My brain is always only the lookout for potential gifts to make people. You need to watch what you say in front of me as I’m always looking for clues or making a mental note of things people say. I even observe people over time (in a non stalking way) for colour palates to use in gifts. During a conversation with a friend who mentioned she is always misplacing her knitting needles so I thought she needs a case to store them all in.
I have always been intrigued by rectangle box pouches. The ones I had always seen (and have patterns for) always had the square ends done in the form of triangles folded over. Online I came across a Youtube clip by Debbie Shore that made the square end shape by doing a modified version of the traditional way to sew a boxed corners where fabric is cut away from the corners before any seams are sewn. Watching the video it will make more sense than how I am describing it. In my stash I found the perfect fabric for the outside of the bag. Originally I had cut out a skirt from the fabric but then changed my mind and decided not to make it. I was able to cut out my bag pieces from the pieces I had originally cut so it was good use of fabrics sitting in my stash.
For the inside I used a yarn printed fabric that had been lingering in my stash for years. Unfortunately the print is showing in detail in this photo but it like but it is swirls of yarn all laid out on top of each other. I interfaced the back of the exterior fabric with a squishy viliene which I ironed on. The bag is floppy when empty in my opinion. With a stiffer interfacing it might hold its shape better. I’m still happy with it though.
Would I make this pattern again? Yes but I would use a stiffer interfacing. You could still use viliene to give it a squishy feel but I would interface the interior fabric with a stiffer interfacing. Another option would be to add a stiffer interfacing behind the viliene as well interfacing the interior. Construction wise it was very easy to sew. I did watch the clip a couple of times just to get my head fully around it but once I got to my sewing machine it was an easy sew.
On my Christmas gift sewing this year were zipper pencil cases. There are heaps of tutorials to follow if you want to make one. There are 2 versions you can make – One that is completely zippers only or one that is only zippers on the front with fabric on the back.
I purchased my zippers late last year from a small local fabric shop when I restocked my zipper stash. The shop has made up pencil case bundles which consisted of a bunch of zippers all the same length in coordinating colours. This saved me doing all the hard work of picking colours and lengths.
Sewing zippers don’t phase me, some people struggle with them but I’m very comfortable with them. For each pencil case the first thing I did was lay out the zippers alternating the zip ends. It worked out that all the zipper ends of one colour faced the same direction. I chose a colour as my top one and all of that colour was stitched as the top layer when I overlapped them to sew together. Before I got to the sewing machine I hand basted the zippers in pairs so that they wouldn’t shift at the machine. I regularly hand baste my zippers so this was just 2nd nature to me. At the sewing machine I stitched all the pairs together using a 3.0mm stitch length then repeated the process until all the zippers were sewn for the front.
For the backing fabrics I found leftover fabrics from previous gifts I had made the same children and used them. This uses up fabric that is ready to go as it has already been prepped plus links gifts I have made at different times together. I waited until after I had finished the zippers and I had my measurements of 10.5” x 9.5” before cutting out the backing fabric. I cut out 2 rectangles and stitched them right sides together before turning out and closing the turning gap closed with the zipper foot. To attach the zippers to the backing fabric I opened the centre zipper then flipped the zippers over so they were faced down. I stitched all around the zippers and turned the pencil case right side out through the centre zipper. All the zippers were doing my head in and I was convinced I stitched the open zipper the wrong end, it was only once it was closed did my mind relax. If my construction method sounds confusing there are lots of YouTube clips which will show you how to do it.
This did take more time to sew than a regular pencil case and originally I thought I would get all my zippers sewn in one day but after the first lot of zippers I had to stop for the day as I wasn’t enjoying it (I stop sewing if it isn’t fun) but it was worth it. I would like to make the version where it is only zippers but I think you need to have more zippers or it have it as a smaller pencil case (I struggle to keep anything on the small side) If you buy your zippers cheap this can be an inexpensive gift to make. If you need to post your gifts in the mail even if you added in extra items like pencils and markers this is an inexpensive gift to post as it is small and light weight. Unfortunately with the rising costs of postage and transport you do need to take into consideration how you will get your gift to the recipient these days if you won’t be giving them in person.
So if I had paid more attention to dates I would’ve posted this on the 4th May but I didn’t think of that. My bestfriend B hinted she needed a new bag and straight away I knew what to make her for her birthday with the perfect project in mind.
I mentioned in another post that my go to gift pattern this year is the Full Moon bag by All Well patterns. I love the circular shape of this bag and it is fairly simple to make in terms of bag making. In my stash I knew I had leftover Star Wars fabrics from previous gifts I had made B. When I walked into my craft vault the fabric gods were smiling and I was able to locate the scraps instantly. Knowing I wouldn’t have enough fabrics for the entire bag I teamed them up with black cotton twill from my stash which I again found very quickly.
