If you’re not from Australia or New Zealand you may not be familiar with lamingtons. I always thought lamingtons were originally from Australia but looking online it thought they actually came from New Zealand. It doesn’t matter who invented them they are delicious. Lamingtons are square piece of sponge cake that is coated in chocolate icing and then covered in desiccated coconut. Although I don’t eat chocolate anymore a nice lamington still looks tasty.
This was a project I started years ago. I cut out the squares from felt. Using white embroidery floss I hand embroidered all the “white coconut” to each piece. Some pieces were already finished when I picked these up again, other pieces hadn’t been started yet. This was a lot of mindless embroidery. I didn’t follow a pattern I was more or less just filling each piece with thread. I hate to think how many little stitches are on each one. It was fun doing all the small stitches. I worked on a little space at a time filling it with stitches going in all directions. I used up a lot of white embroidery floss from my stash. Once each piece was done I stitched 6 pieces together on the sewing machine to form a cube. I left a small gap along one edge to stuff and hand stitch closed.
From memory I cut these out using my Sizzix big shot. I first cut out a larger circles then cut out a smaller circle in all the pieces of felt. There are 3 layers of felt for each one, two in the tan colour and one in the icing. The sprinkles were done in embroidery floss the same way as the lamingtons, no pattern just filling the space. On the sewing machine I layered the 3 circles together and machine stitched around the outer circle. I will be honest I don’t remember actually making these. I found them with the outer edges already sewn waiting for them to be stuffed and the inner circles sewn shut. To finish these off I whipped stitched a small segment of the inner circle then started stuffing it hobby fill. I continued doing this all around until the entire inner circle was sewn shut.
Again these were all cut out years ago from felt, I never got around to actually starting these though. I machine stitched the “chocolate” into place then hand stitched the “cream” on top following the curve of the ric rac. The “jam” is hand embroidered with back stitch. These were assembled as basic rectangles and stuffed.
When I originally cut all these out my plan was to gift them so a child for their toy kitchen but good intentions never followed through. As mentioned on some I started parts of, others just sat all cut out. As I was making my Christmas gifts I remembered seeing them in a bag as I unpacked after the move in 2020. I decided it was time to finish them but instead of making them for a child I would turn them into cat toys. Along with the hobby fill in each toy I placed a couple of teaspoons of dried catnip. I tried to place catnip throughout the toy so it was bit of hobby fill, catnip, hobby fill, catnip, hobby fill. I think these make good size cat toys. They are soft enough so that the cat can bite them or carry them in there mouth. They are light enough so they can bat them with their paws. Do cats fetch? You can toss these around without doing any damage.
These were made for 2 cat families. It was good to finish one of my UFP’s (Unfinished Projects) that have been lingering around for years. Part of my move to more sustainable sewing is looking around first and seeing what I have already before starting something new.
This is the 2nd construction toy digger that I have made. My first was done in felt this time I crocheted one. I admit to after finishing him realising I had missed a step but I’ll explain that later.
The yarn for this project is a mixture of different 8ply/DK acrylic yarns I had in my stash. In Australia we call it 8ply but many places refer to it as DK weight. The pattern I used was a free one on Ravelry called Digger Loader. The pattern is in US terms. I won’t say it is the easiest pattern to make so if you were to crochet a toy for the first time I wouldn’t try this one. I found some of the instructions a little confusing, a typical pattern might say Row 1 – Increase every 4 stitches until you get back to the start of the round Row 2 – Turn work and slip stitch around the entire row back to the start of the round But in this pattern the instructions would be Row 1 – Increase every 4 stitches until you get back to the start, turn work and slip stitch around the entire row back to the start This isn’t one of the actual instructions but an example of how some instructions are combined into a single row which makes it very wordy and hard to keep track of where you are up to if your brain likes simple instructions like mine does.
The other thing I found difficult with this pattern was colour changes for all the windows. When you were crocheting the windows in white you were carrying the base colour under the white along the work so you could pick it up again on the other side of the window to continue on with the row. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t hide the orange base yarn behind the white. I have crocheted over the ends of my yarn on previous projects but this was more difficult. In the end I made the windows separately and stitched them on.
This toy is made up of lots of little components that you attach on afterwards. I struggled making the little buckets that go on the front and back. I couldn’t get my head around the instructions so I just made my own that were a similar shape. The step I missed was I think you were meant to stuff the wheels before sewing them on. I never stuffed them I just attached them. They are three-dimensional so you do have some space in which to add stuffing. These are ok they just look a little floppier than they are supposed to.
