I make no apologies some of my sewing is ugly, I cut corners and I don’t follow the rules.
After the past 2 summers I vowed I would dust make covers for 2 pedestal fans that I own to protect them in the winter months. This morning when I was doing a bit of a clean up in my fabric stash I came across a piece of fabric that I picked up at my local op shop (charity shop) a few years ago. I never find fabric at this shop so when I found this I brought it just because it was there. At the time I thought maybe I would make sewing machine covers with it, I washed it and there it sat. I never actually measured how long the piece was I’m guessing 2.5m. The fabric is a thick drill or upholstery cotton.
Ok time for ugly rule breaking sewing. I literally folded this fabric in half and cut it with pinking shears to get the pieces for the 2 bags. I folded the fabric selvage to selvage (leaving the selvages on) Using the overlocker I stitched along one short end for a top seam and down the side for the side seam. Whilst the fabric was still flat I went around the edge with the overlocker to finish the edging. You can actually see where the selvages are marked with the colours used in the fabric. Ironically it has kind of pattern matched around the seam. Sewing was made easier with the fabric being heavy as you could just hold it together without pins and feed it through the overlocker.
This project was all about practicality not style or technique. My main aim was to cover the blade sections of the fans as you can’t dust these easily. The fabric half covers the base but the base is easy to wipe over before use. It was a quick project. I could have spent a lot of time doing precise measurements and straight edges all the way around but to be perfectly honest had I done this with this project the fabric would still be sitting in my spare room and my fans would still be naked collecting dust. Spend lots of time and effort on special projects and remember it is ok just to run a few seams through an overlocker to construct projects that you don’t give a second thought to once their done.
I have made more pillows using McCalls 3274. These make quick and easy gifts.
The L pillow was very easy to do and I would say the easiest letter in the alphabet to make as you really don’t have that many angles to push stuffing around into. With some of the letters I had to modify the shape a little but with the L it is very clear so perfect.
On this M pillow I did change the shape around a little. The letters are all in a bubble font style so they are meant to be curvy and puffy but on some letters it means you can’t really tell what they are. On this M I made it is so the middle point was more prominent allowing you to see the shape more. I also changed the position of the turning gap which is your stuffing gap so that made stuffing the angles easier, alternatively you could do 2 stuffing gaps (one on each straight side) to make stuffing easier.
The I pillow I modified a lot. The original pattern is just a long centre piece with a rounded top and bottom that is it. I didn’t like the shape you couldn’t tell straight away it was a letter so I added to the top and bottom bar. In hindsight perhaps I should have made the 2 ends wider as it does look a bit anchorish but you can still easily tell it is a letter I.
The fabrics used was some leftovers I found in my stash. From a distance it looks stripy but when you get closer you can see a white floral pattern on it so it is child like but can see be teenageish as the kids get older. I still have more of these to make later this year. It is a great pattern for the stash even if you do modify some of it.
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.
Normally I am so on top of things but I’ll admit one child who was having a birthday had crept up on me. I was planning on making the child a different toy but the materials I had weren’t suitable and before I knew things it was nearing time to post the gift off and I had nothing done so Plattie came to the rescue.
Plattie is a Funky Friends Factory pattern. This pattern had been in my stash for some time to make. When I realised my impending deadline I remembered this pattern and knew it was perfect, the toy was going to a child not living in Australia. What a cute little native animal to make them. Construction wise it is a really easy and quick pattern to make – providing you cut out all the pattern pieces! In my rush to get the pattern traced out and pieces cut so I could take it to my sewing group meeting to stitch up that day I missed a piece and didn’t take the leftover fabric with me so I had to come home early to finish him off in time. There is an online tutorial you can follow for this pattern but I didn’t need to. The only way I differed from the pattern was I ironed on pellon on each of the paw pieces (double thickness in each finished paw) Unlike a lot of toy limbs you don’t stuff the paws on him so I used the pellon to make them a little bit more fluffy and cuddly rather than just straight thin cotton in the paws.
The fabric used were caramel fabric leftover from the Activity Go Case and some brown spots from the Kids Messenger Bag. Confession I have a basket of fabric in my lounge room waiting to be put away downstairs in my stash which comes in handy when I am wanting fabric at odd hours or last minute as you never know what you will find in it and generally the fabrics in it have been pre-washed and ready to use. Plattie has turned out to one of my all time my favourite toys. I don’t say this often but he is totally adorable, it was hard to give him away. In my gift stash I found a cotton crocheted blanket I made as a test piece a couple of years ago which was perfect to wrap around Plattie as toys do like to snuggle in blankets.
So my theory is that you learn something from each project you make. From this project I learnt the value of being organised so that your aren’t in position of rushing to make a deadline. When you rush you make mistakes like forgetting to trace out a pattern piece. I also learnt that what seems the most simplest project can also be the best looking if you do it correctly, the old principle of Keep It Simple works.
I have always wanted to make a simple messenger bag. I had seen this tutorial by Zaaberry for a kid’s size bag floating around Pinterest for some time and decided to finally give it ago.
It is a great to tutorial to follow with the instructions easy to read. This is a very basic bag with no closure or pockets or anything inside but you could easily make this more complex and add details to this if you wanted to. I kept it basic and followed the pattern. For the outside fabric I used some spotted quilting cotton I picked up last year because it was on sale and I liked it, I knew I would find the perfect project for it.
