I have a small problem in winter when I have flannel sheets on the bed and wear flannel pj pants I stick to the bed which is a small issue when I need to turn over every 30 – 60 mins. I wake myself up as I have to really put effort into moving and the bed really jerks around. My solution was to make some pj’s in some silky fabric that would slide against the flannel. By chance when I was clearing out my linen cupboard I found a queen size polyester satin top sheet that I never use. It was just the thing I needed to make my pants. I love the idea of upcycling and it is something I really want to do when I get the chance.
PJ pants have been on my todo list for ages, months ago I drew up my pattern Simplicity It’s So Easy. I did the size XL It is a nice basic pattern and that was all I needed.
I’d never worked with any type of satin before but that didn’t faze me. It was very slippery as I was trying to place my pattern pieces on the fabric but I had a solution last year I purchased a foldable cardboard cutting board at the Simplicity Industry Day. Laying that on the table first than placing my fabric on top instantly made it more stable to work with. This was the first time I’ve used my cutting board and it won’t be the last so if your ever thinking about one I can recommend them.
I overlocked all my edges first then stitched it on the regular sewing machine. I cut my fabric a little larger than the pattern as I wasn’t sure how much would come off when I overlocked it. The pattern says you can easily make it on the overlocker and to be honest next time I will. It took longer the way I did it this time but never mind I still ended up with the same result. I did have a laugh just before I stitched up my side seams I looked down and thought “Oh crap I’m making scrub pants” If you have ever had to wear scrubs that tie at the side you’ll know what I’m taking about.
For the elastic I went through my stash to see what I had. I decided to go with the a knit elastic I found, it was the right width and felt nicer than the woven elastic I had of that same width. I stretched the elastic around my waist until it felt comfortable and marked it with a pen I then added about 1″ to the pen line before cutting. Silly me forgot to measure how long I cut it out of curiosity. Once I threaded it through the casing I tried the pants on to check the fit before sewing the elastic together. Threading elastic through casing is one sewing job I just don’t like. A nappy safety pin is now going to live by my sewing machine for this purpose as I struggle with anything else.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to determined the front and back of these so by chance I left my elastic gap in the back (I never checked when making the casing) So I did some decorative satin stitches to close the gap and identify which way they go.
Originally I tried to use the border pattern at the end of the sheet as a feature at the bottom of the pants, however when I tried on the finished pair they were miles to long. I should’ve actually cut the them and fixed it properly with a double folded hem but I just folded the ends up and hemmed them that way. As you can see I had to take them up a lot.
These pants are by no means the neatest sewing I’ve ever done. There are pleats in my hems and a few other tiny flaws but it doesn’t matter I still ended up with what I wanted pj’s I could wear that would slide on the flannel sheets and they cost me nothing. I’ve tried these out and yes they work. The pattern is unisex and I’m really happy with it. The fit does look a little bit loose but if you adjust the elastic to your waist you’ll be fine. These aren’t fashion items they are functional comfy pants to wear at home. I live in pj pants summer and winter, I don’t want tight ones I just want ones that stay up without my having to hold them. I’ll be making these again but I will be adjusting the length. Also next time I think I will just do them on the overlocker and only do the hems and waistband on the machine. I need to get more knit elastic too as it is perfect. They still do look a little like scrubs but I’ve never seen scrubs this fancy or this flammable 🙂
It is true if you really like a pattern you make it over and over. After the success of the draft stopper I made for the bathroom I made the one for my front door.
In the November Sew Box I got a lovely piece of butterfly printed linen. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. When I was going through my stash a few weeks ago I came across it again and discovered it was perfect for the draft stoppers. The pattern calls for décor fabric as it is a bit thicker and robust. Linen was perfect for it as it is bit thicker than regular cotton. The size of the piece we were given was 50cm which was almost the exact size for the pattern I needed to create to fit my door. I only had to trim off a couple of inches from the width.
The side that faces out into the hallway has the blue butterfly print on it so when I come home each day the first things is those beautiful blue butterflies.
