Place the felt cutout on top of the muslin, aligning markings. The muslin may have pinched a little after sewing the baubles in place. If the edges don't match exactly, that's okay — you can account for this when you sew the pieces together.
5. Cut the ½-yard (½-meter) length of ribbon in half. Place the ends of both ribbons so they're sandwiched between the muslin and felt pieces at the marked points. Pin the ribbons in place.
6. Thread a needle with a double length of thread and knot the ends together. Insert the needle from the back to the front where the ribbon is attached to secure the layers together. Hand-stitch the felt and muslin layers together, using a running stitch ¼" (6 mm) from the edge. Securely stitch the ribbon in place.
7. Stand in front of a mirror and hold the necklace around your neck to see where it should hang. Mark the ribbon ends where they should meet at the back of the neck, using a disappearing-ink fabric marker. If you're not adding a button closure, cut ribbon 6" to 8" (15 to 20 cm) beyond the mark to tie around your neck. If you're adding a button closure, cut the ribbon ends 1" (2.5 cm) beyond the marked points.
8. To finish the ends of the ribbon, turn each end ¼" (6 mm) to the wrong side and press in place. Turn another ¼" (6 mm) to the wrong side and press again. Stitch in place with a small running stitch.
9. Add a button closure by sewing a button to the end of one ribbon. Mark the placement of a buttonhole at the end of the other ribbon. Use the button foot on your sewing machine to create a buttonhole. Alternatively, cut a slit in the ribbon at the buttonhole marking, seal the raw edges with fray protector, and bind the cut edges with small overhand stitching.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Weekend Handmade"
Copyright © 2011 Kelly Wilkinson.
Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Make,
Chapter 2: Grow,
Chapter 3: Gather,
Index of Projects & Ideas,