Rainbow Bag

Ahead of making miss 5 a gift this year I asked her mum what she liked at the moment and the answer was Rainbows so this is the gift I have come up with.

The theme rainbows could take any direction, if you do a google search the ideas are endless. Sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming so I started to think about the patterns I already had in my stash and remembered the Kawaii Felt Purses pattern from One Thimble Issue 13 had a rainbow version of the bag so that is what I went with. The rainbow panel is done in applique, the hardest part was deciding what colours to use, yes I was singing “I can see a rainbow” as I making this.

With the exception of the handles which are made from cotton drill the bag is made from 100% wool felt. Wool felt is stronger than acrylic felt and so I thought for a bag it was a must. I followed the pattern to make this bag but put a twist on it. I turned the front rainbow panel into a pocket on the outside of the bag. When I attached my layers to together I stitched the rainbow panel into the bottom seam and part way up each side. I did hand stitching on the arc part way on each side to attach it to the main section of the bag. As a result you can see a small amount of hand stitching on the inside of the bag but I am not worried about that.

For my handles I used some drill I had in my stash. The pattern didn’t have these types of handles in it so I made it up. I folded the width of the fabric in half and cut a 3″ strip across it. I then trimmed down this 3″ strip until it looked about long enough for a small handle, as it was folded I ended up with 2 handles. I folded each strip into quarters to enclose the raw edges and finished off the short ends (must write a tutorial on how to do these) I only did a single row of top stitching on each handle but they are narrow so you don’t really need more. I stitched the handles to the outside of each bag because I thought it helped the bag sit better.

I cut all my pieces out from sheets of wool felt. To give my gusset piece a nice neat finish where I joined two strips to make the length I opened the seam flat then top stitched around it. Now you hardly even notice it. All my machine stitching was done in mono poly thread so it less visible.

I am really happy with how this bag turned out. It ticks the rainbow box. I enjoyed making this bag. I hadn’t sewn for some weeks and it was a great project to start back on.

Cassiy

Naughty Corner – Owl

I don’t often send projects to the naughty corner for a time out but I have decided to on this toy.

This pattern is by a designer which I have made many of her toys before and loved them but this pattern just isn’t working for me at the moment. I had gotten to this stage couple of months ago and never got back to it. I don’t know what it is about this pattern but for the moment I don’t have the enthusiasm to finish it. I have had this pattern for many years in my stash and have never made it and now I am thinking I know why… It isn’t screaming out “make me finish me” like other toy patterns have done. This was due to be a gift for my niece and I have come up with plan b (a different owl pattern) This one shall sit in the naughty corner and eventually I will finish it off and donate it to Softies for Mirabel. I hate seeing waste and if I was to just bin it (which I could never do) this would be a waste of fabric, wool felt and time so I will just set it aside for now. I’m trying to keep sewing fun for myself so I have decided if I don’t find the project fun or love it I’m not going to sew it. I’m sure this project will be fun one day but just not a the moment.

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

 

Brutus

Introducing Brutus the Bulldog. Brutus is for a gift for a new born who is from a Canterbury Bulldogs mad family. I just had to make baby’s first bulldog. I’m calling this one Brutus after the team’s mascot.

To create Brutus I used Butch by Funky Friends Factory. I will not lie this is the most complicated toy I have ever made. Luckily Pauline has created a great step by step tutorial on how to make this pattern which I followed otherwise I would have really struggled with this pattern. This is not a beginner’s toy. Funky Friend Factory patterns are great but sometimes they can be a little hard to follow, they have more written instructions without step by step photos. If you are a visual person like me you tend to get a bit confused in them as they are very wordy if that makes sense. I had my tablet set up on my craft table and followed each step in the tutorial and it made it fairly easy.

Pattern labels were a must for this project. There are 21 different pieces! Some pieces you only cut one piece of fabric some you cut 4. I pinned all my pieces to my fabric before cutting and had my labels ready to go so as soon as a piece was cut I pinned a label onto it and put it on my ironing board. When I need a particular piece I went to my ironing board and grabbed it easily.

For the eyes I used wool felt scraps that I cut into circles. For the pupils I did French knots before stitching the eyes to the head. I love diving into my wool felt scraps whenever I need small pieces for facial features, you can always find just what you need.  One step you could do differently to the instructions order is the facial features. Once you finish piecing the head you could do the hand sewing of the nose, eyes, tongue and teeth. The instructions have you put the head aside and come back later to hand sew these on. I was doing this toy in stages to give myself a break from it at the sewing machine and had I realised about the head I could have worked on it during my downtime from the machine. I did buy all the fabric for him. I went to my local quilt shop and looked for fabric that looked like it had texture but didn’t necessarily look like fur. I’m really happy that I was able find this bubble print fabric and get it in both a darker and lighter shade, it gives the appearance of texture but doesn’t scream out I am a printed fabric.