I did modify the pattern slightly. Aside from again using cottons not canvas and putting interfacing between the layers to give it structure I added in tabs on the outside of the gusset to thread an adjustable strap through. Originally I had lobster claws on the strap to attach it to the rectangle bag findings on the bag. When hanging the bag was lopsided and it didn’t look right as the straps kept drifting to one end of the rectangle. Fortunately I had enough length in the strap so I removed the claps and threaded the ends of the straps straight through the rectangle pieces. The bag sat flush and there was no movement.
I used the Star Wars fabric for both in the exterior and interior sides of the bag and the pockets. The black print on the outside blended in with the cotton drill and it didn’t look obvious that I was short of fabric. On the interior pocket I did a line of top stitched halfway down it to split it into 2 sections so you could place keys or a phone in it.
When it came to binding the raw edges on the inside I attached the binding a little differently to my normal way. With binding I normally first iron it in half with raw edges together, attach it to the project with all the raw edges together and slip the the folded edge over all the edges to enclose it. This time I stitched the binding on flat aligning only 1 raw edge of the binding to the raw edges of the bag. Once it was on I folded the other raw edge of the binding over enclosing all the raw edges and slip stitched it in place by hand. I got a much neater finish this way.
Not knowing a thing about Star Wars I thought I would call this bag the Death Star because of the shape until I randomly quizzed B about it who informed me in Star Wars the Death Star was a bad thing so this bag is not the Death Star. I still have a small amount of the fabrics left so who knows what other projects I will come up with to use them up in.
This was the first time I have knitted a blanket to a pattern. Actually it is only the 2nd blanket I have actually knitted, I have only ever really ever done crocheted blankets as they are quick to do. This didn’t take me that long to do. I started it in March and had I not made a mistake and restarted it I would have finished it a couple of weeks earlier. I also took a break from it for a couple of weeks to knit something else.
The pattern is Slip Stitch Blanket by Bendigo Woollen Mills. The yarn I used is their 8ply classic yarn in the colour of magnolia. This is a baby blanket. I like using 8ply classic for baby or gift blankets as it is machine washable. I don’t want to give someone a blanket that is high maintenance, I was it nice and easy. I want people to use the blankets I make and not be afraid to as they don’t think they can clean it. In total I used 5 and a bit balls of yarn. I could have used more of 6th ball but I wanted it finished so I had time to wash it before I give it plus I wasn’t sure of how much yarn I had left if I could stretch out a full pattern repeat and do the border.
One of the last memories I have at the old place is sitting on a recliner in loungeroom in the sun knitting thinking why didn’t I find this spot earlier! Unfortunately in the new place I put the blanket down for a few days and dropped stitches which I couldn’t salvage so I ripped it all back and started again. Due to the pattern I couldn’t easily fix it (I’ve only just learnt how to do it on garter stitch) From memory I was over 2 balls in when the disaster occurred. Originally I had used 3.75mm needles but I switched to 4mm when I restarted it. It just looked better in that slightly bigger needle. This was a really easy and relaxing knit. I had my stitch markers every 8 stitches so I didn’t really have to think and could tink back if I need too (Tink =knit backwards and is reverse knitting to fix errors) To help motivate me after restarting it I put place markers to see how much I was doing each day and each week and was surprised at home much I was getting done. Even on a slow day I was knitting 6 – 12 rows.
My OCD likes this pattern. I like the flow of the lines and pattern repeats of the slip stitch columns. It doesn’t look too busy on the eyes. I would easily make this pattern again. The pattern comes in different weight yarns so you could easily use any yarn you have.
To recap the details are
Pattern– Slip Stitch by Bendigo Woollen Mills Yarn– Classic 8ply shade Magnolia Needles– 4mm Size– 30″x58″ Pattern Modifications– Placed stitch markers every 8 stitches and either side of the garter stitch edging
I have made burp cloths or spew cloths as I call them before but I never followed a pattern I just cut rectangles and stitched the together. This time I decided to use a commercial pattern and make ones which are curved for around the shoulder. The pattern I used was Simplicity 2924 which has various baby items. To be honest to me the pattern looked a little small so I did add about 1/2 inch all the way around the pattern as I was cutting them out so these are a little bit larger. I don’t go near spewing children but I figured you would like as much coverage as you can 🙂 The finished size is 54cm long and 20cm wide in the narrow centre and 26cm in the wider curves.
