Archive | Aug, 2018

Dinosaur tails!

15 Aug

As I mentioned in my last post, I need to start nice and early to get all my September sewing done! I took part in Selfless September a few years ago but since four close relatives have birthdays in the first two weeks of September, I tend to dedicate August to them instead now!

I set aside most of Saturday to make these dinosaur tails for my nephew’s birthday. I love them so much… I considered only making one but his sister or friends will surely want to join in the fun 😊

I love the almost-neon green that I found

I used the tutorial from Running with Scissors, which is brilliantly explained. I made some minor changes:

  • I wanted them to be washable, so in each colour I made one additional version without the spikes and waist strap, and filled that one with the stuffing and sewed it closed. Then I made the one with spikes and straps but added a zip to the bottom seam before I sewed the two (almost)triangular pieces together along the long edges – and put the stuffed tail inside this tail cover. I think I only had 6-8″ zips in my stash but that worked fine since you can stuff the inside one in.
  • I added some medium weight interfacing to the spikes as my fabric was thin. I considered stuffing them but decided it would make sewing it all together more difficult than I felt like dealing with, maybe next time.
  • I am terrible at accuracy, so to give myself a fighting chance I made a “pattern” for both the almost-triangular shapes and the scales (and used bowls for the circles). Now I can make more whenever I need to!

As usual this fabric (and interfacing) is from Goldhawk Road – Universal Textiles (one of the first on the left hand side coming up from Shepherd’s Bush station) had lots of bright polycotton for £2/metre! I already had the stuffing at home – I bought 1kg online ages ago not realising that that is a LOT of stuffing!!

I really enjoyed making these, they were so much fun and I realised my thighs are about the same size as my nephew’s waist and so had lots of fun playing with them myself….

Two down, four more gifts to go!


Mini drawstring backpack

5 Aug

I have four family members with birthdays in the first two weeks of September… I have finally learned to start my sewing before the last weekend in August! Here’s the first item: a small backpack for my niece (this is the view of the back to show off the eyelets)

This is about 12″ tall – I think it’s the right size for a two year old!

I tried to use the same Hobbycraft tutorial as I used when I made my nephew’s elephant print backpack a couple of years ago.

Warning: that is a very difficult to follow tutorial. As I’d done it once before I thought I’d be ok but it took me three times as long as it should have because I kept unpicking it and redoing it. I eventually stopped following it and decided to record my method here. I maybe didn’t take enough photos to call it a tutorial, but here goes..!

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of outside fabric, 12*14″ each
  • 2 pieces of inside fabric, 12*14″ each
  • 2 pieces of coordinating 4mm or 6mm cord, 1m each
  • 2 eyelets, ideally 8mm but 11mm will do
  • Coordinating thread, a needle for thick material (I used size 100), a hammer, a safety pin.

If you want a bigger bag, you should also get longer cord.

Sew, with right sides together, the bottom (short edge) of your two outside pieces of fabric together – I use a 1/4″ seam allowance. This will give you one piece of fabric that is 12*27.5″. Then do the same with your inside pieces. Press seams flat.

Place the two 12*27.5″ pieces of fabric together, right sides together. Pin along the long edges, matching the centres up as in the photo below. Now sew along the two long edges (again I use 1/4″ seams) but do not sew along the short edges. Then turn this tube inside out and press the side seams.

Line up the centres/bottoms of the inside and outside fabrics before pinning (it’s folder over here to demonstrate the two long edges in one photo)

Now, we create the channel for the drawstring cord. Place the fabric with the lining fabric facing up, and fold/press one of the short edges over 1/4″, as in the photo below.

Fold over the outside fabric onto the inside fabric by about 1/4″ and press.

Then fold it over another 1″, press and pin.

Now you have to sew the bottom of this fold over, fairly close to the edge so you leave a nice spacious channel for the drawstring to go in later. This stitching will be visible on the outside of the bag so go carefully – and in the photo below, you want to measure the distance from the right (open) edge as this is what matters when looking from the outside – I tried to sew at 7/8″ all the way down.

Sew a 7/8″ channel for the drawstring

And do the same at the other end, it should be the same size – once you pin it, and before you sew it, fold it over and check against the other end.

I forgot to get a photo of the next bit, sorry, but now is when you sew up the final open edges. Now, you want to fold the tube in half so the two drawstring channels meet each other, it should now look like your bag is inside out but the long sides need to be sewn up.

Pin the long edges – these edges will be visible inside the bag, so try to pin it neatly. When you sew it, make sure your stitch starts *just* below the drawstring channel and goes all the way to the bottom to create the bottom corner of your bag. I again tried a 1/4″ seam. Do this along both sides, and turn it inside out and push out the corners. It should now look recognisable as a bag!

Now to put the bag straps through the drawstring channels.

Using a safety pin makes it much easier to thread the drawstring

Next, push the safety pin through one end of the drawstring cord, and thread it through one drawstring channel (e.g. left to right at the back of the bag) then when it comes out the other end, thread it through the other drawstring channel (e.g. right to left at the front of the bag). I’ve tried to show this in the picture below – one cord is the green line, one is the blue.

Now for the really fun bit – putting the eyelets in! The hole should be about an inch diagonally from the corner of the bag, at the back – the eyelet goes through the back outer and lining layers, but you shouldn’t see it from the front.

I recommend looking at the instructions for whichever ones you have, I used Prym 11mm and they have nice YouTube videos that are really helpful.

Then you just have to thread your cord through the eyelets, tie a knot in the end (adding bead spacers if you are worried it might squeeze through the eyelet). And you’re done!!