I worked on this toy over the Easter long weekend and finished him the following weekend. One day I traced out all the pieces, next day I cut all the pieces, next day started sewing him in stages etc. I did a lot of hand tacking on this toy, it took longer but I think I saved myself time as I didn’t have to keep redoing my seams. The only piece I unpicked was his forehead as it was off centre. I will be honest even with all the checking and tacking that I did after I stuffed him I found a tiny hole in his outer leg seam on one leg. Luckily I was able hand stitch it closed and you can’t really see it. Next time I will check even more. The hand tacking was without doubt worth doing. Even though he was such a complicated toy he wasn’t stressful to sew as I wasn’t getting flustered on all the curves and odd shaped seams.

Even though I am not a big Bulldogs supporter now they were my first football team as a kid. All these years on it was very ironic that I ended up making mascots representing the Bulldog and Eels around the same time. We had a family friend who was a big Eel’s supporter and at the age of 2 years old I was going for the Bulldogs just to annoy her. One of my earliest memories is going to her house on Grand Final day when our two teams were playing each other, under my jacket I had the Bulldog motives from the newspaper pinned to my jumper and I took my jacket off and showed her just to stir her up. I still don’t like the Eels but I had to get a photo of these two together.

Cassiy

Waterproof Bed Covers

Last weekend a friend sent me an SOS she was desperate for some sort of bed covering that could easily be laundered and possibly waterproof  as she has an elderly cat who keeps having accidents. Challenge accepted.

By chance I was off to Spotlight which was incredible timing for this fabric emergency! After a quick discussion with friend I decided to do a polar fleece top with a vinyl backing. The cat only sleeps on soft things and the covers needed to be quick to dry. For the vinyl backing I picked up these mattress protectors. I could only get a SB size so I thought I would sew 2 together. When I got home and started to remove the elastic that holds them in place around the mattress I discovered that there were not going to work. The vinyl just shredded in my fingers. I’m very doubtful that these would stand up to any type of washing including hand. I had to come up with plan B.

Plan B. I decided to order some PUL (polyurethane laminated) instead. In hindsight I should have just thought of this from the start but my brain was more thinking of items I could purchase at the shops that day. One side of the PUL fabric has a waterproof coating and the other side feels like regular fabric, you can easily have it against your skin if you wish as it is breathable. I decided to make the covers with the fabric side facing out and the PUL side on the inside of the covers, this is the way you do it when making cloth pads that have a PUL layer. If any liquid gets through it won’t go all the way to the back of the fabric making the underside waterproof. For the top layer I used some anti pill polar fleece that just happened to be on special so I was able to buy it for $4m instead of $15m. I checked the care instructions and the fleece can be washed in warm water as can the PUL. Polar fleece dries relatively quickly and doesn’t generally don’t absorb liquid making it like a waterproof layer itself. I am going to take back the remaining 3 mattress protectors I purchased for a refund.

The finished size of each one is 2m x 1.5m. They fit on my queen size bed nicely. Green Beans sells PUL in 210cm widths so 3m made 2 covers. The polar fleece was 150cm wide so I only need to cut 2m lengths of that. I pinned the 2 layers together than went around the edges with the overlocker to join them. I’m really happy with these as my idea worked. The fabric is soft (happy cat) it can easily be laundered (happy owner) I do love a challenge. Maybe I need to set all my sewing up as a challenge as I might jump in and get it done instead of procraftinating all the time 🙂
Cassiy

Charity Tote Bags

This Christmas I will be again donating to Share The Dignity “It’s In The Bag” campaign. The principle of it is that you grab a bag and fill it with every day things that a woman who is homeless or fleeing a domestic situation might need, the little things we all take for granted. The idea is that you fill an old handbag so the person also get a new bag they can use. I don’t have any handbags so I made some tote bags to fill with my collected items. I decided to make basic cotton tote bags and change the design on the front to make each one different.

Button Bag
I have wanted to make a button front bag for a long time, it was one of those random things that I see once and think I want to try that idea out sometime.  A few months ago I brought jars of different coloured buttons during a sale, at the time I had no plans for them but they were perfect in this project. On the front of the bag I drew out a rough spiral shape, I randomly pulled out buttons from a jar of blue buttons and hand stitched them on using the same thread tying each button off as I went so if one came undone they all didn’t . Once I completed the spiral I then went through the jar and found a heap of the same small blue buttons so I made a second spiral with these. This was a lot of hand sewing in front of the tv work but I am happy with the result and I made a button bag. Originally I was going to do all 3 bag fronts in buttons but I realised it would take way too long.

