Frocktails Bag

I thought my outfit was complete after I had made my top, skirt and cape but something was niggling at me. I had the leftover portion of the fabric left that had the paint markings on it, the fabric looked really useful and I didn’t want to throw it out as it seemed such a waste. My brain got ticking and I got experimenting.

I decided I needed a bag. The fabric was very drapey and lightweight which was great for the skirt and top but not so great for a bag. If I did a traditional bag where I cut pieces from the fabric I was going to have to stabilise it all and line it. In my mind I wasn’t happy with the type of bag I would get from it, plus I couldn’t cut around the paint markings so you would see them. After much pondering I decided to cut up the fabric into strips, sew them together and make my own fabric yarn. I attempted fabric yarn once before and it was a disaster so I was hoping it would work this time.

I cut strips of the yarn around ½ wide using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter. All up it was about 50cm of fabric that I cut. It was interesting to see where the paint markings were on the strips.

To join the strips I used a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine. I sit it to a width of 5.0m and length of 1.0. This width and length gave it a nice secure join.

My machine can sometimes eat narrow bits of fabric so I cut a length of tear away stabiliser and placed that on my sewing bed. I took each strip and overlapped the ends on the stabilizer and stitched across to join them. I chain pieced them just like you do when machine stitching multiple pieces at once when making quilt blocks. this way was really easy to do and sped up the process of joining them all. I joined the strips in a random order so some had paint markings on them some didn’t.

In the end I had a large length of cut strips which in a way reminded me of paper dolls. I trimmed each piece apart from the chain and removed the stabiliser. This was a little fiddly but a pair of tweezers and a thread catcher container beside me kept the mess under control. Once it was all trimmed up I rolled it into a ball.

To make it up I chained 37 and did double crochet stitches back and forth to form a rectangle piece. I first started with a 6mm hook but I wasn’t happy with it so I switched to a 6.5mm. I just keep going until the piece looked large enough to fold in half. To create the bag shape I folded it in half and did a single crochet stitches up the 2 sides so it formed a pouch. I then hand stitched a zipper in to close the top. My sewing machine would have had a heart attack if I tried doing this on it, it took no it took no time at all to stitch the zip by hand plus less stress. For the strap from scraps leftover when I cutout my clothing pattern pieces I cut strips and joined them in the same way as I did the bag. This time I divided the strips into 3 lengths so I could plait them. Using upholstery thread as it was thicker I hand stitched the strap to the bag. I left a length of fabric at each end for a tassel. The cut strips did shed a bit so I did place this in the dryer after I finished to take off any excess loose fabric.

This bag was complete experiment that worked. I’m really happy that it did. It combined my love of crochet and sewing so it is a very unique piece. I love that I have been able to turn fabric that would have else just been wasted into something that is usable. The paint flecks and the strip joins add interest throughout the bag.

Cassiy

 

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Hipster Teddy

When One Thimble Issue 15 was released I knew I would make Hipster Teddy at some point, it was one of those patterns which really spoke to me. I kept seeing all these wonderful versions of it in such different fabrics that it went on my to sew list. The fabrics I used were some leftover pieces in my stash from other projects I have been working on this year. By chance I had enough entire pieces that I could get the stripes all going the one direction. The fabric has a feint paisley print on it that isn’t at first noticeable but when you get up close you can see it. I only have a small amount of this fabric left which is sad because I really like it and have no idea where I got it from.

My favourite part of Hipster is her face. I used scraps of wool felt which I hand stitched on. I altered the nose to be a heart because why shouldn’t teddy have a nose. Normally I would add pupils to the eyes but this toy doesn’t look scary without them, some toys give a vacant stare if you don’t. I will be honest and say I didn’t follow the pattern instructions only because this wasn’t a complicated toy to make so you can stitch it anyway you feel comfortable if you have made toys before. I added a layer of pellon to the back of each piece of the ear just to give it a bit more squishiness and texture, the ears aren’t stuffed with hobby fill so otherwise they would just be flat.

I just want to make everyone a Hipster Teddy now.

Cassiy

Gertrude The Guinea Pig

There is a new lady guinea pig in town Gertrude.

Gertrude is the latest toy from Funky Friends Factory. I seem to be making a lot of Funky Friends Factory toys of late but it was love at first sight when I saw this toy and I instantly went and purchased her. She will be a gift for a 3 year old next month.

