L.A. at Home

Design, Architecture, Gardens,
Southern California Living

Category: Sewing

The Deal: Do-it-yourself pillows from Lotta Jansdotter


Lotta Jansdotter’s do-it-yourself books such as “Lotta Prints” and “Simple Sewing” are known for showcasing the Scandinavian designer's uncomplicated approach to home decor and sewing projects.

Now the designer takes the philosophy a step further by offering do-it-yourself kits on her website. The 100% linen screen-printed pillows pictured here arrive with hand-drawn instructions by Jansdotter as well as all the fabric you need. The finished cushion cover is 16 inches square, a standard size for pillow inserts.

“It’s so easy even the novice sewer can successfully make it in a few hours,” the website says -- meaning there is no zipper installation involved. And at $18, it’s a great deal.

Other do-it-yourself projects include tote ($18), bib ($18) and rattle ($16) kits. Limited edition fabric sets ($14 to $28) can be used for place mats or table runners.

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credits: Lotta Jansdotter

Birch Fabrics' Eames-era-inspired Circa 50 line

Birch fabric monaluna 0

Circa 50, the debut collection of 100% organic cotton prints from Birch Fabrics, is a new line inspired by midcentury modernism, bold colors and "whimsical juvenile accents," says founder Cynthia Mann, who began manufacturing textiles after becoming frustrated with what she found in American stores.

"I am a big fan of anything midcentury. As a retailer, I know that people are buying anything modern and graphic," she says. "American retailers aren't paying attention to what is coming out of Japan and Australia in terms of cutting-edge color and graphics."

The new line of 12 prints, designed by Oakland-based textile designer Jennifer Moore of Monaluna Design, features Atomic Age chairs and Palm Springs houses, starbursts, woodland creatures and other incredibly cheerful images.

 "People want textiles to blend in and look like the rest of the house," says Mann. "You could do a baby room in this and still have everything feel modern and contemporary." Printed on poplin, Circa 50 will retail for $16.50 per yard and will be available in March through Fabricworm.com. Look for a preview here.

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Unique Los Angeles craft market at Space 15 Twenty

Menstrual-cycle-pillow Unique Los Angeles, a fair for independent crafty folks and designers, is staging a mini-market at  Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood this Sunday, Aug. 23. Among the more than 60 vendors: I Heart Guts, purveyors of stuffed toys shaped like internal organs and a cute new line of pillows, including this one. 

Other participants include Everything Gardens and  33 Stewart Avenue, an art studio that produces digital photo illustrations of Los Angeles streets, alleys, storefronts, motel pools and -- it's about time -- taco trucks. 

Complimentary Pabst Blue Ribbon will be served. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credit: I Heart Guts

The Deal: Contemporary Cloth's August fabric sale

Drawingroom_22_b Shopping for fabric online at Contemporary Cloth can make you dizzy with its ruthlessly detailed fabric categories -- midcentury modern, botanical, Asian and more.

Whether your tastes run to delicate florals or triple-hand-dyed batiks, the online store seems to have something for every DIY decorator during its August sale, featuring 20% to 60% discounts.

Look for reductions on 100% cottons suitable for pillows, curtains, bedding and quilts, as well as heavier-weight fabrics such as Anna Maria Horner’s Drawing Room #22 Pressed Flowers in chocolate cotton sateen, pictured here, and on sale for $11.21 per yard, down from $14.95.

-- Lisa Boone

Photo: Contemporary Cloth

From the cubicle next door: 'Lampshade Lady's Guide'

The Lampsahde Lady's Guide to Lighting Up Your Life

I have the good fortune of sitting next to the vacant cubicle where the Home staff dumps promotional copies of books they've received in the mail. I thought I'd never find another book as insane as "Pet Projects: The Animal Knits Bible," but today I stumbled upon another jewel! "The Lampshade Lady's Guide to Lighting Up Your Life," with photos of 50 custom lampshades and lamps and directions on how to do it all yourself.

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Knit-your-own hamster house and other offerings from 'Pet Projects'

Pet collage

Last week I wrote a story about knitting with dog fur, but today it's all about knitting for the actual dog. Or cat. Or horse. Or hamster. "Pet Projects" (Taunton Press, 2009), a knitting book by UK knitwear designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne even has a pattern for something they call a Tortoise Hibernation Tent. Is it gimmicky? Yes! Is it essentially useless? Pretty much! Is it new? Not really -- it originally came out in February. Why am I writing about it despite these shortfalls? Because it just showed up on a cubicle near my desk Wednesday, and it was too delightful (and hilarious) not to share.

More photos (including pugs in hats!) after the jump.

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Renegade Craft Fair sets up shop in L.A. this weekend

Kg+ag The Renegade Craft Fair,which calls itself one of the nation's largest DIY and handmade art events, has moved beyond its Chicago roots and will make its Los Angeles premiere this weekend. The free-admission show features work by more than 300 crafters, including Northern California ceramist Sara Paloma and local felt-sculpting furniture designer Tanya Aguiniga, who was featured in Home last November. 

One booth I'll be visiting: KG + AB, creator of the animal figurines and dessert-shaped stash boxes shown here. Made of porcelain and hand-crafted from vintage molds, they also sell for $30 and up on Etsy. The Renegade Craft Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 11 and 12 in the penthouse of the California Market Center, 110 E. 9th St., L.A.

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credit: Renegade Craft Fair

The Scout: Ashland & Hill is moving, you are saving

PotteryAfter 15 years of creating custom upholstery and furniture for celebrity clients, Ashland & Hill on Main Street in Santa Monica is relocating. To Texas. What that means for you: Markdowns through the end of July, including up to 50% savings on floor-model sofas, tables and chairs. Designer-owner Deborah Thiras also has a great eye for accessories, such as Robert Indiana-inspired "LOVE" pillows (photo after the jump) and these dramatic vessels by San Diego craftsman Ed Thompson. Although they appear to be patinated bronze, the bowls and vases are actually wheel-thrown and hand-carved stoneware. Originally $85 to $185, they're now on sale for $65 to $160. 

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OPENING: The Sewing Lounge in Burbank

Sewing lounge

Just 19, Jessica Dooley opened a boutique in Burbank last month called the Sewing Lounge. "I want to create a community of crafters who encourage one another," she said from her sunny space. A recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising's marketing program, Dooley hosts daily "open sewing" hours when customers can drop in and use the machines. She also leads classes. Subjects include refashioning thrift-store finds, making alterations, sewing simple curtains and, yes, learning how to operate the sewing machine you own but don't know how to use. Classes are designed for three or four people, but private sessions also are available, and she plans to add lessons for kids next month. Prices for most group classes run $50 to $75 for two to six hours of instruction, and private lessons are $35 an hour; "open sewing" is $9 an hour. 3216 W. Magnolia Blvd.; (818) 729-1781; www.thesewingloungeburbank.com.

-- Lisa Boone

Photo Jessica Dooley in her new store. Credit: Anne Cusack


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