After I made it for my front door I discovered one more door that could use one… the door to my ensuite as the draft under it hits me right when I’m getting dressed. My ensuite doesn’t really get used as a wet area by the fact only the basin and toilet get used therefore I could get away with using non waterproof fabric. In the November box we got a 2nd piece of linen again 50cm. Perfect solution.
Once again both these took very little time to make from start to finish, I’m talking less than 2hrs. I love these. I no longer have to kick away the door snake at my front door any more or remember to put it back when I get home. They are simple but they work. They stay on the doors, you don’t trip over them. The pattern is from Handmade Magazine Vol. 34 No.11 You make them to fit your actual door so you can do them for any door. I discovered my front door is 2″ wider than the internal doors.
Even though I’m focusing heavily on my Sunny Log Cabin blanket I’m still getting a bit done here and there on my Pamuke blanket. If I’m having an off day or am feeling too tired to concentrate Pamuke has been perfect to work on as I only have to count to 3 (3 trebles per chain space). I’ve decided to go ahead and use up my leftover balls of yarn. I’m just tying them in. I have just knotted the yarns together to join them. I thought perhaps it was better to do them now instead of having them all in one section of the blanket near the top. If I was to do this again I would use them up completely as I went along. The blanket is getting very long now measuring around 44″ in length. I’ve still got another 2 full balls of each colour to go after I use up the leftovers. One ball of each colour will go into the blanket the other will go in the border. I was going to have 2 in the border but I think that might be a bit much. I’ve also decided on the edging I’ll do. I’m going to try crab stitch for the first time after seeing youtube clips this week on how to do it. I like straight edging and crab stitch looks perfect as it will give a straight edge but also add a bit of different texture. Plus I will learn a new crochet stitch.
Rhonda Hetzel writes the successful Down To Earth blog and is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I was lucky enough to do a workshop with her in 2013 and it was wonderful. Rhonda has just published her 3rd book The Simple Home which is a follow up to her book Down To Earth.
From the start once I opened this book I instantly liked the look of it. It just feels warm and comforting which may sound strange but some books just have that affect. The layout, the font, the images. You can see a lot of care and love has been put into this book. Rhonda has this amazing calming nature and it just comes through the pages in her book.
This book is broken up into chapters based on the months of the year but also to coincide with the seasons within Australia (At the end of the book she also suggests ways to follow this book if you were in the Northern Hemisphere which I thought was a lovely touch and shows how she is widely followed by readers from around the world) She suggests areas you could concentrate on each month that will help you living your more simplified life. This breaks it down into more manageable tasks and helps simple living going from a concept to practical things to do day to day. If you’re not new to simple living you might think yes but I know all this. I found it as a reminder to think ok I know this but how much am I actually doing. Thoughts don’t always turn into actions. If you have fallen out of your simple living ways (we all do at times) this book helps get you back on track and helps you focus on things you can do or change.
You could easily read this book without reading her first book. It is a standalone book with its own topics, information and recipes, however it does refer at times back to her first book Down To Earth. I think that actually works really well as it means she has put new material and topics in this book and isn’t just rehashing things she has covered in the past. Instead of publishing all the same recipes and patterns again she points you in the direction of where to locate them and offers new and different ones in this book. I’ve read other books by authors who have done multiple books and often it’s the same information in every book. Another thing I liked was Rhonda refers to modern technologies such as websites and apps to help you in your daily life. You wouldn’t except apps and simple living would go together in the one sentence but Rhonda is moving with the times and is moving the concept of simple living with modern times. We have to face it technology is part of our lives these days, there are plenty of ways it can waste our time but there are also ways in which it can save us time.
If I had to pick a favourite chapter in the book it would the chapter covering crafting as simple living – total surprise right 🙂 It just made me smile and think the gifts that I’m giving are from the heart. There are many areas of simple living and crafting is just one of them.
Oh and my favourite picture in the book is the rolling pin. I really want that rolling pin now, it is just a little bit awesome!
I stumbled across this toy on Pinterest and knew I had to make it, a soft toy steering wheel how could you not love this (I love it and I don’t even drive!)
