Welcome, friends, to another Thursday post of Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!. This week’s theme? DIY!
This is a great theme. Why? Because basically my whole life is DIY! I love making, re-purposing, repainting, and mostly, saving money.
But perhaps the best thing about DIY is that you can create exactly what you want. Who wants their house to look exactly like a Crate & Barrel catalog? Not me! (Don’t get me wrong – I love magazines and catalogs. But usually as inspiration and then I create my own version of the ideas I love.)
This is the challenge my Man gave me about a month ago. If you saw my post last week about our family room, you saw our large fish tank. That’s not the only fish tank we have. There are two more.
That’s right – we have three fish tanks in our house. Yes, that’s a lot of fish.
The reason why I am telling you this is because the tank in the Man Cave was looking rather naked.
My Man asked me to sew a skirt to cover the legs and to conceal all of his fish supplies. Of course I said yes! So we went to the fabric store and came home with this:
Step 1 – Measure and figure out needed supplies
Let me back up a step. I measured the tank sides and front. The Man wanted something that would open in the front “like a theater curtain”. I looked online at a few tutorials for pedestal sink skirts, but lots of those were ruffled and frilly. Clearly this was not what he wanted in his Man Cave. So I decided that the easy way would be best.
I measured the sides (13″) and the front (49″). Each of the two panels would wrap around the side and halfway across the front. So I divided the front in half (49″/2 = 24.5″) and then add the length for the sides (24.5″ + 13″ = 37.5″). Then I measured from the floor to the top of where the panel would attach – 28″. So I knew that each of my panels needed to be 37.5″ x 28″. This is the finished size.
To include enough fabric for seam allowances, I added an inch for each side. So the pieces of fabric that I cut were 39.5″ x 30″.
To figure out the amount of fabric I needed to buy, I knew that fabric comes off the bolt 44″ wide. I could fit the widest part of the panel (39.5) across the widest part of the fabric (44″), so the length I needed was 60″. I always buy more than I need, so I think I bought 63″ (1.75 yards). Once I had my fabric home, I washed it so it would shrink before I started cutting and sewing.
I needed a way to attach the fabric to the tank. Velcro was the first thing I thought of and what I ended up using. I wanted one big piece to go all the way around the two sides and the front (49″ +13″ +13″ = 75″). I found this special heavy duty, Home Dec Velcro that you can see in the picture above.
Whew! So I had all of my supplies together. The boring part is over; time for fun!
Step 2 – Clean tank railing
In order to get the Velcro to stick properly, I had take some cleanser to the railing. This was a tank that the Man found on Craigslist, and the previous owner had left some tape and gunk on the railing. So I cleaned it all nice and pretty.
Step 3 – Attach Velcro binding.
This step was the easiest because the roll of Velcro was exactly the same size as the railing (75″). I peeled off the backing and stuck that Velcro on. Done!
Step 4 – Cut fabric and iron seams
I cut my fabric to the size I had planned (39.5″ x 30″). My fabric was too wide to cut flat, so I folded it into quarters.
And then cut it down to my desired size. (BTW isn’t this fabric fabulous? The Man picked it out!)
Next I pinned the edges down 1/2″ and ironed them.
I folded them one more time at 1/2″ and ironed them again.
Step 5 – Sew!
Now that my edges were pinned and ironed, it was a cinch to sew them up. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Step 6 – Attach Velcro to fabric
This step was more challenging than I anticipated. I decided not to use the sewing machine to sew the Velcro on because I didn’t want the lines from that to mess with my nice lines from the seams.
Of course, I decided to hand sew the Velcro. This took a long time because Velcro is hard to get a needle through (and painful!). In the picture, you can see that I started with invisible thread. The problem? I couldn’t see it while I was sewing. So I switched to brown eventually.
Step 7 – Finally! Attach skirt to tank
Doesn’t it look great? The Man loves it, so mission accomplished!
Welcome Gussy Sews friends! And hello to everyone else. Have you ever made a skirt for a fish tank? Probably not but I thought I would ask.