April 14, 2011

Thing Thursday - Recipe Calendar Tutorial

WARNING! This is a VERY long post... telling you how to make this:
A Recipe Calendar of your very own! 

Also, pardon my flash. My craft room is not fabulous at lighting, and to show detail... flash was required. Which means that not all these photos are fabulous. I'm sure you'll love me anyway.

If you don't care about how to make this... see ya tomorrow! OR, play with me from Monday's Post ;)

A number of people (mostly in real life) have said that they'd LOVE a recipe calendar. But I'm not interested in MAKING everyone recipe calendars... SO... I decided to TELL you how to make your own. Because really... if you know how to use your sewing machine and iron? it's not that hard.  I just ask that you use this for personal use only.

First things first... here's what you need to get/have.
2.5 yards of fabric, 3/8 inch dowel (I used oak), ribbon or string, yard stick (or long straight edge), measuring tape, pins, chalk, scissors, iron, a sewing machine (oh, and thread), and a paper bag.

**note: these measurements will provide you with a 29" wide calendar. This should JUST fit standard fridges. I gave myself some "wiggle room" with the tutorial version... and now it doesn't fit on my fridge :-/ (hence the "hang on the wall" photo). The measurements have been altered so it will fit on YOUR fridge though. :) Also, I laminate my recipes, so it's perfect for 4x6 recipes, but obviously, 3x5 cards fit well too.

Step 1: Cut fabric to 30 inches wide
Step 2: Hem the bottom edge by folding over once, and then again. I did this in 2 steps, but you can do it in one if you find that easier. I recommend a half inch hem, because it's easier to sew.

 Step 3: Prep your grocery bag by cutting the bottom off and up the seam.
Draw a straight line across the edge of the bag, then measure 5", 6", 13" and 14" from that line, and draw parallel lines. Cut into strips along the original line, the 6" line and the 14" line. These are now your "folding templates".
Step 4: Iron. The goal here is to crease your fabric, so steam is a good idea (and maybe even starch if you're so inclined). You'll line up the hemmed edge along the line on the 5" template strip, and then push up the bag until it's tight against the edge of the paper and iron the whole thing.
You'll then take the 5" template, and line up the creased edge. The crease you iron next should line up with your hem.

Then use your 7" template to form the next fold. You'll alternate between the 5" and 7" folds until there are 6 pockets. I recommend pinning your folds together after each 5" round, and re-pinning the two pins below it to catch the "new layers" that have been created since they were put in.
Note that you'll need to fold up some of the fabric when ironing the 7" creases
When you've completed 6 pockets worth, make sure everything is pinned securely. It can be a little tricky flipping the piece over and over, even with it all pinned, but give it a few go's and I'm sure you'll figure it out.
Step 5: Now, hem the edges with a half inch double hem again. I recommend pinning from the inside to the outside of the fabric to catch all the layers (and keep it from un-folding on you).

  Step 6: Sew down the edge, and repeat on the other side

Step 7: Once the two edges are hemmed, you can measure out the pockets. You'll want to be as accurate as possible here to get exactly 4" between each sew line. (If you have a better method than chalk... use it! and tell me!)
Step 8: When sewing the pockets, start at the edge of the top pocket... not the top of the fabric. And always make sure to back stitch to lock the stitches in. It's really beneficial if you're good at sewing straight for this step ;). I suggest going from "top to bottom" because it keeps the flaps from folding up under the sewing foot on the back side of the fabric.
 As you move across the fabric, roll the calendar to fit in the throat of the machine
When you're done, you'll have 7 pockets across and 6 pockets up and down, with a bunch of "extra" fabric at the top.
Step 9: I chose to have 3.5"  between the top pocket and the top of the calendar with a 1.5" pocket (plus 1/2" seam allowance) so I drew a line 5.5" above the top pocket. You may want to consider leaving more space if you plan on embellishing it (some suggestions are at the end).
 Cut the leftover fabric strip off along your line
 Step 10: Time to make our pocket! Iron down a half inch single fold hem (this edge will be hidden, so you don't need the double fold)
Then fold the edge down to make a pocket. The 1.5" pocket nicely fits the 3/8" rod. Pin the pocket in place, making sure that you fold the very corner under so it doesn't poke out on the final project.
 Sew the pocket down twice - your whole calendar and all your recipes will hang from this, so it's nice to have it a little extra secure.
You're essentially done! Slide the rod into your pocket
Tie some string or ribbon on to the rod, and hang! If you're feeling really motivated, you can drill holes in the dowel to thread the string through so it doesn't slide later. If you plan on hanging this on your fridge, then lace the string through the door (between the door and the fridge itself) and through the door handle before tying the second side on. The string will sit against the edge of the door frame (above the sealing strip).
Sadly, the little epoxy paper clips I used on my original one were a clearance item at Michael's I've not seen since. I saw them in Walmart a while back... but they appear to have disappeared. I saw something similar at Office Max as well. Now... Amazon is the best I can do :-(. Another option would be mini clothes pins with just numbers (for the more simplistic) or with things glued to them with numbers for a cuter look. You'll want at least 36 number pieces... a 1-31 and an extra 1-4 and 30-31 (Lets you fill in the last/first week of the month.)

Now... for those embellishment suggestions! I'm not a big embellishment person, But I probably wouldn't be against a little S-M-T-W-R-F-S above each of the days. OR, putting a bit of Velcro on (before sewing the rod pocket down) and making some month markers to change out. Other ideas for "fancy-fing" would be to use ribbon on the sewing lines, and/or as binding around the edges.

And make sure you make yourself some of my favorite "recipe cards" like...
Out to Dinner
Out of Town
Your local Pizza Joint and Chinese Place (with phone numbers)

I love being able to build my grocery list off this each week to make the most of the fresh food I need to buy, and to make sure I'm accounting for our time out of town or on nights we have other commitments! It also is great to reference back to, to see how overdue those leftovers are for the garbage :-P.

If you make one, let me know! I'd love to see yours and hear if you like it!



Laura said...


Vanessa said...

I have that sewing machine and I hate it. :)

Betsy said...

@ Laura: Thanks!!
@ Vanessa: lol. I remember having many issues with it at first, but after reading the manual about 3 times (not exaggerating) and calling Grandma once, we've made peace. It probably helps that I worked on industrial sewing machines for about 2 years too... hints: when it starts getting angry... go slower, clean out the bobbin area, possibly give up on your bobbin and wind a new one. :-P