This toy is a great scrap busting project and I made her all from scraps but you could also do it from a set piece of fabric or two. This is not a difficult toy like some of the FFF toys can be but I will be honest and say I did struggle with trying to get the pattern pieces to fit with the scraps. Some pieces were easy other pieces you had to do one in reverse and it got me. I messed up 2 pieces during the cutting stage but luckily I was able to salvage them or cut more and later towards the end I discovered a big boo boo which I think related back to the cutting in reverse issue. I think if I slowed down and really thought before I cut I could have avoided a few errors but I must admit I was just wanting to jump in and make her.

Sewing wise I didn’t have really any issues with her. I did a lot of hand tacking first and she even has stuffed limbs! For those who have read my previous posts about toys know I hate sewing in stuffed limbs. I hand tacked each limb then went over each one with a basting stitch on the machine so by the time it came to sandwiching them in between a seam they were not going anywhere. On some seams as I was reversing or starting the seam my sewing throat did eat the fabric a few times, when I got to the ears which were light weight and had nothing in between them they jammed down in the feed dogs. To over come this I cut a narrow strip of tear away stabiliser (about an inch wide) and used that just under the tip of each piece. It feed much easier through my machine and didn’t jam. I then just tore it off after I finished that section. When it came to do the other end of the ear I grabbed my strip again and placed it underneath, once again it didn’t jam. I’m now going to always have a piece next to my machine to use on ends when it looks like my machine will eat the fabric. If you didn’t have tear away tissue paper or even a bit of old computer paper or envelope would also work. It was easy to pull away from the seam line at the end.

So my big boo boo. Once I had sewn on the head I noticed she had a hunchback (Kyphosis – yes I looked up the official terminology) I laughed and called her the Hunchback of Notre Piggy but she didn’t look right. At first I was going to leave her but she looked like a rhino or buffalo not a guinea pig. It was when I looked at the pattern pieces again I realised I had cut one the wrong direction or got confused which was the way I was meant to pin it on the fabric or something along those lines. At this stage I only had 2 small seams to do to close her and I really didn’t want to pull her apart and start from scratch or ditch her. I decided to do a bit of cosmetic surgery to remove her hump.

From mid way down her spine to her head I pinned her and drew a curve with a pen. I machine stitched from my original seam line on her back to down past where her head was joined. I went over the seam twice then cut the hump away with pinky shears.

She looked much better after her surgery and it was a very simple way to fix her. Ok so she is a little more rounder than the one in the picture but I have never known a skinny pig, all the ones I have ever owned became round.

Pauline has created a tutorial to go along with this toy. I only followed it in sections as the construction of this one is pretty straight forward. If I was to make another one I would as mentioned take more time to make sure all my pattern pieces were the right way up. I need to do more research on how to easily do one piece in reverse. I tend to cut my pieces double layers, for non directional fabric that isn’t an issue but if I am working with scraps or want things the same direction I need to learn some tricks. She was fairly quick to sew up. Her facial features were just some leftover wool felt scraps from my stash.

Don’t be put off by my little adventure with her she is a fantastic toy. She is a nice size too, great for cuddles, now I want to be a 3 year old so I can have one too.

Cassiy

 

Eel Softies

I do love it when an idea in your head works out the way you hoped it would.

I have made another version of the Flosstyle Spiral toy and again I have made it a little different to the basic pattern. Last time I turned it into a snake this time I turned it into eels well to the point Parramatta Eels and have created two little Erics. If you are not familiar with Rugby League in Australia there is a team that’s mascot is an eel called Eric, I have a work colleague who is a devout fan of the team so this year when she finally became a Granny I thought it was only fitting to make her grand kids little eels.

I followed the basic pattern but omitted the ribbons. Once I joined all the circles which formed each side of toys together I created stripes down each piece using a twin needle, on each piece I marked where to stop so the lines would be even on each side. The yellow fabric I found in my stash and I just had enough to do all the pieces. The wool felt on the eyes came from my scrap stash, using pearl cotton I did a French knot in each pupil before I stitched it to the toys. The mouth is done in regular embroidery floss using a back stitch, I didn’t mark it this time I just eyeballed it.

Once again I left multiple stuffing gaps in the toys not just the one just suggested in the pattern. The spirals can be very tricky to stuff and the multiple gaps allowed you to stuff smaller sections which made it much easier and I think quicker. I used interfacing on these ones too which made it a little bit stiffer than the first time I made this so the stuffing smaller sections was a must on these.