I did buy the top layer fabric for these. I had already packed all my fabrics when I found out about bub. The towelling did come from my stash. I found towels we had never used and were smaller than we normally use so I cut them up for this project. I used 2 towels and made a total of 8 burp cloths. Bub is a girl but I’m not worried about the colours. I did use pink thread to top stitch around them.
These were any easy sewing project. I like making practical gifts.
Back in January I started to get organised with my Christmas gifts. January 1st I traced the patterns out for these pillows (thanks Instagram for dating my photo as I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise) When I was on my January holidays I found the fabrics as I was packing and stitched the forms up.
Originally I thought stuffing them would be a tv job (something I do whilst watching tv) but as I had no sewing machine over my long weekend I decided to get in and stuff these so it was one job off my list. I did them over a few days so it wouldn’t be boring (I have a short attention span) They didn’t take that long to do but I think when I did 3 at once it felt like a chore and not a fun sewing task.
At our new place we have this great roof top garden that anyone in the building can go and enjoy. It is a great space with loads of seating and a bbq area. With gyms being shut due to Covid I have done a lot of my personal training sessions up there. I thought it would make a great photography area for some of my makes for the blog. It even has bathroom which I can use as a change room if I have multiple outfits that I wish to photograph (it is easier for Mr StitchNSew to do batch photography) Who would have guessed it was so hard to photograph 6 pillows up there. Ok so it was my fault as I wanted to get my photos done early in the day as I had other things to do. The night before it had rained so a lot of the areas were wet. I tried to be as creative as I could without photographing the pillows with shadows or myself in them. I even tried to place them in the garden but they got mud on them so that didn’t work. Oh well now I know for next time to try later in the day.
If nothing else at least I have 6 gifts ready for Christmas. I have also used up some fabrics from my stash. Every little bit counts as I try to sew my way through it all.
Book pillows were on my gift this year but I must admit not for the child who got this one. I had planned on making them a stuffed toy but I just wasn’t happy with it so I scrapped the toy and the stress and decided a book pillow. It did mean I had to go buy the fabric and zipper but it was worth it to save my stress levels.
The way I’m making my book pillows this year is really simple. I’m just doing 2 squares the size of the pillow inserts I have then a contrasting pocking on the front which is just one square folded over so the fold is the top of the pocket. I did hand embroider the front to add a bit of interest. I didn’t follow a pattern at all. The inside seams are all done with a zig zag stitch to try to prevent them from fraying.
I made a simple bookmark to go with it. The front has the child’s name embroidered on it. It was just made from scraps of the fabrics and some interfacing scraps I had in my stash. By this stage I had packed away most of my craft area so I was lucky to have found the interfacing scrap.
I’m pleased with how this last minute gift turned out. Sometimes the more simple gifts are the nicest.
A few years ago I made myself a toiletry bag and I decided to make another one as a gift for my niece. Once again I used my TNT zipper pouch pattern which is the box corner version of the Essentials Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk which I enlarged to 150%
If you ware wanting a decent size toiletry bag that you can fit a couple of bottles in this size is great. When I go away for weekends I collect all the mini bottles that hotels have in the bathrooms for my charity bags. They all get stashed in my toiletry bag so I can tell you it holds a lot. The fabric used for both interior and exterior is the ripstop nylon I have in my stash. I have used it on a few projects so I’m slowly starting to run out of it. I did have to buy the zipper but I brought it from my local small material shop so I did support local.
I was able to √ Print off my sewing bingo card with this project. I’m hoping my niece can use this for many years. I wanted a gift which was a bit mature for Miss 12 but not too adult so I think this funky print fits. My niece is a practical person who likes storage so this gift is perfect for her.
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!
In 2019 I had a few issues with my gifts. As I mentioned in a post last year I kept changing my mind on what I would make or I would leave things to the last minute. In 2020 I am getting back to being more organised with my gifts. I have decided on all the gifts I am going to make and I am not going to change me mind so I have a clear plan. A couple I was aiming to make for Christmas last year so they will be given as birthday gifts instead and one I cut out yesterday. Following the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) below is what I am going to make and what I need to have finished by each month.
March – Cockatoo (cut out) April – Crocodile (half sewn) May – Toiletry bag (cut out) June – Book pillows (make size to match pillow inserts already in stash) July – Superhero doll (use DDD pattern), crochet superhero mask August – Tea set
Christmas W – Bucket hats, heart pillows H – Flower pillow, star pillow, crochet footballs (all blacks)
The good news is that I only have to buy a zipper and maybe some boning for the handles of the tea set aside from those all the other items I already have on hand. This will keep the costs of gifts down but more importantly mean I’m using my stash. I’m actually feeling really relaxed about my gift making this year.