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Moda's Half Moon Modern Sewing Room: Project Board

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In the world of design, a 'project board' is a very common, very important tool. It's used to collect pieces of inspiration, idea starters, color and texture samples and more. You refer to your project board throughout the creative process to determine direction and refine the look and feel of your design. It's a bulletin board for your brain. They are used by fashion designers, interior designers, fabric designers... and YOU! Our Half Moon Modern project board is bold and bright with a large center area to pin all your ideas plus two handy pockets to hold whatever else you need. The bright, happy colors of Moda's Half Moon Modern are an inspiration in and of themselves. We kept our project board purposefully sparse for our photo shoot so you could best see how it was constructed; they are usually chockfull with layers of great ideas.

Our board finishes at 24" x 24" and uses common INSULFOAM® as a base, which is very rigid yet lightweight and easy to pin into. This product is traditionally sold in 24" x 48" sheets, so you can make two project boards from one sheet. We found it in both ¾" and 1½" width and recommend the ¾" width for this project.

Our thanks to Moda for sponsoring this Sewing Room Series and allowing Sew4Home to be one of the first to debut the great Half Moon Modern collection. This dandy project board is number eight of our eight perfect projects to spruce up your own sewing room or to give as wonderful gifts for all the sewers and crafters on your holiday lists.

Make sure you check out all the Half Moon Modern tutorials: heavy-duty half apron.

But there's even more to come: Moda has sponsored a free downloadable Sewing Reference Guide, and we cap off the Series with an amazing Half Moon Modern Great Giveaway.

Half Moon Modern arrives in stores and online this month.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Our amounts are generous and allow for fussy cutting. Also, the cuts are sized specifically for the foam board we purchased and cut. Width and height decisions shown are based on best use of the design not necessarily the most economical use of the fabric. If you're unsure or wishing to conserve, carefully look through the cutting instructions to judge how much of whichever fabric you choose may indeed be required.

  • ONE 24" x 24", ¾" thick piece of INSULFOAM® rigid insulation foam board 
    NOTE: As we mentioned above, the standard size of these sheets is 24" x 48", but it does come in various thicknesses. You will use one half sheet. We found our ¾" INSULFOAM® board at our local Home Depot. But, just about any larger home improvement type store should carry it.
  • ONE 23" x 23" piece of heavy white craft paper to finish the back of the board
  • ¾ yard of lightweight batting or heavyweight white flannel; we used Warm & Natural quilt batting
  • ¾ yard of EACH of THREE 44-45" wide fabrics: we used Half Moon Modern by Moda Fabrics in Big Dots Aqua, Ovals Aqua, and Leaves Aqua
  • Scrap or ¼ yard on one additional contrasting 44-45" wide fabric; we used Half Moon Modern by Moda Fabrics in Scissors Yellow
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • All purpose thread to contrast with accent fabric strip (the Scissors Yellow in our sample ): we used red
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors and rotary cutter and mat
  • Box cutter
  • Large T-square: optional, but very helpful
  • Fabric-safe spray adhesive: we used Aleene's Crystal Clear, Acid-Free Tacky Spray and Elmer's Craft Bond Spray
  • Painters tape or clear packing tape
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

All cuts include the amounts needed to wrap around the ¾" foam board. All pieces should be carefully fussy cut to feature a nicely centered design in each quadrant. If you have a strong directional print, like our pretty Oval Aqua stripe, it is also very important you make sure your stripes are running straight and true.