The fabric for the flap and the lining is a cotton I picked up a few years ago just because it was pink and had chocolates and pastries on it. The print on it is very bright and visible on both sides of the fabric which is how I made a minor mistake. I have placed one lining fabric the wrong side up. Some fabrics you can clearly see which is the right and wrong side of the fabric, on this fabric it is a little bit trickier. This fabric was only faintly lighter one side and if you weren’t paying attention fully like I must not have been when I grabbed it to pin it and sew it you put it the wrong way. I only discovered it after I finished the bag and I left it. It is not extremely obvious and aside from that the rest of the bag is fine, it is on the inside and still looks pink and brown.
You learn some from every project. On this bag I learnt how to make attach a simple bag flap and also that you need to pay attention to each individual fabric to see how it needs to be treated – it is a directional print, is the right side and wrong side visible. These things may sound basic but sometimes you forget them like I clearly did.
This year I am going away a couple of times to different things so decided to make myself up a toiletry bag.
For this bag I used the same enlarged Dog Under My Desk Essential Wristlet pattern I used when I made my rose bag. To recap I enlarged the original pattern to 150% when I printed it out and used a longer zipper (12″ not 8″) Both the exterior and interior is made from ripstop which is a waterproof nylon fabric.
The inside of the bag is very large. I can easily fit a full size bottle of body wash in there plus all the other bits and bobs I’ll need for a weekend away. As I found out at the Frocktails event you can fit a lot in this size bag whether it be as a handbag or a toiletry.
Last year when I worked with ripstop and when I was making the Activity Go Case I had issues with the ripstop and the vinyl sticking to my machine and the presser foot. In January I was able to pick up in a half price sale a 8 Feet Accessory Kit from Spotlight. I wasn’t sure if the feet would fit my machine or not but luckily the feet just snap on to the shank already on my machine so I am able to use them. I’m not sure about the ruffler foot (that kind of scares me) but I have both high and low shank machines so it should fit at least one of them. I used the Teflon foot from the set for the first time on this project.
The Teflon foot worked really well. The fabric feed through the machine easily. The only thing I perhaps would’ve done differently had I know is use pins in the seam allowance not clips. Because I am used to using a walking foot and having the fabric feed through the machine evenly but with the Teflon foot no downward movement to hold it in place and move it through the top piece slipped a little bit. It I had pinned more and not clipped I think it may have kept it more in line. Overall it wasn’t that much of a big of deal. The most important thing was the foot didn’t stick to the fabric.
To prevent the ripstop from sticking to the sewing bed and the extension table next to my machine I placed my Teflon applique mat under my work. I um perhaps may of had it a bit too close to the presser foot at one stage and stitch my mat in the seam. I didn’t want to undo the seam and it was tiny little piece so I did cut the mat away from it and now I have a tiny crescent shape in my applique mat edge….
The only sticking issue I had was with the zipper. Someone needs to invent a Teflon zipper foot. I haven’t checked maybe there is one out there…. Ok I just did a quick Google search and yes you can actually get a Teflon zipper foot. I am putting it on my wishlist now!
I woke up one morning and decided I was going to make this. All the fabric and supplies came from my stash so it was a real sew my stash project.
I found this great hair accessories pattern in One Thimble Issue 12 and thought it would be perfect to make as gifts this year so I added it to my ideas list.
I had 4 girls I thought this would be perfect for so I cut all the fabric out and made one of my “kits” containing all the fabric and notions that I needed for the project. Although there are 4 each one is slightly different so I noted down the fabric combination for each child. When it came to sewing I thought why make 1 when you can make 2 so started and on them and then thought why make 2 when you can make 4 and stitched the 4 of them up a once. It might seem tiresome and you would think it would take longer but I think it was actually much quicker. You use the same equipment on each one so you only need to take out that equipment once. Your brain in remembering each step in the process and how your actually doing it (even if you are following a pattern) so you don’t have to re-think back. At your sewing machine you only need to change your stitch length once for the same step you do on all 4 so it does make sense to batch sew if you can.
The front and back fabrics for these I got last year from a sewing magazine. They are fun and pretty but not childish so as the child grows and feels they are a grown up (even though they may only be 8 or 9) they don’t feel they have something babyish in their rooms. For the long lengths of ribbons that run down the front of each the pattern called for gross grain ribbon which I didn’t have large amounts in my stash but what I did have was a large roll of jacquard ribbon so I used that, the tiny hearts on it are so sweet. The ribbon is stitched down in sections so you can hold large amounts of clips in each of the lengths of ribbon.
The organiser has a pocket to hold all the hair ties that you can’t clip on to the ribbon. It expands out so you can fit a lot of hair ties in there and we know little girls have heaps.
At the bottom are hanging loops that you can place headbands in. Headbands never really went out of fashion but I think they are becoming popular again.
This organiser makes a great gift, it is an all one hair station to keep all hair accessories in one spot. You could make it for a child of any age. Like any homemade gift you can personalise the fabrics to suit the child. The pattern has some embellishment on the top where the hanging loop is but I didn’t bother, I left more space for clips. On each gift I added the clips and bobby pins I made and of course a headband. I think the girls would like it. My inner 9 year old would like it so I think they will too.