The pattern is called Little Driver Wheel by Swoodson Says. If you have sewn softies before you’ll have no trouble making it. Even a beginner could if they took their time. I used cotton drill instead minky or fleece for the wheel. I wanted a sturdy fabric as there are a few curves you need to stitch and at times me and plush fabrics don’t mix. Also I couldn’t get hold of black minky or fleece. I did have to buy the fabric for this but I got it in a 50% off fabric sale. The badge section is wool felt I had in my stash. This is the first toy I have ever made that has a squeaker in it. I tried to post a video of it but couldn’t get it but if you head over to Instagram I posted a video there. I got my squeaker from Tommi Designs. I used a 79mm which was probably in hindsight a little big. You could use a smaller one and get the same effect. The pattern shows how to insert the squeaker but because my squeaker was so large I placed it inside the horn and reinforced it with a second piece of fabric behind it. I also did a bit more hand stitching around the inside curve than instructed. The pattern is really simple to follow and a great way to try out new techniques such as working with noise makers. This toy can be adapted per child. I made the badge on this as the initial of the child’s name but you could easily do the badge of a car company or family name. Not just for boys how about pink wheels for girls or do it black with Barbie’s head as the badge. How cool would these look as pillows for a lounge in a “man cave” You could leave the squeaker out but as many adults are just big kids leave it in.
This is such a simple idea but I love it. Sometimes simple toys are the best
I don’t use my Sizzix Big Shot (or now known sometimes as Fabi) as much as I should. It is a great little die cutting machine that you can cut fabric, paper, foil or balsa wood on. One way which I have used it many times is to cut hexie papers which are used in English Paper Piecing (EPP) This machine is perfect for cutting the papers on. I wanted to cut a batch recently for a craft swap. By folding the computer paper into quarters and placing it over the cutting die I was able to cut 16 hexies at once. I then experimented and discovered I could do 2 sheets of paper at once cutting 32 at a time. I was able to cut a total of 200 papers in a matter of minutes. It was brilliant! These hexies are 2″ but you can get a variety of sizes. Cutting your own papers saves so much money and time. I could never cut the papers as neatly as this machine does.
This is the start of my Pamuke blanket. Pamuke isn’t a fancy pattern name, it is the combined name of the people whom I’m making the blanket for (you know how celebrity couples are given a combined name) I wanted an easy name when referring to this blanket.
I’m making this as a wedding present. I’m using Lucy’s from Attic24 Granny Stripe pattern but I’ve made it longer. I found this blog post from Easy Crochet Pattern which lists the starting chains needed for various size blankets. A Granny Stripe might sound boring or plain for a blanket so significant as a wedding present but I wanted a blanket they could use everyday and be practical. A blanket that could be thrown on the back of the couch and used when watching movies or could be thrown over someone if they fall asleep and you don’t want to wake them. I’m using Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply Classic 100% wool again as it is machine washable, the colours are Tasman Blue and Magnolia. I wanted to make it in the colours of their favourite Rugby League team (Canterbury Bulldogs) At first when the yarn arrived I must admit I thought I had chosen the incorrect colours as I was after a deep royal blue and a white whereas these a more a muted blue and a cream. After working up a row or 2 my mind changed and I really like them. They are more sophisticated and better suited to a wedding blanket.
I’ve never done a 2 tone Granny Stripe before and I wasn’t sure how many rows I would get out of each 200g ball. I lost crochet roulette but it gave me and indication of how many rows I will get. I’m hoping to get as much of this blanket done before Sunny CAL starts March 1st.
Castaway To Couture 2016 is a competition being held by the Australian Sewing Guild where participants are challenged to bring new life into old garments. The rules are pretty simple you either purchase an item/s from an op shop (charity / good will shop) or you raid your own stash for clothes you don’t wear for whatever reason and you alter the item into something new. It is a nationwide competition with some fantastic prizes for the winners including a sewing machine, gift vouchers and patterns. Winners are awarded by judges on the most transformed item but there are also viewers’ choice winners.