  1. From the lightweight batting/thin white flannel, cut ONE 24" x 24" square.
  2. From the fabric for the top left and bottom right quadrants (Ovals Aqua in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 14½" wide x 11½" high rectangle
    ONE 14½" wide x 17½" high rectangle
  3. From the fabric for the top right and bottom left quadrants (Big Dots Aqua in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 14½" wide x 11½" high rectangle
    ONE 14½" wide x 17½" high rectangle
  4. From the fabric for the pocket panel (Leaves Aqua in our sample), cut ONE 28" wide x 12" high rectangle
  5. From the fabric for the top-of-the-pocket accent strip (Scissors Yellow in our sample), cut ONE piece 28" x approximately 4½"
    NOTE: I say approximately because your motif may be larger or smaller than our scissors motif. In the steps below, we outline how to figure the cut width and press it accordingly.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Press all your cut pieces so they are nice and flat.
  2. Place the top left piece and bottom left piece right sides together.
  3. Place the top right piece and bottom right piece right sides together.
  4. Pin both sets along one 14½" wide.
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  5. Stitch both sets together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press seam allowances together. Press one sets' seam allowance up and the other sets' seam allowance down so the two seams will nest together and your center seam will lay nice and flat.
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  6. To form that center seam, stitch the two sewn units together, using a ½" seam allowance.
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  7. Fold the pocket piece in half widthwise, wrong sides together, so it is now 6" x 28". If you are working with a directional print, remember that the raw edges will be the TOP of the pocket.
  8. Press well.
  9. Find the pocket accent strip. As mentioned above, your strip should be 28" in length, but the width will vary based on the width of your motif. You want one full motif (or one full repeat as it is usually referred to) to show along the top of the pocket. Cut an additional motif's width on either side of the full center motif. In our sample, the scissor motif is 1½", so we centered one row and cut our strip 4½" (1½" x 3).
  10. Fold under both raw sides of the strip to perfectly center the middle motif. You need to do this visually - don't rely on just measuring. Printed fabric is not always 100% straight. This is simply a hazard of printing on fabric, which can stretch and move slightly during the printing process. Rely on you eye to achieve a nicely centered middle motif.
  11. When done, unfold the strip do you can see both creases.
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  12. Re-fold the full amount along the BOTTOM of the strip. In other words, just re-fold along the original crease.
  13. Along the top of the strip, fold the raw edge of the strip in to meet the crease and press.
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  14. Place this "fussy folded" strip right side up along the top raw edge of the pocket. The visible crease should align with the top raw edge of the pocket and the wider, beautifully centered motif sits along the front of the pocket.
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  15. The thinner folded edge wraps around to back of the pocket.
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  16. Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin. we also like to slightly increase our stitch length for topstitching.
  17. Topstitch in place along both edges of the beautifully centered part of the motif.
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  18. Here is what the top of the pocket will look like from the front and back.
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  19. Place the finished pocket right side up on top of the finished front, which should also be right side up. The bottom folded edge of the pocket should be 2" from the bottom raw edge of the front. Measure carefully and make sure the pocket is straight all the way across.
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  20. With the machine still threaded in contrasting thread and your stitch length still lengthened, topstitch ¼" from the bottom edge of the pocket all the way across and through all the layers.
  21. Also stitch up both sides of the pocket; this is simply to hold the layers together to make it easier to handle when you do the final wrap.
  22. We divided our pocket panel into just two pockets, you could certainly make more, smaller pockets if that would be better for you. We used the center seam of the front as our dividing line, marking with pins at the top and bottom the pocket panel.Click to Enlarge
  23. Draw a vertical line from the top of the pocket to the bottom. Make sure you use a fabric pen or pencil that will easily erase.
  24. With the machine still threaded in contrasting thread and your stitch length still lengthened, topstitch from the bottom of the pocket to the top, following your drawn line. If possible, use a lock stitch rather than a backstitch at the top of the pocket for a neater finish.

