Envelope cushion covers

24 Jul

I lovelovelove this fabric. It’s by RoseandHubble fabrics (available here, although I got it from London’s Goldhawk Road)

I havent sewn in a while but I boughtnew pillows and didn’t want to bin the old ones (they’re not as firm as I need but still in good condition!) 

Since I have been struggling to find cushions for my sofa, I decided to’upcycle’ the pillows! 

I cut them in half with scissors, rearranged the stuffing to be centred/ thicker at the new ‘middles’, and used a zigzag stitch to close up the edges. 

I then :

  • Cut 1m of fabric into three strips (about 14″ by 42″)
  • On the short fabric edges, folded over 1cm twice, using an iron, then stitched it closed with a straight stitch
  • Folded it over the pillow to measure how much the fabric should overlap for the cover to fit the pillow – about 4″
  • Finish with French seams: Trimmed the long edges using the rotary cutter to keep it neat, and pinned them with right sides out. Use edge stitching on the two long edges, then turn the cushion cover inside out, iron the seams, and close the long edges with another line of stitching each.

I’m very happy with them!! It was fun getting back to sewing :-)

Christmas sewing: boy’s beanbag

7 Jan

I made my sister a beanbag cover a couple of years ago, with a really simple “pattern” I made up (here). I wanted to make a more interesting-looking beanbag for my nephew, so I started trawling websites for cute kids’ duvet sets. I wanted to use two coordinating fabrics, and duvet covers with a different top and bottom are the easiest (and often cheapest) way to achieve that! I managed to find a cute lorries-and-diggers design in a toddlers’ size duvet, with a nice bright pattern on the back, which gave exactly the right amount of fabric for this pattern! :) :) :)

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It was very hard to photograph!

I used the tutorial from Reese Dixon which is great because it isn’t too strict on the size, or the curve, etc, which helped me to relax a bit if my cutting went astray!

The one problem I had with this is that I didn’t think in advance how the 30″ zip would fit into my approximately 40″ seam. I made the beanbag cover that you see above first, and the zip ends were a little messy, but for the inside bean bag (the one that holds the ‘beans’ safely so my nephew can’t “accidentally” pour them all over the floor / eat them) I used the same method as in this purse tutorial – simply adding a length of fabric to each end of the zip and trimming to make sure it fits perfectly.

I used 3 cubic feet of ‘beans’ – which I think was the perfect amount. It was a bit of a faff to create a cardboard funnel to pour them into the beanbag, but we managed to hoover the stray ones up before the dog got to them…

I also made my niece a hooded personalised (applique) towel, similarly to the one I made for my nephew a year ago (here), but clearly I didn’t take warning from that because I made it in lowercase letters AGAIN which was incredibly tricky! I didn’t actually get a photo of the whole thing, but here is a snippet:

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I didn’t actually get a photo of the whole front of it! As proof that I did ALL NINE LETTERS (!!!) here’s a mirror image of the inside too, which I’m not sure why I took! 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to finish my Christmas sewing, as well as the bag I blogged earlier, I had been planning to make a range of hand/neck warmers (using rice to be microwaveable) and turn the leftover half-towel from the applique towel above into a face cloth (using bias binding and appliqueing an “A” onto it) – but I managed to hurt my shoulder so even doing the above was quite painful! Maybe they can be random January presents instead.

Child’s drawstring backpack

22 Dec

I wanted to make my nephew a small backpack with some cute teal elephant fabric I got from Goldhawk road a few months ago – but obviously, at the time, I had no idea what I would use it for I just loved it so bought some!

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The photo on the left is closest to real colours – terrible winter light!

I used the tutorial from Hobbycraft’s blog, but make  sure you read it through carefully and slowly before you start – it is an easy process, but they have made it fairly confusing. I wanted to use the Hobbycraft one despite the many good ones out there because I REALLY wanted to use the eyelets. Here’s the changes I made:

  • I used 4mm drawstring (because then I could get it in grey, and it’s comfier too).
  • I used Prym’s 11mm silver eyelets as the 5.5m ended up too small to fit the drawstring.
  • I didn’t use the quantity of fabric they said to use. Instead I used 4 pieces of 14×12 inches to make this a little bit smaller.
  • As the bag was smaller, I only needed 2m of drawstring, which is great because that’s all I had received despite ordering 3m!

I then filled it with lots of chocolate coins – I don’t expect a 2y old to be particularly delighted by a bag so this is to make sure he still loves his Christmas present!

I still have two sewing Christmas presents to finish off – I hope yours are all going well! :)

A circular pot holder

18 Dec

I’ve been using a tea towel as a pot holder for months, so decided it was time to make a cute pot holder for the kitchen!

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I used the tutorial from Nancy Zieman, although I made a few changes:

  • I used normal insul-bright rather than quilted, so added a layer of white cotton fabric to the inside
  • I didn’t have the circle cutter, so just used a side plate which was about 8 inches
  • When I’d finished, I realised it’d be really useful to have a hanging loop, so I used an extra piece of binding (folded in half, sewn  up, then attached using a ridiculous amount of thread).

I had this cotton in my stash, from making my sister a purse a while back, so just had to buy cotton thread (as I normally keep synthetic but that might melt…) and the bright red binding – and waaay more insul-bright than I need so there might need to be more “insulated items” coming to use that up..!

This took me a lot longer to make than the tutorial suggested it would, but I hadn’t sewn in months and was using it as a “getting back into sewing before making Christmas presents” activity, so I am happy :) I have already cut out the fabrics to make another identical one!

A new laundry bag from curtains

27 Jan

My boyfriend and I have been taking the term ‘laundry pile’ quite literally since we moved in together a few months ago, and finally decided enough was enough. When in town we popped into the charity shop, looking for some fabric that might make a suitable laundry bag – something a little thicker than usual fabrics, with a nice pattern that isn’t too light. We found these curtains, a set of two 66×53″ for only £4.50! It’s a half cotton half polyester mix.