I gave myself months to make this toy and I started strong on it but put it in the too hard basket once I got to the more difficult instructions giving myself days to finish it before I had to post it off. Despite the issues I had I did enjoy making this. I love the wheels. I had a bit of fun and took a photo of him at the construction site at the side of our place when he was done. It was a spur of the moment decision to run down there in my pajamas after the worksite had closed for the day to take the photo. I am that crazy person who doesn’t care what the neighbours would think just so I could take some fun photos.
I finally finished the crocodile which I was aiming to make for this time last year!
I don’t have a nickname for this one. I must admit I think he turned out rather cute. The pattern used is Crocodile Steve from Funky Friends Factory. All the fabrics for this toy came from my stash. The mosaic tile fabric reminded me of the cracks you see on a crocodile’s skin so I had to use that for the top of him. From memory I think it is a Michael Miller fabric which probably explains why I like it a lot (I’m a Michael Miller fan) The fabric used for the underside of this toy is the same fabric as his spines.
The wool felt used on the face is also from my stash. I made the teeth section last year when if first started work on this toy. Just prior to packing away my felt I pulled out a couple of pieces to make eyes for toys. I wasn’t really thinking about the colours I picked so perhaps maybe I should have chosen a different colour blue. For the eyes I normally use black floss but blue was all I had still left out so he became a blue eyed crocodile. My only other option was red but I thought that would make him look a bit crazy.
I have said it before I do like Funky Friend Factory patterns but they can be a little bit difficult to construct. The patterns have all the instructions but there isn’t too many photos so it is more wordy. The pattern might be sew piece D to piece H. You need to really clearly label all your pieces otherwise you will have trouble even on a more simple toy. I mentioned I started this toy last year making the scales, the embroidery for the teeth and cutting out all the other pieces. My mind is having a blank I think I again attempted him before Christmas and I stitched the wrong leg pieces together and clipped the seams but didn’t notice it until I started sewing him again in March and the pieces didn’t match up when I attempted the next section. In the end I had to recut some of the pieces again and made sure I labelled them correctly. With the new pieces and reading the instructions carefully I was able to finish him. I hand basted nearly every step particularly curves or when I assembling different sections together which wasn’t part of the pattern instructions. It did take longer but it meant I wasn’t missing parts of the seam and having to go back and redo sections too many times.
After I finished stuffing him I noticed a very minor hole on his leg which I must have nicked with my scissors. I pinched the section around it together and slip stitched it closed so it looks like an extra dart on his leg.
I had a few dramas with this one but I am glad I was finally able to do him. He turned out rather snappy!
Let me set the picture in Sydney for you today. Saturday 8th February 2020 after weeks and months of heat we have a wet weekend with rain falling since Thursday. Perfect weather to bunker down in the house in your pj’s with your sewing machine.
Last year I started a toy cockatoo which I never got finished. I’d cut out all the pieces and started sewing the crest (yellow comb on head) when I first made the crest from felt it looked awful. I put the toy away and decided I would finish it for a birthday this March. Even then I just wasn’t feeling the toy, some toys I’m excited to make this one I wasn’t. My plan for today was to stop procrastinating and to finish the toy as my deadline is looming. When I started preparing it this morning for sewing I was getting really negative vibes and I just didn’t want to sew it. I again stitched the comb using a cotton I found in my stash a few weeks ago and I wasn’t happy with it. As I was pinning the next lot of pieces I kept thinking I really don’t want to make this. I have never actually felt this negative about sewing before I’m thinking this is silly it is just a toy, you have all the stuff there just sew it. This year I said I wasn’t going to change my mind last minute with the gifts I was making. Part of my brain was saying just stick at it and make it, you’re being silly it is just a toy. Then I started thinking about other things I have told myself like “sew because you want to not because you have to” I continued on sewing the toy making part of the foot which again I thought looked awful and I decided no I’m not going to continue with this toy. I don’t care if today is perfect sewing weather, I don’t care if I have all the pieces cut out already I don’t want to force myself to sew something that I feel so strongly against. I have never felt this way before about sewing. I am already not liking this toy I know I won’t like the finish product and I don’t want to make it just because I decided at the start of 2019 I would make this toy as a gift. I want the gifts I make to have love from the heart in them. This toy has no love. This toy is full of negative vibes and I don’t think that is right to continue making it.
Plan B for the gift will be a book pillow. I will have to see if I have enough supplies from the remaining things which are yet to be packed so I may need to buy a couple of things. A book pillow is going to be more relaxing for me to make. I know I can still get it done before my deadline. I’m going to have fun making this gift. Sewing is something I want to regularly do but I want it to be fun.
