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.
Recently I’ve had to purchase new pillow and mattress protectors as my washing machine destroyed the linings of the old ones I had. Each time I washed them it would rip more of it off until finally it did it so much you couldn’t use them anymore. The new set of manchester I have brought have an even thinner lining to the previous lot which I know my machine will kill. The lining of them in paper like almost like trace and toile just a little thicker. It says to wash on a gentle cycle but I know my washing machine will still agitate them too much. My solution was to make a giant laundry bag like what you wash your bras in and wash the items in that.
Originally I was trying to find a mesh fabric but I couldn’t find anything suitable in the size that I needed. In the end of year Lincraft sale I stumbled across this polyknit fabric which is similar to a store brought lingerie bag that I have. The fabric was half price so I think cost maximum $5/m, I purchased 2m of it and the longest zipper I could find which was 55cm. To make the bag I simply folded the fabric in half and cut it to have 2 pieces of 1m x width of fabric. I overlocked each of the cut ends which were the long ends. I installed the zipper along on the selvage ends which was the shorter ends and then stitched around the remaining 3 sides to form the bag.
I wanted the bag as large as possible so that the item/s in it could move around within the bag and wash as normal. I can easily fit 4 pillows protectors in this or 1 queen size mattress protector. It will also be useful for other things such as fabric which can shred in the machine. The knit fabric is lightweight so will easily dry fast hung over my clothes airer. I’m really glad I stumbled across this fabric it is perfect. Now I can get many years of use from my new manchester.
I have been making another batch of kitchen wipes for myself for a very long time. The ones I currently had were cut up old tea towels with raw edges so each time they were washed they frayed like made and became tangled with each other.
Recently going through my stash I came across some offcuts from when I made various burbcloths as gifts. I cut the towelling down into squares the various sizes that I needed (not pictured are 2 larger ones to cover animal food bowls) I then overlocked (serged) around the edges. I didn’t bother neating up the edges just cutting the tails. I only needed to do the raw edges as some were already bound as part of the towels construction. A very quick and simple project. I keep these in basket on my kitchen counter to grab whenever I have quick spills such a drops of milk on the counter, food splashes on the stove or floor. I have a used container which I place soiled ones in then just wash them with my tea towels. Using cloths like these have reduced the amount of paper towels I go through. You don’t need to use new towelling or tea towels you can recycle old ones for the project. If you want more the size of traditional paper towels just cut your squares larger.
You wouldn’t think you would learn anything from just overlocking squares but I did use this as learning project. After going through too thick of a project earlier this year and killing my overlocker I was very cautious overlocking over the bound edges. On this project I learnt how to control the speed of my overlocker with the foot pressure. You can overlocker very slow with just light pressure. When you are trying to get a thickish item under the presser foot which towels are you can guide it in. This was a useful project in more ways than one.
I was feeling like some mindless crochet this week so I whipped up another dishcloth. This is the same pattern that I did last weekend which really wasn’t a pattern just some playing around I did. I think I chained about 15 stitches then just did rows of trebles until it looked squareish. I then changed colours and did 3 rounds of trebles as a border before the final edge in crab stitch. This is my new favourite pattern due to how simple it is but how effective it looks. I’ll be using this as a dishcloth but something like this would make a great facecloth (think easy Christmas gifts) or an easy thing to make in batches for events like mother’s day stalls at schools or fetes. Don’t just think ladies, make it in more masculine colours and it’s an easy father’s day gift. As it is 100% cotton yarn it won’t scratch metal surfaces so can be used on cars and appliances.
Cloth pads may not be for everyone and I respect your decision if you don’t like them but they are something I have been wanting to try for a while. Last weekend I made my first batch. I knew that there were some people making and using them but I had no idea of that there was an entire community of online people making, selling and even doing swaps of them.
I joined a Facebook group which is focused on making them. It is really friendly group who are a super supportive of new comers and answer every queen you have imaginable. They have a file section which has heaps of useful patterns, links and general information. If you Google cloth pads you will also find heaps of websites and patterns.
Constructing a pad isn’t dissimilar to making a quilt in the fact you have 3 sections and each section has a function. I found this website very useful on what to use for each layer but to sum up a pad has a
Topper – This is the outer layer closet to the skin so you want soft comfortable fabric
Core – This is your absorbent layer and does all the work so you want absorbent fabric which you stack in layers
Backer – This layer faces out against your underwear so you want fabric that is water repellent if preferred fabric that won’t shift around
When I made these I had no idea if I would even like them or not. I didn’t want to go out and purchase special absorbent and waterproof fabric if I didn’t know if I would even like the feel of them so for my first ones I raided my linen closet and my fabric stash used what I had on hand to try them out. I used this free tutorial by Blue Dinosaur. For my outer layer I used some fabric that I had used before in other projects and just happened to be sitting my fabric basic. For my backing I used some scrap polar fleece fabric. I tested it to see if it was water repellant by doing water droplet test (if you pour water on it and the water beads on top it repels water)
For my cores I cut up some old face washers that had seen better days. Each pad has a core of 3 layers. On the smaller ones I got 3 layers from one face cloth per pad. For the longer ones I had to use separate face cloths.
I have tried these out this week and I’m really happy with them. I’ll admit to only using them at home as I was nervous as to how they would go. The smaller ones which I wasn’t sure would even fit were comfortable however I’m thinking I prefer longer. That’s the great thing about cloth pads is that you can make them to any length or shape you want depending on what you like and what size your body is. Sewing wise from all reports I hear the first ones you make always turn out the worse as you have no idea what you’re doing which is certainly the case with these. I know I haven’t sewn my core in correctly so there is a chance the core may fold inside them once I wash them but that’s ok they will still be usable. If you’re wanting to make these I urge you to have a go at them as they are pretty simple to make. Watch a few YouTube videos, view some tutorials, download a free pattern and grab some supplies you have around your house. To care for them they don’t take as much work as you would imagine – rinse them out, soak them for a few days then machine wash and line dry.
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.