Wrapping the board

  1. Make sure your work surface is covered with paper, but don't use newspaper as the newsprint can rub off on your fabric.
  2. Place the foam board on your covered work surface and lightly spray the board with adhesive.
  3. Place the batting or flannel piece over the the foam board, making sure it is flush with all four sides. Use your hands to gently smooth it across the board so it  bonds to the adhesive and there are no wrinkles.
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  4. Place the finished front panel right side up on top of the batting/flannel. Align the bottom edge of the pocket panel with the bottom of the board and center the fabric side to side.
    NOTE: You don't have to spray the batting/flannel with adhesive - these fabrics  have a "grippy" surface and a taut wrap around to the back is enough to keep the front fabric in place. Skipping the adhesive under the decorative fabric also helps insure a smoother finish.
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  5. Holding the layers in place, flip the entire board over. Adjust the layers if necessary, paying particular attention that the bottom folded edge of the pocket panel is still in line with the bottom of the board; this is your straight-edge reference point.
  6. Wrap the front layers tightly around the board and flat against the back, taping each side in place as you go.
    NOTE: You could also use the spray adhesive to hold the edges in place, but I found the tape easier to work with by myself. If you are doing this with a partner, the spray and pull and wrap option might be easier.
  7. To get a nice smooth and even wrap, it is important to wrap in order. I did: side, side, top, bottom. You could also do: top, bottom, side, side. Do NOT try to go out of order: bottom, side, top, side or you are likely to pull the front fabric out of square.
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  8. Find your 23" x 23" piece of craft paper.
  9. Cover the back of the board with a light coating of spray adhesive.
  10. Carefully and evenly apply the paper to cover all the "mess" for a nice finish. 
    NOTE: The spray adhesive might look wet for awhile and may bleed through the paper, but it dries quickly and any darkness or discoloration from the bleed-through will disappear.
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Hanging hardware

  1. Since it is nice and lightweight, there are several ways you could hang this project board. A super easy option would be those peel and stick picture hangers, but I chose little screws with a wire wrap.
  2. In each top corner, I measured 3" down from the top and  2" in from the corner and made a mark.
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  3. Screw a small screw in place at each mark. The foam board is easy to drive into, but go slowly. Insert the screw until it just hits the batting layer of the front.
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  4. Cut a length of wire approximately 30". You need enough to wrap around each screw with enough flex to hang. You can always unwrap one end and make it shorter, but it's hard to make it longer!
  5. Securely wrap one end of the wire around each screw.
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  6. Test to make sure you have about an inch of flex to accommodate hanging.
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  7. If you are new to picture hanging, check out our handy tutorial on how to do it quickly and accurately.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Project Concept & Sample Creation: Liz Johnson



Comments (10)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ JessicaB - the density of craft foam (or foam core as it is often referred) is okay, but it's not as rigid as something like InsulFoam - so the chances of bending the corners and edges is higher. That said, if you are careful in your construction process, I think you could use regular foam core.
JessicaB said:
JessicaB's picture
I live in Arkansas, and the InsulFoam is not sold at my local hardware stores. Has anyone had any luck using 1/2inch-thick foam board (from hobby stores) or any other product?
Regina T. said:
Regina T.'s picture
This is sooo cute...if only I were handy with a sewing machine! LOLsmilies/cheesy.gif
Karen H. said:
Karen H.'s picture
What do I love about quilting? The planning... after finding a pattern then checking out all the fabric and deciding how I'm going to put it all together... then watching how the quilt begins to take form! A puzzle becoming a picture!
Mary Jo DeRaedt said:
Mary Jo DeRaedt's picture
I have been sewing for many years and have learned many things but often by making mistakes. I get the Janomie news letter but never visited this site before. My workhorse sewing machine is a Janome Memory Craft 6000. I love it. I have made drapes,reapostered a couch and a lazyboy chair. Made table cloths and my last big project was My daughters wedding dress.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ sew2day - All our projects do include a PDF icon at the top right of the page -- just across from the title. Try refreshing and looking again. It is theresmilies/smiley.gif
Jean Creates said:
Jean Creates's picture
I'm super busy right now, but I had to stop and say that this is a cute idea. Love it! I'll soon be moving and will be getting a dedicated sewing studio. I'm looking forward to using a lot of the ideas you've been posting the last week or so!

LaurieMcCA said:
LaurieMcCA's picture
Love the look. Most boards are rectangle. The square shape is so cool. And pockets are a great idea.