I don’t know why this toy made me feel like it did. It wasn’t a reflection on the toy designer as I have made some other great toys from this designer. This entire project just didn’t feel right. I’ll keep the pattern in my stash who knows maybe one day I will attempt it again but not this time.
I have always had a fascination with hot air balloon since I was a kid. I’m not sure what sparked my fascination but I had jigsaw puzzles of them and once my mum did an embroidery for me of one. Whenever I saw them in the sky I was mesmerised by them, I think it was the bright colours and designs of the balloons. I have been lucky enough to go hot air ballooning twice, Albuquerque in New Mexico and Christchurch New Zealand. I loved every minute of it. When I was a kid I received a birthday gift from my sister’s friend gave of a hot air balloon mobile. I loved it and kept it pretty much until I moved out of home. This year for my niece I made a hot air balloon mobile.
I guess a mobile is a toy. These were really easy to make. The balloons are machine sewn and the baskets hand sewn from felt. The baskets being so tiny were a little fiddly but they are so cute and worth feeling all fingers and thumbs making them.
I wish I could share a picture of this hanging up but sadly I was posting this gift through the mail which meant I couldn’t assemble it. I did buy some doweling which I sent with the gift so it could be hung. The only items I needed to buy for this gift was the doweling and the split ring all other items came from my stash. It was a good project to use bright colour fabrics in.
I’m glad I finally got to make this. I had the pattern in my stash for years meaning to make it one day. I don’t think I have the pattern anymore, I think it was one of the ones I decluttered a few months ago. I have made it once and it was fun to make.
I haven’t made any cloth books for a few years but I made a couple this year for a little one turning 2. Age 2 I think is a good age for cloth books as they are starting to getting into looking at books and fabric books don’t tear easily plus they are washable.
I didn’t follow a pattern I just cut a heap of white calico into squares roughly the size I thought would be large enough for me to easily work with. I decided to use sew in stabiliser behind each page so I also cut squares that size too.
There was a lot of preparation work that went into these before I could actually start working on each page. Once all my squares were cut out I took them to the sewing machine and tacked a piece of stabiliser behind each calico square. This gave me a reference point into which I could work in but also meant I had some stability behind all my stitches.
After I prepped all my pages I went about designing each book and cutting out all the pieces. I wanted something simple so I thought numbers and colours. Things that a 2 year old are starting to learn and can point out if they see them elsewhere. I used wool felt for all my shapes and numbers. As there is a good chance that these will be washed I used wool felt. Most of it I did have in my stash already but I did have to purchase some more.
On each cover and on the colour pages I wrote out the words in chalk pencil then went over them with hand embroidery doing a chain stitch. When I want something to stand out I find chain stitch gives me the best result. It is like doing things in bold
Most of the felt pieces I cut out with my sizzix big shot machine. It was a lot easier then cutting out things individually. I placed a piece of felt over each cutting die and cut multiple shapes at once. To attach each shape to the page I used a blanket stitch. Felt doesn’t fray but I like the look of blanket stitch, it gives it a nice even texture around each piece.
I stitched the pages together on the machine. After all the pages were done I stitched them together on one side to form a spine. Doing the numbers book I broke 2 needles as all the layers were very thick by the time I stacked the pages together. To cover the spine I hand stitched the yellow strips in place. It was much easier to do them by hand then face more broken needles at my machine. There was a lot of work that went into these books but they were worth it. I spent many hours in front of the tv hand stitching these.
I was trying to think of a gift for Mr 5 who loves all things construction and decided I wanted to make him a bull dozer or digger machine. Now I would have thought with how much kids love lego and all things construction it would be easy to find a soft toy pattern that was a construction truck or something, wrong I couldn’t find a large softie pattern suitable. There are lots of car patterns, not many trucks but nothing construction wise. The closest pattern I found which I adapted was Bugga Bugs Construction & Hauler pattern.
If you made the toys the size it is in pattern they are very tiny. I wanted a toy the size you could cuddle because who says you can’t cuddle a digger machine. After printing the pieces I then photocopied them on to A3 paper enlarging them to 200% Some of the pieces didn’t fit all on the one page so I did have to adjust the way I traced them out but that was easy to do.
I used wool felt for this toy to make it stronger. I could have used fabric but I haven’t made a felt toy in a long time plus I could buy a suitable colour in felt. I underestimated how much felt I would need so the inside of the bucket you can see the stitch lines but I cut them with pinking shears so it doesn’t look too bad. This is made with a mixture of hand sewing and machine sewing. The windows are hand embroidered on and I attached the digger arms which move and the tire treads by hand.
This was a fun toy to make. Mr 5 wanted to take it on holidays but it wouldn’t fit in the suitcase sadly.