This week the toys were given to the new Granny and she loved them. She couldn’t believe that I had made them. She has already given one to the first grand child’s parents who are excited to put it on their pram, the other eel is ready to be given to her next grand child later this year when they arrive. I had a lot of fun making these. I looked at the mascot and thought of how can I recreate this. I thought about ways to do the stripes down the side so they would stand out. I loved the challenged and even I really don’t like the team I do like these little guys.

Cassiy

Fabric Covered Headbands

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Last year I got a pattern to make fabric covered headbands and this year I have finally made some.

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The pattern is by Arjay Creations. I made the slim line version of these so my fabric covering was the same size all around the headband. You can make them so they are wider in the middle. This is great scrap busting project as all of the fabrics used came from my scrap stash. To stitch them I used a mauve coloured thread as it was contrasting to all the fabrics used. These will be added to the gifts of four girls, on 2 of the headbands I have used leftover scraps from previous projects I have made the same girls. I like it when I can repeat a fabric in a different gift for the same child, they might not notice it but I do.

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Even though the pattern said to measure your pattern piece against the headband as some are of different lengths I didn’t so my fabric tubes were too long. Easy fixed once the fabric was on the headbands I top stitched the opening gap closed then folded over the excess fabric and hand stitched in to the inside of the headband. Your hair covers that part of the headband so you only see it if you take it off.

As a kid I was a big headband wearer so I really like these.

Cassiy

Travel Tray

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For a while now I have wanted to make some sort of tray that you could collapse when not in use and finally I have made one. I found a free pattern on Craftsy by Angie’s Bits and Pieces. This is a really basic pattern to make and it took about an hour from start to finish to do so super quick to make up.

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I’m going to be using this one as a money tray that will live in my sewing tote for when I go to Sewing Guild. I collect the member’s dues each month and I’m always searching for something to keep the money in so people have one spot to place it. This tray is perfect.

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The fabric I used was the scraps I had leftover from making the Watermelon bags. I pieced them together to make them wide enough. My finished tray is a little narrower than the pattern, however the pattern can be made any size you want so you can go larger or smaller. Instead of batting I fused stabiliser to the back of the fabrics, because I want to carry money in it I wanted it to be a little more sturdy. I used of offcuts of pieces of stabiliser I had so it was good to use them up in a project.

I want to put snaps on everything after getting my snap press earlier this year. The snaps work well on this as they make it quick to undo and collapse down. You could also use Velcro or if you want to get more decorative use buttons. This tray would make a cute gift for anyone to use. I could see these in a little kids rooms filled with their treasures or filled with sweet treats on someone’s work desk.

I’m sure I’ll be making these again.

Cassiy

Scrappy Scotty

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Sometimes a stitchery just says to you “Buy me, I will be useful in something you just don’t know what yet” and that was a case here. Jodie aka Ric Rac recently released a new stitchery Great Scott. The pattern steps you through how to make the piece into a babies rattle but you can use the design on anything. Here I have used it as the central panel on a toddler’s shoulder bag. I traced the design onto a piece of pink scrap fabric I found in my stash that was just the right size for the design. I framed it with some leftover fabric from my quillow debacle. The handle is another piece of fabric left over from the quillow. I haven’t done any hand satin stitching in sometime (2-3 years) but I somehow managed to do a resemble job on the eyes and nose.

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For the back I used more of the green fabric that I pieced to make it wide enough. I really like this fabric, it must be the green with pops of pink and white that just make it seem fresh and happy.

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For the inside again I used quillow leftovers. From the quillow project I was left with a few long stripes of fabric. It was too much of it to just put in my daycare donation bag and since I liked the fabric I knew I would find a use for it so I kept on to it. This project was the perfect use for it.

This bag was super quick to make up. The stitchery only took me like a day to do in front of the tv. It is only back stitching so it is quick and simple. The piecing of the bag was very quick, it is just straight line stitching. You construct it together like any other tote bag except it just a little bit smaller than most. I love raiding my scrap stash finding fabrics I can use in a project. I’m a proud of a project like this where everything used is scraps. It makes you think and get creative. For a small project like this why cut up a big bit of fabric when you only need small amounts. I’m hoping little Miss 2.5 likes her new bag this Christmas.
Cassiy