Free Motion Bag
After deciding there was no way all 3 could be buttons I decided the second bag would be done with free motion quilting. I used the same metallic blue thread that I used on the button bag. I was trying to think back to all the things I learnt when I did the class with Deb Louie. I had a rough idea where my seam lines would be so I just went about going from section to section with my quilting filling the bag front with stitches. I didn’t follow a pattern, I managed to get a heart or two in there and I am very good at doing curls or waves. This reminded me of when I was a kid I would get a black pen and on a piece of blank paper randomly draw lines and swiggles to create little sections that I would then colour in with different colours. Free motion is a lot of fun and I really should do more of it. I used tear away stabiliser on the back of it, removing it was another tv job as there was lots of tiny areas that I had to remove the paper from, again it was worth it.

Decorative Stitches Bag
I am actually a person who does use those fancy decorative stitches that are on your sewing machine, they are a great way to jazz up a plain piece of fabric and that is what I have used them for on this bag.  I used the same metallic blue thread again and just randomly selected stitches on the machine to do a row of stitching across the front of the bag. I never measured anything out I did a row of stitching at the top, bottom and about the middle of the bag all by eyeballing the placement. I then in my head divided up the areas and did rows of stitching to fill in the sections. I decided less was more not doing too much as I didn’t want the front to look too busy. I did squeeze in my favourite heart stitch design because if I can add in a heart particularly a blue one I’m going too!

For the front of the bags I used a cotton drill fabric, this wasn’t from my stash but I did buy it in an Easter sale. On the insides of each bag I have used a cotton that had been in my stash after buying it on sale a few years ago. A few months ago I almost gave it away but held on to it so it was great to use it in these bags, the remainder of it I have cut up and used for WIRES pouches after doing to the burn test and discovering it was 100% cotton.

These are crossover the body bags. For the straps I used some nylon webbing I had in my stash. I just stitched the straps the outside of the finished bags. The webbing is about 2″ wide so nice and sturdy. Confession I did make the straps too long. I over estimated the length so they ended up hanging towards your knees and not near you hip, I only discovered this after they were finished and I had taken the above photos. I didn’t want to cut the straps otherwise you would have ends you would need to cover up to stop fraying.

My solution to the strap situation was to fold the excess webbing and stitching down as a decorative feature of the strap. It is a little hard to describe. At the centre point of the strap I folded it and ran my fingers down about 6″ and pinched the straps so you had a loop of excess strap at the top, this was the amount that I had to stitch down. I decided it would be better if you had this excess fabric on the inside of the strap so it would like another layer of support against the shoulder. I separated the loop at the area where I had it pinched and folded the sides in so that the loop was now folded down to the underside of the strap and not the top. I flattened the loop into a rectangle and clipped it into place. On the outside of the strap you now had 2 folds that need to be held together. I did the widest zig zag I could over these 2 folds to secure them down, going over the fold a few times until I was happy the would stay in place. I did this on each bag. I then changed to a straight stitch and went around the flattened  rectangle twice on each bag to secure it into place.

I only got away with this because I used black thread on black webbing. It doesn’t look too odd, I have seen bags that have added support at the shoulder so that was the look I going for. When something goes wrong call it a design feature.

I am happy with these bags, they are big enough to hold all the items I have been collecting this year. Making them was a lot of fun, I got to be creative and try out ideas. I had to overcome problems with the straps so I had to think. I used up a lot of items just sitting in my stash. I love sewing for charity, I love that I can help with someone using the simple skills that I have.

Cassiy

Baby Animal Burp Cloths

Burp cloths are one of the most easiest gifts to make for a new baby. They are practical and you can never have to many from what I hear.

I have made burp cloths a lot of times and didn’t follow a pattern anymore the steps are really simple

  • Cut a piece of towelling and cotton the same size
  • Place cotton right side down on top of towelling
  • Stitch around edge leaving a turning gap
  • Clip corner points
  • Turn right sides out
  • Top stitch around edge of cotton topper folding the turning gap closed

You can make them any size you like. I like larger ones that you can place over your shoulder or wrap around the child as they get older. I used a large towel that I cut in half, I than cut each half into 3 pieces. Without realising it I cut the 2 halves different ways – one I cut along with width of the towel, the other I cut along the length of the towel so I have 2 different size burp cloths. Both are long enough to go over the shoulder – one set is narrower and longer, the other set is slightly wider and slighter shorter. The narrower ones were cut across the width of the towel, the wider ones across length.

Originally I was planning on using leftover fabrics in my stash but when it came to cutting these fabrics up I realised I didn’t have enough. I went to my local quilt shop and found this gorgeous baby animal print fabric on sale it is perfect. I don’t normally do babyish print fabric because I want the person to be able to use it as the child is a little older. This fabric is cute, baby animals are good for any age child. The print is also subtle so afterwards when you don’t need to use it for the child you could use it in other areas of the house when you need a quick absorbent cloth.

Another gift off my list for this year

Cassiy