I’ve decided to enter this competition. I’m not in this to win some of the fantastic prizes, but who would say no a Craftsy voucher. I’m going to do this a personal challenge. Bringing new life into old garments is something I have wanted to do for a long time, it’s about time I gave it a shot. The first item I have chosen was an article of clothing I have culled from my stash just this week (thanks CC for the inspiration) This is a nylon/polyester velveteen stretchy long tube skirt. After picking it up for the first time in years I discovered that some of pile had started to come away from the fabric. It has been dragged on the ground or caught in shoes. It was time for it to go, I was going to add it into my fabric stash thinking I could use it in a toy. 2 days later I discovered this competition and thought perfect I have something already.
The 2nd item I’m using is some polyester imitation suede pants. I had culled these about 12 months ago, it was only during a night of insomnia and hot weather that I remembered I hadn’t actually taken these to the op shop yet and they were still sitting in my spare room. I’ve had these for a good 10 – 15 years. I stopped wearing them due to a) they are really hot to wear and b) they sit low and there isn’t much room in the crotch area. Looking at them now the hem has come undone on one leg and I never bothered to fix it. Also they don’t have pockets, I can’t wear pants without pockets. These have a funny story. In a department store once I went past the baby section and happened to see pants that were exactly the same as these! Same fabric, same stitch detail above the knee. I remembered thinking I have toddler pants. I have a feeling I never wore these again after that day.
Both items have pasted the first test, the wash test. Both say to hand wash separately but I stuck them both together on a cold water wash and they survived. I dare say that’s how they’ve always been washed all this time as I don’t do fancy washing. I have a few ideas of what I want to do. Not sure if all will work but you never know if you don’t try. I can say during my night of insomnia I pretty much planned it all out at 1:30 am and wrote all the ideas down later. With the ideas I have in mind I don’t see myself winning most transformed item, however hopefully I’m going to have an item that I can wear. An item that I have created using principles that I feel strongly about – upcycling, recycling, simple living by making it myself. It will be a free item as I’m not planning on purchasing anything extra for this. All materials will come from my current stash or the item itself. I love a good challenge and this is my challenge to me. Watch this space and no matter the outcome I’ll share this with you.
Leasa set another sew my stash challenge this time based on precuts.
In my stash I have a couple of precut charm square packs and a log I’d gotten for free over the years but I couldn’t think of anything practical to make with them or couldn’t think of a gift I needed to make. I then remembered about a stack of 6.5″ flannel squares I brought of ebay about 10 years ago. I decided since they were all the same colour tone, the same size and many the same pattern they counted as a precut bundle. I’d always intended to make some sort of blanket with them but never got around to it. Last year when sorting out my stash I came across them again.
Its the most basic patchwork blanket you will come across. The back is a single piece of black polar fleece that I brought in the recent Lincraft 50% off sale. This blanket isn’t the most fanciest piece of work but it is bright and most importantly its practical. It will be used this winter on my lounge. I used a chunk of fabric from stash that had been sitting there doing nothing for years.
Over the Christmas period I did get one job done on my todo list that was actually for me I recovered my ironing board.
My old cover was driving me nuts. When I brought it the pack said it would fit any size board, well it did fit but only just. Anytime you moved fabric over the edge of it the fabric would get caught and shift so you were always pushing it back into place either side. Also it wasn’t very padded and I was getting lovely grid lines on my fabric when I ironed. I decided I had enough and it was time for a makeover.
To get a template I took off the old cover, on my craft table rolled out a length of trace and toile and placed the ironing board upside down to trace out a pattern. Using the template I cut out a double layer of cotton batting the same size as the pattern. For the cover I added an extra 5″ all around the pattern when cutting it out. I did a double fold around the edge to form a casing in which I threaded ribbon. When the cover was on the board I tightened the ribbon and tied it to the underside of the ironing board.
As I was planning this project for some time I was able to pick up the fabric when it was on sale. The ribbon was from a roll I had in my stash. I’m really happy with my new ironing board cover. I’m not a big fan of ironing and only iron craft fabric but it really does make a difference having this new cover.