Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year--New Project

Hi Everyone,

I usually love the holidays and I enjoyed them very much this year being close to family.  However, I also realized that I'm really glad they are over.  I want to get back to "normal."  As it's the New Year, I am considering any resolutions/goals/etc.  I'm thinking after such a year of change as 2014 was, I think I will just enjoy 2015 and whatever comes along.  In other words, I'm tired of planning the future!

One day last week while I was home alone, I tackled one of the last remaining projects needed in my new sewing room:  a design wall.  My normal answer is to wrap cardboard with batting and tack it up on the wall, however, this room is short on wall space, so I had to come up with a different solution.  Luckily, I enjoy scouring Pinterest for any and all ideas for sewing rooms, so I had an option in mind, and it is looking great so far.

The solution I came up with involves the closet doors.  They are quite nice, but really a bit of a wasted space.  My first idea was to upholster them.  I tested out taping some of the thin sheets of crafting foam core to the the doors, and they still opened and closed.  I thought I could apply the foam core and then add flannel on top.  But I just couldn't do it.  I felt like I might somehow damage the doors.  My husband said, "Who cares?  We OWN this house."  I must admit that that is still a bit of a strange notion to me--but I still didn't want to damage anything.  I decided to try more of a non-permanet solution first.

I'm afraid I can't quote a blog specifically, as I've seen this idea in a few places.  I purchased two sheets of foam insulation at a Home Improvement store.  They are 4 feet by 8 feet.  I was able to track down a brand that has tongue and grooves.  This way, two (or more) sheets can be hooked together.

Here is one sheet leaning against the trash cans in our garage.  Can you see the groove in the end?

And here is another picture showing the "tongue" on the right side of the sheet.

I had my husband measure the closet doors inside the casing and he trimmed the two sheets so that when hooked together, they would fit inside the casing.  This means that while I'm using my design wall, I can't access my closet, but as it is mostly storing things I seldom use/need, (such as my few UFOs! ha ha) it shouldn't be a problem.

Once the pieces were trimmed (I think he used a utility knife--the panels are just a dense styrofoam-like material) I used spray adhesive to attach flannel.

I decided to use flannel instead of batting on these as I thought that flannel would be more sturdy and hold up better than batting since the completed panels will be portable.  Normally, I would wrap the flannel around the sides and attach to the back, but I needed to allow for the tongue and groove,

First I ironed the flannel nice and flat, and then along one selvage, I used fusible tape to create a hem.

I placed this finished edge along the tongue on one sheet of insulation, and the groove of the other, so that when attached, there wouldn't be a raggedy selvage showing.

I hate using spray adhesive!  It gets everywhere and the overspray is no fun to clean up, so I took the foam sheets one at a time outside and did the spraying there.  (I made these from start to finish one at a time.)  I also worked on this project in the garage on a piece of plywood placed on top of sawhorses for a nice, big work surface.  (I didn't relish the idea of crawling all over the floor to do this, but it is an option if you need it.)

In this picture, you can see the white flannel finished hem running along the tongue edge of the foam board.

Once that hemmed edge was aligned along the foam board, I could continue to smooth, smooth, smooth the flannel onto the rest of it.  I had almost 6 inches of excess fabric on the other selvage side and an inch or two extra on the top and the bottom.  A good tip is to make sure that your spray adhesive has the ability to move things around for a bit.  Don't get one that immediately adheres anything that touches it!  I did have to peel the flannel back in a few places to get all the wrinkles out.

Once it was all nice and smooth, I gave it a few minutes to adhere nicely.

Next I flipped everything over.

I used duck tape to adhere the edges of the flannel to the back of the foam sheet, folding the excess at the corners.  It isn't very pretty, but no one is going to see the back, and if so, who cares?

It took around 2 hours, or a bit less, to do all of the pressing, spraying, and taping for both panels.  

Once finished and hooked together (via the tonge and groove) the two panels tuck perfectly into the casing of the closet.  When I need to get inside, I can just move the panels out of the way, or I can take the two panels apart and store them behind the door into the room.  You can see the thicker "hems" running down the middle where the two pieces come together.

And here it is in use, with some quilt blocks all arranged on it.

Meanwhile, I'm still getting all of my fabric wrapped around the comic book inserts and shelved.  I also have one more project to make for the room--a fabric-covered bulletin/inspiration board.  My holdup on that project is deciding what fabric to use!  After that, I will be able to share the entire room with you!

Have a great day!


  1. Quilters are creative in so many ways. Great use of space. And like you I'm so glad the holidays are over and life can get back to my boring normal.

  2. What a creative way to make a design wall. I have the exact same lack-of-design-wall problem, and the exact same doors in my sewing room. I need to see if I can be as clever as you.

  3. Genius! Your boards look much neater than the ones I made with batting.

  4. What a great way to use your space - super design wall.

  5. Great minds think alike--I made myself a design wall a few months ago using the insulation sheets from Lowes--they work great.

  6. Glad you came up with a solution - it looks nice and strong too. Interested to see more of your project too...!!

  7. Great design wall, but I love those closet doors, too. : )

  8. Those are awesome! I'll have to keep that in mind for a future sewing room. :)

  9. How clever . Perfect design wall

  10. How very clever of you!!! Loved seeing all your projects in your last post!!

    Blessings and hugs!

  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE this design board JoAnne. You definitely used your creativity and they turned out perfect. A great solution that doesn't cause any permanent damage.

    Can't wait to see your sewing room in it's entirety.

  12. The doors are really nice, don't blame you for not wanting to damage them. Don't you just love your design wall already? I don't know what I would do without mine!

  13. What a great idea! Looking forward to seeing your finished sewing room as I so loved your previous sewing room especially the cutting table you and your husband made. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Looks like my frst comment got lost somewhere so I will try again.
    You are brilliant! Don't you love it when you overcome challenges in such a satisfying way? Well done! Looking forward to see the rest of your space. The view from your studio is so charming! Glad to see you back blogging. I missed you!

  15. Good idea to make use of the closet door space. Creative.

  16. Great solution--I couldn't quilt without a design wall!

  17. Great idea! Love that they hook together to create one large wall.