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I previously used a different tutorial for a lined drawstring bag, but that felt unnecessary for a laundry bag, so I wanted something a little simpler. I found the Great British Sewing Bee tutorial! It’s available on the Radio Times website. It shows you how to make the ribbon as well as the bag. It took me three evenings of an hour or two each, so probably about 4-5 hours in all – most could probably do it faster as I always seem to take much longer than the tutorials suggest! It didn’t help that the fabric had a slight stretch to it which made measuring and cutting it tricky! :S

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The finished bag! It looks brighter in real life but the camera on my phone is playing up.

I didn’t like the raw edges inside, as this fabric frays quite a lot and I don’t have pinking shears, so I used the zigzag stitch on a low length to hold the raw edges in instead of ironing them into opposite directions as the tutorial suggested. I first did this to the sections of the side seams where the hole is for the ribbon to pass through, so through one piece of fabric for the 4 inch gap, and then to hold the double layers of every other seam together, so through two pieces of fabric for all remaining raw seams. It’s much better now and I am really happy with it! I don’t think french seams would have worked as well as this did because of the holes for the ribbons.

I am really happy with it! And since it only used one of the two curtains, I might use the other curtain to make one for my sister, as she previously mentioned she was on the lookout for a new laundry bag. [Edit – I finally made my sister one, so that’s most of this fabric gone from my stash now, phew!]

This is the first time I have sewn using charity shop fabric (well, repurposed) and I wish I’d thought of it sooner – will definitely be going again. Maybe once I have used up some of my stash….

Hooded personalised towel / back after 12 months

4 Jan

I haven’t sewn much at all since my last post in November 2014. Other than small tasks (fixing curtains, hemming dress, etc.), I had only had one project in the 12 months since my last post, before this one. Christmas 2014 I made a purse for my sister out of some fabric I got on Goldhawk road. I used the tutorial from FortworthFabricStudio and I think it turned out nicely. It was part of her Christmas present  and she was delighted.

These photos were only just taken yesterday as I didn’t take any at the time – so excuse the PJs – I loved the contrasting red but think maybe I should have used half navy rather than using only patterned fabric, it’s a bit overwhelming!

ANYWAY – about the personalised hooded towel!

My sister-in-law asked if I would make my nephew a personalised towel for his 2015 Christmas present, and I jumped at the chance / motivation to sew again after so long. The last 12 months I’ve been pretty unwell and having to ration my energy, but I have been feeling better recently so figured it was about time to get my Singer back out!

I wanted to make it a bit more interesting than just a towel with his name on, so I was really happy when I found a tutorial from CrazyLittleProjects which sounded like it wouldn’t take too long. It needs a bath towel and a hand towel, and a LOT of thread (I used one and a half of the 100m Gutterman ones). Sewing the towel together was a little tough, even with a size 100 needle, and I discovered that the little lever that raises/drops the foot will raise the lever even more if you push and hold it up. Without that I would never have managed to get the doubled-over bits of the towel under the needle! It took a while and gave me sore shoulders, but I was pretty happy when it was done.

I had also never done applique, and have decided since that doing it with lowercase curvy letters was a terrible idea for my first time. Next time I might be able to work it, as I think I got the hang of this a bit as I went on, but in hindsight I should have used capitals only for this one! I used the great templates from Free Applique Patterns and traced them off my screen. I didn’t have any paper backed fusible webbing and so I just used hemming web to stick the fabric directly to the towel and it worked quite well I think – but it was a bit fiddly so I might have to add some paper-backed stuff to my collection for future.

Hooded Towel - appliquéd letters.jpg

I decided to make the letters wonky so I wouldn’t drive myself mad making them straight! I am quite happy with the result and my boyfriend’s advice to use dark thread against the light-ish towel was a great suggestion.

I was quite happy with the finished result (although I forgot to get a photo of the full thing) and when he opened it he gave it a snuggle – even though he had no idea what it was other than a soft thing, that one snuggle made it worth it and reminded me of why I love sewing. So I definitely won’t be leaving it that long until my next project!

Back after two months: kindle case and eye mask

13 Dec

I’ve been missing since the end of Sew Selfless September – a combination of moving house (moving out of my parents’ and into a flatshare with a uni friend, halving my commute in the process) and being quite ill (mainly very very sleepy).

Anyway, I finally decided to get a little bit of practise in before I make my sister’s Christmas present, and made TWO things:

I made a Kindle Case using a tutorial from Whip Stitch – it is a really good tutorial and fits perfectly but make sure you read a couple of steps ahead to make sure you have understood, I made a few mistakes… I also had to do two lines of topstitching on the far left edge because my batting was VERY thick (about 1cm)

Kindle Case Inside

Kindle case!

I know that people who love books tend to feel it is important to love the feel of a book, and while I definitely won’t stop buying and reading paper books (I am reading one atm and have others on my Christmas list) it is so much more comfortable to read a kindle, it doesn’t matter if I finish a book when I am unable to buy one as I’ll have others stored, and I can look up definitions of words I don’t know without a huge interruption to reading as is needed if I consulted a dictionary while reading a paper book.

But I’ll never read a kindle in the bath.

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Then I decided that in my new flat the curtains don’t quite cover it enough, so I then also made an eye mask, this time loosely using the pattern from the red kitchen. I didn’t even realise that she had done a double row of topstitch, I did it because it looked a lot neater – and it was easier to first do the inside one and then do the one closer to the edge with the first line holding the fabric in place. Ta-da!

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I feel ready to attack some vintage fabric for my sister’s Christmas present… eek! :)