This year I’m going to make 2 cloth books as gifts for a 2 year old. I have made cloth books a few times before, they are a great gift to give toddlers as they can’t rip the pages and it doesn’t matter if they chew on them. Over this Easter weekend one of the tasks on my “todo” list was to make a start on them.
In the past I have followed patterns to make them but this time I’m just making everything up. They are really easy to do without a pattern. For my pages this time I’m using white calico with a piece of sew in medium interfacing behind each one. In the past to stablise the back the pages I have used different vlieseline products, I have a roll of sew in interfacing now so I just used that as it isn’t too thick. I cut my pages 9.5″ x 10.5″ it will give me a nice size book, perfect for small hands. On the sewing machine I have tacked each page and lining piece together. I used the basting stitch setting which is probably a stitch length of 5 on my MC 11000 as I know that is the longest stitch length that I can do. I will remove the basting stitches after I finish each page.
The books I am making are colours and numbers. I used my sizzix cutting machine to cut all the pieces out of wool felt. I just realised that I never cut the pieces needed for the 2 front covers but I will do those pages at the end and will cut more. One of the cutting dies I have is numbers but I will trim some of those as they have a curved shape at the end of them and I don’t like that look. On the colours book I will free hand write the colour and embroider of over. I will hand sew all the pieces on to the pages. I don’t need these books until August so I have given myself plenty of hand sewing time to do it, mindless tv work so easy to do. Now that I have sorted my embroidery threads it will be easier to find the colours I need too!
When I made Daniella I wanted to make a little blanket to go with her. My original plan was to crochet her one but the one I started with some scrap yarn in my stash looked terrible to I raided my fabric scrap stash and came up with this little blanket.
I have a basket of scrap pieces just under my ironing board. This project actually started with finding the back fabric first. I found a rectangle scrap of the flannelette paw print fabric in the basket and measured it over the doll. It fitted well so I decided to use this as the size blanket. The pink around the edge is part of the front boarder folded over and hand sewn in place to bind the edges. In between the 2 layers I placed a scrap piece of polar fleece to make it into a mini quilt.
In the basket I initially found a pile of the little aqua heart scraps that were offcuts from when I made a previous project, they were just bigger than a 2.5″ square so I decided to use them as the guide for my pieces. In the basket I also found pieces of the 2 grey bubble fabrics, these were perfect as the blanket was for the child that I used those fabrics in originally in. I love it when I can incorporate the same fabric into multiple projects for the same child. The other fabrics were from strips I found in the basket, I wanted to keep mostly pink to match the doll. I cut all the fabrics I found to a 2.5″ then played around to get them to fit the backing fabric nicely. I took a photo of the final layout on my phone to ensure that I stitched them in the correct order, thankfully I didn’t need to refer back to the photo as I got the order correct.
I am super happy with this little blanket as it turned out really well. The colours all match in with the doll and as a bonus I used fabrics from a previous gift for the child. The child can actually use this on the other toy I made her too if she wants. This project cost me nothing as it all came from my stash which was another bonus and it helped me declutter some of my scraps so everyone was a winner.
I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to make another version of my go to softie dolly pattern… Introducing Daniella
Once again the pattern I used was Polly from The Big Book of Sofites. Polly is a really simple cloth doll pattern. Polly is a great doll to make from stash as you don’t need that much fabric to make her. As she doesn’t having any choking pieces this toy is great for a child under the age of 3. The only thing I needed to buy to make this doll was the yellow wool felt for the hair, all other fabrics used were from my stash. For this doll I have used the same fabrics on all the limbs but I have made other versions where the arms were different fabrics from the legs, this is can easily be made from scraps. The face is hand embroidered and I hand stitched it to the head with just regular embroidery floss.
This time on the back I decided to put the yellow felt on the back like hair, the original pattern has the back area plain. The child I am making this for has blonde hair so I wanted her doll to match. I made the hair piece a little shorter than the entire head piece as I wanted it to stand out as hair. I just did a row of hand stitching with embroidery floss to hold it down, the top section is just stitched into the regular seam allowance. I must point out that I make this doll a little larger than the pattern, I had length to the head and body sections and make the arms and legs slightly bigger. I just like the look of the slightly bigger doll. I am really happy with the main body section as I cut the pieces so that the stripes would continue the same way and line up at the sides and bottom. Little details that I know are there but aren’t that important. As you can see from the way she is sitting her limbs are fully flexible so she is perfect for cuddling.
Little bit sad now I don’t have anymore kids to make Polly for now, I think each family I make toys for has a Polly in their toy box.